Category Archives: Undead sexist cliches

How not to fight Trump, Republican sexism and my new And column

Professor Mark Lilla got a lot of flak for his recent claim that Democrats spend too much time on “identity politics,” issues that benefit only blacks, Latinos, gays, women, and that this is why they lost the election. If only they’d pitched policies that would benefit all Americans, Clinton might be president today! This is what they must do to win in the future!

In this And column, I argue that compromising on equality — which is what Lilla’s talking about — isn’t going to win over Trump voters. In a Vox interview, Lilla makes a more nuanced argument, that he’s not saying to abandon minority issues, just to reframe them. Don’t discuss how black motorists are pulled over arbitrarily: start from a general position (“Everyone should be free of arbitrary police harassment, right?”) and then lead them to see how black drivers are being arbitrarily harassed. Then the person you’re working on will have to agree with you.

I think that’s bullshit. There’s no shortage of stories about right-to-lifers who believe their abortion is different from everyone else’s. Or who agree freedom of religion is important, but of course that doesn’t apply to Muslims. Or the right-wingers who support a war on terror, but squeal like stuck pigs if right-wing terrorism is the target. And how exactly do you make pro-choice issues into something that applies to men?

Millions of Americans throughout history have believed “all men are created equal” doesn’t apply to blacks. Or Latinos. And if you read some of Martin Luther King’s speeches, you’ll notice the civil rights movement called on America to deal with the problems of black America not some vague call for universal equality. Not to mention that Clinton did make proposals to benefit everyone, such as a higher minimum wage. In short, I think Lilla’s full of crap. For better suggestions about how to win, check this post.

Shakezula points out that while Trump lashes out when provoked, he’ll lash out when not provoked. We can’t stop him getting angry, so don’t worry about it. To a large extent, I think this applies to the hardcore Trump supporters. As long as we’re not in the 1950s, as long as blacks, women, Muslims, gays and other groups don’t Know Their Place, they’re going to get angry.

•Trump’s health-care advisor Katy Talento, is yet another forced-birther who thinks birth control is baaaaad for women. And since birth control interferes with nature, isn’t that wrong by definition? Oh, and the reason men abandon women to raise babies alone is birth control! Because it never happened before the Pill came along! As many conservatives pretend.

•In more Republican sexism, Rep. Congressman Mark Meadows wants Trump to roll back Obama’s rules for how colleges handle sexual assault charges. Because they’re too hard on the accused, which reduces the chance victims will report rapes (no, it didn’t make sense). And besides, most of them are just date rapes, so no big.

•And here’s a memorable listing of great Republican quotes about rape.

•Digby points out that Trump’s business debts could give Wall Street a lot of influence over his presidency. And that despite his boasts about the factory jobs he’s saving, the shit-gibbon isn’t doing much about thousands of retail jobs that are being lost.

•Under a revived Congressional rule, the House can now pass appropriation bills that slash the pay of specific, individual federal employees. To as low as $1. I think I’d be happier with that if voters could do the same to Congress.

•Florida AG Pam Bondi announced a couple of years back that she was thinking of suing Trump University (which as noted at the link, has paid out $25 million in a settlement with students), while at the same time soliciting donations from the shit-gibbon. So the Trump Foundation donated to Bondi’s campaign…and Bondi is now being considered for a Trump administration post. Thank god we were spared the corruption of a Hilary Clinton presidency.

That sort of thing, Bill O’Reilly, is why the left wants a profound change in how the country is run.

(There will be another link post today as I clear out old links).

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It snowed on me. You won’t believe—actually, what happened next is pretty believable (#SFWApro)

But first, some PR: annual Raleigh-Durham Illogicon is here again. And as I have been the past few years, I’m on some panels:

Friday 7pm: Magic Systems in High(ish) Fantasy
Saturday 10am” Repeating Itself: Historical Fiction
6pm: Writing Real People and Places (or, That Looks Familiar!)
Sunday 11am Reading: Fraser Sherman
12pm: Time Management for Writers.

And here’s the Illogicon mascot, Schrodinger, from last year:

professor2Now, the week. As  I mentioned this morning, I was snowed in with the dogs until Tuesday evening. To put it mildly, that did not work out well for me: Tuesday work I pretty much zoned out (I love the pups, but constant confinement for four days with them got to be a little much. Okay, a lot much). Happily it thawed out enough that I could make writers’ group Tuesday night. It’s always fun to hang out, more so after not getting to go anywhere.

What I did get done was the first chapter of my book version of Undead Sexist Cliches. I hadn’t planned to put that much work into it this month, but I was kind of zoned Monday too, and nonfiction is easier.

The rest of the week I worked primarily on Southern Discomfort, thinking about the character arcs, the characters and some of the plot holes. My brain moved slower than I wanted, but it did move and I got a lot of thinking and revising and changing accomplished. I’ll probably discuss it next week.

Then Thursday TYG had an unexpected schedule glitch. So she was up late. So I was up late. Trust me with the dogs there’s no way for her or me to slip quietly into bed. So I was pretty zonked today. I’d planned to work on Trouble and Glass but wound up mostly doing more thinking about Southern Discomfort. I definitely think I’d have made more progress if I hadn’t been so thrown off by schedule.

One distraction did work out well. We had to take Plushie in to the vet to check his kidney levels — they were a little high last year — but it turns out that the kidney food we put him on did the trick. They’re fine. So yay.

And by the time you read this, I’ll probably be at Illogicon while TYG gets to make up all her lost time with the pups.


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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Southern Discomfort, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead sexist cliches, Writing

Now why on Earth would the rape victim refuse to cooperate with this guy?

Explaining a lack of arrests in one set of rape cases, NYPD Captain Pete Rose explains that it’s because the victims decide not to press charges, or give up on cooperating with the cops. But the uptick in rape cases is not a big deal: “It’s not a trend that we’re too worried about because out of 13 [sex attacks], only two were true stranger rapes .. If there’s a true stranger rape, a random guy picks up a stranger off the street, those are the troubling ones. That person has, like, no moral standards.” In contrast, the ones without arrests are those where it was just a coworker raping the woman, or a casual hookup — you know, rapists who have some ethical standards.

I can see why victims might recoil from working with the police if that’s the attitude.

Hat tip to LGM.

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Radicalizing white guys online (and other links)

We hear a lot about how Muslims are radicalized online, but a Vox article says the same is true of “alt right” radicalizing white guys for the white supremacist movement: lonely guys looking for bonding and support (e.g., “incels” or “involuntary celibates”) are introduced first to online misogyny, then into white supremacy. Though even if they stop at misogyny, that’s horrifying enough: just check out We Hunted the Mammoth, with its ongoing chronicle of rants from the online misogynist world, for example fantasies that when the economy collapses under Trump, it will be great for men, as it will restore patriarchy and force women back into their 1950s roles. A post from Atomic Junk Shop discusses some of the underlying frustrations that can push men that way.

•Trump’s election is radicalizing men in a different way: he’s proof they can get away with it. Check out the douchebag quoted in this Echidne post, who brags that after Trump’s election, he knows he can rape a woman and get away with it. You can find more examples in this list of harassment incidents (race, religion, gender, orientation) from the first ten days after the election. Trump, of course, assures us he’s completely shocked and has no idea why so many harassers are invoking his name.

•Amanda Robb argues that Robert Dear, the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooter, was radicalized by the right, but because he’s white and Christian we don’t see it.

•Roy Edroso looks at the general idiocy of the right-wing post-election, including the ongoing claims that Trump won the popular vote. Oh, and there’s a batshit claim that the Central Park Five —whom Trump insists are guilty, despite DNA evidence — haven’t really been exonerated just because the system dropped the charges, vacated the sentences and set them free.

•Susan Faludi looks at how the racist far-right has presented itself in Hungary.

•So the mother of white supremacist Richard Spencer claims her real-estate business has tanked due to backlash over her son’s policies. One neo-Nazi website’s solution: take action against the Jews! Which is the sort of thing that encourages Jews in America to join forces with Muslims.

•The LA Times apologizes for printing letters defending the Japanese internment. (if you want some research on that topic, check here).

•In the US we face a fight over putting any women on our money. In Canada, the issue is not having more than one.

•Late astronaut and senator John Glenn was ahead of the curve in another way, supporting women of color at NASA.

•With no other way to reach her husband, a woman tries serving divorce papers on Facebook.

•Fake news sites make money through ads. Unfortunately it’s not so easy to shut down the money spigot.

•Human Rights Watch calls on Trump to show his claimed respect for women by supporting women’s rights.

•A driver in Arizona pulls over when his friend in another car is stopped by cops. Cops arrest the driver (who wasn’t stopped) for not showing them his license when asked. A court rules the driver was right, but an appeals court found for the cops, on the grounds they could reasonably assume they were entitled to see the license. Fortunately there’s no way any cop could abuse that kind of legal principle …

•Trump attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions is virulently anti-marijuana. Nevertheless, the legal pot industry is hoping he won’t bother them if they don’t annoy him.

•Echidne on why Trump ignoring the norms of politics is a bad thing.

•Joy. Continuing Trump’s preference for clueless inexperienced people, he’s picked Larry Kudlow as chief economic adviser. As Jonathan Chait details, Kudlow is a fanatical believer in tax cuts for the rich, whose predictions on the economy (Clinton’s tax hikes will ruin us! Bush’s tax cuts will boost the economy! The housing bubble is a myth!) are invariably wrong.

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Undead sexist cliches: it takes a village to decide whether to pop out a baby

(This is the political post that would normally have gone on Monday, if my brain hadn’t been fried by indexing).

Echidne of the Snakes sums up the right-wing view of pregnancy thus: “The right-wing in this country wants to socialize decisions about conception, about pregnancy and even about giving birth, but once a child is born, everything should be privatized:  Almost all responsibility is saddled on the shoulders of the mothers, while the wider conservative society, in general, refuses to budge one inch from its traditional gendered expectations about the role of mothers” (hence the title of this post).

As noted at the link, Ohio has just passed a law banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detectable — never mind that heartbeat isn’t a measure of life (hospitals can harvest organs from brain-dead people with functioning hearts). And similar extreme bills are on the way.

As I pointed out in one of my older And columns, the rights of the fetus aren’t simply being considered, they’re being used (whether that’s the intent or not) to strip away the rights of any pregnant woman. The right not to confine herself to bed rest without a second medical opinion. To not have a Caesarian. To have a legal drink. Women have gotten into legal trouble for exercising all those rights. As Echidne has put it, the women are being treated as aquariums — their bodies are simply convenient containers for the real person inside. For example, we have media discussions of how women of childbearing age should consider themselves potentially pregnant — they might be pregnant without knowing it, so maybe they’d better skip those prescription painkillers (or whatever).

Birth control can help with that, of course, but Trump’s new healthcare nominee, Tom Price, is a forced-birther. As is Mike Pence, who thinks all miscarriages should be given burial or cremation, mandatory, as if they were actual children (Slacktivist has pointed out what a weird concept that is). And contrary to the right-to-life movement’s lies, they are punishing the mothers.

Meanwhile Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, says mothers shouldn’t take high-powered jobs (in the White House say), though she later said the context was distorted and of course women are welcome in the White House (of course saying so doesn’t prove anything — but much as I loathe the new administration, it’s worth noting). But as Echidne says, the right-wing’s been pretty clear on how women should stay home and breed, the white nationalists who adore Trump even more so (gotta breed children for the Reich, so to speak). Making it harder for women to avoid pregnancy (at least without staying virgin or sticking to oral sex) then excluding them from jobs because they’re pregnant would suit much of the right just fine.

And yet it’s a safe bet that for all the concern about the suffering fetuses, Republicans will do nothing to help with prenatal care or treatment — in fact their proposed changes to ACA could make things worse for women needing maternity care. Like Echidne says, privatizing the costs. Even if a rape victim gets pregnant — something that’s clearly not her choice — and the government refuses to let her abort, the right will still squeal at the thought of paying any medical bills. Never mind that good care is expensive, and important for both parties. All we’ll hear is about how sure, they’d love to help, but some slut might just exploit “Uncle Sugar” (in theocrat Mike Huckabee’s words) and get him to give her a freebie when she wasn’t raped at all.

Because if it was real rape she wouldn’t get pregnant.

Because all the sluts just cry rape all the time in Republicanverse because they get so many goodies.

Because God arranged that rape so she’d better have the baby.

And better a thousand women and their children suffer from lack of medical care than one human being get something she’s not entitled to.

Maybe it’s time for us to stop playing nice and get as extreme as the forced-birthers. No compromise on women’s rights to choose: if she’s in labor and changes her mind, just kill the fetus. Then we’ll graciously compromise from that position to something less extreme. Hey, it worked for the other side!

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Political links unrelated to Trump? Amazing!

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court believe the U.S. military has tortured at least 61 people in Afghanistan, with the CIA adding more victims on top of that. The incidents occurred during 2003-4, and would count as war crimes.

•So would Syrian and Russian attacks on civilians in Aleppo.

•JP Morgan is paying $264 million to settle charges it bought off government officials by hiring their friends and family.

•When iCloud is turned on, the iPhone sends all your call records to Apple.

•A bill currently sitting in Congress would ban the federal government from taking action against anyone who denies service to gays based on either religious belief of “moral conviction.” And apparently (judging from the text) would allow them to also deny service based on a belief/conviction that sex should be reserved for marriage. So apparently if someone wants to fire a woman for having sex before marriage, that would be a-okay.

•On the plus side, a bill banning gag clauses — contractual fine print that says you can’t criticize the company, even if your criticisms are true — has gone before Obama.

•Another case or right-wing terrorism. Here’s one from England.

•No, Hitler was not a vegetarian.

•Gringa of the Barrio looks at her family’s history of KKK membership.

•A new rule change gives the government lots more power to hack into people’s computers. The Senate tried unsuccessfully to block it.

•Right-wing preacher John Piper blames a miscarriage on the father’s interest in porn. Slacktivist says right-wing evangelicals can’t allow themselves to understand miscarriage. Because if you believe that a fetus is ensouled from the moment of conception, that means most of the people in the afterlife were never born.

•Chicago is suffering a massive shortage of health inspectors for restaurants.

•Baylor U athletic director Ian McCaw has been accused of covering up gang rape allegations involving the football team. Liberty University (a right-wing Christian flagship) doesn’t see that as an issue: they’ve hired him to “develop champions for Christ.”

•Remember Mike Pence’s rule in Ohio requiring aborted fetuses be buried or cremated? Now it’s Texas. And the Church of Satan is against it on the grounds burial decision are a religious matter. Meanwhile Utah pushes a bill that claims (with no scientific benefit) women can reverse the morning-after pill and stay pregnant.

•Alabama’s top officials are mired in scandal.

•The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has run into trouble over its legal structure (one commissioner, who can’t be summarily removed by the president). Some congressmen are coming out in support of the CFPB.

•The Associated Press says if reporters use the term alt-right, they should clarify it’s a euphemism for white supremacy.

Android malware has taken over more than 1 million Google accounts.

•Here’s a very SF idea: some local governments in China are giving people a “credit score” based on their lives — rules broken, neglecting parents, saying things online the government disagrees with.

•A right-winger claims that because the big fire in Tennessee only threatens red state areas, the media are ignoring it. He’s wrong.

•So Google fiber is coming to Nashville using the regular cable/phone poles. That required a city ordinance change, which led to Comcast suing to stop the change. The city is suing back.

•Dallas has a $3 million fund for incentivizing supermarkets that move into the city’s food deserts. It’s not helping.

•Product disparagement laws allow the food industry to sue if someone says bad things about their products. Olive oil, for example, is suing Dr. Oz.

•Wells Fargo customers can’t sue if the bank opened fake accounts in their name because their contracts impose binding arbitration instead. A new bill would change that.

•Fidel Castro is dead. His legacy of repressive laws lives on.

•An Asian-American author’s new book says no, the US did not become more tolerant of Asians because they’re a model minority.

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Almost two weeks since Trump day …

I’m not as wretched as I felt Nov. 9, but I still have bursts of Freak Out at the thought of what may be ahead. I’m particularly shaken by stories of petty spite like a man who punched a woman in the face for being upset about the election. Not that it’s the worst we’re going to see, but there’s something that unsettles me more than the big scary stuff at the national level. Though that’s bad too, like sexist, racist right-winger Steve Bannon as chief Trump strategist (Mother Jones has more). That shakes me too. As does the damage an all-Republican government will do to the environment.

•Kellyanne Conway of the Trump campaign says it’s Trump and Clinton’s responsibility to stop anti-Trump protests. No suggestion Trump should calm anyone, not that he would anyway.

•Jim Hines points out that if Trump supporters resent being called racist, there’s a simple way to prove they’re not: speak up about the racism.

•Scott Lemieux looks at how Trump’s racism rarely held the media’s attention. A Vox article says the media statistics confirm that. Hullabaloo looks at how false news reaches people via Facebook.

•It looks like some Trump voters were Obama voters. Jamelle Bouie says that doesn’t prove they weren’t racist — in 2008 and 2012 they didn’t receive a racist candidate.

•Roy Edroso watches right-wingers come around to supporting Trump. Case in point, Megan McArdle is calling on us to come together for the greater good and not demonize people who accept positions in the Trump administration (given he’s recruiting people like Bannon, I don’t think tarnishing good people is the big issue). Eliot Cohen, a conservative Never Trumper, says however that after encouraging conservatives to sign on with Trump if asked, he’s looked at Bannon and others in Trump’s circle and now says stay away.

•Another Edroso piece looks at the sea change in more detail — including that just as in 2000, some right-wingers are trying to rationalize that Trump really won the popular vote. Here are some examples, as right-wingers explain Bannon’s not so bad.

•Blaming “political correctness” for Trump is like blaming civil rights for Jim Crow.

•Is Paul Ryan really willing to destroy Medicare?

•A black blogger vents and explains why she needs to vent with other black people for a while.

•Amanda Marcotte looks at the white male anger of Trump supporters.

•The ever-repellent Federalist declares that white people will no longer submit to their black oppressors.

•Speaking of fake news sites (we’re now away from the electoral topic) one guy who created some to promote his phony health product must pay $30 million to his customers.

•Frustrated with Uber’s email customer service, a woman drives to their office — without much better luck.

•A TV station reports that Office Depot employees sometimes identify non-existent malware to sell customers on a virus-protection program.

•Charter/Time Warner insists that charging fees that it doesn’t include in the monthly price it promotes helps make bills easy to understand.


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