Friday 29 January 2016

Not all harassment victims are viewed or treated as equal.

The journalist Ashley Csanady currently has a PostMedia piece that addresses Twitter harassment in general and in particular what happened when Michelle Rempel filed a complaint with the police.

Her excellent article provides a short account of the Rempel case as well as an overview of recent events, viz. the GAE trial.

It is factual and clear.

It doesn't editorialize or misrepresent as Blatchford is wont to do, when the demands of click-bait reporting or sob-sister sensationalizing gives her the cover she needs to champion the MRA cause.

Further to what Csanady wrote, there are points that bloggers and op-eds can raise.  This is where DJ! weighs in.

Last week I posted this about the sleazy grease of GAE's triumphant sneer.

The main difference between GAE and Damany Skeene is that the former oozes the slimy CONjob smarm that allow him and Ezra Levant to enjoy notoriety.  Their venal vituperation is widely disseminated and cheered by right wingers, racists, homophobe and misogynists.  In addition, GAE walks and talks the MRA/PUA philosophy. His entourage enables his narcissism and promotes him within the audiences of gynophobic orcs that slither at the edge of the world wide web.  He scored a point for Rape Culture!  His victims were not really victims because they had the NERVE to fight back against his vile invective!

Skeene, it would appear, is not supported or validated by any group.  In fact most people recoil from him.  One assumes the only compassionate attention he's likely to receive is administered by healthcare professionals.  He had used Twitter promiscuously to vent fury and hatred against a variety of targets.

The difference between Rempel and the women that GAE harassed, threatened, stalked and abused — online and "in real life" — is obvious. She was a Minister in the Con government when Skeene directed vile threats and verbal sexual abuse at her Twitter account.  Her complaint was legitimate and important because she was an elected official.  Police allocated the required resources to investigate, document, and prepare a case for the Crown to prosecute.  Her squadron of RCMP body guards was likely doubled.

But as Csanady points out, the trial unfolded under the media radar.

This gave me pause. Why did the PMO not seize this opportunity to demonstrate how their government was *tough on crime* and violence against women?

I suspect that if Skeene had been an individual who clearly associated with any left wing or progressive group such as anti-pipeline activism, or had expressed agreement with LPC or NDP policies, the PMO would have gleefully exploited the opportunity to smear the Harper regime's opponents.

But the truth is: deep down, Harper Reformist Cons never really gave a damn about Canadian women or even those prominent in their party. PMSHithead was a spiteful opportunist who attacked women who challenged him, and ditched or undermined those who became politically inconvenient: Deborah Gray, Belinda Stronach, Bev Oda, Helena Guergis, Beverley McLachlin, Cindy Blackstock ... a never-ending list, really.

Which is why Rempel was circumspect, and kept a low profile. There was no advantage then in using the criminal harassment trial to score political points for herself.  The PMO, or CPC HQ would have ground her into the dust.  She noted how the party destroyed Eve Adams because she wouldn't stick to the PMO script.

Nothing about Rempel's circumstances could be framed as a narrative that might enhance public sympathy in Harper's favour.  In fact, it was probably flagged as a potential nuisance and diversion from the grand election campaign plan.

But now.. Rempel is jockeying to gain an advance on other putative candidates for the CPC leadership.  I predict she will judiciously exploit the Twitter harassment trial, to establish credibility and to leverage whatever is beneficial to the image she is carefully crafting.

Update: As the tweet below points out, online campaigns that embolden threats of physical violence against Premier Rachel Notley in Albert keep escalating. The Wildrose Party leader has mildly spoken out against his supporters using these tactics that replicate the worst of US right-wing political dumpster fire rhetoric.

Alheli Picazo rigorously screen caps and archives evidence of online political incivility of all stripe. She documents what she has observed and caught before the thuggish authors delete them.  She regularly posts them in her Twitter line to remind partisans of that "people in glass houses.." thing.

Kathleen Smith has also noted and confronted those who instigate explosions of aggressive attacks against Alberta political figures.

Some journalists have reported on the scurrilous and terrifying threats expressed on Facebook, Twitter and in the comment threads at Levant's monetizing project, Rebel TV.  It is claimed the RCMP is investigating.

Yet NO charges of criminal harassment against the alleged RWNJ *rebels* have been filed yet, even though campaigns of online hatred against Notley have been encouraged and fed by Levant and his goons for over a year, now.

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Burning the Wrong Witches

Too exhausted from trip to Florida to move mother to assisted living to blog, but just had to report this.

Sure is tough to be a rightwing “pro-life” full-of-bull propaganda machine these days. On Monday, we learned the sleazy jizz rags behind the “gotcha” videos of Planned Parenthood doing “crimes” to “baby parts” have been indicted in Houston, Texas, for being the real crimers, ACTUALLY. And we laughed and chortled and guffawed and feminist fist-bumped and happy-danced naked in our living room and said, “That’s what you get, motherfuckers!” And it was good.

Too tired to happy dance, but I did chortle.

This is simply delicious.

And it happened in TEXAS.

Sunday 24 January 2016

Marcel Aubut, Sean Penn & GAE

What do they have in common with each other?

All three have been exposed as men who harm women, along with their histrionic narcissism and their inability to grasp why their actions are violent.

Exhibit 1: Marcel Aubut: our DJ! blogpost on complaints lodged against him.  For decades people working with Aubut tolerated his preening ego.  They were also conveniently indifferent to his sustained sexual harassment of hundreds of athletes, journalists, officials, lawyers, staff members, etc. etc. 

After an investigation that unfolded quickly and efficiently, the Canadian Olympic Committee recognized that Aubut created a toxic environment through his abusive actions, and that its organization was negligent in not addressing the issue judiciously.

Three senior staff were punished for not handling the Aubut situation correctly.  However, the abuser himself has yet to suffer any consequences for his behaviour, nor has he taken responsibility for the harm he did.

Exhibit 2: Sean Penn 

Though Penn has been indefatigable in his efforts to establish himself as a saviour and a serious thinker, most recently as putative writer for Rolling Stone - he's still the same poseur previously known as a really *bad date*. Like George C. Scott, Penn has physically and mentally abused his partners. His explosive, violent temper and eggshell ego are epic. But he always gets a pass, because he's a privileged white man with connections and admirers.  

One hopes when Charlize Theron abruptly ended their relationship, she made the point that she doesn't suffer violent men gladly and that he got off relatively lightly, having dropped the mask and ceased to amuse her with his malignant charade. 

Exhibit 3: Gregory Alan Elliott

This summarizes why charges of criminal harassment were filed against him.
Now, let's get a few facts straight: Elliott is not on trial for having a difference of opinion with someone. He is on trial for criminal harassment. He tried repeatedly to contact Guthrie even after she had explicitly asked him to leave them alone. He monitored Guthrie's movements via Twitter, shadowed events she attended, and flooded any hashtag she participated in. He made it clear that he was following her every move by publicly commenting on her tweets, even after she had blocked him. He sent messages to people who interacted with her online, making it clear that he was observing everything she did.
Though the judge found the complainants' testimony honest and credible, the bar for proving malice aforethought and deliberate criminal intent was set very high because the women fought back against the bully's campaign of harassment.  The tweet below addresses that perception; click on link to see how GAE supporters aka Men's Rights Activists and crusading gamegaters, responded.

His defence argued *honest* belief with regard to GAE's entitled sense that what he did was not wrong.  That bar is set low, as with many sexual assault cases. Also, GAE's complete pattern of harassment and incitement to others to do the same, could not be entered into the record.

When he was acquitted, the judge made it clear the decision did not mean GAE was innocent of wrongdoing as charged.  Yet, to borrow the words of Anne Thériault, GAE "mobilized his mob" to attack anyone who wasn't bellowing for his glorious vindication.

A reminder that, like predators Aubut and Penn, it's likely GAE's abusive actions won't be his last.  This exposes what he does: he harasses women and claims that he is the victim.

It's also a chilling warning to women: patriarchy may appear to be in its death-throes, but men who have enjoyed privilege or aspire to it, will do anything to crush those they view as insubordinate or unwilling to meet their demands, and those who have the temerity to challenge them. 

As some of us at DJ! painfully learned, this type of malevolence is not limited to a specific political ideology.