Category Archives: Politics

Links about that Gillette ad, sexism and abuse

The Gillette ad criticizing toxic masculinity no more implies “masculinity is bad” than “poisonous mushroom” implies all mushrooms are deadly. Some men don’t see it that way. Vox adds more. Isabel Cooper points out that yes, as others have pointed out, the ad is still calculated marketing — but it’s still a good thing. Fox’s Brian Kilmeade, however, attacks the ad using the same arguments it criticized: men are just that way. Online misogynists now hate Gillette. So does accused sexual harasser Charles Payne. The NRA declares the ad is bullshit because “men were meant to be dangerous.”

Right-winger Tammy Bruce harks back to the old Undead Sexist Cliche that without masculinity, humanity wouldn’t get anywhere.

A woman went to eat at the high-priced Nellos restaurant in NYC — where she says they wouldn’t let her eat at the bar alone because they’re cracking down on call girls. I’m willing to bet they will never try to discourage johns by banning men.

Christians in Houston sued a library on the grounds a story hour with drag queens doing the reading violated their freedom of religion.

“This year we saw with startling clarity that what many of the nation’s powerful men share is less talent and vision than arbitrary cruelty, pleasure in retribution, bullying, shouting, sneering, a sense that they’re above consequences, and an unusual dependence on golf.”

Some incels are convinced that an average women lives like a male billionaire.

Book riot argues that female-written fantasy for adults is too often classified as Y/A because, girls.

The Violence Against Women Act and the funding it channels really do reduce violence against women. Too bad Congress let it expire last year. And the Trump Administration redefined domestic violence to refer only to actual physical assault, not emotional or verbal abuse.

Another day, another anti-gay preacher with an alleged secret life. Evangelical’s abuse problems go much deeper.

Then, of course, there’s Bryan Singer.

New York City makes a step forward in abortion rights.

How Kamala Harris became the target of a birther smear (nonsensical — they admit she was born in the country, but claim as her parents weren’t citizens yet, she isn’t natural born). Oh, and there are equally gibberish charges of election fraud.

For at least a century, people have complained that feminists wanted to be men. Same old, same old.

White supremacist Richard Spencer’s wife says he abused her.

Robert Patterson, a right-wing pundit turned Trump Social Security official, opposes birth control. One reason? He claims condoms deny women the touch of semen, and semen makes women happier.

Ashley Judd’s harassment lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein got tossed out on technical grounds.

Tucker Carlson thinks women making more money than men is baaaaad. But criticizing him for his views is baaaad too and will lead us to a dark age.

And let’s not forget, the wave of right-wing authoritarians across the globe may differ in many details but they all want women in chains.

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Real witch hunts (and other political links)

Investigating Donald Trump’s alleged crimes and collusion with Russia is not a witch hunt. It’s an investigation.

This is a witch hunt. Seventy-something Brit Sabine McNeill became convinced that a couple of preschoolers’ baseless charges about Satanic ritual abuse were the real deal. She organized a massive campaign of harassment targeting the kids, their parents, the school district and a church, accusing them of murder, torture and cannibalism. She’s now facing nine years of jail. Slacktivist looks at the possible motivations.

Donald Trump is being investigated by normal legal means. Even if he’s completely innocent (which I do not believe) that doesn’t amount to a witch hunt. What McNeill did was outside legal means; it went way beyond legitimate means of civil protest. She’s closer to the guy who showed up at the “Pizzagate” pizzeria packing a gun.

Witch hunts have killed hundreds of people over the centuries; the 1990s “satanic panic” put innocent people in jail on trumped-up charges and nonexistent evidence (even though it was within the legal system, it pretty much fit the “witch hunt” bill). Witch hunts have done worse than any witches or Satanists that we know about.

In other linking news:

For the rich, deviance from social norms is nearly consequence-free

When we talk about putting ourselves in slave-holders’ shoes, do we risk forgetting about the slaves?

Florida legislator Dennis Baxley wants to require schools to teach the controversy about evolution. I doubt he means questions like “how significant is genetic drift in isolated populations?” And Fla. Secretary of State Michael Ertel stepped down after an old video surfaced showing him in blackface, mocking Katrina victims.

Over in South Carolina, a religious private agency that handles foster care placements for the state got the green light from the feds to discriminate and only place with Protestants. Who cares that there’s a shortage of parents willing to take kids? After all, the agency’s head says “ot’s not a judgment or an exclusion” so obviously they’re not bigoted at all.

By similar logic, bullshit artist David Barton claims a nondiscrimination ordinance in San Diego criminalizes Christianity. But that’s nothing compared to Rick Wiles’ reveal that the Russia investigation (the one that’s not a witch hunt) is a British plot to reconquer America!!!! As Fred Clark says of McNeill and similar delusional types, this comes off more as wilful delusion than political paranoia — it’s just so exciting, like we’re living in a Bond film or something (I’m referring here to Wiles’ audience, not the liar himself).

And for other people, it’s all about the grift. Sometimes it’s hard for me to grasp that’s all there is — not politics, not some radical agenda, just self-interest. But yeah, it happens.

Illinois is finding several hundred more abusive priests than the Catholic Church acknowledges.

All of last year’s extremist killings in the US were by right-wing extremists.

ICE detained a US-born Latino Marine, even though he had his passport on him.

 

 

 

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The shut down is over, so I’m feeling cheerful

Yes, I know it’s only a three week funding extension for the government. I’m hopeful that whatever Trump’s next move is, he’s not going to try this again after such a resounding defeat. So while I don’t indulge in schadenfreude a lot, I’ll gloat at the misery some right-wingers are experiencing (after all, he wants us to be miserable).

Not that I think them suffering is a good reason to do anything. I really loathe the “Hey, Trump’s triggering the libs!” excuse for supporting him. Even though some supporters want Trump to hurt other people, I support a government that helps those creeps too.But if doing something good like the Democrats staring Trump down to reopen the government or supporting higher taxes on the rich upsets them too, I do get a little buzz out of it.

Pundit Kurt Schlichter declared a couple of weeks ago that nobody beats Trump. At the link he settles for well, Trump’s not defeated yet!

Kevin “hang women who get abortions” Williamson freaks out that we might return to mid-20th century levels of taxation on the rich. And they’re all freaking out over Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez.

Roger Stone, busted! If it’s true, as alleged, that he threatened someone’s dog, I hope he gets the chair. More details on the arrest here.

Jonah Goldberg explains Trump’s ideology is good, it’s his character that’s screwing things up.

Some disgruntled defenders of able-bodied masculinity claim Bird Box is a direct attack on white able-bodied men.

“Firefighter prophet” Mark Taylor explains away the Democratic gains in November as a Trump sting operation.

And racist Republican Rep. Steven King (“”White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”) has actually suffered criticism and penalties within his party. And while I agree with this post that it’s mostly a CYA maneuver, it’s still a good thing. Showing language like that crosses some the line is better than implying it’s all cool.

 

 

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“They have taught that man may be a slave”

Quotes for Martin Luther King Day, though the title comes from one by Frederick Douglass: “They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for Christianity.”

Now, some King:

“Let nobody give you the impression that the problem of racial injustice will work itself out. Let nobody give you the impression that only time will solve the problem. That is a myth, and it is a myth because time is neutral. It can be used either constructively or destructively. And I’m absolutely convinced that the people of ill will in our nation – the extreme rightists – the forces committed to negative ends – have used time much more effectively than the people of good will. It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation, not merely for the vitriolic works and violent actions of the bad people who bomb a church in Birmingham, Alabama, or shoot down a civil rights worker in Selma, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.” Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals. Without this hard work, time becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. So we must help time and realize that the time is always right to do right.”

“The road to freedom is a difficult, hard road. It always makes for temporary setbacks. And those people who tell you today that there is more tension in Montgomery than there has ever been are telling you right. Whenever you get out of Egypt, you always confront a little tension, you always confront a little temporary setback. If you didn’t confront that you’d never get out.
You must remember that the tensionless period that we like to think of was the period when the Negro was complacently adjusted to segregation, discrimination, insult, and exploitation. And the period of tension is the period when the Negro has decided to rise up and break loose from that. And this is the peace that we are seeking: not an old negative obnoxious peace which is merely the absence of tension, but a positive, lasting peace, which is the presence of brotherhood and justice. And it is never brought about without this temporary period of tension. The road to freedom is difficult.”

“We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jet-like speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.”

All rights to image remain with current holder.

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Another post about the shutdown

As it stretches out longer and longer, Vox points out one reason: Trump’s a lousy dealmaker who can’t be trusted to do anything he agrees to (and he’s not currently agreeing to anything). Plus he seems to have no idea what’s going on, just like he and his team didn’t know what effect a shutdown would have (for what it’s worth, at least he’s a lousy autocrat)

So it’s small wonder even his advisers are hoping he’ll issue an emergency declaration and courts will shut it down. Saves face, doesn’t waste money on a useless wall — but this could go horribly wrong. Unfortunately Trump’s base loves the wall, so we’re stuck in a shutdown. Plus the possibility Trump will take disaster relief funds from Puerto Rico and California to build it.

Oh, and the White House now says even if Trump gets an emergency declaration, he might keep things closed so the Democrats don’t feel they’ve won. Because he’s a petty, vicious little shit-gibbon who’s not only a sore loser but a sore winner.

All rights to Münch’s The Scream remain with current holder.

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Links about sexism

Only 32 percent of rape cases are closed by the cops. That’s down from 62 percent in 1964.

Laura McGann wrote a story alleging reporter Glenn Thrush had a history of harassment. Here’s what happened next. And plenty of other men accused of harassment promptly bounce back after a little time off. Though it looks like Kevin Spacey may not be one of them.

Producers didn’t think the RBG biopic On the Basis of Sex would sell unless it made her supportive husband look like a jerk.

Pushing back against #MeToo isn’t a sign the movement’s gone too far, it’s a sign “some men crave the poisonous high of feeling wrongfully endangered.”

The concept of the Democrats as the mommy party explains why Dems getting angry upsets Washington more than Republicans freaking out does: “No matter how much male privilege you have and regularly wield, going up against cardinal masculine virtues like violence, wealth, and the unchecked use of power taints you with a feminine stain, and in our society, femininity is disdained.” No More Mr. Nice Blog suggests Republicans are still seen as they were in the late 1960s, the law-and-order party. I think the two interpretations dovetail, actually.

If critics don’t like a movie targeted at women (or blacks, or Hispanics), the problem may not be lack of diversity among critics.

The challenges of analyzing gender differences.

Foz Meadows on the sexism of the Scream franchise.

In Ireland, a defense attorney brings up a 17-year-old’s thong panties to prove an alleged rape was consensual.

The Daily Stormer neo-nazi site suggests we revive the burning of witches.

A ‘smart dress’ shows just how often the wearer was groped while clubbing.

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John Carter of Trademarked Mars

A Princess of Mars, the story that became the movie John Carter, is public domain. Nevertheless, after the 2012 movie flopped, Disney lost the rights to the character. How do you lose rights to public domain works?

Well the Burroughs estate claims the copyright is still good in some countries, which would restrict overseas sales. Plus the estate has trademarked John Carter and Tarzan. That led to a lawsuit Dynamite Comics over its John Carter series, on the grounds their portrayal of the characters hurt the trademark. Dynamite settled, though the premise is dubious: trademark suits hinge on the plaintiff using the trademark to label goods (e.g., Nike and sneakers) which the estate doesn’t appear to be doing. There are other nebulous issues noted at the last link, such as moral rights (if Dynamite’s stories were too sexy, that would hurt Burroughs’ image). One of the comments in this Scalzi post explains a little more about those.

A great many films and books are entering public domain soon (Mickey Mouse. The Great Gatsby). Surprisingly, copyright holders are not fighting for the usual extensions, which may be because pro-public domain forces are better organized (according to Ars Technica at the link) or it may happen a year or two from now. Oh, Motherboard has a list of sites to download the new public domain stuff.

Another copyright issue: the right to resell a digital copy as you would a used paperback or an art print. The law’s lagging behind the tech.

Does Google benefit from allowing digital piracy?

What happens if the U.S. overreaches in the use of lawfare against international IP piracy?

Does copyright law protect dances and other culture created by black teens? Particularly dance?

An orphan work is one that’s under copyright but the rights holder can’t be found; in that case, in some jurisdictions, it’s legitimate to use the work. However doing a diligent search that will protect the user is tricky.

Her Interactive’s Nancy Drew videogame series was a hit for years (my niece played them) but it ground to a stop a few years ago. A minor thread in the skein of woe was having to pay Simon & Schuster royalties to use Nancy (this wasn’t the biggest issue, but it justifies linking in a copyright post).

The copyright and fair use history of the video of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing to a Breakfast Club mashup.

Contrary to legend, Paul McCartney did not pay a man’s legal fees in return for the rights to “Ob la di, ob la da

And for visuals, here’s a cover with the now public-domain superhero, The Boy King, art by Alan Mandel.

#SFWApro.

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Three links about the wall — oh, sorry, “wall”

Trump’s wall was never supposed to be a thing: it was mnemonic to focus Trump’s tiny brain on immigration during the campaign. Only the positive response from crowds got him to take it seriously, so here we are.

And so, to get his funding, Trump shut down the government with no idea of the effects. They are now figuring that stuff out. Ah, I remember the white supremacist shitbag who assured me we didn’t need a smart president because he’d be surrounded by the best people.

Trump keeps talking about using emergency powers to build the wall — so why doesn’t he do it?

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The 2020 election begins now! God help us all.

As far as Politico is concerned, Elizabeth Warren is already tanking her chances. No, the secret to winning is trust to old, center-right white candidates! Or wildly popular politicians like … Paul Ryan? But women, it’s essential they be likable!

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, would like you to know that he’s very anti-Trump except where he supports him. One LGM blogger suggests, however, this is a clear sign Romney thinks the tide is turning against President Shit-Gibbon. But NMMNG says if Romney thinks that could land him the 2020 nomination he’s dreaming. But just in case, Trump’s allies are pushing harder to declare Trump the party’s pre-emptive nominee.

And Jerry Falwell Jr. assures everyone evangelicals will stick with Trump regardless of what sins he may have committed. Falwell’s excuse is that Jesus shouldn’t be setting public policy, which quite simply I think is a lie; the religious right (which was founded by his father as a political force) is all about letting their view of Jesus’ wishes define the law.

And of course there are the constant arguments that Dems won’t really be any different from Republicans if they had more power or don’t really care about stopping them. After all they could totally have stopped Kavanaugh making it to the Supreme Court if they tried. Plus arguments that if Democrats trash-talk Trump, it’s all over for them.

In other news:

Trump’s tax cut benefits rich foreign investors more than Americans who don’t own stock.

65 percent of jail inmates haven’t been convicted of anything. The majority are there because they can’t afford bail.

Deplatforming hatemongering websites or starving them of cash has been an effective tactic. Then you get someone like tech CEO Rob Monster, who made it his mission to save the hate-site Gab.

The founder and former leader of Identity Evropa has filed for bankruptcy. Not much detail at the link.

Customers without plastic keep running into problems at businesses that don’t take cash. For one thing, a number of stores don’t say this up front.

More white, right-wing terrorism: Antigovernment radical James Stachowiak calls for people to commit lone wolf terrorist acts.

Chipotle requires employees to sign arbitration agreements giving up their right to sue. Now employees are requesting arbitration and Chipotle is stalling.

Idris Elba says the only reason to worry about Me Too is if you’re guilty of harassing someone. Likewise, while many Wall Streeters now avoid meeting with women and even worry about hiring them, attorney Stephen Zweig says the solution is “try not to be an asshole.”

“Why do we think “innocent until proven guilty” is an appropriate basis for deciding who we invite into our personal, professional, or public spaces?”

“A video clip of two black people showcasing visible anger toward the president would have been played over and over again on cable news.” Hilary Clinton got crap for not playing nice with Trump at Bush the elder’s funeral.

 

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Let’s hang out with some unpleasant people!

I honestly don’t care that Trump dodged the draft with made-up bone spurs. That he continues to position himself as a tough guy while mocking veterans with PTSD as weaklings who couldn’t cut it is pretty disgusting (to say nothing of the people who pretended Clinton’s draft-dodging was a dealbreaker but voted happily for W and Trump).

Cream rises to the top. But so does scum. And, of course, grift. And, alas, Shit-Gibbons who blame a child’s death in government custody on everyone but himself.

A special judicial board found Justice Bret “Gang Rape” Kavanaugh‘s conduct includes serious alleged ethics violations. Too bad that there’s nothing the board can do now that Kavanaugh’s on the Supreme Court. Oh, and some of the misogynist rape apologists who supported Kavanaugh have a new way to attack his accuser, Dr. Ford: she doesn’t sound the same when she’s not testifying about the rape so she must be faking.

Republicans have realized that just because they’re outnumbered and unpopular, they can still rig the game to win. Case in point.

False prophets of the right wing.

“Trump is every villain in every Christmas movie rolled into one.” Which doesn’t stop him whining about how hard he has it. And the Republican Party is all in on Trump.

Tucker Carlson, white supremacist dog-whistler.

Pundit Erick Erickson once blamed mass shootings on Americans not being meaner to trans people. He is, however, baffled why Trump supporters behave so poorly.

Speaking of Trump supporters, Michelle Goldberg says we often focus too much on politics and ignore that some of his lackeys just want to be close to power.

Alice Walker gushes about an anti-semitic author (it seems she’s a known anti-Semite herself) in an interview and the New York Times doesn’t catch it. Though in fairness, my thought when an interviewee recommends a book is not to rush and check out whether it’s any good. Bari Weiss thinks this is beyond the pale even though she postures about how we shouldn’t repress discussion of edgy topics.

As NYC mayor Rudy Giulani claimed that by repressing trivial acts such as littering and graffiti, cops could keep serious crime down. As Trump’s lawyer, he wants us to ignore supposedly trivial crimes. As the Times points out, the “broken windows” theory of policing was also wrong.

Awww. The white nationalist League of the South just lost its convention site.

A former Trump speechwriter’s theory: if you support tolerance, gay rights or trans rights, it just shows you’re full of hate.

Some conservatives are obsessed with the importance of being an alpha male.

Lame-duck Republicans in Michigan have pushed through a bunch of bad bills. Including one that bans local governments from passing ordinances that prevent pet stores buying from puppy mills.

Rep. Louis Gohmert pushes conspiracy theories about George Soros. Even Fox Business was embarrassed.

Roy Edroso gives us two people for the price of one post: long-established second-tier pundit Rod Dreher arguing that the fascists in the Spanish Civil War were the better side, and Kat Timpf, a new National Review hire who claimed a male student was labeled as a sexual harasser because he asked her out and he was bigger than her so presto, power imbalance! In reality the dude was a stalker, and the magazine has retracted the article but not taken it down, so Timpf’s babble about how this is terrible for men (he was accused of a perfectly harmless everyday activity!) and for women (if men can be charged just for asking a woman out, how will women ever get dates?) remains online, at least at time of writing. But as there’s always a market for right-wing women who oppose feminism, I’m sure it won’t hurt Timpf’s career any.

How about an unpleasant bank?

Roy Edroso brings a whole bunch more right-wing unpleasantness to light with his look back on 2018 (and part two)

To end on an upnote, accused sexual harasser Matt Lauer of the Today Show has given up on plans for a comeback.

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