Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Those who control the present control the past,
and that those who control the past
control the future
--1984, George Orwell

Some boys kiss me
Some boys hug me
I think they're o.k.
If they don't give me proper credit
I just walk away
--Material World, Madonna

Huggin' and a-kissin'
Dancin' and a-lovin'
Wearin' next to nothin'
'Cause it's hot as an oven
--Love Shack, B-52's

 And I'd claw at your heart,
and I'd tear at your sheet
I'd say please (please)
I'm your man

--I'm Your Man,
 Leonard Cohen

[I hear it's Ladies Night at the Pub, so I've come to bring a lady's perspective.]

Subtitle: A Fool's Morality Play

With CBS's appeal to Anita Hill, we have now entered the bizarre ruralia of the outer limits of reason. (Who am I kidding? Our once-esteemed press has been inhabiting that non-zone throughout this election cycle.)

Professor Anita Hill -- that lovely, intelligent, well-spoken witness against the unfitness of now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in his confirmation hearings, who was thrown under the bus and thoroughly discredited by the fickle kingmakers, the press -- was wheeled out by ABC news yesterday to give a brief and grim commentary on sexual harassment 25 years after her shameful treatment.

Doubly soiled both by her then-boss -- Mr. Thomas (a.k.a., "Long Dong Thomas") -- and the press and judiciary committee's assault upon her unimpeachable character, that same press attempted to exploit her once again in their agenda to despoil the candidacy of their doyenne Mrs. Clinton's Republican opponent.

But we needed a token black jurist to replace retiring Justice Thurgood Marshall then, and Mr. Thomas was as token as it gets. (Earlier this year the middling jurist broke his monastic record of a ten-year silence when he spoke on a minor domestic violence case.)

A Supreme Court justice is arguably as powerful as the United States President for he interprets the application of the laws of the land. Mr. Thomas, who impressed upon the demurring Ms. Hill "about ... such matters as women having sex with animals and films showing group sex or rape scenes" and of his own "sexual prowess" -- all while married -- (according to Ms. Hill's 1991 testimony before the Senate nominating committee), now has the liberty -- the audacity -- to speak out on a case of domestic violence.

 This is a violence in itself.

Fort her part, the exemplary Ms. Hill could not be coerced by ABC to shill for Mrs. Clinton. She simply said that it is nice to see yet another opportunity to discuss sexual harassment. However, her distinct lack of enthusiasm made it clear naught will change. She would not partake in the press's insistence that Mrs. Clinton would be a change agent advocating for women's rights.

Mrs. Hill's experience with a now very powerful man did not occur in the Dark Ages. If the sexual harassment claims of a bright and articulate woman like Anita Hill can be dismissed, how much less the hopes for other women?

The New York Times came up with its own gotcha in its Wednesday piece, "Two Women Who Say Donald Trump Touched Them Inappropriately". "Touched them"? And the meme has now morphed into rape, thanks to the rigor-less effects of social media.

Not featured high in the story, one of the women, now 74-year-old Jessica Leeds (allegedly groped by a young Mr. Trump in first-class) said that such behavior from men was "routine throughout her time in business" in the 70's and 80's.

Of course, IRL, we are these hormonal rutting human animals often behaving badly. But the press would make you think that only some people are tawdry, and some are spotless. It is always black or white today, and it is always sex (same as it ever was).

And this teapot tempest suffices to slake our salacious demand for news-ish material that will help us determine the next leader of our nation.

 ADDENDUM {10/14/16, 2:42}:

Shock and Appall

Mr. Trump does not help his own case through his own braggadocio and blather. He has not learned to not say all of what you think. It is a double-edged sword, for this candor is his attraction, for many.

The media will happily comply with our demand for smut, and has been trawling for a year to uncover the "gotcha's, but they do seem rather lame. He is not an Arkansas boy (like Mr. Clinton), and he has the money to buy the best women he can afford.

We must display the proper shock and appalment to the boorish stories from the press. It hurts us to know that our sisters and mothers are truly not equals in the world, and we recognize our own bigotry in that knowledge.

The implicit deal the press has offered us is: vote for Hillary and we will make all of this go away. The painful deluge will stop, and misogyny will loose its grasp on the world.

Do you believe it will, on any substantive level?

[cross-posted @ Rangeragainstwar.]


  1. I don't really know what to make of this, Lisa.

    Shakespeare wrote; "Lechery, lechery, wars and lechery./Nothing else holds fashion." Are you seriously suggesting that all this fascinating sleaze is something new? Or even something new in U.S. politics? If so, I have a suggestion; Google "Ma, ma, where's my pa?/Gone to the White House, ha ha ha!"

    So no. This means nothing except that the stupid goddamn Republicans nominated a sleazy moron who is generating the kind of coverage you'd expect.

  2. Now...that said, there IS a real problem with the "news".

    But it goes WAY beyond the genital-chasing.

    Your example of Clarence Thomas is a good one, but not for the reasons you give.

    Thomas should have been rejected, but not because he was a sleazy bastard, assuming he WAS a sleazy bastard. He should have been rejected because of his principles, which are both objectively vile and inimical to a democratic republic, and that's not even considering his inexcusable part of Bush v Gore.

    His conduct on the bench makes clear his devotion to plutocracy, Christian theocracy, economic feudalism, and societal inequity. His opinions reflect his notions that the comfortable need comfort and the afflicted affliction, and that he is jake with things like torture and internal armament that no citizen of a nation of law should be.

    His confirmation hearing, in other words, should have been about THAT shit.

  3. But this is just bog-standard Republican policy, right? And THAT is the problem. THAT is what the media missed with their love of nonsensical trivia and genitalia.

    The last forty-plus years have seen the GOP descend into the fever-swamps of white nationalism and jingo patriotism, of political obstructionism on an unprecedented scale, of aggressive war, torture...and worse.

    Denial of simple facts, refusal to accept evidence that conflicts with belief, bizarre conspiracy-theory nonsense like birtherism...the GOP has become an asylum so chock full of nuts the the ascent of someone like Trump was inevitable. And even now, with his failings manifest, he will get 40% of the vote AT LEAST.

    THIS...this descent into madness, should have been the ONLY story the "media" told. And told And told until the madmen were driven out of the public square. And they did not.

  4. Chief,

    You are a man of science, so we must be precise here; we cannot swing the halberd if we are to understand.

    To blame Trump for his coverage is surely a logical fallacy.

    I am not talking of Trump here, I am talking about the absurdity and hypocrisy of the NYT rolling our two women over the past 40 years who were allegedly groped by Trump. I really don't get the supposed blistering nature of the thing.

    Mr. Trump may be closer to your "Rockefeller Republican" than any of the Republican candidates against whom he ran. Something has animated the majority of Republican voters to choose this man over a stable (16?) of other contenders.

    These people are not stupid (well, not all. Ditto for Democratic voters.) They work and live lives like you and I do. They want a better day for their country, and they have chosen against the usual party men.

    Mr. Trump cannot even get a consensus of his own party leaders to accept the actuality of his nomination -- how can this be? We are a democracy, and was vetted as viable candidate. I believe power is so concentrated an outsider cannot be allowed in, and the press is complicit in this opinion.

    Do you not find this fascinating?

    As for the substance of my piece, Clarence Thomas is only sleazy if you do not dig "Long Dong Silver" and little jokes like putting pubic hairs on the rim of Coke cans of female insubordinates. Personally, it's not my cup o' tea.

    See, thing is, if the judiciary committee had given sway to Anita Hill's testimony, this deficient jurist need not have been seated. But as I say, we treat men and women differently, as needed. We needed a EOE male jurist, and Mr. Thomas was confirmed by both the Left and Right, to our shame.

    When we speak of Trump and the media's approach to him, we must not err in talking of "Republicans" en masse. Trump is sui generis, at least in modern times.

    To your question, the "madmen" of the Republicans have been rejected; not one of the misfits won the nomination. We have now a "Mad Man" of a Don Draper stripe. Something tells me that 1966 and 2016 are not that far apart, far as human evolution goes. Nothing at all.

    When you speak of "aggressive war, torture...and worse", would that be to indict the Republicans or the Democrats, or someone in particular?

    I just happened across a 2016 Foreign Policy Journal piece this AM re. Mrs. Clinton's oversight of Libyan "death squads", possibly accounting for her glee when head of state Gaddafy was assassinated.

    Hillary's Emails Reveal True Motive for Libyan Intervention

    . . . so you gotta ask yourself a question: who's more dangerous -- a murderer, or a groper?

    1. No, Lisa.

      Trump is not anything unusual or unexpected. He is, in fact, the culmination of 40 years of the sort of politics the GOP has specialised in, and his idiot Trumpenproletariat the gullible rubes they have groomed. It's really just that simple.

      And that an otherwise-perceptive, bright woman such as yourself can believe anything different simply points out what a criminally bad job the "media" has done explaining that.

    2. Oh, I just recalled this joker and it reminded me of the whole "trot out decades-old offenses. Remember Gary Hart?

      Well, Drumpf did basically the same thing Hart did; in claiming he only talked about pussy-grabbing he dared every woman whose pussy he ever grabbed to recall those grabs. AND he sent every panty-sniffing journo on a quest to find those women. And - since Drumpf appears to be a pussy-grabber by nature - guess what? They found 'em.

      THAT is why Trumpy"is to blame" for his coverage. Just as I'm horndog Clinton, if you're doing "oppo" digging you're gonna find sleaze...

  5. Murderer?

    And yet you say the media is for Clinton and against Trump. I subscribe to several foreign policy magazines. I was not familiar with the "Foreign Policy Journal". Looks prestigious but after going online with it since reading your comment I note that all the articles are anti-Washington and seem sympathetic to Putin. They are a classic piece of Russian agitprop. How did you just happen across that article? Were you pushed there or are you a regular reader?

    And the MSM you denigrate includes Fox News, Breitbart, hundreds of newspapers, right-wing radio like Rush, Sean, Glenn and others. They are now mainstream in America unfortunately. They trash Clinton and all have elevated Trump. Fox just today dropped him, but only because he is trashing their fair-haired Speaker of the House Paul Ryan that they are grooming for bigger and better things. I find it fascinating that many of the viewers, readers and listeners of these hate machines believe that the Washington Post and New York Times are backers of the Clintons. Those two as well as CBS and CNN have aired a lot of Clinton dirty laundry over the years.

    As for Trump, he is in it for his vanity and for the money. Please tell me you have not donated to his campaign or his foundation. It is a scam lining his pockets and will not be used to help in the election. If you don't like Clinton then donate to the RNC. But they probably do not need your money anyway, they get all they need from the point-zero-one percent billionaires.

    1. mike,

      No one pushes me anywhere.

      I was looking for data on Gaddafi and the rapprochement that the U.S. had been achieving with him in the years after the Lockerbie downing.

      Interestingly, this was not so easily found. While I could find material easily on his early life, nothing was positive regarding his later years. In the queue I found that piece, which I thought credible.

      I have not spoken on behalf of either candidate. I am Pop Culture and communications girl; those are my interests. Politics is the meal of the year, and I am fascinated by its coverage and the deformation and re-formation of the candidates.

      The recent NYT magazine had an interesting piece on Mrs. Clinton's war lessons from 1980, and how that informed her style of politicking.

    2. "Foreign Policy Journal" appears to be a Russian maskirova, Lisa, just as Mike suggests.

  6. To Chief (pt. II):

    And while I am in agreement with your nostalgia, BTB, for the days of the "Rockefeller Republican", did not the man die in flagrante delicto?

    Diogenes is still casting about, but we dare not say it. To do so is to admit we are adrift in the morality department . . . and that does not feel good.

    We like pasting the scarlet "A" on (others). What a weird troupe of monkeys we are, no?

    1. We're obsessed with our genitals. That's"news" like "Sun rises in East". It has nothing to do with Diogenes or morality...or Rocky or Drumpf for that matter. It's a human thing and it helps "news" organizations sell boner pills and time-shares which is the real point.

      And "against Trump"? Seriously? The "media" LOVES Trump. He's clickbait supreme. If the "media" had bothered to really dig into his idiot "policies" he'd have been exposed as the fool he is long ago, a fool who, if elected would leave the hard work of governing to the usual GOP granny-starvers and privatizers.

      Instead the journos have been running after his sick which, as you note, is simply lecherous. As with Clinton 42, I'm not voting for someone to date my daughter. I could care less where he hides his pickle. It's the man's horrible ideas I'm against.

  7. Lisa -

    No offense meant on the 'push or regular reader' question. My inquiring mind made me ask.

    My understanding on Colonel Gadaffi was that near the end he was hated by the Libyan people due to corruption and favoritism. When the Arab Spring came to Libya his army shot down protesters in the streets. Then a general uprising started which mutated into a Civil War. His civil rights record got worse, bombing civilians, committing human rights abuses, including arbitrary arrests, torture, extrajudicial executions and revenge attacks. The United Nations called for am International Criminal Court )ICC) investigation of Gaddafi for the killing of unarmed civilians. The ICC did investigate and issued a warrant for the arrest of Gaddafi. Amnesty International accused Gaddafi's forces of numerous war crimes.

    It was Anders Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO who pushed for NATO intervention in Libya. He was pushed into that by many European countries. Whether that was for R2P reasons or for concern for their investments in Libyan oil is a question to this day.

    Unfortunately Obama went along with the NATO interventio. By the way, the No-Fly-Zone that NATO imposed over rebel cities during that civil war was a failure like the other NFZ failures I mentioned in the previous blog post.

  8. mike,

    All is forgiven :)

    Thanks for you explication. I just remember there was a "sweet spot" when realpolitik held sway, and we were trying to integrate the like of Arafat and Gaddafi into the world community. They were all "bad men" (as we say today), but the goal was to legitimize them as leaders, and hope that might nudge their actions closer to the "statesman" model.

    I think Gaddafi might have achieved this but for agitation, and the fact that he seemed to be growing even more mad as he aged, losing his grip, perhaps, on the outside madness swirling about him.

    Yes, most unfortunate that Obama intervened.

  9. Lisa -

    Sorry again. My wife tells me I can sometimes be nosier then the cat lady next door. I prefer to call it curiosity.

    Yes, unfortunate that Obama intervened. He should have calmed the Euros down instead of going along with them on Libya. I wonder what we got out of the deal?

    1. I think the idea was that we'd get a client-like "government" as we did in Kabul. Our massive intelligence failure was underestimating the degree to which Libya was a failed state.

      Unfortunately I don't see a way - short of a complete reworking of norms in D.C. - the the US stays out of Libya. I thought it was pointless at the time, remember? But seydlitz was all for it, showing that, despite what Lisa's trying to sell here the intervention-as-bloody-mistake is pure 20-20 hindsight and was by no means apparent at the time.

      And, as I pointed out on PFK's thread, Drumpf's foreign policy team is chock full of people like Paul Fucking Wolfowitz. Murderer? Torturer? I have no idea when Hillary snapped a towel at you, but your bizarre hatred for her is...well, bizarre.

      The GOP has learned nothing and forgotten nothing since the PNAC era of the Bush Administration, and I foolishly assumed a smart woman lime you would know that...