They still don’t get it

In these post-Harvey Weinstein days with the #MeToo backlash against the men who have sexually abused them, women are speaking out after decades of simmering anger, resigned silence, and injury that never completely heals.

Men who used their positions of power to rob a child of her innocence or ruin a young woman’s career or deprive her of her livelihood are now losing their own jobs and being stripped of the power they used to coerce those women to indulge their lechery. Celebrity no longer shields Hollywood’s power elite or media moguls. They are disgraced and unceremoniously kicked off their pedestals.

But there is one group of men that still insists on blaming the victim. Every male Republican officeholder who doesn’t plan to resign insists on qualifying his disapproval of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore’s abuse (“if true”) of an underage girl. (Moore has the dubious distinction of having been removed from the bench twice as Alabama Chief Justice for defying federal law and the Constitution.)

If true“? What kind of proof do they need? A stained dress hidden in a closet, uncleaned, for years? These men don’t understand that it’s not about proof. They don’t get that it’s about acknowledging women as full persons in their own right and according them even more respect than they’d give to a man, because women’s reputations are more easily sullied. It takes courage to reveal sexual violation.

Alabama Republicans rebut Moore’s accusers. A sampling: “Total contrived media garbage” (former chairman of the Mobile County Republican Party John Skipper); “Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.” State Auditor Jim Ziegler— invoking the Bible in defense of a pedophile.

Some men are apologizing. Louis C.K. released a brutally honest statement in which he admits to everything his accusers describe and expresses what sounds like genuine remorse for taking advantage of his power and for the hurt he caused. Other men, like Roy Moore, who fondled, groped and leered at women, who taunted them with lascivious language or exposed themselves and coerced women to witness lewd acts, deny the charges. Some, like Donald Trump, minimize and dismiss them as “locker room talk.”

These men don’t understand that even if a woman has no tangible proof of abuse, her hurt and shame persist years later. They don’t understand that more enlightened men now accept that a woman is raped because of her attacker’s depravity, not the tightness of her dress or the length of leg showing beneath it.

Perhaps they will begin to see the light when they notice women like Democrat Laura Curran triumphing over the entrenched male Republican establishment. Curran and other Democrats swept into office last week in strongly Republican Nassau County, NY. In New Jersey, Republican John Carman’s dismissive tweet in which he wondered if the Women’s March would be “over in time for them to cook dinner” provoked so much anger in Ashley Bennett that she decided to run for office. In her first-ever electoral race, the Democrat wiped out the incumbent Republican Carman.

Wake up and smell the coffee, Republicans. Women are on the march and they are angry.

 

 

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Thomas L. Friedman: American democracy b

Thomas L. Friedman: American democracy built on truth in free press & trust in fair elections. Russians hack news; Pres lies. Terrible combination

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Clowns Winning!

The Finnish group “Loldiers of Odin” formed to protest the anti-immigrant Soldiers of Odin.

Humor and ridicule are potent weapons against fascism.

Using humor and irony to undermine white supremacy dates back to the days of the Third Reich, from jokes and cartoons employed by Norwegians against the Nazi occupation to “The Great Dictator” speech by Charlie Chaplin. In recent years, humor has continued to be used as a tactic to undermine Nazi ideology, particularly in the unlikely form of clowns — troupes of brightly-dressed activists who show up to neo-Nazi gatherings and make a public mockery of the messages these groups promote. It puts white supremacists in a dilemma in which their own use of violence will seem unwarranted, and their machismo image is tainted by the comedic performance by their opponent. Humor de-escalates their rallies, turning what could become a violent confrontation into a big joke.
In 1997, Italian humorist Roberto Benigni won multiple awards for his “Life Is Beautiful,” a film in which he ridiculed the Nazis and shielded his young son from realization of what the Nazis really were while both were interred in a Nazi concentration camp.

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Art of the Deal: Trump & Putin

Robert Reich makes a cogent and logical argument for Trump’s collusion with Russia to his and Putin’s mutual benefit by listing the events that have already occurred to the advantage of both.

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Climate change? Hello.

Hurricane Harvey 2017

Twenty storms causing a billion dollars or more in damage have taken place since 2010, not including Hurricane Harvey, compared with nine billion-dollar floods in the full decade of the 1980s, according to inflation-adjusted estimates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Seven have hit just since 2016…

 Wall Street Journal

The oceans are growing warmer at an accelerating rate. Half the entire increase in temperature since pre-industrial times has occurred in the past 20 years. Water absorbs much more heat than air. The oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat and nearly 30% of the carbon dioxide generated by human consumption of fossil fuels.


Warm water fuels the storms. Hurricanes and tropical storms suck up the moisture that evaporates from the warm water surface and dumps it as rainfall on the land.

Harvey, Katrina— If toxic politics don’t destroy America, global warming will. The Trump Administration has revoked the Paris accords to control climate change and is dismantling the E.P.A., which studies climate change and issues regulations that are designed to combat and slow it down.

 

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A Catholic Nun Schooled Paul Ryan in Humility Last Night — Resist and Replace

From Esquire.com It was a Biblical beatdown. Getty BY CHARLES P. PIERCE AUG 22, 2017 While the president* was fastening on his Serious World Leader face Monday night, Speaker Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from the state of Wisconsin, was facing a carefully tailored audience at a CNN “town hall” in Racine. Because Ryan is […]

via A Catholic Nun Schooled Paul Ryan in Humility Last Night — Resist and Replace

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Unpardonable Pardon

When Donald Trump pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, he couldn’t demonstrate any more clearly his disdain for the law when it interferes with his interests and narcissistic self-esteem.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is an elected official who regularly violated a federal injunction against racial profiling. Last July he was found guilty of criminal contempt for defying the court by continuing his practice of rounding up people who “looked Hispanic” and confining them in what he himself described as “concentration camps.”

Since Trump took office, he has tried to severely limit not only illegal, but even legal, immigration. In striking down his executive orders, the courts infuriated the President. But Trump admires Arpaio because the Sheriff was nonetheless carrying out Trump’s illegal orders and was an ardent Trump supporter to boot.

Though the Constitution grants the president the power to pardon, many are outraged by Trump’s in-your-face endorsement of a man who flagrantly violated the constitutional rights of the people he targeted. The judiciary has, for the most part, reacted to Trump by stymieing his overreach. His Muslim ban was recognized as such and modified, despite the White House’s attempt to whitewash it.

But now we have entered new territory. Inevitably, as “unprecedented” so often describes Trump’s actions, it has lost its power to shock. We expect his Twitter tantrums, his denigration of anyone who has the temerity to criticize him, his flagrant corruption and nepotism, his appointment of agency heads who are either incompetent or beholden to competing interests. The list goes on and on.

Yet when I began to appreciate the ramifications of Arpaio’s pardon, my blood ran cold. Backed by the Constitution, Trump can sanction any crime. He has so much as given the assurance to anyone who carries out his wishes that he may do so with impunity. As Martin H. Redish chillingly wrote in the NY Times:

But if the president signals to government agents that there exists the likelihood of a pardon when they violate a judicial injunction that blocks his policies, he can all too easily circumvent the only effective means of enforcing constitutional restrictions on his behavior. Indeed, the president could even secretly promise a pardon to agents if they undertake illegal activity he desires.  [emphasis mine]

Extrapolating, Trump may have found the means to completely subvert the judiciary, leaving only impeachment as a recourse to restore a constitutional democracy. (It’s unlikely his cabinet of henchmen would remove Trump from office by enacting the 25th Amendment.)

Trump has an unprecedented(!) military presence in the cabinet. He is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, whose weapons and numbers he has vowed to increase, and also controls the huge network of law enforcement, including the police and agencies like the FBI. Does the emergence of a despotic and repressive regime seem very far-fetched?

Nevertheless, Redish, a professor of constitutional law, has a “novel theory.”

He theorizes that since the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments) were added to the Constitution after its completion, in a conflict between the president’s pardon power and an amendment, the amendment would take precedence.

[O]n its face the pardon power appears virtually unlimited. But as a principle of constitutional law, anything in the body of the Constitution inconsistent with the directive of an amendment is necessarily pre-empted or modified by that amendment. If a particular exercise of the pardon power leads to a violation of the due process clause, the pardon power must be construed to prevent such a violation.  [emphasis mine]

The “due process” clause of the Fifth Amendment provides that no one may be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, i.e., a court ruling.

Redish concludes,

The Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of neutral judicial process before deprivation of liberty cannot function with a weaponized pardon power that enables President Trump, or any president, to circumvent judicial protections of constitutional rights.

As Redish notes, the Supreme Court has never ruled on the limits, if any, on the presidential pardon power. Given that we are in uncharted territory, however, the Court may be called on to show the way. Assuming justices appointed by Trump would feel disposed to rule against him.

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