The Top 5 Things that Bernie and Trump have in Common

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1. Movement

Bernie: Our movement understands that what we don't need is Trump's huge tax breaks for millionaires. July 21, 2016

Trump: “It's a movement not a campaign.” Trump campaign ad September 20, 2016

Politicians never start movements because movements are started by people, always. Can you think of an instance where a billionaire ever started a movement?

Campaigns operate within our political system. Movements operate outside the political system.

2. Establishment

Trump, "I think the establishment actually is against me...” January 25, 2016

Bernie: “I think the people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment, and, by the way, to the media establishment.” February 1, 2016

Both Trump and Bernie dislike the “establishment.” They both ran for president as “outsiders.”

In fact Bernie went so far as to refer to Planned Parenthood a “part of the establishment.” January, 2016

3. Corrupt

Trump: "Our laws are so corrupt and so stupid," Trump April, 2018

Both Trump and Bernie have contempt for our political system. Trump clearly wants to undermine our laws and Bernie has no faith in the political “system.”

Bernie: “Democratic socialism means that we must reform a political system in America today which is not only grossly unfair but, in many respects, corrupt.” November, 2015

Trump: “Our movement is about replacing a failed and corrupt, and when say corrupt I'm talking about totally corrupt political establishment, with a new government controlled by you the American people.” October 2016

4. Rigged

Trump: “I'm afraid the election is going to be rigged.” August 2, 2016

Althought Bernie never claimed the election was rigged against him, large numbers of his supporters firmly believe the DNC was rigging the primary for Hillary. His supporters believed the political system was broken and that the primary was rigged to favor Hillary.

5. They rarely smile

Bernie and Trump scowl. When they do smile it's rare and visibly pained.

Trump and Bernie's comfort zone is the angry face, but anger is not a substitute for governance.

There's more similarities

Although Bernie and Trump consistently referred to working men and women or “working families” during their presidential runs, the image of “working” was certainly an image of the white male laborer.

Moreover, it was this particular demographic, the white working male, that their supporters adamantly referred to when discussing Hillary's loss: 'She lost the working people.' But that is disingenuous. What they really meant was that she couldn't persuade the 'working man' to support her. Certainly working women backed her (read the championing of the Lilly Ledbetter bill by Hillary and Ledbetter's subsequent endorsement of Hillary). Moreover, people who were concerned about the state of our economy voted for Hillary.

Her “loss” is identified by many as her inability to connect with 'workers.” This image conjures up populist feelings of pride in the 'strong man' who works hard despite the powers of elites that conspire against him. Hillary was cast as an 'elite' evidenced in the constant references to her as being status quo or corporate.

Both Bernie and Trump want their movements. Yet, interestingly neither has any background in the women's liberation movement which changed this country radically in the mid-20th century with one of its most notable achievements: the opening of doors for women into traditionally male jobs.

Shockingly, Bernie gave a speech in 2015 on socialism and the greatness of the New Deal without ever mentioning Francis Perkins, the woman who essentially created the New Deal.

Political Parties

Bernie was never a Democrat until he ran for president in 2016 and now he has returned to being an independent. Trump, between 1987 and 2011, started as a registered republican and then switched to independent and then switched again to a democrat and then back to being a republican.

The similarities between the two men who campaigned against the first woman to win a major party nomination is worth analyzing.

When we move beyond this time and enter a new decade, perhaps, we can see more clearly the trends that laid a foundation for the Trump Presidency. Patriarchy is bolstered by people whose comfort zone is a male framework for culture and government. In order to pave the way for a fuller democracy for the United States our biases must be uncovered and seen in a new light.

-Jennifer Hall Lee

The Big Bad Wolf Came to the White House Correspondents' Dinner

"Donald Trump Is Out, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is in." That was the April 6 announcement by USA TODAY.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders stood as proxy for the President. Comedian Michelle Wolf served as MC for the evening.

The gender roles were being challenged although most didn't notice, at first. Then, reality set in and some women and men came unglued.

Why was I surprised? We all know that when women get near the office of the president it shakes social foundations and pushes people to great extremes in order to shore up those stagnant, yet crumbling edifices. 

Mika Brzezinski, Maggie Haberman, and Andrea Mitchell acted as the press secretary's protectors by issuing tweets that were tinged with a hollow mid-century worship for the traditional housewife.

The Feminine Mystique rose from the dead. 

Mika Brzezinski saw Sanders as wife and mother, not the press secretary who attacks journalists from the press room.

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Maggie Haberman's admired Sanders' stoicism. Was that Sarah Huckabee Sanders the press secretary sitting in place for the President or was it a hostess overseeing her party? 

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Michelle Wolf's line about Sanders' smokey eye make-up being created by the ashes of her lies went over Haberman's head. She insisted it was a dig at Sanders' physical appearance.

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Wolf is female so we must demand an apology.

Andrea Mitchell didn't disappoint.

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Such confusion!

Cosmetics are products, purchased and applied as beauty enhancements. So is hair dye and we all know that Donald's hair is a source of ridicule. 

Who protects Trump? No one has to protect him because we live in a country of old gender stereotypes.

Trump is a man and we can laugh at his hair and weight because his looks are secondary to his strong man persona.

If you identify with political gender roles then a woman's appearance is primary.

Sanders defining characteristic was being protected by Mitchell, Haberman, and Brzezinski.

And thankfully Michelle Wolf stepped in to remind them they were living in the 21st century.

Michelle Wolf, born in 1985, well after feminists were wrapping up one era and entering another, stood strong and spoke freely in public. She even laughed at herself "I never really thought I would be a comedian, but I did take an aptitude test in seventh grade and this is 100% true. It said my best profession was a clown or a mime."

Reaction to her from more traditional quarters of our society couldn't see their own damaging double standards. 

Trump can be vulgar and misogynistic. He can wreck our house and we have to deal with it; clean it up afterwards and tell the children he didn't mean it and that he really loves women.

Wolf needed to be reminded of her place. Apologize.

Mitchell, Haberman, and Brzezinski played the role of gatekeepers for traditional gender stereotypes in a rigid home dominated by a man.

Thankfully, that Wolf showed up at the door. 

- JHL

Watch Michelle Wolf's speech here: https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4727074/comedian-michelle-wolf-headlines-white-house-correspondents-dinner

 

 

 

 

"Hillary was a Bad Candidate" Provides Cover for Those Who Feared Her

"Hillary was a bad candidate." The sentence is a trite talking point.  

How does one respond?

Well, I heard it today from a young educated person and I laughed. The words were expressed in the middle of a conversation that entailed a discussion about the Nixon/Kennedy televised debates when Nixon sweated on television. This context mires the talking point in deep emotion.

"Hillary was a bad candidate." The sentence is an excuse. It allows the voter who was lukewarm about Hillary's candidacy to have a cover; "I just wasn't that into her, but she lost because she was a bad candidate."

Quick! I need help! Did I usher Trump into the Oval because I didn't trust her? Maybe it's true! Oh, but it can't be because I'm a good feminist.

It wasn't my fault Hillary was a bad candidate.

It is a hook upon which to rest your prejudices you felt deep in your gut but couldn't identify.  You watched the first female nominee who was about to be President of the USA. It is the most powerful position in the world. 

Imagine if she had won?

What would it be like for children and women across the globe to have the person who first said, "Women's rights are human rights" to say that again and more from the Oval Office?

"Hillary was a bad candidate."

Hillary was more than a candidate, she is as symbol of our commitment to the rights of women and children. It's an American value, is it not?

This talking point (childish as it is) is an excuse for voters to cloak their inability to step up for women and children of the world.

U.S. State Department, public domain

"Hillary was a bad candidate."

The phrase reveals the Ugly American made anew.

We are more than our borders. What is out there in the world is also in here among us; misogyny, child abuse, domestic violence, male domination.

History never repeats itself exactly, but we are in a time when anti-woman authoritarian has grabbed the Oval Office in the oldest democracy in the world because an opening was provided to him. The opening was labeled "suspicion," distrust," and "hate" for women who dare rise to the top echelons of our society.

It made many uncomfortable. 

"Hillary was a bad candidate." It's not the only excuse. 

"She didn't play well on television." Did George W. Bush?

I thought she did well on television. 

But, that's not the issue though, is it? Have we given up on our democracy so much that we rely on how one looks or sounds on television to help us decide who to vote for President? 

If America is the great experiment for the average citizen to rise to great heights than we have failed. But Hillary wasn't an average citizen, you might ask. No, she did the work to raise herself up to be the nominee for President. 

We are the average citizens who decide who speaks for us. 

How sad to see citizens succumb to the power of the screen and to allow themselves to be manipulated by talking points and news narratives that only benefit the corporate powers who sell advertising to television and radio networks.

She was a great candidate and the world needed her. 

 

 

She Who Persists We Must Enlist

A friend and I had lunch yesterday at one of the new Los Angeles area fusion restaurants in a newly gentrified neighborhood. Big money increasingly edges out regular people in American cities and we get fancy eggs and vegetables in return.

The cappuccino arrived and my friend asked me, "Who should run in 2020?" 

This is the wrong question.

It's a talking point, a cliche. And cliches are traditions that serve no purpose but to allow us the luxury of not thinking.

Something big is happening in our country. Let's open our eyes.

I made the following points:

  • We need justice for 2016
  • We need a President to help us, the people, fix our democracy*

Surprisingly I got a little bit of sticky resistance. My friend insisted we needed someone to beat Trump. That suggestion has an air of fantasy.

How can we "beat Trump" if we have no justice for the crime committed in 2016?

Fix the problem at hand. 

He floated celebrity names. I pushed back. If we encourage billionaires and celebrities (ones who have not begun a new political career by running for city council or school board) to populate the road to the White House simply because they have name recognition then soon the billionaires wil totally absorb our political sphere, which is our public sphere.

Public, that's us. 

My lunch

My lunch

2016 was not a flash in the pan. It was a fire that's burning down our house. I told him we needed Hillary.

He resisted, I persisted.

Anyone who thinks 2018 and 2020 is going to be a normal election is naive.

Only we can fix the problem.

Fake news, online trolls and hate for any candidate that espouses strong democratic values will be a target of interference from the various anti-democratic forces sweeping the world.

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte said in February, “Tell the soldiers. There’s a new order coming from the mayor. We won’t kill you. We will just shoot your vagina." 

We are in a wave of anti-human rights sentiment and actions across the globe.

Prior to the 2016 election Trump was heard on the Access Hollywood recording saying, "You can do anything ... Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."

These men are not friends of women or children yet, women and children are a supermajority. 

This time that we are in is a part of something big:  the women's movement continuum that is moving into a phase of female global leadership equal with men.

There are men who are not friends of women and children in powerful positions who are attempting to remind us that we are just body parts. (And they have female enablers.)

We resist.

We are the people and we exist. 

Written on an envelope from a friend.

Written on an envelope from a friend.

Our President Spoke in New York Today

Hillary Clinton has been denied her place in the Oval Office so she's on the speaking circuit and we sure as hell need her.

At first I was reluctant to watch as it rips open the wounds of the last election - if we can call it that. Perhaps a soft coup is the proper phrase.

Today at the Pen America World Voices Festival in NYC she gave the Freedom To Write Arthur Miller Lecture. This speech is presidential.

She talked of our framers and their commitment to freedom of the press. (She clearly has learned a lot over the decades in public service.)

However, there was more to this speech than just the facts.

There was an undercurrent brewing and I liked it. Watch the speech and you will see what I mean.

She called out Trump, "Today we have a president who seems to reject the role of a free press in our democracy."

She called out the 2016 election, "It was a case study in the weaponization of false information and outright lies against our democracy."

At one point she called out Putin's fear of journalistic freedom and thus his authoritative regime in which he has journalists killed. These murders of reporters are facts and we have known of them for years, yet when Trump praised Putin during the campaign there were several pundits who kept clinging to Hillary's emails in hopes it would bring her down. It was a strange sight to behold.

Democracy is fragile.

Hillary succinctly summed up our current cultural atmosphere in the press by reminding us that we do have great journalists, but we also have a sea of pundits who enabled Trump's rise to the presidency.

They paved his way.

These days have been hard for me, as I am sure you feel the stress, too.

Although today I needed this particular speech. Just yesterday (or was it today) a friend on Facebook asked me who I thought should run for president in 2020.

I declined to answer and suggested a better question. I wrote "How do we, as citizens, get justice for 2016?"

Why that question? Hillary said it best "We are living through an all-out war on truth facts and reason."

This war brought down an American candidate for President.

The electoral college, the Trump campaign, James Comey, and numerous pundits failed America and left us with a charlatan, an authoritarian, a ridiculous man who rejects our values.

Justice for 2016.

JHL

 

Why It's A Women's March For Our Country

 

Hillary Clinton, courtesy U.S. State Department

 

It's a Women's March because the women of the USA just lost their first female President - a woman who spent her life fighting for women and children. We have another generation of girls growing up into women without seeing a woman in the Oval Office. This has an affect on women. The male lock box of Oval Office power holds our country back. Boys and men see the ultimate seat of power in our nation as male. This has an affect on them. It's a march for the country because America is behind many other nations in terms of political equality for women. This affects our society economically and socially. We are fighting for our country because the way our first female president lost was due to a rogue FBI director and a foreign power. Freedom of the press and our civil liberties are at risk. We are fighting for our country because this new administration does not have respect for our institutions that help to keep our democratic republic stable. - Jennifer Hall Lee

Tom Hayden and Hillary

Tom Hayden and Jennifer Hall Lee, Long Beach, CA

When I think of people who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s I quickly see names and images fly through my mind: Civil Rights, Vietnam, SDS, draft dodgers, Watergate, and Tom Hayden. Tom's name is synonymous with resistance and doing good work. 

Interestingly he is not known as a fierce fighter for women's rights. In the symbolic hallways of feminist history Tom Hayden's name might emerge briefly once or twice. Yet, at the Democratic Party Executive Board Meeting in Long Beach this past June feminism is exactly what Tom Hayden and I discussed and it was in the context of Hillary Clinton.

Initially, I had met his assistant Emma Taylor, and we chatted about Hillary whom she was supporting. She introduced me to Tom, who was also a Hillary supporter.

He was dapper in his hat and tie and relaxed in his manner. He seemed at home in this raucous group of California democrats who were in the middle of state party elections (he was running for a seat.) I saw his name earlier on the list outside a ballroom door and thought "Tom Hayden. This is a long life, his and possibly mine, too. From national political fame to this state contest on a long of list of people I don't know." After Emma introduced me Tom was immediately absorbed in what I wanted to talk about - his endorsement of Hillary. 

Tom Hayden clearly took the feminist road to the White House by endorsing Hillary and not the hero of the progressive left for 2016, Bernie Sanders.  In today's polarized politics he took a risk in losing his base.

We began our talk while standing and then he asked if we could move the conversation to two empty chairs. Tom talked to me about the hate he received after he endorsed Hillary for President. Many progressive activists considered him a traitor and he was struck by the vitriol for her by leftists. It really perplexed him and I sensed he had been thinking about it. I admitted that I had been saddened and discouraged by that as well. 

He asked me my opinion and he listened carefully. I said that for me it seemed archetypal. I felt that many couldn't square the reality of a democratic woman who could see the world through feminist eyes and also through the eyes of a Senator for all and ultimately as a Commander in Chief. He mulled that over and smiled approvingly, but wouldn't commit to my theory. He had more to think about on that subject.

He felt that Bernie Sanders was too ensconced in the homogenous state of Vermont to be a fully effective President. He did say to me that a guy like Bernie was not ready for Black Lives Matter, let alone the White House. We laughed at that. 

We didn't solve one of the conundrums of our time; the resistance to a female president who has spent a lifetime fighting for children and women by those on the progressive left. Although it was enjoyable to scratch at the surface of a topic that will be discussed in the years to come. 

Tom didn't win his election that weekend in Long Beach. 

Last night I saw #TomHayden trending on Twitter and I knew he had died. I told Emma I was sorry.

Tom Hayden won't see Hillary Clinton elected, an historic journey that has been decades in the making. That makes me sad. 

Tom and Hillary, two people whose names form part of the backdrop of my life. Both of them embody the heartfelt passion of always doing good work in the world. Doing good work never ends and there is a lot of good to do. 

 

Do I Respect Women? Yes.

by Jennifer Hall Lee

"Does she have a fat ass? Absolutely" - Donald Trump

Secretary of State Clinton with women from Lower Mekong Women's Initiative in 2012  Photo courtesy State Department by Paul Watzlavick

We are all wringing our hands. We are thirty nine days until election day and Hillary and Donald are the choices. Some people operate under tired cliches. They think that both of them are terrible candidates. Have we become a reality show?

We have Donald, an overtly sexist businessman who doesn't pay federal taxes and Hillary, a feminist politician who has fought successfully for women and children for over forty years. The race is close, if you can believe that. 

For the feminists of the 1980s who knew we would see a female president in our future, we didn't see this coming. We have faced tremendous pushback to women running for President and now we stand at the doorway of success.

Donald, her opponent, is the nominee of the Republican Party. How the mighty have fallen.

Character is a large part of being President, just ask any Reagan loving conservative, or any social justice liberal fighter. And yet, Donald Trump, a man with basically no character, is garnering a significant amount of votes. Just yesterday in Southern California's largest newspaper, The Los Angeles Times, we are introduced to another piece of his broken sense of how to treat other people, particularly female employees.

A lawsuit against the Trump National Golf Club located in the leafy green city of Palos Verdes was the subject of a 2005 Labor Relations suit. Some parts of the court records read like a John Grisham novel about discrimination against women. According to these documents, the Director of Catering said that she witnessed Trump tell managers that the women working there weren't "pretty enough" and that they should be "fired."

If you are steeped in television shock dramas and reality shows, you can shrug it off as inconsequential and say that's Trump being Trump. Well, there is an old-fashioned saying that often absolved boys from doing bad things; boys will be boys. This bouncy phrase is alive today and that's why Trump gets a lot of passes among his base.

How anyone can vote for Trump after hearing that he calls women "pigs" or judges their bodies as not being good enough is unthinkable to me. 

Let's look at this from a different angle. Look at this election from my point of view.

Almost every day we read another story about sexual assault of girls in schools or college campuses. Every parent who reads these stories can't help but think of their own daughters. Women are clearly still seen as objects for male consumption, despite our advances for women. Trump's words are evidence of this twisted value system. If he were to ever sit in the Oval Office his words would ring out across the globe. Let's imagine this particular Trump sentence vocalized from the White House, "I'd look her right in that fat ugly face of hers."

That would be heard by people in countries where so-called "honor killings" and rape are considered a male privilege.

On the other side of this election we have our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who many people distrust, yet there are no lawsuits filed against her, although many have tried and failed. Her family's charity, unlike Trump's, has created big changes in the world such as lowering the cost of malarial drugs.

But there is one thing I can't seem to get out of my mind. I think about it often. It's about sex trafficking.

First Lady Hillary Clinton meeting with women in India in 1995

When Hillary was first lady she shined a light on the crime of sex trafficking for all the world to see. Back in 1997 we weren't talking about this crime like we do today, it was unknown to most of us.

It happened like this: During a women's conference, co-organized by Hillary, Ukrainian women approached her and asked for help. Young women were disappearing from their towns and villages, lured away by job opportunities and never seen again.

Hillary helped these women and her work led to the first international piece of legislation that made sex trafficking a crime. It enabled us to prosecute sex traffickers. 

This is just part of Hillary's early work. It is an example of her consistent drive to better the lives of all people.

You want change? Well, this is where the rubber meets the road folks. So I am perplexed by women and men who don't trust her. I think they don't trust women who have moved successfully in traditionally male areas of expertise.  

Sexism runs deep even in the hearts of the most fervent progressive.

I shudder to think that something else might be true. Could it be that women politicians who have been successful in bettering women's lives around the globe inspire distrust in many Americans? 

It's a chilling thought.

If true, then how do we ever help women in countries unlike our own where religious zealots wield violent power over women and girls?

Do we have the courage to sit back and objectively see our own biases that have possibly kept our Oval Office entirely male.

We don't need father figures to guide our moral lives simply because they are male. We are adults and we choose how we want to solve the problems of our world, which includes fighting terrorism in countries where women are subjugated (try finding a terrorist country where women have equality).

Sexism is not a side issue to bigger problems. It is woven tightly into the laws and religious beliefs of countries where girls and women are seen as less than human.

If the abusive treatment of women in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq upsets you and you want it stopped, then Hillary is your candidate, not Donald. 

Hillary tells us that this a tight race. How can that be?

What if all the fence sitters and third party voters decided to stand with the women around the world who have survived gang rapes and the young women and girls here in the United States who have survived sexual assault on a college campus. If they took a solid step in support of these women and emphatically voted for Hillary without hesitation, we would watch her pull away in the polls and walk into the Oval Office with a sizable lead. 

Or we can keep it close and fear a future where Donald could utter his opinions about women from the White House. When asked in a 1992 interview with noted misogynist Howard Stern if he respected women Trump replied, "Uh, I can't say that either."

I don't know how you tell a pre-teen girl that her President doesn't respect women and expect that girl to love herself.

Maybe we don't have individual megaphones with which to tell the women and girls of the world that we want to help them. But, we do have our vote. 

You want to change the world?

Vote for Her.

 

 

THE HATEFUL PEPE AND THE FASCIST RIGHT OF AMERICA

by Jennifer Hall Lee

A tweet to Cheri Jacobs

This presidential race was bound to be close and I thought I was prepared. I was going to power through this election. I didn't foresee that Donald Trump, and then a frog, would stop me in my tracks and make me think hard about our current situation. 

It is surprising how many people identify as nazis and anti-semites. They are called white nationalists and Trump has brought them out into the wide open. They are also called the alternative right, or alt-right. They are the far, far-right who are bound together by their disdain for everyone else. They hate immigration.

Trump, Pepe, the alt-right. They all go together in a big basket.

Like all groups the alt-right has images and symbols that help identify them on the web. One of these images is a frog.  

His name is Pepe and he is the defacto mascot for the alt-right. He isn't pretty. In fact he is paunchy, crudely drawn and he barely smiles.

It's a disturbing time in America, but I haven't yet seen a collective shudder among the electorate. Either people haven't put the pieces together or they are rationalizing the bizarre behavior on the part of Trump. It's time to put the bricks together and form the structure that is hiding in plain sight.

The alt-right. The name isn't going away anytime soon. They are super excited that Hillary gave them a big shout-out which identified them to the country. The alt-right is now on the political map. They refer to themselves as racialists and believe in the separation of the races.

Alt-righters are everywhere and they have been hidden in the deep layers of the web, until now.

Proud and emboldened they even have a logo: two letters A and R, both constructed out of three triangles

Richard Spencer, a prominent white supremacist gave a press conference two days ago before Trump gave his speech on values. 

For them, it is their time. They have arrived.

The Fascist Mascot

The alt-right trolls the web with their icon Pepe the Frog. Some of us post kitten pictures or images of Gene Wilder for a laugh. The alt-right pushes Pepe.

Pepe harasses, insinuates, leers and when depicted with Hitler and Mein Kampf, he is downright evil.

I know there are many who say, “Time Out! Many people have tweeted Pepe with no ill will.” This is true, Pepe was not born in the alt-right world, but the alt-right claimed him as one of their own. 

Pepe has been born-again. He has a message, “Pepe is one of us and we will prevail.”

This frog is a bully and his online antics have placed him in a lawsuit filed by GOP communications pro Cheri Jacobus against Donald Trump and his past campaign manager (now a CNN commentator) Corey Lewandowski. She is suing both of them for defamation.

Her Trump travails start on May 17, 2015 when Ms. Jacobus gets contacted by a man connected to Trump (the campaign was in its early stages) who asked Jacobus to join the Trump train as the Communications Director. Trump is a high profile guy and Jacobus is a professional so she takes the meeting.

The second meeting is where it gets tricky. Corey Lewandowski, according to the summons, behaves in an “erratic” way. He was talking loudly and inappropriately and was generally a "powder keg." He even brags about yelling at Megyn Kelly.

Jacobus smartly declines their offer of employment and goes back to her role as news commentator. Her brief foray into Trump's world safely behind her, or so she thought. Jacobus was at the start of another round of unprofessional behavior.

What happens to her is a roller coaster of a ride through the Trump sewer of retaliation and lies. 

While on the Don Lemon show, in January, she criticized Trump's debating skills among other things. She is, after all, a commentator. But Jacobus got under Trump's thin skin. 

Both Trump and Lewandowski engaged in a takedown of Jacobus' character on talk shows and on the web.  For weeks they claimed that she “begged” them for a job and was turned down..

Many other anonymous tweeters joined in and they brought Pepe along to help them fight their sordid battle. (Who are these hidden tweeters?) In early January one tweet showed Pepe, with blond Trump-style hair, pointing a machine gun with a message for Cheri: this triggers @CheriJacobus

She responded.

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Pepe reads Mein Kampf

Then later that day another tweet appeared. It is a two-paneled image of a blond woman with her head on a chopping block and her hands tied behind her back. She has a hatchet on her neck. In the next panel Pepe is raping the headless torso.

The message to Cheri: #MakeAmericaGreatAgain

That image is cited in Jacobus' lawsuit.

I have altered this tweet with the black bar

I have altered this tweet with the black bar

Trump continued his tirade against her. In his signature juvenile style he tweeted about Jacobus: "A real dummy!"

Trump can't stop, he continues the online assault against Jacobus. 

The tweeting persecution of Jacobus contines to this day. Just recently another tweet appeared showing Pepe holding Hitler's Mein Kampf with a message to Jacobs: Do you really think you can win against Shitlords? #LOL

And two days ago, on September 11, a day of rememberance and honor, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted an image with Pepe standing to the right of Donald Trump's shoulder. It's a parody of the movie poster for The Expendables. All of the heads have been photoshopped. These are Trump loyalists, all men.

By placing Pepe in the image this becomes a direct message to the alt-right Trump followers. No shame for the hateful.

We can rationalize these events and say to ourselves "It's just Trump being Trump.  Pepe is a character used by many."

Pepe is used specifically by the alt-right.

People lie to themselves all the time when we don't want to see the truth. We can be forgiving or dismissive of cruelty as in the case of Cheri Jacobus, or we can be brave and admit to ourselves that this no ordinary election.

These alt-righters are the “basket of deplorables” that Hillary alerted us to and for good reason. She wanted us to see them.

Beware of Pepe.

 

- Read the lawsuit for yourself, it's pinned at the top of her Twitter page

 

Slut-Shaming Versus The Male Gaze

Am I a Slut-Shamer or just another feminist?


There are a few photos of a nude Melania Trump being passed around the web. I consider them to be feminist viruses that scream “click me.” They are invading our Facebook pages and our psyches.

These images are examples of the classic feminist concept called the Male Gaze, a term created by Laura Mulvaney in 1975. Mulvaney's  academic framework was brilliant and enabled us to finally analyze cinematic imagery with a feminist eye. 

What is the Male Gaze? It is the male point of view. We see the male gaze in pornography, comics, movies, and billboards. It is the lens through which we peer when seeing women and girls depicted for male consumption.

Good examples of the Male Gaze are the sexualized images of Marilyn Monroe. Ms. Monroe portrayed a woman as a mix of sexuality and girlish innocence in numerous movies. She was a pre-feminist cultural definition of the desirable female. She fought this description of herself because she wanted to have good roles with dramatic depth without success.

The women's liberation movement was too far into the future for her and she couldn't break through. Monroe stays forever embedded in the patriarchal milieu of pre-feminist movie-making. 

When I first saw the images of Melania Trump I couldn't help but to apply the Male Gaze and I critiqued them for what they are: images for men.

Then I posted them on Facebook and commented that our girls really didn't need to see these pictures of a First Lady.

And that's where the Slut Shaming cudgel came flying through the web to try and knock me out.

But, I was ready with my Wonder Woman power cuffs and deflected the assault.

Am I a Slut-Shamer or just another feminist?

The accusation of Slut-Shaming can be seen as a way to silence a woman for criticizing the patriarchal male gaze.

We are in an election where we have the chance to break the all male deadlock in the Oval Office. It is the first time we have a female nominee for president who has a good chance of being President. It is interesting these images have surfaced at this time.

The presence of these photographs challenge us at this historic point in time; Are we ready for a woman President or do we want to keep women as simply sexual beings?

The photo I posted, when I got my slut-spanking, had layers of meaning any progressive feminist would be excited to dissect and analyze. Let's give it a try.

Melania is nude and lying provocatively on a bed with tousled white sheets. She looks alluring and is staring straight at the camera – at us. We are looking down at her. Her body is vulnerable with spiky high heels that would hobble her if she tried to leave. Her jewelry consists of two heavily jeweled cuffs on both wrists and a jeweled choker around her neck. This bed is owned by someone. Her? I don't think so and here's why. She is on the bed, but she is handcuffed to a man's briefcase. Who has the key? The owner of the briefcase. The owner of the bed. The owner of her.

She is chained to him, capitalism, money, and patriarchy. If images could talk this would say, “If you have the money you can have me too."

I'm a feminist, sure I can criticize it.

Some say Trump is the bigger issue and these photos are minor compared to what he could do to our country if he becomes President. In a world where male presidents lord over us as the ultimate power image, with wives as appendages, yes he is the bigger issue.

However,  these images will trot alongside the images of an all male presidential ticket reinforcing an unequal relationship of power and gender. 

And as a feminist mother I have a job to do. I have to help my pre-teen navigate her way through this country and show her how to criticize the images of semi-nude women and yes, provocative images of girls, from television to the streets of my city. (Last night's stroll along Sunset Boulevard brought me to a towering image of a young woman in a tight bathing suit with butt cheeks exposed. )

Our daughters now stand at a moment in time where they can hold in their young minds images of a female President when deconstructing the images of the Male Gaze. 

A teen girl has to grow with a sense of her own power that is not sexual power.

But, thanks to the New York Post, if Trump wins, we have more images of the potential First Lady that will be very visible on the internet. The recent photos of Melania from the 1990s show her acting as a lesbian vixen and as a wet and waxed nude woman with no real pubic hair (an encouragement of pre-pubescent female sex). These clearly compound the problem ahead.

I didn't slut-shame Melania Trump. I criticized the image with a feminist point of view.

As a thinking person I have to allow myself to entertain the possibility that Melania could be First Lady.

A girl's discovery of these photos on the internet coupled with the fact that every single President in our history has been male is a tangled web of gender, power and sex that will have to be confronted if Trump wins.

And that's just pondering the result of girls (and boys) seeing these images here in the United States.

What will children in other countries think?

This isn't slut-shaming. This is a feminist issue. Keep talking.

 Photo of Melania Trump courtesy © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com

THE POPE OF VERMONT: BERNIE SANDERS

by Jennifer Hall Lee

The Pope Ascending

Is it moral for women to be excluded from the priesthood?

Bernie visited the Vatican, but he didn't scream for revolution. In fact, he just shook the Pope's hand. The Catholic Church is a bastion of male dominance and as long as Francis is the Pope, it's going to stay that way. This seems perfectly fine for Bernie. 

Why did Bernie go to the Vatican if not to talk about revolution and equality? It was probably for the media coverage, which is a lost opportunity for the angry revolutionary from Vermont. There is a lot to talk about in terms of revolution and the Church, namely a growing chorus for female priests. 

The ordination of women is one of the growing movements for women's equality, however it's still on the edges of our society, unlike the movement for equal pay. Why is it important to have female priests? The Church holds large amounts of power over people's ideas about women. The Pope and Bernie like to talk about income inequality, but cannot seem to see that women cannot be separated from the economy of the world. 

The Pope plays it safe and lightly criticizes capitalism, and many who consider themselves forward thinking intellectuals have vocally praised him for this, but when it comes to the status of women in the Church Francis is doing his part to keep them secondary. At the same time people who praise his words on income equality, stay silent when it comes to his words on women. The Pope and his supporters accept women's second class status in the Church. 

When confronted by activists for women's participation as priests the Pope said that the Church had already spoken on that topic (I didn't know the Church could talk.) and that the door to women priests was "closed." Take that you women's equality activists!

Bernie's meeting with the Pope was less than he expected, as he only got to shake his hand, but according to the New York Times he was "beaming." Sanders made the obligatory statement for the media and said he admired the Pope for his work "...demanding that morality be part of our economy." 

There is no morality in the Pope's refusal to allow women serve as priests equally with men. The Pope is a patriarch and Bernie, a patriarch himself, isn't much of a revolutionary. 

Image Courtesy of The U.S. State Department on Flickr

The Politics of Penis Power

 

Senator Marco Rubio with Senator Joni Ernst in Iowa, 2016

Donald Trump and Marco Rubio are comparing penis size in their run for the presidency.  What a difference Hillary has made in the 2016 race.

A woman could win the presidency and men are determined to show us she doesn't possess the right stuff, literally, a penis.

But, before the males can vanquish the female they have to beat their male opponents. Gender is going to be an issue in the general election and these male candidates are getting us ready by referencing their male body parts. For them the presidency is a male domain and they intend to keep it that way.

It has been said that small hands indicate small penis size. That is the quaint bit of folklore that Marco Rubio brought into the race. He said that even though Donald Trump is a tall man his hands are oddly small. “And you know what they say about men with small hands?”

Now there's a smack down.

Men have dominated the history of presidential politics in America, but the presence of Hillary has shifted the power dynamics. To use sexism against her, such as accusing her of of being shrill, will be attacked for what it is, so let's get down to what it's all about – the penis.

Even Donald Trump said recently that back in 2008 Hillary got “schlonged.”

The Oval Office is the ultimate mirror of power in the United States and the reflection has always been male. For women this image has never been their own. We are told that the presidency is for us too, but that has been an illusion under which we have all been expected to live until now.

Clearly Trump and Rubio are quietly panicked at the possibility of being beaten by a woman. So they have to come right out and say it through penis imagery, “The Oval Office is reserved for men and the big one wins.”

In the last republican debate Trump pounced on the accusation that he had a small penis.  He held up his hands and said. “Look at those hands. Are they small hands? I guarantee you there’s no problem, I guarantee you.”

The penis talk underlines an assumption that come the general election Hillary will have a problem because she has no penis. Male power is entwined with a belief that women are inferior. If Hillary wins than that belief is dead. 

Being male and being president have always gone together. Hillary alters the race. Will the penis count?

Interestingly, there is a precursor to talking about penis size; men going shirtless. Martin O'Malley sported the topless look early in the presidential race in the tradition of showing voters he is a virile man. It's a male tradition of sly messages.

We can't deceive ourselves anymore with subtleties. Penis talk is bold and vulgar. All male candidates of the presidency have rested comfortably in the fact that they follow in a long line of male candidates; the Oval Office has been a man's domain. Hillary marks a great change for the country's highest position. 

For many this shift in power is unsettling. For others, like me, it's exhilarating. If she becomes president then the next generation of girls and boys will see power in a new way. 

In the past men only had to compete with half the population, yet now, and in the future, the field will be doubled. This is a positive change because only through a broader field of candidates will we have greater opportunity to elect the best person for president.

For those who want to keep the field of candidates limited and male, talking about penis size, is a last resort.

Image courtesy Gage Skidmore/ WikiCommons