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Old 11-20-2017, 09:15 AM
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  #6127  
Old 11-24-2017, 01:42 AM
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I haven’t been able to focus well on much of anything lately, outside of my actual job, which features mostly tasks I’ve already mastered (and even there, I sometimes have trouble). I’m going to attempt to wade through the complex minefield of recent assault allegations, especially ones against politicians, as an exercise in (hopefully) improving my ability to focus, but I must warn in advance that this may end up incoherent at places and may not go where I’m hoping it will. I’m also not sure it will actually succeed. I do not have links for any of this stuff because I read most of it on my phone and didn’t bookmark/save it, and some of this is second- or third-hand because there’s such an avalanche on these topics that I’m not always sure where to find first-hand sources. My memory has also been awful recently. As a result, this may not be entirely accurate and it probably won’t be entirely coherent. Caveat emptor.

When dealing with allegations of assault, I have two principles I try to adhere to: “trust, but verify”, and “listen to women as much as possible”. In many of these cases, these two principles may not be entirely compatible, because most of the women I’m hearing from have been, to put it mildly, sceptical of allegations against prominent Democrats.

But, to be clear, “trust, but verify” doesn’t mean extending unconditional belief to accusers. It means extending the benefit of the doubt, but it also means conducting full investigations. False accusations of assault are about as rare as they are for any other crime, but that still means around 5%, depending on estimates, end up not panning out.

A few weeks ago, Adam Silverman (who is increasingly seeming like one of the smartest and best-informed people on the Internet) wrote this brief piece that now reads like uncanny prophecy. Silverman has inside sources that most of the rest of us lack, so I can’t credit all of this to superhuman intelligence, but almost everything he predicts here is now playing out in full force.

At this point, I am going to examine allegations against a few Democrats. I’m conflicted about some of these, as my writing will ultimately reveal, but some of them I’m not at all conflicted about.

First of all, and this already seems to have gone down the memory hole, there were allegations against Sen. Blumenthal… I want to say last week (my recent memories feel impersonal, and I have almost completely lost my sense of time, so I would advise readers to take any time estimates I provide here with a rather large grain of salt, especially if they occurred within the past few months). This accusation was quickly revealed to be complete bullshit. It was made under the name of an accuser who almost immediately indicated that she was being impersonated and that Blumenthal had never subjected her to sexual misconduct. The fact that it occurred immediately raises my hackles regarding any other allegations against prominent Democrats. It does not mean that none of them can be true, to be clear, but it does suggest that ratfucking is underway.

Another sign of rodent copulation concerns the Conyers revelations. The allegations seem well-sourced and genuine, but an immediate red flag is that the leaker gave the documents to Cernovich. Not only is Cernovich not a legitimate journalist, but he is not remotely credible on women’s issues; in fact, he himself has a history of choking women (which is a strong predictor of progressing to murder) and apparently has been arrested for sexual assault (I’m not fully familiar with the details, and I’m not going to Google them because frankly, the fucker makes my skin crawl). A second red flag came from the fact that, apparently, Cernovich paid $10,000 for them – which actually, in all likelihood, means that some unknown “benefactor” paid $10k for them, because I doubt that Nazi shithead actually has $10k to spare. For his part, Conyers appears to deny the allegations. The documents seem legitimate, but legitimate-seeming documents have turned out to be bullshit recently and often enough (for instance: Wikileaks emails) that I’m going to withhold judgement until further investigation.

The most prominent allegations concern Franken, and they’re also the ones that conflict me most deeply. Franken has called for a full investigation of himself, and he has said that his recollections differ from the accusers’. I’m not inclined to suspect accusers of acting in bad faith or of deliberately misstating the truth, but there are aspects in many of these cases that don’t seem to add up. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the accusers intended to deceive, though. There are many ways to engage in orgies with rodents that involve manipulating well-meaning people to do one’s dirty work.

I’ve written before about the fallibility of human memory. It’s far more unreliable than most people realise. The act of thinking about a memory causes the old memory to be overwritten. As a result, we are constantly revising our life stories, and more consequentially, memories can be corrupted by malicious actors. This is the entire reason witness tampering is a problem, and it means eyewitnesses are far less reliable than most people assume. As a result, an entirely well-meaning person can tell untruths simply because their memories have been interfered with.

While I express scepticism below, I should be clear that what Franken is accused of is bad, and the accusations deserve complete and thorough investigations. At the same time, nothing Franken is accused of is in the same league as what Roy Moore and Donald Trump have been accused of. It is not, in fact, in the same sport. A perhaps appropriate analogy is that Franken is accused of participating in fistfights, while Moore and Trump are accused of being serial killers. I’ll defer to legal experts over whether anything Franken has been accused of is criminal, but it is certainly at least an order of magnitude less so.

The first accuser’s account has a number of details that conflict with the apparent record, some consequential, some not. Evidently, analysis of the EXIF metadata of the offending photograph suggests that it was taken at a different date and time than specified in Tweeden’s story (though I’ve read conflicting accounts about this, and I’m not sure what the ultimate conclusion was; I haven’t had a chance to examine the metadata myself). It is possible that the photographer’s camera clock was incorrectly set, but it is unlikely, because the photographer was a professional. This seems fairly inconsequential, however. A person’s memories don’t always line up to exact dates. I couldn’t reliably tell you the exact day of things that happened last week, though I’m currently suffering from a mental disorder that severely fucks with my perception of time. Most people suffer from this to a lesser extent, though.

More consequentially is the fact that Tweeden alleged Franken wrote the offending USO skit so he would have an opportunity to kiss her. It turns out that skits along these lines (perhaps the exact skit; I’m not clear on this) were performed for at least three years before the offending incident, and Franken wasn’t responsible for writing them. I’m also led to understand that a number of other specifics of her account have been brought into question by others who were present at the times of the rehearsals. Because I read a lot of this on my phone and didn’t think to bookmark or open new tabs for these stories, I don’t have specifics to provide here.

A third troubling aspect is that Roger Stone tweeted about forthcoming allegations about Franken before they appeared. Stone is an old and practised ratfucker who’s been plying his dark arts since the Nixon age, and his involvement in any story should be an immediate red flag. He has, in fact, been banned from Twitter due to his overall toxicity as a human being. KABC has apparently denied that Stone was looped into the story about Tweeden, but this denial isn’t particularly convincing, since it presumably has no way of confirming which of its employees may have communicated with others outside of KABC’s orbit.

Beyond all this, I’m not particularly familiar with Tweeden’s history, but I’ve read allegations that she was involved in the smear campaign against Shirley Sherrod, and that she made allegations against Sherrod that were revealed to be false. This doesn’t automatically mean that she would make a fraudulent allegation of assault, to be clear. But it does suggest that there is a history of bad faith.

The second accusation alleged an entirely different pattern of conduct. A number of people have argued that if Franken were groping the accuser against her will, her body language would be substantially different. As a person on the autism spectrum who has, to the best of their recollection, never been groped, I’ll abstain from comment on this matter. To be honest, I recall seeing the smallest amount of discussion about this accusation. However, as I’ve said, my memory is not particularly great these days.

I’m even more suspicious about the third and fourth accusations. I’ve heard people say that the reporter who broke the claims does good work and isn’t likely to report poorly-sourced bullshit, but a track record of good work in the past isn’t a guarantee of continued good work (there were, for instance, times when most people here would’ve considered sources like Wikileaks, Glenn Greenwald, and Donna Brazile credible, but I’m sure that time has long since passed). A major problem out of the gate is that the accusers are anonymous – in fact, they refused to go public with their names. I can fully understand why people might not want their names published in today’s political climate, but at the same time, it also means that we largely have to take the reporter’s word for it that the accusations are legit.

And apparently there have been a few red flags right off the gate. One of the accusers claims an incident occurred at an event that there is apparently no record of Franken having attended, while at the other event, Franken’s wife was with him the whole time, and claims she witnessed nothing untoward. Furthermore, one of the accusers appears to have changed her story from him copping a feel of her butt cheek to inviting her to go to the bathroom with him, which is a huge red flag.

To be clear: intentionally groping someone’s butt is bad. But my emphasis here is intentionally. We’ve had a long history of physical and sexual assault not being taken seriously, and I’m 100% glad this is changing. But there is a risk of overcorrecting. Thus far, it has never seemed to me to be a serious risk, but the way things are going now, I’m starting to wonder if that’s still true.

As a professional comedian and later a politician, it seems quite likely that Franken has taken thousands of pictures with people. People generally tend to engage in physical contact when posing for photos. There doesn’t seem to me to be anything wrong with this as long as people are OK with it. But there is a danger of miscommunication here as well. Society has generally assumed that physical contact in photos is simply OK without really questioning it, and maybe it’s time to question that assumption. I’m on the autism spectrum, but I’ve never had much issue with the kind of physical contact that people usually engage in when posing for photos; however, I’m aware that others do. I’d have no problem having a conversation about this going forward.

What we’re engaged in now, though, doesn’t look to me much like a conversation. I’ve been dancing around this point, but here’s the crux of the issue: if you take thousands of photos with people, at some point it’s quite likely that your hands are accidentally going to brush against places you didn’t intend them to go. That’s unfortunate, but it is not criminal assault, and it shouldn’t be. It’s the sort of thing that should, at most, merit a sincere apology, and comparing it to violent assault belittles the traumas that survivors have to work through.

Now I’m not saying that this is definitively what occurred in the Franken photos. Without further investigation, we have no way of knowing this – which is why I think Franken’s stance of calling for an investigation of his own actions is the 100% correct course of action to pursue. And it’s important to contrast how he’s reacted with how Moore and Trump have: they called their accusers liars and, at least in Trump’s case, threatened to sue them. Franken has said his recollection differs from his accusers’ without outright accusing them of lying, and has called for a full investigation of himself. His responses haven’t been perfect, either, but overall, I know which set of politicians looks guiltier.

I also want to make a note of the timing. A flurry of accusations against one of the Senate’s most prominent advocates of net neutrality comes out at the same time the GOP is trying to kill it? That’s too convenient to be coincidental. This doesn’t in itself mean the accusers are lying, but it does suggest they’ve allowed their accusations to be employed for maximum political impact, which suggests they may not be impartial political actors (though they may also simply be politically naïve).

Finally, there’s the “every accusation is a confession” angle. I am not at all suggesting that this is definitely what is happening here, but the GOP has a long history of accusing Democrats of doing things that it, itself, was already guilty of doing – or wound up doing the first chance it had. Remember the obviously fake robocalls from “Bernie Bernstein” offering to pay accusers for false accusations against Moore? I hate that my mind is even suspecting conspiracies like this, but reality has been a bad conspiracy thriller with unsubtle, incompetent antagonists for years now. I can’t find a way to rule out as a possibility that someone, behind the scenes, is trying to do exactly this. The $10k for dirt on Conyers makes it even harder for me to dismiss this.

In any case, I certainly don’t support calling for Franken’s resignation now before the claims have been more thoroughly investigated – and while Conyers’ case seems to be more thoroughly documented, I’m inclined to think the same for him (in Blumenthal’s case, there was no there there, which is why it’s already disappeared down the memory hole). I remember ACORN and Shirley Sherrod and Van Jones and numerous other cases where GOP ratfucking brought down organisations and individuals that ultimately were shown to have engaged in no wrongdoing. I don’t know for sure that this is what’s occurring here, but we’ve been burned too many times for me to support turning on people who have, overall, been reliable allies without firmly proven misconduct.

I’d feel more conflicted about coming to this stance, but strangely, the discussions I’ve read on the Internet have mostly gone along these lines: women have generally been sceptical of the accusations and support thorough investigations before calling for anyone to step down, while men have generally been the loudest voices calling for their immediate resignations. I’m not entirely sure why this is, but I have suspicions: women and POC have a lot more to lose from Republicans’ policies, and thus they’re more likely to be suspicious of weaponised allegations against Democratic politicians that would hand Republicans another political advantage. (At some point I will go into how “hypocrisy” arguments help Republicans, but this reply is already long enough. I’m actually pretty amazed I was able to write this much.)

In any case, regardless of the veracity of the allegations against Conyers and Franken, the Democratic Party still unambiguously has the moral high ground in its treatment of harassment, since even Democrats who are suspicious of the claims against their politicians have called to have them thoroughly investigated. Republicans have, on the whole, flat-out denied the allegations against them, attacked the accusers, threatened to sue them, or even directly blamed them for what happened to them.

On an “unrelated to allegations against Democrats (probably)” note, Reps. Joe Barton and Ed Royce, both Republicans, are currently being publicly blackmailed by Laura Loomer and Cernovich, respectively. This is going to get much, much uglier before it gets better.

The recent spate of allegations is also causing me to reevaluate a personal stance I’ve held about art for awhile. For awhile, I wouldn’t watch or listen to works connected to anyone who was accused of sex crimes. However, if I kept following this rule, I’d never be able to watch any Pixar film again (thanks to Lasseter), Pulp Fiction (thanks to Weinstein), The Usual Suspects (thanks to Spacey), Arrested Development (thanks to Tambor), or any of a number of other works that have been integral to my understanding of humanity. I’m probably going to have to revise this stance to “don’t give them money” rather than “don’t watch at all”.
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Last edited by The Man; 11-24-2017 at 02:21 AM.
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  #6128  
Old 11-24-2017, 01:47 AM
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On a completely unrelated note (well, mostly), a rare piece that doesn’t make me say “Fuck the fucking New York Times”:

My Vagina Is Terrific. Your Opinion About It Is Not. - The New York Times

On the “FTFNYT” note, at some point, I’ll write about how the recently unveiled abuses of prominent reporters like Halperin, Thrush, and Rose should reframe perception of the coverage of the 2016 election, but for now, I’m spent.
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  #6129  
Old 11-30-2017, 09:53 PM
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Thread on news, gender, sexual harassment, not long (2-3 mins), worth the read:


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  #6130  
Old 11-30-2017, 11:40 PM
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Quote:
That is what I have decided to name a collective of mansplainers. A murder of crows, a parliament of owls, a rash of mansplainers. In medicine a rash can be a mild annoyance that goes away and never returns. A rash can also portend a serious medical condition, even something malignant.
I have also heard "an actually of mainsplainers" suggested.

Note, I'm specifically not actuallying the author, just offering an another option I have heard.
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Old 11-30-2017, 11:51 PM
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Something from 2014:




I think I saw something from 2013 but can't find it easily.

I guess I'm that guy.
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  #6132  
Old 12-01-2017, 01:13 AM
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Not embedded for when he deletes it:

Geraldo Rivera on Twitter: "#SexHarassment allegations should require: 1-made in a timely fashion-say w/n 5 yrs. 2-some contemporaneous corroboration, like witnesses, e… https://t.co/2kQeYZuMYn"

Embedded because lol:


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  #6133  
Old 12-04-2017, 02:10 AM
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Former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner files appeal in sex assault case - World - CBC News

But he was such a rich white nice boy.
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  #6134  
Old 12-05-2017, 01:59 AM
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“Alt-right” women are upset that “alt-right” men are treating them terribly

:welp:
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  #6135  
Old 12-05-2017, 02:15 AM
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The Leopards Eating People's Faces Party strikes again!

Also, this, which could also go in the journamalism thrad, but since I've already posted in this one, it'll go here.

The Men Who Cost Clinton the Election - The New York Times
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  #6136  
Old 12-09-2017, 01:30 AM
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I may have brought this up before, but this is something that bothers me, and I hope I was mostly consistent during the discussions in 2016 and beyond....

If we're going to address Trump by his last name, we should address Clinton by her last name. I think it's insulting otherwise.

I might be colored by the fact that my wife is a physician. There is a strong temptation by patients to address a Dr. Jane Doe as "Dr. Jane" and a Dr. John Doe as "Dr. Doe". I think most female doctors allow or tolerate it, and some embrace it to present a friendlier face.

However, I think it's kind of sexist, and in the same way, I think that calling Hillary Clinton "Hillary" while calling Donald Trump "Trump" is minimizing to Clinton.
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  #6137  
Old 12-09-2017, 02:01 AM
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I'm right on board with this and have been addressing my dentist and optometrist (both women) as 'Doctor'.

In this case, 'Clinton' might prompt a request for clarification for "Which one?" Open question, would it be proper to say 'Secretary Clinton' in this case, or does the title end with the post?
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  #6138  
Old 12-09-2017, 02:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Man View Post
The Leopards Eating People's Faces Party strikes again!

Also, this, which could also go in the journamalism thrad, but since I've already posted in this one, it'll go here.

The Men Who Cost Clinton the Election - The New York Times
Don't be silly. It's all about how she was just a horrible candidate. And if you opposed her from the left, you can't credibly be accused of sexism and can't possibly be guilty of it.
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  #6139  
Old 12-09-2017, 02:52 AM
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I think the main reason people call her Hillary is because there's another Clinton. Like they called Bush W because there was another Bush.

Also my doctor is a woman and I always talk about her as my doctor but people (including women) assume she's a he.
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Old 12-09-2017, 03:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Watser? View Post
I think the main reason people call her Hillary is because there's another Clinton. Like they called Bush W because there was another Bush.

Also my doctor is a woman and I always talk about her as my doctor but people (including women) assume she's a he.
Clinton also used her first name on most campaign material. It certainly didn't bother her, although it makes me wonder if it was a strategic mistake.

However, I personally made a conscious effort to use name parity between Trump and Clinton. In 2016, talking about the election, it was rare there was any confusion as to which Clinton I'm referring.

Like I said, I'm more sensitive because there is a distinct lack of name parity in my spouse's profession. I make the same conscious decision when I'm addressing her friends and coworkers. In social contexts, I'll call people by their first names (omitting "doctor"), but if I'm addressing them in terms of their profession, I'll use their last name, unless they specifically tell me otherwise.
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  #6141  
Old 12-09-2017, 03:55 AM
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Right. Actually I always refer to her as Dr [last name] but the assistants (women) refer to her as [first name].

I suppose they refer to the male doc's in the same way, never really paid much attention.

Could easily be a cultural thing too.
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  #6142  
Old 12-09-2017, 05:26 AM
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After Trent Franks, men worry if asking subordinates to bear their child is still okay - The Washington Post

This is the line that made me :spew:

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CEO Brick Mason of Turnblad Font Suppliers, a company in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which had to bring in a consultant to conduct a session titled “How Not to Reenact ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ in Your Office, You’d Think We Wouldn’t Have to Offer These Sessions but They’re Surprisingly Popular, Jesus” worried about the impact these scandals will have.
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  #6143  
Old 12-10-2017, 11:42 AM
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Dad writes brilliant letter to school after daughter was sent off for a makeover | Metro News

While the boys go to a hardware store.
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Old 12-10-2017, 11:56 AM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

Yeah, let the boys go to a male grooming session!
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Old 12-11-2017, 11:24 AM
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Harassment survey: 'I'm a waitress but I feel like a sex worker' - BBC News

From the linkOn the second day in a new job, a table of wealthy, suited men said they would "buy her" off her manager so she could eat expensive steak with them. They asked if she had an intimate piercing and stared at her throughout their meal.


"It's so disrespectful but I couldn't complain. It's a very precarious industry," she says.
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