Just When You Thought They Couldn’t Get Skeevier…

My son, for reasons known best to himself, has taken to watching old Jon Stewart clips, and this morning he was watching a long one, a sit down between Steward and Bill O’Reilly.

Stewart comes off as the smarter, more moral one in the particular bit I saw, but I told my kid I still hated the whole premise.  Stewart was normalizing a monster — even giving him a little bit of his own thoughtfulness as cover.  It wasn’t news back then that O’Reilly was a stone racist and a grotesque boss, a harassing womanizer dragging a tail of NDAs behind him.

But while I watched a true PGO came to me: the GOP obviously has no monopoly on men who are assholes to women, but it does seem to have more than its share, or rather the share you’d expect, given both specific ideology* , and the broader authoritarianism that both depends on and breeds the certainty that to be white and male is to have the right to f**k — and f**k with — the women who are their due.

Hence Porter and Farenthold and Moore and a magazine writer who thinks mere lethal injection is too good for the wanton harlots who choose to have an abortion — and the male-led magazine that thought such views were “provocative” — until it became clear just how provoked the intended gallows-bound (and their friends) had become.  And of course, hence the omphalos of modern Republican moral degeneracy, the Shitgibbon himself.

But I have to say, the latest entrant into the GOP-Sleazebag sweepstakes actually managed to surprise even my jaded self.  Meet Mr. Benjamin Sparks:

A Las Vegas political adviser who worked on national campaigns and high-profile Nevada races sexually enslaved and battered his ex-fiancée before police responded to a domestic dispute, the woman told the Review-Journal.

The 46-year-old woman provided copies of emails, text messages and a signed contract laying out her duties as a “slave in training” to Benjamin Sparks.

Sparks isn’t some small-time local operative.  He was a 2012 Romney spokesperson, and worked for Goggle-Eyed Homunculus Scott Walker during the recall campaign.  And he really, really doesn’t like the idea of female autonomy:

According to emails, documents and text messages obtained by the Review-Journal, Sparks and his ex-fiancée signed a five-page contract stating that she would be his “slave and property.”…

Her specified duties were what you might expect, given that starting point and then escalated to the point of rupture. (Go to the link if you want the details.)

“Slave and property.” Dwell on that phrase.  I’ll wait.

Not All Republicans would be a true statement.  But too much Republican rhetoric, policy and conviction rests on a view of women that taken to pathological extremes, ends with Benjamin Sparks putting down on paper his belief that a woman could be chattel.

There are all kinds of reasons these shandes and goniffs need to get their asses handed to them this November. This is one. A big one.

Open this thread can be.

ETA: Several commenters have pointed out that consensual relations between adults aren’t the problem, and they’re right (as always, IMHO). The issue here for me is the way Sparks took what appears to have been one stage of initial consent and translated that into a one-off permission that gave him the right actually to treat his partner as property.

*Anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-non-discriminatory-treatment in work and society politics that are all underpinned by the conviction that women can’t be allowed to have full agency over their own bodies and their own decisions.

Image: J. Collier, Three grotesque old men with awful teeth pointing and grimacing at each other, 1810. (Via Wellcome Images.)

John Bolton As Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor

When thinking about John Bolton as National Security Advisor, we should keep in mind that there is no reason for war between the US and North Korea or Iran. Iran has adhered to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the other six signatories are satisfied with the situation. It is testing missiles and is engaged in the war in Syria, which are a concern but not subjects of the JCPOA. North Korea has the capability to build thermonuclear warheads and mount them on missiles, but the numbers are few, and its leaders seem willing to talk.

The cause for talk of war is President Donald Trump’s belligerence. Without that, there are ways forward that do not involve war. Unfortunately, John Bolton has never met a war he didn’t like.

Bolton thinks that the Iraq war was the right thing to do. Now Iran and North Korea are at the top of his to-war list. Iran is much larger and better-defended than Iraq was in 2003, and a war with North Korea would mean the destruction of much of South Korea, damage to Japan, and possibly a nuclear war. Bolton has never considered diplomacy as a part of international relations. He is also connected to the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), a radical Iranian group that wants regime change.

He has no place in the United States government. But Trump is in the process of removing the advisors who might have supplied some restraint on his impulsive and emotional responses, and has settled on Bolton as the person to coordinate his foreign policy. The position of National Security Advisor is not subject to Senate approval. Read more

Just Say No

This story got buried under the news of Andrew McCabe’s firing on Friday, but it’s important if we want to elect people who can bring about responsible government. That starts now, as we move toward November’s elections.

You know those cute little quizzes that are supposed to tell you something about who you are? Which movie star are you? Are you a cat or a dog person? What is your color? So much fun to compare with what you think of yourself and with your friends’ results. In fact, you could share on Facebook and urge your friends to see what their favorite color was. Those quizzes asked you to share most of your Facebook data before you could play.

You may have been contributing data to Cambridge Analytica’s work to help elect Donald Trump. Read more

Another Corrupt Pol

Bad Bibi:

Israeli police recommend two charges of bribery against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, local media reported Tuesday.

The recommended indictment is a result of a 14-month investigation into allegations that the prime minister committed “fraud, breach of trust, and bribes.”

Netanyahu stands accused of accepting over $100,000 in gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and others. Netanyahu also allegedly asked for positive news coverage by an Israeli publication in exchange for hurting its rival, a free pro-Netanyahu daily.

“He tried to strike a deal that would have provided him with positive coverage in Israel’s second largest newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, in exchange for hurting its free rival, Israel Hayom,” Haaretz reported.

“The publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, Arnon Mozes, will also be charged, as will Arnon Milchan, who allegedly provided Netanyahu with gifts,” the newspaper added. “Netanyahu will address the public in a live broadcast at 8:45 P.M.”

We’ll see if this amounts to anything, and it could be a guide to how to handle Trump should he ever be charged.

The Government Shutdown Explained from the Perspective of Someone Who is Sick of This Fucking Bullshit

It’s almost impossible to understand what is going on in the shutdown debate because there are so many moving pieces and it has been so over complicated by throwing in DACA and SCHIP. So let’s break it down.

On the Republican side, you have multiple different groups.

1.) You have the crazy people and criminally uninformed like the President and Matt Gaetz.
2.) You have the certified sociopaths like the House Freedom Caucus and Ted Cruz.
3.) You have the racists like Steve King.
4.) You have the people who just like to hurt people like Tom Cotton and Mitch McConnell.
5.) You have the people who like to pretend to govern and love an easy rub and tug from a foolish media, but if given the opportunity will join the previous four groups, like McCain, Graham, Collins, Flake, Sasse.
6.) You have the people who will just do whatever they think is best for them, but in the process do what actually hurts them the most, like Marco Rubio.

On the Democratic side, you have:

1.) the good governance/bipartisanship fetishists like Manchin, Heitkamp, etc.
2.) House Minority Leadership who is just trying to keep this shit together
3.) and the group I most relate to which is the “Fuck you Trump and Republicans I am going to hold you down and pummel you as hard and as often as I can I don’t trust a fucking thing you do and I am so over your fucking bullshit” like our beloved Great Aunt Maxine of the Immaculate Eyeroll.

Out of those groups, you have to somehow cobble together a spending bill. This should be no problem, but the Republicans want to pass a spending bill that is so awful that it will get no Democratic support, so they have to do it alone, but it is also not awful enough for the House Freedom Caucus and folks like Cotton and Cruz, and this is further complicated by the fact that no matter what they put together, Orange Julius Caesar is too fucking stupid to understand it and rnadomly spews nonsense on twitter, disrupting whatever progress the sociopaths are currently working on. It’s basically a bad heist movie where they should be able to get away with a clean steal, but are too busy tripping over each other’s dicks and it ends up like the end of Reservoir Dogs.

Further complicating matters are two issues that, if brought up by themselves, would pass with overwhelming support. Clean DACA and SCHIP bills would both pass tomorrow if introduced. But the Republicans won’t do that, because they know how awful their priorites are, so they have taken Dreamers and sick kids hostage because they think they can peel off some Democratic support. The problem is, part of the Republican heist team doesn’t care if the hostages live. So while they’ve got a gun to the head of kids and the dreamers and are backing out of the bank saying “don’t fuck with me or I’ll shoot,” the Steve King crowd and the House Freedom Caucus are trying to figure out a way to shoot the Dreamers and sick kids while still getting out of the building with the loot.

So that’s why we are where we are.

There Needs to Be a Reckoning

A simultaneously fascinating and horrible piece in Vanity Fair on the last days of Harvey Weinstein that includes this gem:

But as Weinstein saw that his time and his options were running out, he began to scramble. And as revealed here for the first time, he decided to take matters into his own hands. Weinstein and a coterie of loyalists—according to a dozen current and former T.W.C. employees and Weinstein advisers, as well as the initial findings of an internal company investigation—would allegedly spend his last days at the company searching for and trying to delete documents; absconding with others; surveilling ex-employees’ online communications; and seeking to discover who, in the end, had orchestrated his downfall.

Imagine being such a horrible person that you wake up in the morning with the goal of destroying people to defend a serial rapist. A few people are named (Frank Gil), but before this is all over, there needs to be a real reckoning. WHo were the people who brought these women to his hotel knowing what he would do to them? Who were the people who cleaned up the messes? All of them need to be named, shamed, and prosecuted where applicable.

Do Not Let Me Hear Of The Wisdom Of Old Men


Donald Trump’s North Korea tweet was obvious enough that the instant responses to it included the word “dick-measuring” and the thought that he probably can’t find the button. It is becoming more and more obvious that he is indeed the WYSIWYG president. “There is no wizard behind the curtain — just an old, angry, obnoxiously ignorant man.”

The world is changing fast – away from the assumed preference for old white men. Even when their privilege was intact, within their value system they had a lot to be angry about. First, the physical decline. As we get older, it becomes more difficult to keep weight off, more difficult to maintain muscle tone. Joints begin to ache. Men’s sexual abilities decline starting at around age 20. There’s some cognitive decline; reflexes slow down.

Additionally, society keeps changing. People of color, women, people whose sexuality differs from cis-het all are being legitimated. Some are taking prominent jobs away from their rightful owners, those cis-het white men. Read more