It is Important to Bear Witness: This Shall Not Go Unremarked

I’ve done a couple of these  so far. One dealing with that whacked out sentence in the rape case in California. One in regard to anti-Semites threatening a reporter on twitter.

Earlier today, during her interview with Anderson Cooper, Melania Trump indicated that if she becomes First Lady she intends to focus on combating the negativity on social media.

Perhaps she should ask her step son in law why this is unacceptable and then speak with her husband and ask him to publicly tell his supporters that this is unacceptable. And it cannot go unremarked.

I do not know Ms. Gold, but she needs to know that others will stand up with and for her if necessary. And the same to anyone else who is being threatened like this on twitter and other social media platforms regardless of their ethnicity or religion or gender or sexuality.

Stuff like this is also why the owners of Twitter can’t get anyone to actually buy it.



The Election Is Not Rigged & It Is Not Going To Be Rigged

A quick note from Speaker Ryan (R-Profile in Courage!):

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Saturday dismissed Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the November elections will be rigged.

“Our democracy relies on confidence in election results, and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong toldBuzzFeed.

It is important to note and remember that 23 states are led by Republican governors that also have Republican legislatures – both chambers, referred to as the trifecta. Another 11 states have Republican governors and just 7 states are under Democratic control -the trifecta of a Democratic governor and legislature. There are 20 states total that share control – either GOP governor, Democratic legislature, or vice versa. Apparently the Trump campaign is suggesting that the Republican Party is rigging elections against the Republican nominee at the state level… Wait, what were we talking about again?

A somewhat more definitive explanation of the process of just how hard it would be to actually rig US elections has been provided by the Ashby Law firm, which focuses on electoral law and primarily works for Republican clients:


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Yesterday in American Sedition: (Not Actually Mentioned in the) Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers & Senators Too Edition

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke had some interesting thoughts he decided to share on social media yesterday:

You remember Sheriff Clark, the (sheriffs aren’t actualyl mentioned in the) Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officers Association Law Enforcer of the Year Award Winner? You know, the tough guy that tried to call in the Wisconsin National Guard about six weeks ago even though he was not the law enforcement officer in charge of what was happening in Milwaukee with demonstrations, protests, and riots? The actual officer in charge would be Milwaukee Chief of Police Edward A Flynn. And he had this to say about Sheriff Clarke:

“Nobody has got more to say about law enforcement and less to do with it,” Flynn said of Clarke, calling him a self-serving man who seeks “celebrity.”

Sheriff Clarke would be the tough guy that had an inmate die of thirst in the jail*, the oversight of which is one of his few actual primary responsibilities, because his subordinates specifically and purposely cut off water to the inmates cell – an inmate who was mentally ill.

So what is it that Sheriff Clarke actually does/is actually supposed to be doing? His actual jurisdiction is running the jail, providing security at municipal facilities, and patrolling the part of the interstate as it runs through Milwaukee County.

“By statute and by practice, the sheriff plays only a limited role as a traditional law enforcement agency,” Abele said in his budget remarks to the County Board on Sept. 29, 2011.

“For example, in 2009 the sheriff reported only 12 crimes to the FBI, compared to 41,000 for the City of Milwaukee and 3,200 for West Allis, and even 242 for the UWM Police Department.”

There are no unincorporated areas in Milwaukee County and each of these incorporated municipalities have their own police departments.

Last year, the administration of Milwaukee County ExecutiveChris Abele released some eyebrow-raising statistics on the Sheriff’s Department, noting that:

  • Milwaukee is the state’s only county with no unincorporated area, meaning there are municipal police patrolling every part of the county. Besides Milwaukee, there are 18 suburban police forces in action.
  • In 2009, the sheriff reported only 19 crimes to the FBI, compared to 41,375 for the Milwaukee police, 3,288 for West Allis police, 1,908 for Wauwatosa and even 242 for the UW-Milwaukee police. That’s right, the UWM campus police handled 12 times more criminals than the Sheriff’s Department.
  • Just 10 percent of Sheriff David Clarke’s requested property tax levy was for police services. As Abele put it, “the sheriff plays only a limited role as a traditional law enforcement agency.”

The deputy sheriffs staff the Milwaukee County Jail and County Correctional Facility South (formerly House of Correction), handle the courthouse’s system of bailiffs, and patrol the freeways.

Earlier in the day he was complaining about how long it took his NICS check to go through so he could buy a new AR pattern rifle. Insinuating that this is not how law enforcement should be treated (because, you know, they’re not just citizens too or something).

In case anyone was wondering, NICS checks for gun purchases are done by the FBI – law enforcement genius!

Anyone else get in the game yesterday? Why yes, yes indeed. Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III.

You know, this Senator Sessions.

And thus an uncomfortable light shined once again on a man plainly hidden in the ranks of the Senate for a dozen years now. A man known to be one of the most consistently conservative legislators on Capitol Hill. A man noted for hisobstructionist tendencies. A man with a chequered history linked to America’s racist past. A man, who has been, arguably, waiting for this moment for the last two decades.

Sessions’s first national exposure was, surely, mortifying for the would-be federal judge. It was 1986, and the then-39-year-old US attorney for the Southern District of Alabama was a Reagan nominee to the federal bench. Sessions had good reason to believe he’d be rubber-stamped through to a judgeship – some 200 of the Gipper’s judges had already been heavily sprinkled throughout the federal judicial system. But Sessions stopped up the works. The young lawyer became only the second man in 50 years to be rejected by the Senate judiciary committee.

The reasons for his rejection, as I explained in this 2002 New Republic story had to do with a soupy mix of dubious and arguably racist moves, comments and motivations on the part of the Alabama native that led senator Ted Kennedy to announce it was “inconceivable … that a person of this attitude is qualified to be a US attorney, let alone a United States federal judge.”

And finally a quick update by addition (unintentional omission) from Friday’s Today in Hashtag Violence, Terrorism, and Leaderless Resistance post:

Two Texas men, working in California, have been charged in a brutal assault and battery on Maan Singh Khalsa – a Sikh-American. They first threw something at his car, then followed him and at a stop light pulled him from his car, beat him, ripped off his dastar (turban), and cut/pulled out some of his hair. The attackers have had the hate crime additions added to the charges they face.

Just 24 days (inclusive of today) to go until the election. Stay frosty!

* The Journal-Sentinel did a deep dive into deaths in the Milwaukee County Jail from 2008 to 2014,



First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks on Sexual Harassment, Assault, and Rape in New Hampshire

The First Lady is campaigning in New Hampshire today and has turned her rally speech into an impassioned discussion of sexual harassment, assault, and rape.

Updated to Add:

I had put this as a comment in BettyC’s thread, but given the nature of the First Lady’s speech, decided I’d append it to this post. This is excerpted from a 2014 report I wrote on sexual assault, harassment, and rape for the US Army when my Commanding General was asked to look at the problem from the strategic and cultural levels:

American Cultural Concerns: Women’s Status in America and Attitudes Towards Women
As Gen. Welsh, as well as Zenko and Wolf observed in May 2013, no one enters the US military as a blank slate. Every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine brings with them at least two decades of socialization and acculturation to overall American norms and values, as well as to their numerous regional variations, those of their families, ethnic communities, and/or religious denominations. While America made great strides through the 20th Century towards greater inclusivity towards women, as part of the larger trend towards more inclusive civil rights and liberties for all American citizens, these gains are not uniform throughout society. Americans from more rural areas, from specific ethnic groups, and adherents to more traditional forms of religion often tend to hold more traditional views of sexuality, the interaction between men and women, and the appropriate roles for men and women in both the public and private realms of life(11). Often these bleed over into the popular consciousness, such as when women’s employment opportunities are limited due to things such as physical appearance.(12)

There is, however, an even more troubling socio-cultural downside to this. Sometimes it is referred to or reported as rape culture: the attitudes, norms, and values that allow men to view women as not being fully autonomous humans, but rather as objects to whom things can be done without their consent. It is this concept that is at the heart of the discussions and debates of incidents like the Stuebenville rape case, a similar incident in KS that actually drove the family from town, as well as a seeming rash of law enforcement officers sexually assaulting women under cover of law or officials directing law or rules against victims.(13)

While all of these incidents, and the ones that go under or unreported, begin to paint a disturbing pattern regarding a set of persistent negative norms and values towards women in America. What is even more disturbing are the hundreds of incidents where women were determined by law enforcement, courts, and medical personnel to be less than fully autonomous human beings, and therefore subject to having their rights and liberties curtailed for either being pregnant or because they might be pregnant.(14) Paltrow and Flavin document over 500 cases of pregnant women having their civil rights and liberties involuntarily curtailed, usually for trivial reasons such as a patrol officer’s concerns that the seat belt strap might harm the pregnant woman’s developing fetus, simply because they were or were suspected to be pregnant. While it would be an understatement to say that America has unresolved political and social issues regarding issues of women’s health, conception, and contraception, Paltrow and Flavin document a disturbing trend: if a woman in America is or could be pregnant, she is at risk of being reduced to second class citizen status due to others – law enforcement, medical professionals, and jurists – attitudes regarding women, their place, and their role in American society.

This abrogation of American women’s rights is both a disturbing socio-cultural trend, but it also points to a larger culturally bounded normative issue: in 2014 women’s legal and social status as fully and completely equal human beings and citizens is still not set and fixed. This is also reflected in other areas of American life, such as the still unclosed pay disparity between men and women, as well as the continued underrepresentation of women in corporate boardrooms, at the heads of major corporations, and in the state and federal legislatures. While the US military has often taken the lead on integration matters for women, ethnic minorities, and now on LGBT issues, the opening of the traditional male domain of combat arms is another place that the military is ahead of significant portions of the American citizenry. It is possible that the popular pushback in some segments of American society will contribute to the problem that Gen. Welsh, as well as Zenko and Wolf identified. Everyone that comes to the US military comes from an America that has conflicting norms and values regarding women, their roles, status, and rights. This may contribute to sexual violence in both America overall and within the US military.

11 Sally Daniels, Bradford Fay, and Nicholas Tortorello, “American’s Changing Attitudes Towards Women and Minorities”, The Public Perspective, DEC/JAN 1998,http://www.ropercenter.uconn.e…../91047.pdf.
12 “Iowa Dental Assistant Faces Challenges Raising Young Family After Her Dentist Boss Fired her for Being “too Attractive” and a ‘Threat’ to his Marriage”, Daily Mail, 2 AUG 2013,http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..sa-Nelson- moving-court-ruling.html and “Elementary School Aide, 23, Suspended After Racy Modeling Photos were Sent to Staff”, Daily Mail, 23 JAN 2014,http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article- 2544560/Elementary-school-classroom-aide-23-suspended-racy-modeling-photos-sent-staff.html.
13 David Edwards, “Texas Student Reports Rape and gets Suspended for ‘Public Lewdness’”, Raw Story, 23 DEC 2013, http://www.rawstory.com/rs/201…..orts-rape- and-gets-suspended-for-public-lewdness/, David Edwards, “Texas Cop Arrested for Handcuffing and Raping 19 Year Old at Traffic Stop,” Raw Story, 24 NOV 2013, http://www.rawstory.com/rs/201…..ffic-stop/, Eric W. Dolan, “Texas Deputy Accused of Raping Mother in Front of her Children Resigns”, Raw Story, 15 AUG 2013, http://www.rawstory.com/rs/201…..-front-of- her-children-resigns/.
14 Lynn M. Paltrow and Jeanne Flavin, “Arrests of Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973- 2005: Implications for Women’s Legal Status and Public Health”, Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, 15 JAN 2013.



Saturday Night Open Thread: Target Markets

The show, “Stronger Together,” features Chelsea Clinton as a special guest and Billy Crystal as host, appearing alongside familiar faces including Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Emily Blunt, Anne Hathaway, Josh Groban, Angela Bassett, Neil Patrick Harris, Helen Mirren, Sienna Miller, Bernadette Peters, Cynthia Erivo, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Sarah Jones, Andrea McArdle and Ayodele Casel. Organizers of the evening promise new duets and collaborations…

The event is set for Oct. 17 at the St. James Theater, the Jujamcyn-owned venue currently occupied by “Something Rotten!,” which is dark on Monday nights. Tickets are on sale on the Hillary Clinton website.

And on the other side…

(What — that’s not supposed to be a joke?)



Biff! Zapp! Pow!

Good evening good citizens. There has been a request for a lighthearted open thread. And what could be more lighthearted than the trailer for the upcoming animated movie based on the Batman 66 TV show? Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar reprise their original roles. So be sure to tune in: same Bat time, same Bat station!



Saturday Morning Action Serials Open Thread

On the one hand, the Spousal Unit and I adored Leverage, which was John Rogers’ creation (along with the infamous 27% Factor).

But on the other hand, neither of us ever watched an episode of the original Magnum, P.I. — it was the 80s, home recording technology was still in its infancy and television in general wasn’t much further along. And we were both involved in sf fandom / tabletop RPGs, which in those primitive days meant hand-crafting fanzines, apas, and character sheets, not to mention longform reading.

So… those of you who know more of the source material: Is this particular reboot liable to be worth watching?

And apart from the current parlous state of pop culture, what’s on the agenda for the day?