Posted tagged ‘Republican War on Women’

What Ailes The Republican Party?

July 19, 2016

I’ve been thinking about Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit against that omphalos of evil, Roger Ailes, since it dropped.  You all know the essence:

In a suit filed Wednesday in superior court in Bergen County, N.J., Carlson alleges that Ailes “unlawfully retaliated” against her and “sabotaged her career after she refused his sexual advances and complained about severe and pervasive sexual harassment.”

“I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,” the complaint says Ailes told Carlson last September when she complained to him. He allegedly added, “Sometimes problems are easier to solve that way.”

Even in that first story, there was plenty of evidence that Ailes is a serial harasser, a man for whom the women in his employ are objects to be manipulated (in the root sense of that word) at his pleasure:

While an executive at NBC, Ailes was accused of making sexually suggestive comments to various female underlings, according to a 2014 biography of Ailes, “The Loudest Voice in the Room.” A young woman named Randi Harrison said Ailes offered to her increase her salary by $100 a week if she would have sex with him, according to the book. A producer named Shelly Ross said Ailes posed “romantically suggestive questions and made flirtatious comments about her appearance.” Ross said she told him, “This is making me uncomfortable.”

Over the next several days, many more women have come forward to add their accounts:

In recent days, more than a dozen women have contacted Carlson’s New Jersey–based attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, and made detailed allegations of sexual harassment by Ailes over a 25-year period, dating back to the 1960s, when he was a producer on The Mike Douglas Show. “These are women who have never told these stories until now,” Smith told me. “Some are in a lot of pain.” Taken together, these stories portray Ailes as a boss who spoke openly of expecting women to perform sexual favors in exchange for job opportunities…

Vouet,_Simon_-_Lucretia_And_Tarquin

Read the whole piece at that link for some heart breaking memories.

If Ailes is really gone, the nail in the coffin may have been hammered by the Fox News megastar,  Megyn Kelly:

According to two sources briefed on parent company 21st Century Fox’s outside probe of the Fox News executive, led by New York–based law firm Paul, Weiss, Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman has been doing seriously good work on this story, which makes this nugget from his Kelly post so interesting:

According to two sources, Monday afternoon lawyers for 21st Century Fox gave Ailes a deadline of August 1 to resign or face being fired for cause.

So, good.  It looks like a truly monstrous figure is on his way out.

I’m as thrilled as anyone at that likely outcome, for all that Ailes’ well-padded crash ($40,000,000 buys a lot of whisky to cry into) is coming decades late.  But there’s a larger story that isn’t getting enough attention.

That is:  Roger Ailes isn’t just a network boss who has managed to deliver ratings to his owner.  He has been perhaps the single most important figure in the forging of today’s Republican party.  His Fox News has set the agenda, constructed the alternate reality, shattered the norms, and altered much for the worse what it means to be a Republican leader or voter.

He’s the architect and engineer of the hate-based, race-focused, anti-science, know-nothing tendency in American politics.  His triumph, his conquest of so much of American government at every level, has reached its apotheosis in the home-video version of Triumph of the Will we’re all seeing in Cleveland this week.  And he is a person who has, throughout his entire working life it seems, defined women as toys to be played with or broken at his whim.

I do not suggest that the Republican party, even in its current desperately debased state, is filled with people who would do as Ailes is alleged to have done.  But Ailes’ signal success has been in shaping how the party thinks, how its members and leaders think the world works.  And that influence is shot through with a sense of whose views count and whose don’t.  In Ailes life, half the world doesn’t rise to the level of agent, of people whose existence demands respect.

The fish rots at the head.

Image:  Simon Vouet, The Rape of Lucretia, 17th century. (Not my favorite of this subject. Rubens’ is great, and I’m a sucker for Tintoretto’s pearls.  But I wanted to keep the post SFW, so Vouet will do.)

Reality Bites

May 29, 2013

Credit where credit is due:  an  an elected Oklahoma Republican is making sense:

All of the new Oklahoma laws aimed at limiting abortion and contraception are great for the Republican family that lives in a gingerbread house with a two-car garage, two planned kids and a dog. In the real world, they are less than perfect.

I see your problem here, but do go on:

As a practicing physician (who never has or will perform an abortion), I deal with the real world. In the real world, 15- and 16-year-olds get pregnant (sadly, 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds do also). In the real world, 62 percent of women ages 20 to 24 who give birth are unmarried. And in the world I work and live in, an unplanned pregnancy can throw up a real roadblock on a woman’s path to escaping the shackles of poverty.

Gustav_Klimt_Schwangere_mit_Mann

But what about those who don’t live where you do?

Yet I cannot convince my Republican colleagues that one of the best ways to eliminate abortions is to ensure access to contraception.  [via]

Kudos to OK Rep. Doug Cox.  He is — as his op-ed makes clear — no fan of abortion.  But he’s pretty damn blunt on both the what actually happens in the world and he’s on the right side of the argument on the basic right of individuals to make their own damn decisions.  So good on him; he’s the kind of opposition we need if a two party system is ever to function again, and he’s absolutely right on the practical and moral value that comes from treating women and girls as actual autonomous…you know…people.

One more thing — I was going to call Cox a bit of a naif for this:

What happened to the Republican Party that I joined? The party where conservative presidential candidate Barry Goldwater felt women should have the right to control their own destiny? The party where President Ronald Reagan said a poor person showing up in the emergency room deserved needed treatment regardless of ability to pay? What happened to the Republican Party that felt government should not overregulate people until (as we say in Oklahoma) “you have walked a mile in their moccasins”?

But, follow the jump, and you’ll see that Cox has no problem handling the concept of a rhetorical question:

Is my thinking too clouded by my experiences in the real world? Experiences like having a preacher, in the privacy of an exam room say, “Doc, you have heard me preach against abortion but now my 15-year-old daughter is pregnant, where can I send her?” Or maybe it was that 17-year-old foreign exchange student who said, “I really made a mistake last night. Can you prescribe a morning-after pill for me? If I return to my home country pregnant, life as I know it will be over.”

Yup, Representative Cox.  You got it right.

Too much reality doth not a good Republican make.

Image:  Gustav Klimt, Sketch outline pregnant woman with man1903/4

This is Why the Kristols and their Herd of Rampaging Ilk Haz a Sad

March 15, 2012

ABL and John have already hit this one hard, but, having dealt with the mouth puke that comes from reading the source text “outing” Sandra Fluke’s boyfriend as (horrors!) a Jew, I’m feeling the need to add my $0.02.

It’s probably not worth bothering with the historical idiocy used to underpin that source’s overt anti-Semitism, (no link to the asshole, but check out Tbogg for both righteous smackdowns and the connection if you want it).  But given the time I spent getting to know that notorious Jewish Socialist nutbag and traitor to all that is good and just in the world, Albert Einstein, I can’t pass without comment this one line:

New Bedford, MA, where Raphael Mutterperl ran the family’s manufacturing arm, was a hotbed of  Marxist trade-unionism in early 20th century America. Why? It was easy to “sell” radical trade-unionism to a whole people group who were brought up in the lap of Weimar Marxian ideology, because New Bedford had many new eastern-European Jewish immigrants living there at the time, including, of course, the Mutterperl family.

There truly aren’t enough integers to count the stupid in those two sentences, but just to offer one more of my futile nods to what we laughingly call “reality,” I’d like to point out that the Weimar Republic was, of course, an explicitly anti-Marxist political construction (see, e.g. the the decisions taken by the SPD government during the January Uprising, a of January 1919.

Hint: when the German Communist Party’s campaign to destabilize the the Social Democrat-led government turned into an insurrection, that government called for help from the old Kaiserene military elite, and deployed Freikorps, unofficial units of former soldiers led by right-wing officers, to crush the insurgency.)  The sense (sic!) of the phrase “Weimar Marxian ideology” is roughly analogous to this: “Pentacostal Islamic theology.”

Moran!

And then there’s the bizarre take on New Bedford as a hotbed of Weimar (read Jewish) degeneracy.*   I actually checked out this fine young idiot’s link, which led me to a truly anodyne pamphlet on New Bedford’s Jewish history.  There, using the man’s own source, I discovered that any German Jews in New Bedford in the early 20th century were mostly descendents of migrant peddlars who arrived in town in the mid-19th century — hardly a likely well spring for “radical trade-unionism” born amongst Berlin Reds in the 1920s.

Eastern European Jews started showing up after about 1875 — but they could no more be Weimar fifth columnists than their predecessors and, what’s more…

…Oh, hell.  Why bother.  You get the idea.  The actual facts about the American immigrant experience hardly matters, not when your eyeballs fill with blood and your eardrums throb and all you can see or hear is Jew, jeW, jEw, JeW, jEW, JEw, JEW.

It is a necessary condition in the formation of this style of antisemitism that bone ignorance be combined with utter certainty, so it’s no surprise that our little friend proves such a putz.**

That he should be shamed, ridiculed, and embarassed to within an inch of his capacity to scribble in crayon is fine by me, but what really struck me on reading his attempt to combine word strings into something that reads roughly like English was that here we have the real answer to the question that sometimes pops up in neo-con Jewish circles:  why won’t their co-religionists join them in voting Republican?

I’ll give y’all a hint:  It’s not because — or not simply because — we think Republican policies violate the injuction to tikkun olam — to heal the world.  Nor that the claims of both tzedek and tzedakah, justice and charity, are ones that the contemporary GOP denies at every turn.  Nor even the argument that reflexive support of the worst impulses in Israel is the surest way to do Israel great harm over time.

No, at least in part, and on some level of deeply sensed distrust,  it is because I and lots of both secular American Jews and deeply devout ones know that when you scratch enough of those with whom our co-religionists would have us ally, you get this kind of dreck.

Put it another way:  listening to a party whose dog whistles against our first African American President have become as audible as air raid sirens, it’s not that hard to remember the rest of the package bundled with such loathesomeness.

There are a lot of reasons to support Barack Obama in the coming weeks and months.  One big one is that you have to remember that the folks putting the hate on what an African American in the White House symbolizes have lots more rage  to go round.  That this lesson gets daily reinforcement helps make this election season at once so fascinating and so repulsive.  For today’s reminder, and for that service only,  I am grateful to the imbecile who decided that the Jewishness of Sandra Fluke’s partner is such a profound mark of shame.

Oh:  and f**k you with a rusty pitchfork, you spawn of history’s sewer.  Also too.

*That’s what I think really lodged in this unfortunate writer’s excuse for a brain: Weimar, we know, is associated with not just Jews, but gay Berlin (oh! That Isherwood fellow again) terrifyingly non-uplifting art (who is this George Grosz and why can’t he paint nice pictures of flowers and birds?) too much sex and who knows what else besides. Anything with that much going on is a priori evil, and given that Marxism is wretched to the root as well, then what the hell….

**And no, I’m not referring to the traditional Amish Christmas nativity scenes.  Why do you ask?

Image: Unknown photographer,  Karl Liebknecht delivering the funeral oration for Spartacist comrades, late 1918 or early 1919.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of an Old Jew, 1654.