The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Women’ Category

Gillian Flynn’s words echo and echo and echo inside my skull.

They don’t care about us enough to hate us. We are simply a form of livestock.

(Via Sarah Kendzior. I’ve said the same too, repeatedly, less efficiently.)

There’s Senator Orrin Hatch saying, “…consider who the judge is today – because that’s the issue. Is this judge a really good man? And he is. And by any measure he is.”

“By any measure.” Any measure.

Kavanaugh has never shown any repentance or made any amends, but by any measure he’s in Hatch’s good books. Despite every indication of willingness to commit a crime so bad it’s right up there with murder. Technically, of course. It’s vanishingly unlikely to happen to Hatch. So Kavanaugh is a “good man.”

They don’t care about us enough to hate us. We are simply a form of livestock.

You wonder how the slavers could do what they did to black human beings two hundred years ago? This is how. They thought it was natural, normal, just how things were. They could think well of themselves with no trouble while they sold people. Those people were livestock. Just as people now consider themselves “good” while thinking that a little rape never hurt anyone. Not any real people. Slaveholders were Supreme Court Justices once. What could possibly be the objection to a rapist on the highest court in the land?

They don’t care about us enough to hate us. We are simply a form of livestock.

Crossposted from Acid Test

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The #MeToo movement blasted the door off Hollywood like a tsunami. The first villain to go down was Harvey Weinstein, the notoriously vicious and deranged producer who produced some extraordinary films. In his wake many others have fallen, some perhaps unfairly (Al Franken is still hotly debated on Twitter.) The last couple of weeks saw the fall of 2 big CBS figures: the president of the network Les Moonves and the 60 Minutes’ chief Jeff Fager.

After Ronan Farrow’s article in The New Yorker discussed allegations against Fager, CBS journalist Jericka Duncan, preparing a report on the story, contacted Fager for comment. Fager wrote back via text:

If you repeat these false accusations without any of your own reporting to back them up, you will be responsible for harming me. Be careful. There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me and if you pass on these damaging claims without your own reporting to back them up that will become a serious problem.

Once head of CBS News learned of this message, Fager was fired.

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Former CBS president Les Moonves

The bigger fall at CBS, however, was its very president, Les Moonves. Moonves has been accused of not just harassment, but assault, forcing women to perform oral sex on him. And, of course, he ruined many careers. Moonves (who is married to CBS host Julie Chen) carried a vendetta against Janet Jackson because of the “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl, and ordered MTV and VH1, as well as Viacom owned radio stations, to stop playing Jackson’s music. The “disappearance” of Janet from much of the music scene over the past decade is now being largely attributed to this. Before Jackson, Moonves set his sights on Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, the creator of the hit show Designing Women. Bloodworth-Thomason wrote a searing article in The Hollywood Reporter describing her relationship with Moonves and how he ruined her career. One story is that high on the success of Designing Women, she wrote a pilot for a new series (actually she wrote many pilots, all of which Moonves rejected, including one with Bette Middler) and arranged a reading of the script with big names, including Ileana Douglas. At the reading, Moonves sat across from Bloodworth-Thomason and just stared at her:

Having been voted most popular in high school, I felt confident that I would be able to charm him. I was wrong. He sat and stared at me throughout the entire reading with eyes that were stunningly cold, as in, “You are so dead.” I had not experienced such a menacing look since Charles Manson tried to stare me down on a daily basis when I was a young reporter covering that trial. As soon as the pilot was completed, Moonves informed me that it would not be picked up. I was at the pinnacle of my career. I would not work again for seven years.

When Bloodworth-Thomason finally left CBS after Moonves rejected all of her writing, his last words to her were “Go fuck yourself.”

Remember too that Les Moonves said this about Donald Trump in 2016:

It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS… Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? … The money’s rolling in and this is fun… I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.

CBS Board of Directors – all men – tried their darnedest to save Les. Arnold Kopelson, who once upon a time won an Oscar for producing Platoon, said in a board meeting: “I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff. Les is our leader and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.” Another member fo the board, William Cohen (yes, Bill Clinton’s Defense Secretary in the 1990s) said: “We are going to stay in this meeting until midnight if we need to until we get an agreement that we stand 100 percent behind our CEO, and there will be no change in his status.” These are the type of men who protect other men’s perversions. They are why people like Moonves and Weinstein, and there are so many others, have thrived and will continue to thrive.

One other note on Arnold Kopelson: after Kathy Griffin’s debacle with the fake Trump head, Kopelson wrote Griffin a letter telling her how to get her career back. It’s one of the most shocking things I’ve read in a long time. He thinks he’s being helpful, but…

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Mr. Kopelson is no longer a member of the board of directors of CBS, incidentally.

Margaret Sullivan of Washington Post (and a former public editor of the NY Times, a position that paper got rid of) wrote a powerful column discussing the fact that the damage done by men like Moonves – and Mark Halperin and Charlie Rose – is incalculable. They have shaped our culture’s view of women for decades.

What if Mark Halperin, for instance, had not been a network commentator during the 2016 presidential campaign? (James Wolcott of Vanity Fair aptly described him as “a political kingmaker and narrative shaper” and “the most influential” of the men who were felled by sexual-misconduct allegations last year.)

What if Bill O’Reilly of Fox News hadn’t been the biggest cable TV star in the nation when a woman had a major-party presidential nomination for the first time?

[…]

A media figure doesn’t have to show up for a business meeting in an open bathrobe to do harm, though that strange practice has turned out to be something of a leitmotif.

He can help frame the coverage of a candidate’s supposedly disqualifying flaws. He can squelch a writer’s promising work. He can threaten an underling’s job if she doesn’t stay in line and remember who really runs the show around here.

All these little moments add up, though we’ll never know their full cost. Only that it’s very, very high.

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The histories of World War II and the Holocaust can never be told fully. Too many people did too many things – both good and evil – to give a full accounting. But there are stories that have been documented now for decades, and are still being documented by the Holocaust Museums around the world and by the Shoah Foundation. There are famous stories, like that of Oskar Schindler. And there are some that are all but forgotten. One person whose story is little known outside of her native Poland is Stanisława Leszczyńska.

Born in Łódź, Poland in 1896, Stanisława (maiden name Zambrzycki) lived like everyone else. She married, she studied to become a midwife, and she had children. Then, in 1939, Nazis invaded Poland. The city of Łódź had the second largest population of Jews in Poland. Nazis turned Łódź into one of its most infamous ghettos. Stanisława, her husband Bronisław, and their four children (Bronisław, Sylwia, Stanisław, and Henryk) were so appalled by what they saw around them that they began helping the Jews in the ghetto by delivering food and false documents. On February 18, 1943 Stanisława was captured by the Gestapo while making a delivery. Her husband and eldest son managed to escape; but her youngest 3 children were also arrested. The two boys were sent to perform slave labor in the Mauthausen concentration camp. Her husband Bronisław was killed during the Warsaw uprising in 1944; they never saw each other again. Stanisława and Sylwia (aged 24) were sent to Auschwitz on April 17, 1943, and tattooed with the camp numbers 41335 and 41336 respectively.

Because Stanisława had been a midwife and Sylwia studied to be a nurse they were sent to work in the “maternity ward” of the camp. The ward was run by “Sister Klara,” a midwife who had been sent to the camp for infanticide. Sister Klara – and her assistant Sister Pfani – was in charge of declaring children born – and then drowning them. They did not assist in the birth of the children; they only killed them. Stanisława was also told to kill the babies. She refused. For reasons that are unclear, she was not punished for refusing. She was even ordered by Josef Mengele himself to kill newborn babies and she refused again.

“Why they did not kill her then, no one knows,” said Leszczyńska’s son Bronisław in 1988.

So despite threats and beatings from Sister Klara, Stanisława and Sylwia helped the pregnant women give birth and provided as much comfort as they could, for as long as they could. Most babies were murdered almost immediately by Klara and Pfani. Some mothers killed the babies themselves. But mother and daughter continued to help, baptizing Christian babies, helping new mothers breastfeed until the child was taken away.  The women in the barracks called Stanisława “Mother.”

Starting in 1943 some babies were given to German mothers to be raised as Aryans. In Poland alone nearly 100,000 babies were taken this way. In Auschwitz, Stanisława and Sylwia tattooed the babies that were taken in the hopes that some day they may be reunited with their mothers. It’s unclear how many, if any, were.

Of the 3,000 babies delivered by Leszczyńska, medical historians Susan Benedict and Linda Sheilds write that half of them were drowned, another 1,000 died quickly of starvation or cold, 500 were sent to other families and 30 survived the camp. It is believed that all of the mothers and all of the newborns survived childbirth.

Stanisława and all of her children survived the war, and all became doctors. Stanisława retired in 1957.

On January 27, 1970 Stanisława attended an official celebration in Warsaw, where she met the women prisoners of Auschwitz and their grown-up children who had been born in the camp. She died on March 11, 1974 at the age of 77.

“To this day I do not know at what price [she delivered my baby],” said Maria Saloman, whose baby Leszczyńska delivered. “My Liz owes her life to Stanisława Leszczyńska. I cannot think of her without tears coming to my eyes.”

Stanisława has been nominated to be canonized by the Catholic Church. The main road of Auschwitz is named after her. So is a street in the city of Łódź, as well as several hospitals across Europe.

This is an open thread.

Hello Widdershins! Thank you for all the good wishes! Things are definitely getting better here chez MadamaB.

Last week was a doozy even in the Era of Drumpf and Republicans sans spinal cartilage, moral compasses or patriotism. The Rob Porter scandal has taken hold the way few of the multitudinous scandals of this benighted, horrible administration have managed to. And for the first time, unbelievable though it may seem, the Mango Meerkat’s approval rating has been seriously damaged amongst women.

The most recent Washington Post-ABC poll has found that approval from white women has fallen since the president’s first 100 days. While most white women voted for Trump in 2016, his approval rating has fallen 10 points since then, and strong disapproval of the president by this group rose 12 points, from 39 percent to 51 percent.

I would take issue with the verbiage that “While most white women voted for Trump in 2016,” and replace it with the wording, “While a slim majority of white women voted for Trump in 2016,” since 53% is hardly “most” in most peoples’ minds. But whatevs…the bottom line is that Drumpf is in trouble, again, and the sainted General Kelly, as well as pResidential serial-dating spokesmodel Hope Hicks, are in trouble with him. But even this major disaster could be eclipsed by a greater one, which has been brewing for many months now: the potential firing of Rod Rosenstein.

I have always been of the opinion that the Orange Crusher won’t dare fire Robert Mueller, and that his preferred tactic was to discredit the investigation. So far, that opinion has held at least partially true, especially with the myriad attacks the Republicans, and their enablers in the press, have been making against the FBI and DOJ. But that doesn’t mean Drumpf won’t take a page from Nixon’s book, and try to make the people overseeing the investigation fire him. He is a desperate, cornered animal, and may risk it all to try to escape the consequences of his actions. And everything from the release of the ridiculous dud called the Nunes Memo, to the recent resignation of Rachel Brand, is showing that this reckless and dangerous course of action might be imminent.

So what do we do if that happens?

WE TAKE TO THE STREETS!!!

Moveon.org has organized a march that can take place at a moment’s notice, if Trump fires his way to find a Bork who will fire Mueller. The marches are called “Nobody is Above the Law,” and are organized all over the country. You can sign up here:

https://act.moveon.org/event/mueller-firing-rapid-response-events/search/

If the firing of Mueller happens before 2 pm, the local march will take place that day. If it happens after 2 pm, it will take place the day after. I’m ready to go. Are you?

In these dark times, we never know what may happen. Let’s make sure we are as prepared for action as we can be.

This is an open thread.

Good Sunday and Monday Widdershins!

Saturday January 20th 2018 showed us that the Women’s March of 2017 was not just a one shot deal of protest mainly against Donald J. tRump.  Once again women turned out by the hundreds of thousands in New York, Los Angeles, Oklahoma and even across the globe in Canada, the UK, Japan, Italy and other countries. Further, on the 21st of January there was a huge rally in Las Vegas with the theme of Power to the Polls with the goal of registering one million new voters ahead of the mid-term elections in November.

Also, the #metoo movement is staying strong, with the latest news concerning Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn being accused of sexual harassment of dozens of women. Despite Wynn’s denials the story must have legs because Wynn has resigned as RNC Finance Chair.

So with these successes in mind, let’s take a look once again at songs dealing with womens empowerment.  While we’ve visited this type of songs before, it’s always great to take a look at them again.

(1) Beyoncé~Run the World (girls)

(2) Demi Lovato~Confident

(3) Aretha Franklin~R-e-s-p-e-c-t

(4) Meghan Trainor~NO

(5) Joan Jett~Bad Reputation

(6) Lady Gaga~Born This Way

(7) Reba McEntire~I’m A Survivor

So there ya go Widdershins – seven songs about surviving and empowering.  I know that you will have others that you’ll add in the comments below.  Open thread of course.

 


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