5

He Sat There Like an Unfeeling Lump Until the Nobel Prize Was Mentioned

“We cannot find a safe place to live… [ISIS] killed my mom. They killed my six brothers. They left behind them.”
— Yazidi activist and Nobel Prize winner Nadia Murad, to Trump in Oval Office

“Where are they now?”
— Trump

“They killed them. They are in the mass grave in Sinjar and I’m still fighting just to live safe in safety. Please do something.”
— Murad

“I know the area very well. We’re going to look into it very strongly…You had the Nobel Prize? That’s incredible. They gave it to you for what reason? Maybe you can explain.”
— Trump

“For what reason?…I didn’t give up. I make it clear to everyone that ISIS raped thousands of Yazidi women.”
— Murad

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5

Having Spoken, Brave Yertle the Turtle Went Back Into His Shell

From CNN:

Asked if he would consider it a racist attack if someone told his wife Elaine Chao — who is the US Secretary of Transportation and an immigrant and naturalized US citizen — to go back to her own country, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sidestepped the question and talked about his support for legal immigration.

“The Secretary of Transportation came here at the age of 8 not speaking a word of English, and has recognized the American dream. This is a process of renewal that’s gone on in this country for a very long time, and it’s good for America. We ought to continue it,” he told reporters.

McConnell continued: “As I said, the legal immigration has been a fulfilling of the American dream. The new people who come here have a lot of ambition, a lot of energy, tend to do very well and invigorate our country. My wife is a good example of that.”

He went on to say President Trump is “not a racist.”

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4

Shades of Mike Pence and “Mother”

From Esquire, by Charles P. Pierce:

Larrison Campbell with the online publication Mississippi Today wrote that she requested to “shadow” Robert Foster to report about his campaign before the Aug. 6 primary, and his campaign director told her Foster wouldn’t ride in a vehicle alone with her because people could insinuate Foster and Campbell are having an affair.

Foster said Wednesday that he won’t be alone with any woman other than his wife, even while working or campaigning, because of the possible public perception that he was doing something to hurt his marriage. He said being alone with a man is no problem. Foster told The Associated Press he has hired women to work for the agricultural tourism business that he and his wife run in northern Mississippi, and that he would hire women staffers if he is elected governor. He said, however: “It’s unprofessional to be alone with a woman who’s not my wife.”

Subsequent to this peculiar announcement, Foster apparently saw an opening among the Bible-bangers because he leapt to the electric Twitter machine to declare himself the bravest of the brave. Political gold, Jerry! From Mississippi Today:

“I am confident that a majority of Mississippians understand that this isn’t about gender discrimination, rather a personal conviction,” Foster told Mississippi Today on Wednesday afternoon. “I am a God-fearing man devoted to my wife and even though having a ride along with me wouldn’t be in itself immoral, the Bible teaches us to refrain from the appearance of impropriety. That’s what I did, and I’m sticking to my guns.”

The groundbreaking documentary, My Penis Terrifies Me: The Robert Foster Story, will be debuting at Cannes next year.

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4

Alabama Says: Life Begins at Erection

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday signed into law a controversial abortion bill that could punish doctors who perform abortions with life in prison.

“Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature,” said Ivey, a Republican, in a statement. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”

Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, the ball is in your court. Literally.

1

At Least He Wasn’t, You Know, “Hormonal.”

From the Washington Post, by Monica Hesse:

“Throughout the 448-page Mueller report, the president is very emotional. He is forever “becoming angry” or “expressing anger” or “expressing frustration.” He “was furious” at Jeff Sessions for not protecting him. He “screamed” at and “lambasted” his attorney general, demanding, “How could you let this happen?” Regarding perceived “horrible treatment” of an adviser, the president was “upset for weeks.”

At one point, the president became so “unhappy” and “upset” with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn that “he would not look at him during intelligence briefings.”

I see almost no benefit in imagining parallel universes. Hypotheticals are difficult and not always comparable. But, my God: Can you imagine if a female president became so paralyzed by her emotions that she was notably upset for weeks? Can you imagine if a female politician’s strategy for dealing with her staff involved screaming at them, then lambasting them in public, and then not looking at them?

Can you imagine how hard she would have tried not to put herself in that situation, knowing how eager people have been throughout our political history to hold women’s emotions against them? Anti-suffragists claimed women’s rash temperament should exclude them from voting. Stubborn voters claimed women’s rash temperament should exclude them from running for office (Hillary Clinton spoke of learning to “control her emotions” as far back as college). In a Georgetown University study released just this week, 13 percent of Americans still believed that women were less emotionally suited to political office than men.

Can you imagine if the president was a person of color? If an attorney general waved away a black man’s bombastic behavior in the Oval Office by explaining he was often just really angry?

Here is why it matters now, though. The attorney general of the United States of America has stated that the president’s emotions are relevant to the legal analysis of the obstruction case. And there’s a way we tend to talk about the emotional displays of men in power: as if they’re extremely relevant. Righteous, even. Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s outraged, tearful outbursts during his confirmation hearings last summer could have been taken as a sign that he lacked the dispassionate mien one would hope for in a Supreme Court nominee. But instead of putting a damper on the judge’s outraged approach, committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) mirrored it, shouting and literally shaking a finger at his Democratic colleagues. His anger was rewarded. “Lindsey Graham may have single-handedly saved Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation,” read a CNN headline.

As much as Barr’s statements about President Trump are about the specifics of the Russia investigation, they also reflect broader questions: Whose emotions are valid? Whose anger is righteous, and whose anger is hysterical? Whose frustration is “sincere,” and whose is a sign that they are unfit to serve?

The answer isn’t for female politicians to start screaming, or male politicians to become robots. It’s to recognize that we can’t dignify emotion in one sex and dismiss it in another. It can’t be righteous indignation for some people, and hysterics for others. The president is an emotional man. What a luxury. So many of the rest of us are forced to just be crazy women.

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3

Pot Meet Kettle

From CNN:

President Donald Trump, dismissing the potential hypocrisy, said Friday he thinks he “is a very good messenger” when asked whether he is the right person to be criticizing former Vice President Joe Biden amid recent allegations from several women that he made them uncomfortable.

“I think I’m a very good messenger, and people got a kick out of it,” Trump told reporters before leaving the White House for a trip to the US-Mexican border. “He’s going through a situation, let’s see what happens. But people got a kick … we gotta sort of smile a little bit, right?”

 

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