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by Don Hall

Unless you’re so completely entrenched with your head up your own ass, the idea that women have had the shit end of the societal stick for pretty much since recorded time and beyond is not news.

I’ll confess that while I certainly have benefitted in ways I may not be able to fathom from this patriarchal and, more often than not, brutally unfair system, I can’t say I understand why it has been that way. I can’t quite get my head around the concept that women even as close as a century ago were considered property, were not allowed any property rights, were not allowed to participate in our electoral process. Given my being raised primarily by a badass mom and having had most of my bosses be women, I can understand our past (and, in many cases, our present) but not fully comprehend it.

The world I want to live in holds every life with no regard for gender, gender identity, sexual preference, race, economic class, country of birth and the host of identifiers we cling to as equal in importance and in value to society. I’d argue that an awful lot of people in this country we call home agree with that.

The phrase that pays these days is “The Future is Female” and, for the most part, I think it’s high time we approach our future with that in mind. In Michael Moore’s last film Where To Invade Next, it is striking to see an almost entirely women-run government and banking system in Iceland and in Tunisia a revolutionary change in how the country views the rights of women. If we are, as it seems, poised to shift our paradigm from Patriarchal to Matriarchal, I’m all for it.

How we achieve this shift, I believe, will determine its long term effectiveness.

I think we need to dismiss the idea that due to centuries of oppression all women are equally righteous, honest, or the best we have to offer. The idea that systematic oppression breeds nobility is as empirically false as the notion that starving artists make the best art or drunks are the best writers. Reality (a state so pummeled in an age of No Truth But Your Own) shows that no matter the gender or race, we are all human at the core and humans are fraught with flaws and the ability to do horrifying things to one another.

Being falsely accused by your own daughter of raping her several times is probably a father’s worst nightmare. Because some of the evidence seemed so authentic, Thomas Kennedy was sentenced to 15 years in prison. After 9 years, Cassandra, his daughter owned up to falsely accusing her father and confessed that the physical evidences of rape were because she had sexual relations with a boy in second grade. The boy, already an adult by the time she revealed the truth, released a statement saying that what she said was indeed true.

***

Although there was no evidence linking Darryl to the alleged rape he was being convicted of, a supposedly racist jury went ahead and convicted him anyway. He served 19 years starting in 1984 but thanks to DNA testing, he was cleared of the rape and is now fighting back by helping others in his position.

***

Two years ago former California high school football star Brian Banks, who had spent five years in prison for raping his classmate Wanetta Gibson, was exonerated after Gibson contacted him to apologize and admitted making up the attack. In 2009, New Yorker William McCaffrey was released after serving four years of a 20-year prison sentence for a rape his friend Biurny Peguero had made up to explain her injuries from a fight with several women. In 2012 a Michigan man, James Grissom, was freed after nearly 10 years in prison when the woman who accused him, Sara Ylen, was caught making another false allegation (and faking cancer to bilk money from insurance companies and sympathetic donors).

These examples pale in comparison to the thousands of stories we’re hearing and have heard of women being brutalized and the abusers getting away with it. 

In a conversation with my mother, she can name every employer who pressed his boner on her shoulder, who chased her around the office, who diminished and brutalized her. Likewise, I’ve had conversations with exonerated death row inmates, falsely accused and incarcerated for decades for crimes they did not commit. 

To say, however, that these falsely accused men don’t matter, that to merely reverse the inequity is the way to go misses the goal substantially. These examples don’t matter more but they certainly can’t matter less.

If the Future is Female, I hope it isn’t Margaret Thatcher, the women behind the Tokyo Rose broadcasts, or Susan Smith (who drowned her children and claimed it was done by an anonymous black man.) I hope the Female Future isn’t Aileen Wuornos, Imelda Marcos, or Eva Braun.

If one of the markers of what we call toxic masculinity is aggression and rage, seeing the #MeToo movement go from a genuine expression of pain and trauma to a call for retribution and revenge absent of any reasonable hope of justice is ironic. Perhaps the reverse of toxic masculinity is nurturing femininity and, if that is the case, we’re going in the wrong direction.

I watch from the sidelines as the #BlackLivesMatter movement fights for the rights of innocent men and women murdered by overly aggressive policing tactics. They fight for the innocent. They fight for due process over thug-like prejudgment based on factors that have no bearing on criminality. As they achieve systemic shifts in the culture of policing and oversight on law enforcers, the goal is to protect those innocent of crime as well as those who are criminals (because even those breaking the law have a right to not being executed.)

#BlackLivesMatter provides hope and focus out of the fire of rage and the frustration of people so long oppressed and stolen from, so long murdered and discarded. The movement had a rocky start and had elements associating with it pushing things too far to be effective (calls for the abolition of policing in general were neither reasonable nor feasible and thus spawned nonsense like #BlueLivesMatter and the tone deaf #AllLivesMatter movements.) These were roadblocks toward truly providing change and #BlackLivesMatter has overcome them for the most part.

It is a transformation from protest to genuine activism and fundamental institutional change that evaded Occupy Wall Street and so many others.

The #MeToo movement has the same opportunity. Hope and focus rather than unrealistic scorched Earth tactics. 

Yeah — I got frustrated with the unfair treatment of Al Franken. I vented some. I’m still pissed about the injustice to a man so committed to the causes of true progress, a shining example of what a Senator opposed to the Trump administration should be about, was tarred and feathered for a boorish joke and tales of ass-grabbing which he denies.

I notice that by even bringing up the idea that even if one believes these eight women (I don’t) that questioning whether these misjudgments are predatory is, for the most strident of Rage Profiteers, grounds for excommunication from the Church of the Left. The message from this Leftist version of the Tea Party is that unless you see his indiscretions as equal to the criminal behavior of a Weinstein or a Trump, you’re just as culpable as the 84% Of Republicans who love our President. 

Which is horseshit. Passionate, uncompromising, unrelenting feces from the bunghole of an equine.

We are on the same side of this. We can tear at each other, destroy our alliances in the quest for purity of ideology, become the DNC of the 1980 presidential election — you know, the one where the Far Left candidate (Ted Kennedy) tore open a rift with the Center Left Incumbent (Jimmy Carter) that allowed a B-Movie Actor who wasn’t the GOP favorite by a long shot swing on through and secure the highest office in the land. Sort of like last year. Or we can recognize that while we don’t see exactly eye-to-eye on these issues all the time, stop trying to shame one another and unify the Left and oust the Robber Barons and Warmongers from the steps of Washington.

I fear a Consistency of Dunces. I fear the Politics of Shame and Retribution will continue to drive those of looking for collaboration and compromises in order to affect long-lasting systemic change out of the tribe.

I hope for better. We all want to live in a world that values everyone. I hope that’s enough.


Available in the clearance section of your local used bookstore.

HISTORY: The Second Women’s Movement & the #MeToo Contradiction #Feminism

Whenever people set out to make grandiose statements and commentaries, it’s always a good rule of thumb to actually study the history of such turmoil because often times, we find this well-covered territory. Hence, the MeToo Movement is far from original or innovative and has left out many factors. It’s stunning to find that many in our society may act as if they’re breaking new ground but in…

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By Earle I. Mack Right now, the far right and far left are badgering their political parties, tugging at the anchors of our two-party system and, sadly, the heart of our country. This is natural, it’s our political pendulum. A pendulum starts in the middle and (like our politics) swings left and right — sometimes wildly — and eventually moderates again, settling in the middle. Our political…

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Democrats Sacrifice Al Franken to Ancient Pagan God

Except for Roy Moore. The Republican Senate candidate running in a tight race in today’s special election in Alabama, who has been accused of improper conduct with a 14-year-old girl and is facing sexual assault allegations by other women, has been favored by these Russian accounts. Last week, about 14% of the tweets tracked by the Alliance’s Hamilton 68 project revolved around sexual misconduct. Of those, half defended Moore against the allegations and half attacked Democrats like Franken accused of harassment. As Mother Jones reported, of the pro-Moore articles shared by these accounts during a week in mid-November, “close to 70% attacked the credibility of the accuser(s), 38% attacked the media in general or the Washington Post in particular, and one story attacked Lindsey Graham for not defending Moore.”

And today, Moore’s official account, #VoteForRoyMoore, was the 7th most-shared hashtag by these accounts, an increase of 1,300% in activity over the last 48 hours. And VoteJudgeMoore.com was one of the top domains shared by the accounts. Bret Schafer, an analyst with the group, says he can’t recall seeing any tweets attacking Moore shared by the accounts.

“If it’s an accused Democrat or someone connected to a liberal cause, they’re just going to be attacked,” he tells Fast Company. “But generally speaking, if it’s a figure who’s in the Trump world [who is in the news for sexual harassment], typically it’s just ignored.”

For Once, the Joke Is on Al Franken

By: Selena Zito There is a strong argument to be made that Sen. Al Franken’s central reason for resigning is he knew he would be reduced to being shunned by his peers and the press if he were to continue representing Minnesota in the congressional upper chamber.

Hey heads up Minnesota, they’re already planning to screw you in 2018.

“We’re better than this. Most right-wingers aren’t racist, transphobic, sexist, xenophobic, white supremacist, child molesters for the same reason the vast majority of left-wingers aren’t anti-American, gun-grabbing, communist, terrorists, but saying those two things shouldn’t be a political statement,” writes Jake Dorsch.

I’ve dabbled into commentary on the state of American politics before but it has become evident that politics, at least in America, is no longer about policy – it’s about rhetoric and culture. Utilitarian arguments simply aren’t heard and certainly don’t win elections – no matter how many times economists unanimously prove that free trade helps the economy, Republicans and Democrats alike such as…

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Simone Pathé at Roll Call:

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday said he would appoint Lt. Gov Tina Smith to fill the Senate seat being vacated by outgoing Sen. Al Franken, who has yet to announce his resignation date.

Smith said Wednesday she will run for the remainder of Franken’s term, which is up in 2020. The special election will be held concurrently with next year’s midterms, when Democratic-Farmer-Labor Sen. Amy Klobuchar also faces voters.

“I shouldn’t be underestimated, and if I weren’t confident, I wouldn’t be doing this,“ Smith said.

Smith said Franken’s staff is “working to finalize the details” of his resignation, but she expects the transition to occur in early January. She’s meeting with his staff in Minnesota Wednesday and hopes most of them will stay on board.

Asked if Dayton had anything in writing from Franken about his resignation, the governor said no. “I know Sen. Franken is a man of his word,” he said. “I fully expect he will follow through.”

Dayton was under pressure to appoint a woman after Franken resigned amid allegations he inappropriately touched women.

[Ratings Change: Franken Steps Down Amid Allegations, Seat Starts Likely Democratic]

The majority of his Senate Democratic colleagues called on the second-term senator to step aside. In a Dec. 7 speech on the Senate floor, Franken said he’d resign in the coming weeks, but denied some of the allegations against him.

Smith, 59, had never held elected office before Dayton asked her to be his running mate in 2014.

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith has been appointed to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Al Franken’s upcoming resignation.

Smith, a Democrat, will serve until January 2019. She also plans to run in a special election next year to serve out the entirety of Franken’s term, which ends in 2020, according to a source who spoke to Minnesota Public Radio.

via BuzzFeed

After Senator Al Franken’s resignation from the Minnesota Senate, Governor Mark Dayton has appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to replace Franken’s position until a special election is held in the November election and will complete Franken’s term until 2020.

Many saw Smith as Dayton’s top prospect after Franken’s resignation. She had previous declined a run for governor, which brought…

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Another Trump associate, Michael Flynn, pleads guilty to the FBI and Senator Al Franken resigns. This video is from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Feel free to share, like or leave your comment.Filed under: ShowTime
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Watch the video on ParqView.

In the end I think I’d rather we had kept Al Franken than lose Roy Moore.

“Being a victim can be painful, but the answer to an injustice cannot be to create another injustice.

“I am deeply troubled by the resignation of U.S. Sen. Al Franken and the complete absence of anything resembling due process.

“Now reports are surfacing that Leeann Tweeden, Franken’s prime accuser, may have been coached by Roger Stone, a major Trump operator. Since there was no vetting, we heard only her story. But there has been no explanation as to why she attended a USO event in 2009 honoring Franken and was captured on tape joking around with him. This is three years after she claimed to be traumatized by Franken.

“She continued in 2011 with a tweet containing a photo of her and Franken together.

“This is all very troubling. A rush to judgment is, unfortunately, all too human. But a rush to punishment is totally unacceptable.

“It is time for all of us to sober up. Our nation is in peril with Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans yielding to his demands. We are increasingly moving toward authoritarianism, and continued GOP subservience could possibly lead to the dissolution of the Mueller investigation.

“While I am not always in agreement with Sen. Franken, I firmly believe in due process, which is a cornerstone of our democratic way of living. Whenever in history we abandoned it, we severely damaged ourselves. Just think about the lynching of blacks in the South, the internment of people of Japanese descent in World War II, or the era of McCarthyism, when lives were destroyed based solely on allegations.

“The simple fact is that Al Franken has been the Senate’s most effective challenge to Trump and his subordinates. The possibility of any rigging by Roger Stone and his associates should cause all of us to call for a rescinding of the Franken resignation and a prompt and thorough review of all allegations by the Senate Ethics Committee.

“He was elected by we the people, and he should continue to serve until a legal determination has been made.”

http://www.startribune.com/arne-carlson-from-personal-to-political-rue-the-rush-to-judgment/463502923/