MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Kevin's Three Laws of Political Speech <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Following the attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic on Colorado, we are having the usual spats over what kind of political speech is and isn't appropriate. Apropos of that, here are three things I believe. These are not universally fashionable at the moment, but I suppose that's all the more reason to lay them out yet again.</p> <p><strong>Nazi analogies are OK.</strong> Most Americans are not great students of history, and Nazi analogies are often just the most accessible way to make a historical point that you know everyone will get. Generally speaking, comparing a bit of behavior to the Third Reich doesn't mean you're literally accusing someone of being Hitler, and everyone knows it. We should all stop pretending otherwise. What's more, sometimes the comparison is actually apt. For example, pro-lifers claim to believe that abortion is murder, which makes comparisons to the Holocaust perfectly reasonable.</p> <p>Obvious caveats: Don't be an asshole. It's easy to go overboard and trivialize Nazi horrors. This is both insulting and tedious. It also makes you <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_triangle_shirtwaist_cartoon.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">look like an idiot, so have a care. Not everything deserves to be compared to Hitler.</p> <p><strong>There's nothing wrong with politicizing tragedies.</strong> The Triangle Shirtwaist fire prompted a sea change in views of workplace safety, and I think that was just fine. The 9/11 attacks increased public support for the invasion of Iraq, and I assume conservatives think that was just fine. More generally, what's wrong with politicizing tragedies? That's when people are paying attention, which means it's often the best time to mobilize public support to address the issues underlying the tragedy. That's what politics is for, isn't it? If liberals want to use the Planned Parenthood attack to raise public awareness of gun violence and access to abortion, they should go right ahead. If conservatives want to use it to raise public awareness of the number of abortions performed every year, they should feel free to try.</p> <p>Obvious caveats: Don't be an asshole. Wait until we actually know what happened. Show some respect for the victims and their families. Don't lie. Never even hint that the tragedy was in some way deserved.</p> <p><strong>Talk is not responsible for extreme acts, especially by the mentally ill.</strong> Political speech is often fiery. It's often <em>supposed</em> to be fiery, and there's always a risk that a few unhinged listeners will react in extreme ways. That's a chance we have to take. If we rein in political speech to a level where there's literally no risk of anyone reacting badly, we'll have nothing but pabulum. Robert L. Deer might very well have been motivated to attack Planned Parenthood because he heard about them selling fetal tissue, but that doesn't mean it was wrong for activists to bring this to the public's attention.<sup>1</sup></p> <p>Obvious caveats: Don't be an asshole. If you're doing the verbal equivalent of hoisting a pitchfork and telling people to storm the Bastille, don't pretend to be surprised when they storm the Bastille. Directly inciting violence is both legally and morally wrong.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>It was wrong to <em>lie</em> about it, but that's a whole different subject.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 30 Nov 2015 00:21:27 +0000 Kevin Drum 290761 at 3 New Books to Feed Your Brain <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>You've just filled your belly to the brim. Turn now to some new tomes that will help fill your mind:</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%" v_space="10"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/devils-chessboard-250x300.png"></div> <p><em>The Devil's Chessboard</em></p> <p>By David Talbot</p> <p>"What follows," David Talbot boasts in the prologue to his new book <em>The Devil's Chessboard</em>, "is an espionage adventure that is far more action-packed and momentous than any spy tale with which readers are familiar." Talbot, the founder of and author of the Kennedy clan study Brothers, doesn't deal in subtlety in his biography of Allen Dulles, the CIA director under presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, the younger brother of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and the architect of a secretive national security apparatus that functioned as essentially an autonomous branch of government. Talbot offers a portrait of a black-and-white Cold War-era world full of spy games and nuclear brinkmanship, in which everyone is either a good guy or a bad guy. Dulles&mdash;who deceived American elected leaders and overthrew foreign ones, who backed ex-Nazis and thwarted left-leaning democrats&mdash;falls firmly in the latter camp.&mdash;<em>Aaron Weiner</em></p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%" vspace="30"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/hidden-half-of-nature-250x300.png"></div> <p><em>The Hidden Half of Nature</em></p> <p>By David R. Montgomery and Anne Bikl&eacute;</p> <p>In this <a href="" target="_blank">transformative read</a>, David Montgomery, a professor of earth and space sciences, and his wife, biologist and environmental planner Anne Bikl&eacute;, unravel the universe of microbes that make dirt fertile and allow us to digest food. Both the lining of our colons and the ground beneath our feet, the authors write, are "bio&shy;logical bazaars where plants and people trade nutritional wares and form alliances." Combining lucid explication of emerging science with personal anecdotes, Montgomery and Bikl&eacute;, who confronted a cancer diagnosis while writing the book, reveal that our immune defenses depend on protecting and nourishing these microscopic brigades.&mdash;<em>Tom Philpott</em></p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/my-life-on-road-250x300.png"></div> <p><em>My Life on the Road</em></p> <p>By Gloria Steinem</p> <p>Steinem spent her childhood crammed against her sister in the backseat of a car as her father tried to persuade roadside antique dealers to buy his wares. In <em>My Life on the Road</em>, her first book in more than 20 years, Steinem <a href="" target="_blank">elegantly reflects</a> on this nomadic upbringing and how it inspired her own travels. Though she never learned to drive, her tours as a young journalist introduced her to women who helped shape her ideology: disgruntled American stewardesses, passengers in a female-only Indian train car, and an Irish taxi driver who told Steinem in the 1970s, "Honey, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament!"&mdash;<em>Becca Andrews. </em></p></body></html> Media Books Sun, 29 Nov 2015 11:00:12 +0000 Maddie Oatman 290671 at The Beauty and the Peril of Being a Photojournalist in Afghanistan <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>The <a href="" target="_blank">image</a> made the pages of newspapers around the globe: a young girl in brilliant green, arms outstretched, mouth open in a scream, surrounded by bodies after a suicide bomb tore through a religious ceremony in Kabul in 2011. It's an image that, for many in the west, reignited concern over what was taking place in Afghanistan, and it earned the photographer, Massoud Houssaini, a Pulitzer Prize. It also was an image that wouldn't have been captured under the reign of the Taliban&mdash;who outlawed the taking of photos.</p> <p>Houssaini's work, along with that of three other photojournalists, is explored in <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Frame by Frame</em></a>, a quietly devastating new documentary now making the festival circuit. Directors Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli follow the photojournalists as they document their country's events in the face of skepticism, censorship, and threats.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Wakil.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Wakil Kohsar </strong>Mo Scarpelli</div> </div> <p>Farzana Wahidy, Houssaini's wife and one of the only professional female photojournalists in Afghanistan, has the monumental task of documenting the lives of women whose voices are typically silenced&mdash;such as a girl who was doused in gasoline by her father in law and set alight. Soft-spoken Wakil Kohsar snaps shots from underneath bridges and in the middle of streets where addicts mainline their drugs. Najibullah Musafar, the eldest of the four, now runs a school for aspiring photojournalists in addition to doing his own photography. What they have in common is humble bravery and a deep caring for their subjects. Musafar puts it this way: "If a photojournalist does not have empathy, his photos may be meaningless. If a photojournalist has empathy, he's able to work on a subject from the bottom of his heart."</p> <p>The film, despite Musafar's poetic musings about the natural beauty of Afghanistan captured in his portrait work, contains a sense of urgency, as though its protagonists are racing toward an uncertain future. Press freedoms have expanded considerably&nbsp; since the 2001 American invasion, but as the troops withdraw, the threat of a resurgent Taliban looms. In fact, the film opens with Hossaini rushing in to cover a suicide bombing. Arriving on the scene, he warns a colleague, "Be careful that they don't think we are terrorists." Soon after, he notes, "These 10 years were a revolution for photography, but I don't know what will happen now...Government itself is against us sometimes. Taliban will come back somehow, to the government or some part of the country."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Indeed, the security situation has deteriorated in recent months. "The Taliban has been taking over northern parts of Afghanistan, they're still very present in the south, and ISIS is in Jalalabad," Bombach says. In October, <a href="">the Taliban declared</a> two Afghan TV networks and their entire staffs legitimate military targets. In a recent e-mail responding to questions about Taliban threats, Houssaini wrote simply, "I am not scared."</p> <p>His words highlight something else Bombach and Scarpelli reveal, something Westerners miss amid the grisly headlines: the character of Afghan citizens. The film is an ode to a place and a people who fear that the world will forget about them if fundamentalism returns.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/FarzanaWahidy_byAlexandriaBombach.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Farzana Wahidy </strong>Alexandria Bombach</div> </div> <p>As Bombach and Scarpelli tail their subjects, we get a sense of everyday life in the country: the "smartass" Afghan sense of humor, the tenderness among friends, people holding their chests out of respect when they say hello, men holding hands out of friendship, the vendors who sell "the most amazing fruit," as Bombach puts it. "People always say there's something about Afghanistan that gets under your skin."</p> <p>Scarpelli adds, "There's this sense that life is being lived on both ends of a spectrum. Afghans are always talking about flux, but all of it feels normal to them, and you find yourself in the midst of it thinking, 'God, humans are amazing.'"</p> <p><em>Frame by Frame</em> will leave you feeling much the same way.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/FramebyFrame_NajibullahMusafar_byAlexandriaBombachpg.jpg" style="height: 420px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption"><strong>Najibullah Musafar </strong>Alexandria Bombach</div> </div></body></html> Media Afghanistan International Media Sun, 29 Nov 2015 11:00:12 +0000 Bryan Schatz 290401 at This Composer Wants You To Know Who Syrian Refugees Really Are <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>When Suad Bushnaq thinks of Syria, she thinks of the wonderful years she spent studying at one of the Middle East's top conservatories, attending performances at the Damascus Opera House, and catching jazz gigs in back-alley cafes.</p> <p>She thinks of <a href="" target="_blank"><em>musakhan</em></a>, <em>shwarma</em>, fresh-squeezed juices; and of her dearest friends and the jokes they told each other.</p> <p>She thinks of her late mother, born and raised in Syria, and of her mother&rsquo;s family still living there.</p> <p>But these days, watching events unfold from the safety of the United States, she is barraged by daily images of violence, airstrikes, and fleeing refugees. And the public apprehension, ever since the Paris terrorist attacks, that has allowed craven politicians (including <a href="" target="_blank">the governor of her home state</a>) to paint those refugees as a threat. "No one [in the West] has the image of the Syria that I know,&rdquo; Bushnaq told me. "The beautiful Syria filled with culture and history and amazing food and people who laugh.&rdquo;</p> <p>Syria has changed dramatically in the decade since Bushnaq, one of only a handful of Arab women composers on the planet (<a href="">Layal Watfeh</a> and <a href="">Farah Siraj</a> being among the other notables), last set foot there. The ongoing civil war has disrupted and even claimed the lives of many of her friends and relatives. Now she's fighting the loss of Syrian culture in the only way she knows how: by creating orchestral pieces and scores that combine the Western and Middle Eastern musical traditions.</p> <p>She has <a href="!__music/discography" target="_blank">released two albums</a> and collaborated with award-winning Arab filmmakers, as well as the <a href="" target="_blank">Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra</a>, which <a href="" target="_blank">performed</a> a movement of her orchestral suite <em>Hakawaty</em> (or <em>Suite for Damascus</em>) to a sold out international audience in Bremen, Germany, this past September.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="200" scrolling="no" src=";auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe><iframe frameborder="no" height="200" scrolling="no" src=";auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>The 33-year-old composer was born and raised in Amman, Jordan, by a Syrian mother and Palestinian-Bosnian father with a large LP collection. ("My house was full of music,&rdquo; she says.) She started piano at age four, but hated her lessons, preferring to make up her own songs. "When I was in fifth grade, my mom told me, 'If you stop taking piano lessons I will break the piano! I am not the type of mom who would allow us to have a piano as a piece of furniture."</p> <p>By 16, she decided that composition was more than just a whim. She dreamed of attending McGill University&rsquo;s Schulich School of Music in Montreal, but her parents said no. It was too far away and too expensive. So Bushnaq moved to Damascus.</p> <p>There she attended the <a href="" target="_blank">Higher Institute of Music</a>, where she learned from and performed with some of the region's premier musicians&mdash;many of them women who've gone on to international success. But Bushnaq was the only one studying composition. She would also be the only Arab woman ever admitted to McGill's prestigious composition program, where she landed a full scholarship in 2005. At McGill, she further honed her compositional style&mdash;a distillation of the influences of "a classically trained pianist who grew up in the Arab world, who has a bit of Balkan blood, and who likes to listen to jazz."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Bushnaq, who now lives with her husband in North Carolina, has worked on the scores of several films. One of them is a documentary about a 12-year-old Syrian refugee, by the female Lebanese director<a href="" target="_blank"> Niam Itani</a>. There's also a psycho-thriller called <em>The Curve</em>, which will <a href="" target="_blank">premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival</a> in December, by J<a href="" target="_blank">ordanian-Palestinian director Rifqi Assaf</a>. (The strings on the soundtrack were recorded by Syrian musicians in Damascus.)</p> <p>Lately, Bushnaq has been looking around for an orchestra to perform her <em>Suite for Damascus </em>in full, following on the success of the Syrian Expat concert. She remains in constant contact with friends and family back in Syria, where, despite all the chaos, the Higher Institute of Music continues to operate, and its musicians continue to perform.</p> <p>"It's sad what&rsquo;s happening now,&rdquo; Bushnaq told me. "But it makes me happy to know that the music scene is still going. It shows me that despite the war, people are still trying their best to live."</p></body></html> Media Music Sun, 29 Nov 2015 11:00:11 +0000 Luke Whelan 290186 at Worried About the Planet? These Condoms Are Your Ticket to Guilt-Free Sex <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Twenty years ago, when the eco-home products company Seventh Generation was in its heyday, co-founder and then-CEO Jeffrey Hollender trademarked the name Rainforest Rubbers, assuming that, as with cleaning and parenting products, people would be into sustainably-produced condoms. Nothing came of that idea, until Hollender's millennial-aged and business-school-educated daughter, angered by how so few women her age wanted to buy condoms and frustrated by the dearth of sex products with natural ingredients, decided to get involved.</p> <p>So decades after its conception, the father-daughter duo finally brought Hollender's idea to fruition, dumping his name for something sleeker and creating a condom that's sustainably produced, lacks the carcinogenic chemicals found in the standard brand, and is marketed specifically for women. Their <a href="" target="_blank">Sustain Natural</a> condoms brand, which has been on the market for just a year and a half, is one of a handful of eco- and body-friendly condom brands that have cropped up in recent years. The new wave of condoms include brands that take a more hipster, less macho tack to advertising, one that <a href="" target="_blank">delivers</a> condoms by bike and one that <a href="" target="_blank">named</a> their<strong> </strong>company<strong> </strong>after unicorns, for example.</p> <p>Since founding Sustain, the Hollenders have gone beyond their flagship product, which boasts a long list of certifications and perks&mdash;they now also manufacture and sell "post-play wipes" and lube. And Jeffrey's wife runs the companies charitable arm, which donates 10 percent of its condom and lube proceeds to women's health care organizations such as Planned Parenthood.</p> <p>Meika and her father, whom she calls "Jeffrey," chatted with <em>Mother Jones </em>about latex allergies, lube, and what it's like creating a condom company with your dad.</p> <p><strong>Mother Jones:</strong> What makes your condoms environmentally friendly?</p> <p><strong>Jeffrey:</strong> If you look at the life cycle of the condom, you start with the fact that they're made from the sap of the rubber tree, like maple syrup is from a maple tree. We were lucky enough to find the world&rsquo;s only fair trade certified rubber plantation. The plantation provides free education for 1,000 people in southern India. They built a hospital that provides 100 percent free medical care to employees and a discount to the whole community. And they provide free housing. It&rsquo;s the only one certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which means they&rsquo;re managing the biological diversity on the plantation, the use of chemicals and pesticides. We took that through to the factory&mdash;changing the way the product is made. We reduced the protein content in the latex, which is what causes allergies. Most condoms are contaminated with a carcinogen called <a href="" target="_blank">nitrosamine</a>. We removed casein, which makes it ok for vegans to use. It's the only non-GMO-certified condom in the United States. But the more important part of the story is that condoms help women plan the size of their families. When women plan the size of their families they have a better socioeconomic outcome. There&rsquo;s a lot we can do without, but we need condoms. The world&rsquo;s most sustainable, responsible, condoms.</p> <p><strong>MJ<strong>:</strong></strong> How is the standard condom made?</p> <p><strong>Jeffrey:</strong> Mostly there&rsquo;s children working on the plantation. If you look at the living conditions of most rubber capitals and their income relative to other people in those countries, they&rsquo;re at the lower end of the spectrum. That's invisible to most consumers. There&rsquo;s been way more progress in the labor conditions of fair trade coffee, but condom production is a whole world that people have not shined a light on.</p> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> Why does Sustain focus on women's condom use instead of men's?</p> <p><strong>Meika:</strong> Our goal in the condom space is to get more young women to be using condoms, period. We have to get more women to use condoms over time which is going to take education.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Jeffrey%20Meika%20Hollender%20inline.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Meika and Jeffrey Hollender </strong>Courtesy of Sustain Natural</div> </div> <p><strong>Jeffrey:</strong> It&rsquo;s scary how few women use condoms. The average woman who graduates from her first year in college, 25 percent will have an STD because they aren&rsquo;t using condoms. In Sacramento today and New York until a year ago you could be arrested for carrying condoms. We&rsquo;ve been supporting a group of women in Sacramento to help change that law. You shouldn&rsquo;t be searching and arresting them because they carry a condom. It also sends a terrible message to young women about what it means when you do.</p> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> On the website you talk specifically about gay women and men. Will non-straight relationships be a focus of yours?</p> <p><strong>Jeffrey:</strong> We have not been as focused on the LGBT market as we should be, and we see a real opportunity. Particularly with lubricants, it&rsquo;s a huge issue for gay men, and the health issues with lubricants are very significant for both sexes.</p> <p><strong>Meika:</strong> You don&rsquo;t want to use anything that has parabens or glycerin. And you don't want petroleum-based lube. What happens with the petroleum when it enters your body is it damages the cell tissue in that area and makes you more susceptible to contracting an STI. That combined with bacterial vaginosis, which can also be caused by petroleum or silicone-based lubricant, makes you 13 times more likely to contract an STI. So the health benefits were so obvious to us. And women in general are moving in a direction of wanting more natural condoms.</p> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> What kind of stereotypes do you two experience as a father-daughter condom company?</p> <p><strong>Meika:</strong> In the original round of investing, Jeffrey was raising money from friends, like upper class white men who thought the idea of starting a condom company with your daughter is a little uncomfortable. But we draw a line. People have been like, &ldquo;Why don&rsquo;t you do eco sex toys?&rdquo; honestly that to me is something we wouldn&rsquo;t want to do together. It&rsquo;s a sensitive relationship and condoms is more of a public health category. If something does make us uncomfortable, most things don&rsquo;t, but we do draw a line.</p> <p><strong>Jeffrey:</strong> There&rsquo;s no child I know of who says, &ldquo;When I grow up I want to be a condom salesman!&rdquo; I say to Meika, "You have to be brave to do this." People think it&rsquo;s a weird thing for a father and daughter to be doing because it&rsquo; not something we talk about openly enough and that people have fears and secrets about. So from my perspective it&rsquo;s a great way to shift those attitudes for us to be in business about it. No one should think twice about it.</p> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> How many people assume that sustainable condoms means they are biodegradable?</p> <p><strong>Meika:</strong> At least 60 percent.</p> <p><strong>Jeffrey:</strong> Nobody wants a biodegradable condom.</p> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> How will Sustain condoms increase the number of women buying condoms?</p> <p><strong>Meika:</strong> One is just through packaging, branding, and design. The condoms on the market were all extremely male oriented, and women felt like they had no brand loyalty because they weren&rsquo;t targeted at them. So that was a low bar for us we just thought we could create something that&rsquo;s more beautiful, that has more functional benefits and attributes, like the sustainability piece.</p> <p><strong>Jeffrey:</strong> Tactically, we're helping to overturn these laws around women carrying around condoms is also foundational. It continues to reinforce these attitudes that are so dangerous. We haven&rsquo;t met anyone that has the magic solution to changing these attitudes. We know there&rsquo;s an absence of dialogue with families and pediatricians. There&rsquo;s not one point you can focus on that will change this.</p></body></html> Environment Interview Health Reproductive Rights Sex and Gender Sun, 29 Nov 2015 11:00:10 +0000 Nina Liss-Schultz 289756 at Ben Carson and the Conservative Grift Machine <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>In the <em>LA Times</em> today Joseph Tanfani and Maloy Moore have a great piece about the American Legacy PAC and its 2014 Save Our Healthcare campaign. It was fronted by Ben Carson, who starred in a video denouncing Obamacare and told viewers, "If you want to hold Washington accountable and truly save American health care, join me and sign our petition<iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="228" src="" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;" width="405"></iframe> today." Needless to say, when you called the toll-free number, it turned out that Carson wanted more than just your John Hancock. <a href="" target="_blank">He also wanted your Benjamins:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>When Juanita McMillon saw his name, she was eager to get out her checkbook. &ldquo;I think he is sincere, and I think he is honest, and I think he is exactly what we need,&rdquo; said McMillon, 80, from the small town of De Kalb in northeast Texas. She gave $350....American Legacy raised close to $6 million in 2014 &mdash; and spent nearly all of it paying the consultants and firms that raised the money. <strong>Just 2% was donated to Republican candidates and committees, financial reports show.</strong></p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m really careful who I give money to, but I guess I did not read it close enough,&rdquo; McMillon said, adding that she had never heard of American Legacy. &ldquo;I prefer to give money to individuals, and I assumed, I guess, that Dr. Carson was getting my money.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Though American Legacy didn&rsquo;t raise much money for Obamacare-hating Republicans, it was a success at something else &mdash; finding people willing to give to Carson</strong>....When Carson entered the race, the campaign tapped those donors again. Donnell gave another $250 to the campaign, and McMillon another $450. Of the more than 4,000 donors to American Legacy, more than 25% also ended up giving to the Carson campaign, a <em>Los Angeles Time</em>s analysis showed.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is good reporting, but so far there's nothing all that new here. Conservatives have turned grifting into a high art, and Carson is just the flavor of the month. What makes this piece great is the response from Doug Watts, Carson's campaign spokesman:</p> <blockquote> <p>Watts defended the American Legacy effort and offered assurance to donors. &ldquo;I would say to those people, you did give to Dr. Carson,&rdquo; Watts said. <strong>&ldquo;They participated in the building of a list&rdquo; of donors for the campaign.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Booyah! By giving money to Carson's anti-Obamacare campaign, you identified yourself as a soft touch who would give Carson even more money later on. And that's a big help. Of course, these elderly donors <em>thought</em> they were helping Carson fight Obamacare, because, you know, that's what Carson actually said. But what's the difference? Tomayto, tomahto.</p> <p>Anyway, read the whole thing if you've got the stomach for it.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 28 Nov 2015 20:15:18 +0000 Kevin Drum 290756 at Republican Candidates Are Too Busy This Morning to Denounce Attack on Planned Parenthood Clinic <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>When I went to bed last night, none of the Republican presidential candidates had said anything about the horrific shootings at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. But that was ten <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_stand_planned_parenthood.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">hours ago, and it's now nearly noon on the East Coast. Anything new?</p> <p>As near as I can tell, no. No tweets, no statements, nothing on Facebook. On Twitter, Donald Trump is still blathering about how much he loves the disabled. Jeb Bush is tweeting about football. Ted Cruz hasn't put up anything new in over a week.<sup>1</sup> Marco Rubio was "sickened" by the killing of Lu&iacute;s Diaz in Venezuela a couple of days ago, but is busy promoting his cold-weather bundle of Rubio gear today. Ben Carson is burnishing his foreign policy credentials by talking to refugees in Jordan. Carly Fiorina has been quiet since Thanksgiving.</p> <p>But it's a holiday weekend, so maybe they've turned off the news to spend more time with their families. All 14 of them. Still, I know they're all resolutely opposed to terrorism and adamantly in favor of law and order, so I'm sure they'll issue uncompromising condemnations sometime soon. After all, we can't allow depraved attacks against health clinics on American soil to be met with silence that could easily be interpreted as backing down in the face of hate. Right?</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Oops. I was fooled by the fact that Cruz has his demand for President Obama to insult him to his face permanently at the top of his feed. But Cruz did indeed tweet something this morning. Here's the full version of his statement <a href="" target="_blank">on Facebook:</a> "My and Heidi's prayers are with the loved ones of those killed in Colorado Springs, with those injured, and with the first responders who bravely got the situation under control." Not exactly a stirring condemnation of violence, but I guess it's a start.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 28 Nov 2015 16:55:25 +0000 Kevin Drum 290751 at The New, Ugly Surge in Violence and Threats Against Abortion Providers <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/pp%20arson_1.jpg"><div class="caption rteleft"><strong>Firefighters battle a blaze at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington September 4, 2015. </strong> Photo</div> </div> <p>Three people were shot <a href="" target="_blank">dead</a> and nine others were injured Friday at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, the first time since 2009 that anyone has been killed in an incident linked to activity at an abortion clinic. The attack comes amid an exponential increase in threats and violence against abortion providers since the release of a series of viral&mdash;and <a href="" target="_blank">widely</a> <a href="" target="_blank">debunked</a>&mdash;videos.</p> <p>While police have not discussed the alleged motives of the suspect, who has been arrested, the attack began at the clinic. According to authorities, the gunman entered the facility Friday afternoon and began shooting. During an hours-long standoff, he exchanged fire with police, killing one officer.</p> <p>Since the release of the Center for Medical Progress' videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood selling fetal issue, harassment, threats, and attacks against abortion providers, their staff, and facilities have surged dramatically across the country, according to new numbers from the National Abortion Federation.</p> <p>The clinic attacked on Friday is part of the Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains affiliate, which was featured in the Center for Medical Progress' videos.</p> <p>"Since the series of highly edited, misleading anti-abortion videos was released in July, we have seen an unprecedented increase in hate speech and threats against abortion providers," says Vicki Saporta, the president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, which has been <a href="" target="_blank">tracking</a> violence against providers since the 1970s.</p> <p>"We have been quite worried that this increase in threats would lead to a violent attack like we saw" on Friday, she added.</p> <p>The Federation is suing Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress for allegedly setting up a sham biomedical organization and misrepresenting their identities in order to gain access to and record a federation meeting.</p> <p>Abortion providers have grappled with harassment and threats for years, but the tide of vitriol began rising dramatically in July, after the first video was released. Soon after that, an anonymous reader posted a message on Fox Nation's website.</p> <p>"I'll pay ten large to whomever kills Dr. Deborah&nbsp;Nucatola. [She] should be summarily executed. I'll do it myself if no one else does." A month later, another physician, Dr.&nbsp;Savita&nbsp;Ginde, came home to find 50 people protesting outside her door. They left fliers around her neighborhood that said, "Savita&nbsp;Ginde&nbsp;Murders Children."</p> <p>Nucatola and Ginde&nbsp;both work for Planned Parenthood and were featured in videos surreptitiously recorded by the Center for Medical Progress. They are among a handful of abortion providers who have been&nbsp;catapulted into the public eye by the group and its public face, David Daleiden. But harassment&nbsp;has not been limited to the providers spotlighted in the series&mdash;the first video of which has received more than 3 million views on YouTube.</p> <h3 class="subhed">Clinics targeted</h3> <p>Violence against reproductive health clinics dates back to at least <em>Roe v. Wade</em>, when anti-abortion animus swelled in reaction to the 1973 landmark Supreme Court case. In 1982, an Illinois-based provider and his wife were <a href="">kidnapped</a>, and three clinics in Florida and Virginia were bombed in the same year. In 1984 there were more than 25 cases of bombings and arson attacks across the country.</p> <p>Coordinated attacks reached a fever pitch in the early 1990s. Anti-abortion activists, led by Operation Rescue&mdash;a group whose president, Troy Newman, is also currently the <a href="http://" target="_blank">secretary</a> of the Center for Medical Progress&mdash;created large-scale human blockades in major cities across the United States. These protests prevented anyone from leaving or entering clinics, which led to hundreds of arrests by law enforcement.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the number of violent incidents also increased, and in 1993 Dr. David Gunn was shot and <a href="">killed</a> in the parking lot of a clinic he worked at in Pensacola, Florida. Gunn had been the subject of wanted-style posters distributed by Operation Rescue. In 1994, an abortion doctor, a clinic escort, and two receptionists were <a href="" target="_blank">killed </a>in two separate incidents.</p> <p>Congress enacted the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act in 1994, making it a <a href="">federal crime</a> to injure, intimidate, or interfere with abortion providers or those seeking their care. But in January 1998, an abortion clinic security guard was killed during a <a href="" target="_blank">bombing</a> at his workplace. And in October, abortion doctor Barnett Slepian was murdered in his home.</p> <p>Two weeks after Dr. Slepian&rsquo;s death, Attorney General Janet Reno <a href="">created</a> the Task Force on Violence Against Health Care Providers, led by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and staffed by investigators from the FBI and other federal agencies. Violence plummeted in the years following the clinic access law and the creation of the task force. <a href="">According</a> to the FBI, in 2012 violations of the clinic access act made up only 2 percent of the bureau's civil rights cases.</p> <h3 class="subhed">A new surge</h3> <p>But harassment, threats of violence, and attacks against clinics have gone up again following the release of the Center for Medical Progress' videos in July, according to recent<strong>&nbsp;</strong>National Abortion Federation<strong> </strong>court<strong> </strong>filings. That month, incidents of harassment against Planned Parenthood facilities increased ninefold compared with June, and those numbers continued to rise through August.</p> <p>In the four months following the release of the videos, there have been at least <a href="">four</a> suspected arsons that targeted abortion clinics, compared with just one in all of 2014 and none in 2013. There have been <a href="">at</a> <a href="">least</a> <a href="">five</a> cases of vandalism since August. In comparison, there were 12 total cases of clinic vandalism in all of 2014 and just five cases in 2013, according to federation figures.</p> <p>In one of the recent vandalism cases, a young man entered a Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire and destroyed medical equipment, phones, and computers. This month, an unidentified person smashed the windows of Kentucky&rsquo;s only full-time abortion provider, twice in three weeks.</p> <p>Anne, the executive director of the clinic, who declined to give her last name for security reasons, <a href="">told</a> <em>Insider Louisville</em> that in its 20 years of operation, the clinic had never before been vandalized.</p> <p>The deaths of three people at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on Friday were&nbsp;the first slayings linked to an abortion clinic in six years. The last was in 2009, when the abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was murdered at his church in Wichita, Kansas. Scott Roeder, who was found guilty of Tiller's murder, <a href="" target="_blank">said</a> he shot the doctor because "preborn children's lives were in imminent danger."</p> <p>The FBI has also reported an increase in the number of attacks on reproductive health care facilities across the country since the videos were released in July. A spokesperson from the FBI was not immediately available for comment.</p> <p>"It's a concerning time," says duVergne Gaines,&nbsp;director of the National Clinic Access Project.</p> <p>The project, which is a program of the Feminist Majority Foundation, has trained clinic escorts and helped clinics increase security with surveillance cameras, alarm systems, bulletproof glass, and vests. When Gaines spoke with <em>Mother Jones</em> earlier this month, she said "the trifecta of efforts excoriating, and inspiring individuals to go out and target providers by demonizing them" leaves providers vulnerable, and that they were lucky no one had yet been hurt.</p> <p>"But we fear that may be around the corner," Gaines said at the time.</p> <p>The violence is intended to silence providers and drive them away from their jobs, but officials from the National Abortion Federation and the National Clinic Access Project say women should feel safe going to clinics. Law enforcement agencies are aware of the issue, they added.</p> <p>Indeed, the number of abortion providers <a href="" target="_blank">decreased</a> 38 percent between 1982 and 2000 and continues to decline today.<strong> </strong><a href="" target="_blank">According</a> to research from an anti-abortion group, the number of surgical abortion clinics dropped to 582 in 2013, down from more than 2,000 clinics in the early 1990s. And in the last two years, surgical abortion clinics have been closing at a <a href="" target="_blank">rate</a> of 1.5 clinics every week.</p> <p>And though it's hard to pinpoint every cause for the decline, "stigma and fear of violence&hellip;are powerful barriers to abortion provision," according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.</p> <p>For some abortion doctors, violence only deepens their resolve to provide abortion care. LeRoy Carhart quit doing surgery and opened his abortion practice in 1991 after a massive fire on his family's 65-acre Nebraska farm. The day after the fire, Carhart <a href="" target="_blank">said</a> he received a letter that said the abortions made his property a target for the fire.<strong> </strong>No one was ever convicted.</p> <p>The physician now operates a clinic in Nebraska and travels to Maryland each week to perform abortions. For security reasons, he <a href="" target="_blank">says</a> he avoids staying in the same hotel twice and tries to take different routes to work.</p> <p>"After the fire, it totally changed everything. That's when we decided to just do abortions full time," Carhart said, "It was my way of getting back." &nbsp;</p></body></html> Politics Health Care Reproductive Rights Sat, 28 Nov 2015 11:00:11 +0000 Nina Liss-Schultz 290136 at Don’t Feel Bad About the Guy(s) You Fucked Last Night <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>A few years ago, New York City-based stand-up comedian <a href="" target="_blank">Corinne Fisher</a>, 30, was going through a personal slump: She'd just been dumped unexpectedly by the man she thought she was going to marry, in a Panera Bread of all places. "I had what I would describe as a nervous breakdown," she says. "I lost 20 pounds, my hair was falling out because I wasn't eating properly." She spent hours sobbing on the shoulder of her friend and fellow comic <a href="" target="_blank">Krystyna Hutchinson</a>, 27. But amid the moping, Fisher got an idea for a new project: She would take the <em>High Fidelity </em>approach and interview all of her ex-boyfriends and lovers to figure out what went wrong.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Hutchinson&mdash;who, like Fisher, is unabashedly horny and not shy about sharing her sexual escapades&mdash;was on board, but for a slightly different reason. She'd become frustrated by the "notion of shame around women who have a lot of sex and enjoy it." So in December 2013, the duo, collectively known as Sorry About Last Night, launched <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Guys We Fucked: The Anti-Slut Shaming Podcast</em></a>.</p> <p>Every episode begins with an update on each woman's sex life, but the podcast quickly evolved away from its focus on past paramours. There's still plenty of chatter about threesomes and sex toys, but the show also takes on touchy topics like pedophilia, pimps, and sexual violence in frank conversations with comedians, actors, sex workers, and activists. Guests have included the likes of sex columnist Dan Savage, <em>Daily Show </em>creator Lizz Winstead, and female pornographer Stoya. Two years into its run, <em>Guys We Fucked</em> began to pick up speed, and it now boasts more than a half million listeners. In August, it became the top comedy podcast on iTunes for a stint. It's still i<a href="" target="_blank">n the top 10</a>&mdash;despite initially being blocked by Apple due to its profane title. I caught up with Fisher and Hutchinson to talk about Miley Cyrus, capitalism in the bedroom, and "no bullshit feminism."</p> <p><strong>Mother Jones: </strong>What made you decide you were comfortable airing your sexual exploits and questions to hundreds of thousands of listeners?</p> <p><strong>Corinne Fisher:</strong> Nothing. Because we didn't know that was going to happen. And now sometimes I'm like, "Damn."</p> <p><strong>Krystyna Hutchinson:</strong> Corinne and I are really good friends and we've been working together for four or five years now, so our chemistry is really good. I say, "Okay, I'm just going to talk to Corinne"&mdash;and I can forget the fact that 100,000 people are about to hear me talk about my pussy.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>Have you experienced any negative side effects of being so open about your sex lives?</p> <p><strong>CF: </strong>The negative side effects are very directly to my personal life. Being single and talking about being "a big old whore," is not going to be the best sell for yourself for dating. But to play devil's advocate, I don't really want to date somebody who's not comfortable with everything I'm saying.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>What's the best reaction you've gotten to the show so far?</p> <p><strong>CH:</strong> A couple credited us with them being able to conceive!</p> <p><strong>KF:</strong> The first email we got that blew my mind was from a girl in India who was raped by a member of her family, and then she started listening to the podcast. She said, "For the first time in my life I can look at myself as a sexual being." We did one with Wendi Starling about the night she was raped. After that aired, we were inundated with emails from girls that experienced almost the exact same thing, with someone familiar. It really pushed home the message that this happens way too much. We're opening up topics that not a lot of people are comfortable talking about. It's exciting to know that at least it helps some people.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>Why did you include "anti-slut-shaming" in the title?</p> <p><strong>KH: </strong>Just having a vagina made me want to include that in the title. There's this shame around women who have a lot of sex and enjoy it. It's one of the huge parts about being a woman that's really frustrating. I really wanted to speak to that, and talk about our experiences with men who have been assholes, with men who have been great. Because that's the one common denominator between all of my friends and me: We all have stories of a time that we were sexually harassed.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>There are plenty of sex podcasts out there already. What was the void you hoped to fill?</p> <p><strong>CF: </strong>The one in my soul.</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> One of the voids that we didn't set out to fill but I feel like we are filling is no-bullshit feminism. We want to talk about the shitty stuff. We want to talk about what we're bad at. We talk about how women are physically weaker than men. Some people don't want to say that, but it's true. Why can't we just talk about it? And just scrape all the bullshit away. I respond to that type of feminism so much better. And I think it's something that men can really get on board with, too.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>Some people think sex motivates pretty much every decision we make, what we wear, who we talk to, everything we do all day. So why don't women talk about it more?</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> It all comes back to shame. The reason I don't wear tops that show cleavage, because I have giant tits, is because one time in the eighth grade this girl accused me of sticking out my boobs to get boys to like me. These little tiny scarring things. I think you just get inside your head, and because no one else is talking about it, you stay inside your head and you think you're alone in this kind of struggle to be open about your sexuality. That's pretty much the core.</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> There's a lot more value on the sexuality of a woman than a man. If there's too much sex on the market, the value of the item decreases. If you're a woman who's giving away your sexuality, even if you feel good about it, men look at you as something that has a lower value. I think we somehow got that into our heads that that is true. When really it's just a mechanism of control.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>So really your podcast is about trying to rethink capitalism?</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> Kind of.</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> Exactly.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>A lot of your listeners are teens and college kids. Do you feel a sense of responsibility?</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> We feel a huge sense of responsibility when someone young writes us. And we are very clear that we are not doctors. If we give you anything medical, it's because we Googled it. The last thing we'd want to do is give anybody the wrong info, especially someone who's impressionable.</p> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> You have a very lighthearted rapport about some pretty serious issues. Do listeners ever take offense?</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> We always have to keep reminding the listeners: This is not a sex podcast. This is a comedy podcast where we talk about sex. Anyone who knows anything about comedians knows that we are <em>very morbid people</em>. We can find humor in pretty much anything.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>Apple was censoring your podcast for a while. Did you ever figure out why?</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> iTunes has third-party censors that kind of comb through everything to make sure nothing was missed. In our podcast the word "fucked" was not bleeped, because we were never told it had to be, and they just eliminated it from all search fields and charts. All the fans tweeting at iTunes podcast is actually what got Apple to call us personally to sort it out. And they were very cooperative and understanding and they apologized&mdash;so that was nice.</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> But then they just bleeped out the word "titties." I don't understand that. There's way worse words in our titles than "titties." Apple is a notoriously conservative company, as are a ton of big companies. It's not surprising&mdash;it's just disappointing.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>Is part of your strategy to lure people in talking about boobs and threesomes, and then subtly school them about safe sex and female empowerment?</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> Would you want to listen to a podcast called "Sex Is Like Really Cool When We Consent?" or would you want to listen to a podcast called "Guys We Fucked"? I want to listen to "Guys We Fucked." Those girls seem fun.</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> So much of the sex talk is so clinical and boring and dull. I think what keeps people listening is that we are funny, and we do tackle some interesting topics.</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> It was very specifically called "Guys We Fucked." Yes, it's crude, but the women hold the power in that title. Most times, a guy says, "Yeah, I fucked that girl." No, no, no. This is guys <em>we </em>fucked. We did the fucking!</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> It's taking ownership of your sex life.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>Journalist Rachel Hills had a book come out this year called <em>The Sex Myth</em>. She said, "We internalize this idea of sex as something that is constantly available and that everyone is doing, and if you're not doing it, there's something wrong with you." Do you think our culture today is oversexualized?</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> We can only speak to our own libidos. We just both coincidentally are hypersexual people. But we've had people on that are more vanilla, as we call them. There's nothing wrong with that. We had a man well into his 30s who was a virgin, and there's nothing wrong with that either. But yeah, of course we're oversexed. We always talk about how we need crazier porn to get off, or a bigger vibrator. We're an oversexualized society. But it's also mind-blowing that in this oversexualized society, we're also so ashamed of sex. We're getting very mixed messages.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> I think what society is obsessed with is comparing themselves with everybody else. Everybody needs to relax. Stop comparing yourself to everybody. You walk down the street in New York and see billboards with beautiful women, and it's like, yeah, they're beautiful women. You don't have to be that thin. You don't have to be that beautiful. They're nice to look at. The end.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>If you could interview any celebrity or politician about his or her sex life, who would it be?</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> [<em>Assumes a high-pitched Southern drawl</em>.] Beyonc&eacute;, because I love her. She is my Jesus. No, but really: Beyonc&eacute;.</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> Miley Cyrus. She's someone who's made to look like an idiot. But if you really follow her online and listen to the things she says, she's doing her own thing and being herself in the most basic way. Like yeah, you shaved your hair off and you sing in your backyard and you smoke weed and you're sexual. Great! Do whatever the fuck you want. You're an artist. That's what you're supposed to be doing.</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> She deserves a lot more respect. Everyone loves to roll their eyes at her. The same way everyone loves to roll their eyes at Kim Kardashian. Who cares? She is not interrupting your life. It astounds me how people can hate certain celebrities so much. When, honestly, 99 times out of 100, it's just because they hate something about themselves.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>If you were moderating one of the debates, what would you ask the candidates?</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> My question would be around the Planned Parenthood videos. Every single [GOP] candidate was really using propaganda at its finest. I was so frustrated that no one called them out to say, "No, Planned Parenthood is getting consent from the mother of that fetus to extract fetal cells to donate for research." It's so different. What's happening is that all these idiots watching the debate, a lot of them are impressionable, and it's kind of dangerous. They're going to hop on this train of, "They're selling baby parts for money? Fuck that." And now everyone wants to defund Planned Parenthood.</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> Mine would be&mdash;no bullshit, "Why do you want to be president?" But it's just full of fake answers and bullshit. I like who I like, Hillary Clinton! I am not really holding out for a hero to help change the world. I'm going to change the world my fuckin' self as much as I possibly can. I can't be waiting around for other people to do it.</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> Insert slow clap.</p> <p><strong>MJ:</strong> What inspires you about Hillary?</p> <p><strong>CF: </strong>I love a hard worker. She's fucking put in the time. I don't think there is in history someone who's wanted and tried to be president more. Give her a shot. I think she's really shown up and she's going to give it her all.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>Who are you hoping to talk to in future episodes of the podcast?</p> <p><strong>KH:</strong> People who have had something really dark happen to them and want to talk about it. Or sex workers. There are so many people whose jobs are related to sex that we'd love to talk to. And comedians we really admire who are comfortable talking openly about their sex life. Models. We have a dream list of guests. It's very long.</p> <p><strong>MJ: </strong>So, you won't be interviewing many people that you've slept with anymore?</p> <p><strong>CF:</strong> Honestly, I talk about sex so much now that I've become more conservative in my personal life. I'm not as into it anymore. That sounds terrible, but it's like my job.</p></body></html> Media Interview Sex and Gender Sat, 28 Nov 2015 11:00:10 +0000 Maddie Oatman 290106 at Donald Trump and the Politics of Resentment <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>As you surely know by now, the latest round of Republican campaign cretinism came a few days ago when Donald Trump <a href="" target="_blank">mocked a reporter</a> with chronic arthrogryposis, which restricts the movement of his arms <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_trump_kovaleski.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">and hands. Today Josh Marshall posted a brief but spot-on explanation of why Trump is not only not apologizing for this, <a href="" target="_blank">but going on the offensive over it:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>If you're surprised that Donald Trump isn't apologizing for mocking a reporter's physical handicap and doesn't seem to be paying any price for it, let me help. Half of rightwing politics is about resentment over perceived demands for apologies. <strong>Apologies about race, about fear of Muslims, about not being politically correct, about not liking the losers and the moochers, about Christmas, about being being white.</strong> This will hurt Trump about as much as going after Megyn Kelly did. Remember: his biggest applause line at the first GOP debate came for calling Rosie O'Donnell a fat slob.</p> <p>About half the juice of far-right politics in this country is rooted in refusing to apologize when 'elites' or right thinking people reprove you for not being 'politically correct.'</p> </blockquote> <p>The thing about Trump is that he talks as if he's sitting at home with a couple of his buddies. In settings like that, lots of us make casually derisive remarks that we wouldn't make in public.<sup>1</sup> But Trump <em>does</em> say it in public, and to his supporters that's great. He's finally saying the stuff that they're quite sure <em>everybody</em> says in private.</p> <p>The giveaway was this bit from Trump about Kovaleski: "He should stop using his disability to grandstand and get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes." That's what Trump's fans think is going on all over the place. The blacks, the Hispanics, the disabled, the immigrants, the poor: sure, they've got problems, but who doesn't? They're just making a big deal out of it in order to gain sympathy and government bennies that the rest of us have to pay for. And the worst part is that you <em>know</em> what everyone else is already thinking about this claptrap, but you get in trouble if you <em>say</em> it. Republican candidates have tapped this vein of resentment for years, but usually in coded ways that won't get them in too much hot water. Trump just dives in. Other politicians may have paved the way, but it's Trump who's finally figured out how to turn it into electoral gold.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Yes, I do it too, and no, for obvious reasons I'm not going to tell you what my sore spots are.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 27 Nov 2015 23:50:32 +0000 Kevin Drum 290746 at