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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Donnie, Bernie, Hillary and Modo

When it comes to the oft-heard Republican propaganda line about the Uranium One deal, I seem to be the only one asking a key question: If it is so bloody awful for a Russian company to own any part of an American uranium mine (even though no uranium is exported), then why hasn't Donald Trump ordered a divestment? He has had a year to do so. And he certainly has that authority.

On the Rachel Maddow show the other day, a guest -- I forget which one -- made a similar point. The Republicans have invented an alternative universe in which Putin supposedly helped Hillary, not Donald Trump. The "evidence" offered in favor of this proposition is ridiculous. Instead of going through those diseased arguments one more time, we should ask a couple of simple questions: Why is Trump refusing to enforce sanctions? And why aren't the Republicans threatening impeachment over his refusal to enforce sanctions?

The moment you ask the obvious questions, the propaganda falls apart.

And with that, we proceed to the main topic of today's post...

Maureen Dowd. Check out her latest, in which her ostensible topic is Melania Trump. You want to know what I think of Melania? I don't care about Melania, and I don't think she wants me to care about her. Nothing more to say.

Dowd's real purpose is, once more, to slam Hillary Clinton:
Partly, it was the Democrats’ preference for lecturing and entitlement over winning and wooing. They passed over people who had better messages and more authentic personae who might have beaten Trump, like Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, and gave the nomination to Hillary Clinton, a flawed feminist icon who was stunted in her ability to criticize her rival for his retrogressive treatment of women since she had enabled her husband in his retrogressive treatment of women.

The Times reported Friday that Hillary protected a senior adviser on faith in her 2008 campaign who was accused of repeatedly sexually harassing a young female aide. Hillary ignored the advice of her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, to fire the man, Burns Strider, and simply docked him several weeks of pay and made him undergo counseling. The subordinate who complained was given a new job.
This is a complete misrepresentation of the situation: Strider was demoted, then he went to work for Brock, who eventually fired him.

Even though I personally find the allegations against Strider credible, allegation is not the same thing as proof. We should also note that many people find it hard to credit aspersions cast against religious figures, and are more likely to forgive their misdeeds. I'm not claiming that this bias is a good thing; I simply note that it is common -- particularly for people of Hillary's generation, which isn't too distant from my own.

The moment Americans decide that allegation=proof is the moment this country turns into The Crucible. You want to know why I cannot and will never automatically "Believe Women"? This. I've lived through that kind of madness, back in the 1990s when I tried to write about the Satanic Ritual Abuse controversy.

(Before you say it: Of course I realize that automatically believing men is equally wrongheaded.)

Hillary did little or nothing wrong in this instance. But even if we give her actions the worst possible interpretation (as this Buzzfeed piece does), likening her to Sanders is inexcusable.

The Sanders campaign was run by the vile Tad Devine. As I detailed (with photos) in this previous post, Devine -- along Paul Manafort -- worked to keep the corrupt Ukrainian politician Viktor Yanukovych (a Putin puppet) in power. Devine had no problem allying himself with a fiend, even though everyone in the world knew that Yanukovich had poisoned his rival, Viktor Yushchenko, who was the president of Ukraine between 2005 and 2010. The poison did not kill Yuschenko, but it left his face disfigured.

From my earlier piece:
Tad Devine was a key henchman to a killer. The preceding sentence would be actionable if untrue. But I can make that statement in public without the slightest fear of a libel suit, because my words are provable.

No one can argue that Devine did not know the truth about his client. And no one can argue that Sanders did not know the truth about Devine.

There is no counterargument. Screaming nonsense about emails and Benghazi does not constitute a counterargument. If you have any honesty at all in your heart, you will admit that if Hillary had hired That Dioxin Guy, you would have horsewhipped her.
In what universe is Tad Devine -- a Machiavelli empowering a murderer -- considered less evil than this Strider fellow?

Yet neither Dowd nor anyone else of her ilk will say that we must hold Sanders accountable for his association with Devine. Guilt-by-association is purely for the Clintons, and never mind whether the claimed association is strained or overblown.

By the way: Women on the Sanders campaign also say that they were harassed. In the following, "Salisbury" refers to a woman named Zoey Jordan Salisbury.
Like Adams, Salsbury felt helpless to stop the harassment. There was no culture of accountability in the D.C. office of the Sanders campaign, she said, and she didn’t think people would listen to a young volunteer. It was “a culture that didn’t discuss office policies with volunteers or make it clear that harassment wasn’t tolerated,” said Salsbury.

Salsbury did hear from the Sanders campaign after she posted about the incident this month on social media. A former digital media manager reached out to her this past weekend, she said, and on Monday, a Seattle-based lawyer named Bernice Johnson Blessing called her on behalf of the campaign. “It firmly felt like the kind of call you make when you’re trying to feel out if someone has the interest and/or standing to bring a lawsuit,” said Salsbury.

The conversation with the lawyer made her uncomfortable. “It felt like I was being blamed,” she said. She suspects that Sanders plans to run for president again in 2020 and “they’re afraid of me being a roadblock to that.” Blessing did not return a request for comment.
The article goes on to discuss other problems in California and Nevada. In the Hillary campaign, Strider was demoted and ultimately terminated. You may say that Hillary's actions did not suffice. But at least she did something. Bernie Sanders did nothing -- absolutely nothing -- to squelch the "boy's club" atmosphere which marked his campaign.

We all recall what happened in 2016: The Sanders campaign became a bubbling cauldron of misogyny and Bernie let the situation get worse and worse. Sure, he might utter the occasional tsk tsk, but only when absolutely forced to do so by bad press. He refused to do anything about the problem.

Even a pro-Bernie writer for the New Republic had to admit what happened:
It’s probably costing Sanders votes. Even if it isn’t, it’s best he admonish the cultish behavior of his supporters when it manifests as trolling, misogyny, and “hipster racism.”
Also see here:
Her critics, some of the loudest of them progressive men, are struggling to communicate the intensity of their distaste for her and for her supporters. But in their efforts, a few are reaching for the communicative weapons usually wielded by their ideological foes — those who diminish, demean, and infantalize women. These lefty guys are reminding their feminist peers that misogyny and bitter gender resentments are not — as they have never been — the sole province of the American right. As Michelle Goldberg points out in her piece about these tensions, “as long as feminism has existed, left-wing men have dismissed it as a bourgeois triviality. Now we know how little things have changed.”
Those words came from Rebecca Traister, who has never hid her disdain for Hillary.

From Goldberg's piece:
One needn’t have sympathy for Clinton herself to notice this. The writer Kathy Geier, a Sanders supporter who is contributing to a forthcoming anti-Hillary anthology, tells me that the “sanctimonious, lecturing, hectoring tone” some of her ideological allies take when discussing Clinton and feminism is driving her nuts. “They’re trying to delegitimize any critique of sexist Hillary coverage,” she says. “It’s really hard for me, because my politics are with that side, but this ancient left-wing misogyny has risen its ugly head.”
I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise; as long as feminism has existed, left-wing men have dismissed it as a bourgeois triviality. Now we know how little things have changed. For that, at least, we can thank these men for educating us.
The anti-Hillary left continues to be a tar-pit of unabashed misogyny, as is proven by the behavior of two socialist "boys clubs," Chapo Trap House and the euphoniously-named Cum Town.

Those lefty "boys clubs" keep getting mulligans, yet a few people call me a sexist. Why? Because I have dared to aver that some (not all) abuse allegations may be dubious, because I believe that each case must be considered individually, because I believe that both accused and accuser deserve a hearing, because I believe that the presumption of innocence applies even to people we despise, and because I believe that the Me Too movement has been manipulated by the right.

(This became very clear during the witch hunt against Al Franken, who -- in a fair world -- would be starting a run for president right about now. Did you notice that the allegations came to a sudden stop? If Franken got back into politics, another dozen women would suddenly "remember" more he-dared-to-touch-my-waist horrors. The GOP has a limitless budget for that sort of thing.)

For people like Dowd, it's never fair to attack Bernie, and it's never fair to attack the Chapo assholes. But it's always fair to attack the Clintons.

In her recent piece, Modo blames Clinton for Trump's victory. I blame "liberals" like Maureen Dowd, who made Clinton Derangement Syndrome seem hip and progressive. Before that smear campaign started, Hillary Clinton was the most popular woman in America. She was far more popular than Obama.
Clinton is now seen by the public as the stronger leader. A CNN/ORC poll carried out this month offered a direct comparison of the characteristics of both politicians, and in every category, Clinton beats Obama. By double-digit leads, Clinton is seen by more people as a decisive leader and able to manage government effectively. More people also believe Clinton “generally agrees with you on issues you care about,” cares about “people like you,” as well as “sharing your values.” Although it’s not a direct comparison, the same poll puts Clinton on a 59 percent job approval rating from her time as secretary of state. Obama has a 41 percent approval rating.
Never absolve Dowd and the BernieBros for their roles in reversing that perception. Never let the Dowd-ies blind you to the truth told by this graph:

When men in charge work with women who are behaving badly, the men are seen as stoic, good character people for holding things together, when a woman, such as Hillary Clinton, does the exact same thing, she is blamed and skewered by the media.

It is a double standard, Men are reported as holding down the fort when surrounded by female wrongdoings, Women are seen as unable to manage when there are men around them doing wrong.

So women who rise up in the executive or political world will continue to be blamed for the misbehavior of the men within their sphere of influence.
Jimmy Swaggart is back on the air as if nothing ever happened. He was a Television preacher in the 80's who used fire and brimstone to create fear and submission in his followers. Swaggart was found consorting with prostitutes in low end motels. The conservatives should focus on cleaning up their own messes rather than forgiving the men that do bad and then blaming women who have to put with the bad behavior of men.
Conjecture on my part but as to a motive why some members of the print and broadcast news media go out of their way to slander or libel Democrats goes to pedophile priests molesting Irish Catholic children. Many of those kids were left uncounciled and conflate homosexuality with pedophilia. They felt betrayed when the Democratic Party opened its big tent to the GLBT Community. If you look at whose been tormenting Democrats since 2000, a disproportionate number are Irish in the news media.
While I don't (yet?) go along with your extreme anti-Bernie sentiments, I agree with your arguments here. I remember the daycare witch hunts and how impervious people were to rational thought at the time. Has anyone done follow-up on the children and their families who were swept up in this hysteria? Think about how you'd feel if you realized that you were used to convict innocent people and that false memories were implanted in your brain by people who may or may not have realized what they were doing? One of the reasons I had no use for Martha Coakley was her insistence on the truth of the Fells Acres Day Care story and her continued persecution of the Amirault family (see, for example,
The only thing Hillary is even being accused of is not punishing a sexual harasser harsh enough. And the accusation is that she didn't apply a new standard of sexual misconduct 10 years ago. You can wish Hillary would've done more. But you can't accuse her of "shielding" or "protecting" Strider, and you can't use this to call her a fake champion of women or say her feminism is phony. She took the accusations seriously, believed the woman, did an investigation, and seriously punished the perpetrator. To me, that's exactly what #MeToo and supporting women should be about even if you disagree with the specific form of punishment.

Don't forget this all assumes that firing someone for any act of sexual misconduct is the new standard, a consensus I am skeptical exists. And don't ignore that this just happened to come out at the same time it was revealed both that Dutch intelligence has proof of Russian hacking and that Trump tried to fire Mueller. And lastly, it's impossible to overlook that the media company attacking Hillary the most, the failing NYT, enacted a similar punishment to its own perpetrator of sexual misconduct (Glenn Thrush) that it is attacking Hillary for. If the criticism is this proves Hillary doesn't support women and take sexual misconduct seriously, then it is a de facto admission that the failing NYT doesn't either.

I didn't want to believe you, but it is looking more and more like #MeToo is going to be noose around Democrats neck. The new media standard appears to be if anyone working for you wasn't immediately fired for any act of sexual misconduct (Hillary), if any mildly prominent donor turns out be a sexual predator (Weinstein), or if more than a few women make even the smallest accusations of sexual misconduct, then your support of women is hypocritical and you deserve to be driven out of office. And this generously assumes no new standards will be invented on the spot. Good luck.
I think Hillary's campaign consulted their law firm on the appropriate punishment for the aid. I guess they didn't want to end up sued by him for excessive punishment.
Remind me again--wasn't it the Chapo House Bros who insisted that Dems would have to 'bend a knee' if we wanted their support in the future? And Doyle? Wasn't she the Clinton campaign director who stabbed HRC in the back in 2008?

At the moment, I find these on-going attacks on Hillary Clinton just one more distraction in a pattern of distraction to cover the Trumpster's and/or Republican bad news cycle. The most recent attacks came at the moment we learned of the Dutch surveillance of the Cozy Bear hack. And is it a coincidence that the Hillary whack and the redux on the Mueller story was released by no other than Maggie H. at the NYT?

I think not.

People seem to forget the when Hillary left the State Department, she had nearly a 70% approval rating. Your graph, Joe, is a good reminder of that. The Republicans spent the next 4 years putting her through a meat grinder of accusations. Kevin McCarthy even admitted it. I read just this morning that 2 weeks before the 2016 election, twitter bots retweeted ( and I assume targeted) 500,000 Trump messages into the twitter world. You add the sexism, the lies, the gross distortions and it's amazing HRC came out with a nearly 3 million advantage in the popular vote.

Maureen Dowd is inexplicable and unreadable with her Clinton hate. Don't know what the Clintons did to piss the woman off but she is off the charts with her vindictive columns.

As for the Sanders' campaign and Devine's rarely discussed connections to Ukraine? I suspect there is some awkward, even ugly stuff to come out on the whole thing--you know something on the order that Saint Bernard wasn't/isn't a saint and the money sloshing around his campaign was questionable in nature, as was the data breach of Clinton's campaign voter/donor info?

I'm guessing a lot of people will be put on the hot seat in 2018. Let the games begin!

@Peggysue 5:48

Thanks so much to the link to the Haberman expose. Apologies for delayed thanks - I've been offline!
I think there will be continuing slams on HRC, just as there has been on Gore, and for the same reason there was a concerted historical campaign to dirty up JFK's memory.

To make the victims of perfidy and political character assassination, or actual assassination, unsympathetic, to seem undeserving of a just accounting, and deserving their treatments. Yes, to deflect from the crime they suffered at the time, but then to still kick them when they're down (underground, in JFK's case) to prevent their re-rising, or their supporters moving, to make their case.

Three coups, straddling two other acts of constructive treason in 1968 and 1980, and many murders.

"The past is not dead. It is not even past." -- William Faulkner

The last comment makes an important point. The smear campaign against the Clintons is clearly modeled on the posthumous campaign to destroy the reputations of John and Robert Kennedy. Like the anti-Clinton campaign, it was started by the radical right (the stuff about Marilyn Monroe was made up by a guy who wrote pamphlets for the John Birch Society), then embraced by the mainstream media. You can write literally anything about a Kennedy, no matter how vile, and get it published. When Seymour Hersh wrote his hatchet-job book on JFK, the guy who reviewed it for the NYT actually wrote that, after finishing it, readers would think of the assassination as "a form of rough justice."

If you're on Twitter (a bad idea, of course), you can see the BernieBros out in full force this week screaming about how enraged they are that Joe Kennedy III is giving the Democrats' response to Trump's SOTU. They don't know anything about any of the Kennedys, of course -- just that they're rich. These people would have hated FDR.
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