Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Cruising the Web

It's rather amusing that liberals are finally acknowledging Bill Clinton's predatory behavior now that they no longer have to keep him in the Oval Office or make way for Hillary's rise to power. Suddenly, now they're admitting that, yes, the behavior he was accused of was just as bad as that of some of the men being accused today and that, for some of his accusers, the evidence was much stronger.

Michelle Goldberg, a liberal writer, writes in the New York Times that she believes Juanita Broaddrick.
In this #MeToo moment, when we’re reassessing decades of male misbehavior and turning open secrets into exposes, we should look clearly at the credible evidence that Juanita Broaddrick told the truth when she accused Clinton of raping her. But revisiting the Clinton scandals in light of today’s politics is complicated as well as painful. Democrats are guilty of apologizing for Clinton when they shouldn’t have. At the same time, looking back at the smear campaign against the Clintons shows we can’t treat the feminist injunction to “believe women” as absolute.
Of course, she's using her belief in Clinton's accuser as a cudgel to beat up conservatives for Roy Moore and for all the efforts to bring down Bill Clinton by some groups on the right. So she believes women except when they're connected to the vast right-wing conspiracy.
Of the Clinton accusers, the one who haunts me is Broaddrick. The story she tells about Clinton recalls those we’ve heard about Weinstein. She claimed they had plans to meet in a hotel coffee shop, but at the last minute he asked to come up to her hotel room instead, where he raped her. Five witnesses said she confided in them about the assault right after it happened. It’s true that she denied the rape in an affidavit to Paula Jones’s lawyers, before changing her story when talking to federal investigators. But her explanation, that she didn’t want to go public but couldn’t lie to the F.B.I., makes sense. Put simply, I believe her.

What to do with that belief? Contemplating this history is excruciating in part because of the way it has been weaponized against Hillary Clinton. Broaddrick sees her as complicit, interpreting something Hillary once said to her at a political event — “I want you to know that we appreciate everything you do for Bill” — as a veiled threat instead of a rote greeting. This seems wildly unlikely; Broaddrick was decades away from going public, and most reporting about the Clinton marriage shows Bill going to great lengths to hide his betrayals. Nevertheless, one of the sick ironies of the 2016 campaign was that it was Hillary who had to pay the political price for Bill’s misdeeds, as they were trotted out to deflect attention from Trump’s well-documented transgressions.
Megan McArdle rightly casts shade on Goldberg's reasoning about the accusations against Clinton.
Let's be consistent here. I believe that we should condemn both Roy Moore and Bill Clinton. Donald Trump's bragging about grabbing women by their private parts and committing adultery is also contemptible.

Meanwhile, Caitlin Flanagan writes in The Atlantic to give a reckoning to the feminists who shamefully backed Bill Clinton against the women who accused him because he was on their side on abortion. She details Broaddrick's credible account of being raped by Bill Clinton as well as the accusations by Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey. These accusations are at least as credible as those against Roy Moore. But the real shame was how supposed feminists rallied around Clinton to provide a female Praetorian Guard to protect him against all accusations of misbehavior.
It was a pattern of behavior; it included an alleged violent assault; the women involved had far more credible evidence than many of the most notorious accusations that have come to light in the past five weeks. But Clinton was not left to the swift and pitiless justice that today’s accused men have experienced. Rather, he was rescued by a surprising force: machine feminism. The movement had by then ossified into a partisan operation and it was willing—eager—to let this friend of the sisterhood enjoy a little droit de seigneur.

The notorious 1998 New York Times op-ed by Gloria Steinem must surely stand as one of the most regretted public actions of her life. It slut-shamed, victim-blamed, and age-shamed; it urged compassion for and gratitude to the man the women accused. Moreover (never write an op-ed in a hurry; you’ll accidentally say what you really believe), it characterized contemporary feminism as a weaponized auxiliary of the Democratic Party.

Called “Feminists and the Clinton Question,” it was written in March of 1998, when Paula Jones’s harassment claim was working its way through court. It was printed seven days after Kathleen Willey’s blockbuster 60 Minutes interview with Ed Bradley. If all the various allegations were true, wrote Steinem, Bill Clinton was “a candidate for sex addiction therapy.” To her mind, the most “credible” accusations were those of Willey, whom she noted was “old enough to be Monica Lewinsky’s mother.” And then she wrote the fatal sentences that invalidated the new understanding of workplace sexual harassment as a moral and legal wrong: “Even if the allegations are true, the President is not guilty of sexual harassment. He is accused of having made a gross, dumb, and reckless pass at a supporter during a low point in her life. She pushed him away, she said, and it never happened again. In other words, President Clinton took ‘no’ for an answer.”

Steinem said the same was true of Paula Jones. These were not crimes; they were “passes.” Broaddrick was left out by Steinem, who revealed herself as a combination John and Bobby Kennedy of the feminist movement: the fair-haired girl and the bareknuckle fixer. The widespread liberal response to the sex crime accusations against Bill Clinton found their natural consequence 20 years later in the behavior of Harvey Weinstein: Stay loudly and publicly and extravagantly on the side of signal leftist causes and you can do what you want in the privacy of your offices and hotel rooms. But the mood of the country has changed. We are in a time when old monuments are coming down and when men are losing their careers over things they did to women a long time ago.
All this was true just a year ago when Hillary was leading the charge for the Democrats. Notice that these acknowledgements of liberal guilt for shielding Bill didn't come out then. It's only now when the Clintons are of no use, and are even a detriment for the Democrats, that liberals can come out and reflect on how they were wrong to protect both all these years.

It is so tiresome that people are inclined to believe or disbelieve an accusation against a prominent person based on that person's political parties. I just wish that people could agree that abusing women or young people is a terrible act and that person should not be elected to political office or celebrated whether that person is a Kennedy or Moore or Clinton or Trump or O'Reilly or Weinstein. If this convulsion of accusations against prominent people here and elsewhere might diminish the eagerness of people to defend their guy just because they detest the people making the accusations.

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Katherine Timpf derides t
hose who are trying to defend Roy Moore by comparing the story to the discredited Rolling Stone rape story about a fraternity at the University of Virginia. Just because one story was bogus doesn't mean that all stories of sexual abuse are bogus.
These two situations are not the same; they’re not even close.

Don’t believe me? Let’s break it down, shall we? On the one hand, Sabrina Erdely’s story in Rolling Stone magazine was perhaps one of the most irresponsibly reported works of “journalism” that I have ever seen. It relied on only one single, anonymous source — “Jackie” — and that’s it. No witnesses, no corroborating research, no nothing.

The Washington Post’s account of the Roy Moore allegations, on the other hand, is a completely different ball game. Not one, not two, but four women went on the record with their real first and last names — risking their reputations to tell their stories — and these accounts are backed up by interviews with more than 30 sources. Oh, and then there’s this: Since the WaPo’s article, an additional woman, Beverly Young Nelson, has come out on the record to say that Moore also assaulted her when she was 16.

Come on, people. If you are really going to tell me that you think that five on-the-record women, and more than 30 corroborating sources is the same thing as a story based solely on the word of a single, unidentifiable source, then I’m going to tell you that you’re either disingenuously trying to create a false equivalency for political purposes or you’re just really, really, really bad at math.

The comparison is asinine, and the only thing more asinine than the comparison itself is how common it is. How could anyone even insinuate that these two situations are the same thing? There really are only two explanations: These people do realize how they’re different, but they just don’t care — they’ll say anything to carry water for Moore because even though he may be a pedophile, at least he’s not a Democrat! — or, they just didn’t bother to do their research — they’d rather thoughtlessly throw out some random talking point than take the two seconds it would take to Google it first, no matter whom it hurts. Both are disgusting, and there’s no excuse for either.

Rich Lowry points out how Moore has been less than persuasive in his denials of inappropriate conduct with these women making accusations against him.
Moore hasn’t done himself any favors. In the Hannity interview, he first said, referring to Leigh Corfman and the other women in the Post report, “I’ve never known this woman or anything with regard to the other girls.” Then, in almost the same breath, he conceded, “I do recognize however the names of two these young ladies.” Oh.

Of one of the girls, he said: “I don’t remember going out on dates. I knew her as a friend. If we did go on dates then we did.” How many men in their 30s are “friends” with teenage girls who they may or may not have dated? Then Moore said of these two girls, “neither of them have ever stated any inappropriate behavior” — even though both of them said he dated and kissed them.

Asked point-blank if he dated girls in their teens, he replied with the less than Shermanesque “Not generally, no.”

....At this point, there are two options: Either several different women who don’t know one another have decided to take the enormous personal risk of making up stories about Roy Moore in a vast political conspiracy, or a politician caught up in a scandal with every incentive to dissemble is doing it — and not very well.

And if you think that what Moore is accused of doing with teenagers is no big deal, remember that it's a crime in Alabama and that people have gone to jail for the same behavior.

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Jim Geraghty notes that there have been three violent attacks against Republican politicians in the recent past. Besides the firing on the Republicans practicing for a baseball game and the unprovoked attack on Rand Paul while he was mowing his lawn with earphones in, there was also the attempt by a woman to run Representative David Kustoff off the road because she didn't like his position on health care.
Three violent attacks on members of Congress in seven months is the sort of thing that would ordinarily generate long feature pieces in the media about the “culture of hate” and “out-of-control partisan appetite for violence” plaguing the country, with hard questions asked about whether the most incendiary voices are partially responsible for these sorts of attacks.
The media love to search out some trend and draw conclusions about society and politics, but this is the first writer I've seen tie together these three events.

Joe Biden is so determined to cater to the left wing of his party that he is now arguing that the man who stopped the Texas church shooter by shooting him should not have had a gun.
"Well, first of all, the kind of gun being carried he shouldn’t be carrying," Biden said. "Assault weapons are . . . I wrote the last serious gun control law that was written and was law for 10 years, and it outlawed assault weapons and it outlawed weapons with magazines that had a whole lot of bullets and so you can kill a whole lot of people a lot more quickly."

Biden continued by saying that it is rational that some people not own guns but that there is nothing that can be done if a crazy person obtains a gun legally.
John Porter comments,
If three years out from the election, you not only can’t admit it was a good thing Stephen Willeford had a gun, but you’re bragging your law would have prevented Willeford from saving the day? I can’t wait to see how everyone else races even further left.
Really? After an NRA-training instructor shot the murderer and kept him from fleeing and shooting up more people, Joe Biden still regrets that the good guy had a gun. Well, at least he follows the logic of his position.

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This thread is just hilarious - if Marx wrote like Trump. I imagine we could spark an entire website rewriting famous works in Trumpspeak.

Well, I'm not quite this much of a podfaster, but I do listen to 2 - 3 podcasts a day and will listen on nothing slower than 1.5 speed. And I still have dozens and dozens queued up. Maybe I'll have to take another car trip somewhere so I can knock off some more.