mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
I've now called three of Dianne Feinstein's offices (Washington, SF, Fresno), and all of them are either busy or voicemail. I was calling to oppose Sessions, but I think the population is restless.

I also called Kamala Harris, and left her voicemail.

Lemon cake now.
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
(warning: this is personal in the extreme.)

After the election, I've seen a lot of hand-wringing about how the urban elites just don't understand rural America -- often, regrettably, phrased as "the real America", buttressed by zillions of interviews with small-town Trump voters expressing their rage and frustration with the people in the cities, especially the coastal cities.

Some of this is by conservative elites wanting to punish liberals; others are by earnest liberals wanting to know Where We Went Wrong.

Here's the thing. A lot of us city people got there after growing up rural. A lot of us know quite well what small-town and rural life is, and we rejected it. A lot of rural communities are hollowed out because the kids don't stay. Sometimes it's no jobs; other times it's "how you gonna keep 'em down on the farm."

Four out of five Americans live in urbanized areas. 80% of us. That sounds pretty damn real to me.

The urban elite reporters ought to be doing a few stories about "I interviewed N people in a working-class neighborhood of a city, and here's what they had to say about how they voted." That's just as representative of "ordinary Americans" as the people in a hollowed-out coal town.
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
 It's not every international financial/political scandal that includes its own interactive game.
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
 The Guardian has been on the forefront of investigative, as opposed to reactive, journalism about police killings in America.  For instance, they were the ones who created and maintained a nation-wide database of police killings, something that didn't exist before.

Today there's a superb investigative story on Kern County, California, which has the highest per-capita rate of police killings in the nation.   As is commonplace, investigations into police misbehavior are handled by the department itself, and are often perfunctory at best.
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
So, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert has been  indicted for making illegal payments and covering them up.   What was he covering up?  Hastert paid an unnamed man $3.5 million to keep the man silent about Hastert's abusing him when he was a minor and Hastert taught high school.   The abuse happened, at the latest, in 1981.  It's way, way too late for the victim -- I think we can assume the story's true or Hastert wouldn't have coughed up that much money -- to have gotten a day in court.  This would have been the only way to make Hastert pay for his crime.  You do the best you can under law.

All that said, Hastert isn't being prosecuted for the abuse.  Hastert is being prosecuted, essentially, for having been blackmailed.    According to the New York Times, the indictment was for making "cash withdrawals designed to hide those payments and for lying to federal authorities about the purpose of the withdrawals."   If you're being blackmailed, you have to cover up the payments, because otherwise the whole thing goes public.

Hastert is almost certainly an abuser, and this looks like a case of "prosecute him for tax fraud, because we can't get him for his major crimes."  But this still disturbs me.  Hastert didn't steal the money, and there's no evidence that he didn't pay taxes on it.  He just did his best to keep the transfer out of the news.

The article is (trigger warning!) full of people saying "He's such a great guy, I can't understand how this happened."  You would think by now that the nation would have realized that abusers usually come across as nice guys to other adults, and that character isn't a single unitary thing.   "He talked a great show" is not synonymous with "He couldn't have done anything wrong to a child."

Pfeh.

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