Category Archives: economics

Books for our time

In SANDY HOOK: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth, Elizabeth Williamson looks back at how Alex Jones kicked off the modern age of conspiracy with his claims the entire thing was a false flag and maybe those kids didn’t die or even exist — sure, there’s no hard and fast proof, but Something Just Feels Wrong To Him. Through the power of the Internet and social media, this deranged based-on-nothing bullshit spread wildly, thereby foreshadowing Pizzagate, QAnon, anti-vax paranoia and Stop the Steal.

The book is excellent, showing the growth of the False Flag legend, the impact on the families and there efforts to push back, including multiple lawsuits against Jones. Williamson also captures the variety of reasons people choose to belief this stuff: narcissism (Jones), grift (Jones again — he sells a lot of InfoWars swag), lonely people finding companionship in online conspiracist groups, 9/11 truthers hopping to a new conspiracy, people smugly convinced at their own genius in figuring it out and sociopaths who enjoy harassing the families. While one of the grieving parents has successfully talked some of the conspiracists off their ledge, the book is a depressing reminder how difficult it is to crush these ideas once they grow.

EMPIRE OF PAIN: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe shows how the infamous opioid-dealing clan first got involved in drugs in the 1950s. Dr. Arthur Sackler made the family wealthy by applying mainstream advertising techniques to drug marketing and targeting doctors, which he insisted was completely ethical — no amount of salesmanship can convince a doctor to prescribe a particular drug (this was a lie)! Sackler saw no conflict between marketing drugs and running a supposedly objective medical newspaper that promoted the same drugs (he was into advertorials before advertorials were cool).

Later in the century, Sackler’s family adopted similar approaches to promoting Oxycontin as an opiate for everyday pain (much as Arthur promoted Valium as a tranquilizer for non-mentally ill people). No risk of addiction, ever! If people suffer withdrawal, it’s really their underlying pain overcoming the opiates — what they need is more doses! Even when the family knew this was bullshit they kept saying it, just as they turned a blind eye to doctors writing impossibly large numbers of prescriptions. Well, a blind eye except when they sent salespeople to pitch the prescription mills.

This kind of immorality and corruption — some FDA officials who turned blind eyes of their own wound up with great post-government jobs working for the Sacklers — isn’t anything new to me but I still found this book horrifying. Possibly it’s the sheer, unimaginable scope of the damage the Sacklers caused to so many innocent people (while insisting the family were the real victims). Perhaps it’s their incomparable greed: when the family members learned their $700 million annual draws (that’s apiece) might not be sustainable, they demanded More Sales. Or their complete inability to even fake contrition or acknowledge their company’s drug had problems. Either way, they make Elizabeth Holmes look like a choir girl.

#SFWApro. All rights to cover image remain with current holder.

 

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“If you’re rich you can buy immunity/If you’re poor better write your eulogy.”

Some links about wealth, and occasionally the lack of it. The title’s a quote but I’m not sure of the source.

“​​As soon as anyone who’s antiracist or curious about equity hears the word[s] tax breaks, it is so obvious to us that that’s immediately going to be racially inequitable,” — a look at the good and bad of private individuals paying for government operations.

“This sort of crusade is exactly what we often see when powerful business executives champion a passion project. The causes chosen are often capricious — and almost never threaten their benefactor’s elevated position in our economic and societal firmament.” — Helaine Olen, pondering that Carl Icahn has become a moral crusader for the more humane treatment of pigs. Not that she objects to compassion for animals, but are their better causes out there?

Then we have Peter Thiel, a billionaire who does not even pretend to use his great power for good.

“Basically, [Americans] are afraid of strangers,” she says. “It was considered beyond the pale that you would install a public toilet that didn’t practically burn itself down and rise from the ashes every time someone used it.” — on the rise and fall of the public toilet

“Whether you’re British royalty, a bulge-bracket bank or a venture-capital-funded food delivery start-up, there is often some way to make the wheels of justice in civil cases grind to a halt — if you have the resources. Settlements in civil cases are a feature of our legal system available to those who can afford it.” Case in point, the Sacklers and oxycontin.

For some, however, helping arrange those settlements isn’t half as awful as letting innocent people out of jail.

Then there’s the major league baseball owners. When players strike, however reasonable their demands or unreasonable the owners’ position, you can count on people ranting about how greedy and unreasonable the players are — my god, they’re getting paid to play baseball! Don’t they know millions of people would have their jobs for free?

Well, the owners of these teams are multimillionaires who still get big government handouts for building new stadiums. I’m quite sure lots of people would happily take ownership of a baseball teams for free so why do the owners never get the same grief? Do people really think they’re just in it for fun?

And of course, there’s our own government. The Supreme Court just shut down a lawsuit from Abu Zubaydah, who was tortured for information even after the CIA decided he didn’t know anything. The Supreme decision is part of a several-decades-long history of assuming our leaders should not be sued even for crimes.

“The Montessori method routed disproportionately to rich white kids because good things do, but also because she increasingly viewed her project as, in Kramer’s words, “a patentable business.” The method was not only something to be taught; it was something to be sold.”

To ened on an upbeat note, Marvin Skreli, the pharma douchebag millionaire who jacked up the price of one life-saving drug by more than twenty times, has been permanently barred from serving as director or officer of a publicly traded company.

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Good news!

From a Democratic Party email listing 10 positive items I wasn’t aware of. If you feel you could use some upbeat news, read on.

10. Paid Sick Leave: Thanks to Democratic leadership, New Mexico joined 15 other states in passing landmark paid sick leave legislation. And as of this year, Mainers, Coloradans, and Connecticans are now eligible for the benefit.

9. Anti-Discrimination: This year, Virginia, Vermont, Oregon, and Maryland all banned the so-called “gay panic defense” that’s been used to excuse violent hate crimes against the LGBTQ community. Six Dem-majority states banned hair discrimination, which dispoportionately targets, shames, and punishes Black and indigenous students and workers.

8. Housing Assistance: Access to safe and affordable housing has always been a challenge, but a global pandemic only heightened the threat. Democrats in states like New York and Virginia allocated billions of dollars in federal COVID relief to help renters struggling to pay the bills.

7. Gun Reform: While Republican-controlled state legislatures spent the year making it easier than ever to purchase and carry a gun, Democrats doubled down on efforts to prevent senseless violence and keep dangerous weapons away from people who intend to do harm. Virginia banned convicted domestic abusers from having a gun, as did Colorado – which also implemented a waiting period for gun purchases and passed a law requiring gun owners to lock up their weapons.

6. Cannabis Legalization: This year, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Virginia, and Connecticut all legalized marijuana, addressing long-standing racial inequities in our criminal justice system and benefitting the states economically through increased tax revenue.

5. Education Investments: This year, California approved funding to establish universal pre-K. Virginia Democrats gave teachers a 5% raise and made community college free for tens of thousands of low and middle-income students pursuing jobs in high-demand fields.

4. Police Reform: The legacies of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other victims of police violence continued to inspire major reforms in blue states this year. Maryland’s Democratic legislators overrode the Republican governor’s veto to pass a police reform package that included the establishment of a civilian review board, restrictions of no-knock warrants, and mandated body cameras. California passed its own package of reforms, raising standards and aiming to take badges away from police who lie, use excessive force, or display racial bias.

3. Voting Rights: While Republicans are in the midst of a well-funded, well-coordinated effort to roll back voting rights, Democratic majorities in the states moved quickly to expand access to the ballot box. Virginia became the first state in the South to enact a Voting Rights Act. Democrats passed automatic voter registration in Delaware, Hawaii, Connecticut, and Nevada, which also pushed through legislation to permanently expand mail voting after a successful 2020 election administration during the pandemic.

2. Going Green: Hawaii became the first state in the nation to declare a climate emergency. New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts passed legislation setting a net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050. In all, at least 12 Democratic-majority states passed legislation this year to tackle climate change and create clean energy jobs.

1. Abortion: With the Supreme Court dangerously close to overturning Roe v. Wade, Democratic state legislatures are increasingly our last line of defense when it comes to defending reproductive freedom. This year, New Mexico repealed a law criminalizing abortion. Virginia, Washington, and Colorado all made insurance coverage for abortion far more accessible, while Hawaii and Maine expanded access by widening the category of health care workers who can administer abortion care.

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Total depravity in the United States

Not what it sounds like. Slacktivist, some years ago, explained that in Calvinist thought, total depravity means everything is corrupted by original sin. This is different from utter depravity, the belief that we are rotten all the way through. We’re not; there’s good in us everywhere along with our dark side. But the dark side is there, much as some people want to deny it.

For example, Traverse City in Michigan. The Washington Post reports kids in school toss around the n-word as an insult and recently held a mock online slave auction. Nevertheless, many of the white adults are adamant there’s no racism in their town.

Since 2015, nooses have shown up at multiple construction projects throughout the U.S.

There’s now a shadow industry devoted to spreading disinformation online.

“We are not the only democracy to have had a corrupt, would-be authoritarian in high office. But we have had a hard time holding that person minimally accountable, much less keeping him out of contention for future office”

QAnon convinced the father of a Parkland shooting survivor that Parkland was a false flag.

“I promised myself to never love a job again. Not in the way I loved Google.” — a software engineer who filed a harassment complaint and discovered Google didn’t return her love like she thought.

Nashville pastor Greg Locke claims the Trump Virus is a hoax and bears false witness against his neighbor.

“I believe had they done so or had they accomplished that, they would have trampled us to death,” — one officer’s testimony about the Jan. 6 anti-American mob. But the new talking point on the right is, the terrorists couldn’t have succeeded in overturning the election, so no big, right?

Toyota has a vested interest in supporting supporters of the Jan. 6 attempted coup — their bottom line.

Even back in the 1950, there were some Republicans who thought the Democratic plan to provide polio vaccine for free was socialism.

Colleges’ core revenue increased from $280 billion to $511 billion between 2009 and 2019, according to LGM. By a strange coincidence, college presidents and administrators have seen a big increase in pay while faculty get next to nothing.

Taking wolves of the endangered species list wasn’t the worst thing Donald Trump did. But given the irrational hatred many rural folk harbor for wolves (check out the book Wolf Wars for details), the opportunity to butcher them is proving irresistible.

During the Clinton impeachment trial, I read and believed articles that said Ken Starr’s pursuit of Clinton was partly because he was an old-fashioned moralist, shocked at Clinton’s adultery. His record says otherwise.

Right-wing pundit Michael Medved wants us to know that even though many of the Founding Fathers owned slaves, they were totally opposed to slavery.

Mario Batali, super-star chef and restaurateur, built a company rife with sexual harassment.

If the FBI did in fact entrap the defendants in the Governor Whitmer kidnapping case, that would be extremely unjust. At this point I have no opinion on who’s in the right.

Journalist David Neiwert has argued that Rush Limbaugh pumped far-right rhetoric into the mainstream by toning down the worst parts (e.g., far-right attacks on the government rather than the “Zionist-occupied” government). It’s still a popular right-wing tactic online.

The United States treats rebels and revolutionaries differently depending whether they challenge or support the existing social hierarchies.

I am not at all shocked that the Arizona “audit” of the votes was not only full of shit, it was full of sexual harassment.

I am not at all shocked that right-wingers are declaring Simone Biles is weak, but I am disgusted.

Even when the government makes aid available it’s damn hard to get it, except for rich people.

The prison system has allowed Larry Nassar to spend thousands of dollars on himself while he sends a pittance to his victims.

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Links of luck and chance

Vox says “acknowledging luck is profoundly threatening to the lucky.” Lots of people, as Texas Governor Ann Richards once said of George W. Bush, are born on third base and think they hit a triple. Being reminded they’re not all-star material upsets them no end

Trump, of course, was profoundly lucky. Born to a millionaire. Won the presidency partly on luck — if not for factors such as the FBI’s Comey announcing a last minute investigation into Clinton (who already had decades of right-wing propaganda painting her as the devil incarnate), he’d have missed his shot. Of course he also has the advantage that when you’re rich and well-connected you don’t need luck. “One of many undeniable truths about the American elite is that once you’re in it, you can get away with nearly anything providing you have the right friends.”  Trump, of course, ignores all of that and believes that he’s some kind of superman.

Another advantage is that Trump’s a sociopath who doesn’t give a crap about the law. As Above the Law says, the system only works, to the extent it does, because “most people, most of the time, follow the law, for no reason other than it happens to be the law. We don’t run red lights even when nobody is around, we don’t piss in the elevator, we don’t maliciously defame our enemies, we don’t solicit prostitution, we don’t leave the restaurant without paying our bill, we don’t cosh random black people in London.” The system isn’t good at dealing with people who do whatever they damn well please and will sue you if refuse to cooperate

Not everyone is that lucky or secure. And even if we are, “when considering whether we should endorse a proposed law or policy, we can ask: if I did not know if this would affect me or not, would I still support it?”

What does the Bible teach about wealth and poverty? That fortune and misfortune are often just a matter of dumb luck. Merit, blessing, cursing, reward and punishment don’t enter into it, “but time and chance happen to them all.””

Some things aren’t luck though: the failure of complex systems is inevitable. Some things aren’t inevitable: contrary to libertarian dictum, the “tragedy of the commons” is a myth. More here.

But what about Jew-hating preacher Rick Wiles, who declared the vaccines were Satanic and now has the Trump Virus? Obviously if you catch a pandemic you’re not protecting yourself from, that’s not luck. Or more precisely, there’s still an element of chance but the odds are going to shift against you. Or I suppose we could take a leaf out of the “God sent that hurricane to punish us for abortion!” school of Christian thought and assume this is God warning anti-vaxxers to stop that shit.

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Florida man makes lousy governor, and other links

Some cruise lines want to require proof of vaccination from their passengers. Florida Man and Governor Ron DeSantis says if they’re Florida-based, he won’t allow it. He’s a shit, but the media love him.

A new bill headed to DeSantis’ desk will monitor Florida universities for liberal bias. Okay, they talk about “diversity of viewpoints” but I don’t believe for a minute they’re as worried about, say, Holocaust deniers or anti-vaxxers as about tolerance for gays, discussions of slavery and racism in American history or science teachers pointing out creationism is a lie. It’s the old problem for their side: reality is against them, so they have to deny reality. I imagine that in a few years the Legislature will be wondering why schools are denying replacement theory.

Similarly, I’m sure Florida’s anti-protest bill will result in cracking down on Black Lives Matter harder than neo-Nazis or the Klan. Perhaps I’m overly cynical, but we’re past the point at which Republicans are entitled to any good faith in their intentions.

Of course Republicans are rejecting America too. They’ve been in paranoid mode for a while. And they’re still fantasizing about secession. Or that Biden isn’t president. And they’ll try very hard to ensure the next Democratic president can’t be president: “The difference between the 2020 and the 2024 elections will be the difference between a reactive Republican party focused on trying to flip the Electoral College and a proactive Republican party prepared to move past the Electoral College to the next pathway to victory.”

Republicans in Texas want to puts trans kids in foster care if their parents provide trans-appropriate medical care. It’s part of the GOP’s new war against trans kids now that bashing gays doesn’t have as much support.

Anti-semitic preacher/pundit Rick Wiles wants Antony Fauci waterboarded until he confesses the truth about the Trump Virus.

Is the corporate pushback against voting restrictions a game changer? Or just a nine-day wonder? I suspect it’s the latter, but for the moment Republicans are freaking out that corporate America dares question them. More freaking out. Much like Republican concepts of “freedom of religion,” the freedom of businesses to do as they please is conditional on them doing the right things.

A community adapts to surviving without the cops. And Maryland passes laws that radically restructure the rules for bad cops.

Here’s an extreme example of cops’ infamous “blue wall of silence”: the Boston PD believed allegations Officer Patrick Rose was a child molester, but they kept him on the force. Rose went on to molest a lot more children.

John Hopkins University decided the pandemic was a good excuse to cut off contributions to the faculty retirement fund.

 

 

 

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Republicans hate Democrats voting even more than they love corporations?

The Republican stop-people-voting bill in Georgia is very bad. And despite Republican lies, it does indeed ban providing food or water to anyone standing in line to vote. Florida’s now imitating Georgia. I’m sure they won’t be the last Republican-led state to do so.

The remarkable thing is, they’re so committed to voter suppression they’re even turning on corporate America. Mitch McConnell’s suddenly decided corporations should stay out of politics. An interesting take for someone who supports Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that puts unlimited corporate money into play; Moscow Mitch is fine with corporations intervening in politics, just not when it clashes with his agenda. Accirdubg to the new right-wing buzzword the issue is corporate communism which apparently means “a corporation did something I don’t like!” Which is pretty much all communism means to these guys. But they’re all in on outrage of Major League Baseball pulling the All-Star game out of Atlanta: Texas Governor Abbott is refusing to throw out the first ball at the year’s first Rangers game and SC Rep. Jeff Duncan says if Major League Baseball pressures Georgia over its anti-voting bill, the Party will take away baseball’s antitrust exemption. Funny, that’s pretty much how the Communist Party ran the USSR: if you want your business to flourish, don’t piss off the party. It’s always projection with Republicans.

Fox News’ Kat Timpf is shocked that liberals have puritanical objections to Rep. Matt Gaetz allegedly committing statutory rape. I wonder what she thinks of Gaetz, when he was in the Florida legislature, playing a game of seducing women for points. Jonah Goldberg weighs in and gratuitously insults a woman he saw with Gaetz as a slut. The Washington Post points out that contrary to Gaetz’ statement his travel records prove his innocence there’s no way to do that. Oh, and would you believe Gaet fought against a revenge-porn ban when he was in the Florida legislature? And that he allegedly sought a blanket pre-emptive pardon from Trump for unspecified acts.

The judge in the Alex “Sandy Hook is a false flag” Jones defamation case sanctioned him a couple of years ago. The Supreme Court turned down Jones’ appeal. They also killed the suit over Trump’s right to block people on Twitter as moot — but Clarence Thomas threw in that Twitter, FB etc. should not be allowed to moderate content. I’m sure if Thomas ever gets his way he’ll next discover a constitutional exception for banning liberals from the Internet.

I am, however, sympathetic to Neil Gorsuch’s argument that employees’ religious rights deserve greater protection.

The Supreme Court also ruled for Google and against Oracle in a lawsuit over Google allegedly infringing Oracle’s Java copyright. Judging from this Twitter thread, it’s a fair use issue. The judges have also weighed in on a Kentucky abortion case though I’m unclear about the significance.

Mississippi pastor Shane Vaughn complains South Africa worked great until black kids started going to college — because of George Soros! So, both racist and anti-semitic.

Arkansas just made it legal for medical workers to refuse non-emergency treatment if they have moral objections to treating someone. This will not go well. And while the governor vetoed an anti-trans bill the legislature overrode him. And Montana’s governor is expected to sign a bill that gives anyone — including corporations — a right to discriminate if non-discrimination violates their religious beliefs. Misssippi’s governor is simply a liar, claiming the deficits under Trump were not because of tax cuts. Montana Senator Steve Daines insists he is totally not being racist when he says the reason Montana has a meth problem is that it’s Mexican meth.

North Carolina’s anti-trans bill includes a statement that “would also compel state employees to immediately notify parents in writing if their child displays “gender nonconformity” or expresses a desire to be treated in a way that is incompatible with the gender they were assigned at birth.” That sounds like an excuse to pick on gays or straight cis-kids who don’t conform to gender stereotypes. This is, after all, the state where the anti-trans bathroom bill led to cops hassling cis-women in women’s restrooms because they didn’t look feminine enough.

When Trump solicited campaign donations from his supporters last year, the fine print made the donations monthly.

These days academia is run like a business: less money for employees, lots for top administrators.

One of the Sedition Day traitors later allegedly said he wants to lynch the black cop who shot Ashli Babbitt on 1/6.

A Korean-American Republican insists if she says racist crap about China it’s totally not racist as she’s Asian too. And she’s suing the Texas Tribune for defamation for writing about it.

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Some undead sexist links

“Consent – agreement to sex – should not be conflated with sexual desire, enjoyment or enthusiasm; not because we should be resigned to bad sex, but precisely because we should not be.

Online harassment of women journalists is increasingly vicious. Tucker Carlson thinks they should just shut up about it.

“The Met police warned women in Clapham not to go out alone, following the disappearance of Everard, but of course that places the blame on women, on those of us who are just trying to get from one place to another, especially when the person who is the main suspect is a cop.”

Biden is looking to unmake the Trump administration’s rules for handling sexual assault on campus.

“Several women told The Post the network was part of a larger culture in golf that sidelines women. That included multiple instances of women not being allowed in certain areas of private golf clubs with their male colleagues during shoots because club rules restricted where women could go. (Hughes said Golf Channel raised concerns with the clubs when the issue was brought to them.” — from a WaPo article about Golf Channel sexism.

The Family Research Council and other right-wing groups say they object to reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act because it includes transwomen. They’ve opposed it long before that was an issue.

Women have already experienced the damage deepfake photos can wreak.

In Ethiopia’s Tigray region, rape has become a weapon of war.

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy says we shouldn’t assume the Atlanta shooter was mentally ill: maybe Asian women just turned him on too much. Which seems to fall into the tradition of “women made him do it” victim blaming.

How NCAA makes it look like women’s basketball loses money.

I take great delight that a group Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene blocked on Twitter won a court case against her, and will donate the settlement money to gun-law reform groups. That said, for all the hate she dishes out, she does not deserve death threats, threats against her children or gendered insults flung her way, no matter how horrible she is.

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The Kraken squeals like a stuck pig (and other links)

The Dominion voting-machine company has sued Sidney “the Kraken” Powell for accusing them of fraud. Powell protests that no reasonable person would take her statements seriously. Powell’s tortuous logic is that she wasn’t actually accusing, simply describing her court case, so totally different. The Georgia secretary of state gives Powell a sick burn.

While Powell and Trump’s other lawyers lost their various lawsuits, Mr. MyPillow and other activists are hoping to overturn Arizona’s Biden win. And the Georgia House just passed a bill making it easier to cheat next time: The legislature can appoint most of the state elections board and the board can take over from “underperforming” county boards. Yes, no way that could be abused (I’m sure if the Dems ever win a majority in the state legislature, there’ll be a lame duck session to change things back). And contrary to Ari Fleischer’s lies, the law does prevent providing water and food to anyone in line to vote. A Georgia Democrat vents.

The funny thing is, last year proved Republicans can do well even when voter turnout is high, but they still want fewer voters. One blogger suggests it’s not that they’re afraid, they simply see no reason not to cheat. In a relevant WaPo article, a Latino man discusses why so many Latinos (much fewer Latinos) voted Trump.

Oh, and when Governor Kemp signed the Georgia bill, state police arrested a black Democratic legislator for knocking on his door during the signing. Yet we have pundits arguing that Democrats expanding the vote is just the same as Republicans repressing it.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn condemned Biden for worrying about immigrants instead of homeless veterans. But the COVID relief bill includes help for veterans; Cawthron refused to vote for it.

Speaking of mental illness, a guy in Texas stops an (unarmed) National Guard COVID transport convoy and searches it at gunpoint for a kidnapped women. The cops later manage to take him into custody without shooting him (yes, he’s white). But that weirdness pales compared to the guy who claims he’s copyrighted Canada’s banking system.

Remember when right-wingers said government should be run like a business? As head of the Postal Service, Louis DeJoy thinks that means cutting hours, increasing prices and slowing delivery. Democrats in Congress are pushing back — though I will say DeJoy ending the requirement the USPS fund retirement benefits now for the next fifty years is part of his plan I hope goes through.

A black bakery salesclerk refused to serve a woman unless she wore a mask. So the customer drops the n-bomb.

Rents for the rich are dropping, while rents for the poor go up.

On the plus side, the COVID relief bill includes significant subsidies for families with kids. At the link, an explanation what that means for poor children.

What makes the Dallas suburbs a hotbed for insurrectionists?

Republicans’ prime directive: “owning” the liberals.

Anti-trans feminists and how they may hurt women’s rights.

Trump recently offered his thoughts on potential Republican candidates for president if he doesn’t run. No More Mr. Nice Blog looks at his conversation and thinks he’s not running.

Biden continues cutting away Trumpian deadwood.

 

 

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Who they protect, who they let go

“Soon after he started he was quoted as saying women aren’t capable of writing cover stories. Facing considerable and deserved backlash, he then made a big show of hiring women, many of whom seem happy. I notice many of them tweet his praises. But since he’s taken the helm there’s a wake of women who are no longer there who have signed NDAs. Just last week a woman I once worked with at a different publication was added to that list, and the details I know show me that the men in charge will do everything in their power to save their own hides, usually at the expense of the women they claim to champion.” — Jennifer Barnett, former managing editor at Atlantic, on the current editor in chief, as well as the predecessor she worked under.

Particularly the predecessor: “I left because I blew the whistle on my boss for doing something unethical then abusing the staff and undermining the editorial process during which time I was assured he would be fired but instead he was promoted and after threatening me privately in his office, he marginalized me to the point of being completely invisible.” Barnett’s career ended at 44; her boss, James Bennett, went on to run the NYT, resigned after the Tom Cotton mess and then wound up as guest editor at The Economist for a year. “Why does it matter? Because the same men who continually fuck up are still in charge of the media. They shape the world. If you don’t think that’s true, take a look at the coverage of Hillary Clinton during my former boss’s tenure at the paper of record leading up to the 2016 election. Despite even major public failings, they keep coming back because they work behind the scenes to protect themselves and each other to stay in power and preserve the status quo.”

It’s a depressingly familiar story about men who make the company into a boys’ club, treat women like crap, promote buddies and exclude women from key decisions and meetings. And it’s known, but he sticks around, and he when does go, it’s to the New York Times and then to The Economist. He’s got the connections with enough key men that the glass floor kicks in and stops them falling: “not only are these guys shitty at their jobs, they keep each other and themselves in power so they can continue to be shitty at their jobs.”

It’s depressing how strong that glass floor is. Pixar kicked out John Lasseter over sexual harassment allegations; a year later, he became head of Skydance Animation (the harassment thing? He’s done a lot of work, it’s all behind him, honest!) Bill O’Reilly got a new contract at Fox right after a $32 million harassment-suit settlement. The Washington Football Team paid $1.6 million to settle one woman’s allegations against owner Daniel Snyder. No matter how big the payout or how often it happens, the people in charge (Snyder does have business partners) would sooner pay millions to preserve the status quo and keep the guys in the in-crowd in power (much as cities shell out millions for police misconduct rather than change the way policing is done). And if someone does suffer for their actions, even if it’s only a blow to their reputation, we’re supposed to show “himpathy” and let his life get back to normal fast (not that women can’t be harassers).

The victims who quit their jobs over harassment or sexist bosses? Or get fired for making a complaint? The people who defend “dude process” never care about them. No concerns about how they deserve to get back the normal they had before they were driven out. No sympathy for them. And as long as businesses and organizations protect the harassers, it’s not going to change.

And people wonder why some women are pissed.

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