Consent of the Governed

usdecindependence_header_wikipediaThe last time a man touched me inappropriately at work, he tried to massage my shoulders while looking down my blouse. I had only been on my new job a few days at that time; I later found out this same man did this (and worse) with nearly every female co-worker younger than him. He had access to them all as their IT representative. They avoided asking for IT help unless they were desperate.

When I told the division president — our mutual boss at a Fortune 100 company — that every woman had a sexual harassment problem with the IT guy, the president asked me what he was supposed to do about it.

The last time I ever talked with my father about women in the workplace we had been discussing the Anita Hill hearing. “Why didn’t she tell somebody sooner?” my dad asked. “Why report it only after Clarence Thomas’ nomination? It just looks suspicious.” My father had been a supervisor to both men and women for nearly two decades at this point. His naivete and blame-the-victim mentality shocked and disappointed me so badly I couldn’t talk about this topic with him ever again.

I can’t think of any women I know who’ve worked in mixed gender environments who don’t have stories about sexual harassment or sexual assault in the workplace. Even my daughter, so new to the workforce, now has her own stories to tell. And this is just the workplace — these are not the stories women have to tell about harassment, abuse, assault outside of work. They often have worse stories to tell, though even the ones on the job can be harrowing.

Like my friend who was slapped in an elevator by a male foreign national co-worker who called her all manner of awful things. She was so rattled she called me immediately afterward; she asked if she should report it as sexual harassment. I told her that it was assault and battery. But she was so worried about keeping her job she only reported it to her boss and human resources. The batterer, when confronted by management, said it was perfectly normal to treat women this way where he came from. So they sent him back to work overseas without further repercussions.

When Donald Trump’s victims say he acted inappropriately — touching them sexually without permission, taking advantage of their vulnerability as teenagers in dressing rooms, or worse — I believe them. I feel their deep discomfort. I know why they didn’t come forward sooner.

Because even their own kin may shame them or not believe them. Because the problem and the blame will be put on their shoulders and not on the perpetrators or on the authorities responsible for protection. Because the victimization doesn’t end with the revelation of the harassment or abuse.

Because their agency and power to consent will be violated again by a misogynist culture. The only exercise of autonomy they have is suppression of the facts to prevent re-victimization. They have emerged now because the stakes are incredibly high, just as they were in Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court, and because there is limited safety in numbers.

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Conservative men denouncing Trump after the “grab pussy” video emerged recently revealed something about them. They weren’t upset by Trump’s overt racism against Mexicans or xenophobic rants against Muslims. They only drew the line when Trump appeared to be a threat to their (white) women — “as a husband, as a father of daughters,” they prefaced their rejections of Trump’s behavior.

It’s no surprise they objectify women as things belonging to them. Women are just chattel to be controlled according to their ideology; female votes are to be corralled by cultural subjugation. Conservatives weren’t worried about their women’s votes.

But touching their property without permission is beyond the pale. It is not to be borne. This is the heart of the matter, why Trump’s support is weakening among conservatives. Trump threatens their exercise of control when he takes without their consent.

And while they can’t articulate this very well, it’s the nebulous threat Trump poses to the concept of consent of the governed which now bothers them. If he’ll grab their (wife’s/daughter’s) pussy without their consent (never mind women’s/girls’ consent), what else might this man grab non-consensually?

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I’m taking a risk here and making a statement which the rest of the emptywheel contributors may or may not agree with.

Apart from our posts on sports and the arts, this site is about consent. For example, we’ve written about:

— the march toward and conduct of an illegal war, illegal primarily because it was authorized without fully informed consent and the means by which the authorization was obtained was hidden even as it was investigated;
— the collapse of the economy in 2008, after the machinations of investment banks hid the perils of fraudulent subprime mortgages inside unregulated financial vehicles, in a manner to which the public could not fully consent;
— the ramp up to the Affordable Care Act, when single payer as an alternative was never fully considered, thwarting our true, mutual consent; when key representatives were shut out and suppressed, like Planned Parenthood for women’s reproductive health;
— the implementation of pervasive surveillance on U.S. citizens in ways which prevented our representatives from truly understanding the nature and scope of monitoring;
— the rise of technology foisted on consumers without public consent by way of adequate government oversight to ensure its safety and security.

It is this common theme, the consent of the governed and non-consensual acts of bad faith, which moves us to research and write.

Some argue that consent of the governed is rare or untenable. Obtaining unanimous consent is nearly impossible in complex societies. This is a key reason why representative democracy is necessary. We’ve constructed a framework over the last 240 years, though not perfect, operating at the consent of the governed. Government acts without consent — outside of the social contract we’ve built as constitution and law — are illegitimate and deserve vigorous pushback.

The threat to this one concept — our consent to be governed — about which conservatives have finally become concerned with Donald Trump’s candidacy for office. His personal behavior shows gross disregard for both personal and collective consent.

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It’s puzzling that so many conservative voters ignore the baggage Trump brings with him. It says something about the depth of their desperation to change the status quo that they would support someone with such an egregiously tainted background. Granted, the rest of the field competing for the GOP’s presidential nomination was pretty lackluster when not flawed. None of them possessed adequate charisma to overcome their individual problems.

Trump, in contrast, has more than a decade of constructed persona at his disposal. His name is a brand polished by highly produced television content aimed at both lower and middle-class Americans, from World Wrestling Federation appearances, to NBC’s reality TV show The Apprentice, to Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants. The banality of these appearances during prime time built an expectation among the broadcast TV viewing audience that Trump was benign. Safe, even, afforded repeated access to American homes through their televisions every week.

Their political consent was constructed without their full consciousness.

The public had already become inured to the idea of a broadcast entertainment personality becoming a politician, especially conservatives. Their favorite president, Ronald Reagan, had successfully made the transition from film and TV to the presidency. Many other politicians have since spent a considerable amount of time moving between broadcast entertainment and politics. It’s become normative to expect the thinnest of separations between these roles, to the point that Americans can’t see the production process between the human as a politician and the produced personality as branded content. They haven’t realized they are being sold a product which they buy with attention.

And they bought Donald Trump — hook, line, and sinker.

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Conservatives shot themselves in the foot, aided and abetted by Bill Clinton’s administration (oh, the irony). The elimination of the Fairness Doctrine prevented exposure to alternative views over broadcast networks, relying wholly on licensees to operate for the greater public welfare under the terms of their Federal Communications Commission license. The increasing consolidation of broadcast networks under a smaller number of media companies — coincidentally owned or controlled by conservatives as major shareholders or as editors — assured a consistency of content across the entire country. Large swaths of rural America had few if any alternatives to networks carrying conservative content.

Over time, internet access improved to rural America offering access to other alternative media, but not before the same regions with limited media had been fully indoctrinated in either conservative perspectives via talk radio or a narrow world view acquired from a small number of TV broadcasters. When they took to the internet, the indoctrinated sought the same perspectives.

In short, conservatives built their version of Radio Rwanda.

Decades of the Overton Window applied to conservatives’ ideology — gradually promoting the unthinkable and unacceptable to popular and policy — both assured conservatives with an authoritarian bent would remain corralled under the Republican Party, to serve the corporate interests of those who funded the party. But assuring these voters were captive and clearly separate from liberal ideology also assured another corporatist wolf was allowed in with their sheep.

Trump was on TV, and nobody on talk radio was bashing him. He must be safe, especially since he looks and sounds like everything conservatives promote as positive: anti-tax millionaire with family. America’s Radio Rwanda propelled Trump-as-construct everywhere.

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And now we know the rest of the story — or most of it. Conservatives brought a viper to their breast after making a pet of it, and now their political party is dying from its bite.

Like Rep. Jason Chaffetz, now voting for Trump, though only weeks ago he said Trump’s “locker room talk” was offensive; only months ago Chaffetz railed against the poisoning of Flint. Does Chaffetz really believe that Trump as president would do anything to support Flint let alone prevent other similar crises from happening? Does Chaffetz really believe Trump will protect the women of his family, let alone halt his locker room talk about women? What is it that Chaffetz as a conservative is really conserving, along with the rest of his House cohort? What is it his political party really stands for?

Ditto for Senator Mitch McConnell, who can’t be bothered to do anything more than laugh off Trump as his party’s leader.

Conservatives and the GOP manipulated consent, systematically removing opportunities for the public to make fully informed decisions.

And now they find they have been assaulted; their party has been taken from them.

Do they muddle along with and enable the abuser, trying not to make waves until they are rid of him, a la Paul Ryan?

Do they openly reject him and fight back when Trump turns on them, hoping like hell he is not elected and won’t raze them to the ground afterward?

Do they tack back and forth during these last two weeks of the election season, risking the displeasure of Trump’s supporters while trying to retain their position?

They could ask any woman who’s been sexually harassed or assaulted how they lived with their situation. They understand only too well what it’s like to suffer the loss of their agency and autonomy without their active, informed consent. Especially when no one else believes in them.

The rest of us will have to fight like hell to make sure this serial abuser doesn’t grab our country along with our pussies.

37 replies
      • Evangelista says:


        Moskovitz article does merit accolade, being a reasoned and coherent exposition sequencing from a rational premise to a logical conclusion.

        Rayne’s does not merit, for being GIGO and PPC, failing in consistency and wandering in and out of rave and rant.  ‘GIGO’ is “Garbage In, Garbage Out”, ‘PPC’ is “Partisan Political Carp”.

        For garbage in, note her first two paragraphs, which define shoulder massage “inappropriate” touching, and then “sexual harassment”.  Shoulder massage is neither.  At most shoulder massage is ‘unwanted physical contact’.  When massage contact occurs and is unwanted that must be communicated.  After communication repeat would be inappropriate.  The usual form for communication in such instances is direct verbal, with, if the contactee is inclined, sliding away from the contact, standing and facing the contactor.  Clatching to bitch with co-workers is clatching to bitch with co-workers.  It is irrelevant.  Complaining to a “mutual boss” instead of informing the contactor is ridiculous.  It is seeking a Chauvinist Protector.  Calling such an incident “sexual harassment” is gross exaggeration.  Imagining a shoulder-massager is ogling one’s tit-skin is pure fantasy:  In shoulder massaging forearms, hands and fingers are interposed, and the massaged’s head is in the way.  Before making any accusation a person should re-enact to determine possibility.  An IT guy ogling cleavage would involve putting arms over shoulders and hands on keyboard, usually to demo-type, or puttting head over shoulder to ‘see the screen’ and instructing to type.  Try with a friend to prove.

        All sexual touching requires sexual intent.  Grabs, gooses, pinches, pats, flicks, pokes, pulls, slaps, are not sexual.  They are stupid adolescent ‘play’, bullying, harassment or assault.  Calling them ‘sexual’ is garbage.  Not responding to perpetrators directly, and immediately, when known, or identifiable, is stupid.  It is condoning;  it is Miss Mousie wanting to be a victim.  Where sources are unknown, in crowds, in public, you move away, and guard your valuables first, since pickpockets use those techniques to fluster, with anything but sexual purpose.

        Notice Rayne’s statement of her response to her father stating a view: It “shocked and disappointed me so badly I couldn’t talk about this topic with him ever again.”  That is clatch, the female equivalent to the brag of guys.  Lies about pseudo-mortifications, instead of pseudo-scores.  Rayne “can’t think of any women I know who’ve worked in mixed gender environments who don’t have stories about sexual harassment or sexual assault”.  That is because she clatches, joins in swapping exaggerations that increase in exaggeration for titillation, and reinforce Miss Mousie behaviours.

        Notice that Rayne wraps herself in the Constitution, and then writes “When Donald Trump’s victims say…”  Instead of “Donald Trump’s accusers”.   Constitution for me, presumption of guilt for you?  That is garbage.  And from there Rayne’s essay goes off into stream-of-conscience connected rant and hyperbolé.

        She concluded with blather about “loss of their agency and autonomy” by women.  Her writing to then is all about giving away of agency or autonomy, as in her third paragraph, seeking a “boss” protector.  Actual loss of agency and autonomy occurs in coercion situations, like robbery, arrest, and, yes, actual forced or coerced rape (which includes law enforcement “strip-search”), and are not ‘women only’  Both sexes have their personal agencies and autonomies forcibly taken from them.  Women take as much as men, only doing so differently through using agents, lawyers, police, ‘protectors’.  Rayne writes of a “foreign national” slapping a woman in an elevator and claiming protection of his native culture;  in those cultures that behavior is only condoned for family and tribally related persons.  If the woman was unrelated either, depending on the culture, a male relative of hers would be required by the morays of the culture, to kill the insultor to avenge, or the insulted woman could demand a male relative to avenge. It has been a very effective system for thousands of years.  It works much better than mousing and clatching and bitching and then ranting shotgun-fashion in frustration.

        There is no comparison to Moskovitz’ reasoned exploration of problems that result from mindless reactions and failure to consider ramifications in hammering round problems into square-hole one-size-fits-all “solutions”.

        • Rayne says:

          Evangelista — assuming you are actually human and not a chatbot — thanks for the perfect example of ‘internalized oppression’.

          And now you may kindly fuck off. Help like yours other women do not need.

          • bmaz says:

            Hi there Evangilista, what Rayne said.

            I wonder just how many of the contributors here you want to insult personally, and piss off completely with rambling horse manure?

            See, we have all been around this enterprise for over a decade. You have the pernicious audacity to not only wander in with insulting asshat insults against the contributors, but then to insult commenters and, seriously, waste precious column inches with asinine bullshit.

            That’s not going to cut it. If you think you cannot do better, actually be pertinent and somewhat concise in comments, and have a modicum of community and civility, you will be gone. We have not bounced that many people over the years, but there is precedent with loquacious pricks. I hope you are not the next example, but, yes, you can and may well be.

            Is that what you want? Is that what you think a responsible member of this community owes? Ponder that. From my time here, I can unequivocally say you are currently on the wrong side of every metric. Please consider doing better, and caring more about doing so.

            • bloopie2 says:

              Thanks all.  In case you haven’t read my linked article, please take two minutes and at least skim it.  It turned me from an “NFL must punish these guys” believer, into an “NFL must find better ways to help those other than themselves” advocate.  Redemption and change are possible, in some cases, and the league should not throw everyone involved under the bus just to make itself feel good.

              How about my Cleveland Indians, eh?  Another  shutout.  Damn, this feels good.  Now I know how you Patriots fans must feel week after week, year after year.

              • bmaz says:

                Yep, had read the Deadspin piece previously. It is very good. And that IS the conundrum to DV, and not just for sports figures. I represent commonly both criminal defendants charged with DV and victims in criminal proceedings that are witnesses. See both ends. There is no magic answer to the conundrum, but for all sides to do the best they can.

  1. Phil Perspective says:

    What is it that Chaffetz as a conservative is really conserving, along with the rest of his House cohort? What is it his political party really stands for?


    FU, I got mine?  I generally being old white men and those that want to suck up to them.

  2. Skilly says:


    You have penned a masterpiece.

    Sadly, I fear it is too rational for the Republicans who have made their pact. They must, as you say, swallow the poison and pray for an antidote. They do like to claim they pray alot. For the rational reader who agrees whole-heartedly, they can not figure out how to relate the message in a sound bite. And is it too late? I will pray too, that is is not.


  3. bevin says:

    ” Obtaining unanimous consent is nearly impossible in complex societies. This is a key reason why representative democracy is necessary…”
    And why the shocking truth of the way in which the DNC stole the nomination for their candidate should not be whitewashed. The truth is that, in a number of states, there was clear cheating by the Clinton supporters and there have been no consequences, no promises to reform in future, no indications that changes-to protect the governed from bossism- are contemplated.

    Sanders, and his millions of supporters-and the electorate in general-were cheated, as many candidates in the past have been cheated. Every indication is that the same thing will happen in future whenever one of the candidates poses a threat to the Establishment.

    When elections lose credibility and the ‘consent of the governed’ becomes something that can be faked, of so little importance that millions of ballots can be ‘lost’ or left uncounted and election scandals are consigned to the memory hole, it is only a matter of time before ‘Heaven withdraws its mandate.’

    In order to serve its purpose representative democracy must allow the electorate to choose its representatives.

    • Rayne says:

      Sanders made the same mistakes Howard Dean made in 2003-2004. I’m not surprised things turned out as they did, with Clinton garnering the consent of the party as the apparatus currently works.

      Had Sanders learned from Dean’s (and subsequently DFA’s) previous experiences, Sanders could have won the nomination having truly acquired the consent of the party’s majority. I would have preferred this, believe me, but it didn’t happen.

      I wrote a road map in 2010 to make it easy to understand where progressives needed to go to remedy the party’s drift. Too bad so few progressives paid heed, choosing instead to Occupy this or that or sit on the sidelines until the next outsider progressive came along to make Dean’s mistakes all over again.

      The Angry Left: How we found our way to this miserable state

      The Angry Left: A look back at a personal journey

      The Angry Left: Rougher roads, steeper challenges to get here

      The Angry Left: A starter map for the road ahead

      The big upside to Sanders’ candidacy in spite of his losing the nomination: he forced the entire race toward the left. This was a much overdue application of the Overton Window in the other direction. The iceberg-like shadow candidate who also impacted the race greatly was Elizabeth Warren. Her comments on U.S. banking and on Trump also forced political conversation to the left. What’s needed now is the persistence of activists within and without the Democratic Party using the Overton Window to drag the entire country back from the white nationalists’ insanity. I hope both of them will make full use of their social capital, making use of DFA’s existing infrastructure.

      At this point, you and Sanders’ supporters have a choice: you can have a futile, energy-sucking tantrum about a situation for which you failed to adequately prepare, or you can do something truly effective about it. The next election cycle starts November 9th; what will you do about it?

  4. lefty665 says:

    Curious how experience varies. As long as we’re dealing in anecdotes, my spouse has been in the workplace for a long time, and frequently in male dominated settings. She was never touched inappropriately, and the guys who hit on her or said inappropriate things never did it a second time. She attributes it to not being a victim. She never gave anyone the impression they could act or talk inappropriately to her, and she has a sharp tongue that stopped repeated verbal garbage.

    We all agree that we live in a misogynistic culture, and that women shouldn’t have to put up with that shit. But, in a less than perfect world, women assertively rejecting inappropriate male behavior on the spot can go a long way to changing culture. Us males have fragile egos as you can tell from the Donald’s small hands.

    Trump is not puzzling at all, or complicated. Is Trump a narcissistic, sexist, jerk? Absolutely, and the illustrations are legion. But, I think you get the reasons people support him very wrong. It’s pretty simple. 90% of the country has not gotten a raise since 1978 when Jimmy Carter was president. Middle class status or aspirations are gone for them and their progeny along with better paying jobs. They’ve been screwed by wall street, banks, conservatives and NeoLib corporate Dems. Trump is the way for them to put a thumb in the eye of the elites who have screwed them.  They like him for that, and all the disqualifying flaws the rest of us see are immaterial.

    You correctly surmise that not all emptywheelers would agree:

    -The illegality of the wars is NOT primarily due to sketchy consent. They are illegal because they are wars of aggression, internationally illegal for about 400 years. That jerks like Hillary voted for some without reading the findings because she thought it was personally politically good for her disqualifies her from office. It does not make the wars illegal. The AUMFs were passed by Congresses we elected. We gave our consent at the ballot box.,

    -The collapse of 2008 was enabled by NeoLib, corporate Dems led by Bill and Hillary Clinton. The repeal of Glass-Steagall was engineered by Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. It had protected us from the mingling of banks and speculators since 1934. His successor in the Clinton Administration, Larry Summers, gave us the “Enron Act” deregulating derivatives and futures. Together they set the stage for the predictable incineration of the greedy financial markets. The deregulations happened on Clinton’s watch, were approved by Congress, and signed into law by Bill. They were elected representatives of the American people. We gave our consent at the ballot box.

    -Affordable care was also a NeoLib Dem debacle. In March 2009 Obama cut the deal with PHARMA to keep meds unaffordable. In April came the deal with providers like hospitals to keep their margins up. In May it was the deal with insurers to manage another 30 million plus lives for profit. Single payer, aka Medicare for all, never had a chance thanks to Dems. Congress passed the bill, Obama signed it. Elected representatives all. We gave our consent at the ballot box.

    -We certainly have pervasive surveillance. With a few exceptions it has been with the consent and willful, if not grateful, ignorance of Congress and the public. We gave our consent at the ballot box.

    -Recent technology has often been Govt funded or driven, so it’s a little hard to blame its invasiveness on lack of government involvement.  Some have resisted all technology starting with the Luddites. Government funding is provided by the Congress and administered by the President, all elected by us.

    The issues you highlighted as addressed here at EW are not, as you suggest, failure of  informed consent by the public, but they are failures of our elected institutions, the President and Congress, to function in the best interests of the people. That is a Trumpian argument. We’ve been screwed by the elites and crooks in power and it’s time to throw the bastards out.

    It is indeed unfortunate that the alternative to Trump is corrupt, greedy and blindly ambitious. The Podesta emails detail more Clinton corruption with each new release. There is no lesser evil this time, only variations on horrid. The truly scary part is that one of them will become president.

    Would you rather have Trump grab you by the pussy or Hillary sell you to a Saudi sheik so he can? Trump at least doesn’t have the power to have you stoned to death if you object.


    • Rayne says:

      When I referred to “emptywheelers” I meant the contributors, not commenters. You could be a donor, but you’re not a contributor.

      As for your opening remarks: you are making my point for me, victimizing victims again by assuming that all women have an equal ability to fight back and obtain justice when they are harassed or assaulted. They don’t. Just look at the rape cases recently prosecuted where men received less than six months for their assault; did the victims receive adequate justice? Why are journalists covering the Dakota Access Pipeline facing decades in prison compared to months and days these rapists were sentenced or served?

      I will say there is at least one man who had to explain a bruise to his wife after he grabbed me. I fought back. But fighting back didn’t prevent the next asshole from harassing or assaulting me because the system is still stacked.

      Rigged, even.

      Clearly even your spouse’s resistance to harassers and abusers stopped them only one at a time and never the next one.

      As for the foreign policy angle: Trump would do just what Hitler did and all your comparisons of pussy-grabbing Trump versus Saudi-manipulating Hillary would be for naught. One big negative event like the Reichstag fire, a declaration of national emergency and a presidential directive, and goodbye democracy.

      • lefty665 says:

        Silly me, I mistakenly thought that at least occasionally a smidgen of what I’ve posted here was a “contribution”. Sorry I misunderstood. And, thanks for reminding me, it’s been awhile since I’ve donated, I’ll do that again. Y’all provide value, even when we disagree.

        I don’t like our misogynistic culture any better than you do (but it’s easier on me).  Nor do I defend disparate sentencing in a plethora of areas. My spouses’ take is that she never chose to be a victim, and found over the years that a lot (by no means all or in all circumstances) of women allowed themselves be victims rather than standing up and vigorously objecting. Also that most guys, especially in the workplace take “stop it and don’t even think about doing it again (“asshole” may be explicit or implied)” for an answer and really don’t want a noisy stink.

        Hope you left him a bruise in a sensitive place.  A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Each jerk you bust for his behavior is less likely to do it again to the next woman. The world gets better one jerk at a time.

        As much as I dislike Trump, don’t think the Hitler analogy works very well. Nero and fires might be better. Trump is at least showing some sense in looking to work with the Russians to defeat ISIL rather than supply and support them as Hillary’s done and advocates doing more of. NeoCons are scary crazy, and she’s a card carrier. No good choices this year, just variations on horrid.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The authoritarian follower accepts his or her leader, regardless of qualms.  It’s part of being a good soldier, an inappropriate but popular analogy much used today to criticize Republican leaders who refuse to vote for Trump just because they don’t like his policies, his actions, or his personality.  Being a good follower means never having to be asked why you didn’t toe the line.

      Trump’s following among the poor, working and middle classes is, as you say, partly about tribalism, partly about the intensity and effectiveness of modern propaganda:  Trump is not Hillary, enough of a reason for many.  He’s a Republican, at least in name, which means he supposedly stands for family values, independence, and getting big gubmint off the backs of the hard working little guy.  That Trump would be the first person to unemploy his followers, destroy their communities and strip them of the remains of their social safety net is a non sequitur.  It is information that can’t be processed, just as a Catholic with images of Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald dancing in their head might struggle with how kind Father So and So prefers to have sex with altar boys, while the institutional church protects them.  Trump spouts what the disenfranchised want to hear, though it seems unlikely that he’ll win a marketer of the year award for it.

      Trump is also a danger to the elite.  He would disempower dissenters among them as readily as he would fire an apprentice who developed a pimple on her forehead.  Or, just as likely, he would erode their dominance the way he repetitively bankrupts hotels, resorts, suppliers and employees. But that’s another story.

  5. P J Evans says:

    The Republicans still reject the idea of consent – they’re still refusing to allow any vote on Garland, and they’re talking openly about how to block anything Clinton will do as president.

    Lefty, you’re still not getting it. Just because your wife can stop people harassing her doesn’t mean that every other woman will, or even can, do that. When it’s your boss doing it, you can lose your job if you refuse to cooperate. (Men also can be harassed. It’s called bullying, when sex isn’t involved.)

    • Rayne says:

      Garland’s a great example, PJ. And Chaffetz is right there, planning the next four years obstruction despite the likely consent of a majority of the American public wanting otherwise.

      It’s so frustrating to try to explain harassment and abuse to white men because they truly believe they can simply report wrongdoing and it will be dealt with. I did in the one example I gave and look what it got me: a fricking upper management/board member with a bloody law degree who played stupid and put it back on me and my fellow female coworkers. If my tongue had been any sharper I would have been fired for “poor fit” or “personality conflict” or “insubordination” or simply downsized.

      White men truly believe they are entitled to obstruct as they desire because the system looks like them and is built for them. Just so damned aggravating — it’s like beating my head against the wall.

    • lefty665 says:

      Nothing works for all circumstances. All she’s saying is that a lot can be stopped by standing up and taking offense rather than sitting and being a victim. FWIW that has worked for her even when the boss was the perp. She’s pretty assertive, as am I. We both think that’s usually a virtue.

      I believe I do get it. We need big changes in culture, and one of the ways we get there is through individual refusal to put up with bullshit. Call it the Rosa Parks method. She refused to continue to be a victim.


      • Rayne says:

        The harassed must stop being harassed.

        The abused must stop being abused.

        The raped must stop being raped.

        The victim must stop being the victim.

        You don’t even hear yourself, do you?

        We’re done in this thread, Lefty. Hasta la vista.

        • lefty665 says:

          Passively accepting injustice is not often a path to change, but it often does lead to more injustice. It reinforces ugly behaviors instead of extinguishing them. We all do what we can and circumstances vary.

          Rosa Parks was an inspiration, sounds like you were too in vigorously taking issues to management. Put enough of those small acts together and we can change the world.

          You might take a listen to your own self too sometime. Introspection is not a gender specific virtue, it is good for all of us.

          Have a nice evening.

  6. Ed Walker says:

    This contributor agrees that informed consent is running theme at this site. I make it explicit in my last post, and it will arise in future posts as well. Republicans think that consent can be manufactured , in the same way marketers sell perfume.  I don’t think that’s consent, and it doesn’t stick in the long run.

    But it’s actually worse that that. If we allow ourselves to be manipulated into buying policies and wars, we aren’t governing ourselves. We have surrendered our autonomy as citizen and become stupid robots, like the self-interes maximazing agents of economic theory. We are stupid if we let that happen.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Manufacturing consent has a century of sordid success behind it, starting with selling the First World War and demonizing Debs, while giving tobacco a clean bill of health.  What’s useful now is that sites like this one help people understand how to fight back and who might join them in doing it.  It may be like digging one’s way out of a dungeon with a spoon, but it’s a place to start, a foothold on a steep climb.  My thanks to all the contributors and commentators for making it so.

  7. bloopie2 says:

    In many other ways, too, the system is stacked against you. Josh Brown’s wife called the police on her abusive husband (see article I linked to above), and now he is (I believe) out of a job, and she is a married mother with no income and no money. So there’s a case where even the spouse’s job was at risk if she spoke up. Like getting kicked out of public housing for reporting domestic violence. Shit. Is this (unfortunately) something that, like so many other things, will take generations to work its way out of the system?

  8. rugger9 says:

    Many years ago my wife went to another company site (she worked for a large DoD contractor) where the rest of her team (all males) decided it was a really good idea to go to a strip bar for bonding.  She declined to join them and was instantly and for the rest of the time in that group branded as a troublemaker, snubbed and passed over for promotion.  Complaining to HR did nothing except get the boy’s club to dig in.  So, nothing was ever done about it.

    Then there was the time some guy tried to grab her tush in the elevator at work,  whereupon she reminded him that her husband the rugby player did not take such insults kindly (I still do not) and he steered clear of her after that.

    There are risks that are real, even before discussing the leverage issue.  If one wanted to be a model in Trumpworld it came with a well-defined price to pay.  And, since many of the RWNJs (case in point, the Duggars) make it quite clear the women are to serve and not question, the lifetime of brainwashing also has to be overcome.

    I see Clarence Thomas had another accuser.

    This is indeed real.  However, even though it is much less prevalent than the actual crime, there are those who will make stuff up (i.e. Tawana Bradley, the Duke rape case) and those examples will forever be used as “justifications” to doubt the story this time.

    Rayne is doing us a service here.

    • Rayne says:

      Cases of “make stuff up” are like voter fraud — they happen but they are very rare. The price for a woman to report any real crime against her is to be punished even when the perp is not.

      Like my friend assaulted in an elevator; had she called the cops, her job would have been forfeit after being raked over the coals in court, at a cost in the small company town to her family’s peace of mind and safety.

      This is a rhetorical question; I don’t want a reply. I just want you to think about this: why didn’t your wife call the police about the man who tried to grab her in the elevator? Was it really about the rare women who “made stuff up”? Again, no reply wanted.

  9. martin says:

    Holy moly Rayne! Outstanding! Bravo. Best commentary I’ve read in ages.
    On a side note, in regards to “consent of the governed”, my faith in the jury system has been restored. At least for the moment…

    bmaz.. deal with it. As for the Oregon State Police who murdered Leroy Finnicum in cold blood.. I hope they are having cold sweats tonight.

    As for that scumsucking Trump. ..I have a few words for this maggot…

    Dear Donald.
    As your presence on this planet has debased the human race, I have a few words for you.
    You are a bleating fool, a curdled staggering mutant dwarf smeared richly with the effluvia and offal accompanying your alleged birth into this world. An insensate, blinking calf, meaningful to nobody, abandoned by the puke-drooling, giggling beasts who sired you and then killed themselves in recognition of what they had done.
    You are degenerate, noxious and depraved. I feel debased just for knowing you exist. I despise everything about you. You are a bloody nardless newbie twit protohominid chromosomally aberrant caricature of a coprophagic cloacal parasitic pond scum

    You’re a putrescence mass, a walking vomit. A spineless little worm deserving nothing but the profoundest contempt. You are a jerk, a cad, a weasel. Your life is a monument to stupidity. You are a stench, a revulsion, a big suck on a sour lemon.
    Moreover, I will never get over the embarrassment of belonging to the same species as you. You are a monster, an ogre, a malformity. I barf at the very thought of you. You have all the appeal of a paper cut. Lepers avoid you. You are vile, worthless, less than nothing. You are a weed, a fungus, the dregs of this earth. And did I mention you smell?

    In closing, I pray you die while imprisoned for the rest of your pathetic, stench ridden life, for serial sexual assault, notwithstanding impersonating a human being. One final thought. You better pray God isn’t a woman.

    The Human Race

  10. laura says:

    FFS Lefty! Thanks for mansplaining how not to be a victim based on your wife’s experience. It’s a man’s world baby and little has changed since I entered the work force 40 years ago. Since day fucking 1, I have experienced the not unusual experience of men ignoring the fact I have a head and instead directing their gaze and comments to my chest. Forget and ignore my accomplishments, my three law degrees, my work in the private sector or in the labor movement. I’m just a pair of tits and it’s all I’ll ever be to a vast majority of men at work, outside of work, at rest, at play everywhere I go, just a pair of tits.
    I’m sure you’ve got some advice based on your wife, but I ain’t interested. At all.
    You think you understand. You understand nothing. Please resume your victim shaming.

    • lefty665 says:

      You’d think with three law degrees you’d have enough verbal skills to convince dorks that leering at women was not a good idea.  Suppose that leads to lawyer jokes and that you’re hanging with an incorrigible crowd, but I won’t go there (“lawyer jokes” refers to “incorrigible crowd” not your accomplishments.)

      My comments were to provide an alternative view from my spouse, who while not a lawyer, has some verbal skills. She is also a long time feminist. That has reinforced her disinclination to be a victim which has proven remarkably successful for her and never affected her employment or successful professional career. YMMV and apparently has.

      I do not blame women in general. I do understand that sexist treatment of women is rampant and that not all women are inclined or in circumstances that facilitate resistance.

  11. lefty665 says:

    Consent of the governed is a good and repeated topic at EW. Unfortunately it has little to do with your rant about women being abused by men, unless you think that women are property of men. Abuse of women by men deserves its own attention. Conflating abuse of women with consent of the entire population in the process of governance demeans both women and governance.

    Further, your statement “- the march toward and conduct of an illegal war, illegal primarily because it was authorized without fully informed consent and the means by which the authorization was obtained was hidden even as it was investigated;” is flat wrong and smacks of revisionist history.

    The war was illegal because it was a war of aggression. That has been illegal under international law for nearly 400 years.  The Bush administration certainly mounted a propaganda campaign for the war, demonizing Saddam Hussein in a rush to war that was much like Hillary is currently demonizing Putin to deflect attention from her corruption.  Information was available then, as it is now, to those who care to look. 23 Senators and 133 Representatives found enough information to vote against the Iraq AUMF.

    Some Senators, Hillary Clinton being the highest profile, have acknowledged they voted for the AUMF without bothering to inform themselves of the available evidence against the war. They thought it would be good for them politically. Hillary voted for the AUMF in pursuit of her blind ambition, currently on the cusp of being rewarded. The intelligence finding, and much other publicly available information, including the UN weapons inspectors, refuted the Bush administration’s propaganda. It seems more likely Hillary was aware and did not care. Her ambition to be president was in the drivers seat.

    To suggest that there was not enough information available to provide informed consent and that makes the war “illegal” is silly at best. It smacks of revisionist history in support of a politician. That puts it in an embrace with the Bush administration’s plaintive cries “Oh nobody could have known there were no WMDs, or ties to Osama, etc, etc, etc”.

    “Contributors” at EW generally do better, much better. You discounted my earlier comment on this topic above because I am not a “contributor”.  Even us proles can call bullshit, but it is a service we provide reluctantly.  Do better next time and I’ll be pleased to say “Thank you”.

  12. laura says:

    The condescension of your male privilege is duly noted. Sadly, not even Harvard Law School was able to teach me the magic conjuring words you seem to believe to exist to respond to sexism. The point you have repeatedly attempted to insist is the answer -women talking back has been tried, and continues to be tried.
    You refuse to understand that men, including you, must own it, stop it and make it stay stopped.

    • lefty665 says:

      Harvard Law’s over rated. Are you serious that you’ve never learned any of the verbal ripostes women use to deflect unwanted male attention? You could run Trump off simply by admiring his cute little hands.

      It’s a hard road, and it will take women and men talking and working together to make a better less sexist world. Western culture has been pretty much a patriarchy since Boadieca croaked. Women were not recognized in the Constitution and we’re about four years shy of the centennial of the 19th amendment. We’ve legislated against de jure sexism but de facto may be a tougher nut to crack.

      It does not help that some women trade on their gender and secondary sexual characteristics like boobs. That ranges from Trump’s wives to NFL cheerleaders and in between. Perhaps you could take a lesson from your own words. “You refuse to understand that (wo)men (too), including you, must own it, stop it and make it stay stopped.”

      One of the goals of feminism has been to help women break their cultural conditioning and resist sexist jerks. That is as valid now as it was 40 years ago. It does not become “blaming the victim” simply because a male reiterates it. It is one among several ways to “stop it and make it stay stopped”.

    • Rayne says:

      “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” Sometimes that’s all we can do, shrug and focus energy where it works. Thanks for reading and commenting, laura.

      • lefty665 says:

        Perhaps you can put your energy into the renewed FBI investigation into another 1,000 Hillary related emails discovered on a computer shared by Weiner and Abedin.

        You are concerned about full disclosure, so here we are months after the FBI closed its investigation and they trip over another thousand Huma/Hillary emails while looking for Weiner’s dick pics and skanky correspondence with an underage woman (there’s abuse, why isn’t that mofo in jail?). Where is the transparency? Where is the full disclosure the citizenry needs to provide informed consent in the voting booth? First hidden then deleted by Hillary, that’s where.

        The really scary part is that either Hillary or Trump is going to be president. Time for us boomers to retire, we’ve screwed things up enough. Give another generation a go at it while there’s still something left.

        • Rayne says:

          Lefty, I’m not going to put up with your policing what I write. I’ll write what I bloody well want to write, when I want to write it.

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