Robert Mugabe is deposed: Daily Bullshit, November 16-18, 2017

I had fallen behind and have only finally now caught up. A bunch of what appears here probably should have been updated into the last issue. But, look! It’s three days later. Time flies even when you aren’t having fun.


Updates

  1. Originally published, November 16, 12:58 pm.
  2. Now, only now, finally, caught up. November 16, 10:35 pm.
  3. November 17, 5:07 pm (not caught up):
    • In a specifically pragmatic and admittedly partisan argument that appropriately acknowledges my critical concerns, Kate Harding argues for excusing Al Franken’s one (but not more than one) transgression until the next election (under some fairly stringent conditions which I think Franken should consider).[1] Rod Dreher criticizes her partisanship as tribalist.[2] Pragmatism has let me down far too many times for me to prefer it to idealism, Harding is fairly explicit in choosing a utilitarian over a deontological ethical approach, and I remain deeply skeptical of differences between the two major parties, but Dreher’s argument relies, first, on a dubious—I’m not calling it false—equivalence between the cases of Roy Moore, whose alleged conduct was serial and, pretty much everyone agrees, vastly more egregious, and Franken. Dreher is cautious in his deployment of this equivalence so I’m not inclined to throw his argument out on these particular grounds. But Dreher also relies on a dubious equivalence between the Democratic and Republican Parties on women’s issues, which, first, coming from a traditionalist conservative, smacks loudly of hypocrisy; and second, ignores just about everything about the parties’ stances (not to be confused with actual performance) on these issues. Despite these shortcomings, Dreher makes a point that excusing Franken even temporarily is on a slippery slope to excusing Moore. I’m not sure he’s wrong and I’m not sure I would recommend accepting the risk that he might be right. (Sex panic)
  4. November 18, 11:34 am: It’s a morning for ‘rhetorical’ questions that are really stupid questions that we don’t want to just come out and say ‘yes’ to. (I’m once again caught up.)
    • “The uncomfortable question is whether Democrats then were guilty of the sin they accuse Republicans of committing now by continuing to support President Trump and Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore, despite allegations of sexual offenses. Were they also putting partisanship and their desire to hold on to power above the principles they claim to hold dear?” Sorry, that’s not a question. We’re talking about the Clintons and mainstream Democrats who answer every progressive initiative with appeals to the “politically possible” while adhering zealously to neoconservative and neoliberal values. They are about absolutely nothing else besides power. If you need further evidence, consider that “when Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) — Hillary Clinton’s successor as senator from New York, a staunch backer of her presidential campaign and a talked-about presidential possibility — told the New York Times that by today’s standards, the “appropriate response” for Bill Clinton would have been to resign the presidency when his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky was revealed in 1998,”[3] longtime Hillary Clinton aide Philippe Reines labeled Gillibrand a “hypocrite” for having taken “the Clintons’ endorsements, money, and seat,”[4] which is not only to substitute an ad hominem for a substantive response but to highlight, as if it were a good thing, the Clintons’ power. (Sex panic)
    • I wonder about situations like the one now in Zimbabwe where a political leader is through, everyone knows he’s through, but he (usually, but not always, a man) hangs on nonetheless.[5] Does the man really imagine he can somehow rescue himself? And if he’s simply holding out for a deal (which often seems to be the case), Robert Mugabe is 93 years old. What, really, would a ‘deal’ look like for such an old man?
    • Is Donald Trump a hypocrite?[6] Give me a fucking break. (Sex panic)

Zimbabwe

I would not get too excited about the Army assuming power. Yes, everyone agrees that Robert Mugabe is evil. But it was the Army that kept him in power, even if it looks like—after all these decades—petty politics did him in.

Christopher Woolf, “How Robert Mugabe became Zimbabwe’s leader and clung on till now,” Public Radio International, November 15, 2017, https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-11-15/how-robert-mugabe-became-zimbabwe-s-leader-and-clung-till-now

Jan Raath, Harry Davies, and Aislinn Laing, “Tsvangirai urges Mugabe to step aside and allow elections,” Times, November 16, 2017, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/mugabe-crushed-by-his-own-strongman-v0pm3wk6m

Deutschewelle, “Zimbabwe latest: Robert Mugabe’s party leads calls for resignation,” November 17, 2017, http://www.dw.com/en/zimbabwe-latest-robert-mugabes-party-leads-calls-for-resignation/a-41430225


Sex panic

I hate to call this a sex panic. As I’ve said previously, I think most of these allegations are probably true,[7] and I accept that unacceptable behavior is ubiquitous, but this is spreading like wildfire, too fast for credibility. On the other hand, if it takes out the entire political class, that wouldn’t be such an entirely bad thing.

Jordain Carney and Rebecca Savransky, “McConnell: Roy Moore should step aside,” Hill, November 13, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/360102-mcconnell-roy-moore-should-step-aside

Nell Gluckman and Brock Read, “Sexual Harassment and Assault in Higher Ed: What’s Happened Since Weinstein,” Chronicle of Higher Education, November 13, 2017, http://www.chronicle.com/article/Sexual-HarassmentAssault/241757

Avery Anapol, “Franken releases new statement, calls for ethics investigation of himself,” Hill, November 16, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/360697-franken-releases-new-statement-calls-for-ethics-investigation-of-himself

Athena Jones, “New George H.W. Bush accuser says he groped her during 1992 re-election campaign,” CNN, November 16, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/16/politics/george-h-w-bush-accuser-1992/index.html

Judy Kurtz, “Celebs call for Franken’s resignation,” Hill, November 16, 2017, http://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/360690-celebs-call-for-resignation-jail-time-for-franken

Amber Phillips, “The six likeliest ways this whole Roy Moore saga could end, ranked,” Washington Post, November 16, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/11/16/the-five-likeliest-ways-this-whole-roy-moore-saga-could-end-ranked/

John Whitesides, “Two more women accuse Senate candidate Moore of sexual misconduct,” Reuters, November 16, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-congress-moore/two-more-women-accuse-senate-candidate-moore-of-sexual-misconduct-idUSKBN1DG03R

Rod Dreher, “The One Free Grope Rule Returns,” American Conservative, November 17, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/gloria-steinem-kate-harding-one-free-grope/

Kate Harding, “I’m a feminist. I study rape culture. And I don’t want Al Franken to resign,” Washington Post, November 17, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/11/17/im-a-feminist-i-study-rape-culture-and-i-dont-want-al-franken-to-resign/

Karen Tumulty and Katie Mettler, “Abuse allegations have revived scrutiny of Bill Clinton — and divided Democrats,” Washington Post, November 17, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/abuse-allegations-have-revived-scrutiny-of-bill-clinton–and-divided-democrats/2017/11/17/3d1711c8-cba4-11e7-b244-2d22ac912500_story.html

David Remnick, “The Weinstein Moment and the Trump Presidency,” New Yorker, November 20, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/11/20/the-weinstein-moment-and-the-trump-presidency


Hillary Clinton

Olivia Beavers and John Solomon, “Sessions weighs second special counsel to probe Clinton-related matters,” Hill, November 13, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/360219-sessions-considering-appointing-second-special-counsel-to-probe


Obamacare

Alexander Bolton, Peter Sullivan, and Naomi Jagoda, “Senate GOP tax bill will include repeal of ObamaCare mandate,” Hill, November 14, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/360327-thune-senate-tax-bill-will-include-repeal-of-obamacare-mandate


For-profit ‘schools’

Michael Vasquez, “Inside the Scramble to Save Ashford U.,” Chronicle of Higher Education, November 10, 2017, http://www.chronicle.com/article/Inside-the-Scramble-to-Save/241747


Muslim ban

Lawrence Hurley, “Appeals court lets Trump travel ban go partially into effect,” Reuters, November 13, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-ruling/u-s-court-lets-trump-travel-ban-go-partially-into-effect-idUSKBN1DD272


Brexit

I think we’re in Theresa May’s ‘denial’ phase, where she does not see what everyone else sees, that she is through. In her defense, however, I suspect a few will note that she’s survived defeats before and, possibly, lasted longer than anyone could have been expected to under these circumstances.

Anushka Asthana, “Parliament to have ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ vote on final Brexit deal, Davis says,” Guardian, November 13, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/13/parliament-to-have-final-say-on-brexit-deal-david-davis-announces

Dan Roberts, Lisa O’Carroll, and Kate Connolly, “EU business leaders tell PM: agree Brexit deal or face collapse in confidence,” Guardian, November 13, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/13/eu-business-leaders-tell-pm-agree-brexit-deal-or-face-collapse-in-confidence


Palestine

Wait, you might protest, you didn’t even know there was a peace plan. You have no idea what the substance of this plan is. And, ummmm, you would be right.

Yes, just simply right. There is no plan and I’ve not heard of any new substantive proposals. It’s to be negotiated (by whom, precisely, under what conditions?). Israel will retain the right to veto it. But Mahmoud Abbas is to accept a Trump administration plan regardless. Even though such a plan seems highly likely to be biased in favor of Israel.[8]

So now, smart guy, you tell me: What concern for Palestinian justice are the Saudis exhibiting here? And what interests are the Saudis pursuing? Ick.

Richard Spencer and Anshel Pfeffer, “Saudi prince orders Palestinian president to accept Jared Kushner’s peace plan,” Times, November 14, 2017, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/saudi-prince-orders-palestinian-president-to-accept-jared-kushners-peace-plan-xjdts8338


Uber

Jacky Wong, “SoftBank’s Uber Deal Shows Doubts About Ride-Hailing,” Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/softbanks-uber-deal-shows-doubts-about-ride-hailing-1510570476


  1. [1]Kate Harding, “I’m a feminist. I study rape culture. And I don’t want Al Franken to resign,” Washington Post, November 17, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/11/17/im-a-feminist-i-study-rape-culture-and-i-dont-want-al-franken-to-resign/
  2. [2]Rod Dreher, “The One Free Grope Rule Returns,” American Conservative, November 17, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/gloria-steinem-kate-harding-one-free-grope/
  3. [3]Karen Tumulty and Katie Mettler, “Abuse allegations have revived scrutiny of Bill Clinton — and divided Democrats,” Washington Post, November 17, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/abuse-allegations-have-revived-scrutiny-of-bill-clinton–and-divided-democrats/2017/11/17/3d1711c8-cba4-11e7-b244-2d22ac912500_story.html
  4. [4]Philippe Reines, quoted in Karen Tumulty and Katie Mettler, “Abuse allegations have revived scrutiny of Bill Clinton — and divided Democrats,” Washington Post, November 17, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/abuse-allegations-have-revived-scrutiny-of-bill-clinton–and-divided-democrats/2017/11/17/3d1711c8-cba4-11e7-b244-2d22ac912500_story.html
  5. [5]Deutschewelle, “Zimbabwe latest: Robert Mugabe’s party leads calls for resignation,” November 17, 2017, http://www.dw.com/en/zimbabwe-latest-robert-mugabes-party-leads-calls-for-resignation/a-41430225
  6. [6]Jonathan Easley, “Trump risks hypocrisy charges with Franken attack,” Hill, November 18, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/360984-trump-risks-hypocrisy-charges-with-franken-attack
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Affirmative consent is still a better idea,” Not Housebroken, November 12, 2017, https://disunitedstates.org/2017/11/12/affirmative-consent-is-still-a-better-idea/
  8. [8]Richard Spencer and Anshel Pfeffer, “Saudi prince orders Palestinian president to accept Jared Kushner’s peace plan,” Times, November 14, 2017, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/saudi-prince-orders-palestinian-president-to-accept-jared-kushners-peace-plan-xjdts8338

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