Tag Archives: women

Tuesday Open Thread | Trump Encourages Violence

Donald Trump this week issued a thinly veiled threat of violence against his opponents, saying that members of the police, military and biker gangs could “play it tough” if they “reach a certain point.”

It was a disturbing remark, but even more disturbing is the fact that it’s part of a long history of Trump encouraging his supporters to engage in violence. Largely unchecked by his party’s leadership, Trump’s rhetoric has become normalized despite its real-world ramifications.

“I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of Bikers for Trump,” Trump told Breitbart in the interview, which he later tweeted. “I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”

“I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of Bikers for Trump,” Trump told Breitbart in the interview, which he later tweeted. “I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”

“I think it sounds very much to me like he’s encouraging them to engage in something that’s probably illegal such as assaulting people, you know behave in a dangerous way,” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) told MSNBC. “That sounds like a threat to me. I think it’s appalling.”

What Our Response to New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Reveals about our Political Leanings

By Nisha Susan

Jacinda Ardern. Photo credit: Wikimedia

What does a leader look like? To many people round the world, the picture of a leader remains male. In a recent CNN News 18 short docu about women’s political representation, Bangalore’s only woman MLA Sowmya Reddy tells this story — “I was at an event and someone was introducing me and said here is the MLA. Everyone was like where?” It was only when someone said ‘Lady MLA’ that eyes focused on her. It is this kind of ingrained thinking that allows political parties around the world to justify not even nominating women candidates. It is also this ‘male as neutral’ thinking what probably led to the former Silicon Valley darling Elizabeth Holmes (now accused of enormous scams) reportedly even faking a deep baritone to go with the Steve Jobs costume she wore every day. What is the meaning of a Jacinda Ardern then? What is the meaning of her leadership after the massacre in Christchurch?

It is hard to get away from the fact that Ardern is a woman. She is New Zealand’s third woman prime minister. Ardern’s ‘womanness’ has been underlined in our visual-loving and odd-news loving world by her youth (she is only 38) and by her giving birth to a child while in office. But now what has brought Ardern to the attention of the world this week is her generous and compassionate response to the killing of 50 Muslims in a mosque by a white supremacist terrorist. Her speech underlined the grief and fear that the shooting inspired. It left no wriggle room for the kind of thinking that justifies rage against immigrants and/or Muslims as natural or ‘just’ backlash, the kind of thinking that has got prominence through Brexit, through Donald Trump and our own right-wing government in India. The killings were wrong. The man who did it was wrong. He shouldn’t be deified and there would be laws put in place to ensure it never happened again. This is what her response has been. And then she put on a headscarf when visiting the mourning families, prompting even more goggling and googling.

Plenty of observers are now arguing that it is her gender that prompted her humane response and who am I to say it is not? We can try to understand whether it is Jacinda Ardern’s gender that has prompted her to a response (first in words and then in action) that did not make a tragedy worse. Or was it the progressive political movements that she has been part of her entire life? Certainly we should look around and see whether the political parties around us have nominated any women at all these upcoming elections in India and ask ourselves what that means. When we vote for women we cannot possibly do any worse than voting for the men who have been offered to us for 70 years.

What does interest me is how swiftly we have arrived at a place in the last decade where the simple response of a politician to an incident that should be unequivocally a Bad Thing (killing random people = Bad) invites so much scrutiny. We have arrived at this ridiculous place because of our search of Authenticity. A political cartoon I saw a few years ago summed it up the best. A flock of sheep are standing in front of a political hoarding featuring a wolf. The wolf’s slogan is “I am going to eat you.” The sheep say to each other, “at least he is honest.”

Around the world, we see people saying they will vote for the politician ‘who says it like it is,’ and ‘who doesn’t pretend.’ Almost always these are politicians who have taken on the job of voicing meanness and articulating our most ill-formed prejudices. This honesty doesn’t extend to not taking bribes. It doesn’t extend to challenging the rich and mighty. It doesn’t even extend to fiscal responsibility. No, what it does is give you a politician much like our relatives who justify their worst behaviour with what they see as their finest trait – their lack of hypocrisy. It gives you a politician who will undertake the job of quickly dismantling the protection of minorities that a country has usually built painfully and usually over many, many decades. Let us blow this popsicle stand, they announce and vast voting populations applaud because what else could it be but a joke, this idea that minorities, women, people with disabilities and queer people deserve protection from the mean impulses of the world.

As a deeply shallow person, I am very much in favour of hypocrisy, dishonesty and politicians who pretend to believe in the popsicle stand. Regardless of the state of their soul or their inner convictions, I would like them to not make fun of the dyslexic as our Prime Minister recently did. I would like them to not use casteist slurs. I would like politicians to say aloud that mass shootings of Muslims are terrible. I would like them to pretend they believe in democracy and not that they intend to cancel elections in 2024, as the most honourable Sakshi Maharaj has.

We should be as interested in the authentic and honest politician as we are in authentic chow mein.

 Co-published with Firstpost.com


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Wednesday Open Thread | Republican congressman Matt Gaetz sends apparent threat to Michael Cohen

WASHINGTON – One of President Donald Trump’s fiercest allies in the House of Representatives posted a tweet Tuesday that many are calling a direct threat to Michael Cohen ahead of his public testimony before Congress on Wednesday.

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz posted on Twitter that Cohen’s wife was “about to learn a lot” about him and accused the former Trump attorney and fixer of being unfaithful in his marriage.

“Hey @MichaelCohen212 – Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends?” Gaetz wrote on Twitter. “Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…”

Cohen spent Tuesday behind closed doors testifying to the Senate Intelligence Committee. He will appear before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday in a public appearance that’s expected to revolve around the president’s alleged infidelities, businesses and finances.

When asked by reporters on Capitol Hill about the tweet, Gaetz denied that the post was a threat or attempt to intimidate Cohen.

“This isn’t witness tampering, it’s witness testing,” he told reporters outside his office. “When people like Michael Cohen, who’s about to go to prison for lying, come before the Congress, there’s an enhanced responsibility on the part of members of Congress to test that veracity, to test the truthfulness and character of the witness, and I think we ought to do it with great vigor.” .

Gaetz did not elaborate on his allegations that Cohen had an affair, which hasn’t been previously reported, or where he obtained this information, only saying that reporters should tune in during Wednesday’s hearing.

“I also trust that his constituents will not appreciate that their congressman has set a new low — which in today’s political culture is hard to imagine as possible,” Davis added.

Those on Twitter, including members of Congress, reacted quickly, many pointing that the comments could be seen as intimidating a witness and witness tampering.

Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-New Jersey, said the tweet warranted an investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

“One of my colleagues, a duly elected member of Congress, has taken to twitter to intimidate a witness,” Pascrell, Jr.‏ wrote. “This is grossly unethical and probably illegal (18 USC § 1512(b)). House Ethics must investigate this disgrace and stain on our institution.”

The statute Pascrell, Jr.‏ noted in his tweet is the law that states intimidating a witness is illegal.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, said Gaetz’s tweet seemed like something “out of a Mob novel” not from a member of Congress.

“That’s the sort of behavior that’s sadly become normalized in the last two years,” Coons told CNN. “I think that would previously be considered absolutely shocking for a congressman to publicly engage in sort of badgering a witness in advance of their appearing.”

Michael Cohen’s House Oversight Testimony

Best run down in town!

President Trump’s administration has long been caught in a carousel of rotating congressional testimonies, and on Wednesday, it will finally be Michael Cohen’s turn to publicly take a spin.

Trump’s former personal attorney will speak before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 27, about “the President’s debts and payments relating to efforts to influence the 2016 election,” Trump’s “compliance with” financial disclosure requirements, campaign finance laws, and tax laws, as well as Trump’s “potential conflicts of interests” and “business practices.”

It’s been a long time coming.

Cohen’s relationship with Trump goes back more than a decade, but reached a turning point when Cohen pleaded guilty in August to violating campaign-finance laws (among other crimes), and again in November to lying to Congress. He was sentenced to three years in prison for his misdeeds, saying at the time that “I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the fateful day that I accepted the offer to work for a famous real estate mogul whose business acumen I truly admired.”

That was something new from the man who once claimed he would “take a bullet” for his boss.

Now, Cohen is reportedly ready to share who reimbursed him for his hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, and to explicitly accuse Trump of criminal activity while in office.

Cohen’s testimony on Wednesday may very well change the trajectory of Trump’s presidency. Here’s how to watch it in real-time:

Michael Cohen will testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, February 27, 2019, beginning at 10 a.m. ET.

Andrew McCabe: Trump said ‘I don’t care, I believe Putin’… about “the intelligence agencies saying North Korea had long range missiles”

There you have it, people! Trump meant every word in Helsinki when he sided with Putin over American Intelligence Agencies. This is f*cking frightening. And our Congress sits in got damn silence.  How much more do they need to impeach this treasonous sob?!

Former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe says he was fired from the bureau because he dared to go against President Trump—whom he portrayed as delusional and almost “gleeful” about firing former FBI director James Comey in an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday night.

During the interview with CBS, part of his promotion of his new book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, McCabe doubled down on his assertions that Trump’s decision to fire Comey in May 2017 sparked so much alarm within the agency that it spurred talk of invoking the 25th Amendment.

But in addition to firing Comey and publicly disparaging the investigation into Russia’s election interference, McCabe said, Trump had made “astounding” remarks about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Essentially, the president said he did not believe that the North Koreans had the capability to hit us here with ballistic missiles in the United States,” McCabe told correspondent Scott Pelley. “And he did not believe that because President Putin had told him they did not. President Putin had told him that the North Koreans don’t actually have those missiles.” When he was told that U.S. intelligence thought otherwise, McCabe claimed that Trump responded, “I don’t care. I believe Putin.”

Trump also sided with Putin over the U.S. intelligence community on the Kremlin’s election interference, stating publicly last summer in a joint press conference alongside the Russian leader in Helsinki that he did not “see any reason why” Russia would be to blame for election meddling, especially since Putin was “extremely strong and powerful in his denial.” That meeting has come under renewed scrutiny recently after several officials were reportedly unable to get a readout of what went on during Trump’s closed-door meeting with Putin.

Wednesday Open Thread | SOTU: Nancy Pelosi creates the “fuck you clap”

Nancy Smash is straight savage………… I love it so much

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pushed back hard against President Trump’s most self-destructive tendencies and general ridiculousness since taking back the majority in the House. Pelosi seems to have loosened up with a more freewheeling approach to battling with the president not just on policy, but everywhere, capturing the hearts and (maybe) minds of everyday voters in her own party. At Tuesday’s State of the Union, Pelosi took the dark art of performative piss-take to another level when she literally clapped back at the president’s face by way of rebuttal for Trump’s disingenuous call for comity and unity.

“We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution, and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good,” Trump said.

Pelosi wasn’t having it.

Fact-Checking Narendra Modi’s Recent Claims About Rape and Death Sentences

Modi and Trump are alike in how they lie about what they think will make them look good.

By Nisha Susan


On Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi gave tips to students about coping with exams but, as it turns out, marks have not been his friend as the week progressed. In fact, maths has not been his friend at all. On Thursday, January 31, there was widespread uproar over the Business Standard scoop revealing that India’s unemployment rate is at a 45-year-high. The data comes from a NSSO survey that has been vetted by the National Statistical Commission but not yet released by the government. The scale of the outrage around the jobs data has muted another other set of disorienting numbers that have come straight from the prime minister this week – this time about rape.

According to an ANI report, on Wednesday the PM said at a youth conclave in Surat that, “There used to be rapes in this country earlier too, it is a shame that we still hear about such cases. Now, culprits are hanged within 3 days, 7 days, 11 days & a month. Steps are being taken continuously to get daughters justice & results are evident.” These are three astonishing sentences to emerge from the PM, because no part of them is true, and no part is something that a responsible adult should make.

Let’s go to the numbers first. So culprits are being hanged within three days, and so on. One could ask: three days of what? Within three days of the crime or three days of conviction? Within a month of the crime or a month after conviction? Because the fact is that conviction rates for rapes stood at a measly 25 percent in 2016. And which leaves out the thousands of rape cases which are pending investigation, or those pending in the courts (118,537 at the beginning of 2016, according to this detailed report). Just to be clear, the optimistic timeframe for fast-track courts clearing a rape case is also at a much longer two months.

All of this ‘numbers’ discussion leaves out the long and brutal process through which women try to report sexual assault to the police. And all the ways in which marginalized women are further marginalized when they attempt to report sexual assault. And what happens when the political establishment has some stakes in keeping the accused out of jail? But we are doing maths, no?

This three days, seven days, 30 days remark—which sounds like what a call centre might tell you about when your Internet connection will be restored—is scandalous in itself. But no thoughtful person interested in the nature of justice should be making throwaway remarks about capital punishment, no matter their ideological position on the subject. Even without getting into the facts about how capital punishment is no deterrent to sexual assault anywhere in the world, and has been shown to actually further cause underreporting of the crime.

But if we stick to Modi’s numbers, here is the most basic #fail. While hundreds of Indians have been sentenced to death (162 death sentences were imposed by trial courts just in 2018, the highest number in a calendar year since 2000 according to the NLU Delhi’s Centre on The Death Penalty), only four have been executed in the last 13 years. The last time India carried out an execution was four years ago—in 2015, Yakub Memon was hanged for his role in the 1993 Mumbai bombings. So, really, what on earth was Modi saying in Surat? I guess that’s what you call a Big Lie.

Let’s go to the part of “steps are being taken continuously to get daughters justice & results are evident.” I don’t know what these steps for whose daughters are. Is it the eponymous daughters of the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana which was supposed to ‘change mindsets regarding the girl child’? Recent reports have actually shown that “56 percent of the funds allocated under the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme from 2014-15 to 2018-19, were spent on media-related activities. In contrast to this, less than 25 percent of the funds were disbursed to districts and states. Over 19 percent of the funds weren’t released by the government in the first place.”

Which brings us to “results”, which presumably means either a drop in sexual assault or a rise in convictions. Since convictions are where they are, let us turn to the possibility that there has been a drop in sexual assaults due to the mysterious “steps”. Once more, you would be stymied here because it turns out that we don’t have the data here—the last National Crime Records Bureau report from 2017 has actually not been published. This is the first time since 1953 that the report has not been published.

Then there is the rest of the casual insouciance. “There used to be rapes in this country earlier too, it is a shame that we still hear about such cases.” Should we nit-pick about whether it’s a shame that there are rapes or whether it’s a shame that we are hearing about rapes? Let’s not.

Clearly this is not someone to vote for if you are invested in the facts about crimes against women.

Co-published with Firstpost.com




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Kamala Harris Officially Launches 2020 Presidential Campaign

(CNN) Kamala Harris officially launched her 2020 presidential campaign Sunday in her birthplace of Oakland, promising to be a fighter “for the people” and stating that it is time to restore what she views as the loss of American values under President Donald Trump.

“We are here because the American Dream and our American democracy are under attack and on the line like never before,” the California senator said. “We are here at this moment in time because we must answer a fundamental question. Who are we? Who are we as Americans? So, let’s answer that question to the world and each other right here and right now. America: we are better than this.”

In an allusion to Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric, his policies at the border, and his decision to shut down the government in a failed attempt to get his wall, Harris said that “people in power are trying to convince us that the villain in our American story is each other.”

“But that is not our story. That is not who we are. That is not our America,” Harris said without mentioning Trump’s name. “The United States of America is not about us versus them … I’m running to be a President of the people, by the people, for all the people.”

“If I have the honor of being your president, I will tell you this: I am not perfect. Lord knows, I am not perfect,” she said. “But I will always speak with decency and moral clarity and treat all people with dignity and respect. I will lead with integrity. And I will speak the truth.”

She did not dwell on her own potential for a history-making candidacy with her background as a black woman seeking the Democratic nomination.

The MAGA Hat–Wearing Teens Who Taunted A Native American Elder Could Be Expelled

My rage is off the charts…………

This student is a little racist fk with no respect, no home training. Is this what is being taught at Covington Catholic School?

The Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High in Kentucky rebuked the students’ actions and said they could potentially be expelled as a result.

A Kentucky Catholic school may take disciplinary action against their students after a group of the MAGA hat–wearing teenage boys taunted a Native American elder at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, DC, on Friday.

Several viral videos show the young men, nearly all of whom are white and wearing pro-Trump gear, chanting at and mocking the man on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

One of the teens can be seen standing face-to-face with the elder, smirking and saying nothing, while the man sang and played a drum.

The indigenous protester was identified by Indian Country Today as Nathan Phillips, a member of the Omaha Nation and a Vietnam War veteran. He reportedly hosts a ceremony each year honoring Native American veterans at Arlington National Cemetery and is also the keeper of a sacred pipe.

Kaya Taitano, a 26-year-old student from Guam who told BuzzFeed News she filmed the videos of Phillips. “You can tell he has power in his being,” she said in a phone interview.

In an interview with Taitano following the incident that she uploaded to her Instagram, Phillips said he wished he could see those teens “put that energy into making this country really great, helping those that are hungry.”

“I heard them saying, ‘Build that wall, build that wall,’” said Phillips, who could not be immediately reached for comment. “You know, this is indigenous lands. We’re not supposed to have walls here — we never did for millennia, before anybody else came here.”