Nel's New Day

October 15, 2016

Trump, Sons Lead Rape Culture

Filed under: Sexism — trp2011 @ 9:52 PM
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Whenever Donald Trump’s children appear, they seem so well-behaved–in great contrast to their father. Even Hillary Clinton praised them in last Sunday’s town hall. Since then, however, Trump’s two sons have shown themselves to be either woefully ignorant or sexist.if-only-women-could-vote





After Nate Silver released voting demographics of the United States showing the differences between men and women, son Eric Trump used the above map on the right as a fundraiser. His email, entitled “Momentum,” stated, “We’re making huge gains against Crooked Hillary that you can see for yourself.”

Eric Trump may not have known that his “momentum” happens only if the 19th Amendment, allowing women to vote in federal elections, is repealed within the next 24 days. Some of Trump’s deplorables, however, are promoting a “rigged election” with their hashtag #repealthe19th.

Trump’s other son, Donald, Jr., is another apple who fell close to the Trump tree in his “family values” and attitudes toward women.

Donald Trump, Jr. in 2013 about women permitted in all-male golf clubs:

 “If you have a guys’ place you have a guys’ place.”

Junior explaining that men “hate having” women around because they complain about things like harassment:

“They stop us from doing what we want to do.”

An excuse Junior provides for his father’s admission that he’s a sexual predator:

“I think sometimes when guys are together they get carried away, and sometimes that’s what happens when alpha personalities are in the same presence.”

More from Junior about sexual harassment:

“If you can’t handle some of the basic stuff that’s become a problem in the workforce today, then you don’t belong in the workforce. Like, you should go maybe teach kindergarten. I think it’s a respectable position. You can’t be negotiating billion-dollar deals if you can’t handle, like, you know.”

Junior mocking women who he accuses of suing just to make money:

“’This is my get-rich-quick scheme. I’m now suing you guys because I feel uncomfortable.’ And by the way, that’s what happens in the world. I can play along, I can be fine, and then I can decide randomly, ’Uh oh, you now have crossed the line, even though I’ve been going with it.’”

Junior in defense of his father’s behavior, including groping women:

“I think it makes him a human. I think it makes him a normal person, not a political robot.”

Trump, Jr. writing about his wife’s breast-feeding as he displays the same lack of respect for women on social media as his father :

“If ur a boob guy this whole lactation thing is amazing the sports bra the wife is wearing is losing the containment battle!!!”

In just the past three days, the number of women who declared that Donald Trump sexually assaulted them has gone from two to 12. This week is sure to bring reports from more women. Yet Republicans cling to the GOP presidential candidate like barnacles. Even some of the national legislators returned after they disavowed him following the Washington Post’s release of the infamous video with Billy Bush, George W. Bush’s cousin, in which Trump claimed to be a sexual predator.

At his rallies, Trump declares that the women who have accused him are too ugly for him to attack. [Left: Rachel Crooks; right: Jessica Crooks; below right; Natasha Stoynoff]


natasha-stoynoffAfraid of violence against her and her family from Trump supporters, Mindy McGillivray, another woman who had described Trump’s sexual assault, said she was leaving the country.

Fox Business Anchor Lou Dobbs, an open Trump supporter, published the address and telephone number of 74-year-old Jessica Leeds, who was assaulted by Trump on an airplane when she was 40 years old. In an attempt to discredit his attack on Leeds, the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post published a report from Englishman Anthony Gilberthorpe who said that Leeds was the aggressor and confessed to him her desire to marry Trump. At the time, he was 18 years old. Since then he has been identified as a serial liar, but the Fox network is delighted to repeat the story.

Six months ago, Republicans panicked about the very thought that transwomen would grope their daughters and wives when they passed laws to keep transwomen out of the women’s bathrooms. Yet the reality that Donald Trump would actually grab “p***y” was passed off as “locker room talk” despite Trump’s admission on a Howard Stern show that he is indeed a sexual predator. Trump, his family, and his supporters are promoters for a rape culture in the United States.

In addition to exposing Donald Trump for the man he is, the women describing his sexually predatory behavior have brought out the problem of workplace sexual assault, particularly prevalent among low-wage workers. Last week, 15 McDonald’s employees filed harassment charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This harassment is so common among hospitality workers that Unite Here, their national labor union, has launched a campaign to address the problem.

Over three-fourths of almost 500 casino workers in the Chicago area reported incidents of sexual harassment. Researcher Sarah Lyons said, “Forty-nine percent of the housekeepers we surveyed said a guest had exposed themselves, flashed them or answered the door naked.” Women sexually harassed at work say that they don’t report these incidents because they fear they won’t have any support. Unite Here is working on legislation to ban guests sexually harassing employees and provide panic buttons to employees who work alone in rooms.

Since women began to reveal Trump’s assaults, more women are opening up about sexual assaults. The live chat helpline for sexual assault accusations, operated by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) had a 33-percent increase.  Calls to the telephone hotline have also gone up by 35 percent. RAINN President Scott Berkowitz said, “A lot of people calling have specifically said that it was the Trump stuff that got them thinking [about calling].”

Yesterday Trump blamed Clinton for plotting “the destruction of U.S. sovereignty” by meeting with global financial powers. On the campaign trail today, Trump is still vehemently denying the avalanche of sexual assault and making baseless accusations ranting about how the election is rigged, vowing to put Hillary Clinton into jail, and charging her with being on drugs at the last debate, calling on her to get tested before the next debate. It may be that he is projecting again after his constant sniffles in both his debate and town hall with Clinton and his uncontrollable shifts in mood and energy levels. The next debate is four days away. As usual, the major question is which Trump will appear.

August 26, 2016

Women’s Vote Can Change the World

Pickets-Women-White-HouseMy mother was born on November 12, 1899, just ten days too late to vote the United States legalized the vote for women. After 72 years of ridicule, imprisonment, forced feedings, and other forms of opposition to women gaining their full citizenship rights, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed on August 18, 1920—thanks to one state legislator from Tennessee who followed his mother’s advice. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the proclamation after the certified record from Tennessee arrived at the capitol.

it's a woman's worldIn the first election, only nine million women, about 35 percent of those eligible, voted, compared to almost twice as many men. Public sentiment followed one of the headlines about the event: “Is suffrage a failure?” For the next 45 years, black women in the South joined black men to eliminate literacy tests, poll tests, and other voter suppression activities. Since 1980, however, women have been the majority at every general election, electing Bill Clinton in 1996 with 11 percent more women’s votes than from men up to 13 percent greater number of votes from women for President Obama in 2008. Whoever thought that the feminist movement failed after 1920 is wrong.

As historian Jo Freeman wrote in A Room at a Time:

 “[Women behind the scenes] prepared women for political work and enlarged their sphere of activity. They did this through education, legitimation and infiltration…. And by doing what was possible, women went into politics the same way they got suffrage: slowly and persistently, with great effort, against much resistance, a room at a time.”

This evolution laid the foundation for women’s progress throughout 96 years, leading to Hillary Clinton’s nomination for presidential candidate this year. The biggest move forward after 1920 was the 1964 Civil Rights Act, initially created to deal with race discrimination. At the last minute, however, the category of sex was added to those of race, color, religion, and national origin that are outlawed in employment discrimination. While no one is sure that this story is accurate, a tale has been told of Virginia’s Howard W. Smith, opponent of all civil rights legislation, adding “sex” to Title VII in order to kill the bill. After the laughter, the Civil Rights Act—with the addition of “sex”—passed.

The first two years after the Civil Rights Act didn’t show much movement forward to support women until another milestone occurred 50 years ago on June 30, 1966. That was the day that the National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded. Thanks to this group’s actions, President Lyndon B. Johnson expanded affirmative action to include women in 1967, and the 1968 Equal Credit Opportunity Act allowed women to get credit—including credit cards—without their husbands’ signatures.

Even so, women weren’t guaranteed an equal education during the late 1960s, and sexual harassment was legal. Domestic violence favored men over women. The movie Twelve Angry Men represented the way that women were barred from serving on juries or had difficulties in being selected as jurors. A clerk advised Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren that permitting women to serve “may encourage lax performance of their domestic duties.” Women were also not employed as TV news anchors, airplane pilots, astronauts, firefighters, movie directors, CEOs—the list was endless.

When women were paid much less, the excuse was that they were single and living with their parents or married and earning “pin money” as a supplement to husbands’ earnings. (The same excuse is used 50 years later to excuse companies from paying teenagers the same wage for the same job as older people.) The medical and law schools that didn’t bar females from being students greatly limited the number of women in classes.

The “pill,” available in 1960 and to all married women after the Supreme Court ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut, was still kept from unmarried women until the Supreme Court ruled that unmarried women also could purchase contraceptives in Baird v. Eisenstadt (1972). The next year saw a Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortions on a limited basis. By 1978, employers were required to hire pregnant women. For the first four decades of NOW, women won pay discrimination lawsuits, and courts decided that the law covered sexual harassment.

The 21st century, however, brought reversals of women’s rights in health and finances. The Supreme Court allowed states to pass unbelievably restrictive anti-abortion laws and even prevent women from getting contraceptives from their insurance. In 2011, the John Roberts’ Supreme Court ruled that thousands of women bringing a class action lawsuit against Walmart for discrimination at work couldn’t sue as a group. Since the Dukes v. Wal-Mart ruling, judges have sided with employers so often that women are now finding it impossible to even find lawyers to take their cases.

Fifty-two years after the equality declared in the Civil Rights Act, women on the average make only 79 cents for every dollar made by a man, and breaking down this statistic by race makes the picture even worse. Black women have to work an additional seven months—19 months—to make the same salary as a man does in one year. That’s a lifetime pay gap of $877,480. one-third of all women in the nation—about 42 million people—live in or on the edge of poverty.

Fifty years later, women still struggle with many of the same issues as in the 1960s, frequently through the combination of racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism. Rape is illegal, but too often men are not punished for their behavior because women are accused of being at fault. Protection for women because of domestic violence can be based on a woman’s race, gender identity, and zip code. Because of this intersectionalism of prejudice, NOW plans to focus on reproductive rights, ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, and a criminal justice system that puts thousands of female victims of sexual assault—many of them women of color—into prison, especially with newer laws mandating sentences.

Bobbi1The year 2016 marks 50 years of women running in the Boston Marathon. Bobbi Gibbs (left) was told that “women are not physiologically able to run a marathon.” She entered without an application and beat over half the field in 3 hours, 21 minutes. The next year, Kathrine Switzer entered the marathon under her initials and beat her boyfriend, who had thought “if a girl can run a marathon, I can run a marathon.” Her time was only 4 hours 20 minutes, but she was physically attacked by the race co-director. In 1972, the AAU changed its rule barring women from running more than a mile and a half, and Title IX provided equality in education for women.

Women need one more amendment to the U.S. Constitution: The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Originally written by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman, the proposed amendment to guarantee equal rights for women was first introduced in Congress in 1923 and introduced in every session between 1923 and 1970. Yet it reached the floor only once in 1946 when it was defeated in the Senate, 38 to 35. In 1972, however, the ERA passed the Congress and was sent to state legislatures for ratification.

Phyllis Schlafly mobilized conservative women with the fear that they would have to use the same toilets as men, and the amendment failed to get four of the necessary 38 state ratifications by 1977 with a deadline of March 22, 1979. Later five states rescinded their ratifications, which meant that the ERA failed to get enough states although the deadline was extended three years. This is the text of the amendment that so terrified conservatives throughout almost a century.

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Activists have pushed for the ERA over the long haul just as they did for the vote. The amendment has been introduced in every Congressional session since 1982. As of now, 11 states have adopted constitutions or constitutional amendments providing that equal rights under the law shall not be denied because of sex.

When it was founded, “NOW’s purpose was to take action, to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society,” according to Terry O’Neill, the president of NOW. After 50 years, we have a start.

On the 96th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the one that allowed women to vote, think what our country would be like in the 21st century if brave people had not fought for 72 years to make women equal citizens of the United States.

August 26, 2013

Women’s Equality Day: Don’t Destroy Right To Vote

President Barack Obama has declared that today is Women’s Equality Day; 93 years ago the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, mandating that women in the United States can vote, became law, thanks to 24-year-old Harry Burn, a member of the Tennessee Assembly, and his mother, Mrs. J.L. Burn (Febb Ensminger) of Niota.

Proposed by Congress on June 14, 1919, the amendment needed ratification from a minimum of 36 states out of the existing 48. By Summer 1920, 35 states had approved the amendment. Three more states refused to call special sessions, but Tennessee met to vote on the proposed amendment. Burn was committed to vote against the ratification until he received a letter from his mother, which he held during the voting session on August 18, 1920. The letter read in part:

“Dear Son: Hurrah and vote for suffrage! Don’t keep them in doubt! I notice some of the speeches against. They were bitter. I have been watching to see how you stood, but have not noticed anything yet. Don’t forget to be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt put the “rat” in ratification. Your mother”

Burn’s “yea” vote broke the 48-48 tie, allowing the amendment to move into the U.S. Constitution. The next day he spoke to the House, telling them that his mother had asked him to vote in favor of the amendment and that she had always taught him that “a good boy always does what his mother asks him to do.”

Nine-three years after Burn voted for women’s suffrage, the constitutional right to vote is in danger. Within the past few years, 12 states passed laws requiring that voters show photo identification in order to vote, and another 13 states are considering this legislation. Other punitive laws include shortening the time to vote, restricting the number of precincts, limited voter registration, purging legitimate voters from registration, and putting hurdles in the way of voter reinstatement. It is estimated that at least 5 million legal voters may be disenfranchised from voting, despite the fact that voter fraud at the polls is almost non-existent.

Currently North Carolina is the epitome of voting restrictions, trying to prevent voting by college students although the Supreme Court ruled against this practice. Ironically, whenever Gov. Pat McCrory was asked about the specifics of these laws, he indicated that he didn’t know what was in them although he signed them.

These decisions from GOP-controlled county election boards are shown by the the one in Watauga County:

  • Eliminate the Appalachian State University (ASU) early one-stop voting site.
  • Outlaw any verbal public comment at Board meetings.
  • Require that the 27-year Elections Board Director not be allowed to meet with anyone in her office without supervision.
  • Mandate that anyone calling into the local BOE office have their names recorded.
  • Move the “New River” precinct (a heavily populated precinct in and around the town of Boone) out into the very corner of the precinct into a virtually unknown location and as far away from municipal voters as possible.
  • Combine three Boone precincts into one Super Precinct consisting of 9,300 voters and 35 parking spaces—and as far away from Appalachian State University as possible.

The Supreme Court ruling against the Voting Rights Act, allowing the Justice Department to allow punitive voting “reforms” from going into effect, is just one step to support the GOP plan to win elections by stopping Democrats from voting. A bigger problem is the opinion that Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in an Arizona case about its requirement that new voters present citizenship documents, stating that states—not Congress—decide who has the right to vote.

Also Bush v. Gore (2000), which appointed George W. Bush as president, ruled that U.S. citizens don’t have a constitutional right to vote for the president. State legislatures control that right through their legal ability to appoint presidential electors. The only control that the constitution has on voting is to ban discrimination on the basis of race (15th Amendment), sex (19th Amendment), and age (26th Amendment). In fact, when Susan Myrick explained the North Carolina law, she said, that people who went to the wrong precinct could use provisional ballots. She then said, “[The provisional ballot] probably won`t be counted.”

Not all Republicans are satisfied with the GOP attempt to stop voters. When former Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke in North Carolina, he said that the state’s voting restrictions are bad for the public—and the Republican Party.

“I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote. It immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs. These kinds of actions do not build on the base. It just turns people away. You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud. How can it be widespread and undetected?”

Dallas County is the first county in Texas to request an injunction against the state’s voter ID law. By a 3-2 vote, the commissioners’ court stated that the requirements would disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters. A hearing is set for September 27 with a trial possibly next summer. Meanwhile, several counties have either had or are scheduling elections.

Texas is already trying to defend itself against a federal lawsuit because a federal court has found that the state used racial discrimination to draw its district lines. Texas AG Greg Abbott’s defense uses the claim that the state drew the lines in an effort to win the elections: “[i]n 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats.”

Following is a letter that I wrote to my local newspaper. Readers are welcome to use any part of it that they wish to educate their community about the voter suppression in the United States:

“To the Editor:

“Seventy-one years ago, 92-year-old Rosanell Eaton was one of the first blacks in North Carolina to pass a literacy test allowing her to vote. In the year of her first vote, 1942, women in the United States had been able to vote for 22 years after the 19th Amendment to the Constitution became law on August 26, 1920—42 years after it was first proposed.

“Now, 93 years after women earned the vote, more females vote than men, but state voter-suppression laws are threatening women with loss of the vote by demanding photo ID at the polls. The argument for these draconian laws is voter fraud. Misrepresentation at the polls, however, has averaged one case each year for the past ten years. On the other hand, photo ID laws disenfranchise millions of voters.

“Eaton is one of those. Her name on her birth certificate differs from the name on her driver’s license and voter registration card, and taking care of this problem will require excessive time and money. For example, when 91-year-old Virginia Lasser went to the Tennessee department of motor vehicles to get a photo ID, she found a line of 100 people in front of her, no place for her to sit, and no help from state workers even after she asked. Lasater has voted and worked on campaigns for 70 years.

“Dorothy Cooper, 96, took a number of documents, including her birth certificate, to get a photo ID, but the birth certificate had her maiden name. She was denied, despite the fact that she voted under the Jim Crow laws of the 20th century.

“Viviette Applewhite, 93, marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. 50 years ago but can’t get a photo ID because her papers were stolen from her purse. She paid the fees to the state of Pennsylvania for a birth certificate but still wasn’t able to get it.

“Many elderly people don’t have birth certificates because they were born at home. Some states require a birth certificate to get a photo ID, but people cannot get a birth certificate without a photo ID. The certificates also cost between $7 and $30, a large amount of money for the very poor.

“The voter suppression laws don’t refer specifically to women, but that gender is affected in greater numbers than men. Most men have not changed their names since they were born and are more likely to have documents from their work and their military service. Women who worked as domestics are far less likely to have Social Security cards and drivers’ licenses than men.

“Only 66 percent of voting-age women with proof of citizenship have a document with their current legal names. Also 52 percent of women don’t have their legal names on their birth certificates. In some states, women are required to bring both their birth certificates and documents proving legal citizenship—twice as many documents as men have to bring to the polls in order to vote.

“At this time, over a dozen states have photo ID laws, and another 15 have pending legislation or laws that are being questioned in court. With the Supreme Court decision that states can make any restrictive laws that they wish, that situation may change. Currently, Oregon is the only state in the nation that requires vote by mail although occasionally politicians consider changing the law, using the argument that many other activities such as buying alcohol or flying require photo ID. We hope that they will remember that transportation and purchases are not guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution; voting is.

“If you are one of the people in the United States who think there is no problem in obtaining the necessary photo ID in states with these laws, you are a member of the elite. The women of the United States and of Oregon celebrate the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and Oregon’s voting laws that give us equality in the voting process.

You can commemorate Women’s Equality Day by spreading the word about voter suppression in the United States.

August 26, 2012

The Vote – Use It or Lose It!

Today is Women’s Equality Day. Ninety-two years ago today, women throughout the United States gained the right to vote because 36 states approved the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. For the last few generations, women have taken this right for granted, sometimes not even voting. Now a majority of the states have decided to restrict the right to vote, particularly the right of women to vote.

When women change their last name after marriage, updating documents for photo ID may not be simple. A survey from the Brennan Center for Justice shows that only 48 percent of all voting-age women without ready access to their U.S. birth certificates have birth certificates with their current legal name. I know that mine doesn’t. Of the women who have easy access to any proof of citizenship, only 66 percent of voting-age women have a document with their current legal name. Therefore as many as 32 million voting-age women may have no document available that confirms both their citizenship and their current name. Beyond that are women who might use nicknames on a document that doesn’t match their birth certificates.

Those who support mandated photo IDs are fond of pointing out how buying alcohol, flying, entering some buildings, etc., etc. all require photo IDs. They are missing the most important difference between these activities and voting: everything that they cite as requiring photo IDs is a privilege; voting is a right. Or it should be.

During this past year, white males have worked harder than ever to silence women’s voices. Rush Limbaugh called a woman who argued for contraception a slut. This was after Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) refused to let any women speak at a hearing on contraception. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) presented his ridiculous explanation of how raped women can’t get pregnant. In censuring a female colleague for using the word “vagina” during floor debate, Michigan Rep. Wayne Schmidt compared it to “giving the kid a time out for a day.”

Fox‘s Andrea Tantaros said, “No woman should aspire to be [Sandra Fluke].” Earlier this summer, Brian Kilmeade, co-host of the morning show Fox & Friends, said, “Women are everywhere. We’re letting them play golf and tennis now. It’s out of control.”

Despite the  Women’s Equality Day, women certainly have not achieved equality. The U.S. places 79th in the world in rankings of the number of women political leaders behind countries like Sudan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Morocco, Cambodia, and Bolivia. One of our country’s political parties is determined to deny women equal pay for equal work, prevent family leave, stop organizations (including Planned Parenthood) that provide free care for women, block contraception, outlaw abortion, keep lesbians from being included in the Violence against Women Act, and destroy Medicare and Medicaid which disproportionately affects women. In fact, Limbaugh has said that what’s wrong with this country is women voting.

The term “Women’s Equality Day” was coined in 1971 by the federal government at a time when women had less equality than now. The homage paid to Neil Armstrong since his death last week brings up the little-known fact that women tested for this first voyage to the moon but were denied the opportunity.

Jerri Truhill, one of this group called Mercury 13, said in an NPR interview in 2007, “It was very grueling. It was very painful. As a matter fact, some of the tests, we were told, we came out better than the men did as far as being suited for spaceflight.” The Mercury 13: The Untold Story of Thirteen American Women and the Dream of Space Flight by Martha Ackmann is a book for youth that gives details about the project and the women who participated.

The excuse for stopping the testing was that women didn’t meet the educational educational requirements, those that prevented women from participation. On the other hand, John Glenn was excused from one of these requirements, a necessary college degree. A woman was not accepted into the astronaut program until 17 years later with Sally Ride’s inclusion in 1978. Women are still struggling for military equality, and Republicans now want  to remove them from combat situations.

As Madeline Albright wrote, “Women will never go back to the days where we could not control our own reproductive health care decisions–and we will not remain silent in the face of vicious misogyny and anti-women hate speech.” Yet she added that “rights never stay won” and that “[e]ach generation must stand up and fight to hold accountable those who would try to take our rights away.”

If women want to keep control over themselves, we need to vote and think what we’re voting to preserve or gain.


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