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Posts published in “notes”

Notes . . .

notes

There's a completely reasonable argument - and I'd agree with it - that many women who have been sexually harassed and abused haven't been given a reasonable hearing when they report what has happened, and many have been discouraged from doing so. And many egregious predators have been at it for years as a result.

This is all fair enough. But stretch it out far enough and it turns into a witch hunt, and will lead to blowback and discrediting of the original, entirely reasonable, point. Anyone who wants justice for women who have been abused over the years should guard against things going too far.

The Garrison Keillor case, for example, based at least on what we know of it publicly. This is ready-made for blowback. Who among us hasn't done something, on occasion, to irritate someone else? (I get a little irked when I hear a waitress say "honey" or "sweetie", but I'm not going to file a complaint over it.)

And don't think that the recent poll gains by Roy Moore are unconnected to this.

Time to start working out wher the lines are, where something is a serious, obviously-wrong offense, and where something is just irksome or annoying. There is a difference. And not only people's livelihoods but our basic ability to get along with each other may be at stake here.

Be it noted that this finance bill working itsway through Congress is in no shape or form tax "reform." Reform suggersts changes that are made with the idea of improvement; this bill improves matters only for people who will not meaningfully benefit at all from it, and will damage conditions for almost everyone else, the overwhelming majority of people in our society.

This idea is not particularly unusual or one-sided. It appears to be very broadly accepted across mot of American society. - rs

 

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Mostly, media companies will run political ads excepting in the most extreme cases, involving distasteful imagery, potential libel and so forth. None of that excuses the reported failure by a billboard firm to refuse a tastefully-designed and clearly pertinent billboard aimed at Senate candidate Roy Moore.

(Of course, this isn't the first time Moore has been at the center of a billboard controversy, either. And be it noted: I've seen a specific reference as to what company has denied the billboard placement, or what its side of this might be.)

A Tweet reposted the image (seen here) and commented, "It would be a shame if god-forbid it went viral on social media and was seen by even more people than the actual billboard would have been." Wouldn't it, though . . .
 

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I never met Orval Hansen face to face; he was departing from Congress as a representative from Idaho just as I was arriving, about to begin my study of the state's politics. (I missed watching first-hand a fascinating political story that evolved with his departure, though I would learn a good deal about it later.) My direct communication was limited to a couple of phone calls, not extensive in length, years ago.

But I have read a good deal about his extensive public service and the high standard he stuck to when he pursued it. And I've met a number of members of his family (including, just today, his wife), several of them also elected officeholder, who have over the years given plenty of positive reflection of him.

Hansen's in-state event at the Idaho Statehouse Monday, which I attended, drew a considerable number of people, more than you might expect for someone last elected to from Idaho in 1972, and who hasn't lived in the state since (until the last three years, when the Hansens did move back to Boise). But then, he was remembered and remembered in a good way. How many of today's officeholders will be remembered, decades from now, with such acclaim?

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Wise move by Oregon's state Senate Republicans with their choice of Jackie Winters as the new minority leader. It'll be tough to replace Ted Ferrioli, who's held the job for a very long time, but Winters - second most veteran Oregon legislator - can do it. Put aside the minority and female elements: She's a knowledgeable, skilled and a working-across-the-aisle kind of lawmaker, the kind we don't see enough of. Although Oregon still has a surprising number of them left.

Years back when she ran for a U.S. House seat, I watched her at a forum with her primary competitor, who went on to win that race. Asked about legislation and legislative activities, Winters replied with precise and detailed, maybe a little wonkish, answers. His opponent tossed out the red meat, which in a conventional sense meant he "won" the debate. But she's the one who got my respect that evening.

Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic put it well in a November 16 description of his magazine (it was in a subscription pitch mail) and where and how it positions itself these days. Part of it: "We’re on the side of E pluribus unum. We’re on the side of the Constitution. We’re on the side of dignity in office. We’re opposed to corruption. Most important, in our self-conception we’re a magazine of the Enlightenment. What I mean by that is that we endorse and believe in the Enlightenment principle that there is such a thing as observable, empirical reality, and that our job is to report on that reality and interpret it. Therefore, the whole fake-news, post-truth moment that we’re allegedly in—we’re the enemy of that." A lot of people probably could go along with, and join in, that.
 

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Wednesday night, Fox host Sean Hannity backed off his demand that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore demonstrate his innocence of harassment charges - which he failed to do, instead seeing the accusations nearly double scope this week - or else he call on him to drop out of the race ... after Moore sent him a note pleading to back off. Thereby demonstrating what kind of characters both of them are.

Maybe even better, though, was Moore's tweeted challenge to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: "Dear Mitch McConnell, Bring. It. On." To which another tweeter noted that "Bring It On" is the name of a movie about high school cheerleaders: "Great movie. Lots of high schoolers. If you're into that sort of thing." This isn't going to get prettier. Was this, again, a campaign for the United States Senate that we're talking about?

The startling, even stunning, comments swirling around Moore are breathtaking. But I was maybe most struck by a post from J. Pepper Bryars of Yellowhammer, a fiercely conservative Alabama-based blog which until today has backed Moore. But as of now, no longer, as the evidence has piled up and Moore retorts have been far short of convincing:

There are more voters just like me, however, diehard conservatives who have cheered the judge for years, who have supported his actions and defended him against the media and the establishment wings within both parties.

But who now, when faced with these overwhelming and credible allegations, and the judge’s implausible and evasive answers, cannot support him any longer.

I will not … cannot, in fact … vote for Roy Moore.

Period.

This causes me anguish beyond measure because I know what the immediate consequences may be – an extreme pro-choice Democrat being elected to the United States Senate who could hold the deciding vote to confirm the next one or two justices.

But the conservative movement isn’t about individuals. It’s about ideas.

 

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This one reminded me of some of the charts Glenn Beck used to construction on his chalk boards, except that this one by Representative Louie Gohmert is much wilder. It blows right past comprehension deep into la-la land. And never mind that what it purports to describe isn't even part of our present, or future: It is about the Obama Administration, which went away most of a year ago. But then, if talking about the present people in power in Washington is too painful, well, that might be understandable . . .

Just how jammed up is Idaho politics? When a congressional seat actually does open, it seems the whole world wants in, at least the whole Republican world. Nampa Republican Representative Christy Perry said that she wants to run for the 1st congressional district seat being vacated by Raul Labrador, and that means she will join former Lieutenant Governor David Leroy, legislator Russ Fulcher, Meridian; state Representative Luke Malek, Coeur d’Alene, Nick Henderson, Post Falls and Michael Snyder, Bonners Ferry - and that's just the Republicans. And we have four months or so yet to the filing deadline . . .
 

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David Brooks (of the New York Times) has been on a streak for most of this year with his columns looking into what amount to political motivations - why people do what they do, politically. Sometimes they miss or overreach, but sometimes they hit home solidly. In today's column, for example, he describes neatly the same reasons I thought last weekend's Saturday Night Live sketch on Roy Moore (albeit it that some of it was funny) was only helping Moore. Brooks didn't mention that point specifically, but he didn't have to; the extrapolation doesn't run very far:

The siege mentality starts with a sense of collective victimhood. It’s not just that our group has opponents. The whole “culture” or the whole world is irredeemably hostile.

From this flows a deep sense of pessimism. Things are bad now. Our enemies are growing stronger. And things are about to get worse. The world our children inherit will be horrific. The siege mentality floats on apocalyptic fear.

SNL was just another attack on "us" - leading to the response of, "We'll show them." It's not very productive politics, but it's what we have at the moment ...

Oregon Democrats may be on the verge of their supermajority in the House at Salem. The second Republican in the last month or so has quit the House to take a job leading a lobbying organization, the Oregonian reports. Today's is Jodi Hack of Salem; last month it was Mark Johnson of Hood River. And not long before that, John Huffman of The Dalles departed with the prospect of a job in the Trump Administration. The Johnson seat in particular is highly likely to go Democratic; Johnson has held it because of personal qualities and popularity, not any local partisan advantages. And if 2018 is a Democratic wave year, don't be surprised if one or both of the other seats, albeit in traditionally Republican areas, fall to the Democrats as well ...