Author Archives: mrswhatsit9

This Franken Thing Isn’t Sitting Right With Me

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I don’t want to write this post.

The post I wanted to write today – the post I had planned – was about the brave women of #MeToo being Time magazine’s person of the year, with several who’ve been particularly public faces of the movement, including founder Tarana Burke, pictured on the cover.

That was what I wanted to write.

I realize I’m biased. Al Franken has been a consistent champion of women in the Senate since his election in 2008. He’s also been a consistent – and LOUD – and effective – critic of so-called (for now) President Trump and his not-so-merry band of racists, misogynists, xenophobes, neo-Nazis, homophobes, and religious zealots. Oh – and crooks. Let’s not forget the crooks.

I realize I’m biased. Half of Franken’s accusers are anonymous. And I’m about to say what women are DEFINITELY not supposed to say: I’m judging them for remaining anonymous. Rape is one thing, but they’re insisting on anonymity about behavior as relatively benign as “he touched my butt during a group picture” (which is what’s going on here). You really can’t provide your name about someone touching your butt during a photo shoot 10 years ago? That seems fishy to me.

I’m opening myself up to accusations of “You only care about sexual harassment when it’s done by a Republican. When it’s one of your guys, you want to let him off the hook.” Although for what it’s worth, I have no idea why Republican Representative Joe Barton was forced out when the woman who’d been his girlfriend while he was separated from his wife released naked pictures of him that were initially exchanged totally consensually. He was the VICTIM there, yo. I’m also a little fuzzy on why Trent Franks is being forced out over asking two different staffers if they’d be willing to be surrogates for him and his wife. They’re infertile and had already had twins with another surrogate, which I would guess the staffers were aware of. While it’s probably more common to either pay someone or ask a close friend, if the staffers were young and healthy, I can see why it might’ve occurred to him to ask. Unless he somehow implied that their jobs depended on saying yes, I’m not sure why we’re not looking at this as, “Well, that was an odd question, but they said no and he backed off, so what’s the problem?”

Edited to add: OK, now rumors are surfacing that Franks may have proposed impregnating the staffers via having sex with them rather than IVF, which would obviously be a completely different situation, and utterly out of bounds if accurate.

I’m opening myself up to accusations of racism. Why aren’t I crying foul over John Conyers, too? Ah, but see, to me, that is a different situation. John Conyers paid settlement money to a subordinate, and there were multiple reports of specific propositions for sex from other subordinates, including ethics complaints from 15 years ago. THAT is textbook sexual harassment. The only incidents with Franken that are reported to have taken place in a professional context are with original accuser Leeann Tweeden where they were colleagues (not boss/subordinate) on the USO tour, and Tina Dupuy, who worked on the Hill, but not for Franken.

OK, now it’s time for me to go all tin-foil hat on everyone. Which is another accusation I’m opening myself up to.

I should also point out that I was recently in a former Soviet block country and had the opportunity to visit the museum of that country’s history with communism. Two things hit me particularly hard: the role of propaganda and denying the truth (HELLO, REPUBLICAN PARTY!) and, relatedly, the role of kompromat. Kompromat was faked/doctored compromising material used to blackmail or discredit people. So maybe I’m over-sensitive about this at the moment. Another possible accusation against me.

Tin foil hat firmly in place? Let’s go.

What I’m noticing is: Republicans (so-called (for now) President Trump, Roy Moore) deny, deny, deny against strong evidence and get to stay. Democrats admit against weak evidence and are forced out. Republicans have been screaming “false accusations!” for years. “He touched my butt during a group photo 20 years ago” is neither provable nor disprovable. I’m worried. How much of a stretch would it be for Republicans to weaponize Democrats trying to do the right thing against us?

Even if all Franken’s accusers are 100% on the level, how long do you think it will take Republicans to figure out that throwing a bunch of false accusations at, say, someone who’s been a vocal, public, and effective critic of their illegitimate President is a winning strategy?

For Republicans, either outcome is good. We can’t prove the false accuser is lying? Great! Liberal Democratic man out of power. We *can* prove the false accuser is lying? Great! Bitches be lyin’. Can’t trust ’em. Ipso facto, all the women accusing Republicans must be lying, too.

That’s why I REALLY wish that rather than rushing to “Franken must resign RIGHT NOW,” the Democrats would’ve allowed the ethics investigation Franken called for *on himself* to proceed. If it turned out there was evidence against Franken of anything more than a juvenile staged picture (I have to point out that in the “groping” photo with Leeann Tweeden, you can clearly see a shadow that demonstrates that he was miming groping her), THEN he should’ve done everything Hecate recommended a few weeks ago.

(Not for nothing, video of Tweeden grab-assing with the male guitar player on the same USO tour has surfaced. I know, I know, but in an investigation, that would be relevant.)

Who’s going to be targeted next? Cory Booker? Juan Castro? Chris Murphy?

Ready to consign me to whatever the left-wing equivalent of InfoWars might be?

One last point to try to argue that I haven’t gone completely off the deep end: It turns out, Republicans are already doing this. See the Sam Seder firing and re-hiring at MSNBC motivated by Neo-Nazi MRA conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich. Admittedly, men shouldn’t run around making rape jokes, no matter how sweet a burn they’ve come up with about hypocrisy and Roman Polanski. But still: the alt-right had at least temporary success playing the left by weaponizing our earnest desires to do right against us. I doubt that was the first time, and I know it won’t be the last.

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

(Although, after this post, I suspect I’m in for trolling, not “gee I really liked what you wrote!”)

 

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Voting Is Your Civic Duty

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In just over a week, Alabamans will be going to the polls to choose who will replace so-called Attorney General Jeff Sessions in representing them in the US Senate. They’re choosing between Doug Jones, the Democrat who finally brought Klan members Thomas Blanton Jr. and Bobby Cherry to justice for murdering four little girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham in 1963, and a Republican who is both manifestly unqualified (as a judge, he was fired TWICE for BLATANTLY violating the Constitution) and a despicable human being (pedophile, Islamophobe, doesn’t think women should be “allowed” to hold office or even vote).

Doug Jones could win this thing – which would be huge, turning a deep red seat blue, narrowing the Republicans margin in the Senate (why does that matter? TAX CUT BILL, YO, and call your Senators about this RIGHT NOW), and putting the fear of Americans’ righteous rage into the GOP – but it’s way closer than it should be.

Why?

People aren’t “energized.”

(Hold on to your hat, because this is about to become a rant.)

I am FUCKING SICK of “the candidate didn’t excite me” narratives. We heard it about Al Gore. We heard it about John Kerry. We heard it about Hillary.

You know what happened in each of those cases?

DEMOCRATS LOST AND THE REPUBLICANS WHO WON PROCEEDED TO FUCK EVERYTHING UP.

Voting in elections is not FUCKING AMERICAN IDOL. And using “I’m not excited about the candidate” as an excuse not to vote is CHILDISH and STUPID.

Who benefits from this attitude?

Not Democrats. Not progressive candidates. Not women. Not people of color. Not the poor. Not children. Not LGBT people. Not people with disabilities.

You know who benefits?

George Bush. Donald Trump. Roy Moore. The Koch brothers. The Mercers. Sheldon Adelson. Steve Bannon. Rush Limbaugh. Alex Jones. Fox News. Neo-Nazis.

GOP voters SHOW UP, and they don’t care about whether the candidate makes them feel all warm and fuzzy.

My fellow progressive and left-leaning citizens: Stop treating voting like you’re being wooed by THE GODDAMN BACHELOR, and WAKE UP to the FACT that voting is a not just a right and a privilege but a DUTY OF CITIZENSHIP.

That’s right – DUTY. Your duties as a citizen are relatively few: pay your taxes, serve on juries when called, and VOTE.

Not voting disrespects your elders. The Suffragists who were beaten on the streets and tortured in jail to win women the right to vote. The civil rights leaders who were beaten on the streets, sexually assaulted in the jails, and killed to win African-Americans the right to vote.

Do you claim to respect veterans and their service to our country? If you don’t vote, you’re a liar, and you’re spitting on their sacrifices.

People SUFFERED AND DIED to win you the franchise.

GROW UP AND GET YOUR GODDAMN ASS TO THE GODDAMN POLLS.

(Yes, I am well aware that voter suppression is a serious problem and getting worse. Since SCOTUS gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, 35 states have introduced legislation to restrict voting access. Those measures are laser-targeted at the Democratic base: African-Americans, young people, the elderly, the poor. Restrictive voter ID laws (and then closing the majority of state offices where one can get those IDs in majority black counties, Alabama, I’m looking at you). Ending early voting. Making it harder to vote absentee. Closing polling places so that people face interminable lines when they do show up to vote. Inappropriately purging registered voters. Making it more difficult to register in the first place. NO EXCUSE. Alabama state troopers cracked open John Lewis’s skull on the Edmund Pettus bridge (fucking Alabama AGAIN. Jesus). Suffragists endured The Night of Terror in Occoquan, VA. Until we can get the We The People Democracy Reform Act of 2017 passed and restore the protections of the VRA, we’re all just going to have to work harder to claim our right and fulfill our duty. Woman (or man) up.)

Read this nice-time story published today about Nepalese Sherpas who walked through the mountains for hours and camped overnight to vote, and be like them.

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

 

On Giving Thanks

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It’s been a rough year for most of us personally and for our country. As of Thanksgiving 2016, many of us were still in shock (and some of us canceled visiting our Trump-supporting families as a result). It’s a year later, and we now know how bad it’s going to get (answer: BAD), and we’ve settled in for the long haul hard work that’s in front of us.

It can feel like an exercise in futility to count your blessings in the current environment. But I’d encourage you to do it anyway, and I’ll lead by example.

I’m grateful for my spouse for a number of reasons, not least of which is that he listens to me rage against sexism and misogyny (which has turned up to 11 lately) without taking it personally or getting defensive. He remains present in the conversations and validates my thoughts, feelings, and experiences, which soothes my soul and helps me maintain a belief hat there’s some hope for men.

I’m grateful for my friends. In a year when I’ve been estranged from my family of origin, my family of choice has become even more dear to me.

I’m grateful for my cats. “Comfort animal” has taken on a whole new level of meaning for me in the last year. This is the first time I’ve had a cat who’s a snuggler, and let me tell you, it ROCKS.

I’m grateful that I live in a deeply blue place, where my local elected officials work every day to protect the most vulnerable among us, for peace, for our shared values, and for equal justice under the law. I can be proud of them in their words *and* deeds every day. Being in a place of local relative safety gives me the freedom to do the work of #TheResistance, and I am conscious every day of both the privilege and responsibility that carries.

I’m grateful for the small circle of rebel witches who’ve worked with me consistently every two weeks for over a year to protect our country, our citizens and residents, our environment, and the world, and to try to stop the worst depredations of the current administration. The workings we do are difficult and sometimes dangerous, and I know I can trust them to face that bravely with me and continue on regardless.

I’m grateful for every member of the fractious family we call #TheResistance. I don’t always agree with all of you, dear sisters and brothers, or with all your tactics, but the fact that we’re each out there fighting the good fight in our own individual ways every day gives me hope. You renew my hope every day.

What are you grateful for this year?

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

Take It High Now

Edited to add: Since I drafted and scheduled this post a few days ago, we’ve learned that Doug Jones’s Republican opponent for Sessions’s old Senate seat is an unrepentant pedophile. Folks, DOUG CAN BEAT ROY MOORE. But he needs our help like whoa. So PLEASE donate, volunteer, or both at https://dougjonesforsenate.com/. Shit just got real.

You know how, for some very lucky people, once (or maybe twice for the exceptionally lucky), you’ll go to a place for the first time and, as soon as you arrive, you’ll feel like you’ve come home? Like you have some sort of ineffable tie to that place, like some piece of your soul is connected to that place, like your body may live somewhere else, but that’s where your heart is really from?

I felt that the first time I went to New Orleans, almost 20 years ago. It was like finding a piece of myself I never knew was missing. I’ve been back at least once a year every year since then. I’ve been at all seasons (yes, it’s hot in the summer, but, as a very wise woman said to me my first time there in July, “Slow down, child!” and she was right), and I’ve been all over the city, including places WELL outside what the casual tourists usually see. I love the culture, the music old (Lionel Ferbos, may he rest in strength, Lionel Batiste, may he rest in strength, Marva Wright, may she rest in strength, Allen Toussaint, may he rest in strength) and the new (Big Freedia, Trombone Shorty, New Breed, Meschiya Lake, Aurora Neeland, Tang & The Bangas), the food, the architecture, the history. I love that it’s a place that has always felt the breath of mortality on its neck, so they understand in their bones that we’re not here for a long time – we’re here for a good time. I love that it was home to an early and substantial free community of color, and I love the impact that had and continues to have on every aspect of life there. I love that it’s not the worst run city in the US – it’s the best run city in the Caribbean. I have friends there who’ve dubbed me an honorary native. It’s where my heart lives.

So you can imagine how I felt during Hurricane Katrina. We’d been down there just a few weeks before the storm that summer, and when it made landfall on August 28 at a lower intensity than predicted, I breathed a sign of relief for my beloved Crescent City, which seemed to have escaped the worst.

And then the levees broke, and we woke up on August 29 to learn that the city was drowning. I spent the following weeks obsessively pursuing any bit of news I could glean about what was going on (HUGE props to the heroic and Pulitzer-winning efforts of the Times-Picayune staff and to the team that ran the Interdictor Live Journal), donating to relief agencies, and working magic with all my might to try to save the city of my heart and its people.

My first time back in the city was for the abbreviated 2006 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival the following spring. It was pretty much the first time the city was even halfway ready to receive visitors. Most of the city was still without power. Driving lakeside out Canal Street, the waterline crept up the buildings until it vanished, because the ENTIRE STRUCTURES had been submerged. Some of the I-10 underpasses had been turned into junkyards for ruined vehicles. Others were hosting tent cities of residents who were trying to clean out their devastated houses and had nowhere to live in the meantime. The banquettes were heaped with people’s entire lives – and scores of strapped-shut refrigerators.  We could barely convince a cabbie to take us to Rock-n-Bowl. “Lady, Mid City has no power.” “I know, but we called ahead, and they’re open, running on a generator.” We couldn’t bowl – the floodwaters had warped the lanes – but oh, how we danced. Curtains still flapped from the blown-out windows of the Hilton Riverside near the Superdome. I burst into tears as I saw workers swarming the Morial Convention Center, the location of so much pain and death eight months earlier, frantically trying to get it ready for the American Library Association’s meeting the following week. They’d intentionally moved their large annual gathering to be the first group back in New Orleans, and the city was teeming with librarians, in early to do service projects to help the community (librarians, let it be said, are a bunch of awesome bad asses).

Our next-to-the-last night there, we took a cab uptown to Tipitina’s, to see the Soul Rebels. The club was packed, and that evening, in quick succession, they played “Take It High” and “504.” I looked around at all the faces of the people who loved the city and what it stands for, natives and visitors, and knew in my bones that New Orleans would survive. As that realization hit me, shaking my groove thing on the dance floor, the Rebels rolled into “No Place Like Home” (which would become the title track to their first post-Katrina album a few years later), and I swear I had an out-of-body experience (perhaps assisted, at least in part, by the joints that were being generously passed around).

“I need you to shout like you felt when you came back to New Orleans after the storm!”

And we did.

Joy. Pure joy.

Tuesday night wasn’t quite that good. But almost.

Democrats across the US worked our assess off. For Phil Murphy. For Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax, and Mark Herring. For Danica Roem. For Ravi Bhalla. For Wilmont Collins. For Vi Lyles. For Tyler Titus. For Elizabeth Guzman and Haya Ayala. For Dawn Adams. For Kathy Tram. For Manka Dhingra. For Larry Krasner.

And we won. We won, if you will, bigly.

When we organize, we win.

When we canvass, we win.

When we donate, we win.

When we phone bank, we win.

When we text bank, we win.

When we work focused, intentional, juicy, deep magic, we win.

WHEN WE VOTE, WE WIN.

And we need – and deserve – to celebrate. We killed it. So pop the champagne, dance, scream, make love, sing, make art, bake a cake, give thanks, pour out offerings – you do you, baby.

And then get back to work, because it ain’t over yet, y’all.

ACLU attorney Doug Jones faces insane racist shitbag Roy Moore for so-called AG and evil Keebler elf Jeff Sessions’s old Senate seat in just over FOUR weeks. You can go to his website to donate, volunteer, or better yet, do both.

Some of Hillary’s campaign alumnae got together to launch Nasty Women Serve, dedicating November 8 to the first annual Hillary Rodham Clinton Day of Service in honor of her legacy and ongoing work to make the world a better place. OK, it’s no longer November 8, but you can still donate, or call Congress about tax reform or our desperate need for sensible gun regulation, or drop off supplies for a local women’s shelter, or volunteer for a campaign or your local Planned Parenthood.

Speaking of Hillary’s ongoing work to make the world a better place, Onward Together unsurprisingly picked some amazingly kick-ass organizations for signal boosting. I’ll just let Hillz’ tweet storm speak for itself.

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OH! And this too:

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So you could donate to Onward Together, or just go directly to the organizations it supports and give time or money to them.

To quote Winston Churchill: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

2018 is just around the corner, and we have a real shot to take back the House, the Senate, governships, state houses, and local elected positions across the country.

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Let Tuesday night’s mighty blue wave be just the beginning of what we accomplish together in this vitally important fight for the soul of our country. This is my will, and as I will it, so mote it be.

I’ll leave you with one more Soul Rebels tune that was played at that magical post-Katrina night at Tipitina’s, because it feels SO GOOD.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

We ALL Take “Gubmint Handouts”

SNAP

The Republicans’ tax “reform” (aka “cut taxes for companies that are already swimming in cash and rich people who won’t even notice the extra money on the backs of average people”) plan landed this week, and it has all of us focusing on taxes. And most of the time, that focus tends to be “I pay too much, and those loafers are benefiting. I’ve NEVER taken anything from the government! It’s not fair!”

(How one defines “loafers” varies, but it’s usually some take on “The Other.” People of color. Rural people. Urban people. Red staters. Blue staters. The poor. Old people. Children. But it’s always someone else benefiting at my expense.)

It’s based on a false premise, though. We ALL take things from the government. We just don’t see it.

Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and the military consume the vast majority of the federal budget: about 2/3 all together. And, aside from the libertarian fringe and Paul Ryan (but I repeat myself), nobody bitches about that too much.

Where does the rest go? As Hecate is fond of saying: “Cui bono?”

It’s not just – it’s not even mostly – those nasty “Others.” It’s all of us.

Take me, for instance.

I’ve never used food stamps (SNAP/WIC) or welfare (TANF). I’ve never applied for unemployment or been on disability. I’ve never used Medicaid. I went to a private school – it was a shitty private christian school were I received an utterly substandard K-12 education, but I didn’t go to public school – and my parents paid for college (assisted in part by my academic scholarships that covered about half the cost). I don’t have kids, so I don’t get to use the child tax credit. For most (but not all) of my adult life, I’ve made enough money that I don’t qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. I’m not a veteran.

BUT.

Even though I went to private school, the public school district bused me there. To get there, we drove on roads and across and under bridges that were paid for by tax dollars.

My parents may have paid for college, but I paid for grad school, and I was able to do it thanks to my Stafford loans. OK, sure, the terms aren’t great, but banks won’t loan young people with nothing to offer by way of collateral money at all, and the Stafford loan terms were definitely better than putting it all on a credit card.

In my first post-grad school job, I had four excellent staff members, all of whom were products of public education. They were smart and dedicated and worked hard, and tax dollars helped prepare them to be outstanding employees for me.

I walk on sidewalks paid for by tax dollars every day. I take public transportation that’s partially subsidized by tax dollars many times a week. I drive on roads that are paid for by tax dollars several times a week.

After several years, my spouse and I were making enough money that it made sense to start itemizing deductions, which means I get to take what I pay in state and local taxes (and I live in a high tax blue area), property taxes, charitable contributions, and my mortgage interest off what I owe the federal government each year. That is money that the government is putting directly back into my pocket.

Pensions aren’t a thing anymore, and Social Security will keep you alive, but if you want to have a nice retirement, you need to save your own money. Which I can do pre-tax via my 401K, and I’ve been taking advantage of that for the past 20 years. That also is the government putting money directly back into my pocket.

I can walk down the street with the reasonable expectation that I won’t be mugged, raped, or killed. Police force = tax dollars at work.

If my house catches on fire, someone will show up to put it out. Fire fighters = tax dollars at work.

I can turn on the tap and drink the water safely = tax dollars at work.

When I flush the toilet, it works, and takes my waste away and it’s treated properly, and the rivers in my city are now safe for boating, fishing and swimming (they didn’t used to be) = tax dollars at work.

My trash gets collected and safely disposed of twice a week, and my recycling is picked up and correctly handled once a week = tax dollars at work.

I can be reasonably assured that the food I buy at the grocery store and the medications I buy at the pharmacy won’t harm me, make me sick, or kill me = tax dollars at work.

On my weekends, I can go to a museum. Some museums – like the Smithsonian – are fully funded by my tax dollars. Many, many non-Smithsonian museums and other arts programs, particularly in small towns and rural areas, receive some level of taxpayer support. And that’s a great thing. Art and history and music and theater shouldn’t just be for rich people in big cities – they should be for everyone.

I can take a vacation in a state or national park. Tax dollars. To get there, I can go to the airport and fly safely across the country (or the world). Tax dollars.

Do I benefit from the tax-supported government programs? Damn right I do – and so do you.

And the problem isn’t that government is inefficient. In fact, it may be TOO efficient, because it provides all that great stuff – and things like veterans’ benefits and enforceable contracts and the scientific research that gives us things like the internet – invisibly.

I’ve seen the signs here – and I’m sure you’ve seen the signs in your town, too – when there’s a major infrastructure project going on (new road, new bridge, new tunnel, sewer upgrades, etc.): “Your tax dollars at work.” I think the government needs an ad campaign that shows us all CLEARLY all the ways we ALL benefit from our tax dollars at work. Maybe then we’d be a little more aware, a little more grateful, and a little more willing to contribute to the good things we ALL enjoy.

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

 

Help Keep Virginia Blue, Part 2!

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I had already planned this post when I noticed that Hecate posted on the same thing yesterday. Great minds!

I’m about to give you a few more reasons why Virginia needs your help, and a few more options for helping.

You might be thinking: “Virginia has a fairly popular Democratic governor in Terry McAuliffe. His approval rating is consistently above 50% and his approval/disapproval differential hovers around +20%. He’ll just be re-elected, right?”

Sadly, no. In a case of term limits run amuck, Virginia governors cannot serve consecutive terms.One four-year term and you’re out. (Yeah, whoever set that up doesn’t really understand the concept of developing expertise in a job over time.)

Interestingly, there are no limits on service in the legislature, the Virginia General Assembly, so a bunch of rural reactionaries are dug in, doing (as Hecate pointed out) dumb “cut off your nose to spite your face” shit like refusing the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.

Ralph Northam, the Democrat currently running for governor, might have something to say about that.

Actually, McAuliffe did, too, but with a persistent Republican majority in the General Assembly, he’s mostly been restricted to vetoing their dumb-ass legislation, and thankfully, he DOES have enough Dems in the GA to uphold those vetoes. What has he protected Virginia from? Asinine Dominionist shit like transvaginal ultrasounds as a requirement before women can exercise their constitutional right to an abortion, voter suppression laws, economy-killing anti-transgender “bathroom” bills, legal protection for bigots who discriminate against LGBT people, cutting funding for Planned Parenthood – you know, the typical wingnut wish list.

Speaking of, as the 2016 Presidential election result map above demonstrates, Virginia is a microcosm of our national problem of rural over-representation, which allows a small (and getting smaller) conservative minority to subvert the will of the progressive, urban majority. Those blue areas? That’s the majority of the population in the state. Those red areas? A lot of highly picturesque open space and a few people. But that’s a post from another time.

But there are bigger issues at stake here, some of which Hecate detailed yesterday. One she didn’t mention that I’d like to bring up is the specter of a Constitutional convention run by Koch brothers marionette organization ALEC. Republicans only need control of 34 states to do it, and they currently have control of 33. Sure, they claim that the only thing they really care about is amending the Constitution to require a balanced budget (a bad enough idea in itself, demonstrated as recently as the Great Recession), but as Jelani Cobb notes in the New Yorker, these things have a way of taking on a life of their own. How else would they amend the Constitution? Prohibiting all abortions in all cases? Ending marriage equality? Outlawing even being LGBT? Prohibiting any restrictions at all on any type of guns or other weapons? Ending birthright citizenship?

I’m not being hysterical here, even though it might seem like it. ALEC’s legislative priorities are terrifying. Receipts from ALEC Exposed. Receipts from The Atlantic. Receipts from PR Watch.

What can you do?

Lots! In addition to Hecate’s ideas from yesterday, you can volunteer:

With the DNC

There may be more options available via the DNC – they’ve done a homepage hijack on volunteering to help elect Democrats in Virginia – but, in their infinite wisdom, they don’t actually provide the direct links to what they actually need done. So I’ve helpfully found them for you!

Road trip to Hampton Roads

Join the DNC for an overnight trip to knock on doors in the Hampton Roads area. Transportation and overnight housing in Hampton Roads will be provided. For more details or to sign up:

November 4-5 –  https://my.democrats.org/page/event/detail/4vl28

Phonebank

Call Virginia voters in person at the DNC (430 S. Capitol Street SE in DC) or on your own schedule from your own home.

Virtual – http://go.vademocrats.org/page/s/out-of-commonwealth-2017

At the DNC:

Wednesday, November 1 – https://my.democrats.org/page/event/detail/4vldr
Friday, November 3 – https://my.democrats.org/page/event/detail/4vldv

Get Out The Vote

The DNC is calling for an all hands on deck effort the final weekend before the election. This is our best chance to mobilize supporters and make sure they get to the polls. If you can get to DC to help, do it.

Saturday, November 4 – https://my.democrats.org/page/event/detail/4vlz9
Sunday, November 5 – https://my.democrats.org/page/event/detail/4vlz8
Monday, November 6 – http://my.democrats.org/page/event/detail/4vl3q
Tuesday, November 7 (election day!) – http://my.democrats.org/page/event/detail/4vl3b

Directly with the campaigns
Ralph Northam (governor): https://ralphnortham.com
Justin Fairfax (lieutenant governor): http://www.fairfaxforlg.com
Mark Herring (attorney general): https://herringforag.com

(All three have PROMINENT volunteer/donate sign ups right on the front page.)

You can also get a full list of who’s on the ballot at https://www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/candidate-list/index.html, if there is a particular General Assembly candidate you want to work for (say, Danica Roem) or against (say, Robert Marshall).

And there is a full moon coming up next weekend, landing just THREE days before the election. So if you wanted to, for instance, do a little manifesting magic to get out the Democratic vote, that might be timely. Just a suggestion 🙂

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

Of Course #MeToo, But Does Anyone Even Give a Shit?

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Once again, we’re faced with a powerful man who’s used his power to attack and assault women for years without consequence.

Once again, women are being asked to dredge up what were, for many of us, the most painful and humiliating moments in our lives for public consumption.

Once again, I have to ask: Is anything actually going to change?

I wish I could be more hopeful, but I doubt it.

In response to brave women coming forward to reveal Harvey Weinstein’s crimes against them, Alyssa Milano suggested that women could find solidarity in #MeToo:

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Hundreds of thousands of women have replied, re-tweeted, launched their own threads, and carried the campaign to other platforms.

I should point out that Milano did not originate the idea. The “Me Too” campaign was begun in 2007 (when Twitter was a baby social media platform, little known outside the confines of sxsw) by Tarana Burke, a black woman, seeking to connect and empower survivors. (Milano, to her credit, gave credit when she was alerted to this about 24 hours later.) #BlackGirlMagic strikes again.

We know the stats about rape: 1 in 4.

When we broaden the circle to include assault (things like groping, unwanted touch), harassment (things like inappropriate conversations and requests from men with power over women), and threats (things like “blow job or lose your job” and like my story from the bus from last week), it’s much higher. When we broaden further to include things like catcalling, it is literally 100% of women. #YesAllWomen

Yes me, and no, I don’t owe you my fucking story. Sorry not sorry. Yes Hecate, and she doesn’t owe you a goddamn thing either.

(I am aware that men can victimize other men, that women can victimize men, and that women can victimize other women. Motes and beams, though, y’all. Motes and beams.)

It’s funny how EVERY woman has been a victim and yet NO men seem to be perpetrators – or even know anyone who is.

I know I’m just a girl, but that math doesn’t seem to work.

Two words for you on that one: Joe Biden.

Rebecca Traister wrote a far more calm, cogent, and smart piece for The Cut than I’m writing here (that may be because I am fucking pissed), where she breaks it all down.

Ole Handsome Uncle Joe just gave a barn burner of a speech in the wake of the Weinstein revelations. He’s been very active in the movement to prevent campus sexual assault. He authored the ground-breaking Violence Against Women Act back in 1994.

He has NOT ONCE admitted or apologized for the way he treated Anita Hill. He is, as Traister points out, complicit. But nobody talks about that.

In 1991, then-Senator Joe Biden led the all-white, all-male Judiciary Committee presiding over the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court. When word got out that Anita Hill, a former colleague of Thomas, was willing to speak about how he’d sexually harassed her, Biden made no effort to seek her out or speak to her. He also initially resisted the calls of his female colleagues in the House to delay the vote to hear Anita Hill’s testimony.

Once Hill did appear before the Biden-led committee, she was interrogated about her sexual proclivities, called an “erotomaniac” and depicted as lonely and desperate (then-conservative writer David Brock famously referred to her as “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty”). Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, meanwhile, didn’t even object to Senator Orrin Hatch’s suggestion that Hill had copied one of her stories about Clarence Thomas from The Exorcist. Most crucially, however, Biden declined to call three other women who were willing to testify in support of Hill, including Angela Wright, a woman who had worked with Thomas and had previously complained of his having pressured her to date him and his comments about her breast size.

Altogether it was as vivid an example of every dynamic Biden described in his Weinstein excoriation last week: the shaming, the silencing, the ways in which long-embedded attitudes have allowed generations of perpetrators to escape consequences.

In the end, Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court, where he has, ever since, diligently worked on the side of the powerful and against those who might want to challenge that power. He voted against reproductive autonomy. He voted to weaken equal-pay protections. He voted to dismantle the protections of the Voting Rights Act. And he voted in favor of weakening the federal ban on sexual harassment in the workplace — a decision that would make it infinitely more difficult for anyone to speak up in the manner Biden recommended.

As I mentioned above, it’s funny how #YesAllWomen are victims and yet NO men seem to be perpetrators. Somehow I doubt 157 million American women have all been assaulted by one guy who apparently has no friends.

We’ve been shouting about this shit for 50 years or more, and yet here we are.

Just as it’s not on black people to fix us white people’s racism, it’s not on women to fix misogyny, sexism, and the sexual and physical violence that’s done to us EVERY DAY (when you actually work out the math, five women a day murdered by their intimate partners) – that’s on men. And if men aren’t willing to start by looking in the goddamn mirror and asking themselves “How have I personally contributed to the victimization of women, and what am I going to do about that?” this will never be fixed.

(I swear to the Goddess, the first person who responds #NotAllMen to this post is getting turned into a toad, and I am not kidding.)

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.