On Informational Terrorism and the War on Women’s Voices

Last week my employer and I were the victims of another Fox News-crowdsourced mob of informational terrorists who threatened me, my home, my husband, my community, my colleagues and my students. The informational terrorists in question were whipped up into a white male genocidal froth by Pucker Carlson who took exception to one of my rage-filled Tweets about the misogynistic theater of the confirmation of  Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, despite several allegations of sexual assault which the administration chose to not investigate thoroughly.  Pucker, whose own white ethnocratic preferences are well known,  absurdly and slanderously accused me of advocating for white male genocide.

The crowd-sourced mobs who are his rank and file cadre did not need to be told what to do: they already knew. The infrastructure that enables such swarms by hordes of rage-filled men, who feel threatened by our very existence and our refusal to be silent about the structural violence perpetrated against women and minorities by white, male supremacy in this country has been in place, as I describe below, since 2014 and the emergence of GamerGate

This latest round of informational terrorism began similarly to the previous. First, a low-level bottom-feeding right-wing media outlet finds something to be outraged over and then assigns a college intern, apparently with no ethical or journalism training, to write a piece that will serve as chum in the bloodied waters for larger right-wing outlets, such as the Daily Failer or Faux News…or worse.  This is how the rightwingnut circuit creates a news cycle that begins with feigned outrage over a liberal exercising her first amendment rights to call out the unending structural and actual violence against women and minorities and ends with a horde of attackers targeting her as well as her her place of employment using email, phone, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and every other social media platform available to the ratfuckers. (Yes. “Ratfuckers” is a bad word. And I don’t care. I also know they really hate being called ratfuckers, which makes me really pleased to use it. So..I will.)

However, I am a hardened target. I literally study terrorism for a living. I’ve met terrorists including failed suicide bombers. I literally wrote the book on Taliban suicide attackers.  I do fieldwork in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan without a security detail.  And I’ve been through this jackass rodeo before with trolls from the far-left (such as those commanded by Glenn Greenwald and his anti-American collaborators on al Jazeera) as well as the far-right and its endogamously-conceived sibling, the alt-right. The wingnuts of both spectrums have pretty much learned that I am a hard target.  Like the vagina I possess, I can take a pounding.

So, this time, they took a different approach. Instead of focusing the crowd-sourced mobs at me in hopes that I would break down and throw my keyboard into the recycling bin and head off for a spa-bortion brunch (with endless Mimosas) as a good “baby-hating libtard bitch” would do, they did what terrorists all over the world do: they threatened my community with violence to secure their political objectives of removing me from the classroom. And they succeeded. For now.

Bruce Hoffman of Georgetown University defines terrorism as  “violence—or equally important, the threat of violence—used and directed in pursuit of, or in service of, a political aim.” Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism 

By focusing their efforts on my community–including threatening my students by doxxing my syllabus–my employer was faced with a conundrum: call the informational terrorists’ bluffs and wait it out or risk the possibility that one of these demented asshats would actually do something violent. (My employer is committed to free speech–even speech that offends–and staved off the numerous calls for my ousting.)

Nor could I write off such a possibility.

Long before I debuted on Twitter, on Tuesday, November 9, 2010, a man emailed me repeatedly about a typo in a piece I had recently published. After the first polite email explaining that he had to speak to the editor about this, I ignored his subsequent numerous emails.  And then he called my office late that evening, at about 10 pm. I was there because my research methods class ended late and because many of my students work during the day. For this reason, I am willing to meet with them after class as late as they require so that they can avoid missing work or making another to trip to campus to meet during regular office hours. I assumed the caller was a student who could not get into our building and needed to be let in. That semester had many long Tuesdays. But no. It was the typo sepoy. I politely but firmly explained reality AGAIN to the fellow and hung up. I was concerned when I left my office. Did he know where it was? Did he see the light on? I called my husband to let him know what had happened and to let him know I was leaving the office.

The next morning I boarded an early train for New York where I was scheduled to discuss Afghanistan and Pakistan at Columbia University. When my panel was over, I noticed numerous phone calls from my employer’s security department. The crazy nutter actually came to my place of employment looking for me. After making an insane danger of himself, security escorted him off the premises. His picture was posted in our building. If he appeared, we were to call security immediately.

This transpired over his vexation with poor, fatherfucking copy editing. Let that marinate.  It is toxic masculine jackassery like this that makes ignoring the hordes of informational terrorist wackadoons perilous. And the wackadoon terrorists know it.

In consultation with my employer’s security professionals, the leadership and I concluded that it was best for my students and colleagues to go on research leave and to publicize this fact to ensure that the violent mobs would mozy onto their next target.  That strategy worked in one sense: they stopped threatening my professional community. But the informational terrorists led by the CON-servative media–most notably the outrage factory at Faux Noise and its allied cesspools of misinformation–learned a valuable lesson: take soft targets like young adults as the hostage not the object of your ire.

In the wake of the fiasco, there were calls for civility of discourse.  Oddly, these calls for civility come after a decade of efforts to bully, intimidate and silence women through online swarms backed up by the real threats we face in our homes, on the streets, in our offices, gyms, libraries, parking lots and garages and elsewhere. Is it a coincidence that calls for civility seem targeted at silencing women just when we articulate our rage at the fuckery that has engulfed this country?

No. It is not a coincidence. But it is a tired patriarchal command that women discipline our bodies, voice, and even rage to make men feel better. I won’t do that. The stakes are too high. Nothing will change until the rest of America understands our pain and rage and I cannot do this with expected formalities and civilities of language. I cannot do this with the grammar of comfort you prescribe, by abjuring the tactics you proscribe. I can only do this with the language my rage inscribes upon my tongue. Only then will you try to understand.

Rest assured: no one wants actual civility more than women and minorities in this country.  But when appeals to civility do not include calls to endow us with equality under the law and before the law and to afford us equality in opportunities and outcomes, civility is but an empty promise for us while shielding the standard-bearers of white, cis-male supremacy from the discomfort of hearing about the hazards the rest of us endure.

Civility of discourse is possible only between equals. The CON-servative movement and the angry, white, women-hating men it has empowered (along with their largely white female enablers) denies us this elemental equality.

Without equality, I can only give you servility. That I will not do.

Bitches! Get off the Web

I am too old, too experienced and too cynical to countenance the horseshit anymore.

In the spring of 2004, I had recently arrived in Washington DC after leaving the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA.  I was starting a new job at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). I had recently defended my doctorate at the University of Chicago while working full-time for reasons not of my choosing and was beginning the next phase in my life.  USIP, like many so-called think tanks in DC, encouraged their associates to engage the media. And so, at a very early hour on Sunday, August 8, 2004,  I made my way to C-SPAN’s studio to discuss America’s relations with its pain-in-the-ass ally: Pakistan. It was my first experience with national television. You can see in the video that I was initially awkward. I was not sure where to look. I blinked uncomfortably and often made goofy faces. (It turns I still make goofy faces on and off camera.) I chose to dress conservatively: a black pantsuit, with a light green sweater and a fun necklace I recently bought on M Street. Looking at the video after many years, I can see that I am wearing makeup. I don’t recall whether this was done in the green room as I do not and have never worn makeup except when forced to as I am allergic to it and find the expense needless. As the show continued, I got the hang of it and began to feel more comfortable and even had fun.

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Source: Source. Also, note how much I have aged. This was only 14 years ago. It feels like 34 years ago.

The elation was short-lived. As soon I left the building and had cell coverage, my mobile phone began to ring.  As I’ve long worked at home, I forwarded my office number to my cellular phone. The caller was a man with a California area code, who must have been watching C-SPAN at 4 am, which is totally not normal for Californians. It was a marriage proposal.

In the car ride home, I called my then-boyfriend (now my husband) about the call. We laughed it off as a freak event. When I returned to the office the next day, I received an email from a viewer who complimented my sense of fashion. He liked the green sweater and the contrast created by the necklace.  The following week, a letter arrived addressed to me in thick crayon in lilting handwriting. The letter itself was also written in crayon over many pages of thick-lined paper that we used in the first grade when learning to write. I don’t remember the content of the letter: only that it existed.

I wondered whether my male colleagues received such phone calls, emails, and letters. I asked. They did not. (By the way, they still do not. This nonsense is reserved for women.) Looking back, I learned my first lesson about being a female in the public space: no matter our credentials or level of demonstrable expertise, we are seen as women first. We are objects of the male gaze. We exist at their leisure and pleasure.

I continued to do national and international television news programs and continued to receive the episodical email from strange men. One fellow from Florida also emailed me to say that he would like to marry me. My husband and I Googled him. He was a soccer player for a local league, likely harmless. But we both puzzled over what kind of a jackass would do track down a woman on her employer’s email and sense such a missive?

As my c.v. attests, until about 2009, I did not engage in social media or requests for online products with very few exceptions. I preferred to write traditional editorials in conventional newspapers, peer-reviewed journal articles, monographs, and other peer-reviewed products. This was partly due to the nature of my employment. However, after 2009, I reluctantly entered this space writing mostly for Foreign Policy and the then “Af-Pak Channel.” I later expanded to other blog venues to discuss America’s foreign policy dilemmas in South Asia.

Blogs that permitted commentary were festooned with crude sexist commentary variously asserting that I was “anti-Pakistan” because a Pak Army officer fucked me in various places and then dumped me. I was “pro-India” because I suck Indian cock. (These are their words–not mine. I was a “presstitute,” or a Mossad whore. Comments on my You-tube videos were similarly hewed along similar lines. My analyses were frequently reduced to a proposition about my sexuality, that I was attractive when I was younger or hideous as I’ve aged.  (For the record, I have never had any paramour in any foreign armed forces although I have dated several gentlemen in the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Sorry, Coast Guard. I missed you. If I thought I could get by on my looks like Melania or Ivanka, I wouldn’t have bothered getting a Ph.D.) I began saving emails received in specially-designated folders.

Then Came The Deluge of “Male Hate”

According to my personal email account, the first actual instance of “hate mail” (or as I prefer to call it “male hate,” arrived on December 27, 2008. (Unfortunately, I did not have a way to save my archives of such missives from past employers’ email accounts. And after my current employer switched providers, I lost many such emails from 2009 to October 2014.) It came from a person referring (likely) to himself as “Defender” with the email address:

lickme@youareabitch.com.  

Lickme@youareabitch.com apparently was angry that my cookbook,  Cuisines of the Axis of the Evil and Other Irritating Statesincluded Israel. (Oddly, the author did not repine that it also included the United States, for which I actually would have expected to be called a “traitor.”) While the poorly drafted email was mostly incoherent, the final line was not despite its lack of craft and attention to detail:

“Hope you choke I [sic] die on some kimchee. traitor”

Pita

I saved Lickme@youareabitch.com’s parsimonious epistle because it was so novel then. I still save such missives which now number in the thousands across different accounts and platforms even though they are no longer curiosities; rather, quotidian and expected expressions of entitled male rage that span continents, races, and religion.

Now I save them as evidence in the event that something happens to me.

In 2011, I received the below email from a Pakistani male in which I was threatened with gang rape by an entire regiment. ( The most pressing question for me was: Infantry or cavalry? Pakistan’s cavalry attacks from behind and they tend to get out of shape pretty quickly. Infantrymen tend to be hotter, more fit, but less cerebral. So the answer to that question inveighs urgently upon both my qualitative an quantitative gang rape experience. )

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Then who can forget this charming email? On January 5, 2012, at 11:06 PM EST,  I had just published an opinion piece on Pakistan in Foreign Policy, called “Pakistan’s Slow-Motion Coup.” Within minutes I received this email addressed to my work account, with a time stamp of Thu, 5 Jan 2012 18:41:23 -0800 (PST). While the email was empty, it had the header “Your article on Pakistan inspired me to bake these…”

It contained a file named “tiny-cookie-vaginas.”

Needless to say, the title was erroneous: these were cupcakes. Not cookies. (Apparently, this misogynist does not know his baked goods.)

 

 

The image depicted a 7×5 array of clitorises in a combination of fondant, frosting, and sprinkles. Each was ethnically distinct. Some had vaginal discharge. (No. He is not a master baker: he found this online. It turns out genitalia-themed baked goods is a niche thing.) I had an awesome response email:

“Dear Sir: I’m going to a bris. Can you do this in foreskins.”

Then there are the understated emails such as this one: it contains a clever  gun image made by arranging characters in a specialized font and the subject line “loving you.”

Loving You

 

My soul has callouses. You can say what you want to me. I have the skin of a velociraptor and a heart of coprolite towards trolls.

GamerGate and the Rise of Crowd-Sourced Terrorism

As I was learning the cost of being a woman in the public space,  others were learning it too. Amanda Hess wrote a very thought-provoking essay titled “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet” in January 2014.  She detailed the experiences of numerous other women from a cross-sectional of diverse professional backgrounds and we were all experiencing similar things to varying degrees. (My own online harassment pales to that which she experienced. It was sobering.)

Perhaps the most jarring discussion of what can only be called crowd-sourced informational terrorism manifested in the so-called GamerGate in 2014, which in the words of Molly McKew was an

an internet culture war sparked when a group of women exposed what they saw as inherent misogyny in the production and culture of videogaming and argued for greater inclusivity.

Thus, what began as a legitimate discussion about race and gender soon became overtaken by an organized swarm of male

militant gamers who resented this intrusion into their sandbox and set out to prove they were not misogynistic by relentlessly attacking and harassing the women and anyone who supported them. The women were doxxed and threatened in graphic terms with rape and death, and some fled their homes.

Katherine Cross observers that GamerGate was a “deliberate effort to purge women and people of color from the fledgling world of independent gaming criticism through harassment and accusations of fraudulence.”

While GamerGate and the women and people of color it silenced and drove into submission passed from the public eye, crowd-sourced terrorism perdures because the structures once created stand ready to mobilize such mobs comprised mostly–but not exclusively–of CON-servative males who are outraged that women and people of color want equal rights. These boorish troglodytes harbor the unenlightened view that rights ate like a lousy Papa John’s pizza: more for others means less for them. And they are angry about it.

What is “crowd-sourced terrorism,” you may ask? McKew in her piece identifies many of the nefarious personalities from

the sewers of the modern far-right disinformation metropolis…[who comprise] an operational unit of information terrorists helping to transform the way Americans consume news in the age of Trump—some of the central nodes that give order to the information deluge and around which bot armies and human amplification networks can be organized, wiped out, reconstituted, and armed for attack. Because that is what they do: attack.

As anyone who has experienced this knows, the result of this informational terrorism network is a swift escalation of attacks as swarms of frenzied angry men assail you through every means possible. In my case, the pressgangs of poltroons have lasted anywhere between two weeks and two months. Others experience longer-term harassment as detailed by Cross, Hess, and others.

Following one very serious crowd-sourced mob of crazed racist, Islamophobic misogynists in November 2016, I began microblogging with the aim of providing all details of those persons (mostly men)  who harassed me during and between these campaigns of crowd-sourced informational terrorism.  I do not include those persons those contacted me simply to say that they disagree and are generally reasonable about it.  I also have removed one person (a woman) who expressed contrition and remorse. However, if they are abusive or exude any modicum of creepiness, they end up on #ShitMenSay where I provide all the information I can find about the person. I literally have more hate-filled missives than I have time to post to #ShitMenSay, given my numerous other professional and scholarly commitments. I upload the filth when I have writer’s block or am stranded at the in-laws in a snowstorm. I literally need a minion to upload the bottom-dwellers and their information to this forum.

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Absurdly, a right-wing (female) troll-cum-journo-bot sought to cultivate sympathy for what she calls my “victims” of #ShitMenSay.  (I’m not sure if she is best described as an Aunt Lydia or Mrs. Serena Whaterford? It’s a conundrum. I can go either way. In any event, for a mere $10(?)an article, she is willing to hold women down as men assault us online.)  I could only laugh at Mrs. Waterford’s risible column. First, the men she claimed to interview opined that they were harassed and that they were frightened. She provided no evidence for the poor booboos’ trauma, by the way. But if they were harassed (by whom?), perhaps they now understand what it feels like to have random people seek you out and oppugn you using the most heinous language possible. Second, and I shit you not, the men outed on #ShitMenSay lugubriously opined that  #ShitMenSay stifles free speech, which is exactly what these asshats sought to do to my free speech in the first instance. I can only wonder what career trajectory this woman imagines for herself.  No. I actually can’t and I am not going to try. Patriarchy only succeeds with female enablers like her and there is no short supply of such cheaply-sourced collaborators.)

And Back to Civility of Discourse…

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The fact of the matter is: women and people of color have been denied any modicum of civility of discourse or other forms of dignity or equality in this country from our origins. In contemporary American, our online and offline presence is consistently under attack and under threat simply for having the audacity to exist. And now that we are finding our couRAGE and our voice, we are being told to voice our anger in decorous prose for men’s comfort.

No one wants civility of discourse more than women and minorities. We are literally dying for this much-praised civility.  But it is not ours to give. Without granting us equality, it is not civility you request; rather servility which you command.

In the meantime,  to quote Robin Sokoloff:

I don’t want to give you hope. I want you to wake the fuck up…

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When “Aunt Lydia” of Campus Reform Tried to Launch Another Harassment Campaign: This is what she got.

On Sunday morning, after a night of raucous feminist crafting, I get the below note from Abigail Marone (abigailmarone@gmail.com) from Campus Reform, which once again is cleaning out its diaper over one of my tweets.

Good Afternoon Prof. Fair,

I am writing to request a comment for an article I am writing for Campus Reform about your recent tweet:

“Look at thus chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement.

All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.”

Would you be willing to elaborate on the tweet? Specifically, do you think students on campus may be uncomfortable because of the references to violence?

My deadline is tomorrow at 6pm. If you would like to provide a comment but need a longer window of time, please let me know.
Cheers,

Abigail Marone 

AuntLydia

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And here’s what she got.

Dear Aunt Lydia (or perhaps, more appropriately, Rachel Mitchell? Which do you prefer? I prefer Aunt Lydia, so I’ll roll with that. Cool?)

First, I do not respond to inquiries about my private speech on any other email other than my private email. Please take note of that for future harassment because, rest assured, you will continue to harass me because I will not be silenced. I will continue to Tweet things that make you uncomfortable and I will do this by choice. I will select words and phrases that will make you and your fellow-travelers furious.

My choice of words is intended to make you uncomfortable. Because I—and tens of millions of women in this country—are uncomfortable with the ongoing war on our lives, our bodies, our fundamental freedoms, and our access to social and economic justice. Women—whether we are white, women of color, rich or poor—are potential victims of this war. And some of us have been victimized repeatedly. (There’s actually a body of scientific literature on this very fact, although the reasons are debated.)

And you, Aunt Lydia, are a potential victim of this war as well even though you shill for those persons and institutions who sustain it and seek to perpetuate it. Do you think your potential assailant will care that you enable the patriarchal structures that devalue our lives and the work we do and construct legal structures that privilege the attacker? Do you think complicit women and lousy men will be less likely to slut shame you because you are one of their paid-keyboards? No, Aunt Lydia.

In addition to confronting actual violence to our persons from strangers and intimates alike, we are also systematically paid less, less likely to be hired, less likely to be promoted and rewarded for our productivity. If you are pregnant or a mother, the economic hit is larger. Oddly, married men are more productive than their unmarried counterparts.  So, Aunt Lydia, the war on women perdures. I’m a fifty-year-old woman. I am fighting the same fight I fought when I was a young woman, the same fight my mother fought and her mother fought before her. Why don’t you fight for us and with us, instead of against us?

Second, why do you complicit muckrakers continue to link my private speech on social media to anyone’s feelings? After all, is anyone made to follow me on Twitter? No. Most people who follow me are not even American given that my work is on South Asia. Oddly, it is you and your wretched excuse for what passes as journalism that actually gives my Tweets legs they would not otherwise have.

Gymnist Jesus

I have to tell you: it makes me absolutely happy when Faux Noise or Daily Failure (or other similar wastes of electrons) takes my Tweets and delivers them to their “readership.” I cannot hope to do better than that. So thank you for amplifying my message about the CON-servative-led war on women in this country.

Rest assured, I understand your game. This is not my first or last encounter with CON-servative bullying. You will run your “story.” Then Faux Noise will pick it up.  (I suspect but can’t prove that this happens collusively and deliberately. Do you meet your Faux Noise “catcher” over a Virgin Bloody Mary brunch to coordinate your contrived arbitrary “deadlines”?) Maybe the Drudgery Resort or the Daily Failure will do so as well. Bonus! Then the outlets for the deeply racist, misogynist, anti-Semitic, x-phobic bigotry connoisseurs run your mishmash of outrage on their pages. (Maybe Sean Insanity or Laura Ingrate will even feature it for their mobs of CON-servative snowflakes.) All of this is an effort to do several deliberately vicious things, which is ironical if anyone took your purported concern about “violence” and “safety” seriously.

For one thing, you intend to outrage CON-servatives (especially those pissed off men who hate women) and thus motivate them to harass me and send me threatening missives. If you don’t intend to do this, then you’re ludicrously obtuse because this is the inevitable consequence of your “reportage.” Would you like to see some of the violent missives I get as a result this “news” cycle? (It turns out, you can see them on my Tumblr blog: ShitMenSay.) And thus you DO KNOW that your “story” is intended to create violent conditions for me and, yet, you do this deliberately. For another, you’re also trying to threaten my livelihood and thus, by creating various forms of insecurity and violence, you try to silence me. But, Aunt Lydia, unlike your “readership,” I am not a snowflake.

Humorously, CON-servatives propound free speech when it comports with their ideology of fundamental inequality for women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQI, non-Christians, among others who destabilize their fantasy of Ozzie and Harriet.  (CON-servatives can’t get enough free speech it enables the vitriol of inter alia, Nazi marches on American campuses, pedophilia-defending CON-servative trash talkers like Milo, purveyors of all types of hate speech like Ann Poultergeist).

You and I—and all of your readership—must confront the fact that today’s CON-servative party has become a party of white, straight-male, Christian supremacy.  (On foreign and fiscal policy, I am much more of a traditional conservative. But that party is long gone. The CON-servative party is now the party of Trumpism and the fascism and hate it represents and mobilizes.)

And, Aunt Lydia,  you won’t shut me up because I won’t be silent. There is no amount of intimidating “journalist horseplay” that you and your CON-spirators can deploy to silence me.  In short, y’ all keep picking the wrong target.

Third, turning to the tweet in question,

“Look at thus chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement.

All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.”

I am most certainly going to elaborate, Aunt Lydia. There is a war going on against women and you, and your despicable herd of so-called journalists seeking to protect male privilege and shame women for our victimization or our rage, are complicit in this war. And unlike the victims of this war, you chose to be a partisan.

Let me tell you a few things about me, Aunt Lydia. My abuse began when I was in nursery school and ended when I was thirteen. I was abused by my uncle. My family knew but did nothing. He abused his son and his daughter too. His son murdered himself. My cousin is schizophrenic and homeless. I am the “survivor.” The consequence of my family’s selective ignorance is that he murdered my aunt (after whom I am named) when I was in college. Like many women who went through what Dr. Ford went through, I recognized several things during Thursday’s shitshow.

First, I recognized Dr. Ford’s memory and the kinds of things her brain encoded. I remember where I was abused for the first time: on the couch in our basement where my aunt and uncle lived. I know that it happened around the time my infant brother died because my mother was depressed and dysfunctional and slept all day, but I couldn’t give you a year or a month without working backwards from Johnny’s death certificate. (Dr. Ford could have done the same if she knew when Mr. Judge worked at Safeway.) I know where I lived—on Weiser Park in Ft. Wayne Indiana but I couldn’t describe our neighborhood. I couldn’t tell you the weather outside, but I can tell you what the basement felt like.

Second, I remember the feeling of guilt and shame and responsibility even though I was in nursery school. There is one person to blame for these crimes: the perpetrator.

Third, I recognized the rage of Kavanaugh when confronted with his crime. (By the way, his temperament makes him ill-suited to judge catfood much less serve on any bench in this country.) And I recognized the frightened rage of those who protected him. After all, they are coming under fire for protecting him. They are defending their equities in doing so. They are no different from that father who knows his brother is assaulting his daughter but does nothing because action produces outcomes that are too complicated to navigate or negotiate. And ultimately it’s easier to blame the female than it is to blame the male in American society where men are entitled to be unable to control themselves while women and girls are held responsible for inciting men’s lack of control.

You don’t like my violent words even though they pose no threat to anyone. I did not call for violence. I merely articulated what my spirituality says about these vile souls. Surely, as a fine upstanding Christian, you condemn the goddless heathens like me to an afterlife of hell? You can micturate in your yoga pants at my WORDS, but I am angry at the VIOLENCE done to women and children in this country and the preponderant complicity of ONE political party. (PS: I condemn Bill Clinton and supported his impeachment. I wish the GOP had the same standards today! Ellison should be prosecuted, and Frankel should have stepped down. I am not a hypocrite. I don’t support predators because they support my politics. Too bad most CON-servatives are not this ethical.)

My question for YOU is why are you CON-servatives so afraid of women’s rage and anger? You KNOW there is a war on women going on AND the Republican party and evangelical and other so-called religious CON-servatives are partners in waging it. I’m going to give you some facts, Aunt Lydia. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network):

  1. Every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.
  2. 1 in 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed, 2.8% attempted).
  3. Between 2009 and 2013, Child Protective Services agencies substantiated, or found strong evidence to indicate that, 63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse.
  4. A majority of child victims are 12-17. Among survivors who under the age of 18: 34% of victims of sexual assault and rape are under age 12, and 66% of victims of sexual assault and rape are age 12-17.
  5. And, less spoken about but equally important, ~ 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.

Women are also the victims of partner violence. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

  1. On average, ~20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in this country, totally some 10 million women and men.
  2. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime in one form or another. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  3. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%. (Yet this country can’t get enough guns.)
  4. Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.
  5. Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.

You should familiarize yourself with the other statistics.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (and organization eviscerated by the current regime), “Homicide is one of the leading causes of death for women aged ≤44 years.”

Since your “publication,” purportedly addresses “campus reform” and “safety,” are you concerned about the environment of sexual violence and predation that female students, staff and faculty encounter on our campuses? If not, you should be. Here are some more facts for you, again according to RAINN. Sexual violence on campus is a pervasive fact of life.

  1. 2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students).
  2. Among graduate and professional students, 8.8% of females and 2.2% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
  3. Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
  4. 2% of students have experienced stalking since entering college.

Turning to my own experience at the University of Chicago, I was subjected to an attempted assault, an individual who tried to make me fellate him and stalking.  (There is something about a bold woman that really pisses men off. Maybe you should write about that?)

WithHer

In short, Aunt Lydia, your priorities are screwed up. You need to ask yourself why you are using your voice, your keyboard and your words to defend a system that is designed to allow men to harm us. Why, Aunt Lydia, are you deliberately engaging in a campaign to smear me–a private woman–who is rightfully and righteously angry at the war on our lives, bodies and livelihoods? Why are you deliberately whipping up a mob of toxic men who will write about 150 emails to me..some of whom will threaten me, specifically, with specific kinds of violence? Is this why you went to journalism school ? (Assuming you went to journalism school.)  Is this really your professional aspiration? What is the next step in your aspirational ladder? Daily Failer? Faux Noise? Seriously.  Why do you want to be a complicit cog in this machinery that mows us down and protects the perpetrators? Think about it.  Think about using your voice for good..not integrity-free, muckraking.

Have a fabulous Sunday.

As always, this will be a blog post by the time you get it.

Warmest

C.C.F.

N.B.: This post was edited for typos etc. after I sent Aunt Lydia the first draft.

Post-script: When I went to see what garbage this hack puked up on her Twitter feed, I found that this CON-servative snowflake had actually blocked me. I don’t think I’ve even had an exchange with this Aunt Lydia. Abigail

 

 

 

On the Politics of Language and Women’s Rage and Why My Profanity is Sacred

it’s a war goin on that you thinkin that you safe from
But you like me in the scope of they gun.Mystic

“I can’t fight you with your affectless, sanitized, polished language and codes! Change begins with the choice of words that stir, disturb, destabilise and denaturalise our ways of seeing the world even if it doesn’t end there.” Krishnappa Venkatashamy

The Fuckening

This week, Fox News, in connivance with a conservative tabloid that harasses faculty, whipped up another non-news cycle over my plain-spoken truth-speaking. The ostensible “journalist” from the Fux News Website began his account;

An anti-Trump professor at Georgetown University went on a profanity-laced Twitter rant against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of committing a sexual assault as a teen.

Dr. Carol Christine Fair is an associate professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown, according to the school’s website.

Of course, this is not my first rodeo with the way in which the right wingnut circus synthesizes a news cycle. The procedure goes like this: a low-level conservative rag (in this case Campus Reformfiles a story about a liberal professor calling out the fuckery of the contemporary conservative shitshow in America. Fox News, The Daily Failer, The Drudge Report or whatever toxic, mendacious and buffoonish “media outlet” then “picks up” this podunk story from said rinky-dink stinkweed.  I suspect–but cannot prove–that this is done collusively. It hardly matters because it happens as predictably as clockwork. Once the “mainstream” conservative hacks run the sham, it is subsequently carried into the darker, lunatic fringe platforms that deliberately stoke further outrage and encourages violence against the object of this cabal. My address has been published in white supremacist, Neo-Nazi chatrooms and website. Mobs have been specifically directed to threaten and intimidate me.  I’ve had “wanted posters” distributed on cars and tacked to trees and telephone poles in my neighborhood, along with signs attacking racial and religious minorities. But I’m a hard cunt to intimidate.

 

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Fox Noise, and their deformed symbiotic twins such as the Daily Caller, deliberately emplace dog whistles in their screeds–more like “call to the wolves”–to ensure that their vexed “readership” is mobilized into a frenzied mob who then send the target any number of vile and often violent missies through email, social media, and even phone calls.  In picking me: they pick the wrong target. I’ve been threatened with gang rape by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.  I work in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. I have skin as thick as a T-Rex and I give NO FUCKS about their feelings. I cannot be intimidated. If I lose my job, I’ll do something else. (Obviously, these cry bully assholes have never studied game theory. Well, guess what snowflake bitches: I have.)

Make no mistake. This is a deliberate attempt by these conservative dishrags to scare, intimidate, and ultimately shut up those of us who see through conservative lies, ruses, and efforts to disenfranchise women, people of color, LGBTQI, non-Christians and anyone else who destabilizes their infantile Leave It To Beaver fantasy. They are deliberately trying to make our homes and workplaces unsafe physically, mentally and economically.

Without fail, after the most recent post, I received about 200 messages through various means, all but a handful from angry men. Remember that my crime is that I dared to accuse the Vichy GOP of being a misogynist, rape-friendly, pederast-acceptant, Nazi-appeasing, White Supremacist, X-phobic bigoted, climate science-denying death cult. So naturally, these missives were…well…clear evidence of the conservative males’ misogyny, rapist-defending, Republican pederasty-justifying, racism, Muslim-hating, fact-resistant villainy. (If you don’t believe me and want to see examples of the noxious communications I received in this recent cycle of conservative mens’ temper tantrums, you can view my micro-blog where I post the vast majority of the harassment sent my way: ShitMenSay.)

I spent much of the day slaying trolls and legally doxing those idiots who called me various spellings of “cum sack” and its ilk or giving me precise instructions in how I might murder myself or how I may be gang-raped in a racist fantasy of attackers who are black or Muslim. (The most likely gang- rapists, by the way, are white males. It’s statistics…also known as hocus pocus to these mouthbreathers.) It amuses me when these clowns and their defenders cry foul when they are legally doxed on ShitMenSay, reflecting the belief that they are entitled to subject a woman to hate speech without consequence.

I felt empowered by turning my keyboard against these shitbirds. (There’s an emerging science that explains why this agentive response to harassers is denervating by the way.)

However, later that evening, a lovely and well-intended colleague asked me to demur from using naughty words in expressing my rage over this administration’s unending assault upon our lives. He implored me as a supportive colleague and friend to “Try replacing the f-bombs with arguments and I bet your effect will change from incitement of emotions to almost infinite potential for change in behavior and policy.” 

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I Will Not Discipline My Anger for Your Comfort

I know he meant well. He’s a lovely person. And I mean him no ill-will…but I wanted to tell him that I’m a survivor of sexual assault, that I’ve endured the pangs of not being believed, of seeing my abuser every holiday and having to suck it up. I’ve been where Dr. Ford is today. I have lived her nightmare for years and I know too many other women who have and do as well.

Oddly, I could not bring myself to explain to him that his email was a deep betrayal, partly out of shame but partly out the deeper, darker fear that it would not matter. Even with this knowledge, I feared he would still offer the same pallid advice. After all, he assumes I am like him. But I am not.

He evaluates the efficacy of language by the outcomes it can catalyze. I evaluate the efficacy of my language by a different metric: does it make you feel uncomfortable for that is its intent. I know with absolute certitude that no amount of gussied up prose will make America less acceptant and tolerant of white, male rapists. (It lynches black males even if they are not rapists.) No amount of argumentation informed by my University of Chicago Ph.D. will make the ratfuckers in Congress pass laws that guarantee equal rights, equal pay, equal protection or demure from taking away what unequal rights I do have. 

My cynicism is learned from experience: my quest for justice has gone unrequited for decades.  My abuser, my uncle, ultimately went to jail for murdering my aunt after whom I am named. He assaulted me from the time I was a toddler until I was thirteen. He did not spend a second in prison for breaking me. Nor was he punished for sexually assaulting his own children: one of whom murdered himself while the other is a homeless schizophrenic beyond help whose brain produces fantasies that are only marginally less horrific than her realities.

Childhood trauma was compounded by my experiences at the University of Chicago, where I learned that it is impossible to get accountability for sexual harassment even when the harasser admits he did it. These lessons were again reinforced repeatedly when I entered the workforce. Because words are over-rated in their efficacy,  I gave up on elocuting our way out of this unending gendered apocalypse long ago.

I have spent decades and thousands of dollars trying to fix myself.  I am grateful that I have been able to access health care. But my brain developed under the constant production of stress hormones as a consequence of which my brain will never be clinically normal.  I suffer from PTSD and always will. I will take medications for the rest of my life to manage both my brain chemistry and the gastrointestinal distress that we now understand to be associated with childhood abuse. (So when the Faux Noise mobs send me emails such as “Go back on your meds bitch,” I can assure them that I never go off my meds.)

When women summon the courage to identify our assailants, the Chorus of Men and their female collaborators howl that we asked for it. We deserved it. They ask: What were you wearing? Why were you there at that time of night? Were you drinking?  Why were you drinking? Why didn’t you put up a fight?  Why didn’t you scream? Alternatively,  they query: why did you fight?  You only made it worse. Why didn’t you lay back and enjoy it? What were you doing there if you didn’t want to be raped, grabbed, mauled or have the fingers of strange men pull back your panties and violate you? Boys will be boys. This is horseplay. All boys do this. (If you’re rich and white, these excuses somehow work.)

[As bad as we have it, it’s even harder for men to come out and discuss their abuse.]

How much must we endure?  Rape culture. Pay differentials. We are less likely to be hired, promoted or compensated because of our god-damned tits and snatches. These conservative jackasses want to treat our cunts like a public good, yet we pay tens of thousands of dollars to maintain and sustain our civilization-giving pussies and civilization-nurturing wombs and civilization-feeding breasts.

Yet these motherfuckers have the temerity to deny us health care coverage.  They have the audacity to force us to carry children. They claim they are pro-life yet they don’t care about the children outside of our wombs or the health of the mothers whose bodies nourish those fetuses then care for the children they become. They don’t care about the ceaseless gun-violence that strikes down those children we birth and raise and love. This fetus fetishism is but the rhetorical ruse they use to reduce us to a public womb and strip away our access to reproductive and economic justice. We endure quotidian misogyny big and small.

And you want me to circumlocute my furor in floridity?

Fuck that.

I will not discipline my voice, my words, or my body. I will refuse to conform to your rules which are designed to constrain me like a corset for your convenience and comfort. I will not respond to this war on women decorously. It’s an absurd request and I won’t entertain it. I will fight this war asymmetrically. I will use the vernacular it demands.  Why does your comfort take precedence over my basic rights to live in peace, dignity, agency, and equality?

I will not shrink away into a corner. I will not make myself small. I will not slink along the sidewalk with my head lowered in shame or fear. I will stand straight, look you in the eye and fearlessly tell you to go fuck yourself. I did not start this war. But I am a soldier in it.  I have no choice. I was never given the choice.

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I know my senior colleague meant well. But he does not and cannot understand my ferocity and why it is unreasonable to ask me to express it in cultivated vocabulary or the language of philosophers or political science. Artful turns of phrase are a luxury my wrath does not and cannot enjoy, and will not entertain. My power is my voice. My resistance is my refusal to speak as expected. I will use words that make you uncomfortable because you motherfuckers should be uncomfortable. You want a respite from my profane words? I want a respite from the war on women, our lives, our bodies, our rights, our dignity, and agency.

You’ll get your goddamned respite when I get mine and not a femtosecond sooner.

 

And the Fox News Inquiry. Lolz.

Of course Faux News has oh-so-coincidentally picked up on a rinky-dink “concern-trolling tabloid.” And when a Fox News “associate editor” sends you this email:

Parke, Caleb <caleb.parke@foxnews.com>

Dr. Fair,

Fox News is doing a story based on this report from Campus Reform: https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=11329

Would you like to comment?

Are you fair to students who support President Trump in your classes?

My deadline is 2:15 pm EDT.

Thank you,

Caleb Parke

Associate Editor

FoxNews.com

This message and its attachments may contain legally privileged or confidential information. It is intended solely for the named addressee. If you are not the addressee indicated in this message (or responsible for delivery of the message to the addressee), you may not copy or deliver this message or its attachments to anyone. Rather, you should permanently delete this message and its attachments and kindly notify the sender by reply e-mail. Any content of this message and its attachments that does not relate to the official business of Fox News or Fox Business must not be taken to have been sent or endorsed by either of them. No representation is made that this email or its attachments are without defect.

….He gets this response:

Mr. Parke
First, I don’t work on your deadline. I have various responsibilities and obligations all of which take precedence over a query from your so-called news network.
Second, my twitter feed is my personal feed. No one is forced to follow my feed. If a student chooses to follow me, that is her prerogative. What sort of a bogus publication makes a hullabaloo out of a private person’s opinion?

Third, I do not follow my students’ social media feeds and I do not ask them their opinions about contemporary politics in class. How would I know if someone supports the current occupant in the White House and his: mendacity; white supremacist-pandering, misogynist, racist, x-phobic agenda; proclivities to abuse women; vilifying of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies while engaging in wanton acts of obstruction of justice; malicious indifference to the rule of law among other noxious positions such as snatching children from their parents and putting them in detention camps, inducing life-long trauma? How would I know? Why would I care?

Fourth, my exams are empirical and fact-based. There are appeals processes should a student feel aggrieved in my assessments. I have been teaching since 2009 and I have never been accused of being unfair to students nor has any student challenged a grade. My teaching evaluations are consistently high and students remark upon the fairness of my assessments. Grading is transparent as I go through the exams in class and explain what was required for full credit on each answer. There is no mystery.

Fifth, I devote a considerable amount of time helping my students get jobs even when they explain to me that their political leanings differ from my own. I maintain a healthy set of contacts of all political persuasions on LinkedIn for the exclusive use of my students. I do not ask my students about their politics before helping them with their job search. In short, I am the absolute opposite of our vituperative, vindictive, and punitive president.

Finally, the words of a former student best answer your question. You should actually ask him for further comment:
http://thecollegeconservative.com/…/in-defense-of-christin…/

Also, professors have a right a safe work environment. I’m happy to point out sources on the safety threats that professors face in this country from students and outside organizations seeking to “target them” as your news network does routinely. Your efforts to muckrake and undermine the safety of my classroom and that of others who reject your ideology is shameful.

Now, if you will excuse me, I must get back to my numerous obligations.

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When Campus Reform Tried to Bully Me: The “Reporter” got This Response

When  Zachary Thomas Petrizzo, Senior Washington DC Correspondent, Campus Reform, sent me this email, this is the response he got.

Post Script: Given his commitment to integrity in reporting, he apparently published his “story” before getting my response.  I’m sure he was on a life-or-death timeline given that THIS story is so important to his readership. Dog forbid he actually wait for the response of the subject he wishes to malign!  Also, he seems to think that all I do is read my email in anticipation that a conservative troll may ask me noxious questions. Sorry Zach! I’m a busy lady! I couldn’t get to your silly queries on your schedule. Actually. Not Sorry. Upside: with chops like this, you’ll be writing for the Daily Failer any day now!

Dear Mr. Petrizzo:

Are you, in the service of your “concern trolling tabloid,” emailing all private citizens about their full exercise of their First Amendment freedoms to combat the wave of misogynist, bigotry, mendacity and indifference to rule-of-law on display by the occupant of the White House and the complicit members of the Vichy GOP who are more wedded to the interests of their hate-mongering party than their country?

Are you concern trolling conservative tweeters who make non-conservatives uncomfortable?  For example, you could consider emailing those tweeters who defend the recent policy of stealing children from asylum seekers (and then losing them) with the intention of deterring people from seeking asylum. There is evidence that the current hateful (mal)administration intended this separation of children from their families was intended to be permanent.

Surely, since conservatives are “pro-children” and “pro-family,” this must have outraged conservatives such as yourself and your readers, particularly since we know that this policy will inflict irreparable harm upon these children who have been traumatized by this heinous policy.

Did you concern troll those who retweeted or otherwise applauded Attorney General Sessions who, while speaking in my hometown of Ft. Wayne IN, defended this repugnant policy using –wait for it–Romans 13 from the Bible that many conservatives think should be the basis of US law?   Did you concern troll aficionados of conservative muckraker and all around terrible person, Laura Ingraham, who called these horrific and expensive (but very profitable for the organizations running them) detention centers for stolen children a “summer camp“?

Or have you singled me out for some particular reason? Please do explain your motive.

Image result for anne taintor same circus

Just kidding. I know your intentions and that of your tabloid. You seek to intimidate me into silence. You seek to equate my moral rejection of the x-phobic, racist, misogynist, science-rejecting, white supremacy-embracing, autocracy defending offenses of the conservative movement with the actual x-phobia, racism, misogyny, science-rejection, white supremacy-embrace and autocracy embrace of the contemporary conservative movement.

Image result for false equivalence

In other words, Mr. Petrizzo, my rejection of bigotry is not the moral equivalent of the bigotry of today’s conservatives.

FWIW: I have been harassed by Pakistani intelligence, American Nazis, and the hordes of vulgarians who goose-step and harass agentive women like myself to the kazoo tunes of Fox News and its equivalent print “media.” I have skin as thick as a velociraptor. I will not be intimidated by you, your minions or fellow purveyors of your agenda. In short, I will not be the cooperative target you want me to be. 

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But, I will address your questions forthrightly and robustly. Note that this will be a blog post by the time you receive this response. This post will enable your more empirically-inclined “readership” to see my arguments in full rather than those items which you will likely curate perhaps for reasons of brevity or less benign reasons.

Rushing to Judgement: Me or Senator Grassley?

You asked with all ostensible sincerity whether my tweets about “Judge Kavanaugh” are premature? Your question is amusing (and offensive) because you don’t have enough self-awareness to understand its implicit bias.

Your question implies that Judge Kavanaugh, who has a long history of seeking to deprive women of the right the choose, is innocent of attempted sexual assault. Also implied in your question is the assertion that Professor Christine Blasey Ford is guilty of lying.

You probably cannot understand why a woman like myself is beyond exhausted by the tendency of men to presume that (especially white) men are innocent of these crimes while women are guilty of making them up. Out of morbid curiosity, did you concern troll anyone who rushes to assert that people of color murdered by the police are guilty–even when they were innocent and unarmed and eventual exculpatory evidence proved this? Have you ever concern trolled anyone who called a Muslim shooter a terrorist before we have full information? In contrast, white, conservative mass-murderers who kill with a political agenda are also described as mentally-ill, non-terrorists even though they fit the FBI definition of a terrorist. (I forgot! The FBI is the enemy of the people! A cancer even!)

You also seem ignorant of or indifferent to Type 1 versus Type II errors.  If one assumes that Kavanaugh is innocent when he is not, we confirm a rapist to the highest court of this land with a lifetime appointment. If one assumes he is guilty and he is innocent, he still has a job. Of course. if you’re a conservative, white man who believes in white (elite) male privilege, having a preference for a Type II error will practically give you an aneurysm. (If you feel symptoms coming on, run–don’t walk–to the hospital. I hope your employer provides your insurance or you have some watered-down, more expensive version of Obamacare dubbed risibly “TrumpCare.”) Do note that a preference for a Type II error is actually “conservative.”

Of course, it is not actually me who is rushing to judgment in any way that matters. After all, I am a private citizen. But the Republicans in charge of this process are rushing to judgment. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley disingenuously opined “It would be a disservice to Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh, this Committee, and the American people to delay this hearing any further.” This is truly olid.

After all, Mitch McConnel–in the most undemocratic display of partisan chicanery and abuse of power–denied Merrick Garland a hearing and, as you surely know, also shut down numerous lawful Obama appointments. Why were those “delays” not a grotesque disservice to the American people? You and I know the answer: the “conservative party” has an agenda that relies upon stuffing the supreme court with well-spoken and bespoken troglodytes who wish to vitiate the civil rights of women, people of color, LGBTQI among other groups. And, let me be clear: that agenda offends me.

Moreover, Mr. Grassley seems to think it’s completely okay to dictate the time and manner in which a victim testifies in close proximity to her perpetrator. Have you ever been sexually assaulted? If you were (and I have been), you’d understand the problems with this. To use a term of art: it’s “revictimizing.”

Moreover, Professor Ford has requested an investigation by the FBI (that agency that the occupant of the White House maligns on a quotidian basis). She has also requested other witnesses to testify. These are reasonable requests which strengthen her credibility. (An FBI investigation did occur in the Anita Hill fiasco, which I am old enough to remember and to be sickened by.) No woman stands up publicly and identifies a high profile attacker without full consequences of the conservative rage this will induce. We’ve witnessed this before with the conservatives’ favorite child molester: Ray Moore. His accusers were subject to all sorts of threats and harassment.  In short, I believe her. And should I be proven correct, I will be the first to hoist myself upon my own petard or that of any other.

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The only party that is germane to this issue that is rushing literally to judgment is the Republicans who have demonstrated repeatedly to have no regard for women, our lives or our issues.

What is the harm in delaying this vote such that more evidence can be sought? After all, Mr. Kavanugh will have a lifetime appointment during which time he can deprive women, LGBTQI, people of color and anyone else all of the rights he can!  You and I again know the answer to my obviously rhetoric question: the Grab our Pussy Party wants to stuff the court with their woman-hating, x-phobic, business-loving political judges before the mid-term elections.

Even if we had incontrovertible evidence that the assault took place, many of your conservatives would not even care. Notably, Orin Hatch (one of your fine conservative stalwarts) even said that it wouldn’t matter “If that was true, I think it would be hard for senators to not consider who the judge is today…That’s the issue. Is this judge a really good man? And he is. And by any measure he is.

Let that sink in: even if he did sexually assault Dr. Ford, Mr. Hatch still thinks he is a “good man…by any measure.” Do you know how insulting this is to women? Let me tell you in a picture because pictures best explain my rage:

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You have some hubris emailing a woman about this.

Then who can forget this photo from the current woman-hating government? This has nothing to do directly with your question, but it’s a good reminder of the villainous rubes running and ruining our country.

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You know what you’ll never see? A room full of man-hating female (cis or trans) legislators sitting around a table discussing coverage for your Viagra, your Cialis, your prostate preventative care, your prostate cancer, your gynecomastia (moobs if you will) if it becomes cancerous, etc.

So I think your absurd question is best posed to Senators Grassley and Hatch: why are they literally rushing to judgment unless they truly do not give a rat’s turd about this potential crime. And it’s clear from Senator Hatch’s comments that he does not give a said piece of rat fecal matter about the guilt or innocence of a potential rapist becaue even if he is a rapist, he’s still a “good man.”

Conservative Snowflakes and Their Feelings?

You also asked me if “these tweets could make conservatives feel uncomfortable?”

It’s a curious question because it implies that the comfort of conservatives enjoys a privileged over my own comfort and that of liberals. After all, who is making anyone read my tweets. Were you strapped down and forced to read them? That mere fact that I tweeted things that offended you compelled you to write? Have I ever even bothered refuting any of the nonsense your tabloid publishes or similar tabloids? Not really. Why? I understand that freedom of speech works for us all. I also am a grownup and I understand that I have no right not to be offended. I also understand that arguing with data-resistant conservatives is akin to micturating in the ocean and then expecting the water level to rise.

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So let me ask you: Why are conservatives more entitled to feeling comfortable than I am or those who think as I do? What gives conservatives a special access to a comfort zone? Weren’t conservatives the ones who were hollering about and mocking liberals and their purported demands–voiced in screechy tones with tears in their eyes–for “trigger warnings,” “safe spaces,” their stammering for “political correctness”?  After all, the below picture summarizes one of the conservative positions on this very subject. I guess that the sentiment was “fuck MY feelings,” not YOUR feelings, right? Guess what: I’m not a snowflake. I’m not politically correct. And I am not shutting up.

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Perhaps you’ll say that my language is naughty and it’s my language that melts the conservative snowflakes?

My response to this grouse? Bollocks.

I learned from 60 Minutes that the current occupant of the White House raw-dogged a porn star, sent a goon to shut her up with actual hush-money. (He also lied about raw-dogging her and then paying hush money to said porn star..like he lies about everything else. But he eventually conceded to all and conservatives were like “cool. Jesus loves the sinner!”) Need I remind you that he raw-dogged said porn star while his wife (a visa, violating immigrant who facilitated chain migration) was nursing her anchor-baby Baron. (You’ll recognize that vocabulary from your current conservative party. I thought it was best to use the vernacular of your constituents for maximal clarity.)

But does a serial womanizing, multiple wife-having, porn-star-payoff making immoral wretch like the current occupant upset conservatives and their “family values”? Oh hell no. Many believe that god put this obscene disgrace of a human in the white house for the sole purpose of advancing their hitty agenda.  (Yes. I do believe that misogyny, racism, white supremacy, x-phobic bigotry and associated pathologies are the sine qua non of a shitty agenda.) We know god has an off-color sense of humor, don’t we? This is in addition to literally hearing this man boast of grabbing women’s genitalia and other acts of sexual assault and mocking women for being fat (that’s crazy, because he’s morbidly obese), ridicule women’s menstrual cycles. I can go on about this individual’s repugnant language. And then I’d have to get to all of the racist and other offensive verbiages and conduct espoused by him and other GOP candidates across the country at different levels of government. If you have a problem with my language…you should have a problem with the current GOP party’s language and–more importantly–its actions.

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Quite frankly I hope conservatives do feel uncomfortable by my tweets. Because I intend to highlight and call attention to the full range of their hypocrisy and to dilate upon the policies that they embrace which are antithetical to the values of this country –all of which make me feel comfortable in my country. Let me enumerate the reasons for my discomfort with so-called “conservatives.”

  1. The conservatives, whose feelings are purportedly so fragile, oppose fundamental equality of opportunity and outcome among persons who differ by, inter alia, gender, caste, creed, race, ethnicity, or who they love. The current conservative party opposes regulation that saves lives.
    1. For example, who foresaw Trump trying to facilitate an asbestos comeback? Your conservatives apparently believe that Americans have an unfettered right to drink poisoned water, eat dangerous food, and breath air laden with pollutants and carcinogens which have been tied to specific illnesses and adverse health outcomes. They are undoing any sensible regulation and legislation intended to retard climate change which not only threatens Americans but most–if not all–species on the plant.
    2. These snowflake conservatives want to deprive all Americans the right to marry the people of their choices.
    3. They engage in an effort to deny every person their right to vote, especially if they are people of color.
    4. They seek to deprive women access to birth control or other means of choosing when we have children. Control of our fecundity is central to our access to economic justice. (But oddly they do not holler about Viagra. If god intended those men to have erections, they would not need Viagra, right! And jeez. If life is truly sacred, sperm are very much alive for the short lives they enjoy. Every instance of ejaculation not into a vagina with a ready egg is a sperm genocide. See this helpful post of the life and lifetime of a sperm: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319669.php. Where is the conservative outrage over the sperm genocide? And what will happen to those conservative politicians when their knocked-up mistresses can’t be forced to have abortions?!
    5. Despite being “pro-life,” the fetus fetishists have no interest in providing women health care or ensuring comprehensive health care for all children. Essentially, for conservatives, once you’re no longer a fetus, you’re on your own. This belies the fact that fetus fetishists are not truly concerned about children; rather, controlling women. I may also point out that conservatives don’t seem concerned about the death penalty, warmongering or other things that take lives away from people.
    6. In December 2017, Paul Ryan actually said that American women should be cranking out more babies. Well if the current conservative party wants us to crank out more offspring, they should consider paying us. In fact, forced labor is actual slavery.
      1. In the service of reproducing humanity, literally, women are subjected to a vagina tax. Our costs of maintaining what conservatives believe is a “public good,” run into the tens of thousands of dollars over our lifetimes, excluding the opportunity costs of investing those expenditures more productively.
      2. This is in addition to the well-known “woman” tax in the labor market. White women fare best. Women of color fare the worst. And once you get married and pregnant, the penalties in the labor market are even direr. Conversely, when men get married their productivity and wages increases. Why? Because women subsidize their productivity. (Let me know if you need some sources. Again, these studies are done by economists who do that math sorcery.)
    7. The current Republican Party is not conservative. In fact, it is radical. It has not pursued fiscal conservatism during my adult lifetime. Rather, it has pursued expansive tax cuts which disproportionately benefit business and wealthy persons. This is not “conservatism.” At the same time, it has deepened our deficits. The Republican Party, which risibly calls itself a party of compassion seeks to consistently undermine any modicum of a social welfare net. So while it is perfectly happy making private jets a tax write off, it vilifies the poor who require various forms of public assistance. I’m pretty sure Jesus would be disgusted this.
    8. Not only is the current Republican party a party of, for and by the wealthy, but it is also a party that openly espouses white supremacy. Not only is this apparent but the things they say, scientists have also found this to be largely the case.  Political Scientist, Dana Mutz, found that Trump voters were motivated by “Both growing domestic racial diversity and globalization contributed to a sense that white Americans are under siege by these engines of change.” According to another study by Brian F. Schaffner ,

      “The 2016 campaign witnessed a dramatic polarization in the vote choices of whites based on (their level of) education…Very little of this gap can be explained by the economic difficulties faced by less-educated whites. Rather, most of the divide appears to be associated with sexism, and denialism of racism.”Very little of this gap can be explained by the economic difficulties faced by less-educated whites. Rather, most of the divide appears to be associated with sexism, and denialism of racism.”

    9. The current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania cannot bring himself to denounce white extremist groups that propound this noxious ideology. The current occupant of said address has a long history: of mocking women, boasting about assaulting women, has a long line of women claiming they were assaulted by him, vilifying minorities, jeering at the disabled, disparaging our FBI and intelligence agencies, denigrating those elements of the free press which holds him to account for lying on matters big and small on a daily basis, subverting a special counsel investigation into criminal conduct by him and his party, calling for a hostile country to hack into the email servers of his political foe, approbating dictators who murder and abuse their opposition.
    10. The current “conservative party,” rejects climate science. In fact, it has done so since the late 1970s when scientists understood the link between anthropogenic activities and climate change. This is not conservative. This a radical death cult that opposes any policies of sensible earth stewardship. The conservative party says it cares about life. If that were true, it should care about the deadly consequences of anthropogenic climate change which is real. (Of course, this same group of persons rejects evolution. For the record, I can’t even entertain that view. It is as sensible as a belief in sorcery.)
    11. We are not a democracy today and are becoming less democratic. The current Senate majority is elected by a minority of Americans. Unlike other parliamentary democracies in which the federating units have equal representation in the upper house but are essentially powerless, our Senate has the most significant powers with respect to cabinet appointments and stacking the judiciary. As this country undergoes demographic shifts towards the coastal and urban areas, which are also the most economically productive, this misrepresentation of the Senate will become extreme. By 2040, academic experts who engage in this voodoo science called math predict that “30 percent of the population of the country will control 68 percent of the seats in the U.S. Senate. Or, more starkly, half the population of the country will control 84 percent of those seats.” The fairness of elections to the House of Representatives and state assemblies is undermined by, inter alia, gerrymandering, racist efforts to deter persons of color from voting as well as assertive patterns in where people choose to live. The party that benefits from this is the Republican party which has an agenda which is deeply discomforting to me.
    12. I can go on. But I have work to do.

The noxious politics of conservatives seek to deprive me of my rights and others who do not share their sky tyrant beliefs make me uncomfortable. In short, if I make conservatives feel uncomfortable, they should feel welcome in the club.

Warmest

CC Fair

Greatest Satan Barbecue

In 2008, I wrote a castigation of George W.  Bush disguised as a culinary effort titled Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States: A Dinner Party Approach to International Relations. (Make no mistake: it’s a real cookbook and I cook from this thing all the time.) The final chapter was titled the “Great Satan Barbecue.” For some random-ass reasons, I had to consult this very well-cited cookbook and happened to re-read this concluding chapter because I needed a source I used.

I must admit that while this was published a fucking decade ago…these observations remain germane to the Era of the Xphobic, White-Christian-Male-Supremacist Pussy Grabber and the jackasses who support him.

By the way, if you like what you see here..buy the book at:  https://www.amazon.com/Cuisines-Axis-Other-Irritating-States/dp/1599212862.

I’m working on a culinary castigation of the Pussy Grabber regime. Any pump up in numbers on this effort will help me get a contract for the new one which I am hoping to write with Joshua Foust. By the way: on the new cookbook, all proceeds are going to progressive charities.

Enjoy!

USA

Americans are frequently treated to lengthy expositions about the perfidy of other nations. But, as my fellow Americans have come to learn (the hard way, alas) in recent years, we really seem to irritate most of the world. Thus, in the spirit of embracing our inner hegemons and in the hope that Americans will wake up and smell the enmity and demand better leadership and saner policies, I offer this sarcastic glimpse into what the data say about “why they hate us.” (Hint: It’s definitely not our freedoms.) Ladies and gentlemen, pick up your pitchforks with patriotic pride and fire up those coals!

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Let me say up front that I love being American. As a country, we have much to offer the world apart from, inter alia, interfering in other sovereign states’ domestic affairs, propping up and funding (often military and/or right-wing) dictators,249 toppling democratically elected folks we dislike, waging unpopular preemptive wars against countries that posed no real threat before being invaded, supporting countries that oppress all or parts of their populations, and bankrolling states that occupy people and appropriate their lands.

There are probably any number of good things we could do that wouldn’t foster global enmity—or at least as much as our current suite of policies. For example, if we took the cash that we squandered on these morally and ethically questionable programs and deployed those resources to educate folks, provide health care and robust feeding programs, and underwrite civil society institutions working within their legal structures for change, the U.S. of A. may have been spared the “Great Satan” moniker. Hell, we’d probably be in a better place than we are right now had we spent those same greenbacks educating Americans and providing sustainable and affordable health care rather than engaging in such dubious adventurism abroad.

I’d guess based upon my Midwestern experiences in Indiana and Chicago that prior to planes crashing into our buildings and suicide nutters attacking our embassies and naval vessels and before we saw our countrymen and allies being beheaded on the Internet, many Americans probably didn’t know how hated we are outside of our porous borders that are so easily crossed by the millions of illegal immigrants who still want to come here despite all the bad things said about us. In fact, some may say, if we are so bad, why is that any- where between 400,000 and 700,000 poor sons of bitches make their way illegally to the Great Satan every year? As they say, 10.3 million “unauthorized” immigrants since 2004 can’t be wrong!250 If I were to be adventurous and hazard a guess, I’d say this collective obliviousness to global animosity and its possible origins is likely due, in part, to the fact that Americans don’t travel that much. In fact, according to data from 2005, 80 percent of the American citizenry and 30 percent of U.S. congresspersons don’t even have passports.251 This is weird, given that we are the world’s only global superpower. This is even stranger when you consider how rich we are. Depending upon how you measure per capita wealth, the United States is either fourth or tenth out of 209 countries so ranked.252

“Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics”

Those of you who are convinced that Uncle Sam is a benign, avuncular man loved by all may be suspicious of my premise that Americans really are disliked and dismiss the claim as just a bunch of  tree-hugging  clap-trap.  However, dear suspicious reader, I fear that the preponderance of data—regrettably— confirms that we are, in fact, disliked and, in some places, we are downright loathed. And, it’s not just the terrorists who have bones to pick with us. The Pew Global Attitudes Project has collected scads and reams of data over several years that illuminate the ignominious truth that the United States has    few friends in the world and we lost many that we had before 9/11. While cookbooks don’t typically have charts, the gravity of our “dislikedness” necessitates one.

Graph1.png

Take a gander at the chart on the next page, lovingly crafted with the aforementioned Pew data. Before 9/11 most of the below-noted countries had healthy majorities who saw the United States favorably, but by 2006 only in the UK and Japan was there a majority of folks so inclined.253 Take a look at Pakistan, to which the United States has given something on the order of twenty billion bucks since 9/11 in overt and covert funds. Now, to be sure, a few Pakistanis like us more than they did before that infusion of cash, but still only one in four view us approvingly. Of course, Pakistanis rightly ask, who got the cash and for what purposes?254

I know some of you don’t trust survey data, and why should you? As the wise British statesman Benjamin Disraeli famously quipped, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Maybe Pew is incompetent, you say, or even a foe of freedom. I doubt it, but I understand your concerns.

Unfortunately, there are slews of other data that paint the same ugly Ameri-can picture.

In March 2007 U.S-based WorldPublicOpinion.org, paired up with the British BBC to survey more than 28,000 respondents in twenty-seven countries who were given a list of twelve countries (including the United States) and asked whether the countries in question had a “mostly positive or mostly negative influence in the world.” Here’s the heartache: There were four countries that received mostly negative responses, and the land of the free and the home of the brave was among them. Of course, Israel topped the list with 56 per- cent of surveyed folks opining negatively about that state’s swagger. Iran trun-dled in with 54 percent of those 28,000 folks having largely negative views of the mullahcracy’s influence. The United States got the bronze medal in the execrableness contest, with 51 percent espousing unfavorable views of its role in the world. In comparison, only 48 percent of those 28,000 viewed North Korea so hostilely. Worse yet, there were only four countries wherein majori-ties thought the U.S. role in the world was a good thing: the United States (only 57 percent thought their own country’s influence was mainly positive); Nigeria (72 percent); Kenya (70 percent); and the Philippines (72 percent). The folks in Canada even disliked us too, by and large, with only one in three standing up for us.255

So, it seems to me that it’s pretty clear that folks are irked by the United States. The question, of course, is why. On September 20, 2001, President Bush famously addressed the nation and offered these prairie oysters of wisdom:

“Americans are asking, why do they [presumably terrorists and their supporters] hate us? They hate what they see right here in this chamber—a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms—our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”256

Now a smart-arse person not unlike myself would note snidely that the

U.S. government has consistently supported “self-appointed” leaders when expedient, such as oil-purveying sheikhs and military and other right-wing dictators. But the Bush crowd is pretty fond of the bromide “They hate us fer [sic] our freedom,” and they have hocked this canard like hot dogs on the DC Mall on the Fourth of July for years.

Osama bin Laden was so irritated with this persistent nonsense that he “hates us for our freedom” that he drug his ass out of his cave and made a video on the eve of the 2004 elections in an effort to put all that silliness to rest. While bin Laden is a murderous, loathsome, scraggy-bearded aspirant despot, it is worth looking at why he says he hates us:

Before I begin, I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar of human life and that free men do not forfeit their security, con-trary to Bush’s claim that we hate freedom.

If so, then let him explain to us why we don’t strike, for example, Sweden? And we know that freedom-haters don’t possess defiant spirits like those of the 19—may Allah have mercy on them. No one except a dumb thief plays with the security of others and then makes himself believe he will be secure. Whereas thinking people, when disaster strikes, make it their priority to look for its causes, in order to prevent it happening again. But I am amazed at you. Even though we are in the fourth year after the events of September 11th, Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception and hiding from you the real causes. And thus, the reasons are still there for a repeat of what occurred.257

Clearly, bin Laden has a different explanation for why he hates the United States, and his views should count for something, as he is the arch-hater of the United States and evil terrorist mastermind that would like to drive our fine country into the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico if he could. There are a few important takeaways from his minimus opus. The first is the utter nonsense of the “they hate our freedom” narrative. The man may be maniacal, but he’s right: Al-Qaeda didn’t target Sweden. In fact, Sweden is even freer than the United States, according to data from Freedom House.260 So if terrorists are anti-freedom-seeking missiles, then those freedom-dripping Swedes would be royally screwed. Second, bin Laden seems to be pointing out the obvious: The United States is a big bully, and there’s loads of evidence that suggest that publics—who are neither terrorists nor their sup- porters—may agree with him on this score. Third, he implies that we are not “thinking people” because some of us still believe they hate us “fer our freedom.”

Instead, we should embrace the fact that we are the world’s only global hegemon. The Soviet Union has gone. The United States is the only super- power standing, which means the United States gets to do whatever the hell it wants with scant regard to what other sovereign states think, as evidenced by our Cuba, Iraq, and Israel policies.

whatweeat

Anti-Americanism Is a Global Phenomenon

To state the obvious, anti-Americanism is a global phenomenon, but as the Pew nerds note, “It is clearly strongest in the Muslim world.”261 Within the five predominantly Muslim countries they polled in 2006, fewer than one in three persons queried had good things to say about the United States. More to the point, the Pew folks contend that with the Iraq war, anti-Americanism spread to Muslim countries that used to like us, such as Turkey and Indonesia.262 Muslims, like many people in the world, don’t seem to be buying the bull that Washington is selling. One T-shirt hawker on the Internet found a better formulation more in line with the empirics of the antipathy but retaining the pith: “They Hate US for Our Freedom . . . to Dominate Them or Kill Them Trying.”263

Curiously, Americans are also dubious about many of the same issues as their fellow global citizens. Most Americans disapprove of our mess in Meso- potamia and Washington’s approach to global warming. One in two Americans mercifully reject the way detainees are treated in Gitmo and other prisons as well. Americans are also split in their assessment of the way their government has dealt with Iran. A bit less than half (47 percent) of Americans are not fond of the way the United States handled the “Israel-Lebanon” war, and 43 percent disagree with Washington’s approach to Pyongyang’s nuclear hankerings. More than half (53 percent) even think the U.S. military presence in the Middle East makes more messes than it prevents.264 Moreover, most of my fellow Americans think we are “policing” the world more than we ought to be.265 So the question, of course, remains: If American don’t like this crap and ostensibly no one else does either, why is our purportedly elected government engaging in these shenanigans and why can’t we stop them?

U.S. efforts to put democracy on the march at gunpoint strikes some folks as curious given recent electoral follies in the world’s “oldest democracy.” When I wrote this chapter, I knew loads of sensible, educated folks of all class and ethnic backgrounds who still questioned the legitimacy of the 2000 and 2004 presidential rumbles. The issues stem from the ways in which the voters’ list is, or at least can be, manipulated and some of the groups of people who appear to be disproportionately disenfranchised either by not letting them vote in the first place or by excluding their vote once cast. African Americans—who are not typically Republican—seem particularly screwed over. Writing in 2004 for the San Francisco Chronicle, Greg Palast explained that in the 2000 presidential election, there were 1.9 million Americans whose votes were not counted because they were deemed “spoiled votes.” Curiously, 1 million of them (more than half of the rejected ballots) were cast by African-American voters, even though they comprise only 12 percent of the electorate!266

Of course, the vote shenanigans didn’t end in Florida in 2000. In the 2004 presidential contest, Ohio was the flashpoint of criticism, though relatively muted in comparison to the Florida hoopla. In several vastly Democratic and majority African-American districts, voters had to wait in lines for hours in the rain to cast their ballot, and many just aborted their electoral missions. Meanwhile, in vastly Republican and majority white neighborhoods, folks waited fifteen minutes or so to vote. One observer explained that it was “poor planning” and that “county officials knew they had this huge increase in registrations, and yet there weren’t enough machines in the city.” In fact, these electoral dysfunctions disenfranchised 5,000 to 15,000 frustrated would-be voting Columbus residents on November 2.267

While those “lost” votes would not have made a ding in Bush’s 118,000- vote margin, similar problems took place throughout state, galvanizing protest marches and hollering for a recount. Fueling doubts about Republican intentions, the foul-ups seemed to be most acute in Democratic-leaning districts. In Cleveland, for example, nincompoop poll workers reportedly pro- vided bogus instructions to voters, resulting in the disqualification of thou- sands of provisional ballots. As one would expect in this tale of intrigue, several hundred votes were transferred to third-party candidates. In Youngstown twenty-five electronic machines moved some unknown number of votes cast for the distinguished Vietnam War vet and senatorial “flip-flop- per” John F. Kerry to the incumbent George W.268

Many people around the world—including bin Laden himself—were baf- fled by the American polity’s willingness to reelect (or elect, if you are really riled up by the 2000 election) the Shrub. In his 2004 pugnacious diatribe, bin Laden ignominiously explains to the citizens of the United States that there indeed have been winners in this war, namely “shady Bush administration- linked mega-corporations, like Halliburton and its kind . . . And it all shows the real loser is . . . you.”269 Later, in 2007, in his oddest video yet, bin Laden expressed incredulity that the Americans, in spite of his various screwups, “permitted Bush to complete his first term, and stranger still, chose him for a second term, which gave him a clear mandate from you—with your full knowledge and consent—to continue to murder our people in Iraq and Afghanistan.”270 What can you say to this? Sometime the world’s nastiest terrorist mastermind makes good points.

It’s Definitely Not Bad To Be American

There are a few things remaining that I don’t quite understand about my nation’s predicament. As noted, by per capita measures of wealth, it’s not bad to be American. Measured by human development standards, we are not poorly off either. Using the United Nations Development Program’s notion of Human Development Indicators, the U.S. of A. is ranked eighth among 177 nations so ranked. 271 So we are rich and well developed, but we are oddly just clueless. I suspect that part of the problem could be the way in which we Americans get our news. Profit-motivated media, which has increasingly been consolidated in the hands of a few, have produced a sense of uniform, sensationalistic, dread-mongering “infotainment,” with little actual news con- tent and plenty of genuflecting to advertisement revenues. The über-liberal Mother Jones magazine estimated that there are only eight firms that dominate the huge U.S. media market.272

It is bizarre how all of the mainstream American media remain so captivated by Anna Nicole Smith in the backdrop of two wars and mounting casualties, while Iran gets nuttier, Pakistan melts down and the Palestinians still suffer under Israel’s metal-toed boot. If buxom blondes or purposeless “reality TV shows” are not hogging up your HDTV despite the hundreds of channels on cable, then it seems like any source of fright will do to lure in our channel-flipping attentions. Infotainment news programs have all perfected the formulaic fear-hocking with their freaky titles, such as “Terror in your medicine cabinet,” “Could terrorists be plotting to buy the Washington Red- skins?” “Could terrorists be running your HMO?” and “Terrorists in your septic tank.”

GotScience

Who cares, you ask, if American media are mind-numbing? Well, I care, because there is evidence that Americans who get their news from commercial media sources are more likely to be wrong on important issues, and this state of “wrongness” permits politicians to do things that are not in our interests. In November 2003 researchers published an essay titled “Misperceptions, the Media and the Iraq War,” wherein they found that in the run-up to the pointless invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation-related quagmire, a significant chunk of the electorate held several wrongheaded ideas germane to the Bush administration’s justification for its warmongering.274

First they asked, “Is it your impression that the U.S. has or has not found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the al Qaeda terrorist organization?” (The answer, dear reader, is “has not.”) Large percentages, 45 to 52 percent, got that question wrong. Second they asked, “Since the war with Iraq ended, is it your impression that the U.S. has or has not found Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction?” (Again, the answer is “has not,” although suggesting that the “war had ended” was, in hindsight, absurd.) Americans did better on this question than on the first: Between 21 and 34 percent failed. Third they asked Americans, “Thinking about how all the people in the world feel about the U.S. going/having gone to war with Iraq, do you think the majority of people favor it, oppose it, or are views evenly balanced?” (Correct answer: “Mostly the world opposed it.”) Anywhere between 24 and 31 percent mistakenly believed that the majority supported the war, and another one in three incorrectly opined that international views were evenly mixed. (The good news is that 35 to 42 percent got the question right, depending upon when the poll was fielded.) Across all three of these incredibly basic, rudimentary, and straightforward questions, only one in three got all of them correct.275

How does this advance my contention that this widespread misinformation is related to the source of crappy news? That team also looked at the source of news consumed, asking respondents, “If one of the networks below is your primary source of news please select it.” The options given were ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, PBS, and NPR. They were also allowed to identify “print media.” Lamentably, PBS and NPR had so few responses that the team combined them into one category, “public networks,” for analysis. They then examined those who got the above-three questions correct or incorrect and correlated their responses to the source of news. They found that the  folks who had all three questions correct overwhelmingly relied on NPR and PBS for their news. In what will no doubt not come as an earth-shattering surprise, only 20 percent of Fox’s viewership got them all right, which means that (shock!) 80 percent of consumers of Fox’s “fair and balanced” news got at  least one of the questions wrong.276

Apart from the public networks, people who relied mostly upon print media were second most likely to get all items correct and second less likely to get one of the questions wrong. For those who think CNN walks on water, 45 percent of the folks who identified CNN as their primary news source had no mistakes, while a majority (55 percent) got at least one item wrong. CNN was actually tied with NBC, but viewers of CBS and ABC were more likely to be wrong and less likely to get a perfect score than either.277

The final point that I’d like to share with you is the irony that the United States is dedicated (purportedly) to fighting “religious extremism” abroad— but we have a strong population of religious extremists at home. In November 2004 CBS did a poll of Americans to query their views on evolution. Astonishingly, a slim majority (13 percent) believed in evolution as most legitimate scientists would define it (e.g., no god involved). The biggest slice of folks (55 percent) said that they believe that “God created humans in their present form.” Another 27 percent said that they believe that humans evolved, but “God guided the process.”278 Note that since this involves a supernatural explanation (God’s involvement), it is not, strictly speaking, evolution. Overwhelmingly, white evangelicals, weekly churchgoers, and conservatives were most likely to say “God created humans in their present form.” Not surprisingly, that same poll found that a majority (71 percent) of people think that both creationism and evolution should be taught in U.S. schools.

The Men vs. the Monkeys (Is there really a difference?)

To be fair, there have been other studies of acceptance of evolution among Americans, and the answer differs depending on how you ask the question. In 2006 Pew found that one in four believed that humans evolved through natural selection and one in five believed that humans evolved under the guidance of a “supreme being,” while the largest chunk (four in ten) believed that humans and other living things have always existed only in their current form.279 In 2006 a study was published in Science magazine that measured the acceptance of evolution by Americans and the residents of Japan and thirty- two European countries. Folks in that study were asked whether they agreed with, disagreed with, or were uncertain about the statement “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.” Whereas among most European countries, 80 percent or more agreed and 7 to 15 percent said it was “false,” in the United States, 40 percent agreed and as almost many disagreed. When Americans were asked about the same statement but were given a different set of choices (the statement is “definitely true,” “probably true,” etc.), only 14 percent said that evolution is “definitely true,” and one in three outright rejected it. The researchers, trying to figure out why Americans seemed to have more in common with (Muslim) Turkey than with the other countries examined, summarized their findings in the following terms: “The acceptance of evolution is lower in the United States than in Japan or Europe, largely because of widespread fundamentalism and the politicization of science in the United States.”280 In fact, American opponents of evolution are so gung-ho about creationism, they even built a “museum” dedicated to it in Petersburg, Kentucky, in May 2007.

Pew’s polls offer some more frightening, data-driven insights in the U.S. of A., which if evangelical Christians get their way, could be renamed Jesustan. Let’s begin with the scary fact identified by the reliable bean counters at Pew who found that Americans overwhelmingly consider the country to be a “Christian nation.” (That’s scary stuff for the Atheists, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, and other non-Christian Americans who are des- tined to burn in hell.) Fortunately, most Americans still believe that citizen preference should trump the Bible when it comes to law, except those white evangelicals, who comprise about one in four of the Pew sample. The majority of those wannabe citizens of Jesustan (60 percent) believe that the Bible should be the guiding principle in drafting laws. In partial explanation of the insane U.S. policies toward Israel, nearly 70 percent of white evangelicals believe that God gave Israel to the Jewish people and nearly 60 percent believe that Israel is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy—a view that is rejected by other Protestant and Catholic groups. Not surprisingly, those who see Israel as a gift to Jewry and a fulfillment of biblical soothsaying are more likely to sympathize with Israel in its “dispute” with the Palestinians.281

Obviously, evangelical and other religious Americans are also nuts over abortion, fetal rights (endowed with rights taken away from women), physician-assisted suicide, and the like. Evangelicals, along with their political and judicial proxies, have coined a moniker for their collective of purportedly Bible- based beliefs and efforts to stamp out the above-noted practices. They call depriving women of health care and stripping humans of the same dignity in death as afforded house pets and horses as “creating a culture of life,” embraced by the purported evangelical in chief, George W. Bush, who even publicly worked to found it from the Oval Office.282 Incidentally, there is no reference to abortion in the Bible and there are loads of examples demonstrating that God is not kind to children (killing all firstborn in Egypt, among other gruesome examples) and certainly not thoughtful toward women (damning them to painful childbirth and governance of husbands who can beat them).283

Our president seems to value fetuses over born children. In the fall of 2007 he vetoed a law that would provide the actual children of working, but poor, parents with health care. And I won’t even remind you of the huge of loss of life in Iraq. Apparently that culture of life excludes Iraqi lives and that of armed service personnel dying there daily. Indeed, every Republican presidential hopeful was out there demonstrating that every gamete is sacred. Monty Python couldn’t spoof these debates better than they spoofed them- selves. But once again, I’d like to point out why this is so funny to folks watching the American fish bowl.

While we decry grotesque practices of governments and wrangle them into apposite categories like Axis of Evil and Outposts of Tyranny, we are, in fact, criticized by many governments and international human rights organizations because we use the death penalty and have embraced torture in the war on terrorism, which are not terribly consistent with a “culture of life.” Across the world in 2006, Amnesty International says that at least 1,591 people are known to have been executed and 91 percent of these known executions took place in six countries: China (1,010), Iran (177), Pakistan (92), Iraq (65), Sudan (65), and the USA (53). The good news is if you divide the execution counts by population, the United States has the least per capita executions of these six states.284 Texas is the biggest American user of the “punishment”: Out of 1,099 executions in the United States since 1976, Texas accounts for a whopping 405! 285

While many Americans have moral qualms about the death penalty’s use,286 it is appalling that the world’s oldest democracy still uses capital punishment given the risk of killing innocent people, which often happens as DNA-based exculpatory evidence has shown, and given that race and class determine access to justice, as does the ability to afford a decent defense attorney.287

Folks, I love my country. But we can—and must—do better. We can all start by reading, demanding better news, and insisting upon accountability for stupid and deadly policies that advance anyone’s interests but our own. And with that lengthy, contumely, and outright intemperate outburst, let’s get back to food.

Welcome to the Great Satan Barbecue288

Ritz

America is a big place, and its cuisines are varied. Notwithstanding the city slickers in L.A. and “The City” (as New Yorkers are wont to say), the United States and its foreign policies are driven by the Bible-thumpers in the “heart- land.” Thus, being a daughter of the soil of Jesustan, I am going to bring to you the food of my people—albeit a “reconstructed” variation. Traditionally, Middle Americans eat horrid “appetizers,” which tend to rely heavily on cream cheese, shoddy imitations of salsa, ranch dressing, “cheez” balls, and deli platters that include the oddity “pickle loaf.” In fact, they should not be called “appetizers” at all because they are not remotely appetizing.

Since I actually want folks to eat this food, I have had to innovate or at least improve upon the Tupperware platters of inedibles that I recall from my sordid youth. I wish I could say I am sharing with you the recipes of the women of my family, lovingly handed down from generation to generation. That did not happen. My mother unloaded trucks for a living in Indiana, and began her day at o’dark thirty. When she came home sweaty and exhausted, feeding the family—me, my brothers, and my step-monster—was a chore akin to slopping hogs. It was a duty to be performed with the greatest ease, minimal time, and the least cleanup. She preferred things that cooked themselves. This usually involved perpetrating various culinary crimes with cooking bags, canned mush- room soup, and cheez products. Mother had many talents—swearing, speeding, decking obnoxious husbands—but cooking was simply not in her repertoire.

Understandably, I went through college with the belief that stirring a can of tuna into a mix of macaroni and cheese teetered on sophistication and that special occasions called for wrapping cream cheese and a pickle in a piece of dried beef and slicing the roll into swirled wedges, each pierced with a plastic-fringed toothpick and arranged thoughtfully on a Tupperware platter. Mom made a mean corn dog—oddly, however, without cornmeal, which is the hall- mark ingredient of the “dish.” She also made a wonderful breakfast called “shit on a shingle,” which was constructed by boiling thinly sliced chipped beef in water to impart flavor and mixing in milk and flour to make a delicious gravy. This delicacy was often served hastily over usually singed white bread. On special occasions, Mom would make my favorite, sausage gravy and biscuits. Of course, she did not make her own biscuits—that would be absurd. She used the handy “biscuits in a tube” that you find in the margarine section of your super- market. When she died, I unsuccessfully scoured her kitchen for the cornless– corn dog recipe. They really were delicious—especially with French’s mustard.

While you more sophisticated folks may be cringing, I love the food I grew up on. When I come across a restaurant that serves up fried green tomatoes or okra, I am overcome with nostalgia and twenty minutes after consuming the same, implacable heartburn. I squeal with delight if I see dandelion greens on a menu. As a child, I helped my grandmother pick the greens from behind her trailer, and she’d wilt them with bacon fat and season them with a bit of vine- gar. I can still remember the smell of those greens breaking down and the pun- gent aroma of real pig fat sizzling in the pan. Grandma made cornmeal mush—a hilljack’s take on polenta. She even poured leftover cream of wheat into a buttered loaf pan and kept it in the fridge until the next morning, when she would slice it, fry it up in butter, and serve with (faux) maple syrup. To this day, a gussied-up TFC (as I call tuna fish casserole) is my comfort food of choice—and you can’t go wrong with a fried Spam sandwich on white bread with mustard.

Family reunions, while not enjoyable, were always memorable. On my grandmother’s side, the family farmed pigs. I mostly recall the succulent roasted pig and the hideous and strange fruits of the pawpaw trees that grew along the Wabash River. Salads consistently were dressed in Miracle Whip with frozen peas and bacon. Sometimes someone would get fancy and substitute spinach for the lettuce, which left some folks disgruntled. Cakes were reliably made with Jell-O stirred into the batter to make funny colored swirls. And the beer was invariably Pabst Blue Ribbon. I considered myself lucky if someone made a tuna fish casserole with real cheddar cheese—not Velveeta— or if someone bothered to make a real macaroni and cheese.

The folks on my first step-monster’s side were also pig farmers of German heritage. Great-grandma Weber would cook anything that moved. She would fry up rabbit caught in her own garden, make a “Swiss steak” out of anything rendered into her kitchen, and seemed to have a personal philosophy that if it grew, she could pickle it. Grandpa Weber—her son—was and is fond of making strudels and schnitzels and eating them in one sitting. He also had a distinct sense of humor. Loads of people in Indiana hunt deer, and while it’s commonplace to get the “rack” mounted, Grandpa Weber had the ass of a doe mounted. The “deer ass” hangs proudly in my home, both shocking and amusing guests at once.

This meal is centered on the Beer Butt Chicken barbecue. Yes, as the name suggests, it involves cooking a chicken with a beer can. You simply insert said can (appropriately sized for the bird in question) and stabilize the chicken atop it. You cook the bird upright, as if it were sitting on the can. While you may be dubious, the science of this is impeccable. It steams the bird from the inside while allowing it to get crispy on the outside. You can cook the bird on the barbecue or in your oven. (Since I have generally been a city girl since leaving Indiana, I generally use my oven for this. Although I did grill up a mess of these birds in Kabul.)

Further Reading

Allard, Patricia, and Marc Mauer. Regaining the Vote: An Assessment of Activity Relating to Felon Disenfranchisement Laws. New York: Open Society Institute, January 2000. www.soros.org/initiatives/justice/articles_publications/publications/regainingthevote_2000011.

Amnesty International. “Death Penalty Statistics 2006,” April 2007. www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGACT500122007&lang=e.

Barber, Benjamin R. Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism’s Challenge to Democracy. New York: Ballantine Books, 1995.

BBC News Online, “Rice names ‘outposts of tyranny,’” January 19, 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4186241.stm.

Bin Ladin, Usama. “The Solution—A Video Speech from Usama bin Ladin Addressing the American People on the Occasion of the Sixth Anniver- sary of 9/11—9/2007.” SITE Intelligence Group. http://www.counterterrorism- blog.org/site-resources/images/SITE-OBL-transcript.pdf.

———. “Speech on the Eve of the U.S. 2001 General Elections,” November 1, 2004. http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/79C6AF22-98FB-4A1C- B21F-2BC36E87F61F.htm.

Bush, George W. “Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People,” September 20, 2001. www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/ 2001/09/20010920-8.html.

CBS News. “Poll: Creationism Trumps Evolution,” November 22, 2004. cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/22/opinion/polls/main657083.shtml.

Cohen, Craig, and Derek Chollet. “When $10 Billion Is Not Enough: Rethinking U.S. Strategy toward Pakistan.” Washington Quarterly 30, no. 2 (Spring 2007): 7–19.

Critzer, Greg. Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World.

New York: Houghton Mifflon, 2003.

Dean, Cornelia. “Scientific Savvy? In U.S., Not Much.” New York Times, August 30, 2005. www.nytimes.com/2005/08/30/science/ 30profile.html.

Death Penalty Information Center. Innocence and the Crisis in the American Death Penalty. Washington, DC: Death Penalty Information Center, 2004. www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=45&did=1150.

———. “Number of Executions by State and Region Since 1976,” September 28, 2007. www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=8&did=186.

Dieter, Richard C. A Crisis of Confidence: Americans’ Doubts About the Death Penalty. Washington, DC: Death Penalty Information Center Report, 2007. www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/CoC.pdf.

Dobbs, Michael. “In a Global Test of Math Skills, U.S. Students Behind the Curve. Washington Post, December 7, 2004. www.washingtonpost.com/ wp-dyn/articles/A41278-2004Dec6.html.

The Economist. “Keeping the word: The triumph of faith over experience in Kentucky,” May 31, 2007. www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9261747.

Elsner, Alan. “America’s Prison Habit.” Washington Post, January 24, 2004. “Felony Disenfranchisement Removes 1.4 Million Black Men from the Voting Rolls,” Journal of Blacks in Higher Education 22 (Winter 1998–1999): 61–62.

Fletcher, Michael A. “Bush Hails Progress Toward ‘Culture of Life’: Limits on Abortion, Stem Cell Use Cited.” Washington Post, January 25, 2005. www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A32959-2005Jan24.html.

Freedom from Religion Foundation. “What Does the Bible Say About Abor- tion?” Contract #7, 2007. www.ffrf.org/nontracts/abortion.php.

Freedom House. “Freedom in the World 2007 Sub-Scores.” http://www.freedom house.org/template.cfm?page=372.

Gattuso, James. “The Myth of Media Concentration: Why the FCC’s Media Ownership Rules Are Unnecessary.” Heritage Foundation #284, May 29, 2003. www.heritage.org/Research/InternetandTechnology/wm284.cfm. Gove, Michael. “Putin’s Bare Chest Is a Display of Power Best Kept Secret.”

Times Online, August 21, 2007. http://timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/ columnists/michael_gove/article2293856.ece.

Granitsas, Alkman. “Americans are Tuning Out the World: When the world comes to their shore, U.S. citizens are increasingly less interested in for- eign affairs.” Yale Global, November 24, 2005.

International Federation of Journalists. “Media Concentration.” www.ifj.org/default.asp?Issue=OWNER&Language=EN.

Klinenberg, Eric. “Breaking the News.” Mother Jones 49 (March/April 2007). www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2007/03/breaking_the_news.html. Kull, Steven, Clay Ramsay, and Evan Lewis. “Misperception, the Media, and the

Iraq War.” Political Science Quarterly 118, no. 3 (2003–2004): 569–98. Loury, Glenn C. “Ghettos, Prisons and Racial Stigma,” April 4, 2007.

www.econ.brown.edu/fac/Glenn%5FLoury/louryhomepage/teaching/ Ec%20137/Ec%20137%20spring07/LECTURE%20I.pdf.

Masci, David. “Twenty Years after a Landmark Supreme Court Decision, Americans Are Still Fighting about Evolution.” Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, June 13, 2006. www.pewforum.org/docs/?DocID=222.

Miller, John. “Numbers Crunch—Using Sampling in Year 2000 Census Is Mistake.” National Review, July 20, 1998. www.findarticles.com/p/ articles/mi_m1282/is_n13_v50/ai_20977845-31k.

Miller, Jon D., Eugenie C. Scott, and Shinji Okamoto. “Public Acceptance of Evolution.” Science 213, no. 5788 (August 11, 2006): 765–66.

National Center for Educational Statistics. International Outcomes of Learning in Mathematics Literacy and Problem Solving: PISA 2003 Results from the U.S. Perspective. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, 2003. www.nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/2005003.pdf.

Owen, James. “Evolution Less Accepted in U.S. Than Other Western Coun- tries, Study Finds.” National Geographic News, August 10, 2006. http://www.news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060810-evolution.html.

Palast, Greg. “1 Million Black Votes Didn’t Count in the 2000 Presidential Election: It’s Not Too Hard to Get Your Vote Lost—If Some Politicians Want It to be Lost.” San Francisco Chronicle, June 20, 2004. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/06/20/ ING2976LG61.DTL.

———. “Florida’s ‘Disappeared Voters’: Disfranchised by the GOP.” The Nation, February 5, 2001. www.thenation.com/doc/20010205/palest.

Panel on Alternative Census Methodologies, Committee on National Statis- tics, National Research Council. Measuring a Changing Nation: Modern Meth- ods for the 2000 Census. Edited by Michael L. Cohen, Andrew A. White, and Keith F. Rust. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999. http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6500&page=R1.

Passel, Jeffrey S., and Roberto Suro. Rise, Peak, and Decline: Trends in U.S. Immigration 1992–2004. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center, Septem- ber 27, 2005. www.pewhispanic.org/files/reports/53.pdf.

Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. “Many Americans Uneasy with Mix of Religion and Politics,” August 24. 2006. www.pewforum.org/docs/ index.php?DocID=153.

Pew Global Attitudes. “America’s Image in the World: Findings from the Pew Global Attitudes Project: Remarks of Andrew Kohut to the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, March 14, 2007.” www.pewglobal.org/commentary/display.php?AnalysisID=1019.

Powell, Michael, and Peter Slevin. “Several Factors Contributed to ‘Lost’ Voters in Ohio.” Washington Post, December 15, 2004. http://www.washington post.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64737-2004Dec14.html.

Roach, John. “Fossil Find Is Missing Link in Human Evolution, Scientists Say.” National Geographic News, April 13 2006. www.news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/04/0413_060413_evolution.html.

Roberts, Alasdair. “The War We Deserve.” Foreign Policy, November/ December 2007.

Rottinghaus, Brandon. Incarceration and Enfranchisement: International Practices, Impact and Recommendations for Reform. Washington, DC: International Foundation for Election Systems, 2003. www.ifes.org/publication/ 4bbcc7feabf9b17c41be87346f57c1c4/08_18_03_Manatt_Brandon_Ro ttinghaus.pdf.

Schmitz, David F. The United States and Right-Wing Dictatorships, 1965–1989. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Shields, Rachel. “Americans celebrate a national symbol as the Big Mac turns 40.” The Independent, August 25, 2007. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article2893894.ece.

Simon, Roger. “Giuliani Warns of ‘New 9/11’ If Dems Win.” Politico.com, April 26, 2007. www.politico.com/news/stories/0407/3684.html.

Telhami, Shibley. “America in Arab Eyes.” Survival 49, no. 1 (Spring 2007): 115.

United Nations Development Program. Human Development Report 2006. www.hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/statistics.

U.S. Government Accountability Office. GAO-06-770 Illegal Immigration: Bor- der-Crossing Deaths Have Doubled Since 1995. Washington, DC: U.S. GAO, August 2006. www.gao.gov/new.items/d06770.pdf.

U.S. White House. “Promoting a Culture of Life: The Accomplishments,” November 5, 2003. www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/achievement/ chap15.html.

USA Today, “The Big Mac Turns 40, Gets a Museum,” August 24, 2007. www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-08-24-big-mac-at-40_N.htm.

Walmsley, Roy. “Global Incarceration and Prison Trends.” Forum on Crime and Society 3, nos. 1 and 2 (December 2003): 65–78.

World Bank. “GNI per capita 2006, Atlas method and PPP.” From the World Development Indicators database, World Bank, September 14, 2007. www.siteresources.worldbank.org/DATASTATISTICS/Resources/ GNIPC.pdf.

WorldPublicOpinion.org. “Israel and Iran Share Most Negative Ratings in Global,” March 2007. www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/mar07/ BBC_ViewsCountries_Mar07_pr.pdf.

———. “Muslim Public Opinion on U.S. Policy, Attacks on Civilians and al Qaeda,” April 24, 2007. www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/apr07/START_Apr07_rpt.pdf.

———. “World View of US Role Goes From Bad to Worse,” January 2007. www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/home_page/306.php?nid=&id=&pnt=306&lb=hmpg.

Footnotes.

  1. David F. Schmitz, The United States and Right-Wing Dictatorships, 1965–1989 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
  2. Estimates calculated by Jeffrey S. Passel, in United States Government Accountability Office, GAO-06-770 Illegal Immigration: Border-Crossing Deaths Have Doubled Since 1995 (Washington, DC:  U.S.  GAO,  August  2006),  www.gao.gov/new.items/d06770.pdf. See also Jeffrey S. Passel and Roberto Suro, Rise, Peak, and Decline: Trends in U.S. Immigra- tion 1992–2004 (Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center, September 27, 2005), www.pewhispanic.org/files/reports/53.pdf.
  3. Alkman Granitsas, “Americans Are Tuning Out the World: When the world comes to their shore, U.S. citizens are increasingly less interested in foreign affairs,” Yale Global, November 24, 2005.
  4. The U.S. has the fourth-highest per capita gross national income (GNI) when calcu- lated in “purchasing power parity” or “international dollars” and tenth using the “Atlas method,” measured in American greenbacks, according to World Bank, “GNI per capita 2006, Atlas method and PPP,” World Development Indicators database,” September, 14 2007, www.siteresources.worldbank.org/DATASTATISTICS/Re- sources/GNIPC.pdf.
  5. This chart presents many of the countries in Pew, but some are not included. Spain, Egypt, Jordan, Nigeria, India, and China were excluded due to too few years or be- cause there were no data for 1999–2000. Of these, in 2006 only two states had ma- jorities positively disposed towards the United States (62 percent of Nigerians and 56 percent of Indians). Only 23 percent of Spaniards, 30 percent of Egyptians, 15 percent of Jordanians, and 47 percent of the Chinese liked the United States.
  6. Craig Cohen and Derek Chollet, “When $10 Billion Is Not Enough: Rethinking U.S. Strategy toward Pakistan,” Washington Quarterly 30, no. 2 (Spring 2007): 7–19.
  7. The survey queried 28,389 citizens in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United States between November 3, 2006, and January 16, 2007. See also WorldPublicOpinion.Org, “Israel and Iran Share Most Neg- ative Ratings in Global,” March 2007, www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/mar07/ BBC_ViewsCountries_Mar07_pr.pdf.
  1. George W. Bush, “Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People,” September 20, 2001, www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010920-8.html.
  2. “Usama bin Ladin’s speech on the eve of the U.S. 2004 general elections,” November 1, 2004, http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/79C6AF22-98FB-4A1C-B21F-2BC3 6E87F61F.htm.
  3. For a fascinating take on globalization (and jihad), see Benjamin R. Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism’s Challenge to Democracy (New York: Ballantine Books, 1995). For a not-so-funny take on the health impacts of eating supersize McDonald’s meals every day for thirty days, see Morgan Spurlock’s flick Super Size Me (2003).
  4. Rachel Shields, “Americans celebrate a national symbol as the Big Mac turns 40,” The Independent, August 25, 2007, http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/ article2893894.ece; “The Big Mac turns 40, Gets a Museum,” USA Today, August 24, 2007, www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-08-24-big-mac-at-40_N.htm.
  5. Freedom House, “Freedom in the World 2007 Sub-Scores,” www.freedomhouse.org/ template.cfm?page=372.
  6. Pew Global Attitudes, “America’s Image in the World.”
  7. Ibid.
  8. You can buy a T-shirt from Contepl8 T-Shirts, http://contempl8.net/they-hate-us-for- our-freedom.htm.
  9. WorldPublicOpinion.org, “World View of US Role Goes from Bad to Worse.”
  10. Gallup Organization, cited by WorldPublicOpinion.org, “US Role in the  World,”  Au- gust 3, 2007, www.americans-world.org/digest/overview/us_role/hegemonic_role.cfm.
  11. Greg Palast, “1 Million Black Votes Didn’t Count in the 2000 Presidential Election: It’s Not Too Hard to Get Your Vote Lost—If Some Politicians Want It to be Lost,” San Fran- cisco Chronicle, June 20, 2004. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/ archive/2004/06/20/ING2976LG61.DTL.
  12. Michael Powell and Peter Slevin, “Several Factors Contributed to ‘Lost Voters’ in Ohio,” Washington Post, December 15, 2004, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/arti- cles/A64737-2004Dec14.html.
  13. Ibid
  14. “Usama bin Laden’s speech on the eve of the U.S. 2004 general elections.”
  15. “The Solution—A Video Speech from Usama bin Laden Addressing the American Peo- ple on the Occasion of the Sixth Anniversary of 9/11.”
  16. United Nations Development Program, Human Development Report 2006, www.hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/statistics.
  1. Eric Klinenberg, “Breaking the News,” Mother Jones 49 (March/April 2007), www

.motherjones.com/news/feature/2007/03/breaking_the_news.html; also see Interna- tional Federation of Journalists, “Media Concentration,” www.ifj.org/default.asp?Issue=OWNER&Language=EN. For a contrarian view from the Heritage Foundation, see James Gattuso, “The Myth of Media Concentration: Why the FCC’s Media Ownership Rules Are Unnecessary,” Heritage Foundation #284, May 29, 2003, www.heritage.org/Research/ InternetandTechnology/wm284.cfm.

  1. Cornelia Dean, “Scientific Savvy? In U.S., Not Much,” New York Times, August 30, 2005, www.nytimes.com/2005/08/30/science/30profile.html.
  2. Steven Kull, Clay Ramsay, and Evan Lewis, “Misperception, the Media, and the Iraq War,” Political Science Quarterly 118, no. 3 (2003–2004): 569–98.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid
  5. Ibid
  6. CBS News, “Poll: Creationism Trumps Evolution,” November 22, 2004, cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/22/opinion/polls/main657083.shtml.
  7. David Masci, “Twenty Years after a Landmark Supreme Court Decision, Americans Are Still Fighting about Evolution,” Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, June 13, 2006, www.pewforum.org/docs/?DocID=222.
  1. Jon D. Miller, Eugenie C. Scott, and Shinji Okamoto, “Public Acceptance of Evolu- tion,” Science, vol. 213, no. 5788 (August 11, 2006): 765–66, http://richarddawkins.net/article,706,Public-Acceptance-of-Evolution,Science-Magazine-Jon-D-Miller- Eugenie-C-Scott- Shinji-Okamoto.
  1. Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, “Many Americans Uneasy with Mix of Religion and Politics,” August 24, 2006, www.pewforum.org/docs/index.php?DocID=153.
  2. Michael A. Fletcher, “Bush Hails Progress Toward ‘Culture of Life’: Limits on Abortion, Stem Cell Use Cited,” Washington Post, January 25, 2005, www.washingtonpost.com/ wp-dyn/articles/A32959-2005Jan24.html. Also see the White House, “Promoting a Culture of Life: The Accomplishments,” November 5, 2003, www.whitehouse.gov/ infocus/achievement/chap15.html.
  3. See Freedom from Religion Foundation, “What Does the Bible Say About Abortion?” nontract #7, 2007, www.ffrf.org/nontracts/abortion.php.
  4. Amnesty International, “Death Penalty Statistics 2006,” April 2007, http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGACT500122007&lang=e. Population data to calculate per capita executions is taken from the CIA World Factbook, www.cia.gov/library/ publications/the-world-factbook/index.html.
  1. Death Penalty Information Center, “Number of Executions by State and Region Since 1976,” updated September 28, 2007, www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=8&did=186. Also see Death Penalty Information Center, Innocence and the Crisis in the American Death Penalty (Washington DC: Death Penalty Information Center, 2004), www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=45&did=1150. For those of you who think  I am being biased, go to www.prodeathpenalty.com to get a dose of those who spend their time defending the practice.
  1. Richard C. Dieter, A Crisis of Confidence: Americans’ Doubts About the Death Penalty (Wash- ington, DC: Death Penalty Information Center Report, 2007), http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/CoC.pdf.
  1. Death Penalty Information Center, “Number of Executions by State and Region Since 1976,” updated September 28, 2007, www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=8&did=186. Also see Death Penalty Information Center, Innocence and the Crisis in the American Death Penalty (Washington DC: Death Penalty Information Center, 2004), www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=45&did=1150. For those of you who think  I am being biased, go to www.prodeathpenalty.com to get a dose of those who spend their time defending the practice.
  1. Thanks to Clay Ramsay for suggesting the title for this chapter while lunching over a plate of chicken mole in DC with our wonderful spouses.
  2. Glenn C. Loury, “Ghettos, Prisons and Racial Stigma,” April 4, 2007, www.econ.brown.edu/fac/Glenn%5FLoury/louryhomepage/teaching/Ec%20137/ Ec%20137%20spring07/LECTURE%20I.pdf; Roy Walmsley, “Global Incarceration and Prison Trends,” Forum on Crime and Society, vol. 3, nos. 1 and 2 (December 2003): 65–78; Alan El sner, “America’s Prison Habit,” Washington Post, January 24, 2004, cited by Loury.