The Follow on Effects of the Weinstein Sexual Assault Allegations

As I’ve written in comments a couple of times over the last few days, I think from early indications from reporting coming out of some state capitols, that you’re going to see allegations of sexual improprieties wash through elected and appointed officials in the states and at the Federal level. This is going to get real ugly real fast once momentum picks up. What I think we’re going to see is three different types of allegations. There will be allegations dealing with sexual predation – harassment, assault, rape. There will also be allegations dealing with infidelity leading to calls of hypocrisy, with some of the infidelity involving lobbyists leading to accusations of sex for favors. Finally, there will be allegations of officials, elites, and/or notables who are closeted LGBTQ Americans. Some will be outed for hypocrisy. Some will also be accused of engaging in predation a la Speaker Hastert or Congressman Foley or Kevin Spacey. This last type will also include just plain old infidelities just like their heterosexual colleagues. Their will also, unfortunately, be some who are likely to just get outed as it all finally comes out even though they weren’t ready to come out. Essentially they’ll be collateral damage.

There are also going to be other effects. The first is that as the floodgates get forced open this is going to spread. It won’t be contained to the entertainment industry or to elected and/or appointed officials – it is going to spread from industry to industry and a long overdue reckoning will hopefully take place. Including changes in business practices, as well as new laws, rules, regulations, and eventually prosecutions for crimes where that is still a possibility.

At the same time there will likely be attempts to weaponize allegations against one’s political or business rivals. False allegations will eventually be created to ruin business or political rivals. If this happens, and I think it’s likely, it will also be used to undercut the legitimacy of the real accusers and undermine their allegations. If this does happen it will provide the opening for pushback from the forces of reaction that never want any progress to be made on any important issue because it makes them uncomfortable or challenges their authority or their privilege. And this will likely muddy the waters enough to allow for the beginning of what will be the inevitable push back. There has never been a period of progress, especially fast progress that resulted from long suppressed calls for justice, that wasn’t immediately followed by a fast and concerted push back. Including attempts to roll back all the gains and reestablish some imagined and idealized golden age before all the unfortunate and unnecessary change was pushed through. The forces of reaction are strong and they are always waiting for a chance to try to go back to get to a better future.

One of the things we all have to be prepared to do is to specifically support those we know who decide to come forward as we are generally supportive of those who come forward that we do not know. We have to set the conditions for those women and men, and in some really terrible instances girls and boys, to feel safe and supported enough to make this stand and fight this fight. And we have to be prepared to be supportive of those who wind up as collateral damage – and there will be collateral damage here. Finally, we have to hold the line for them when the inevitable pushback begins.

Young Voters entering middle age


I’m 37. I’m not quite a Generation X’er and I am definately not a Millenial. I bought my first cell phone my junior year of college and I am profoundly aware of the sound of a 1200 BAUD modem connecting to the UMass Lowell Unix servers as well as having many memories of yelling at my sister who wanted to talk on the phone as I was reading soc.history.what-if.

My first presidential vote was for Al Gore. By 2006, I was a super-voter. Since 2004 I have missed one election (Pennsylvania 2017 primary) as I had moved to North Carolina by then and was in the process of switching my registration. I am weird. For my cohort, I had a much higher probability of voting than my matched control peers.

My peers and I have always leaned Democratic as a cohort. We are now entering into prime voting participation ages. The cohorts behind me still don’t vote their numbers yet but they lean even more heavily Democratic than my cohort. Some of it is a function of race/ethnicity confounding age but there is still a dramatic implication that their political formation was Bush-Obama-Trump.

It won’t matter too much in 2018 or 2020 but there is a massive python lump of voters coming through who lean Dem but will begin turning out at higher rates just as Republican base voters decrease in numbers due to differential age related mortality.

This is Weird: Robert Mercer Makes a Move

Wilson is referring to this news from the NY Times:

Robert Mercer, a billionaire investor who is a big backer of many conservative causes and a patron of the former White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon, is stepping down as co-chief executive of Renaissance Technologies, the giant hedge fund.

Mr. Mercer sent a letter to investors and pension advisers on Thursday morning in which he said he would step down. A copy of the letter was reviewed by The New York Times.

The one-paragraph letter to investors did not give a reason for Mr. Mercer’s decision. Mr. Mercer’s involvement in conservative politics became a lightning rod for criticism during and after the presidential election.

But in a letter to the employees of the hedge fund, with the subject line “past, present, and future,” Mr. Mercer acknowledged the public scrutiny he has faced since Mr. Trump’s election.

Here’s the link to Mercer’s letter. And here are three of the more interesting items in the letter that Rick Wilson is responding to.

The press has also intimated that my politics marches in lockstep with Steve Bannon’s. I have great respect for Mr. Bannon, and from time to time I do discuss politics with him. However, I make my own decisions with respect to whom I support politically. Those decisions do not always align with Mr. Bannon’s.

Without individuals thinking for themselves, society as a whole will struggle to distinguish the signal of truth from the correlated noise of conformity. I supported Milo Yiannopoulos in the hope and expectation that his expression of views contrary to the social mainstream and his spotlighting of the hypocrisy of those who would close down free speech in the name of political correctness would promote the type of open debate and freedom of thought that is being throttled on many American college campuses today. But in my opinion, actions of and statements by Mr. Yiannopoulos have caused pain and divisiveness undermining the open and productive discourse that I had hoped to facilitate. I was mistaken to have supported him, and for several weeks have been in the process of severing all ties with him.

For personal reasons, I have also decided to sell my stake in Breitbart News to my daughters.

What remains to be seen is whether he’s actually making a break with Bannon and Breitbart or this is all for show and he’ll still be involved behind the scenes with his daughter fronting things. As for Milo, provided Mercer actually carries through on pulling his support, he just lost his sugar daddy and now has no source of income or funding. As Buzzfeed recently reported, everything Milo is doing is being paid for by the Mercers.

Making it easy for the clean up woman

I’m not much for “heightening the contradictions”. There’s an old saying, that when someone says “minor surgery” means someone else is getting operated on. Well, I think when someone says “heighten the contradictions”, it means someone else’s life is being destroyed by awful government policy.

So I think we should fight like hell to save ACA. That said, how on earth can the Republicans not think that their latest shitcare proposal is a one-way ticket to single payer within ten years? If 30 million people lose their health care by 2020 because of a shitty Republican bill, it’s not going to be that hard for President Gillibrand or President Harris (or maybe President Brown) to get a single payer bill through Congress in 2021.

Single payer and details

Margot Sanger Katz at the New York Times raises a critical point about Democratic goals for single payer plans:

Like “repeal and replace,” “single-payer” is a broadly popular slogan that papers over intraparty disagreements and wrenching policy choices. Republicans fumbled multiple attempts to replace the Affordable Care Act this year. If the Democrats eventually wrested back power, they could find themselves similarly factionalized and stymied over the details.

Rep. Conyers has released a set of single payer bills.  Senator Sanders is scheduled to release a single payer bill tomorrow.  These bills have no chance of becoming law in this session of Congress.  Yet they serve a good purpose in building consensus that originates from the intra-party consensus on universal coverage towards the mechanics of achieving that goal.

But the details matter. While it is true, as advocates often mention, that much of the world has some form of universal health care, there is wide variation in how those systems work. Nearly any single-payer plan would require substantial disruptions in the current health care system, upending the insurance arrangements of the 156 million Americans who get their coverage from work, changing the way doctors, hospitals and drug companies are paid, and shifting more health care spending onto the government ledger. Such a proposal would reshuffle the winners and losers in our current system.

If there is going to be a legitimate single payer push the next time there are working and functional universal coverage majorities in Congress, then the details matter.  And those details need to be fleshed out.  The first drafts (and that is what these bills are) need to be ruthlessly  edited.  They need experts to look at Section 1422-a-2-b and say that it does not align with Section 332-b nor does it play nicely with established case law and business practices.  These drafts need experts to ask if the implied trade-off is actually the trade-off that is intended to be made.  These drafts need to be ripped apart for internal weakness and stress tested against plausible events and corner cases.

If people are serious about wanting to move towards some type of single payer system anchored on Medicare as the means towards achieving universality, then the hard work of figuring out how to make things work is needed now.  If you want a slogan, than it is fine to be lazy.

I Have a Dream: 54 Years Later

Today is the 54th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech.

On this 54th anniversary the Anne Frank Center brings the heat:

Here’s the video of the speech:

ETA at 11:05 PM

Lest we forget, today is the 62nd anniversary of Emmet Till’s murder. The date for the March on Washington was specifically chosen to coincide with the anniversary of Till’s murder.



The President’s Campaign Rally In Phoenix, AZ Live Feed

You all know what to do!