Nel's New Day

July 4, 2021

The 4th – “Christian,” DDT’s Ranking from the Bottom, Times Arizona’s Ballots Move

“What to the slave is the Fourth of July?” Frederick Douglass posed this question on July 5, 1852 before the Emancipation Proclamation, Civil War, and ratification of the 13th Amendment. The original U.S. Constitution defined men as “White men” when declaring equalty.

Women couldn’t vote in federal elections until 1920 and lacked other rights until the last part of the 20th century such as obtaining credit cards in their own name. Females still lack reproductive health rights in most of the GOP states.  Indigenous people weren’t U.S. citizens until 1924 and couldn’t vote until 1947. Other ethnic groups were banned from voting on July 4, 1776: Jews until 1828, people with Asian ancestry until 1952, Washington, D.C. residents until 1961, etc. In 1856, North Carolina was the last state to allow non-property Whites to vote. Thus today people celebrate freedom for all on a date that permitted freedom only for property-owning White people.For most of the time since the Civil War, laws and violent actions by Whites stopped Blacks from voting in many parts of the nation. On the last day of the 2021 term, the Supreme Court permitted an anti-voting law so onerous that minorities and the poor will be stopped from voting in Arizona; the law can move to other GOP-controlled states.  

 In the 21st century, evangelicals are declaring the United States was created as a “Christian nation” to block others from fully participating in the “freedom” of the country. In 2019, Marjorie Taylor Greene, now a Georgia-elected House member, told Muslims Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashinda Tlaib (D-MI) they must retake their congressional oath on a Bible after using the Quran for the ceremony. Greene claimed the two women had performed an illegal act by not using a Christian Bible despite of the constitution demanding no “religious text.”

Fewer than ten years ago, the constitutions of eight states prevented non-religious people from being elected to office. Of three groups banned from holding office—ministers, atheists, and duelists—Tennessee plans to allow ministers to be elected. The constitution will not overturn the requirement of belief in God to “hold any office in the civil department of this state.” Duelists are still banned.

Christians, especially evangelicals, often claim the U.S. was founded as a “Christian nation,” using their religion to discriminate against groups such as LGBTQ. Yet they are wrong. Although people living in American colonies before 1776 were ruled by a religious nation, the British Empire, U.S. independence led to both religious and political independence. Even Baptists in the 18th century opposed government religion. In the 1790s, however, deism led to evangelical popularity, increasing in the 19th century and leading to the falsehood about a “Christian nation” to overcome secular principles within the nation’s founding.

Protestant Christian principles weren’t used to create founding documents and organize the government; these came from the Enlightenment, Whig, and classical republican theories for a secular governance. The U.S. became the first nation in history to have no religious disqualifications from officeholding and civil engagement, a legitimacy based on popular will and not a higher power.

Most founders were theological liberals who based the nation structure on a rational perspective. The few with more conventional Christian beliefs saw no conflict between faith and Enlightenment natural rights. The Declaration of Independence referred to rights as “endowed by their Creator,” but the U.S. Constitution has no reference to any deity except for the date “in the Year of our Lord,” added after the draft was approved at the Constitutional Convention. The text has no religious tests for officeholders, no national religion, and no interference with free exercise of faith, including lack of faith. Founders believed religion would corrupt the state and the state would corrupt religion.

The 1797 Treaty of Tripoli stated, “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” The document was introduced by George Washington, signed by John Adams, and unanimously ratified by a Senate half-full of the constitution’s signers. Conservatives in the mid-20th century ignored the Founders’ wishes, adding “one nation under God” to the Pledge and “In God We Trust” as the national motto. Along came the National Day of Prayer and National Prayer Breakfast to keep conservatives happy. In 1984, Richard John Neuhaus converted from being a Lutheran minister to a Catholic priest, declaring Catholicism, declaring politics as “unavoidably a moral concept, and that means the religiously grounded moral convictions of the American people cannot be excluded from the public square.” Evangelical followers absorbed the fiction of the U.S. as a “Christian nation.” Some evangelical leaders’ lies:

  • Fifty-two of the original 55 signers of the Constitution were “evangelical believers.”
  • The First Amendment refers only to Protestant denominations, thus a “Christian nation.”
  • “We do not restrict other people’s right to worship however they choose to worship, but that doesn’t men we treat all religions equally… Every other religion [that Christianity] is an poster, an infidel.”—David Barton
  • Test oaths and Christian establishments in the earliest state constitutions still apply today.

On the 4th of July, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) became 4th—from the bottom—in C-SPAN’s Historians Survey of Presidential Leadership. Only Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, and James Buchanan are below him. DDT is even five ranks below Herbert Hoover who caused the Great Depression. He did manage to achieve 44th—bottom—for Moral Authority and Administrative Skills. The GOP has made DDT the “leader” of their political party.

Barrack Obama moved into tenth place from earlier 12th rankings. Abraham Lincoln has ranked #1 since the survey started in 2000 as well as George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt in the next two places.

C-SPAN respondents were kind to DDT: In 2018, before COVID, DDT’s two impeachments, and the Capitol insurrection, a Boise State University survey rated DDT last. Even respondents identifying as GOP-leaning put DDT at 40th.

At #41 in competency, DDT hopes for a return to the White House in a fraudulent ballot count investigation in Maricopa County (AZ). Since the unknowledgeable company, Cyber Ninjas, undertook a “fraudit” of 2.1 million ballots over two months ago, the scandal continues, this one sexual harassment complaints by workers. Several women who complained about the harassment to management said management ignored them although witnesses and victims corroborated another victim’s account.

Complaints addressed more than one offender, but one man particularly cited in the complaint was kept employed for a month after management was alerted about his behavior. He demanded dates from women he considered attractive, engaged in unwanted touching, and made comments such as “you showing off your butt?” When he was rebuffed, he insulted them and made angry outbursts. A witness said:

“This issue seemed to stem from some type of anger over women having authority over him.”

The GOP Arizona Senate President Karen Fann released the following statement from the project’s “lead vendor,” possibly Cyber Ninjas:

“I have never received any written complaints of any type of sexual harassment, nor has a complaint like this been brought to my attention. The closest thing I can think of is I am aware of a single table manager who was cussing a lot, and had apparently told an inappropriate joke. We fired him immediately.”

For the 4th time, ballots and voting machines have been moved, this time to clear the coliseum for a gun show. In May, the workers had to leave for several days of high school graduations. Originally, the “fraudit” was scheduled for one week, starting April 23. A spokesman said the company has “a little more work to do.” An observer watching the process for Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the chief elections officer, explained the delay may have been caused by workers trying to reconcile their own numbers. One worker asked why a sound process resulted in so many mistakes.

New procedures are constantly introduced as recently as this past week when workers started weighing all the boxes of ballots, supposedly to find more ballots. Ryan Macias, former acting director of certification and testing for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, said:

“They are scrambling. They are tired. They are making mistakes. And the entire thing is chaotic.”

Hobbs wondered if the ongoing delays are to financially benefit fundraisers to obtain private funds supplementing the $150,000 in taxpayer dollars that the Senate appropriated for the process. Costs are now up to several millions, and Maricopa County must already pay over $6 million for new voting machines after the process compromised the old ones. She is also concerned about the safety and security of ballots as they are frequently moved, this time to a 19,000- square-foot exhibit hall at the fairgrounds building not temperature-controlled for July temperatures.

Last year, both state and federal judges rejected allegations of fraud or irregularities in Arizona’s vote after Joe Biden won the state by about 11,000 votes. In Maricopa County, hand recounts of randomly-selected ballots selected by both political parties and a forensic audit by federally accredited labs verified no widespread fraud. A QAnon film released last week, however, reinforces the GOP fantasy of a stolen election in Arizona.  

Enjoy your Fourth of July before Republicans kill democracy.

October 3, 2020

DDT: Week 193 – His Worst Week, Thus Far

After his disastrous debate on Tuesday, many people thought the week couldn’t get worse for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). That was until last night when he was airlifted from the White House to Walter Reed hospital. Today, a little more is known about DDT’s health problems after he announced his diagnosis with COVID-19 less than 36 hours earlier. This morning, Sean Conley, the White House doctor, gave a cheery report about DDT although he waffled when a reporter repeatedly asked if DDT had been on oxygen in the hospital. Indicating DDT may have been positive longer than his early Friday morning announcement, Conley referred to “72 hours into the diagnosis” and then tried to back down on the timeline. He also refused to say when DDT was first diagnosed. Pulmonologist Brian Garibaldi told reporters DDT had received an experimental antibody treatment 48 hours earlier

DDT’s chief of staff Mark Meadows gave a different report about DDT’s condition:

“The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning, and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

Meadows also reported that DDT’s oxygen “dropped rapidly” before he was taken to the hospital. Furious because of Meadows’ report, DDT released a video and photographs of himself working in the hospital.

Conley said the team looks toward the 7- to 10-day mark of the virus’s course which can bring a second phase of symptoms, but the public doesn’t know when that will be. The obfuscation, combined with the administration being well known for lying, indicates future concealment of DDT’s health condition.

DDT didn’t even have a test for COVID-19 before Tuesday’s debate as the candidates agreed. At the very least, he might have tested negative and still been able to infect others; in the worst scenario, he knew he had contracted the disease and hid it. In the latter case, he would have deliberately exposed his opponent, Joe Biden, all Biden’s guests at the debate, moderator Chris Wallace, and anyone else working the event.

More Republicans are reporting positive tests for the virus. Chris Christie, who also attended the “super-spreader” event where DDT nominated Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, now tests positive. The 58-year-old also prepped DDT for his rude, angry performance against Joe Biden at the first—and perhaps only—debate. Also testing positive is the third GOP senator in just a few days, Ron Johnson, 65, has become well known for using false Russian propaganda in a committee report intended to damage Biden’s election responses.

With several GOP senators forced to isolate from COVID-19 and others who should quarantine themselves because of exposure to the virus, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recessed the Senate until October 19. He maintains, however, that the Judiciary Committee can meet on a virtual basis to move Barrett to the floor for confirmation. If they do not, McConnell can put the vote on the floor without committee acceptance. Two questions are whether McConnell can carry through with his promise to meet for a vote and whether he will have enough GOP senators out of isolation and/or quarantine to confirm her.

Because Barrett tested positive for coronavirus last summer and now tests negative, it might be assumed she can no longer infect anyone with COVID-19. Coronavirus, however, is highly unpredictable. Senators who met with her in the past week might have some concerns about whether they become infected. On the House side, several representatives traveled with DDT last week before returning to the floor for several votes. Since DDT’s diagnosis, both congressional chambers have had an outbreak of testing.  

Friday, after the announcement of DDT’s and Melania Trump’s positive diagnosis for the virus, HHS Secretary Alex Azar testified the Trump family cannot be expected to follow recommended public health recommendations because “the protective aspect around them is a different situation than the rest of us” and they live in a “protective bubble.” When asked to wear masks at the debate, DDT’s family refused despite it being the rule of the debate and the venue. Azar then claimed the virus spread is a matter of “individual responsibility” and avoided a question from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) about DDT packing his recent rallies where he refused to acknowledge the virus severity. Azar said people should wash their hands, wear a mask, watch distancing, and “evaluate [their] individual circumstances.”

Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany looked like a fool after she called the Supreme Court nominee a “Rhodes scholar.” Corrected, she responded, “My bad.” Barrett attended Rhodes College, a Tennessee liberal arts school with approximately 2,000 students; a Rhodes Scholar wins a prestigious scholarship award to attend the University of Oxford in England. Jessica Valenti tweeted, “I’ve been to Rhode Island so I, too, am a Rhodes Scholar.” Other “Rhodes Scholars” wrote about their connections to “roads,” a book report on pro-wrestler Dusty Rhodes, and poet Robert Frost for “The Road Not Taken.”

Over 1,500 Rhodes College alumni signed a letter protesting Barrett’s nomination because “both her record and the process that has produced her nomination are diametrically opposed to the values of truth, loyalty, and service that we learned at Rhodes.” The letter asked the Senate to reject her nomination.

As DDT receives care in the hospital, his EPA is making others sick with new guidelines putting more lead, arsenic, and mercury into the air. With this rollback of a 25-year-old policy, industrial plants and refineries can increase deadly pollution such as carcinogens by no longer using maximum achievable control technology (MACT) during their operations. For decades, plants installed the technology to reduce pollution 95 to 98 percent, but EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former employee of the fossil fuel industry, said rolling back requirements would provide “meaningful incentives for investment that prevents hazardous air pollution.” Translation: permitting corporations to release two to ten times more pollutants will make them want to make restrictions. Another lawsuit in sight.

In a ploy for reelection this year, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) promised to reject Barrett because the process is too close to the election. Her past record shows she’ll cave in again as she broke promises to not vote for tax cuts for the wealthy until McConnell offered something he didn’t provide and not vote for Brett Kavanaugh as SCOTUS justice until he said he wasn’t anti-abortion. His past and current record shows he opposes abortion. Last February, Collins’ super PAC took $150,000 from a group connected to the defense contractor Navatek that Collins helped receive million in contracts. This week, Martin Kao, Navatek’s owner and Collins’ major donor, was arrested for bank fraud and money laundering. He’s also suspected of lying on two applications to get money from the CARES Act PPP for small businesses and may have transferred $2 million of the PPE loans to his personal account. He told the bank he had connections with “multiple unnamed U.S. senators” to get the loans who advised him on the application process and emailed the bank that a U.S. senator and member of the House would be “stepping in, if our application was getting stalled.”

Chad Wolf is chugging his way toward confirmation after illegally serving as acting DHS secretary for almost 11 months. Senate Republicans passed him out of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee after he lied under oath, this time claiming he didn’t create the family separation program. Internal memos show he did. The consulting firm of Wolf’s wife got millions of dollars from DHS contracts during Wolf’s agency leadership, but Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI said Wolf “has done a pretty good job based on all the things he has to deal with as secretary.” That includes Wolf’s refusal to follow the Supreme Court’s DACA ruling. While Wolf lied and Republicans approved, a federal judge blocked his policy of asylum fees because Wolf probably doesn’t legally serve in the position.

Yesterday, I wrote about Fox network firing Kim Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr’s girlfriend, on a sexual harassment complaint from her female assistant. DDT had used Guilfoyle’s speech on the first night of his nomination convention to bring back women voters. In a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, Biden leads DDT in this demographic by thirty percentage points. Jane Mayer’s complete article contains more details

The events of the past week have made media coverage of DDT’s tax fraud largely disappear, but Republicans are starting a probe. House Ways and Means Committee minority leader Kevin Brady (R-TX) plans to investigate the New York Times for criminal activity in obtaining the information. In Just Security, Daniel Shaviro discusses the “grave national security concern” from DDT’s “impending financial liability to unknown lenders, and of pervasive conflicts of interest as president.”

The man inaugurated as president of the United States is in the hospital with a serious case of COVID-19, the numbers of infections are rising throughout the United States, and states have decided to open up businesses and relax other guidelines for a disease that caused 7.6 million infections and almost 215,000 deaths from coronavirus in seven months. No one said the nation’s leaders are “smart.”

November 28, 2017

WaPo Outs O’Keefe, DDT Hides

A characteristic of fascism is to destroy a free press, and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has obsessed with getting rid of the First Amendment through his term “fake news” for media outlets except Fox since he went on the campaign trail. The greatest fake news, however, comes from the far right, for example James O’Keefe, head of the falsely named Project Veritas, that led the destruction of ACORN and the smearing of Planned Parenthood which have helped hundreds of millions of people.

The latest destructive attempt from O’Keefe was designed to protect alleged pedophile Roy Moore and directed at the Washington Post.  Jaime T. Phillips, 41, told one of the newspaper’s reporters that Moore helped her get an abortion after he made her pregnant when she was 15. In her meetings with different reporters, she repeatedly asked them to promise her that her story would keep Moore from being elected.

Professional journalists, however, tend to check out stories before they are published, and these reporters looked into the information that she gave them. Phillips said she had lived in Alabama for only one summer and decided to go public after she saw the news while she worked at NFM Lending in Westchester (NJ). But her cellphone had an Alabama prefix, and NFM has no offices in Westchester County. Phillips used a Georgia driver’s license when she was asked for identification. The reporter asked Phillips about a web GoFundMe site that stated:

“I’m moving to New York! I’ve accepted a job to work in the conservative media movement to combat the lies and deceipt of the liberal MSM. I’ll be using my skills as a researcher and fact-checker to help our movement. I was laid off from my mortgage job a few months ago and came across the opportunity to change my career path.”

Phillips said that a job with the Daily Caller had fallen through and that her interviewer there was Kathy Johnson. The Daily Caller’s executive editor, Paul Conner, said that no one by that name works there and that no other top editors had interviewed her. (Below: WaPo reporter Stephanie McCrummen, left, interviews Jaime Phillips. Credit Dalton Bennett/The Washington Post) 

The GoFundMe site has been erased, and reporters saw her going to the New York offices of the organization that sets up “stings” for false cover stories and doctored videos to lie about different groups.

Project Veritas had posted a request on its Facebook page in March for twelve “undercover reporters,” and a posting for the “journalist” job warned that the job “is not a role for the faint of heart.” The job’s listed goal: “To adopt an alias persona, gain access to an identified person of interest and persuade that person to reveal information.” Required tasks include “Learning a script,” “Preparing a background story to support your role,” “Gaining an appointment or access to the target of the investigation,” and “Operating concealed recording equipment.”

Staff at Project Veritas are involved a variety of criminal charges. Mississippi and Utah stripped the group of a license to raise money in those states because it failed to disclose O’Keefe’s conviction on state applications. A Veritas employee, former television producer Robert J. Halderman, was sentenced to six months in jail in 2010 after he was accused of trying to blackmail late-night host David Letterman. O’Keefe has pleaded guilty to entering a government office under false pretenses in an attempt to bug then-Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) congressional office, tried to lure a female CNN reporter onto a boat filled with sex toys and seduce the reporter in a “sting,” and was forced to pay a former video target $100,000. DDT’s campaign used O’Keefe’s highly edited videos in a false claim that the election was rigged against DDT. (James O’Keefe, left)

The Trump Foundation donated $10,000 to Project Veritas.

O’Keefe has admitted to Phillips’ scam, saying that the “investigative journalist” had her “cover blown.” Yesterday, he released a video “inside the Washington Post” with WaPo employees talking about how the editorial section opposes DDT and how DDT is good for business. No news there.

False stories about Moore and the WaPo have come from other sources. The conservative Gateway Pundit reported that a reporter offered a woman $1,000 to accuse Roy Moore although WaPo doesn’t pay people for information. An Alabama pastor claimed a reporter was looking for women “willing to make damaging remarks” about Moore for money. No one associated with The Post made any such call. A man claiming to be a WaPo reporter offered up to $7,000 if they were “willing to make damaging remarks” about Moore.

The victor in this sordid story is the journalism that works to write the truth. James O’Keefe won’t quit, but the journalists will continue to fact-check their stories as long as a fascist regime doesn’t completely take over the United States.

The losers are the women who are trying to tell the world about the sexual assault and sexual harassment that they suffer. This farce creates doubt for brave people who talk about what they endure from those in power who think that they can sexually force themselves on anyone.

The tragedy is that some powerful men still escape even if the women are credible. Sixteen women have come forward to report sexual assault and/or harassment by the man inaugurated as the United States president. These are their stories.

  • Jessica Leeds (1970s): DDT grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt while he sat next to her on an airplane. “He was like an octopus. His hands were everywhere.”
  • Kristin Anderson (early 1990s): DDT put his hand up her skirt and touched her genitals at a Manhattan nightclub; she had never met him.
  • Jill Harth (1993): DDT sexually assaulted her in his daughter Ivanka’s bedroom.
  • Lisa Boyne (mid-1990s): DDT made women walk across a table in front of him and “stuck his head right underneath their skirts.” He commented on their genitals and whether they were wearing underwear.
  • Cathy Heller (1997): DDT tried to forcibly kiss her while he was married to Marla Maples.
  • Temple Taggart (1997): DDT forcibly kissed her and other Miss USA Pageant candidates.
  • Karena Virginia (1998): DDT approached her at the US Open, made sexual comments about her body, and groped her. He said, “Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know who I am?”
  • Tasha Dixon (2001): DDT came into the contests’ dressing room; the former Miss Arizona said the girls were either topless or naked. In 2005, DDT bragged about doing it and said, “I sort of get away with things like that.”
  • Mindy McGillivray (2003): DDT groped her while she was helping photograph a Ray Charles concert at Mar-a-Lago.
  • Rachel Crooks (2005): DDT “kissed me directly on the mouth” when she was a 22-year-old receptionist in Trump Tower.
  • Natasha Stoynoff (2005): DDT was “pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat: after taking her into a room with Melania Trump waiting outside. She was interviewing DDT for People magazine.
  • Jessica Drake (mid-2000s): DDT “grabbed” her and two other women and kissed them “without asking permission” and then offered her $10,000 and use of his plane if she would come back to his room.
  • Ninni Laaksonen (2006): DDT groped the former Miss Finland when she was preparing for a TV appearance.
  • Samantha Holvey (2006): DDT lined up contestants when she was Miss North Carolina so he could step “in front of each girl and look you over from head to toe like we were just meat, we were just sexual objects, that we were not people.”
  • Summer Zervos (2007): DDT met with the a contestant on The Apprentice about getting a job at the Trump Tower, greeted her with an “open-mouthed” kiss, groped her breast, and, as she attempted to push him off, “thrusted his genitals” against her. She has filed a defamation lawsuit against DDT.
  • Cassandra Searles (2013): DDT “grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room” as he treated Miss USA competitors “like cattle.”

This list doesn’t include the woman who initiated a lawsuit for rape when she was only 13 years old. She dropped the suit after threats against her, according to her attorneys. A court deposition and Harry Hurt III’s 1993 book, Lost Tycoon, describes DDT’s violent rape of Ivana Trump, his wife at the time and mother of Eric, Donald Jr., and Ivanka. DDT’s lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen, said that a man cannot rape his spouse.

A tape from Access Hollywood describes DDT’s assaults in his own words. When the tape was first released, DDT admitted it was true, but now he claims that the video is not authentic. The program stands behind its authenticity. DDT also tries to hide from his assaults by saying that some of the women are too ugly for him to attack.

As long as DDT hides in his Oval Office, the United States will continue its culture of sexual assault.

November 12, 2017

‘Family Values’ GOP Protects Sexual Predators

Filed under: Religion — trp2011 @ 8:40 PM
Tags: , ,

Alabama Supreme Court justice, Roy Moore terrorized the LGBTQ community for decades, breaking the law to persecute people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. He compared homosexuality to bestiality and frequently called it a “crime against nature.” Moore used his religious belief to claim that “the transgenders don’t have rights” and the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize marriage equality was “even worse” than its declaration that blacks are property in the Dred Scott case (1857).

The accusation that he had sexually molested at least four teenage girls, one of them below the age of consent, was comparable to dropping a bomb. Massive numbers of women publicly accused their sexual assaulters this past fall, and Republicans have gloated because the predators have been part of the progressive party. Now one of their own is in the hot seat, and the GOP is not happy.

Moore is exactly one month away from the general election on December 12 to pick a U.S. senator, and he says he won’t quit. If he did, his name couldn’t be removed from the ballot. Moore took the primary from incumbent, Luther Strange, appointed to his position by former Gov. Robert Bentley after Jess Sessions became the U.S. AG. Strange was investigating Bentley for sexual relations with a close aide that led to his wife of over 50 years divorcing him. Bentley pled guilty to charges and resigned when the legislature began impeachment proceedings against him. The year before Bentley resigned, Alabama’s house speaker Mike Hubbard was convicted and imprisoned for felony violations of the state’s ethics laws.

Officials have asked the Gov. Kay Ivey (R) to postpone the election, but she has no plans to do this. Moore can’t be replaced because ballots have already been mailed, and state law requires that a replacement nominee be filed at least 76 days before an election. She had earlier changed the date for the election. Bentley said that Strange’s appointment was until 2018, but Ivey changed that to 2017, saying that “people should vote for a replacement U.S. Senator as soon as possible.”

Republicans knew what they were getting with Moore. He was the only judge on the state Supreme Court to exonerate a 17-year-old day-care center worker who sodomized a four-year-old boy at Mama’s Place Christian Academy (Clay, AL).

Moore cited “no evidence in this case of an implied threat of serious physical injury.” People also knew he had been removed from the state Supreme Court twice for violating the U.S. Constitution, in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building and in 2016 for ordering judges to deny marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Now Republicans have heard that Moore promised to watch a 14-year-old girl while her mother attended a custody hearing and then took her to his home, gave her alcohol, took off her outer clothing, and tried to get her to feel his genitals. About the sexual assault, Leigh Corfman said, “I wanted it over with. Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.”

GOP officials are already protecting Moore. The Republican National Committeeman from Alabama, Paul Reynolds, said that he trusts Vladimir Putin more than Moore’s accusers:

“My gosh, it’s The Washington Post. If I’ve got a choice of putting my welfare into the hands of Putin or The Washington Post, Putin wins every time. This is going to make Roy Moore supporters step up to the plate and give more, work more and pray more.”

Reynolds may be right: Moore is now using the publicity to raise funds. Yet he’s lost money from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Sen. Mike Lee (UT) has told him to remove his photo from Moore’s advertising.  Sens. Steve Daino (MT) and Bill Cassidy (LA) have pulled their endorsements. On a Sunday talk show, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) called for Moore to step aside because allegations against him are stronger than his denials.

Justifications for Moore’s behavior have poured out of the party of “family values.” Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler said:

“Take Mary and Joseph. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

According to the Bible, God was Jesus’s father, not Joseph, making him a stepfather. Zeigler’s comparison to Zachariah and Elizabeth didn’t hold water either because they were both old when John the Baptist was born. The next Zeigler excuse was that Moore married a younger woman; he was 38 and his wife was 24. Moore’s victim when he was 32 was 14 years old at the time.

More spins poured out from Republicans:

  • The rape wasn’t “forcible” enough to be a concern.
  • Victims should all be prosecuted for coming forward now.
  • Moore “didn’t really force himself” on the 14-year-old.
  • Fourteen-year-olds don’t make good decisions.
  • The relationship with the 14-year-old girl was “consensual.” (From Sean Hannity who denied he made that statement although it’s on tape and then lost advertisers.)
  • Moore didn’t have “sexual intercourse” with the girl he undressed and touched.
  • The victim is the age of consent now.
  • Only one of the sexual assaults could have been legally problematic because Moore was single. (From Breitbart editor Joel Pollack)
  • “There’s nothing wrong with a 30-year-old single male asking a 16-year-old on a date,” according to Alabama Marion County GOP chair David Hall.
  • “If it is true,” the people who let it continue are the guilty ones,
  • Norms were different back then (Ann Coulter).
  • The favorite one: Moore isn’t a Democrat.

Aside from his unconstitutional rulings and his illegal sexual behavior, Moore has other baggage. He and his family drew over $1 million from their “charity,” The Foundation for Moral Law. One of his sons Caleb, who also worked for the Foundation has been arrested at least nine times on charges including drug use and DUIs.

Roy Moore denies the sexual assault charges and defiantly continues his campaign like Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) did. And like the times when DDT was accused, Moore said he will sue. Republicans were delighted that Harvey Weinstein  was accused of sexual assault because he is a Democrat, but the ball is back in the GOP court with the allegations against Moore. When women accuse liberals of sexual assault and harassment, Republicans automatically believe them; women who accuse Republicans are smeared. Republicans are circling the wagon around their party members, many of them playing the “if it is true” game with the women’s allegations against Moore, missing when women accuse Democrats of sexual assault.

The Palm Beach County (FL) school district’s defense against sexually abused children demonstrates the dangers of publicizing sexual assault. It’s the victims’ fault, according to the school district. In past cases involving children as young as six and a seven-year-old boy with autism, the school’s defense has blamed the children for not reporting the abuse fast enough. One case involving the inappropriate touching of four third-grade students by the teacher dragged on for 12 years although the teacher pled guilty to two of the cases. The district finally settled for $3.6 million a few weeks ago after consistently maintaining that the girls were “old enough to appreciate the consequences of their actions” and “conducted themselves in a careless and negligent manner.” According to the district lawyer, this defense strategy can reduce the amount of damages that the district might be forced to pay. It can be used for a child as young as six years old. It’s just a litigation tactic, the lawyer said.

Women suffer as much as children from slurs against them. Oregon’s Sen. Jeff Kruse, one of many legislators across the country now accused of sexual assault and harassment, was stripped of all his committee appointments for his sexual assault of female colleagues. The Oregon Firearms Federation refuted the allegations because “touching Sara Gelser would only mean he needs an eye test.” Excuses for sexual assault include “boys will be boys,” they were just being friendly, and they don’t understand that times have changed.

And people wonder why girls and woman hesitate a long time about going public about being sexually assaulted.

[Update: The child described as “under 12-years-old” was a four-year-old boy at Mama’s Place Christian Academy in Clay, Alabama.]


April 5, 2017

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: DDT Defends O’Reilly

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. In keeping with presidents in the past, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) issued a proclamation to honor this event:

“We dedicate each April to raising awareness about sexual abuse and recommitting ourselves to fighting it. Women, children, and men have inherent dignity that should never be violated…. “As we recognize National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we are reminded that we all share the responsibility to reduce and ultimately end sexual violence. As a Nation, we must develop meaningful strategies to eliminate these crimes, including increasing awareness of the problem in our communities, creating systems that protect vulnerable groups, and sharing successful prevention strategies.”

During DDT’s campaign, a 2005 recording shows him bragging about his committing sexual assault in which he said, “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the p***y.” Eleven women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct, and one is currently suing him for defamation after the controversy.

After the sexual-assaulter promised that his administration “will do everything in its power to protect women, children, and men from sexual violence,” DDT defended Fox network host, Bill O’Reilly, after the New York Times’ article about his harassment of women, including the $13 million paid to settle claims to five women. Five days into Sexual Assault Awareness month, DDT declared that O’Reilly is a “good person” and declaimed that “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.” Advertisers were so disturbed with the revelations, that included information from other women who didn’t sue him, that over fifty companies, including major automobile manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, have dropped their advertising for the O’Reilly show. DDT also said, “Personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled.”

As a fan of Fox, DDT gets all his false information from them such as all that wire-tapping that didn’t exist. He is so obsessive about watching the cable that his schedule shows that he doesn’t being any presidential activity until almost 11:00 in the morning. DDT has attended baseball games with O’Reilly and been a regular guest on his show, giving him an interview airing on Fox during its Super Bowl pregame bowl.

DDT brags about referring to the Fox owner, Rupert Murdoch, by his first name. Since the presidential election, the two men frequently communicate. In the past, Murdock mentored DDT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Murdoch’s former wife, Wendi Deng, made DDT’s daughter Ivanka a trustee of the Murdoch children’s fortune until Ivanka dropped out of this role a few months ago.

In saying that he thinks that neither O’Reilly nor Ailes did anything wrong, DDT is probably not lying. He thought that he also did nothing wrong in assaulting women. A 2015 survey found that one in three women have been sexually harassed at work, and 71 percent of them did not report the harassment, partly because powerful men can block their job prospects. Like O’Reilly, DDT denied that he did nothing wrong and would sue women who made claims against him.

Last year DDT defended former Fox CEO Roger Ailes after a number of his female employees reported his sexual harassment.  “I think they are unfounded just based on what I’ve read,” Trump said. “Totally unfounded, based on what I read.” Ailes was forced to resign from Fox News just one week after that interview. Julie Roginsky has recently filed another sexual harassment suit against Ailes. The FBI is investigating him and other Fox executives for using corporate funds to pay off the company’s sexual harassment victims. DDT defended Mike Tyson against his 1992 rape charges as well as billionaire whose private jet was nicknamed “The Lolita Express” and Joe Paterno who ignored Jerry Sandusky throughout years of the assistant coach’s sexual abuse of young boys.

O’Reilly has spent two decades at Fox being verbally abuse to female staffers, punishing them for refusing sexual advances, and appearing to masturbate while on the phone with them. Seventeen years ago, producer Andrew Mackris’ sexual harassment lawsuit accused him of describing his sexual fantasies about her and urging her to purchases a vibrator. If she told anyone about this, he said, she would “pay so dearly that [she’d] wish she’d never been born.” Mackris received $9 million by issuing a joint statement with O’Reilly that “no wrongdoing whatsoever” had occurred. She has not worked in television news since then. In 2011 Rebecca Gomez Diamond settled for an undisclosed amount. One of the settlements came because one of the women had recorded telephone calls with O’Reilly.


Transcripts from a custody hearing between O’Reilly and his ex-wife in 2014 show that their daughter once saw her father choking her mother and dragging her down the stairs.

In response to the NYT article, O’Reilly played the victim when he said, “Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity.” His next cover was that he “would do anything to avoid hurting [my children.]” The question might be the identities of “prominent and controversial people” other than DDT.

Last week, DDT “honored” National Autism Day after he spread the falsehoods that vaccines cause “horrible autism” and that there’s a “tremendous increase” in the number of autism cases. After his intense ridicule of journalist Serge Kovaleski, he skipped over honoring Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March. DDT has until September 15 to figure out how to work around Hispanic Heritage Month after his racist attacks, including the ones against a Latino judge.

October 15, 2016

Trump, Sons Lead Rape Culture

Filed under: Sexism — trp2011 @ 9:52 PM
Tags: , , , ,

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 2, 2016

Trump Had a Bad Day – Is He Insane?

Attention–that’s what Donald Trump needs more than anything else. The more others take the media from Trump, the harder he works to get it back. Right now Trump is trying to be more outrageous after Hillary Clinton’s post-convention bounce put her at a two-thirds chance of winning, up from the under 50 percent before the conventions . Clinton’s smallest lead in any fully post-DNC national survey is now 5 percentage points, and Nate Silver reports that her national leads go from eight percent (CNN) to 15 points (RABA Research). Overall, polls average between five and eight points for Clinton. Her upward trajectory may have contributed to Trump’s meltdown during the past 24 hours.

Trump has now threatened to ban New York Times reporters from his appearances as he has done to over a dozen other news outlets. He also predicted that the paper will not be “in business more than two to three years.”

“No matter how good I do on something, they’ll never write good. I mean, they don’t write good. … They don’t know how to write good. And I guess if they did, they’re certainly not doing it.”

Trump also called CNN the “Clinton News Network” and claimed he won’t do any interviews with the network until it treats him fairly.  Everyone should want an answer to the question that CNN’s Brian Stelter asked:

“Why is he talking about us, and not policy?”

Trump’s attacks on Khizr Khan continue when Trump insinuated that Khan, father of a soldier who died saving his men in the Iraq War, is a terrorist sympathizer because he was really “bothered” by Trump’s promise to stop radical Islamic terrorists from entering the country. Trump’s co-chair for veterans’ issues, New Hampshire Rep. Al Baldasaro, added that Khan is an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood and tweeted an article claiming that Humayun Khan was a double agent “working for the US and Al-Qaeda… killed before his Islamist mission was accomplished.” The comment has been deleted from the right-wing fringe anti-Islam conspiracy website, but Khan stands by his claim about the father. At the GOP convention, Baldasaro had called for Hillary Clinton to be executed by a firing squad. The Trump campaign said that they “do not agree” with Baldasaro but is “incredibly grateful for his support.”

Trump’s spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, blamed President Obama and Hillary Clinton for Captain Khan’s death when she told Wolf Blitzer that the soldier died because the president and secretary of state changed the rules of engagement in Iraq. When Captain Kahn died on June 8, 2004, a year after George W. Bush started the war, Barack Obama was a state senator in Illinois and Hillary Clinton was New York’s senator.

Trump’s putdown of Captain Humayun Khan’s family was followed by a media discussion of Trump’s five student deferments and a medical exemption because of bone spurs during the Vietnam War draft. Following that was Trump’s receiving a Purple Heart medal from a veteran who got it for being wounded while serving in the military. To an audience in Ashburn(VA), Trump announced, “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.”

When Trump was in the lead, he was satisfied with the election process, but after his drop in the polls, he’s declaring that the election is rigged. His vicious surrogate Roger Stone has promised a “bloodbath” if Trump doesn’t win the election—the same promise that white supremacists made if Trump didn’t become the GOP candidate.

The solution to sexual harassment, according to the Word of Trump, is getting a new job. Fox network Kirsten asked Trump about an employer treating his daughter Ivanka in the same way that Roger Ailes treated his women employees. Trump responded that she should “find another career or find another company.” This statement follows his defense of his longtime friend Ailes and his questioning the motives of the 25 people who brought up the sexual harassment at Fox before Ailes was forced out last week. Republican consultant Katie Packer asked why a woman should have to walk away because of being sexually harassed.

Trump’s son Eric tried to defend his father’s position by explaining:

“Ivanka is a strong, powerful woman. She wouldn’t allow herself to be, you know, subjected to it.”

Gretchen Carlson, former Fox television host who filed the first sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes tweeted, “Sad in 2016 we’re still victim blaming women. Trust me I’m strong.”

In Ashburn, Trump shouted at two parents with crying babies and demanded that they be removed from the audience. He also said that he hoped for an economic collapse to come before he’s elected to protect himself.

“The numbers are getting worse and worse all the time. If they get real bad, I hope it happens fast, so I don’t have to — they’ll all blame me.”

Trump has a history of hoping for economic collapses.  Ten years ago, he said he was hoping for a crash because “then people like me would go in and buy.”  Two years after he said that, the housing market collapsed, causing millions of people to lose their homes in the United States and plunging the nation’s economy into a deep recession with millions of people unemployed.

Later today, Trump announced that he supported House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) challenger and attacked other incumbent nominees, including Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and John McCain (R-AZ).

The first U.S. GOP member of Congress has defected. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), elected during the 2010 Tea Party sweep, said he will vote for Hillary Clinton because Trump is “unfit to serve our party and cannot lead this country.” He said he made the decision after watching Trump’s treatment of the Khan family. Hanna added, “I think Trump is a national embarrassment. Is he really the guy you want to have the nuclear codes?” The congressman has the luxury of making this decision because he’s not running for re-election. Other GOP politicians, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), have spoken out against Trump’s statements but still have not withdrawn their support.

Just this one day, and Donald Trump kicked babies out of his rally, got an “easy” Purple Heart, opposed elections for individual GOP leaders, hoped for an immediate economic collapse, victimized women who were sexually harassed, threatened journalists, cried about rigged elections, and again attacked the family of a heroic soldier who died in the Iraq War.

And there was more. He praised his golf course for its “tremendous acreage” and Vladimir Putin, claimed that the Islamic State “stole our passport machine,” threw out silent audience members who wore T-shirts with “Black Lives Matter,” and described Hillary Clinton as a “thief,” a “crook,” and the “Devil.”

It’s all in a day’s work for the demagogue.

During a press conference with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, President Obama asked the Republican party:

“If you are repeatedly having to say what Trump says is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?”

That’s after the president called Trump “unfit” and “woefully unprepared.” A growing number of people in the nation agree with the president.

Both conservative and liberal columnists are increasingly asking if Donald Trump is insane.

Eugene Robinson: “At this point, it would be irresponsible to ignore the fact that Trump’s grasp on reality appears to be tenuous at best.”

Senior fellow at the Brookings Institute Robert Kagan: “One wonders if Republican leaders have begun to realize that they may have hitched their fate and the fate of their party to a man with a disordered personality.”

Vox founder Ezra Klein: “Have we stopped to appreciate how crazy Donald Trump has gotten recently?”

Conservative Weekly Standard writer Steven Hayes: “Yes, Donald Trump is crazy. And, yes, the Republican party owns his insanity.”

Conservative columnist David Brooks: “I almost don’t blame Trump. He is a morally untethered, spiritually vacuous man who appears haunted by multiple personality disorders. It is the ‘sane’ and ‘reasonable’ Republicans who deserve the shame.”

Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio disagrees. He claims that Trump “sees the world as a constant struggle for victory and lacks a moral compass.” That might be worse than insanity.

August 19, 2015

Lawmakers Learn Sexism in School

Republican lawmakers have a solution for legislators who can’t keep their hands off interns: just make the interns—female, of course!—follow an “intern dress code.” The idea, promoted by Republicans, came to a screeching halt after Democrats’ disgust, social media firestorms, and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s ire, but it got a lot of publicity and made Missouri Republicans look even more misogynistic than they’ve appeared in the past.

McCaskill’s letters to the lawmakers promoting the idea pointed out its sexism, stating that it “reeks of a desire to avoid holding fully accountable those who would prey upon young women and men seeking to begin honorable careers in public service.” She knows whereof she speaks: McCaskill was harassed when she was a legislative intern decades ago.

The issue went viral after House Speaker John Diehl, a “family values” conservative, was forced to resign because his sexually suggestive texts with a 19-year-old House intern became public. That was two months before state Sen. Paul LeVota resigned because two interns accused him of sexual harassment.

A request for reviewing a proposed new “intern code” resulted in the answer, “intern dress code.” Another representative agreed, emailing his colleagues:

“We need a good, modest, conservative dress code for both the males and females. Removing one more distraction will help everyone keep their focus on legislative matters.”

A third Republican, this one a woman, supported the idea by stating that dress codes are common in the workplace.

Sanity returned, however, when another representative asked, “We’re really not going to require interns to dress so we’re less distracted, are we?” He added, “All we need is a code of ethics and a penalty provision.” Another response got to the crux of the matter: “The finger is being pointed at the young, female interns. [The dress code should be] “the same as for everyone in the House.”

For the information of all those conservatives who think that female interns are at fault for all the infidelity, a handbook for interns already has a dress code:

“Those engaged in [lawmaking] must dress professionally and appropriately. Men are required to wear a jacket and necktie for admission to the side galleries of the House Chamber. Women should dress in appropriate business attire (such as dress, suit, dress slacks and jacket).”

As one representative said, the problem is “harassing interns,” not a dress code. He added, “If my plaid jacket or the sight of a woman’s bare knee distracts you from your legislative duties, I would look for other work.”

Dozens of women—including current and former interns, legislative aides, lobbyists and lawmakers—have told the Kansas City Star that sexual harassment in the Capitol is commonplace. One of them claimed that the prevalence of this harassment “has nothing to do with what a female wears. This is not the 1950s. Harassment in the workplace is illegal and a woman’s attire does not give anyone the right to harass, regardless if they feel distracted.”

Taylor Hirth and Alissa Hembree, the interns who blew the whistle on LeVota’s alleged sexual harassment, released a joint statement expressing disappointment in the newly proposed intern code:

“Suggestions requiring certain GPAs, increased supervision and mandatory dress codes suggest that the interns are lacking in quality, knowledge, or character and are in some way to blame for the harassment they experience. Additionally, it implies that those perpetuating this behavior are unable to control their own behaviors.”

In an opinion piece, Mary Sanchez took on the misogynists:

“Gentlemen of Jefferson City, please refrain from veering off track.

“There is one sure way to end the sexist, slovenly behavior of some male politicians toward female college interns and other women working in, or elected to, our state capital. Demand that men behave properly. Focus there….

“The proposal [for a new dress code] was a centuries-old patriarchal paradigm: Shift the guilt so that the woman is chastised and monitored, lest she lead the innocent man astray. As if the sight of a knee uncovered unleashes a torrent of hormones that men simply cannot control.

“The errant male politicians need to change. Not the women who have been forced to deal with the juvenile antics of some representatives, senators and lobbyists.

“And yet the idea to focus on the women’s behavior, via their dress, was among the fastest replies to sprout. It’s backward thinking. Worse, it comes from people who make laws for the rest of us. As much as I’m a stickler for appropriate business dress for both men and women, this misses the point.

“Men should have been offended too. The idea assumed that they are weak, unable to control themselves at the sight of an attractive woman. It implied that men will be men. And it’s up to the women to be on guard.

“The onus is on the elected officials to behave with respect for themselves, the intern, the political office that they hold. College interns are there to learn about good government, not to prop up some middle-aged man’s faltering ego….

“The most effective means to curb sexism in Jefferson City will likely occur informally. Sexual harassment at the capital will cease to be a problem when men hold other men accountable.”

Men learn the belief that women should be responsible for controlling the male libido early on. School dress codes are meant to protect males, both students and faculty, by keeping girls covered up. One example is Woodford County High School (Kentucky) where Stacie Dunn’s daughter Stephanie was sent home for showing her collarbone that “may distract their male class mates.” Dunn took a scarf for her daughter to cover up the offensive collarbone, but the principal sent her home anyway for giving him “an attitude.” Apparently, the scarf still didn’t cover enough.


Superintendent Scott Hawkins tried to justify the dress code because it had been in effect for over 10 years. He said, “The whole idea behind the dress code is to make sure you have a safe learning environment and that’s what we’re trying to create.” In Kentucky, dress codes are set by school districts and not separate campuses.

Last March, student Maggie Sunseri made a documentary of interviews with female students and school principal, Rob Akers. In the 33-minute film, “Shame: A Documentary on School Dress Code,” the 33-minute film Girls said they felt embarrassed and ashamed after being “called out” for “revealing” outfits. They also talked about having trouble finding acceptable clothing and being forced to miss class. Rules weren’t uniformly enforced, according to the interviewees.

Akers justified the removal of distraction as the reason for dress codes because “guys would make inappropriate statements.” The girls, however, said it was unfair to limit their clothing instead of dealing with the boys who harassed them. “It sends the message to boys that it’s all girls’ fault, basically—any reaction or any action that they do is the girl’s fault,” one girl said in the film.

Sunseri said her film was about “the underlying message behind a code that tells young women to cover up and young boys that they can’t control themselves.” The 16-year-old high school junior said the dress code is sexist toward both girls and boys in that it “perpetuates the notion that a woman’s body is inherently more sexual than a man’s body, and that young boys’ natural tendencies are to harass or assault women.”

No wonder some male Missouri lawmakers cannot control their libido: they may never have seen a collarbone.


February 11, 2013

Indifference Leads to Culture of Rape

“If you think that rapes only happen at Notre Dame or in India or in Steubenville, you are wrong. A person is sexually assaulted in the United States every two minutes, and many of these are in small towns, including where you live. For every 100 rapes, only three lead to jail time for the rapist.”

I wrote this on January 23, 2013 in Nel’s New Day. Since then, the Portland (OR) chief of police, Mike Reece, has shown that his ignorance may promote the culture of rape in this Northwestern city. The media is forcing Reece to rethink his personnel decisions,  but without the prevalence of newspaper articles about his indifference to—or ignorance about—what constitutes sexual contact, a demoted police officer might have continued to direct detectives who investigate sexual assault and human trafficking in this city of over 2 million people.

Reece’s problem went public last summer after a Portland police review board voted 5-1 to fire a captain, Todd Wyatt, because he inappropriately touched female employees and continued a road rage confrontation by pointing a gun at another motorist when he was off duty. Board documents showed that it found him “untruthful” and questioned his ability to perform with integrity. Part of the testimony was an audiotape of Wyatt’s meeting with a subordinate and the employee’s union representative in which he lost his temper and threatened to have the subordinate arrested. One board member “believed that [Wyatt] manipulated the truth in these encounters and never saw himself at fault,” instead mischaracterizing the motives of those who complained about his behavior.

Reece demoted Wyatt to lieutenant and re-assigned him to supervising robbery and sex crimes investigators. Wyatt said that he had apologized to one of the several female employees complaining about his behavior four different times and had attended sexual harassment training four times.

Even Reese has found Wyatt a problem employee. In a lengthy letter after an internal investigation relying on multiple credible witnesses including Washington State patrol officers, Reece showed Wyatt to be a hot-tempered bully who makes insulting and inaccurate snap judgments about civilians, says demeaning things about women, and engages in unwanted thigh-touching at work. Reece also indicated that he reassigned Wyatt to the sex crimes division because he needed “close supervision.”

The letter quoted Washington State patrol officers who described Wyatt as “arrogant and cocky” after they stopped Wyatt following another driver’s 9-1-1 call and faulted Wyatt for escalating the road rage incident. Reece wrote, “Even after six months following the incident, your statements do not reflect a thoughtful and appropriate approach.”

Wyatt’s reference to one woman who complained about his touching was redacted in his disciplinary letter, but the response remains readable: “The victim’s ‘physical appearance or level of education or skill is irrelevant. Your comment is insulting and unprofessional and shows a lack of accountability or awareness as to how your actions are perceived by others.'” In addition, the letter states, “… your [Wyatt’s] response lacks a general sense of awareness of the different points of view regarding power and authority. Additionally, your comments about [redacted] are unprofessional to say the least.”

In a meeting with the editorial board of Portland’s newspaper The Oregonian, Reece said that he didn’t consider the women’s complaints to be “sexual in nature.” The “inappropriate touching” described in the women’s complaints was Wyatt’s rubbing them on their legs and thighs at work. Wyatt claimed that he only touched one of the women on her knee with his knuckle when he said good morning to her.

Since the media attention, Reece has reassigned Wyatt to his own office to handle special projects. Wyatt, who contends that he was the subject of frivolous claims retaliating for his part in contract talks, plans to sue the city over his demotion. The Portland Police Commanding Officers’ Association, which represents lieutenants and captains, also has filed a grievance with the city, challenging Wyatt’s discipline. Rob Wheaton, an AFSCME Local 189 union representative for civilian employees in the police bureau’s records division, dismissed Wyatt’s allegation that the complaints were retaliatory. “I think that shows an exaggerated sense of self worth,” Wheaton said.

According to columnist Susan Nielson, a 2007 city audit of Portland’s rape response found that detectives often see sex crimes as a less desirable assignment, partly because of very high turnover among supervisors. “Many detectives who do come to work in the sexual assault detail,” auditors said, “are waiting until other assignments open elsewhere.” National crime surveys show that the majority of victims of sexual assault don’t go to the police. Victims fear being judged, demeaned, and touched by strangers; they fear people with power will side against them.

Yet Reece chose to send Wyatt to be in charge of these investigators after a series of complaints by his female colleagues about his unwarranted touching. He said, “The women never complained it was a sexual encounter.”

Phyllis Barkhurst, who spent 17 years in Oregon assessing sexual harassment complaints for businesses and local governments, said about Wyatt’s case, “This is inappropriate behavior targeting one gender, and sexual harassment under the law is a form of sexual discrimination.” Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or conduct of a sexual nature that’s directed toward a person because of gender. It can include physical touching or graphic comments. Perhaps Reece needs to attend sexual harassment training.

This “culture of indifference” is repeated across the nation.  Members of “the Athletics department and the Penn State administration contributed to a climate where athletes, staff, and faculty within the Athletics program either felt immune from possible repercussions of their actions or felt fearful in reporting what they saw or heard,” according to NOW activist Joanne Tosti-Vasey. Last summer Tosti-Vasey, past president of Pennsylvania NOW, called on “every school in this country [to] heed and change their policies and programs to end any form of campus violence against anyone who steps foot on their campuses.”

The culture of indifference continues with the prosecution of the alleged rape in Steubenville (OH) when perpetrators made a video of carrying a teenage girl from one house to another and raping her. Although Ohio A.G. Mike DeWine stated that “knowledge in and of [the rapes] is not a crime under Ohio law,” a blog pointed out that “Ohio Law decrees that ‘no person, knowing that a felony has been or is being committed, shall knowingly fail to report such information to law enforcement authorities… Whoever violates division (A) or (B) of this section is guilty of failure to report a crime.'”  DeWine criticized the social media for their involvement, but without their participation, it is likely that no one would have been charged in this crime.

Erin Matson reported that the Washington, D.C. police would not file a report about a man who exposed himself to her and masturbated because she didn’t stay with the man until the police came. Her treatment by the police shows a culture of indifference.  Watson’s blog about parent Laura Murphy wanting to ban Toni Morrison’s Beloved for all students in the Fairfax County School District (VA) also demonstrates that parents are trying to shield everyone from the problems that surround them.

Despite the school district’s policy that allow students to opt out of reading assigned texts because of parental objection, Murphy is working for a state law that would require schools to notify parents before sexual topics arise in the classroom so that they can remove their children from the class. When school officials explained that AP English is a college-level class that often involves discussions of adult topics, Murphy said, “To me, mature references means slavery or the Holocaust.”

Murphy’s position that it’s okay talk about the history of the Holocaust in another country but not about the problems in our own community supports the culture of indifference—an attitude that leads to the culture of rape.

November 12, 2011

Conservatives Continue War on Women

What do conservatives have against women? I don’t know, but I do know how they oppose considering us as equal human beings. Let’s start with Herman Cain. He seems determined to protect himself against allegations of sexual harassment and sexual abuse while blaming everyone else—the liberal media, Rick Perry (who blamed Mitt Romney), the Democratic machine, some mythical network, the women themselves, … Who’s next?! Some of these aren’t even allegations: the National Restaurant Association settled the statements against its CEO, Cain, thus admitting the accusations.

Cain always declares that he’s joking when he’s being offensive, for example, his comment at a campaign stop in Kalamazoo (MI). When someone mentioned Anita Hill, the woman who was pilloried for accusing Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, to Cain, he responded, “Is she going to endorse me?” Not a horrible statement but certainly not appropriate, especially in light of statements from different women against Cain during the last two weeks. And an indication that he doesn’t believe in fair treatment of women.

As always, Rush Limbaugh manages to be the most offensive media representative. Consider his unbelievable statements about the women who have spoken out against Cain, for example slurping when he pronounced Sharon Bialek’s last name and repeating “buy-a-lick.” Limbaugh’s not alone in his offensiveness, however. On Fox News, Dick Morris asked when a Playboy spread would come. New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser was openly unprofessional, accusing Bialek of having “flirted like a tart” with Cain and declaring that “the gold rush is on” despite no evidence of her receiving money for coming forward. The Cain campaign trashed Bialek’s financial history, claiming that this proves that she’s lying.

Karen Kraushaar, the woman who was awarded money in her settlement after Cain’s sexual harassment, was treated in an equally shameful fashion. A pro-Cain website declared her an “ugly bitch,” and she has been criticized for having filed another, unrelated workplace complaint years later. When she asked for a joint press conference with other accusers, Limbaugh dived in again with his question, “Do they want to synchronize their menstrual periods? Why appear together?” He has a solution for women who are sexually harassed or abused: “You women, why don’t you just make it official and put on a burka and nobody will touch ya.”

Twenty years ago, Thomas declared himself the victim of media smears, and Cain is following his script. Yet the women end up suffering for coming forward, as shown two decades ago in the cruelly false responses to Hill’s openness about Thomas’ transgressions. Cain’s attorney, Lin Wood, knows that all he has to do to win his case is to spread slime over any woman who complains about Cain’s actions because most women cannot cope with this disgusting treatment.

Yet conservatives, supposedly the defenders of the country’s moral values, approve of Cain no matter what he might have done. Judson Phillips, perhaps one of the most extreme Tea Party leaders, writes: “Let’s assume for the moment, all of the allegations are true. Let’s assume for the moment Herman Cain, back well over a decade ago, made some inappropriate comments to some women who were coworkers and let’s say just for the sake of argument that he even propositioned one of those women as the New York Times claims. Does that affect my favorable attitude towards Herman Cain? No, it does not.”

Another example of the conservatives’ war on women comes from the far-right Family Research Council. Its pro-family 100% “True Blue” rating award went this year to Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), sometimes called “the deadbeat dad.” His consistent votes “to defend faith, family and freedom” have an inverse relationship with his personal actions. Walsh failed his first family by refusing to pay child support—over $100,000 as of last summer—and his second wife by rejecting the Congressional health insurance plan, despite her on-going bad health issues. Recently, a judge rebuked Walsh for his failure to even show up at a court hearing about the missing child support payments.

Despite the promise from the House of Representatives to find jobs for people and grow the economy, the conservatives there are spending their time—after protecting “In God We Trust”–ratcheting up its war on women. After Mississippi (one of the most conservative states in the union) failed to pass the infamous “personhood” initiative, a gaggle of Republican lawmakers introduced three separate bills extending “personhood” rights to fertilized eggs.

Sixty-three House Republicans, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) signed onto Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-GA) “Sanctity of Human Life Act,” which uses the Mississippi personhood language. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) cosponsored Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-CA) personhood bill, which would allow “the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child.” Note that the Bachmann/Hunter bill doesn’t “require” prosecution,” which perhaps was the reason it has even more supporters, 91 to be specific.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) plans to introduce a bill again identical to the Mississippi personhood bill that would have amended the state’s Constitution so that “the term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.”  If any similar bill ever passes, one wonders if its passage would affect such laws as the number of “people” (including fertilized eggs) who could be in an elevator or on a bus at one time.

It is encouraging to note that Cain has lost support among women, down to 15 percent, since late October when he had 28 percent of their support. Conservatives are also bailing out, from 30 percent to 23 percent, and Tea Partiers have gone from 32 percent to 19 percent. Meanwhile as Cain’s support shrinks, Newt Gingrich’s support is growing. His multiple marriages and reasons for divorce illustrate his personal war on women.


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