Friday, February 21, 2020

The suffix is ocracy

The meaning of Meritocracy is in the suffix of -ocrasy - which means government by the people with the most ability.  I think it goes well with Plutocracy which is the current state of our government; A government or society run by the wealthy.

To be an agent of the people you must not be of the people for it is impossible to wage a campaign without resources and those are hold by those in the power of wealth and money.  They are the Plutocrats, the Oligarchs who control and manage and own much of what they sell or distribute to the not so wealthy.  A small minority of individuals in the United States possess such wealth and if Peter Theil, AGL or closet Republican, would desire a country run by chaos and in turn enable the wealthy to possess ultimate control as he has often believed.  Funny how he backed Trump but then again politics and bedfellows.
In a 2009 essay called The Education of a Libertarian, Thiel declared that capitalism and democracy had become incompatible. Since 1920, he argued, the creation of the welfare state and “the extension of the franchise to women” had made the American political system more responsive to more people – and therefore more hostile to capitalism. 
Capitalism is not “popular with the crowd”, Thiel observed, and this means that as democracy expands, the masses demand greater concessions from capitalists in the form of redistribution and regulation. 
The solution was obvious: less democracy. But in 2009, Thiel despaired of achieving this goal within the realm of politics. How could you possibly build a successful political movement for less democracy? 
Fast forward two years, when the country was still slowly digging its way out of the financial crisis. In 2011, Thiel told George Packer that the mood of emergency made him “weirdly hopeful”. The “failure of the establishment” had become too obvious to ignore, and this created an opportunity for something radically new, “something outside the establishment”, to take root. 

Theil is batshit that much we agree. And his backing of Trump was the idea that he would create the kind of chaos necessary to defeat democracy and we are worried about Russians, really?

 For Thiel, a smaller, more easily manipulated mob is preferable to a bigger one. If democracy can’t be eliminated, at least it can be shrunk through authoritarianism. A strongman like Trump, by exploiting the racial hatred and economic rage of one group of Americans, would work to delegitimize and disempower other groups of Americans. He would discipline what Thiel calls “the unthinking demos”: the democratic public that constrains capitalism.hiel’s preferred political future isn’t hard to picture.
 Thiel recognizes that only the state can provide the public goods on which private profit-making depends and what’s needed is a state that bankrolls scientific research at midcentury cold war levels – without the comparatively high tax rates and social spending that accompanied it. Corporations would mine this research for profitable inventions. The public would foot the bill and ask for nothing in return. 
The government shoulders the research costs for capitalists but makes no demands and sets no conditions. An authoritarian leader uses racial anger to set one portion of the population against another, and cracks down on those he sees as alien or illegitimate. The state becomes even more responsive to the needs of capitalists and even less responsive to the needs of workers and citizens. What Thiel calls the “oxymoron” of “capitalist democracy” is resolved – by jettisoning democracy. 

I took this from a Guardian piece on Thiel but there is another in New York Magazine that again reiterates what a fucking lunatic this rich fuck is.  He makes Trump look like a garden variety nutfuck in comparison.

Now we have mass exodus of the few sane people left in the Trump Administration with him surrounding himself with the yes men and women who pander to his version of leadership and his definition of Democracy.  This is why whoever the Democrats at this point nominate we get out the vote to vote.  Anyone at this point would be an improvement.

But the reality is that it will not be the woman who I respect the most, Warren, although her fighting words on Wednesday demonstrated she can tackle Trump and let's face it Bernie can as well he has the speech on him down pat and all of true; However, he is also the single most similar in style like Trump which I find equally disturbing but then again I at this point am open to even Mayor Pete. Although secretly a Warren/Buttigeg ticket might be a winner on many levels.

That said the one thing they share is the concept of Meritocracy that you can earn your way up the ladder socially and economically and they come from two generations that have seen that trickle down economics is not the rising tide but in fact the piss you step in on your way to schools and education that is funded by this thing Theil wants to end - the government.   Without access and availability we would not have the Bloombergs, the Warren's, the Klobuchar's the Harris'and the Yang's that stood on that stage to take America back alright to at least the belief that we are better than this.

I have long said that Meritocracy is a myth and while there are amazing stories of Immigrants and other Americans succeeding in spite of it that belief is tied up in the myth of Paul Bunyan and those bootstraps.  Again more bullshit and lies that remind me of the Bible no less colorful and of course blame laying and finger pointing.   Where do your think they got it from in the first place?

Nicholas Kristof's column the other day finally resonated with me and I share that now as the truth be told we are all in the water together and some are stronger swimmers, some can float along and others manage to get on board the right Yacht and sail off to drier better shores.  But few if any born into lesser more troubled waters will ever rise to the top of the water and be plucked from it and taken to a life on a golden beach.  That is the biggest bullshit being peddled right now along with some of the other tech crap that includes flying to the moon and life ever after.  Man those fuckers are really delusional and Theil is just one of many.  Sink or swim and it appears the life rafts are leaking and let's put these assholes on the Titanic and throw in some Coronavirus with a touch of Legionaires and see what or who floats to the top.




Pull Yourself Up by Bootstraps? Go Ahead, Try It

It’s impossible, and yet the bootstraps narrative drives out good policy.


By Nicholas Kristof
The New York Times
Opinion Columnist
Feb. 19, 2020


Back in the 1800s, the expression “pull oneself up by the bootstraps” meant the opposite of what it does now. Then it was used mockingly to describe an impossible act.

An 1834 publication ridiculed a claim to have built a perpetual-motion machine by saying that the inventor might next heave himself over a river “by the straps of his boots.” An 1840 citation scoffs that something is “as gross an absurdity as he who attempts to raise himself over a fence by the straps of his boots.”

Yet this phrase has become part of America’s mythology and the centerpiece of our approach to help those left behind: We harangue them to lift themselves up by the bootstraps. When Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez this month dismissed bootstrapping at a congressional hearing as “physically impossible,” outrage reverberated across the conservative media world.

Sean Hannity’s blog said that her assertion “left millions of television viewers scratching their heads.” Another Fox News commentator said that Ocasio-Cortez was “completely clueless.”

So let’s think this through.

It’s true that upward mobility has always resonated deeply in the United States. My father, a refugee from Romania and Ukraine, came to the United States because to him it symbolized opportunity (and, sure enough, it provided him rich opportunities).

Some people do manage heroic journeys to the top. Ben Carson grew up as an impoverished black child of a single mother in Detroit and became a pediatric neurosurgeon and secretary of housing and urban development. Bravo to him.

The problem is that this bootstraps narrative drives out good policy in three ways.

First, it suggests that historically Americans rose purely through rugged individualism — think of the pioneers!

Ah, but why did the pioneers go west? Because of government benefit programs that granted them homesteads! Ten percent of America’s land was given out as homesteads, and perhaps one-quarter of Americans (almost all of them white) owe part of their family wealth to the homestead acts.

Then there was the American investment in free high schools and in state colleges and universities, plus gigantic programs like rural electrification and the G.I. Bill of Rights. In short, even when we were a much poorer nation, we were able to afford huge national investments to help disadvantaged (white) Americans, because they were a priority.

Second, the bootstraps narrative often suggests that benefits programs are counterproductive because they foster “dependency.” That may have been a plausible argument a generation ago, but the evidence now indicates that it is incorrect.

Europe and Canada have much more robust social welfare systems than the United States, but Americans in the prime working years (ages 25 to 54) are more likely to drop out of the labor force than Europeans and Canadians in those years. Americans drop out of the labor force primarily because we do worse than other countries of investing in workers’ education, health care, addiction treatment and job training.

Third, the bootstraps narrative implies that everyone can pull a Ben Carson (Carson himself falls for this fallacy). This is like arguing that because some people can run a four-minute mile, everyone can.

Yes, some Americans soar from humble beginnings; more often, the top is occupied by those who, say, were earning $200,000 a year at age 3, in today’s money, as President Trump was. Some research finds that upward mobility has tumbled in the United States over the last half-century and is now lower than in Europe.

It’s particularly hard for people to scramble up when they come from violent homes, poor schools or foster care, or face impediments of race or class. These can be challenges, but they can be addressed to some extent — but not by sermons about bootstraps.

I received a note the other day from a carpenter in Washington State, Mike Stimac, about these issues. He grew up in a small town and describes himself as “more conservative than liberal,” but he had read a new book that my wife and I wrote about Americans left behind, and he responded: “I had two parents who gave me a home, no alcohol or physical abuse. I always felt like we were just making it. My parents were blue collar (machinist, sawmill operator, seamstress, cafeteria cook). I never felt like I was privileged, but I see now that I was. …

“Being a carpenter and general contractor, here again I felt I ‘pulled myself up by my bootstraps.’ My wife and I made a living with hard work and family help and now have a fairly strong financial standing. But now I realize it is more than hard work and family help. I was privileged to have two parents who valued education (though they never went to college), I am white, and there was no abuse.”

Stimac says he now favors substantial federal programs to provide opportunity and address addiction, mental illness and education, adding, “This is a real change of heart for me.”

That change of heart is what we need for our country as a whole. American children need fewer wagging fingers or homilies about bootstraps, and more helping hands.

Sense and Sensibility

The definition of provincial is something related to a specific country or geographic area or someone or something that is small-minded and unsophisticated. An example of provincial is a specific style of French furniture; An example of provincial is a person who has never left his small town.  With that I think it describes two cities in which I lived and while one appears deep blue in color, the other red, they share the idea that they are like rivers that run deep and shallow dependent upon the weather.

Ah the weather in Seattle is always made to be one of endless rain.  I don't recall that in my life as an issue as I remember weather that was full cycle and we had snow, rain, wind, and yes sun but it was just a little off like the people and it may be why the Seattle Freeze became such a popular name that not only described the weather but the residents.

The Seattle Freeze I get, I really do.  I am not sure when that label began but it is an accurate assessment of the nature of the Swedish descendants that found the area.  I found this on Wikipedia and yep it is right on the money:  The term Seattle Freeze refers to a widely held belief that it is especially difficult to make new friends in the city of Seattle, Washington, particularly for transplants from other cities. A 2005 Seattle Times article appears to be the first known use of the term, though a 1946 Seattle Daily Times excerpt also describes the phenomenon.

The Urban Dictionary defines it as such: A social phenomenon commonly found in the Seattle area. It concludes the majority of Seattle residents as snobby, cold, unfriendly people with a fake-polite exterior. Many people move here with the impression that Seattleites are friendly and laid-back but upon moving quickly realizing how superficial and forced that "friendly" exterior really is. There is alot of debate as to where this social dysfunction comes from. Some say it's the nerdy tech population, some say it's the scandinavian culture, some say it's the weather, and some even say it's the transplants fault.

 But is that much different than the concept of
Southern Hospitality?   The difference is in the actual concept of how it is exhibited and I can assure you if you review the six traits from Southern Living that defines this you will note that it is more an ideal than a reality.  Out of the six I experienced only the polite bullshit to an extent that many encounters in the service field were concluded with the "Yes Ma'am" retort.  In the North that is a passive aggressive slur and guess what,  it is in the South as well, along with Bless You're Heart and That is So Precious!   I hear any version of those and I know immediately that I am in conversation with an asshole and somewhere along that dialog will end with me wanting to stab them in the eye as there will be the statement,  "I've never heard of that before" or some other bizarre mindfuck that will make you question your own ability to communicate as well as  sanity before parting ways. I can say with certainty and conviction Seattleites have nowhere near that ability to do as such.  If anything they are sheep and if you fail to agree with the consensus the next step is of course some veiled ad hominem  attack that you are stupid and/or conservative.  Other than that plans made will be canceled if said plans happen at all as like the South, Seattle is very very tribal. 

One distinction is that Southerners like to lie.  I know few Northerners who do so with such rigor,  of course they advocate the Oprah concept of "My Truth" which is probably a version of truth but they are pretty honest when asked.  But no one asks as that is the next concept of truth and again much like the South it is rude to ask.  I often thought Seattle invented Don't ask, don't tell but it had a different context.    They don't lie, they again avoid it by not having any chance to exchange views with others who don't share the same so if you are stupid or unaware of that you walk into that insult factory quickly and they will at least do it with a multisyllabic vocabulary as most are well educated and informed.  That will not happen in Nashville as few to none have any education over 12th grade and even that is at best the worst.  And yet that is the same place that gave us metric measures for testing and evaluating Teachers and in turn is ground zero for Charter education and now Vouchers.  And yet that number that make it onto college (and most of those are non-secular so its not a big step up) don't rock the boat with that schooling thing.  And yet Seattle had two non-secular Colleges in its backyard and another just 45 minutes South but they were surrounded by well funded public institutions and one very experimental one (Evergreen) that have always been well attended and I knew more with degrees than not.  And today a drive to push more into community colleges and other technical schools is a public and political must much like the rest of America.  Tennessee supposedly has that with its Promise but again who counts and actually knows the truth as numbers those lie like the people and remember its only a promise and those can be broken.  Its the South and that is a given.

And here is another number that I had to hear repeatedly when in Nashville - the growth of the city and its 100 people a day moving there.  Right okay that again was the biggest bullshit I ever heard and well today they finally corrected that number.  


The population in Nashville grew faster than any other region of the state during the boom that has made it one of America's fastest-growing cities since 2012. But the pace of expansion has abruptly slowed, the most recent Census data reveals.
Newcomers, drawn by a fast-growing job market, are increasingly settling just outside Davidson County.

The number of new Davidson County residents grew by an average of 15.6 people a day from 2017 to 2018, the most recent year data is available.

That's down from an increase of at least 25 people a day, on average, in the four preceding years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
Ken Blake, professor at Middle Tennessee State University's School of Journalism and Strategic Media, analyzed the population data by census tract.

"Most of Davidson County, in terms of census tracts, really isn't growing," Blake said. "The growth is mostly in the downtown area and on the eastern border."

The commonly quoted statistic that Nashville is growing by 100 people a day referred to the greater 14-county greater metropolitan area, and that figure dropped to 83 people a day between July 2017 and July 2018. 
The population grew more quickly in Williamson and Rutherford counties, which added an average of 17.7 and 23.8 people a day, respectively, in 2018.

Blake found that the growth was spread more even across the two neighboring counties.
"The growth in Rutherford County is mostly in the half closest to Davidson County," Blake said. "Williamson County has the highest number of growing census tracts of all three." 
Newcomers, drawn by a fast-growing job market, are increasingly settling just outside Davidson County. Large new apartment complexes in downtown Nashville helped the population there jump 40% from 2013 to 2018.

Davidson County areas with the largest increases align with clusters of new apartments and homes in Bellevue, Antioch, Hermitage and much of the area east of the airport, according to Blake.

"If you look at where Rutherford County is building schools, it lines up with where Rutherford is growing," Blake said. "Affordability is probably a factor here as well. People do go where the housing is available and affordable."
Rapid population growth has delivered rapid increases in housing prices.
In 2018, an hourly wage of at least $32.55 was needed to buy a home in Nashville – up from $28.31 in 2017, according to the Tennessee Housing Development Agency's 2019 Housing Market Report. 
Still, Davidson County recorded the largest number of home sales in the state in 2018, selling 14,653 houses. 
But the number of new building permits in the county dropped 7%, in the first decline since the housing market crash.

So now its closer to reality and truth like the budget of the city which is in the toilet and the reality is that the State is a burning red river of hate and bullshit does little to change the truth, mine or anyone else's.  Meanwhile Washington State has a state of divide between East and West; However, the reality is that it largely progressive with a Governor who is focused on Climate Change, Gun Control, Health Care and Transparency. None of that in Tennessee. But hating Gays, Voting, and Women hell yes!   But again I cannot stress the parallels of the two when it comes to Police accountability and of course one of the early cities on watch was Seattle for its Police shooting of a Native American carver in Downtown Seattle. And now with the Macy's closed the Pine/Pike corridor is not much different than half the streets in Nashville as an open shooting gallery and crime central with a recent shooting there causing great distress among the city but again that may be because two Amazon employees were also victims of said shooting.  Seattle has always veered right and left as any city in flux does.  And in turn an attempt to solve their own Police problems with an accountability board at least Nashville did so by having an oversight board that was elected by the people as opposed to it being forced upon them but if it has any purpose or effect that will be something proven over time. But like all things in Nashville it will die on the vine.  But as for Seattle which was the topic of a CNN story, the issues on the streets there had been that way long before I left with an ever increasing homeless population and all that it brings. Boom times brings problems and Seattle has always been a boom and bust town my entire life there.  But the liberal and elite don shirts, bracelets and pins and do what it takes to at least try, they are like herding cats but they do care.  Despite Nashville's supposed Christian leanings and surrogacy through Churches to pick up the social safety net,  they have no solutions for their growing issues in this area; HOWEVER, and there is always this,  much of the displacement comes from the attempt  to relocate the large Black population that live in the Housing projects that encircle the actual city and are in very desirable locations for prospective development.  Seattle had public housing but dead Paul Allen bought much of it and tried before his death to work on that issue.  And since that time Microsoft and even Jeff Bezos are working to find some solutions with their financial largess.  You will not see the rich in Nashville doing any of that as they focus on what is important - sports and building monuments to house them.

Nashville is obsessed with money and while Seattle has tons of it thanks to it being a wealthy city for decades thanks to Bill Gates and now Bezos they forget that there are many many executives of said companies that benefitted from the largess of being involved early on and still reside in the region just less famous names.   The two cities share one common factor that cannot be ignored and that is the lack of a State income tax that enables these wealthy fucks to avoid paying taxes on earnings but if you were to choose where to live in America with said option I would always choose Seattle.  To live in Nashville would be the most idiotic thing you could do, with hot muggy summers, half assed winters, horrific infrastructure and zero to no culture and activities to do that do not include country music.  I have lived in both and they both have much to loathe but Seattle is by far superior and that Nashville wishes to be Seattle falls into the warning: Careful what you wish for.

Both cities grew because of outsiders and that contributes to the tribal mentality and distrust of outsiders but the South specializes in this concept.  In Seattle is mostly a de rigueur mentality that accompanies the Freeze bullshit.  I think there are dozens of articles, blogs, essays,  videos as well as a podcast  on how to adjust, identify and integrate into Seattle.  Basically it is all silly absurd and what? PROVINCIAL.

And both Nashville and Seattle have spent the better part of the last few years humble bragging about growth, the influx of outsiders, the amount of buildings being built via skyscraper watch all while complaining about the traffic, housing costs and other burdens of being an "it" city but Seattle still has an active City Council and Mayor's office that try to consistently put forth concepts and measures that will better the community. The salary tax was a failed attempt to do so but I do give them credit for many others that have bettered the community including sick days, minimum wage laws and being a sanctuary city.   It was that area that hit the airports day one of the first travel ban if there is one part of the country that puts active in activist it is the Northwest.

Cannot say the same in Nashville. Nashville has no interest other than cashing checks and they are even working on allowing those who own property via an LLC or other corporate entity to have voting rights in the state. Well that will get the voting numbers up as they are the bottom of the barrel when it comes to that and I am certain that the individuals have the best interest in the community to engage and participate right?  Election fraud much?  Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah red states.

I actually met people in the South who informed me I was the first Northerner they ever met. Their tribal ties are something they wear proudly.  Everyone is very quick to inform you where they are from and are quite specific in the exact location statewide and specifically county in which they were born.  Even those whose families migrated there when they were children are quick to say they are not from the area despite spending their entire life there.  I see so if you are born in Oregon and move to Seattle at three months old you are an Oregonian?  I never heard that though again Seattle has never had a large population of born and raised individuals for some reason we all leave.. the weather perhaps?  And few in Nashville I met had ever travelled anywhere including those who migrated there as this was the first time away from home and many had hard times managing that much. One asked me how does one travel/? Another lied and said they had and said show me your Passport and failed to produce said document so again what was the purpose other than lie?

And yet these are the same people that ask you insanely personal question and interrogate you as to why you came here to Nashville.  Every conversation is an interrogation and every conversation is a form of pulpit speak where you spoken at or to not with.  Their provinciality is displayed in their overall ignorance and dismissal of anyone being "different."

To be provincial you can travel and immediately you recognize those travelers as they complain endlessly about the food, the people, the sites or well anything.  They are boring and should have saved the money and never left home.  And Seattle has many of those folks as for Nashville I don't think any of them had even been to the States that were adjacent unless family lived in them.  As one said to me: I have everything I need here why would I go anywhere else.  I can say I never met or knew anyone who said that in Seattle. But then again in true Freeze fashion I did not care nor feel compelled to know.

Will I ever set foot in Seattle again? No been there done that and done with it.  Nashville and I part ways on Febuary 28th and it cannot come soon enough. Checks will be written and my hostage days are behind me.  I said to someone I should make the 72 hour countdown without incident as I long as I don't find my rental car mysteriously towed and have to pay cash to spring it, have it vandalized, be defrauded, be hit up for more money than agreed.  Hauled into rooms to be interrogated about my private life, spoken to like shit, have the cops called on me, be evicted and my shit tossed into a parking lot by the moving company and told it was my fault for not packing right or other mindfucking and gas lighting that marked my three years there.  So it should be fine.

And with that I welcome my new home as it is like me an outsider that is tough on the edges but soft in the middle. There is a joy in being the outsider and even the social media messengers for the state are tough broads so I know I fit in without effort.   I wear the moniker Jersey Girl with pride even though I was not born and raised here I suspect that few would disagree and be thrilled that I wish to be called as such.  This is not a place for the soft of mind or of hearts but it is a place that never ends to amaze me and for the last quarter of my life I cannot think of a better home.  Those places that we have lived and lived again (my return to Seattle was bittersweet but it brought me back to realize how much I love teaching and kids so hey something good) are all part of the past and only remind me why the future is bright as the past is a tunnel in which I am emerging from and its called the Lincoln one just up the road.

Seattle will always be the roots in this tree but the branch of Nashville is being removed as a tree needs a good trimming to survive.  The sense and sensibility of those who want to live there I wish them the best but I want no part of either as the pursuit of what drives them is money and that is no a car I wish to enter.  The irony is that once again the wealthier cities are the larger metros and despite a decreasing population they are not decreasing in wealth and Seattle and Nashville are not on that list, go figure.  Why? Well it is not just the weather clearly.  So keep bragging as you both are just very sensible and with that provincial.  And with that I bid you Adieu.










Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Daily Blues

Today the Boy Scouts of America join a long line of organizations that file Chapter 11 to stave off obsolescence and financial destitution. Much like the Catholics that preceded them requiring them to selling off properties and examining the long term legacy that pedophilia brought the same goes for the Scouts. They tried to allow Girls to join to prove they were a modern organization (or have a bigger pool in which to catch fish) while eschewing those kids who identified with the LGBQT community and in turn continuing to ignore the rot within. The fish always stinks at the head first.

Yesterday I was thrilled to buy some Girl Scout Cookies and my Scout was a child of Indian descent really proving that I live in a diverse community and that the Girls appeal to all girls everywhere so thanks for those Tagalogs and Thin Mints they remind me of my days hawking cookies and well I don't miss it but I appreciated the time I was a troop member as it taught me that basically girls are bitches when in a cluster but if you are secure in independence you are secure overall.   I am sure that is not what they wanted me to learn but my lifelong suspicion and loathing of my own gender came long before the concept of mean girls ever came into existence.

As the news continued to air the story of another Mother taking her son to a hospital  for help with her son who was having a mental health crises and of course ended with the child being arrested, beaten and pleading guilty in court; All for a crime that will sit on his record until 18 where he can of course if has the money and ability to have it expunged.  You know like Trump wants to do with his impeachment.

Well I could also have a unwanted pelvic exam I mean I am just laying there. Again the medical field never fails in its horrific manner of first doing harm.

But I have one better a 6 year-old being taken to a mental health facility when the school called 911 on the girl who was having what we used to call a tantrum.  There is nothing in that story that makes me feel better about being a Teacher and in Nashville this happened quite a bit, not the Police and Mental Health facility where frankly they needed to go but the Thorazine to the demeanor of the little girl that demonstrated she was well normal. Again not the first.   In fact one of 30,000. This takes the concept of zero tolerance to new heights.  Again in Nashville the children are exceedingly violent and dangerous and show signs of deep mental illness but nothing was or is done.  They got other shit to do,  like worry about soccer stadiums and Amazon coming to town.  Maybe they should look inward as the state is run in the same way the United State is with a moron in charge allowing legislation to pass without any second look and the new rash of lawsuits will eat up more money that could be better spent. But fuck that shit we got the MLS and the Predators.. whoops we mean the hockey team not the other kind.

Ah Nashville in a week I will be there for my last visit and there are no mixed feelings about it as the last hostage payment will be remanded and I will be free.  Funny I don't feel that way as it means now I have no excuse to move among the living but how does one after three years that were part of the seven where I felt that those who should have helped failed and the pain that I doubt will ever heal. It appears as I review story after story of Police violence, Prosecutorial Misconduct and Medical Malpractice I am one of many and if we had a conference Madison Square Garden would not be big enough. But sadly we would have to have a section roped off for those who could not be their physically as they did not survive their encounter and in turn a life ended prematurely because of THEM.

I keep thinking of the lyrics to the theme song from the Ghostbusters: Who ya gonna call? Well clearly not 911. Shit if I want to end up dead or beaten then yes but then again I prefer my beatings to be from professionals so a Dominatrix might be a better bet and come away with far less bruises.

What the last three years did teach me was the power of lies by those in power.  It is amazing how they can wield their position to cover up their own malfeasance, their own crimes and misdemeanors and in turn lay blame, point fingers and utterly ruin lives all while having the audacity to present a bill to you, to the taxpayer or to larger state and be compensated for it.  Wow, just wow.

Yesterday I did laugh however at one news soundbite and that was from Ted Cruz, the Senator or other moron from Texas who decided to express his anger at a bill being presented in Alabama, a state ground zero for zero tolerance of civil rights, women's rights or just any right of an American not white nor male.

Ted Cruz, the Republican Texas senator, has given an unwitting boost to an Alabama lawmaker’s attempt to push back on restrictive abortion laws in her state, by tweeting about her proposal to force men to have vasectomies when they reach the age of 50.

Democratic representative Rolanda Hollis introduced the measure to the state House last week, intending it as protest against a law passed by the Alabama legislature last year to outlaw abortion in almost every case unless the life of the mother was at risk.

“The responsibility is not always on the women. It takes two to tangle [sic],” Hollis wrote in a tweet acknowledging that her long-shot House bill, which would also a mandate a vasectomy after the birth of a father’s third biological child, was intended to “neutralize the abortion ban bill”.

Senator Cruz took to the medium most common to idiots these days, Twitter, to write: “Yikes. A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take everything… literally!”

Naturally the crowd bit back and this is my favorite response:  “It’s outrageous to have government involved in these personal reproductive decisions! So glad you are pro-choice, Ted!

I am trying to recall if I ever met anyone from Alabama with any type of sanity and intellect and the answer to that is no.  The two individuals that come to mind are so damaged, such prodigious liars and have drug and or alcohol problems I can see why few individuals are elected there to actually represent the public.  Rolanda Hollis is the exception there being both a woman and one of color to actually get that the bullshit associated with the reality of women having the right to choose, to make their own decisions is no ones business but those she CHOOSES to share that with.  I think of another infamous Alabamian, Jeff Sessions, who redefines idiot.  But my personal favorite will always be Roy Moore a man who could always become a Boy Scout Leader, oh wait his prediction was for young girls.  Maybe he could convert and become a Catholic, the Priesthood is calling.

That said the controversial Alabama abortion measures, signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey in May 2019, was struck down by a federal court judge in October, two weeks before they were due to take effect.  The law, which threatens doctors with up to 99 years in prison for performing abortions at any stage of pregnancy, is intended by its supporters to bolster efforts to have the US Supreme Court overturn its 1973 Roe vs Wade ruling, the landmark case that legalized abortion across the country.

Ah yes the Evangelical movement who cares only about the baby in the womb but little about it after birth as almost all of these fuckwits don't want to pay taxes for pre-natal care, post natal care, education, child care or any other matter of import that contributes to the long term health and growth of the child. Again,  I would visit Alabama to confirm my worst fears that the concept of developmental disorders are rampant but then I don't have to as  I can walk into my friends bar and watch Darian molest young men or go to my coffee shop and watch Ethan have a meltdown and self medicate with alcohol.  Sounds great! I take a pass I have better things to do than watch, hear or care about the Southern drama kings and queens.  They were harmed as children and as adults can choose to do harm or fix the damage done. They made their choices and I want no part of it.  I recall everyday in the schools there and I know who they will be and again I am afraid and so should you as this shit stinks that no pot pourri can ever cover up.












Monday, February 17, 2020

Laying of Hands

This is a common practice among Evangelicals, the laying of hands upon the sinner to be healed and prayed for.  But it is common among most faiths as it is referred to in the Bible or as I call it the Book of Myths with many connotations.  I will let you the faithful or faithless examine the many contradictory and confusing reasons hands are laid upon you by reading this site, Desiring God. 

I of course read the word desire and go immediately into a more prurient meaning and in turn think they should change the concept of pray to prey as it seems no faith/religion is exempt from the practice of sexual abuse towards their congregants/members.

The Catholics have been busy praying and paying off the massive debt accumulated from Priests whose hands more than wandered away from the business of prayer.  Recently the more "modern" sect of Catholics were hoping that the New Pope, same as the Old Pope, would be open to indoctrinating women and allowing for some Priests to marry in those regions where it is difficult to find a fully vested individual willing to join the Priesthood with its archaic concept of celibacy forsaking family and all that material stuff that the Church requires.  Well no said the big Chief but remember when he was the breath of fresh air and enlightened hope? Well watch the Two Popes on Netflix or the New Pope on HBO they do offer a much better perspective of the convoluted politics of the Church.

But the nice thing is that while the morally superior Evangelicals have a direct channel to the White House they are not any better at keeping their hands off either.  Comforting, I know.  The Southern Baptists have long suppressed any sexual issues as of course a failing of the individual and victim blaming when any assault occurs as we learned at Baylor University when Kenneth Starr was abdicated from his throne of leadership.  Really is that not what it is with religion a type of Monarchy disguised as Theocracy?

And just like the Catholics the moving of leaders/ministers/perverts between Churches without a heads up is another common denominator that the Evangelicals do.  And yet the Reformists aka the Legalist sect of that faith hate Catholics and see them as the original Roman faithless as they were once polytheists and clearly way more fun.  They may be right after all! Who knew! Oh wait it was Christianity that destroyed the Empire, wrong again! In a continued effort to make themselves feel good enough, Christians find those who are worse than they.  They point fingers, they shame shame.  They  blame others, find scapegoats.  They exclude, persecute, and eventually plot to destroy the sinners.  Sounds great sign me up!

While always turning the mirror outward they can avoid looking at their own reflection. But the truth is that all Churches regardless of their origin need to clean their houses.   This article from USA Today discusses in length the damage done by the Southern Baptists and their own role in sexual abuse and more importantly the denial and covering up. Bless their hearts! But this quote stood out:  Once your faith is used against you, he said, it is hard to trust again.

I never was molested or touched by an Angel or any other less celestial figure.  I liked Church and Religion as it offered a perspective on community, love and kindness.  Funny I don't even recall the messengers, just the message and it has always resonated with me and then I realized that I don't need a Church or a 'father' figure to teach me empathy and compassion, I have that and had it all along.  Strong faith comes from strong teachers and they have nothing to do with being religious or faith based.  But then again I came to Atheism as a choice, like being a Vegan or Pescatarian or whatever choices one makes in life about their own well being.  Reading the book of myths, taking classes on the science of Theology as a just that a science made me change my views and beliefs about religion.  My choice and it was one that for years I even denied - I used agnostic or the phrase "spiritual but not religious." Here it is simply put: I am an Atheist.

But here is my last message to the religious: GO FUCK YOURSELF.   You will do way less harm and self love is the best kind of love.



ETA:  Immediately after posting this I went to read The New York Times and found this opinion piece.  I think it says it all about the bullshit of celibacy.

I Have a Story for Pope Francis About Priestly Celibacy

Who pays the price when a priest breaks his vow?

By Mimi Bull
The New York Times February 17 2020 Editorials and Opinions
Ms. Bull is the author of “Celibacy, a Love Story.”


Want the human story on priestly celibacy? Talk to someone who’s paid the price.

I am bitterly disappointed by the news that Pope Francis will not be relaxing priestly celibacy rules in remote parts of the Amazon. The idea — intended to make it easier to recruit priests in underserved areas — was supported by a Vatican conference in October, but in his papal document, released on Wednesday, Francis ignored their suggestion.

My interest in this isn’t the mild curiosity of a lapsed Catholic. I am the child of a priest who broke his vow of celibacy and left a legacy of secrecy that was devastating to him, to my mother and particularly to me.

To hide my father’s broken vow, I was told that I was adopted. I did not know until I was 35 that my “adoptive mother” was actually my grandmother and my “adoptive sister” was, in reality, my mother. But even then, I wasn’t told the whole truth. At the time, I was told my father had been a businessman from Pennsylvania.

If only I had known that my real father was the beloved young pastor of our local Polish parish in Norwood, Mass. He was a regular guest in our home, and we attended weekly Mass in his church. He died at the end of my freshman year at Smith College. I didn’t find out until the age of 50, on the day of my birth mother’s funeral, that the man I adored as “Pate” — my own nickname, short for the Latin “pater” — and the community knew as “Father Hip” was my father.

I was more fortunate than most children of priests. The man and woman I now know to have been my birth parents, chose to raise me, nurture me and, in the depths of the Depression, give me as normal a life as they could manage within a complex web of secrecy. My father chose to be involved in my life; he referred to himself as my “guardian,” and I found out after my mother died that he had held this title legally.

Nonetheless, all the secrecy took a toll on a sensitive child. I knew I was somehow different. I knew instinctively that there were things I could not mention casually — the frequency with which my mother, Pate and I got together alone, for instance, including trips to Boston for dinner. Secrecy became second nature.

I was well trained to revere priests, so the idea that Pate might have literally fathered me never occurred to me. I adored him and saw him frequently, but he was my parish priest and my “guardian.”

After he died, I paced the dormitory floors at night, experiencing something I had no word for. It was depression. At that point in my life, I had no idea he was my father, yet his death had a profound impact on me. Desperate to keep my scholarship, I kept my depression hidden — a lifelong habit that led to thoughts of suicide before I was able to be free of it. It affected my marriage, my parenting and my own creative use of a fine mind and education. I felt set apart and unworthy.

I also mourn how the secret affected my parents. My father died at 47, held back in a small parish and unable to fulfill his larger ambitions. Did my existence have something to do with the fact that he, as a mutual friend informed me later, was passed over for a position at a larger and more challenging parish? I’ll never know and can only speculate. My mother was burdened to her death with the truth she never shared with me or the husband she married six years after Pate’s death.

I am one of the 50,000 people from 175 countries who reportedly visit Coping International, a website for children of priests. I expect there is a vast spectrum of stories to be told, many much harder and more painfully unresolved than mine.

Some priests’ children are denied their identities and recognition by their fathers’ families. Others are rejected outright by their fathers and witness the hardships of their mothers’ complicated lives. These experiences shape us and stay with us.

I consider celibacy a serious and valid religious practice if it is entered willingly. It should be available to those who seriously wish to live a celibate life. For nine centuries, though, it has been the rule for all ordained Roman Catholic priests — and it must stop. To live alone and celibate is to deny the most basic drive. Not everyone who would make a fine priest is made for the celibate life.

While I was happy to see the church grappling with the issue, allowing married priests in remote regions would have been a tiny step. It would have done little to confront the root of the problem: the human toll that enforced celibacy has taken on priests and others around them.

What to do? We must lift the veil of secrecy and shine a light on the children born under rules of celibacy. Talk to us. Help us reclaim our identities, reclaim the halves of our families we have been kept from and help us remove the slur of “bastard.” Help us heal.

And join with us in urging Pope Francis to reform the celibacy mandate, so no other child has to suffer.







Sunday, February 16, 2020

In Praise Of

It is tough being a girl as the song goes and it is no less tough being a woman. We have come nowhere baby in the 21st Century than from the 20th and we see it with the standard forbearance of gender roles in the family and assignment of work, the wage and pay scale structure and when women have children they are often professional held back by choice or not.  Women are the primary caregivers in homes with aging parents, women dominate the pink collar professions still while being the largest educated group in history and women are demeaned, debased and derided by other women as we heard Harvey Weinstein's  Defense Attorney, Donna Rotunno, remind the Jury during her closing arguments and later in the podcast, The Daily,  how women allow themselves to be raped . She of course has never allowed this as she could kick them in the nuts with her Choos that she wears to court as the Jury likes it nice. Shit is this for real?  She was briefly a Prosecutor that focused on Domestic Violence and felony crimes which may explain her bitchiness or that she is just a raging cunt, go figure; However,  it is a perfect fit for her to become a defense attorney for rapists.   I have met her Doppelgänger in Seattle, Jennifer Miller, a City of Seattle Prosecutor.  She called me a whore in court as I tried to come to terms with how I crashed my car, was found in a coma, with a blood alcohol count that should have killed me, released from a hospital still in throw of a Traumatic Brain Injury as they too felt I was just a "drunken whore," lost a week of my life, all after a date drugged me.  She now is a defense attorney for the same type of crimes.. irony or cunt you decide?  The blood test was in the hands of the city and she was instrumental in never allowing it to be retested for the presence of date rape drugs and her conduct, demeanor and clothing remind me much of this Rotunno woman.  Meanwhile, my Attorneys, Ted Vosk (now suicidal on Facebook) and Kevin Trombold (the equivalent of a public defender who you pay) provided a defense that lacked substance and grit but trenchant laziness which led me to never find answers or seek resolution of what happened to me the night of February 8, 2012.  I feel that those three did more damage than the car and the date ever did.   Shar is likely raping and harming other women or not, I don't care, I care about my survival and that is what has kept me going and running now for the last seven years. I finally quit running.

No one is more familiar with slut shaming and victim blaming than I and I paid for the privilege, several thousands of dollars which like my vadge I closed the checkbook when I realized that  you cannot fight a system that has no vested interest or desire to find the truth, they have only the one interest in moving you in and out and collecting fees, fines and other costs associated with Prosecution with the ultimate price tag attached - jail.  I was lucky I avoided the last one.

So this week begins the Jury deliberation for Weinstein I bet by Wednesday they come back with not guilty as despite the Prosecutors closing remarks the trial was noted by its lack of verve and frankly this was the first sign things were not good when it was over in two weeks, even the Pharma Bro had a longer trial.  Then over the Lincoln Holiday on Wednesday a quiet announcement that this same Prosecutor was retiring after this trials conclusion.  Maybe she should have been like Charlie with his Angels and just phoned it in.

Women who have stood up to sexual harassment, to inequality on the job or in their family face repercussions that never go away.  New York Magazine did a follow up and found that for many it was in fact worse.  The New York Times which has been ground breaking on much of these issues has also done follow ups and unless you have a cushion you fall hard. I will always have those bruises.

Running and hiding is exhausting but what did not kill me did not make me stronger I was already strong or I would not have survived these last seven years and that cycle ended as all seven year cycles do in October.  I moved and am not done raging, far from it.  I am a difficult woman and I war it proudly.  There is nothing wrong with being who you are and more importantly accepting that.





Fighting the tyranny of ‘niceness’: why we need difficult women


Today’s thumbs-up, thumbs-down approach to feminism is boring and reductive. It is time to embrace complexity

Sat 15 Feb 2020 The Guardian
By Helen Lewis

Difficult. It’s a word that rests on a knife-edge: when applied to a woman, it can be admiring, fearful, insulting and dismissive, all at once. In 2016, it was used of Theresa May (she was “a bloody difficult woman,” Ken Clarke said, when she ran for Tory leader). A year later, it gave the US author Roxane Gay the title for her short story collection. The late Elizabeth Wurtzel took “in praise of difficult women” as the strapline for her feminist manifesto in 1998. The book’s main title was, simply, Bitch.

The word is particularly pointed since it recurs so often when women talk about the consequences of challenging sexism. The TV presenter Helen Skelton once described being groped on air by an interviewee while pregnant. She did not complain, she said, because “that’s just the culture that television breeds. No one wants to be difficult.” The actor Jennifer Lawrence told the Hollywood Reporter that she had once stood up to a rude director. The reaction to the incident left her worried that she would be punished by the industry. “Yeah,” chipped in fellow actor Emma Stone: “You were ‘difficult’.”

All this is edging towards the same idea, an idea that is imprinted on us from birth: that women are called unreasonable, selfish and unfeminine when they stand up for themselves. “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is,” wrote Rebecca West in 1913. “I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat, or a prostitute.”

So what does it mean to be a difficult woman? I’m not talking about being rude, thoughtless, obnoxious or a diva. First of all, difficult means complicated. A thumbs-up, thumbs-down approach to historical figures is boring and reductive. Most of us are more than one thing; no one is pure; everyone is “problematic”. Look back at early feminists and you will find women with views that are unpalatable to their modern sisters. You will find women with views that were unpalatable to their contemporaries. They were awkward and wrong-headed and obstinate and sometimes downright odd – and that helped them to defy the expectations placed on them. “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself,” wrote George Bernard Shaw in 1903. “Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” (Or, as I always catch myself adding, the unreasonable woman.) A history of feminism should not try to sand off the sharp corners of the movement’s pioneers – or write them out of the story entirely, if their sins are deemed too great. It must allow them to be just as flawed – just as human – as men. Women are people, and people are more interesting than cliches. We don’t have to be perfect to deserve equal rights

The idea of role models is not necessarily a bad one, but the way they are used in feminism can dilute a radical political movement into feelgood inspiration porn. Holding up a few exceptions is no substitute for questioning the rules themselves, and in our rush to champion historical women, we are distorting the past. Take the wildly successful children’s book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, which has sold more than a million copies. It tells 100 “empowering, moving and inspirational” stories, promising that “these are true fairytales for heroines who definitely don’t need rescuing”. Its entry for the fashion designer Coco Chanel mentions that she wanted to start a business, and a “wealthy friend of hers lent her enough money to make her dream come true”. It does not mention that Chanel was the lover of a Nazi officer and very probably a spy for Hitler’s Germany. In the 1930s, she tried to remove that “wealthy friend” from the company under racist laws that forbade Jews to own businesses. In the name of inspiring little girls living in a male-dominated world, the book doesn’t so much airbrush Chanel’s story as sandblast it. Do you find her wartime collaboration with the Nazis “empowering”? I don’t, although admittedly she does sound like a woman who “didn’t need rescuing”. The real Coco Chanel was clever, prejudiced, talented, cynical – and interesting. The pale version of her boiled down to a feminist saint is not.

I can excuse that approach in a children’s book, but it’s alarming to see the same urge in adults. We cannot celebrate women’s history by stripping politics – and therefore conflict – from the narrative. Unfurl the bunting, and don’t ask too many questions! It creates a story of feminism where all the opponents are either cartoon baddies or mysteriously absent, where no hard compromises have to be made and internal disagreements are kicked under the carpet. The One True Way is obvious, and all Good People follow it. Feminists are on the right side of history, and we just have to wait for the world to catch up.

Life does not work like that. It would be much easier if feminist triumphs relied on defeating a few bogeymen, but grotesque sexists such as Donald Trump only have power because otherwise decent people voted for them. There were women who opposed female suffrage; women are the biggest consumers of magazines and websites that point out other women’s physical flaws; there is no gender gap among supporters of abortion rights. People are complicated, and making progress is complicated too. If modern feminism feels toothless, it is because it has retreated into two modes: empty celebration or shadow-boxing with outright bastards. Neither deals with difficulty, and so neither can make a difference.

Women’s history should not be a shallow hunt for heroines. Too often, I see feminists castigating each other for admiring the Pankhursts (autocrats), Andrea Dworkin (too aggressive), Jane Austen (too middle-class), Margaret Atwood (worried about due process in claims of sexual harassment) and Germaine Greer (where do I start?). I recently read a piece about how I was “problematic” for having expressed sympathy for the supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. My crime was to say that his confirmation hearings had been turned into a media circus – and that even those accused of sexual assault deserved better. The criticism reflects a desperate desire to pretend that thorny issues are straightforward. No more flawed humans struggling inside vast, complicated systems: there are good guys and bad guys, and it’s easy to tell them apart. We must restore the complexity to feminist pioneers. Their legacies might be contested, they might have made terrible strategic choices and they might have not have lived according to the ideals they preached. But they mattered. Their difficulty is part of the story.

Then there’s the second meaning of “difficult”. Any demand for greater rights faces opponents, and any advance creates a backlash. Changing the world is always difficult. At Dublin Castle in May 2018, waiting for the results of the Irish referendum on abortion law, I saw a banner that read: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Those words come from a speech by Frederick Douglass, who campaigned for the end of the slave trade in the US. He wanted to make clear that “power concedes nothing without a demand”. In other words, campaigners have to be disruptive. They cannot take no for an answer. “Those who profess to favour freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without ploughing up the ground,” said Douglass. “They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.” Changing the world won’t make people like you. It will cause you pain. It will be difficult. It will feel like a struggle. You must accept the size of the mountain ahead of you, and start climbing it anyway.

Then there is the difficulty of womanhood itself. In a world built for men, women will always struggle to fit in. We are what Simone de Beauvoir called “the second sex”. Our bodies are different from the standard (male) human. Our sexual desires have traditionally been depicted as fluid, hard to read, unpredictable. Our life experiences are mysterious and unknowable; our minds are Freud’s “dark continent”. We are imagined to be on the wrong side of a world divided in two. Men are serious, women are silly. Men are rational, women are emotional. Men are strong, women are weak. Men are steadfast, women are fickle. Men are objective, women are subjective. Men are humanity, women are a subset of it. Men want sex and women grant or withhold it. Women are looked at; men do the looking. When we are victims, it is hard to believe us. “At the heart of the struggle of feminism to give rape, date rape, marital rape, domestic violence and workplace sexual harassment legal standing as crimes has been the necessity of making women credible and audible,” wrote Rebecca Solnit in Men Explain Things to Me. “Billions of women must be out there on this six-billion-person planet being told that they are not reliable witnesses to their own lives, that the truth is not their property, now or ever.”

My favourite definition of feminism comes from the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. A feminist, she said, is someone who believes in “the social, economic and political equality of the sexes”. That sounds straightforward, but feminism is endlessly difficult. The last 10 years have been praised for “changing the culture”, but led only to a few concrete victories. The #MeToo movement turned into a conversation about borderline cases and has not led to any substantial legal reforms. Abortion rights came under threat in eastern Europe and the southern United States. Gang-rape cases convulsed India and Spain. Free universal childcare was as much a dream as it had been in the 1970s. And the backlash has been brutal. Across the world, from Vladimir Putin in Russia to Narendra Modi in India to Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, populists and nationalists are pushing a return to traditional gender roles, while the US president boasted of grabbing women “by the pussy”.

Today’s feminist movement might be louder than previous generations, but is also more fractured, making it harder to achieve progress on any individual issue. “Cancel culture” ensures that any feminist icon’s reputation feels fragile and provisional. We barely anoint a new heroine before we tear her down again. “Sisterhood is powerful,” the activist Ti-Grace Atkinson once said. “It kills. Mostly sisters.” Feminism often feels mired in petty arguments, with younger women casually denigrating the achievements of their predecessors. “Cancel the second wave,” read one headline. When I talked at an event about the fights for equal pay and domestic-violence shelters, one twentysomething woman casually replied: “Yeah, but all that stuff is sorted.”

Feminism will always be difficult because it tries to represent half of humanity: 3.5 billion people (and counting) drawn from every race, class, country and religion. It is revolutionary, challenging the most fundamental structures of our society. It is deeply personal, illuminating our most intimate experiences and personal relationships. It rejects the division between the public and private spheres. It gets everywhere, from boardrooms to bedrooms. It leaves no part of our lives untouched. It is both theory and practice.

And there is another problem, unique to feminism. It is a movement run by women, for women. And what do we expect from women? Perfection. Selflessness. Care. Girls are instructed to be “ladylike” to keep them quiet and docile. Motherhood is championed as a journey of endless self-sacrifice. Random men tell us to “cheer up” in the street, because God forbid our own emotions should impinge on anyone else’s day. If we raise our voices, we are “shrill”. Our ambition is suspicious. Our anger is portrayed as unnatural, horrifying, disfiguring: who needs to listen to the “nag”, the “hysteric” or the “angry black woman”?
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All this is extremely unhelpful if you want to go out and cause trouble – the kind of trouble that leads to legal and cultural change. We pick apart feminism to see its failings, as if to reassure ourselves that women aren’t getting above their station. We describe women who challenge authority or seek power as unladylike, talkative, insistent, self-obsessed. We accuse them of “putting themselves forward”. The critic Emily Nussbaum nailed the problem: “When you’re put on a pedestal, the whole world gets to upskirt you.”

For that reason, feminism has a particular duty to fight “the tyranny of niceness” – which is, and has always been, one of the most potent forces holding women back. Feminism is not a self-help movement, dedicated to making everyone feel better about their lives. It is a radical demand to overturn the status quo. It sometimes has to cause upset. “I cannot personally think of any widespread injustice that has been remedied by plodding worthily down the middle of the road, smiling and smiling,” wrote Jill Tweedie in 1971. “If you are sure of the justice of your cause it must be better to have people thinking of it with initial anger than not thinking at all.

In the early 20th century, the contraception pioneer Marie Stopes showed thousands of women how to enjoy sex – and how to stop risking their lives through endless pregnancies. She was also a domineering, self-mythologising eugenicist. The suffragettes helped to secure the vote for women, but the cost was bombings, arson, criminal damage and, in one case, throwing a hatchet at the prime minister. Today, we would call them terrorists. Jayaben Desai – who led the strikes at Grunwick in the 1970s, and showed Britain that “working class” was not synonymous with white and male – ultimately failed, and her protest contributed to the Thatcherite backlash against trade unions. The woman who founded the first domestic violence refuge in Britain, Erin Pizzey, is now a men’s rights activist who says feminism is destroying the family. Selma James preached the gospel of universal basic income: only she called it “wages for housework” and wanted it to go to women, so she was ignored. Caroline Norton, who fought so hard to reform Britain’s child custody laws, relied on her own middle-class respectability to make her arguments.

All of these women belong in the history of feminism, not in spite of their flaws, but because we are all flawed. We have to resist the modern impulse to pick one of two settings: airbrush or discard.

In the past decade, the internet – and particularly social media – has prompted a flowering of feminist activism. The Everyday Sexism project website, #MeToo and the Caitlin Moran-inspired publishing boom awakened a new generation to the idea that, no, sexism hadn’t been solved by their mothers and grandmothers. Their anger, their creativity and the power of their voices renewed feminism, creating its fourth wave.
illustration of woman in jeans and boots stepping off the classical pedestal
Underneath all the energy, though, a split could be observed. Some young activists saw the older generation as conservatives, wedded to fixed ideas of what men and women could be, whereas they felt gender was much more fluid and playful. Their mothers were equally bemused. They had tried to smash beauty standards and restrictive ideas about the nuclear family. They struggled to understand why their daughters were so desperate to have a big wedding, wear high heels, pore over Facetuned selfies. Feminism can, and must, contain all these contradictions, the differing priorities of difficult women. But one thing should unite us: we should still try to turn our outrage into political power. The fourth wave was beautifully noisy and attention-grabbing, but now we need concrete victories that will last in a way hashtag campaigns cannot. The #MeToo movement is a dead end without structural change, such as ensuring full and free access to employment tribunals.

The fifth wave, if there is to be one, should look again at the seven demands of the first Women’s Liberation Movement conference, in Oxford 50 years ago this month. Equal pay. Equal educational and job opportunities. Free contraception and abortion on demand. Free 24-hour childcare. Legal and financial independence for all women. The right to a self-defined sexuality. Freedom from intimidation and violence. These are a reminder of how long the struggle has been – Northern Ireland only gained abortion rights last year – and how much there is left to do. Women are legally entitled to be paid the same as men, but as Samira Ahmed’s case against the BBC showed, laws are worthless if they are not enforced. Single parents (who are overwhelmingly female) still face a high risk of poverty. Lesbians are still attacked for saying “no” to the Great Almighty Penis. Social media and smartphones have created new expressions of misogyny, such as “revenge porn”, which rely on the same old mechanisms of intimidation and shame.

You might notice that I haven’t said much about some of the hardy perennials of feminist commentary: leg-shaving, bra-burning, pube-waxing. It’s not because I don’t care about them or haven’t thought about them. I don’t wear high heels (can’t walk in them, and object to the principle of a shoe that makes your feet less comfortable). I didn’t take my husband’s surname. I don’t watch pornography. I’m 100% pro‑bra as I have a cup size that requires serious cantilevering. I shave my legs because my socialised disgust with female body hair runs so deep that I couldn’t concentrate on anything else if I had furry calves. But all of these are ultimately personal decisions, rather than collective actions. And since we live in a deeply individualist society, debates over women’s choices on these topics will never struggle to get airtime. My most hated headline format – “Can you be a feminist and … ” – will never, ever die. In this climate, the most radical thing we can do is resist treating everything as a personal choice, and resist turning feminism into a referendum on those choices. Let’s swim against the tide by talking instead about what we can do together.

Change requires us to put aside our egos, and our differences, and focus on our shared goals. The suffragettes saw themselves as an army. Jayaben Desai did not go on strike alone. Erin Pizzey and her “battered wives” made sure the government could not ignore them, by staging a sit-in at Downing Street. Feminism will never be free of infighting, of personality clashes and contests over priorities. It will never be perfect, or nice. But no wonder sexists and reactionaries are scared of it, because – by God, can it get things done









Canada's Donald Trump

I stumbled on this article when I was reading The Guardian about another Prince Andrew link to a crazed lunatic much like Jeffrey Epstein so natch I was curious; I had to dig a little, very little, to find the sordid story of a man whose narrative is not unlike our own Donald Trump, a rich asshole, right down to the Mar-a-Lago resort (only this crossed into  Epstein territory, but less pedophile, more tax dodger), wives, privately held company with no oversight, children from different women, lawsuits, temper tantrums and obsessed with celebrity.    There is also another parallel to this sordid saga, the American Apparel mogul who was also equal rage-alohic and pervert, and fellow Canadian, Dov Charney, so that has to make Canada feel just a little less superior right now.  Well even their PM has had a few issues of his own to deal with, again white male privilege knows no borders.  Right Michael Bloomberg?

But we have so much in common here from the lawsuits, molestations, raging billionaires, sexual harassment, Prince Andrew and temper tantrums. Good to know our friends to the north have equally disturbing fuckwits with more money than sense. Well they have some sense they haven't run for Prime Minister......yet.



Peter Nygard Answers to No One
Kai Falkenberg
Forbes  Nov 18, 2010,


Tacoma, Wash. resident Paulette Robertson loves her $16 Alia Feathertouch Pull-On polyester pants so much she bought ten pairs. Gloria Reed of Hot Springs Village, Ark. has six pairs in different colors. In Tucson "Ann" bought herself three pairs on Amazon.com because they're "very comfortable and wash well."

These polyester phenoms come from a $1 billion (purported sales), privately owned company called Nygård International, the largest producer of women's apparel in Canada. Never heard of it? Neither has Deborah Weinswig, a retail analyst for Citigroup , or Gabriele Goldaper, an apparel-and-textile consultant in Marina del Rey, Calif.--the same town where Nygård has corporate offices. Though headquartered in Winnipeg, the company has been selling modestly priced women's wear in America for 30-plus years and is now in 30 states, including in many Dillard's stores. Nygård International has global reach, with 12,000 employees and offices in Canada, the U.S., Hong Kong and China.

Who is the man behind the pants? Peter J. Nygård, a lion-maned immigrant from Finland, now in his late 60s, who started the company with a few thousand bucks in 1967 by buying a small women's clothesmaker. Today, according to Canadian Business, he's worth $877 million. "He's been a great partner," says Alex Dillard, president of the women's chain, on an 111/2 -minute video tribute to the founder on nygard.com. "He's changed the way I think about the retail business." How exactly? Dillard's declined a request for an interview. So did Nygård's big Canadian partner, Sears--and Nygård himself.

You get one view of this fashion mogul by going to his website and reading its highly selective press clips and fulsome testimonials from industry leaders and aging stars. It's a classic britches-to-riches saga of the self-made entrepreneur (and workaholic) "who has created a standard of excellence for the Canadian Women's Fashion Industry," according to nygard.com's hagiographic account. The site emphasizes his $2-million-a-year donations to breast cancer research.

You get quite another view by following the decades-long trail of legal controversies. Among other things, Nygård has been accused of abusive labor practices, tax evasion, sexual harassment and rape. (He has also been called the Hugh Hefner of Canada.) Punching back hard, he has sued his accusers and intimidated his critics with a small army of lawyers. "No one has ever disobeyed my orders and gotten away with it!" he once raged, according to the testimony of a former business partner. Controlling 100% of his company, Nygård calls all the shots. He is accountable to no one.

Nygård's board consists of himself and two division presidents. "He's not practicing good governance--but he doesn't have to" as a private company, says Don Delves, a Chicago consultant to CEOs. (Citing the company's private status, a Nygård spokeswoman declined to respond to most inquiries and would not comment on any litigation.)

Born in Helsinki, Nygård moved with his family at age 10 to Winnipeg, where they lived in a 15-foot-by-13-foot converted coal bin. After getting a business degree from the University of North Dakota, he went into the apparel business, eventually taking over Nathan Jacobs, a struggling clothingmaker. These days Nygård produces apparel under ten brand names, selling to retail chains like Sears and the Bay in Canada and Dillard's in the U.S., and operating 200 of its own stores north of the 49th parallel and 1,500 "soft shops" in department stores worldwide. Sixty cents of every revenue dollar comes from sales outside Canada. More recently Nygård has expanded beyond apparel to sell licensed products like footwear, accessories and jewelry.

The company has adroitly exploited information technology. It developed software that links manufacturing with a network of Nygård's retail accounts to keep them fully stocked at all times; reorders are shipped the same day. Another system inputs information and spits out the most efficient use of pattern and material, reducing fabric-cutting time from weeks to minutes. Some of that high-tech dazzle is on display in Nygård's flagship fashion concept store in New York City's Times Square, which opened in November 2009. An outside sign spells out his name in seven-story-high blue lights. Inside there are Saturn rings and rotating chrome mannequins, and an iLounge, where customers can watch fashion shows on huge digital screens and gaze at the "me-with" wall featuring Nygård with VIPs like Pamela Anderson and 1970s supermodel Beverly Johnson. Guests at the opening party included Finland's UN ambassador and Ramona Singer of The Real Housewives of New York City.

The store is steps away from Nygård's world headquarters, which houses its research and design studios. Across the street is the site of his turbulent entrée into the U.S. in 1978 through the contentious takeover of a leading sportswear designer's business. Struck between Nygård and Nancy Ebker, the deal resulted in a legal battle that lasted 12 years in New York federal court. Ebker testified that she and Nygård had orally agreed to a 50-50 partnership in which he would kick in $700,000 to finance the design and production of two sportswear lines out of her existing showroom. (Ebker says Nygård discouraged her pursuit of a written agreement, telling her that involving lawyers would be a "big mess.") Within months of the closing Nygård fired Ebker, took over the offices and threw her out.

Ebker is still fuming. "He literally ruined my life," she says. Ebker claimed in court testimony that in their heated final conversation Nygård told her, "I have all your patterns, I have everything. I own everything. . . . I never intended to put anything in writing. . . . You have nothing, and I am a millionaire." "Let's try to reason," she said she interjected. To which Nygård responded, "If you don't have $1 million by Friday, I am going to see to it that your name and reputation are totally destroyed in this market."

Nygård told the court a different story, saying the two had a calm conversation in which he suggested they amicably part ways. The judge found Ebker to be "highly credible" and deemed Nygård "evasive," "insincere" and "utterly lacking in credibility." "We deplore the unseemly conduct of Nygård," Judge Irving Cooper wrote but ultimately ruled that Ebker failed to prove she was damaged by his actions. Nygård's counterclaim was also dismissed. Ebker, who calls him "a true villain of the world," is writing a book about the case.

Allegations of sexual harassment have dogged Nygård for years. An investigative news program, aired by the Canadian Broadcasting Company in April, dredged up recent claims by former employees, many of whom focused on his alleged fiery temper. A former stewardess on his private plane told of one incident in which Nygård was accompanied by a bevy of topless women. At one point midflight, she recalls, Nygård, wild-haired and with his bathrobe open, began berating her co-worker, yelling, "You are nothing! You are garbage!" When the stewardess tried to calm him down, he screamed, "I am God! Do you not understand!?" Even after the security director intervened, she claims, Nygård continued to rage, shouting: "This is my plane. I can do whatever the hell I want!" Nygård told the CBC the incident never happened.

Even before the program aired, Nygård sued the CBC in New York for copyright infringement for taping video of a company fashion show. That case was dismissed in March. He also sued the broadcaster and ex-Nygård employees interviewed for the program in Canada. That suit, in which Nygård claims the CBC induced current and former employees to breach their employment contracts, is ongoing.

In the late 1990s Nygård paid to settle three sexual harassment complaints filed by former employees with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission. Since the cases were not adjudicated, the commission wouldn't release the records. But the local paper, the Winnipeg Free Press, published two articles detailing the complaints. According to the paper, one of the women, a 27-year-old travel coordinator, said she "repeatedly brushed off Nygård's touches and sexual advances." Another, a 39-year-old communications manager, claimed that Nygård added skinny-dipping to the agenda of a business meeting. While in the Bahamas, where Nygård maintains a home and office on a huge estate, Nygård "frequently was grabbing himself (wearing a very small bathing suit)," her complaint alleges, according to the Free Press. When called to his office, "I would find him in a state of undress (pants open, no shirt) or with his hand down the front of his pants fondling himself."

Nygård's lawyer claimed the women filed complaints as leverage to get better severance and that the company settled to avoid the cost of litigation. Nygård himself told the Free Press he knew nothing about the complaints and later threatened a defamation action against the paper, the reporter and his former communications manager for publishing the accounts. (The Free Press reporter doesn't recall a defamation suit.) He also faced a sexual harassment suit in 1996 from a Los Angeles employee, who claimed that, against her wishes, "she spent the night in Peter Nygård's bed and engaged in sexual intercourse with him." She later rejected his advances, she claims, and eventually was terminated. The case was dismissed.

Back in 1980 the Free Press reported that Nygård had been charged by Winnipeg authorities with raping an 18-year-old girl. (Canadian officials declined to comment on the charges.) Those charges were dropped months later when the complainant refused to testify at a preliminary hearing. According to the paper, Nygård said the police had "used 'poor judgment' in investigating the case and added that the whole matter could have been avoided had they adopted a more responsible attitude." He told the Free Press that he planned to establish a foundation to finance work to improve the quality of the Canadian judicial system. Says a Nygård spokeswoman, "We have not heard of this charge."

Nygård has also gotten into embarrassing workplace disputes with employees. In late April the National Labor Committee (NLC), a private group in Pittsburgh, issued a report claiming that Nygård pants from its Alia line were being sewn in a Jordanian sweatshop. The factory in Al Zarqa, the report says, employed 1,200 guest workers from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India who had "been trafficked to Jordan, stripped of their passports and held under conditions of indentured servitude." According to the investigation, women were forced to work 15-hour shifts, seven days a week, and were paid half the wages they were owed. A Nygård spokeswoman says a government inquiry found no truth to the allegations. But since the report, the NLC says, factory conditions have improved significantly; passports have been returned and workers now get Fridays off.

In 2003 an American couple sued Nygård in Florida for allegedly tricking them into accepting jobs as managers of his estate in the Bahamas. The couple claimed Nygård routinely flouted Bahamian immigration laws by failing to obtain work permits for employees. They also alleged he mistreated workers by fining them for petty infractions. Nygård had previously sued the couple in the Bahamas for defaming him by using confidential documents they took from the estate. He disputed the allegations in the Florida case but settled in 2007.

In a deposition taken in that case, Nygård conceded that employees at his estate are fined for lateness and poor-quality work. Following company policy, those penalties are supposed to be deducted from quarterly bonuses. But in the Bahamas they were deducted from some employees' weekly pay: $25 fines were common for such offenses as leaving a dirty glass on a beach cabana, not having Nygård's room cool enough when he arrived and for the presence of houseflies in the grand hall.

Executives at Nygård corporate offices live under a similar threat of penalties. For example, the employment contract of Normand Neal, a former vice president, advised that after receiving "full indoctrination," including so-called Basic Policy Framework Training, he would be subject to a fine equal to 5% of his bonus for violations of company policies. Neal was fired; he later sued for breach of his employment agreement; Nygård countersued and the case was settled.

But Nygård fought back hard against a seminal employment case filed by Sharon Michalowski, a store supervisor in Winnipeg. Claiming that she was compelled to work 16-hour days, Michalowski sued for 280 hours of overtime. The company argued she was a salaried manager who was not entitled to overtime. In a landmark ruling in 2007 the Supreme Court of Canada rejected that claim, upholding the Manitoba Employment Board's decision that managers with limited supervisory responsibilities must be paid overtime.

While the company has gotten entangled by many claims of harassment and wage violations, the most spectacular legal battles involve Nygård's personal life. Married briefly in the 1970s to a model, Nygård went on to have seven children with four different women. Kaarina Pakka, a former stewardess, fought him for years in Ontario courts for child support for their then teenage son. Nygård argued the amount she sought was excessive and would destroy the child's work ethic and give him a case of "affluenza." In an interim order he was forced to pay $9,500 a month, then a record-breaking amount. The case was finally settled in 2004.

Nygård has had a string of female companions. Some, like the late Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith, also did fashion work for the company. Nygård dated Smith from 1998 to 2001. In 2007, after her fatal overdose, he appeared on the Montel Williams Show and told the audience of his desperate efforts to get her off drugs.

He met Smith at the Los Angeles Oscar party he has cohosted annually. Known as the "Night of a Hundred Stars," the glitzy event is staged simultaneously with the Oscar broadcast in the ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel. It's intended as a gathering for former award winners, but its tendency to draw B-list celebs prompted TV Guide Online to christen it the "Night of 100 Has-Beens."

The party is a touchy subject for Nygård. In 1999 he filed a defamation suit against Linda Lampenius for saying that he "deliberately hired celebrity lookalikes" for his "world-famous" Oscar party and "thereby defrauded the entertainment industry and international press." Lampenius is a Finnish violinist and model whom Nygård put up for a week and introduced to entertainment industry executives in the spring of 1997. (As Linda Brava, she appeared on the cover of Playboy in the May 1998 issue.) Nygård claimed that after helping launch her career, Lampenius turned on him and defamed him in the Finnish press. In a May 1998 letter from Nygård's attorney Lampenius was ordered to stop saying that "no women should go with Nygård" and that she needed her manager as "protection" during her stay at his house. When Lampenius refused, Nygård sued her in Los Angeles Superior Court. The case was settled three years later with Lampenius agreeing to print a full-page apology in the Finnish press.

In 2008 another woman--a former girlfriend--complained about an incident at Nygård's Marina del Rey residence. She sued him in Los Angeles Superior Court for slamming a bedroom door shut on her hand. Nygård settled the case shortly after it was brought.

Perhaps his loudest legal ruckus of late has roared out of the Bahamas. In 1987 Nygård bought a 4.5-acre estate on a peninsula near the Waspy enclave of Lyford Cay. A decade later he built the place into what he calls his "dream home": a 150,000-square-foot Mayan-style resort featuring 12 themed cabanas, volcanic smoking temples, a helipad, a disco, a casino and a human aquarium (with sharks on one side of the glass). The spread has been featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (Robin Leach is a friend) and has hosted the likes of Robert De Niro, Oprah, Michael Jackson, Prince Andrew and George H.W. Bush. Nygård now spends six months a year at his resort.

That has led to multiple run-ins with Canadian tax authorities. Since his move to the Bahamas, Nygård, a Canadian citizen, has claimed to be a nonresident and therefore not subject to tax on income generated outside Canada. The tax ministry challenged that status in its most recent audit in 2006, claiming Nygård owed an additional $15 million in taxes. Nygård contested the assessments, arguing he severed residential ties with Canada in 1975, and ultimately prevailed--but he was subject to taxes on an additional $2 million in income.

A confrontation with a fellow tycoon and Lyford Cay neighbor continues to gather hurricane strength. The chief complaint: that Nygård is operating a commercial resort in a residential community; ads offer to rent the place for $40,000 a night. His closest neighbor, billionaire Louis Bacon, who runs hedge fund Moore Capital, has borne the brunt of it. (Bacon bought the Forbes' family ranch, Trinchera, in 2007.) For years Bacon complained about the noise coming from wild parties Nygård routinely hosted at his resort. As Nygård himself explained in a 2007 deposition, the bashes (which he calls "pamper parties") are a Sunday afternoon tradition both at his Marina del Rey location and at Nygård Cay. "We have been running these parties for about 15 years," he said. "We start sports activities in the afternoon and play beach volleyball and have dinner and a bit of karaoke and dancing and massaging." The attendees are local women; dancers are treated to smoke-emitting floors with recessed flashing lights and cameras that shoot them from below.

Fed up with the loud music, Bacon installed industrial speakers on the boundary of his property in October 2009 to deflect the noise back to Nygård Cay. Then in November, at the same time Nygård was opening his flagship New York store, a huge blaze tore through his estate, reportedly the result of an electrical malfunction. Nygård vowed to invest $50 million into rebuilding the compound. But a letter from the Bahamian prime minister's office in July rejected his construction application, citing the improper expansion of his property through intentional accretion of land over the seabed. A week later Bahamian police officers raided Bacon's home, handcuffed and searched his staff, and confiscated the speakers based on a tip suggesting they were "ultrasonic weaponry." (The speakers were returned after police confirmed they were not military-grade.) Bahamian papers blamed the raid on Bacon's dispute with Nygård, which spilled into the courts in August when both sides sued each other, claiming easement violations, among other things.

Bacon is no patsy. In September the U.K.'s Daily Mail dubbed him "a hedge fund Godfather," referring to his "omnipotent status" in finance and his penchant for armed guards; the paper was forced to retract the story and print an apology. For once Nygård seems to have taken on an adversary every bit as powerful as he.