This other stuff eh?
Do you think they are lumping it in with this other stuff?
I really hate these assholes.
Now before the cartoons, a few items of news to relate:
This story is best told from the Wonkette article itself….
She posted this picture on twitter on purpose.
While we’re all still shrieking at the walls about Paul Ryan’s shitty grinning tax bill O-face, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s claims that the Dems told the GOP to go ahead and miss them with all that tax bill writing the Republicans absolutely BEGGED them for help with, let’s take a quick moment to stand in awe of the kids in Minnesota who tried to talk to their state representative, Mary Franson (R – REALLY REALLY REALLY DUMB).
It all started when this lady, Rep. Mary Franson, became twitter famous last week, by getting her ass handed to her by the AAHS Dems, the Alexandria Area’s chapter of Minnesota High School Democrats. The group asked Rep. Franson to meet with them, because they are interested in politics, and she ostensibly works in the field. But instead of being like, yeah, awesome, let’s encourage kids who want to be politically active, Mary Franson got super shitty and refused to meet with the teenagers by responding to them on twitter with: “It’s not a Legislator’s duty to meet with a ‘proudly’ partisan democrat group. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.”
In your face, kids. You see that serious adult person emoji shrug? You see the way she used a small “d” and no “-ic” in her incorrect spelling of the modifying adjective democrat? To their credit, the high school kids stayed respectful, continued to sound like the only grown ups on the feed, and tried to gently remind their representative that she represents them. Rep. Mary Franson was not about to hear that and basically told them all to fuck off and stop bothering her. So these tweets spread out all over twitter pretty good, and a bunch of people who saw them were like, wow this lady seems pretty shitty, but Rep. Mary Franson was like HOLD ON I’M NOT DONE.
Oh that is only the beginning. Go to the link and read the whole account…you will not be disappointed.
The title of this next link made me think of the age old question, how many licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?
Over the past few days, many voters in Alabama who helped carry Doug Jones to a historic election victory have expressed frustration over recent comments from the senator-elect regarding both President Donald Trump’s alleged history of sexual harassment and the GOP tax bill. In an interview this week with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Jones said that he doesn’t agree with the Democrats who argue Trump should resign from office over the allegations regarding sexual assault and harassment because the allegations “were made before the election, and so people had an opportunity to judge before that election.” He also gave a less-than-clear answer on how he would have voted on the GOP tax bill, were he given the chance.That Jones would pursue a faulty strategy of shifting to the right is not surprising. In fact, many of those who voted for him expected such a shift, although we didn’t necessarily expect to see it before the election was even certified. What we also did not expect, and what may be more troubling, is the feedback from supporters within the progressive community asking us to “be patient” with Jones. Such feedback is very reminiscent of the comments from white clergy members urging Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to wait—comments which gave birth to Dr. King’s famous “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.” While my comments below are in no way comparable to that remarkable letter, they are my attempt to explain why we cannot wait.
For the first time scientists have directly observed living bacteria in polar ice and snow – an environment once considered sterile. The new evidence has the potential to alter perceptions about which planets in the universe could sustain life and may mean that humans are having an even greater impact on levels of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere than accepted evidence from climate history studies of ice cores suggests.
Dr. Jeffrey Keenan, a medical director at the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, delivered Emma Wren Gibson on Nov. 25. Emma weighed six pounds and measured twenty inches long.
She had been frozen or cryopreserved since Oct. 14, 1992, which is now considered to be the longest known frozen human embryo that resulted in a successful birth.
Surprisingly, the embryo was conceived just a year and a half after Tina’s own birth, which makes it just a year younger than the mother. The embryo was thawed on March 13 and was later implanted in Tina’s uterus after two days.
“It is deeply moving and highly rewarding to see that embryos frozen 24.5 years ago using the old, early cryopreservation techniques of slow freezing on day one of development at the pronuclear stage can result in 100 percent survival of the embryos with a 100 percent continued proper development to the day-3 embryo stage,” said Carol Sommerfelt, Lab Director at the National Embryo Donation Center.
Emphasis mine…see what I mean?
On a more serious note:
Authorities on both sides of the Mediterranean want to silence the activists and NGOs who are inconvenient witnesses to the brutality of border policing
And at last…before the laughs:
Here’s animatronic Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women on the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape:
Go to the link to see more dubbs…this one tho:
Now the cartoons…
Flashback to 2013:
I’m gonna end with this tweet:
This is an open thread.
One thing about binge watching a TV show that is all about how to get away with murder, you begin to obsess about ways to rid yourself of a body. And when you also have a tree crew working at your house at 7am in the morning, after only getting a couple of hours sleep from your all day gluttony of murder and mayhem…watching a tree that is way larger than the size of a human…being shredded into little itty bitty pieces by one of those huge tree chippers…a Vermeer , well of course your mind takes it a step further.
I still cannot bring myself to keep up with the latest news, I don’t want to see the way tRump is working his way out of this…I am grateful that today is cartoon day.
Remember: Nate Beeler is a right leaning (cough) cartoonist.
This is an open thread…
After the Senate passed that monstrous #TaxScamBill , I needed to evaporate into myself…if that is even possible. From the moment I saw a tweet saying it was a done deal, I put away the phone. I have not turned on my laptop. I haven’t even watched the news channels. In fact, I was awake the last 24 hours watching old episodes of How to Get Away With Murder. (Seriously, if that is not evaporating into the void, I don’t know what else is.)
Today, it is 3:30…and I wake up to find out more shit has hit the fan. tRump has gone on a Twitter tirade, but even on MSNBC, the tone is strange. Like…it is never gonna happen. tRump is never going to go down. Honestly. Will we ever learn?
I will just highlight a few tweets from today:
And then there is this:
I am going back to my Netflix feed.
This is an open thread.
Good Morning…From Hell
It may be repetitive, sure…but fucking hell!
Sticking with sarcastic Tweets that have a lovely truthful bite about them:
tRump is non stop today:
I guest that explains this:
There is a desperation in the orange asshole’s tweets this morning. Something big must be about to happen…
Now, a few Cartoons:
This is an open thread.
I’ve spent this morning reading history, so that’s what I’m going to share with you today.
Yesterday, fake president Trump made a complete ass of himself once again when he hosted some Navaho Code Talkers in the Oval Office. To our eternal shame, Trump positioned them in front of a portrait of Andrew Jackson. Lawrence O’Donnell talked about it on his show The Last Word last night.
Please click on that link to watch Peter MacDonald’s speech and Lawrence’s commentary. You can also watch the entire White House ceremony with Trump’s dismissive body language and racist comments if you’re interested.
From MacDonald’s speech I learned that Navaho code was first used in 1942 on Guadalcanal. I’ve written before about how my Dad was a member of the North Dakota 164th Infantry, the first Army unit to go into battle in World War II. They were sent to Guadalcanal to help the Marines who were stranded there without incoming supplies and were down to one meal a day. They landed 75 years ago on October 13, 1942.
On Oct. 13, 1942, the 164th Infantry landed on Guadalcanal to become the first US Army unit to offensively engage the enemy – in either theatre – when it reinforced the 1st Marine Division against the Japanese in World War II.
A regiment of North Dakota Guardsmen, the 164th was sent to New Caledonia in January 1942 and extensively trained with its sister regiments comprising the Americal. Because of the extraordinary emergency faced by the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal, the regiment was deployed to fight with the Marines along the Henderson Field perimeter.
Arriving on Guadalcanal on October 13, 1942, the 164th deployed into the perimeter:
Arriving at Guadalcanal on October 13, 1942 ahead of its brother regiments as emergency reinforcement for the 1st Marine Division, the Regiment was the first U.S. Army unit to engage in offensive action during World War II in the Battle of Guadalcanal. Between October 24 and October 27, elements of the regiment withstood repeated assaults from Japanese battalions and inflicted some two thousand enemy casualties. The First Marine commander, Major General A. A. Vandegrift, was so impressed by the soldiers’ stand that he issued a unit commendation to the regiment for having demonstrated “an overwhelming superiority over the enemy.” In addition, the marines took the unusual step of awarding Lt. Colonel Robert Hall, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 164th, with the Navy Cross for his role in these battles.
Until the Americal division commander, Major General Alexander M. Patch, and other units of the division arrived, the 164th fought alongside the Marines in a series of encounters with Japanese units in the Point Cruz area, where they successfully dislodged enemy troops from two hilltop strong points. The action earned them the nickname “The 164th Marines.” Members of the 164th were also known as “jungle fighters” within the U.S. media because of the terrain on which they fought.
On November 23, 1942, the Navaho Code Talkers arrived on Guadalcanal.
On Guadalcanal the US Marines were still dug in fending off Japanese attacks on their positions around Henderson Field. A remarkable new asset joined them in November 1942, when a detachment of Marines recruited from the Navajo Nation arrived. It was becoming necessary to communicate urgently by wireless on the battlefield – yet the Marines had learnt that the Japanese were often listening in. The introduction of men speaking in Navajo was to transform this situation. Chester Nez was one of the men who joined the battlefield in November 1942:
A runner approached, handing me a message written in English. It was my first battlefield transmission in Navajo code. I’ll never forget it. Roy pressed the transmit button on the radio, and I positioned my microphone to repeat the information in our code. I talked while Roy cranked. Later, we would change positions.
“Beb-na-ali-trosie a-knah-as-donih ab-toh nish-na-jih-goh dah-di-kad ah-deel-tahi.” Enemy machine-gun nest on your right flank. Destroy.
Suddenly, just after my message was received, the Japanese gun exploded, destroyed by U.S. artillery.
One of the characteristics of the Navajo language was its oral tradition. The men were accustomed to remember quite long and detailed instructions rather than writing them down. This was to be an important aspect of the Navajo Code talkers work in addition to the fact that they their communications were impenetrable to the Japanese. Under the stress of combat conditions they were able to remember and pass on detailed instructions quickly without writing them down
My father was a radio operator. Did he help transmit some of those messages? I guess I’ll never know. If only he were still alive I could ask him.
It’s so sad that Trump ruined yesterday’s important ceremony with his idiotic attack on Elizabeth Warren.
who were honored Monday at the White House say they were dumbfounded that President Donald Trump with an unbreakable code that helped the U.S. win World War II.
Trump turned to a nickname he often deployed forduring the 2016 presidential campaign: Pocahontas. He then told the three Navajo Code Talkers on stage that he had affection for them that he doesn’t have for Warren.
“It was uncalled for,” said Marty Thompson, whose great uncle was a Navajo Code Talker. “He can say what he wants when he’s out doing his presidential business among his people, but when it comes to honoring veterans or any kind of people, he needs to grow up and quit saying things like that.”
Lupita Holiday, daughter of a code talker from St. Geroge, Utah told CBS News’ Jacqueline Alemany on Monday that it appeared that the president “doesn’t know the history” of the Native peoples.
“Maybe he doesn’t know we’re different tribes and he might have been here a long time ago but I don’t know,” said Holiday. She added, saying the name was “a little offensive” to her, “Look at the history of Pocahontas and maybe find out what she did and then find out what the code talkers did. It’s two different things. Two different tribes.”
Pocahontas is a well-known historical figure who bridged her own Pamunkey Tribe in present-day Virginia with the British in the 1600s. But the National Congress of American Indians says Trump wrongly has flipped the name into a derogatory term, and the comment drew swift criticism from American Indians and politicians.
I hate Trump. In fact, hate isn’t strong enough a word. There isn’t a word in the English language that could express how much I despise him.
To continue the historical theme, today is the 75th anniversary of the Cocoanut Grove fire, November 28. 1942. The Boston Globe published a long story about it today: The deadliest disaster in Boston’s history happened 75 years ago. Some worry the city is forgetting.
It all happened in less than 15 minutes.
Just a few blocks from the Boston Common, the city witnessed the worst-ever tragedy in its long history when a rapid inferno engulfed Cocoanut Grove, a popular nightclub packed with people out on the holiday weekend, exactly 75 years ago Tuesday.
Now, even those with close ties to the 1942 disaster — the second deadliest building fire in American history — say it’s tough to locate the nightclub’s former location where rows of indistinct Bay Village apartment buildings now stand.
“The sands of time are basically covering over an event that is of huge importance historically locally, but also nationally,” said Dr. Ken Marshall, a local surgeon and chairman of the Cocoanut Grove Memorial Committee….
“This changed fire laws and safety rules and building code regulations, and monumental things in medicine,” he told Boston.com, adding that “95 percent of people” don’t even know where it happened.
Four hundred and ninety-two people died within 15 minutes; 400 more were sent to hospitals. The club was packed with about 1,000 people. The legal capacity was supposed to be 450. People couldn’t escape because outside doors were locked to prevent customers from leaving with out paying their bills. The only exits were revolving doors.
The revolving doors leading to Shawmut Street became a “death trap,” according to the Globe.
The portico was a furnace, and firefighters were unable to get under the three arches of stucco, unable to penetrate nine feet to the revolving door, jammed with bodies, where they could see, through the glass, flames, smoke and men and women, succumbing and falling in a stack. Officer Elmer Brooks recalled that when rescuers tried to pull bodies from the door, arms and legs came off in their hands.
After this horrible disaster, many fire safety laws were passed in Massachusetts and around the country. You know those pesky regulations that Republicans hate so much? I hope you’ll read the article. It’s really interesting.
I’ll end with three political news stories.
The New York Times published a profile over the weekend of an Ohio man named Tony Hovater, a co-founder of the white supremacist Traditionalist Worker Party. The piece, by reporter Richard Fausset, was meant to say something profound about the banality of evil—This man shops for groceries! He has a Twin Peaks tattoo! He has both a wife and cats!—but it came across instead as an exercise in making evil sound banal.
In one of two follow-up pieces the Times ran to try to explain the story, the paper’s national editor, Marc Lacey, wrote, “We recognize that people can disagree on how best to tell a disagreeable story. What we think is indisputable, though, is the need to shed more light, not less, on the most extreme corners of American life and the people who inhabit them.”
Yet Fausset spent so much time staring at Hovater eating a turkey sandwich, he didn’t get around to shining much light on the particular corner his subject occupies. The Times managed to miss or gloss over a whole batch of facts and questions that might have lent both context and color to what purported to be a definitive profile of a white nationalist “foot soldier.”
Click on the link to learn the many facts the NYT failed to report.
Michelle Goldberg at the NYT: Odds Are, Russia Owns Trump. Goldberg has been reading that book by Luke Harding’s I’ve been telling you about.
Three months ago, The Washington Post reported that even as Donald Trump ran for president, he pursued plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The next day, The New York Times published excerpts from emails between Felix Sater, a felon with ties to Russian organized crime, and Michael Cohen, one of Donald Trump’s lawyers and Sater’s childhood friend, about the project. Sater was apparently an intermediary between Trump and Russia, and in a Nov. 3, 2015, email to Cohen, he made the strange argument that a successful deal would lead to Trump’s becoming president. Boasting that he was close enough to Vladimir Putin to let Ivanka Trump sit in the Russian president’s desk chair, Sater wrote, “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected.”
These stories were, at the time, bombshells. At a minimum, they showed that Trump was lying when he said, repeatedly, that he had “nothing to do with Russia.” Further, Sater’s logic — that Putin’s buy-in on a real estate deal would result in Trump’s election — was bizarre, suggesting that some part of the proposed collaboration was left unsaid.
But three months feels like three decades in Trump years, and I mostly forgot about these reports until I read Luke Harding’s new book, “Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win.” One uncanny aspect of the investigations into Trump’s Russia connections is that instead of too little evidence there’s too much. It’s impossible to keep it straight without the kind of chaotic wall charts that Carrie Mathison of “Homeland” assembled during her manic episodes. Incidents that would be major scandals in a normal administration — like the mere fact of Trump’s connection to Sater — become minor subplots in this one.
That’s why “Collusion” is so essential, and why I wish everyone who is skeptical that Russia has leverage over Trump would read it. This country — at least the parts not wholly under the sway of right-wing propaganda — needs to come to terms with substantial evidence that the president is in thrall to a foreign power.
Please go read the whole piece.
Abigail Tracy at Vanity Fair’s The Hive: Has Mike Flynn Already Flipped on Trump?
The conspicuous lack of charges against Michael Flynn and Michael G. Flynn, despite reports that Robert Muelleralready has enough evidence to arrest the former national security adviser and his son, invites the obvious question: has the elder Flynn already turned state’s witness? The tantalizing possibility that Flynn, like George Papadopoulos, has flipped, gained new currency last week when The New York Times reported that Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, had ended an agreement to share relevant information about the ongoing Justice Department investigation with Donald Trump’s legal team—a move that could presage a new arrangement with Mueller. Jay Sekulow,an attorney for Trump, dismissed that interpretation at the time, telling the Washington Post, “No one should draw the conclusion that this means anything about General Flynn cooperating against the president.” But a new report that Kelner met with members of the special counsel’s team suggests that Flynn has, in fact, cut some kind of deal.
According to ABC News, Kelner visited Mueller’s offices in Washington, D.C., on Monday—a development that could indicate the two sides are discussing a plea deal. (Keller declined to comment on the meaning of the meeting.) That could have far-reaching implications for the president and members of his campaign. Of the many Trumpworld characters ensnared in Mueller’s probe, Flynn is perhaps one of the most pivotal; not only does he lay claim to some of the most questionable Russian contacts, but he could also prove to be immeasurably valuable in revealing whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin to derail Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.
I can’t wait until we get the full story!
That’s it for me today. What stories are you following?
I’ve done it, have you?
While on FB last night I came across the link below…it gives you a quick “how-to” on filing your support for Net Neutrality with the FCC:
If you believe in Net Neutrality, then go here gofccyourself.com and tell Ajit Pai and the FCC that “you support strong net neutrality by Title 2 oversight of ISPs”. (this is a URL created by John Oliver’s staff, because the new FCC request for public comment is designed to confuse you, so that you can’t give your comment).
When you get to this page, you must hit “Express” and then comment. Just cut & paste the comment above.
For further explanation, watch John Oliver:
If you cannot see the video, here is the direct link.
Here is a video about Net Neutrality, for the deaf:
Pass that information on…we have to stop these assholes.
The rest of today’s links are in dump format. My son is watching Fences, the film with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, for one of his classes in college. I sort of have gotten caught up in it and next thing I know, it is way late in the afternoon.
Seems fitting to follow that link with this little nugget:
Still, I think while there was vast political error on both sides, the inability of Sarandon and her ilk to embrace the lesser of two evils permitted the greater of the two evils to rise. And yet I like Sarandon. It takes real courage to go against the mob. Her inconsistencies are a little wild, but in the age of social-media enforced conformity, I have never met anyone so uninterested in toeing the line.
Did she really say that Hillary was more dangerous than Trump?
“Not exactly, but I don’t mind that quote,” she says. “I did think she was very, very dangerous. We would still be fracking, we would be at war [if she was president]. It wouldn’t be much smoother. Look what happened under Obama that we didn’t notice.”
It’s been a year since the Trump election, and even having seen the daily parade of horrors brought on us by the malignant orange narcissist in the WH, this fucking dolt still is proud to think Clinton would have been worse.
Oh, and on that Nazi profile: The New York Times can go F*ck Itself With its “Cute and Cuddly Nazi” Profile – The Daily Banter
This is a textbook study in normalizing right wing extremism and the New York Times should be ashamed of itself for publishing such a sloppy wet kiss to American Nazis.
From Raw Story via Reuters: Rep. Conyers steps down from committee while lawmakers probe harassment claims
Congressman John Conyers is stepping down as ranking Democratic lawmaker of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, while lawmakers investigate allegations of sexual harassment against him, Conyers said in an emailed statement Sunday.
Conyers said that while he denies the claims, his continued presence during a congressional ethics review of the allegations was a distraction. “I cannot in good conscience allow these charges to undermine my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus, and my friends on both sides of the aisle in the Judiciary Committee,” Conyers said.
The House of Representatives Ethics Committee said last week it was investigating allegations of sexual harassment against the Democratic congressman from Michigan, who said his office had resolved a harassment case with a payment but no admission of guilt.
Finish this up with a few links on International News:
A Georgian man was on Sunday handed over to the Georgian government from breakaway region South Ossetia’s prison in a three-way deal that is expected to see Tbilisi release its prisoner from Abkhazia, Georgia’s second separatist region.
Giorgi Giunashvili, a resident of Georgia’s Disevi village in Gori region, was arrested in June last year for crossing the disputed border between South Ossetia and the rest of Georgia demarcated illegally by Russia after the 2008 war.
“Giorgi Giunashvili’s release is an important and positive step in the peace process,” said the office of Georgia’s state minister for reconciliation and civic equality, according to the local news agency, IPN.
The prisoner was handed over to Tbilisi on the disputed border near the village of Ergneti, according to RES, the South Ossetian news agency.
The agency said Giunashvili was imprisoned “on the charge of taking part in an act of sabotage and terrorism”.
Let’s see what comes of this…
He was pardoned by South Ossetia’s de facto leader Anatoly Bibilov and handed over to Tbilisi through the representative of Abkhazia.
“The convict’s handover is the expression of respect to Abkhazia’s President Raul Khajimba, who asked Anatoly Bibilov to pardon Giorgi Giunashvili so that later he is exchanged for Abkhaz citizen, who is imprisoned in Georgia,” said Murat Jioev, the representative of South Ossetia’s de facto leader in the post-conflict regulation issues.
He expressed his hope that Georgia and the international community will see the act as a proof that South Ossetia and Abkhazia seek good neighbourly relations with Tbilisi.
Cuba took another step on Sunday toward the end of the Castro era, with millions of residents placing paper ballots in cardboard boxes for ward delegates to municipal assemblies.
The vote comes the day after the first anniversary of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro’s death and precedes another election early next year for provincial and national assembly deputies.
The new national assembly, where 50 percent of the deputies must be ward delegates elected on Sunday, is expected on Feb. 24 to select a new president to replace Raul Castro, Fidel’s 86-year-old younger brother, who has said he will step down after serving two five-year terms.
The Castro brothers have headed the government since the 1959 revolution.
Raul Castro will remain head of the Communist Party until 2021, the only legal party in Cuba.
Nearly 27,000 candidates are running for 12,515 ward positions in Sunday’s election, the only part of the electoral process that is contested publicly and with direct participation by ordinary Cubans.
And this last news, from Spain: Spaniards face ham shortage as Chinese market gets taste for jamón ibérico | World news | The Guardian
Having discovered the joys of French wine, caviar and truffles, China’s new rich are turning to a new gourmet delicacy to satisfy their demand for luxury goods from the west: Spain’s jamón ibérico, or Iberian ham. But demand is now threatening to outstrip supply, leaving Spaniards facing steep price rises in their most prized Christmas delicacy.
The recent lifting of import restrictions has allowed top-of-the-range ham to find its “rightful place in the market, alongside caviar and truffles”, René Lemée, the head of exports for the famous Cinco Jotas brand, told El País newspaper.
The Chinese, pork lovers par excellence, have now been seduced by jamón ibérico. The problem is that the best ham takes years to produce and, as demand outstrips supply, it is pushing up the price by as much as 10%. A 7.5kg leg sells at between €150 and €600 (£135-£540).
Spanish ham comes in many forms, but to be defined as jamón ibérico de bellota(acorn-fed Iberian ham), which is what the Chinese want, it must first come from Iberian blackfoot pigs, or from 50% crossbreeds. These pigs must then spend several months of the year roaming the dehesa, a pasture planted with oaks, feeding on grass and acorns. During the last few months before being slaughtered they must live exclusively on this diet.
Not only are there relatively small areas of dehesa – mostly in north-west and western Spain – but each pig needs about two hectares (five acres) to fulfil its needs. Once slaughtered, the animals’ legs are plunged into vats of salt and hung and dry-cured over a range of temperatures for a minimum of 36 months, with the best hams cured for about 48 months.
“It’s inevitable that the price in Spain is going to rise,” said Roberto Batres, the director of Shanghai de Delaiberia Gold, which exports ham, wine and olive oil to China. “The companies licenced to trade in China don’t have enough jamón de bellota to meet Chinese demand.”
Have a good evening, I’m going back to watch this movie.
This is an open thread.
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!!
I’m not sure what manner of factors has created the circumstances of this year but I’m really over it. Kinsey is putting on weight and eating nicely. Dinah’s fur is returning. Miles has had a terrible few days. Something triggered a drop in his blood sugar and he’s got so many things wrong suddenly that it’s hard to separate what’s wrong from what’s causing it. I feel under siege. Turning on the TV and reading the newspaper or any myriad of things I usually do to help is not really helping because the chaotic Kremlin Caligula has my stomach in tight knots already. He’s ready to make all the creatures of the earth go extinct. Every thing he does destroys life.
Those three words up there are how the Buddha describes our existence. Now that we live in the nightmare realm of a person with an extremely awful personality disorder we can add destructive chaos to that list.
I was going to try to stick to other things today because frankly it’s one moment at a time for me at the moment. I am certainly not alone. Here’s a nice read via one of my cousins: “Annie Proulx Gave One of the Best National Book Award Speeches in Recent Memory.”
We don’t live in the best of all possible worlds. This is a Kafkaesque time. The television sparkles with images of despicable political louts and sexual harassment reports. We cannot look away from the pictures of furious elements, hurricanes and fires, from the repetitive crowd murders by gunmen burning with rage. We are made more anxious by flickering threats of nuclear war. We observe social media’s manipulation of a credulous population, a population dividing into bitter tribal cultures. We are living through a massive shift from representative democracy to something called viral direct democracy, now cascading over us in a garbage-laden tsunami of raw data. Everything is situational, seesawing between gut-response “likes” or vicious confrontations. For some this is a heady time of brilliant technological innovation that is bringing us into an exciting new world. For others it is the opening of a savagely difficult book without a happy ending.
To me the most distressing circumstance of the new order is the accelerating destruction of the natural world and the dreadful belief that only the human species has the inalienable right to life and God-given permission to take anything it wants from nature, whether mountaintops, wetlands or oil. The ferocious business of stripping the earth of its flora and fauna, of drowning the land in pesticides again may have brought us to a place where no technology can save us. I personally have found an amelioration in becoming involved in citizen science projects. This is something everyone can do. Every state has marvelous projects of all kinds, from working with fish, with plants, with landscapes, with shore erosions, with water situations.
Yet somehow the old discredited values and longings persist. We still have tender feelings for such outmoded notions as truth, respect for others, personal honor, justice, equitable sharing. We still hope for a happy ending. We still believe that we can save ourselves and our damaged earth—an indescribably difficult task as we discover that the web of life is far more mysteriously complex than we thought and subtly entangled with factors that we cannot even recognize. But we keep on trying, because there’s nothing else to do.
It’s difficult being realistic these days. I fully admit that I’d like to be able to live in a world of my invention. For example, I’d like people to stop killing animals unnecessarily. How can you call killing anything that’s sentient and beautiful a “sport”? What kind of freak gets enjoyment out of that? You eat out of necessity. Anything beyond that puts you in the ‘disturbed’ category in my ethos.
And why, still, at 62 do I have to avoid dark streets and places? Warn my daughters about things put in drinks? Worry about being at event that isn’t mostly filled with gay men and women of any stripe? When can I just go some place and relax without checking for the nearby predators? Why am I supposed to laugh off incredibly disturbing behavior involving my biology or some other aspect of my existence as a woman? How do I get the media to understand the difference between a tasteless cad and a perpetrator of sexual assault? #EveryWomanTOO
I am a Democrat because I am a feminist who lives under a two-party system, where one party consistently votes against the interests of women while the other sometimes does not. I am not a true believer in the party itself nor in any politician. I am a realist who recognizes that we get two viable choices, and Democrats are members of the only party positioned to pump the brakes on Republicans’ gleeful race toward Atwoodian dystopia. Meanwhile, I recognize that men’s harassment of and violence against women is a systemic issue, not a Democrat or Republican problem, a Hollywood problem, a sports problem, or a media problem. Its roots lie in a patriarchal culture that trains men to believe they are entitled to control women’s bodies —for sex, for sport, for childbearing, for comedy.
When you combine these things — an awareness that the Democratic Party is no more or less than best of two, and an understanding that men in power frequently exploit women — it becomes difficult to believe that Franken is the only sitting Democrat with a history of harassment, abuse or assault. The recent #metoo campaign demonstrated how normalized unwanted kissing and groping are in our culture. Donald Trump was caught on tape crudely admitting to both of those transgressions, and we made him our president. According to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 1 in 3 women experiences some sort of contact sexual violence in her life. Sexual harassment and assault are simply too widespread for Democrats to respond to Franken’s offense with only Franken in mind: We need to respond in a way that helps us develop a protocol for meaningful change.
I really didn’t want to go on and on about this but wtf is this? “Congress paid out $17 million in settlements. Here’s why we know so little about that money.” This equals 260 settlement over the last 20 years. This reminds me of Newt Gingrich going after Bill Clinton while cheating on his current wife with the Calista. This is happening in their offices and while they’re in office.
On Thursday, the Office of Compliance released additional information indicating that it has paid victims more than $17 million since its creation in the 1990s. That includes all settlements, not just related to sexual harassment, but also discrimination and other cases.
An OOC spokeswoman said the office was releasing the extra data “due to the interest in the awards and settlement figures.” The OOC has come under fire in recent days for what lawmakers and Hill aides alike say are its antiquated policies that do not adequately protect victims who file complaints.
CNN has also learned that during the current Congress, no settlement payment approval requests have been made to the congressional committee charged with approving them.
Go read up on how little the public knows about this huge sum of money going out to the victims of sexual predators in Congress. Now, think about how things change when there are a critical number of women that get to make decisions. Take difference in costume choice for Wonder Woman with a woman director choosing a woman costume designer vs. the alternative. How many of us think that that Uncle Clarence Thomas would not be on the Supreme Court if it was Senator Hillary Clinton instead of Senator Joe Biden in charge of things?
Wonder Woman was great for many reasons (Diana Prince for president, etc.), but one of the most lauded moments was the representation of the Amazons, a team of female fighters who spend their lives on an island devoid of men. This group of women were brought to life by director Patty Jenkins and costumed by designer Lindy Hemming, and their outfits were essentially armor. Flash forward to Justice League, and fans have noticed that the Amazons’ attire—designed by Michael Wilkinson with direction by Zack Snyder—are slightly…smaller.
The graphic stories told by woman on Capitol Hill–Boston Boomer wrote more on this yesterday–were probably similar to the ones that would’ve come out at of the Clarence Thomas Hearing or any hearing on Teddy Kennedy or Strom Thurmond.
Others said they had been harassed by two sitting members of Congress. Speier (D-Hillsborough) declined to identify those members, saying only that one is a Republican and one is a Democrat.
“The culture in this country has been awakened to the fact that we have a serious epidemic in the workplace in all professions, in all walks of life, and it’s incumbent upon those who are in authority to address it and address it swiftly,” Speier told reporters Tuesday after testifying in front of the House committee that is considering changes in how harassment in Congress is investigated. She said she couldn’t provide more details on the incidents because the victims had signed nondisclosure agreements as part of settlements.
The rich and powerful man always manages to get those disclosure agreements even when it’s his work or our taxpayers that pay to silence the stories of women. Back again to that CNN article at the top:
It is unclear how much of the $17 million is money paid to sexual harassment cases because of the Office of Compliance’s complex reporting process. However, even knowing that dollar figure doesn’t quantify the problem: a source within the Office of Compliance tells CNN that between 40 and 50% of harassment claims settle after mediation — an early stage in the multi-tiered reporting process.
And the number of settlements reached may not be indicative of how widespread sexual harassment is, as many victims chose not to proceed with OOC’s process for handling complaints. Tracy Manzer, a spokeswoman for Speier, told CNN last week 80% of people who have come to their office with stories of sexual misconduct in the last few weeks have chosen not to report the incidents to the OOC.
The most evident and clear thing to me is that we can’t even get a good hearing on the topic unless there are enough women in places of influence in institutions to find ways to make it all come out. Then, make it stop. We’re probably going to have to rely on complicit men–however, not full blow predators–that have enabled rape culture with their frat boy humor and antics. I don’t see any reason for them to be kicked out of anything unless they have a pervasive problem. I expect, however, the enablers, like those guilty of the tasteless humor and actions shown by Franken to repent. I also expect those that quietly enable or jokingly enable predators–like freaking Billy Bush–to do some acts of repentance. In our law, we have varying degrees of sexual assault and sexual battery. The law and our society agrees that the worse form of predation is of the grown up on child. This should be punished–as it is–with the full force of the legal system. There is no equivocation of first degree rape with lesser counts of sexual assault or battery or harassment.
Specific laws vary by state, but sexual assault generally refers to any crime in which the offender subjects the victim to sexual touching that is unwanted and offensive. These crimes can range from sexual groping or assault/battery, to attempted rape. All states prohibit sexual assault, but the exact definitions of the crimes that fall within the category of sexual assault differ from state to state. The laws share some basic elements, but the structures, wording and scope of sexual assault offenses vary considerably, so always check your local statutes for specific questions.
Discussion on topics like sexual assault and racism are always full of nuances and backlash, denial and witness, and tribal amnesia and defiance. Media is our current platform to work through all of these. It should not be a good thing under any circumstance for a person of power just to force themselves or to do something violent to a helpless child, animal, or person sitting in their car while being black, or an intern. What kind of person gets a thrill be taking away some one else’s humanity and moral authority? What kind of person thinks an endangered animal in a wildlife park is some form of manhood trophy? My short answer: a morally bankrupt and abhorrent one.
Meanwhile, Americans living in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are dying from lack of basic necessities. One head has rolled, but it’s not the one that ultimately deserves it.
Talk amongst yourselves!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?