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November 13, 2017

Comments

Thanks for this excellent post.

Seconded.

Thirded.

American society can't yet treat rape, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment as crimes, because they are too common

I wish I could find a way to argue that this is not true, but I can't.

Maybe the current round of outings of, and consequences for, serial abusers represents a true change in the culture. Maybe it doesn't. I don't know, we'll have to wait and see.

But I'm hard pressed to think of a woman in my own life who hasn't put up with her share of behavior ranging from harassment to rape, and I am also hard pressed to think of a single one of those examples that resulted in anything more than the most minimal of consequences for the perpetrators. If that.

A really good post Doc S, I wonder how the discussion will go.

American society can't yet treat rape, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment as crimes, because they are too common. We have to make them rare first

I have to disagree, in large part. It may be that the penalties for rape and sexual abuse need to be reduced, in order to get more cases actually reported and punished. I don't know that I would accept that either, but maybe.

Sexual harassment, on the other hand, needs a lot more clarity on what is and is not acceptable before the penalties get criminal. I've seen way too much change, just over my lifetime, to think that we are all clear on what is OK (and when) and what is not.

The "casting couch" stuff that has been reported is clearly out. But something like what the elder Bush is reported to have done? I find it objectionable, but I also recognize that the culture he grew up in found it entirely acceptable. Should he have learned better as standards changed? Probably. But I can recognize that people retain the culture that they grew up in for a long time, and under quite changing circumstances.

But pretending that rape and sexual abuse shouldn't be crimes is, to my mind, nonsense. Just for openers, if something fits the definition of assault and battery, regardless of the "sexual" component, it ought to be obvious that it is a crime. Guys who can't grasp that get no slack in my mind.

If actual enforcement runs up the prison population, well far better for that reason than for locking up drug users!

Fourthed... and I very much look forward to your expanding point 3.

Is there a real change in our culture ? I can't speak for the US, but I think, perhaps, there might just be the beginning of one over here.

This is another angle which bears consideration...
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/13/women-respond-man-we-like-accused-harassment-dublin-theatre-michael-colgan-power

And I also know this: This entire patriarchal society is responsible for every single sexual assault that occurs.

I think at least that part is nonsense. There would be sexual assaults and related acts even in a totally non-patriarchal society.
As long as sex is pleasurable and some people lack self-control (for whatever reason) there will be such acts. And that does not even include forced sex as part of gender-independent power trips (some sadists do not care about which set of genitals their victims have).

The "casting couch" stuff that has been reported is clearly out.

we coincidentally ended up watching an episode of Cheers last week where an attractive professional-looking woman (Barbara Babcock) walks into the bar, flirts with Sam and eventually seduces him. she's also a talent agent who apparently specializes in getting handsome male athletes TV commercial spots. so, she gets Sam a commercial. after a while (days? weeks?), Sam gets around to feeling like she's using him for the sex and decides he's going to tell her No More, even if it costs him future TV spots (which he thinks it will). it does!

at the end, the woman has a little confession to Dianne in which she says (paraphrasing): of course i'm using my position to get sex from these men. i'm past my prime, unlike you, and my position is the only way i can get guys like this. might as well take what i can get.

so, it's a switch-up on the old casting-couch trope. with a touch of ick.

the co-writer of that episode (and of many episodes of other TV shows), Ken Levine, runs an interesting blog and he takes reader questions on Fridays. so, i asked him about that episode - would he write it the same today? hope he answers.

Your point 5 - belief - is where things have, I think, already changed significantly for the better. All the rest is (barely) a work in progress, but here I think there has been a genuine sea change, and not just among those predisposed to listen.

On that score, the Atlantic has a piece on the Bill Clinton problem.
https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/11/reckoning-with-bill-clintons-sex-crimes/545729/

Nigel, you silly rabbit. All Clinton did was lie under oath about a blow job. Jesus. He didn't lie his ass off for years, right up until the moment he was confronted with irrefutable physical evidence otherwise. He also didn't take a bribe to pardon Mark Rich. HRC really did understand the cattle futures market. There is no pay-to-play at the Clinton Foundation and nothing in their past is any evidence to the contrary. No one has ever been able to make anything stick on the Clinton's. Because there is no there there. All fiction.

I wonder if the Atlantic writer will have a job in a month.

How unwise of her to point out that men who wrap themselves in liberal cloth can get away with this shit. We'll see how that bit of honesty plays out over time.


Doc, I agree completely that there is too much mistreatment of women. Using rape, assault and harassment in the same sentence is part of the problem--not the problem with it happening--but with defining and punishing it. That said, I'd be interested in your views on the Atlantic article. Seems to me that when you rightly call on men to deal with male issues, some degree of clarification is fair: what's your take on WJC? Did he hit on any women in which he did not enjoy a power relationship? How did/does he fit into your worldview? Same with HRC, in this specific context?

Also, while I agree with you about bad-acting men, what can/should be said about women like Gwyneth Paltrow who, after being mashed by Weinstein, go on to work for him and praise him, giving him cover to have his way with the next who knows how many women with a lot less power and fame to fall back on? Ms. Paltrow is one of seemingly ten's if not more women who were complicit in this bullshit.

As for a solution, there is no silver bullet. What can make a difference is making it safe and effective for victims to speak up. It will never be easy. The urge to repress, to forget, to push the memory so far beneath the surface that it will never mar conscious thought has to be overwhelming. I can't begin to describe how it can be done, but if there was a way of constructively persuading victims that by coming forward, they can prevent other women from enduring the same pain, *that* will be the first big step forward: public humiliation if not a trial. Force the criminals to face their accusers and explain themselves.

There is no pay-to-play at the Clinton Foundation and nothing in their past is any evidence to the contrary. No one has ever been able to make anything stick on the Clinton's. Because there is no there there. All fiction.

Nice to see you finally come to your senses on this matter, McKinney.:)))))

As for the Doc's post....fifthed (hic). Outstanding.

I think, and certainly hope, that Frum is correct. The similarities with "the gay" becoming (more or less) socially acceptable is a bit overwhelming.

Maybe the arc of justice does bend the way we all say it should.

Perhaps what one might say about women like Gwyneth Paltrow is that they were also victims, at a time when those who did try to speak about were routinely ignored or disbelieved.
One might also say read the first Atlantic article I posted to,get some inkling of why it's not quite so simple.
One might also note that you don't similarly consider all the 'complicit' men around Weinstein.

Maybe someday we'll be able to discuss the harassment of women without trying to count political coup.

Powerful people quite often get away with stuff that less-powerful people don't. It's not a left/right thing, it's not even a political thing.

Maybe someday the Clintons will offer themselves as a living human sacrifice for conservatives to draw and quarter, live on TV. Maybe that would satisfy the freaking obsession with the Clintons and the Evil That They Do.

But I doubt it.

The topic under discussion is not a left/right thing.

i too wonder why people don't conduct their personal lives in ways that seem obvious to me in distant, third-hand hindsight.

WRS, 5:43.

Featured on LGM recently (at least, I think this was the collage).

I grew up watching these movies on TV, and I'm sure that many other people did as well. Our culture is changing, I think. But this is our cultural heritage. Mad Men was stylized, but it was also true.

One of my memories, when I was about eight, was of visiting the home of friends of my parents, when their slightly older than me son explained that the ideal female was 36-24-36. We learned it early,

We learned it early

36-24-36, and compliant.

Oh, and the next thing on youtube is Free, White and 21. Yep, that's us. Maybe I'll close out youtube now.

Maybe that would satisfy the freaking obsession with the Clintons and the Evil That They Do.

But I doubt it.

I think part of the obsession with the Clintons is pure frustration. Here was Obama, actually living the family values that they champion, and they couldn't find any sexual immorality dirt on him. (And you just know that they had an army of private investigators out looking for years!) At least with Clinton, they had something to point to.

russell: Maybe that would satisfy the freaking obsession with the Clintons and the Evil That They Do.

Nah. Clinton Derangement Syndrome is a terminal disease. If our own "reasonable Republican" McKinney can't get over it, what would a little human sacrifice accomplish when it comes to the Limbaughs, Hannitys, and Coulters of the world?

Libruls agreeing to abolish taxes on the rich, make guns available for sale in blister packs at 7-Eleven, and forbid abortion after the first date, might, might I say, reduce The Right's Pavlovian response to the Clinton name. But nothing will eliminate it entirely.

And, wj: thanks for pointing out that the Obamas were the closest thing to Ozzie and Harriet the White House could ever hope to host.

--TP

"(And you just know that they had an army of private investigators out looking for years!) "

So who is they? Because I didn't. In one breath this isn't a left/right thing, in the next breath it is a Clinton thing and an Obama thing.

It is also not an evangelical thing, there are lots of evangelical sinners. Failing is part of trying, even for Christians. I get no perverse pleasure out of seeing people fail at something that is central to their beliefs. I'm sure they are disappointed enough in themselves.

The list of people in and out of politics actually living family values is pretty long, on the left and right. I doubt that lots of evangelicals were hoping Obama would fail at that.

"make guns available for sale in blister packs at 7-Eleven"

Nope. Too hard for the morons to open. Needs to be open bins.

In one breath this isn't a left/right thing, in the next breath it is a Clinton thing and an Obama thing.

Different commenters, different comments.

We all breathe our own breaths.

I love the conspiracy theories about the liberal media. It’s as though The Atlantic had no choice but to publish that article, and the only way they can respond to somone from breaking ranks is to fire the rogue reporter. (Besides that, here’s liberal me reading the article and nodding in agreement as I read it.)

Very strange!

Scratch that “from.” Editing error.

On the topic of the OP - I literally cannot think of a woman I know who doesn't have some story about being harassed, assaulted, or raped.

Everything from unwelcome advances from employers, to date rape, to attempted rapes, to mass transit frottage, to somebody masturbating in their general direction at the beach.

People making weird noises and rude suggestions to them when they are simply walking down the street.

Probably the creepiest one was a friend's sister who went to the public library, stepped away from the desk she was reading at, and returned to find that someone had masturbated into the pocket of her coat.

This is stuff that women encounter *regularly*, that men basically just don't have to deal with as part of normal life.

I find that I can't disagree with Doc S's basic proposition here - this kind of stuff is so widespread that it is virtually impossible to consistently enforce whatever laws are on the books to counter it. Starting with exposing and shaming the truly serial offenders might be the best way to make some kind of dent in it.

But I really do think that women live in a different world than men do. I don't consider myself qualified to tell them that they aren't actually experiencing what they say they are experiencing.

I take their word for it, and am frankly grateful when women offer constructive and non-hostile suggestions for how to improve things, as Doc S has done here.

"Perhaps what one might say about women like Gwyneth Paltrow is that they were also victims, at a time when those who did try to speak about were routinely ignored or disbelieved."

This is a valid point, up to a point. Then, women have agency. Those adult women who put up with him are complicit, they made adult choices that going along was best for them.(Teens not included in this comment).

I lost three positions in two companies in my career for turning down sexual advances from women I worked for. No, I certainly could not go to HR, and their bosses knew why I was let go, in one case, and moved to a lesser position in another group in the other two.

I could have one time agreed(single at the time) with no consequence except my dignity. In all cases I felt guilty later as I saw young men in a similar circumstance saying yes or no. But, I did have a pretty good idea I was employable outside their sphere of influence, so saying no was a temporary setback.

Don't know about left/right but some are trying very hard to make this a Religious/Culture War thing.

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/11/53_pastors_sign_letter_of_supp.html

Btw, I agree with this completely:

"I take their word for it, and am frankly grateful when women offer constructive and non-hostile suggestions for how to improve things, as Doc S has done here."

But I really do think that women live in a different world than men do.

Not to discount the experience of women in general with sexual harassment and worse, but I particularly can’t imagine what it would be like to walk through life as an especially attractive woman. How do you not scream, “Will you just leave me the fnck alone!” several times a day? I don’t know how I wouldn’t absolutely hate it. Whatever advantages it would offer wouldn’t be worth it, IMO.

1) I "Bernie would have won" sexual harassment? Meant fairly seriously, and I believe it is viewed as such over at LGM.

2) I have little of interest (to myself, I can't speak to what might interest others ex ante) to say on the body of the post at this time. Looks good, I approve, etc.

3) The totalizing structure of the post in its entirety, the move the includes under the same rubric from rape and physical abuse to "minimiz[ing] women's concerns" does interest me. (See above pt 1; is "BWHW" an act of dismissal of women?) This is an ideological and political move, a very aggressive conflation of radically different actions, motivations, intentions, consequences...whatever the hell might be included under imagined or actual or disputed minimalizations.

Note: My marxist move from nice restaurants, vacations, clothes to billionaire yachts and pension looting is the same, self conscious form of move, "all middle class consumption is exploitation" and received much resistance.

(okay,okay OP point 2 "women want the money and power for everybody's good" is viewed with suspicion and skepticism as possible opportunism. Sue my cynicism, a shrill voice of experience.

4) The last, almost parenthetical, bothers me a lot. I do not consider stoicism or asceticism or the forbearance of the public display of emotion in themselves always bad, nor do I consider the refusal to display strong emotion publicly to be particularly masculinist or patriarchal, nor do I consider the public display of emotion particularly feminist or god help us "feminine." This is, I believe an patriarchal essentialism that too many feminists have embraced for reasons I care not to speculate on at this time.

There is such a long global tradition of stoic and ascetic and religious women in communities of women.

Observed Scene: early toddler learning to walk falls down; toddler looks at grandmother and starts to cry; grandmother makes eye contact with toddler and laughs;toddler turns from tears to laughter.

Is this patriarchy?

Oh. The Victorian painting at the end was fucking great, Thank you, saved to wallpapers.

"I doubt that lots of evangelicals were hoping Obama would fail at that."

"This is Republican town, man. (Moore) could have killed Obama, and we wouldn't care."

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/alabama-republican-voters-stand-roy-moore-n819906

If Hillary Clinton HAD murdered Vince Foster and Seth Rich, I'd have voted for Bernie Sanders and watched him be accused in last year's election campaign of helping Clinton murder Foster and Rich, which is just an allegory conservatives tell themselves about raising taxes and improving healthcare in this country.

One point I think everyone is missing about Clinton/Lewinsky, except sapient, who alluded to it, is that the republican party weaponized the entire sexual saga for nakedly partisan political purposes.

Not a one of them, the professional ones, were outraged in the least at the act or where it was done.

Christ, when Gingrich was deposed as Speaker, his successor Livingston lasted six minutes and then when he finally got it back in his pants, we were presented with ... Dennis Hastert, for cripes' sake.

That's what I call a deep bench of buggering horndogs.

There was a reason for the rest of our history that consensual sexual behavior in the political class, regardless of what anyone thinks of it, was kept on the QT, because we wouldn't have any candidates for political office available to run any longer, given the human element.

Who did Linda Tripp, the friend, the colleague, refer Lewinsky to, in the latter's unsettled, fragile state at the time? Her Pastor? Her psychiatrist? An attorney? A Counselor on sexual abuse? The Police?

No.

To Lucianne Goldberg, Nixonian dirty trickster and dish dealer who knows where every dick and orifice are in Washington D.C. at every hour, because she likes it. So she can help conservative politicians fuck the body politick with their policies.

How do we think that semen stain of a son of hers has made it do far with his bullshit act?

And then the two of them, those pigfucking concerned women, taped the vulnerable Lewinsky without her permission.

So Moore and every other republican can burn.

As for what the right-wingers, including evangelicals, think they are doing supporting Moore, well, when a Soviet nuclear sub surfaces and is sighted ten miles up the Hudson River and another three hundred miles up the Mississippi and this White House shrugs their collective shoulders, and the filth on the right wing say, so what, it's Obama's fault, oh my God, look over there, a fag received a wedding cake from a liberal!, maybe we'll finally realize what needs to happen in this country and who it needs to happen to.

By the way, I love that states have different ages of consent for minors regarding sexual matters, with some of the youngest ages on the books in red states.

I guess that's whatcha call states rights, like a guy with no health insurance dropping dead of a heart attack without health insurance in one state and a guy ten feet away in another state getting medical care for his coronary because health insurance is available and subsidized.

Because why, again?

Someone tell me the difference between a sixteen-year old giving her consent to being felt up by a 35-year old male in a car parked on one side of a state line, where it is allowed, and another sixteen-year old girl undergoing the same treatment from a 35-year old man, parked ten feet away on the other side of the line in a state where all hell will break loose when the law shows up.

It's either good behavior or it's bad (that would be the right guess) behavior. It can't be both within ten feet of each other, because of an imaginary boundary. So which is it, God-botherers? Let's make up our minds and stop acting like giving states a choice in the matter is the higher value.

So much for universal values and this crapola conservatives are constantly preaching about liberals practicing relativism in all things.

America just makes shit up.

Anyway, I'm glad every thing is coming out. How hard is it, exactly, to keep our hands to ourselves, particularly in the workplace?

Grow the fuck up, men, and yeah, the few women who mash at work too.

Stop it.

I understand that in support of Moore and Hannity against Keurig, which pulled its advertising, conservatives around the country are assaulting small kitchen appliances, perhaps even sexually.

It's revelatory, don't we think? They are treating coffeemakers just like they treat women.

Austin Cooper Meyers

"They are treating coffeemakers just like they treat women."

Or Beatles albums

wj:

I'm not saying we should "pretend that rape and abuse aren't crimes". I'm saying we, as a society, already are. We CAN'T prosecute and imprison all the rapists: to start with, it would double or triple our currently excessive prison population. We're talking probably at least 2% of the adult population, something like 5 million people. It is literally impossible.

I'm not saying get rid of the laws, hopefully we'll need them later. But right now, rape law is a sham.

If (and I'm not at all sure I'm able to believe the numbers, but just for the sake of discussion) that number of men actually have committed rape, then I still see no reason not to make an effort to lock them all up. Yes, we'd need to prioritize-- based on the level of violence would be my initial thought.

But still, start now and don't stop. It's not like anybody is unaware where the line is on violent rape. (As opposed to sexual harassment.) If the prisons get full up, either we parole other, non-violent offenders or we use some prison labor to build more prisons.

We can do it. We should do it.

the first step is admitting we have a problem.

that presents us with the different problem of: a lot of people - mostly men ? - don't think we have a problem. and a lot of people want to make it a left/right issue.

so... throw another log on the fire, we're gonna be here a while.

the first step is admitting we have a problem.

We definitely have a problem.

People might disagree on what behaviors are problematic. In the case of unwanted sexual overtures in the workplace, whether verbal or touching, that's well understood problematic behavior. The fact that people now complain about it, and action is sometimes taken (usually later than it should be, and only when it's publicized) is a positive development. It needs to improve.

Given the long hours people spend at work, it's not unusual for people sometimes to bond in romantic relationships. I know many couples who first met because they worked together. People who spend time together in a normal, non-alcohol-fueled atmosphere sometimes get to know each other in a healthy-seeming way, and develop real intimacy. Despite rules against it, I doubt that consensual relationships at work will ever really disappear, even when people are on different rungs of a hierarchical ladder. I'm fine with discouraging this, and making personnel adjustments, but not fine with vilifying people to whom it happens.

That's different than people who continually seek out situations to corner other people, or make people uncomfortable with inappropriate sexual comments, or opine on people's appearance, or demean people otherwise, whether sexually or with other types of bullying.

Rape is criminal, and I really do think we must try harder to encourage people to report it by supporting victims, and teaching people how to document and prove their claims. We'll never completely solve it. And it isn't true that there's no such thing as false accusations, as the Duke and UVA stories, and cases from the Innocence Project, illustrate. Due process is important because violent people should face jail time, and should be shunned, and no one should go through that who is innocent.

With the caveat of due process (which varies with the degree of the accusation), Doc's five suggestions for how to improve things are right on.

The Count: ... conservatives around the country are assaulting small kitchen appliances ...

I heard about this on the radio driving home this evening. And I heard that Keurig's CEO was trying to make amends for hurting the delicate fee-fees of the RWNJs -- possibly with visions of tax cuts dancing in his head? -- and I wondered:

If I was in the business of selling coffee makers, and a bunch of those coffee makers got smashed beyond repair by an earthquake, a hurricane, or a herd of yaks, wouldn't that increase my sales next month?

I ask because I work with at least one RWNJ (right here in MA!) at a company where the Keurig gets more use than the Xerox. The company -- and, I claim, the whole Economy -- would grind to a halt without a steady stream of coffee. If that yahoo were to smash the Keurig in the lunchroom to demonstrate his fealty to He, Trump and His pedophile protege, the company would of course fire the yahoo -- but it would also buy a replacement machine immediately.

--TP

Carly Anne Kreibaum

Tony P.: "but it would also buy a replacement machine immediately.

That's exactly what Ringo said about Beatles albums which fake news cracker conservatives were convincing their kids to burn 52 years ago, the book burners, referenced by Marty above.

And so it was and ever shall be.

Great post, Doctor Science.

By coincidence, I've been reading the latest 700-page biography of Rasputin by Douglas Smith, he the holy man of the infamous patty fingers and of not observing the proprieties (as the Barry Fitzgerald character in the movie "The Quiet Man" termed these matters), during this latest efflorescence of abusive wtf.

Conclusion: None. The pre-revolution Russians were as good, if not better, at fake news than their present-day compatriots, so who knows the extent of what happened exactly.

But it contributed to the fall of the Romanovs.

One point I think everyone is missing about Clinton/Lewinsky, except sapient, who alluded to it, is that the republican party weaponized the entire sexual saga for nakedly partisan political purposes...

I'm not sure that's true, Count.

The point of the article I posted was surely that it was precisely because of this that the Democrat side of the aisle were hopelessly divided and confused of sexual harassment for decades.
The behaviour of partisan Republicans (which is to say most of those active in national politics) was, and is unconscionable. That really doesn't change the fact that the evidence for Clinton being a serial abuser, or worse, is overwhelming.
That any number of politicians across the aisle were just that doesn't change the matter.
This is not, and should not be, a party political matter - and there are examples of highly partisan Republicans, whhose attitudes I would otherwise abhor, who recognise that.

(I also recognise it is perhaps a little different in the UK, where both sides of the political divide seem now pretty well equally implicated, and also equally committed, insofar as they are, to change.)

This long Rebeca Traister piece is popular.

"As others have observed, it matters that the most public complaints so far have come from relatively affluent white women in elite professions, women who’ve worked closely enough with powerful white men to be available for harassment. Racism and class discrimination determine whose stories get picked up and which women are readily believed."

And Barabara Ehrenreich was interviewed at Slate

"Our current sex harassment discussion is woefully class-skewed. Too much about actresses and not enough about hotel housekeepers."

These questions of power and privilege are not abstractions or (partial) "dismissal of women's concerns", but are being played out as we speak, in newsrooms where decisions are made about how many minutes, reporters, resources are dedicated to this story over Syria, the tax bill, Brexit.

I mention this not to assert my own priorities over others or to criticize the choices of others but "merely" to note that we are seeing instances of power and struggle and the attempt to add moral weight to particular interests and pluralize and universalize sectional struggles is how ideology works. Every inclusion is an exclusion.

The weaponization of narratives of oppression include the delusion that "The master's tools will [never] dismantle the mas­ter's house." Audre Lorde.

Sacked Labour minister Carl Sargeant found dead

The Brits have been forced to a more nuanced discussion; I expect Americans to be similarly forced quite soon, and wonder if compassion and empathy will be shown to be universal or merely instrumental.

Nigel:

"The behaviour of partisan Republicans (which is to say most of those active in national politics) was, and is unconscionable. That really doesn't change the fact that the evidence for Clinton being a serial abuser, or worse, is overwhelming."

Both can be true.

Bob:

"The Brits have been forced to a more nuanced discussion; I expect Americans to be similarly forced quite soon, and wonder if compassion and empathy will be shown to be universal or merely instrumental."

Human frailty is universal and I have empathy for nearly all of it.

I'll have empathy for Roy Moore when it is time.

The man is against birth control, as he diddles. He needs to be kept out of government at all costs and for many reasons.

If he commits the sin of suicide as well (he won't; too arrogant), then he will have countermanded another of God's suggestions for himself that he posits as commandments for everyone else.

Jordyn N. Rivera

sapient: In the case of unwanted sexual overtures in the workplace, whether verbal or touching, that's well understood problematic behavior.

Actually (as the rest of your comment reflects), that is NOT "well understood." Indeed, I'm not sure I would agree that verbal overtures per se, wanted or otherwise, are problematic. IF, and I admit it's a substantial if, the individual making the overture is willing to take "No" for an answer.

Physical "overtures," insistence, holding position or advancement hostage -- not to mention physical assault -- I'd agree that those being problematic are well understood. At least outside the circle of powerful individuals who indulge.

So I think, as noted above, we need to prioritize. Publicize, yes, all the things that we think are problematic. But start our more vigorous criminal enforcement efforts on the worst behavior. What we do not want to do is follow the drug wars approach of spending lots of effort on punishing low level offenders while doing not much effective about those at the extreme end of the spectrum.

McManus: "Our current sex harassment discussion is woefully class-skewed. Too much about actresses and not enough about hotel housekeepers."

True. But realistically that's how things get changed. You start with cases that grab people's attention. Then, once the ball gets rolling, you expand the discussion. That's not so much ideology as human nature. (For which ideology is not a cure, however much you might wish it to be.)

Our current sex harassment discussion is woefully class-skewed. Too much about actresses and not enough about hotel housekeepers.

eh...

Roy Moore's accusers/victims aren't actresses.

most of the actresses coming out are not Paltrow-level privileged. ex, the four named Louis CK's accusers/victims have a total of four IMDB credits among them.

Anthony Edwards and Corey Feldman aren't even women.

Jerry Sandusky's and Dennis Hastert's victims don't even work in show biz.

what gets attention is not the status of the victims, it's the status of the perpetrators.

The point of the article I posted was surely that it was precisely because of this that the Democrat side of the aisle were hopelessly divided and confused of sexual harassment for decades.

This is a bit of an overstatement, nigel, but this ground has been covered elsewhere.

But I am hopelessly divided on the assault on small kitchen appliances. I mean really, willful destruction of private property? Engaging in boycotts? Have these RWNJ's lost their self righteously conservative moral bearings?

On the other hand, the Keurig machines make the worst coffee I have ever imbibed. Destroying them would be a boon to western civilization.

they can pry my coffee maker from my cold, dead hands

turns out there is no statute of limitations in AL when the victim is under 16.

and, people have gone to jail in AL for much less than what Moore did.

Regarding Moore, here is my analysis:

The AL (R)'s are hosed because the man is legitimately on the ballot. Maybe there is some wiggle room to cut him loose, I don't know.

A quite large proportion of the people of AL, when given the choice of sending either Moore or any (D) to the Senate, will pull the lever for Moore, come what may.

They will not by god be the state that tips the Senate toward (D) control, regardless of Moore's history. See also, Doc's OP.

i'm sure you're 100% correct, russell.

and this will be item #∞-1 in the list of reasons "Why Don't Women Come Forward When This Stuff Happens ?"

Regarding Moore

1) No they can't take him off the ballot. Some are working on a write-in campaign
2) I never thought AL Repubs would vote for Jones. The question is about turnout, will enough disgusted Repubs stay home to put Jones over the top, I can't say how this would effect Dem turnout.
3) AFAIK, Moore can serve from a prison cell, though probably not make absentee votes
4) I have little doubt the McConnell* would move to expel Moore immediately. That might make Moore ineligible to cast votes etc, but I don't think they can actually take away his seat, IOW, force a new election*. If they can, that would be ideal for them, Moore elected, resigning or getting impeached, govnr appointing a new Senator.

*Not sure why, but I am convinced that McConnell is dead serious. Not that he cares about the abuse, some other reasons. If Moore gets seated and Trump resigns or 25th, a Pence/Moore team would screw the R Party into the ground.

**Yes, impeachment does involve legal removal. It would as usual have to start in the House.

Like I've said, with a 52-47 Senate, for people like McConnell or Cornyn to demand Moore drop out is absolutely astonishing cause that would guarantee a Jones win.

I can only guess that McConnell is scared that Moore in the Senate would lead to a brutal split between Dominionist Christers in the party and the Money part of the Party, perhaps even leading to a Christian Third Party.

Something like that, something that bad.

Repubs don't care about Dems, they will never get fired up enough to threaten power in Red States. Repubs are apparently terrified of splits in their own camp.

cleek: i'm sure you're 100% correct, russell.

and this will be item #∞-1 in the list of reasons "Why Don't Women Come Forward When This Stuff Happens ?"

It may also be item #1 on the list of reasons "Why women are abandoning the Republican Party". Which they are, to a noticeable degree.

That also answers McManus' question about why McConnell would be dead serious about booting Moore out again once he is seated. It's not that he cares about what Moore did. But he does care about losing a big pool of voters in future elections, and showing something that can be spun as sympathy could help there.

bit of an overstatement, nigel

Not really, when you consider his defender in chief was the Democrats' last presidential candidate.
(Which is not to say that Democrat policy has tended to be more on the side of the angels than that of the Republicans.)

On the subject of criminalising sexual harassment itself, that debate is ongoing over here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41828881

Given our policies on incarceration, that does not mean imprisoning 10% of the population, as much as sending a signal. On this, I disagree with the header - I think that there are enough irreconcilables, as far as reform on this issue is concerned, for a change in the law to be of some use.

If nothing else, it is, arguably, one way of equalising the stakes between men and women when it comes to social interactions.

(above 12.55 should have read "has not tended to be"... got mixed up with my double negatives.)

Excellent piece by Peter Beinart, facing up to how he was an "Affirmative Action baby" at the New Republic, getting special preference because he's a white man who went to an Ivy.

By 2002, I had already made a series of moral compromises in order to stay at TNR, and in ways I didn’t fully realize, each laid the foundation for the next.

I don’t know know whether my experience is typical of men who are complicit in institutions that tolerate sexual harassment. What I do know is that the affirmative action I enjoyed, and the sexual harassment Sarah suffered, were connected. I was given extraordinary opportunity at TNR, in large measure, because talented women like Sarah Wildman were not.

...

What kind of journalistic career would I have had without affirmative action? A less successful one, probably. Ensuring that I am never again complicit in an institution that tolerates sexual harassment means embracing a world in which I lose some of my undeserved advantage. Only by doing that can I offer the women of The New Republic the apology they deserve.

bobM: Moore wouldn't be "impeached"; that's a procedure that Congress uses on executive or judicial officials.

Each House of Congress can expel their own members, with a simple 2/3 vote. So all it would take is the Senate voting, (presumably) all of the D's, plus McConnell and ~ 18 R senators; and McConnell only to put the expulsion on the calendar.

even if 10 more "children" come out. Anything is better than a Democrat

actual comment defending Roy Moore, on Politico article defending Roy Moore.

the GOP is morally bankrupt.

on Politico article defending Roy Moore

on Politico article about Breitbart defending Roy Moore.

use/mention distinction trouble.

"even if 10 more "children" come out. Anything is better than a Democrat"

actual comment defending Roy Moore, on Politico article defending Roy Moore.

the GOP is morally bankrupt.

Certainty evidence that the commenter is morally bankrupt. But extrapolating from one individual to a whole party is a bit of a stretch.

Now if Moore wins, that would demonstrate that the GOP in Alabama is morally bankrupt. But that hasn't happened yet. Not saying that it isn't likely to happen, just that we await the actual returns.

from cleek's link:

Breitbart has gone to such lengths to defend Moore that some of its writers have even declined to pass judgment on a man in his 30s having a relationship with a teenager.

My general impression of the Breitbart readership is that it is made up in no small part of men in their 30's who only wish they could have a relationship with a teenager.

Decline to pass judgement? Moore may be something of an aspirational role model.

"Decline to pass judgement? Moore may be something of an aspirational role model."

Depending on age, they may be wondering if they might be next to be called out. 20 somethings dating teenage women in Alabama, and much of the south, was far from unusual in the 60's and 70's. Getting less normal in the early 80's. That has little to do with sexually assaulting them, but my Mom got married at 14 with parental consent a few decades before this.

So, no defense of a 30 year old cruising the mall, that's creepy, certainly no defense of sexual assault, but just dating teenagers probably would not have turned the tide.

But extrapolating from one individual to a whole party is a bit of a stretch.

then let's extrapolate to Breitbart, which routinely gets, literally, 10,000+ comments on Roy Moore stories. and from what i've seen in my browsing, the only people not supporting him on those stories are liberal trolls who get piled-on (usually with much racism and homophobia).

or, let's extrapolate to The Entire State Of Alabama, in which Moore still holds a ten point lead.

and... Trump.

face it, the GOP is A.OK with child molesters, diaper-wearing-prostitute frequenters, and admitted sexual predators - as long as they aren't liberals.

this is the GOP's image now. nobody is going to forget it.

but, let's see how he handles forging a letter from 50 pastors. maybe that's a step too far.

but just dating teenagers probably would not have turned the tide.

Is that an Alabama Crimson Tide joke? If so, well played.

Sorry if the levity is felt to be inappropriate, but if I don't laugh, I'd probably hang myself...

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/banned-at-the-mall

I keep going back to the painting, and trying to remember a Victorian painting about an older guy visiting his young mistress. There's a piano.

The young lady in the OP painting is looking at us and crying. She is traveling alone, with a fairly large bag that might contain all her possessions. She is in mourning, with a full set of mourning clothes, indicating not horrible original circumstances. The rake is not dressed like a gentleman, but full of confidence and opportunity.

I think we are seeing an orphan, possibly headed off to "service" being recruited for prostitution.

but, let's see how he handles forging a letter from 50 pastors. maybe that's a step too far.

The level of stupidity required to even consider trying this is simply awesome!

i do agree with bob m: that last painting is astounding.

20 somethings dating teenage women in Alabama, and much of the south, was far from unusual in the 60's and 70's.

I get that, and I personally don't have much of a problem with it, for certain definitions of "teenager". I have my own complement of family members who married before the age of 20.

As you note, in Moore's case we're not talking about a guy in his 20's dating women who are 16, 17 or 18 years old. We're talking about a guy in his 30's assaulting teenagers down to the age of 14. Which I think we all agree is not acceptable.

Mostly I just wanted to mock Breitbart readers, who famously include, in large numbers, post-adolescent guys plotting world domination from their bedrooms in mom's basement.

"...post-adolescent guys plotting world domination from their bedrooms in mom's basement."

A somewhat troubling trend, a growing number of people in this cohort.

I'm still on the painting, but as metaphor, as allegory relating to the op. I'm writing stories. I could go last as some sort of climax and solution, but I will go first instead.

1) What do I see? A young Victorian woman traveling to or from a funeral by herself. Unheard of in those times I think, had she no one to care for her? Her father died, she didn't inherit. She is economically and socially abandoned.

So I guess as a Marxist, I see the outside of the picture, what's outside the frame. But the outside of this picture, not just any picture, I do not deny or ignore what is in the frame. I see history, hers and society's. We the social have created this picture, we should have and can create a different one. I would like a sister, a mother, a brother, friends, a community of women to have always already been in the picture.

2) Perhaps (some) feminists see themselves there, outside of history. I mean, why can't she like me travel safely alone? It's about freedom and independence, and the restrictions and dangers of patriarchy.

IOW, they don't see that concrete historicized woman at all. She isn't like the modern woman. They objectify her and make her a symbol. She just wants to be left alone. The hell with links to society, nothing but patriarchal chains.

They see the cad instead, and wish he wasn't there.

3) The worst is the dudes. They see the lady crying and looking at them and think she is asking for help. They see the concrete situation in the picture...and want to rescue her from the competitive male. They see themselves punching the cad, sitting next to the woman, and protecting her. She will be so grateful.

Moore is only 36% to win the election on the betting market I just looked at. (Which is not to say that Jones is odds on - the price includes the possibility that the election will not take place).

bob mcmanus, the last suggestion may be what the painter is mocking as the name of the painting is Der lästige Kavalier. Perhaps the man in the painting sees himself as saving the woman, but it's clear that image is only in his head.

Derrick Dean Taylor

Instead of talking about Clinton's consensual sex with an adult, shouldn't we be talking aobut the fourteen women who accused Trump of behavior sexual misbehavior including rape of a teenager?

And why they were not believed? And why his boasting about using sex aggressively did not deter Republican voters?

I don't know if ther are more Dem harassers than R harassers or the other way around, but it does seem that R voters despite all the shit they have talked for years about family values and being all moral and responsible and better and the only real true Americans unlike the rest of us bum, can be pretty glib about voting for abusers.

but it does seem that R voters despite all the shit they have talked for years about family values and being all moral and responsible and better and the only real true Americans unlike the rest of us bum, can be pretty glib about voting for abusers.

out of all this horror, i have been happy to learn that what everyone suspected all along was actually true: their moral posturing was entirely fake.

the fourteen women who accused Trump of behavior sexual misbehavior including rape of a teenager?

And why they were not believed? And why his boasting about using sex aggressively did not deter Republican voters?

I think (or perhaps I would like to believe) that what this indicates is that the ground has shifted in the past year. Then again, it may just be that Trump is a far better conman than Moore.

As republicans jerk off their fake orgasms over Moore' s predations, they leave one hand free to insert language into the fuck you tax bill to commit cold-blooded mass murder against Obamacare recipients and utterly destroy the private health insurance market.

to insert language into the fuck you tax bill to commit cold-blooded mass murder against Obamacare recipients and utterly destroy the private health insurance market.

No, no, no. The last thing that they want is to destroy the private health insurance market. After all, that just guarantees we go to full out public (i.e., oh the horror!, government-run) health insurance.

What they appear to want is to destroy the private health insurance market for the poor. And, to some degree, middle class. While simultaneously crippling Medicaid. But still, they want to keep the private health insurance market for their donors.

Which is damn stupid, if you realize that those people buy stuff from big donor's businesses. Dead customers hurts the bottom line. And even if you don't sell direct to (non-super-rich) consumers, the businesses that you do sell to do. Short-sighted doesn't begin to cover it.

Dr Free Market will save us all from the disease of Socialism

Orrin Hatch says he will shut down all debate on the tax bill if Democrats dare to talk about the amendment abolishing the individual mandate.

Even if it's fake news, there's gotta be a young boy somewhere who Hatch raped.

The faker the better, to destroy the Republican Party.

Anything to forestall murder.

13M people lose health insurance so that rich kids can avoid paying taxes on their parent's money? in an election year?

the GOP is so fncking stupid and evil.

"American society can't yet treat rape, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment as crimes, because they are too common."

This reminds me of something a medical student who was contemplating going into general practice told me a long time ago. He was advised that the battered housewife in many parts of the country was the bread and butter of the general practitioner.

Or maybe I read that in a Thomas McGuane novel.

His fiction always rang true to me.

ObWi's slogan put to good use on BJ.

If you were trying to click on cleek's link earlier, it should be fixed now. (href works ever so much better than hred ;-)

hred because the link's red!

Well, it's a story anyway. 😕

Quite a relief Moore got dragged into this mess. Was a little dull with just the conservative rags piling on.

What rather boggles the mind is trying to guess:
Whatever insanity will turn up next?

And will it just be in the Alabama special election, or some other bit of the political scene? My guess -- the tax bill manages to go thru versions that succeed in infuriating pretty much everybody, before failing ignominiously. Leaving only the question of whether the predictions of electoral disaster if nothing is passed prove accurate.

i think the obamacare mandate thing in the tax proposal is at least nominally about making the numbers work so they can pass it via reconciliation. although i'm also sure that gutting the ACA is a bonus.

a two-fer, as it were. BOGO legislation.

as far as Bill Clinton, I think it's plainly true that he was given a pass by many who you might expect to be critical of someone with his personal history. the affair with Lewinsky was consensual if inappropriate, other situations were apparently less so.

overlooking flaws in people who otherwise advance things you find to be important is not uncommon. overlooking flaws in people who are unusually gifted in other ways is not uncommon.

i guess you could call that hypocrisy, if so we're all hypocrites. which, to some degree, we all are.

I was slightly boggled by this:

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/15/roy-moore-republicans-alabama-senate-244961
...Some of Moore’s detractors in Alabama are struck by how loyal Moore's supporters have been.

Alabama radio show host Leland Whaley, who has criticized the candidate on air, said he's gotten an earful from listeners in return.

“I have been looking over my shoulder because these people are really, really intense right now. It’s a charged environment, a little more than usual right now,” he said. “I have to watch my back in the parking lot, because these people do take it seriously.”…

It would be utterly inconceivable for a candidate still to be running in these circumstances over here.

the Guardian has a big article on The Steele Dossier.

Steele’s collaborators offered salacious details. The memo said that Russian intelligence had sought to exploit “TRUMP’s personal obsessions and sexual perversion” during his 2013 stay at Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton hotel for the Miss Universe beauty pageant. The operation had allegedly worked. The tycoon had booked the presidential suite of the Ritz-Carlton hotel “where he knew President and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on one of their official trips to Russia”.

There, the memo said, Trump had deliberately “defiled” the Obamas’ bed. A number of prostitutes “had performed a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him”. The memo also alleged: “The hotel was known to be under FSB control with microphones and concealed cameras in all the main rooms to record anything they wanted to.”

As well as sex, there was another fascinating dimension to this alleged plot, categorically denied by Trump. According to Steele’s sources, associates of Trump had held a series of clandestine meetings in central Europe, Moscow and elsewhere with Russian spies. The Russians were very good at tradecraft. Nonetheless, could this be a trail that others might later detect?

Steele’s sources offered one final devastating piece of information. They alleged that Trump’s team had co-ordinated with Russia on the hacking operation against Clinton. And that the Americans had secretly co-paid for it.

yeesh

“I have to watch my back in the parking lot, because these [Moore supporter] people do take it seriously.”…

Tell me again how Democrats staunchly defend "their" child-rapists. I love that story. Especially the part about flying unicorns.

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