The satirists explain their brilliant shot at “academic grievance studies”

Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship

Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of ScholarshipThis essay, although hopefully accessible to everyone, is the most thorough breakdown of the study and written for those who are already somewhat familiar with the problems of ideologically-motivated scholarship, radical skepticism and cultural constructivism.


Part I: Introduction

Something has gone wrong in the university—especially in certain fields within the humanities. Scholarship based less upon finding truth and more upon attending to social grievances has become firmly established, if not fully dominant, within these fields, and their scholars increasingly bully students, administrators, and other departments into adhering to their worldview. This worldview is not scientific, and it is not rigorous. For many, this problem has been growing increasingly obvious, but strong evidence has been lacking. For this reason, the three of us just spent a year working inside the scholarship we see as an intrinsic part of this problem.

We spent that time writing academic papers and publishing them in respected peer-reviewed journals associated with fields of scholarship loosely known as “cultural studies” or “identity studies” (for example, gender studies) or “critical theory” because it is rooted in that postmodern brand of “theory” which arose in the late sixties. As a result of this work, we have come to call these fields “grievance studies” in shorthand because of their common goal of problematizing aspects of culture in minute detail in order to attempt diagnoses of power imbalances and oppression rooted in identity.
We undertook this project to study, understand, and expose the reality of grievance studies, which is corrupting academic research. Because open, good-faith conversation around topics of identity such as gender, race, and sexuality (and the scholarship that works with them) is nearly impossible, our aim has been to reboot these conversations. We hope this will give people—especially those who believe in liberalism, progress, modernity, open inquiry, and social justice—a clear reason to look at the identitarian madness coming out of the academic and activist left and say, “No, I will not go along with that. You do not speak for me.”
This document is a first look at our project and an initial attempt to grapple with what we’re learning and what it means. Because of its length and detail, it is organized as follows, putting the factual information up front and more detailed explanations thereafter.
  • Our methodology, which is central to contextualizing our claims;
  • A summary of this project from its beginning until we were eventually exposed and forced to go public before we could conclude our research;
  • An explanation of why we did this;
  • A summary of the problem and why it matters;
  • A clear explanation of how this project came to be;
  • The results of our study, including a full list of all of the papers we submitted, their final outcomes, and relevant reviewer comments to date;
  • A discussion of the significance of the results;
  • A summary of what may come next

Part II: Methods

Our approach is best understood as a kind of reflexive ethnography—that is, we conducted a study of a peculiar academic culture by immersing ourselves within it, reflecting its output and modifying our understanding until we became “outsiders within” it.

Our objective was to learn about this culture and establish that we had become fluent in its language and customs by publishing peer-reviewed papers in its top journals, which usually only experts in the field are capable of doing. Because we came to conceptualize this project as a kind of reflexive ethnographic study in which we sought to understand the field and how it works by participating in it, obtaining peer reviewers’ comments about what we were doing right and what needed to change to make absurd theses acceptable was central to the project. Indeed, the reviewers’ comments are in many ways more revealing about the state of these fields than the acceptances themselves.

While our papers are all outlandish or intentionally broken in significant ways, it is important to recognize that they blend in almost perfectly with others in the disciplines under our consideration. To demonstrate this, we needed to get papers accepted, especially by significant and influential journals. Merely blending in couldn’t generate the depth necessary for our study, however. We also needed to write papers that took risks to test certain hypotheses such that the fact of their acceptance itself makes a statement about the problem we’re studying (see the Papers section, below). Consequently, although this study does not qualify as being particularly controlled, we did control one important variable: the big-picture methodology we used to write every paper.

Our paper-writing methodology always followed a specific pattern: it started with an idea that spoke to our epistemological or ethical concerns with the field and then sought to bend the existing scholarship to support it. The goal was always to use what the existing literature offered to get some little bit of lunacy or depravity to be acceptable at the highest levels of intellectual respectability within the field. Therefore, each paper began with something absurd or deeply unethical (or both) that we wanted to forward or conclude. We then made the existing peer-reviewed literature do our bidding in the attempt to get published in the academic canon.

This is the primary point of the project: What we just described is not knowledge production; it’s sophistry. That is, it’s a forgery of knowledge that should not be mistaken for the real thing. The biggest difference between us and the scholarship we are studying by emulation is that we know we made things up.

This process is the one, single thread that ties all twenty of our papers together, even though we used a variety of methods to come up with the various ideas fed into their system to see how the editors and peer reviewers would respond. Sometimes we just thought a nutty or inhumane idea up and ran with it. What if we write a paper saying we should train men like we do dogs—to prevent rape culture? Hence came the “Dog Park” paper. What if we write a paper claiming that when a guy privately masturbates while thinking about a woman (without her consent—in fact, without her ever finding out about it) that he’s committing sexual violence against her? That gave us the “Masturbation” paper. What if we argue that the reason superintelligent AI is potentially dangerous is because it is being programmed to be masculinist and imperialist using Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Lacanian psychoanalysis? That’s our “Feminist AI” paper. What if we argued that “a fat body is a legitimately built body” as a foundation for introducing a category for fat bodybuilding into the sport of professional bodybuilding? You can read how that went in Fat Studies.

At other times, we scoured the existing grievance studies literature to see where it was already going awry and then tried to magnify those problems. Feminist glaciology? Okay, we’ll copy it and write a feminist astronomy paper that argues feminist and queer astrology should be considered part of the science of astronomy, which we’ll brand as intrinsically sexist. Reviewers were very enthusiastic about that idea. Using a method like thematic analysis to spin favored interpretations of data? Fine, we wrote a paper about trans people in the workplace that does just that. Men use “male preserves” to enact dying “macho” masculinities discourses in a way society at large won’t accept? No problem. We published a paper best summarized as, “A gender scholar goes to Hooters to try to figure out why it exists.” “Defamiliarizing,” common experiences, pretending to be mystified by them and then looking for social constructions to explain them? Sure, our “Dildos” paper did that to answer the questions, “Why don’t straight men tend to masturbate via anal penetration, and what might happen if they did?” Hint: according to our paper in Sexuality and Culture, a leading sexualities journal, they will be less transphobic and more feminist as a result.

We used other methods too, like, “I wonder if that ‘progressive stack’ in the news could be written into a paper that says white males in college shouldn’t be allowed to speak in class (or have their emails answered by the instructor), and, for good measure, be asked to sit in the floor in chains so they can ‘experience reparations.’” That was our “Progressive Stack” paper. The answer seems to be yes, and feminist philosophy titan Hypatia has been surprisingly warm to it. Another tough one for us was, “I wonder if they’d publish a feminist rewrite of a chapter from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.” The answer to that question also turns out to be “yes,” given that the feminist social work journal Affilia has just accepted it. As we progressed, we started to realize that just about anything can be made to work, so long as it falls within the moral orthodoxy and demonstrates understanding of the existing literature.

Put another way, we now have good reasons to believe that if we just appropriate the existing literature in the right ways—and there always seems to be a citation or vein of literature that makes it possible—we can say almost any politically fashionable thing we want. The underlying questions in every single case were the same: What do we need to write, and what do we need to cite (all of our citations are real, by the way) to get this academic madness published as high “scholarship”?

What Did We Do?

We wrote 20 papers and submitted them to the best journals in the relevant fields (more on this below) with considerable success, even though we had to take the project public prematurely, and thus stop the study, before it could be properly concluded. At the time of publishing this, we have:

  • 7 papers accepted.

4 of these have been published online.

3 more have been accepted without having had time to see publication through. (This can take months).

  • 7 papers still in play when we had to call a halt.

2 have been “revised and resubmitted,” and are awaiting a decision. (A judgment of “Revise and Resubmit” usually results in publication following the satisfactory completion of requested revisions. A judgment of “Reject and Resubmit” can result in publication following more substantial ones. It is very rare for papers to be accepted outright.)

1 is still under first review at its current journal

4 are left hanging with no time to submit them to journals after rejection (2), revise and resubmit (1) or reject and resubmit (1).

  • 6 retired as fatally flawed or beyond repair.
  • 4 invitations to peer-review other papers as a result of our own exemplary scholarship. (For ethical reasons, we declined all such invitations. Had we wished to fully participate in their culture in this way, however, it would have been an unrivaled opportunity to tinker with how far we could take the hypothesis that the canon of literature within these fields gets skewed in part because the peer-review process encourages the existing political and ideological biases.)
  • 1 paper (the one about rape culture in dog parks) gained special recognition for excellence from its journal, Gender, Place, and Culture, a highly ranked journal that leads the field of feminist geography. The journal honored it as one of twelve leading pieces in feminist geography as a part of the journal’s 25th anniversary celebration.

To summarize, we spent 10 months writing the papers, averaging one new paper roughly every thirteen days. (Seven papers published over seven years is frequently claimed to be the number sufficient to earn tenure at most major universities although, in reality, requirements vary by institution.) As for our performance, 80% of our papers overall went to full peer review, which keeps with the standard 10-20% of papers that are “desk rejected” without review at major journals across the field. We improved this ratio from 0% at first to 94.4% after a few months of experimenting with much more hoaxish papers. Because we were forced to go public before we could complete our study, we cannot be sure how many papers would have been accepted if we had had time to see them through—papers typically take 3-6 months or more to complete the entire process and one of ours was under review from December 2017 to August 2018—but an estimate of at least 10, probably 12, eventual acceptances seems warranted at the time of having to call a halt.

The final submitted drafts totaled just shy of 180,000 words and the entire project totaled between 300,000 and 350,000 words, including all notes, drafts, summaries, and replies to journal reviewers. The papers themselves span at least fifteen subdomains of thought in grievance studies, including (feminist) gender studies, masculinities studies, queer studies, sexuality studies, psychoanalysis, critical race theory, critical whiteness theory, fat studies, sociology, and educational philosophy. They featured radically skeptical and standpoint epistemologies rooted in postmodernism, feminist and critical race epistemology rooted in critical social constructivism as well as psychoanalysis. They all also endeavored to be humorous in at least some small way (and often, big ones). The project so far has generated more than 40 substantive editorial and expert reader reports, constituting a further 30,000 or so words of data that provide a unique insider’s look into the field and its operation.

Our papers also present very shoddy methodologies including incredibly implausible statistics (“Dog Park”), making claims not warranted by the data (“CisNorm,” “Hooters,” “Dildos”), and ideologically-motivated qualitative analyses (“CisNorm,” “Porn”). (NB: See Papers section below.) Questionable qualitative methodologies such as poetic inquiry and autoethnography (sometimes rightly and pejoratively called “mesearch”) were incorporated (especially in “Moon Meetings”).

Many papers advocated highly dubious ethics including training men like dogs (“Dog Park”), punishing white male college students for historical slavery by asking them to sit in silence in the floor in chains during class and to be expected to learn from the discomfort (“Progressive Stack”), celebrating morbid obesity as a healthy life-choice (“Fat Bodybuilding”), treating privately conducted masturbation as a form of sexual violence against women (“Masturbation”), and programming superintelligent AI with irrational and ideological nonsense before letting it rule the world (“Feminist AI”). There was also considerable silliness including claiming to have tactfully inspected the genitals of slightly fewer than 10,000 dogs whilst interrogating owners as to their sexuality (“Dog Park”), becoming seemingly mystified about why heterosexual men are attracted to women (“Hooters”), insisting there is something to be learned about feminism by having four guys watch thousands of hours of hardcore pornography over the course of a year while repeatedly taking the Gender and Science Implicit Associations Test (“Porn”), expressing confusion over why people are more concerned about the genitalia others have when considering having sex with them (“CisNorm”), and recommending men anally self-penetrate in order to become less transphobic, more feminist, and more concerned about the horrors of rape culture (“Dildos”). None of this, except that Helen Wilson recorded one “dog rape per hour” at urban dog parks in Portland, Oregon, raised so much as a single reviewer eyebrow, so far as their reports show.

Near the end of July 2018, a clear need arose to call the project to a premature end after our “dog park” paper attracted incredulous attention on social media generated by the Twitter account Real Peer Review, which is a platform dedicated to exposing shoddy scholarship. This deserved incredulity led to small and then larger journalistic publications investigating our fictitious author, Helen Wilson, and our non-existent institution, the Portland Ungendering Research Initiative (PURI) and finding no credible history of either. Under this pressure, the publishing journal, Gender, Place and Culture, asked our author to prove her identity and then released an expression of concern about the paper. This generated further attention that eventually got the Wall Street Journal involved, and far more importantly, it changed the ethics of utilizing deception within the project. With major journalistic outlets and (by then) two journals asking us to prove our authors’ identities, the ethics had shifted away from a defensible necessity of investigation and into outright lying. We did not feel right about this and decided the time had come to go public with the project. As a result, we came clean to the Wall Street Journal at the beginning of August and began preparing a summary as quickly as possible even though we still had several papers progressing encouragingly through the review process.

Part III: Why Did We Do This?

Because we’re racist, sexist, bigoted, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, transhysterical, anthropocentric, problematic, privileged, bullying, far right-wing, cishetero straight white males (and one white female who was demonstrating her internalized misogyny and overwhelming need for male approval) who wanted to enable bigotry, preserve our privilege, and take the side of hate?

No. None of those apply. Nevertheless, we’ll be accused of it, and we have some insights into why.

To many not involved in academia, particularly those who are skeptical of its worth generally, it may seem like we’re addressing yet another obscure academic squabble of little relevance to the real world. You are mistaken. The problem we’ve been studying is of the utmost relevance to the real world and everyone in it.

Alternatively, those who are positively inclined towards academia and ethically and/or politically in support of social science and humanities research that focuses on social justice issues may think the work researchers are doing on these topics is important and generally sound. You’d be right that it’s important but not that it is always sound—some of the work being produced is positively horrifying and surreal while exerting considerable influence on the field and beyond. You also might acknowledge that there are problems arising from the pressures of a publish-or-perish culture driven by broken university business models and taken advantage of by an opportunistic publishing industry, but be skeptical that there are any serious integral epistemological or ethical issues at work.

As liberals, we recognize that you might be resistant to acknowledging that our evidence points to an undeniable problem in academic research on important issues relevant to social justice. The work done in these fields claims to continue the vital work of the civil rights movements, liberal feminism, and Gay Pride. It seeks to address oppression of women and racial and sexual minorities. Surely, you might therefore believe, these bodies of literature must be essentially good and sound, even if you recognize some overreach and silliness.

After having spent a year immersed and becoming recognized experts within these fields, in addition to witnessing the divisive and destructive effects when activists and social media mobs put it to use, we can now state with confidence that it is neither essentially good nor sound. Further, these fields of study do not continue the important and noble liberal work of the civil rights movements; they corrupt it while trading upon their good names to keep pushing a kind of social snake oil onto a public that keeps getting sicker. For us to know anything about injustice in society and be able to show it to those who are unaware or in denial of it, scholarship into it must be rigorous. Currently, it is not, and this enables it, and social justice issues with it, to be dismissed. This is a serious problem of considerable concern, and we must address it.

What’s the Problem?

We have stated firmly that there is a problem in our universities, and that it’s spreading rapidly into culture. It is aided in this by being tricky to understand and by intentionally using emotionally powerful words—like “racist” and “sexist”—in technical ways that mean something different than their common usages. This project identifies aspects of this problem, tests them, and then exposes them.

The problem is epistemological, political, ideological, and ethical and it is profoundly corrupting scholarship in the social sciences and humanities. The center of the problem is formally termed “critical constructivism,” and its most egregious scholars are sometimes referred to as “radical constructivists.” Expressing this problem accurately is difficult, and many who’ve tried have studiously avoided doing so in any succinct and clear way. This reticence, while responsible given the complexity of the problem and its roots, has likely helped the problem perpetuate itself.

This problem is most easily summarized as an overarching (almost or fully sacralized) belief that many common features of experience and society are socially constructed. These constructions are seen as being nearly entirely dependent upon power dynamics between groups of people, often dictated by sex, race, or sexual or gender identification. All kinds of things accepted as having a basis in reality due to evidence are instead believed to have been created by the intentional and unintentional machinations of powerful groups in order to maintain power over marginalized ones. This worldview produces a moral imperative to dismantle these constructions.

Common “social constructions” viewed as intrinsically “problematic” and thus claimed to be in need of dismantling include:

  • the understanding that there are cognitive and psychological differences between men and women which could explain, at least partially, why they make different choices in relation to things like work, sex, and family life;
  • that so-called “Western medicine” (even though many eminent medical scientists are not Western) is superior to traditional or spiritual healing practices;
  • that Western liberal cultural norms which grant women and the LGBT equal rights are ethically superior in this regard to non-Western religious or cultural ones that do not; and
  • that being obese is a life-limiting heath condition rather than an unfairly stigmatized and equally healthy and beautiful body-choice.

Underlying these alleged “social constructions” is the most deeply concerning of them all. This is the belief that in urgent need of “disrupting” is the simple truth that science itself—along with our best methods of data-gathering, statistical analysis, hypothesis testing, falsifying, and replicating results—is generally a better way of determining information about the objective reality of any observable phenomenon than are non-scientific, traditional, cultural, religious, ideological, or magical approaches. That is, for grievance studies scholars, science itself and the scientific method are deeply problematic, if not outright racist and sexist, and need to be remade to forward grievance-based identitarian politics over the impartial pursuit of truth. These same issues are also extended to the “Western” philosophical tradition which they find problematic because it favors reason to emotion, rigor to solipsism, and logic to revelation.

As a result, radical constructivists tend to believe science and reason must be dismantled to let “other ways of knowing” have equal validation as knowledge-producing enterprises. These, depending on the branch of “theory” being invoked, are allegedly owned by women and racial, cultural, religious, and sexual minorities. Not only that, they are deemed inaccessible to more privileged castes of people, like white heterosexual men. They justify this regressive thinking by appealing to their alternative epistemology, called “standpoint theory.” This results in an epistemological and moral relativism which, for political reasons, promotes ways of knowing that are antithetical to science and ethics which are antithetical to universal liberalism.

Radical constructivism is thus a dangerous idea that has become authoritative. It forwards the idea that we must, on moral grounds, largely reject the belief that access to objective truth exists (scientific objectivity) and can be discovered, in principle, by any entity capable of doing the work, or more specifically by humans of any race, gender, or sexuality (scientific universality) via empirical testing (scientific empiricism). (This particular belief is sometimes referred to as “radical skepticism,” although philosophers also have other meanings for this term.) Although knowledge is always provisional and open to revision, there are better and worse ways to get closer to it, and the scientific method is the best we have found. By contrast, the means offered by critical theory are demonstrably and fatally flawed. Particularly, this approach rejects scientific universality and objectivity and insists, on moral grounds, that we must largely accept the notion of multiple, identity-based “truths,” such as a putative “feminist glaciology.” Under critical constructivism, this gains an explicitly radical political motivation.

Any scholarship that proceeds from radically skeptical assumptions about objective truth by definition does not and cannot find objective truth. Instead it promotes prejudices and opinions and calls them “truths.” For radical constructivists, these opinions are specifically rooted a political agenda of “Social Justice” (which we have intentionally made into a proper noun to distinguish it from the type of real social progress falling under the same name). Because of critical constructivism, which sees knowledge as a product of unjust power balances, and because of this brand of radical skepticism, which rejects objective truth, these scholars are like snake-oil salespeople who diagnose our society as being riddled with a disease only they can cure. That disease, as they see it, is endemic to any society that forwards the agency of the individual and the existence of objective (or scientifically knowable) truths.

Having spent a year doing this work ourselves, we understand why this fatally flawed research is attractive, how it is factually wrong in its foundations, and how it is conducive to being used for ethically dubious overreach. We’ve seen, studied, and participated in its culture through which it “proves” certain problems exist and then advocates often divisive, demeaning, and hurtful treatments we’d all do better without.

We also know that the peer-review system, which should filter out the biases that enable these problems to grow and gain influence, is inadequate within grievance studies. This isn’t so much a problem with peer review itself as a recognition that peer review can only be as unbiased as the aggregate body of peers being called upon to participate. The skeptical checks and balances that should characterize the scholarly process have been replaced with a steady breeze of confirmation bias that blows grievance studies scholarship ever further off course. This isn’t how research is supposed to work.

Though it doesn’t immediately seem obvious—because financial incentives for the researchers, for the most part, aren’t directly involved (although the publishing houses are definitely raking it in)—this is a kind of blatant corruption. In this way, politically biased research that rests on highly questionable premises gets legitimized as though it is verifiable knowledge. It then goes on to permeate our culture because professors, activists, and others cite and teach this ever-growing body of ideologically skewed and fallacious scholarship.

This matters because even though most people will never read a single scholarly paper in their lifetimes, peer-reviewed journals are the absolute gold standard of knowledge production. And these concepts leak into culture. A good example of this is Robin DiAngelo’s concept of “white fragility,” which posits that white people have become fragile because of their privilege and will act out like spoiled children if it is challenged. DiAngelo forwarded this concept in the International Journal of Critical Pedagogy in 2011. Seven years later, in 2018, she landed a major book deal on white fragility, even as activists pushed it into the common parlance and started putting it on billboards around Portland, Oregon.

As a society we should be able to rely upon research journals, scholars, and universities upholding academic, philosophical, and scientific rigor (because most academic journals do). We need to know that the hardline stand against corruptions of research taken in domains like financial and personal conflicts-of-interest will extend to political, moral, and ideological biases. Our project strongly suggests that at present we can neither rely upon nor know these things in fields that bow to or traffic in grievance studies. The reason is because grievance studies based in critical constructivism (a class of descendants of cynical postmodern philosophy and poststructuralism) have corrupted research journals. This needs to be repaired.

This is why this matters, but how did we get here, to this specific project? And what guiding principles did we adopt and why?

Part IV: The Plan—How this Came to Be

In May 2017, James and Peter published a paper in a poorly ranked peer-reviewed journal arguing, among other things, that penises conceptually cause climate change. Its impact was very limited, and much criticism of it was legitimate. The journal was poor, and its quality was by far the dominant factor in how it was published (in that it provides very lax review standards and charges authors a fee to have their papers published). This muddied the water so much that “The Conceptual Penis” could not prove much about the state of its intended primary target: academic gender studies (which relies heavily upon critical constructivism). To do that, a much larger and more rigorous study was needed.

We approached this new effort by asking two central questions: Are we correct in our claim that highly regarded peer-reviewed journals in gender studies and related fields will publish obvious hoaxes? (By “hoaxes,” we meant papers featuring at least one of the following: clearly ludicrous and/or outrageous theses, visibly amateurish construction, a transparent lack of rigor, and that clearly demonstrate little understanding of the field.) And, if not, what will they publish?

We set out with three basic rules: (1) we’ll focus almost exclusively upon ranked peer-reviewed journals in the field, the higher the better and at the top of their subdisciplines whenever possible; (2) we will not pay to publish any paper; and (3) if we are asked at any point by a journal editor or reviewer (but not a journalist!) if any paper we wrote is an attempted hoax, we will admit it. These rules were meant to ensure that any conclusions we derived from the field came from the field itself, not the unrelated but significant problem that also corrupts academic pursuits: the proliferation of predatory and quasi-predatory journals with extremely low standards. With these rules guiding us, we committed to transparently reporting the results, whether we succeeded or failed.

In the year that followed, and with the help of Helen, who joined us in September 2017, we wrote twenty academic papers for journals in fields we have come to identify as being particularly susceptible to grievance studies and critical constructivism. The results have gone a long way toward answering both of our central questions.

The first question has a clear answer. “Are we correct in our claim that highly regarded peer-reviewed journals in gender studies and related fields will publish obvious hoaxes?” was answered nearly unequivocally and in the negative by November. It only took us a few months and a few papers to learn that while it is possible that some journals in these fields may fall prey to an outright hoax so long as it plays upon their moral biases and preferred academic jargon, nothing like “The Conceptual Penis” would have been published in a highly regarded gender-studies journal. In believing that some might, and on having said so in the wake of that attempt, we were wrong.

In pursuing the second question (“What will they publish?”), we learned a great deal of useful information about academic grievance studies. First, by taking a reflexive ethnographic approach, seeking reviewer comments, complying with them, playing more strongly to biases we were explicitly told would help us be published, we became well-versed not only in the scholarship of the fields we are studying but also in the culture that favors it. Second, we amassed what appears to be significant evidence and sufficient expertise to state that we were correct in claiming there is a problem with bias in fields influenced by critical constructivist approaches and assumptions.

Part V: The Results (of all 20 papers)

(All the papers and reviews can be found here)

“Dog Park”

Title: Human Reactions to Rape Culture and Queer Performativity in Urban Dog Parks in Portland, Oregon

By

Helen Wilson, Ph.D., Portland Ungendering Research (PUR) Initiative (fictional)

Gender, Place, and Culture

Status: Accepted & Published

Recognized for excellence. Expression of concern raised on it following journalistic interest leading us to have to conclude the project early.

Thesis: That dog parks are rape-condoning spaces and a place of rampant canine rape culture and systemic oppression against “the oppressed dog” through which human attitudes to both problems can be measured. This provides insight into training men out of the sexual violence and bigotry to which they are prone.

Purpose: To see if journals will accept arguments which should be clearly ludicrous and unethical if they provide (an unfalsifiable) way to perpetuate notions of toxic masculinity, heteronormativity, and implicit bias.

Selected Reviewer Comments:

“This is a wonderful paper – incredibly innovative, rich in analysis, and extremely well-written and organized given the incredibly diverse literature sets and theoretical questions brought into conversation. The author’s development of the focus and contributions of the paper is particularly impressive. The fieldwork executed contributes immensely to the paper’s contribution as an innovative and valuable piece of scholarship that will engage readers from a broad cross-section of disciplines and theoretical formations. I believe this intellectually and empirically exciting paper must be published and congratulate the author on the research done and the writing.” -Reviewer 1, Gender, Place, and Culture

“Thank you for the opportunity to review a really interesting paper. I think it will make an important contribution to feminist animal geography with some minor revisions, as described below.” -Reviewer 2, Gender, Place, and Culture

As you may know, GPC is in its 25th year of publication. And as part of honoring the occasion, GPC is going to publish 12 lead pieces over the 12 issues of 2018 (and some even into 2019). We would like to publish your piece, Human Reactions to Rape Culture and Queer Performativity at Urban Dog Parks in Portland, Oregon, in the seventh issue. It draws attention to so many themes from the past scholarship informing feminist geographies and also shows how some of the work going on now can contribute to enlivening the discipline. In this sense we think it is a good piece for the celebrations. I would like to have your permission to do so.” -Editor of Gender, Place, and Culture


“Fat Bodybuilding”

Title: Who Are They to Judge?: Overcoming Anthropometry and a Framework for Fat Bodybuilding

By

Richard Baldwin, Ph.D., Gulf Coast State College (a real person who gave us permission to use his scholarly identity for this project)

Fat Studies

Status: Accepted, Published

Thesis: That it is only oppressive cultural norms which make society regard the building of muscle rather than fat admirable and that bodybuilding and activism on behalf of the fat could be benefited by including fat bodies displayed in non-competitive ways.

Purpose: To see if journals will accept arguments which are ludicrous and positively dangerous to health if they support cultural constructivist arguments around body positivity and fatphobia.

Selected Reviewer Comments:

The topic of this essay is certainly novel and addresses an issue relevant to a disenfranchised demographic. The essay addresses bodybuilding as a stigmatizing activity toward the fat body and presents fat bodybuilding as a “way to disrupt the cultural space” of traditional bodybuilding” -Reviewer 1, Fat Studies

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article and believe it has an important contribution to make to the field and this journal. For the most part, I wholeheartedly agree with its argument. It is well written and structured.”-Reviewer 3, Fat Studies

On p. 24, the author writes “a fat body is a legitimately built body”. Absolutely agreed.” -Reviewer 3, Fat Studies

“[T]he use of the term ‘final frontier’ is problematic in at least two ways. First – the term frontier implies colonial expansion and hostile takeover, and the genocidal erasure of indigenous peoples. Find another term.” -Reviewer 3, Fat Studies


“Dildos”

Title: Going in Through the Back Door: Challenging Straight Male Homohysteria and Transphobia through Receptive Penetrative Sex Toy Use

By

M Smith, M.A., PUR Initiative (fictional)

Sexuality & Culture

Status: Accepted, Published

Thesis: That it is suspicious that men rarely anally self-penetrate using sex toys, and that this is probably due to fear of being thought homosexual (“homohysteria”) and bigotry against trans people (transphobia). (It combines these ideas into a novel concept “transhysteria,” which was suggested by one of the paper’s peer reviewers.) Encouraging them to engage in receptive penetrative anal eroticism will decrease transphobia and increase feminist values.

Purpose: To see if journals will accept ludicrous arguments if they support (unfalsifiable) claims that common (and harmless) sexual choices made by straight men are actually homophobic, transphobic, and anti-feminist.

Selected Reviewer Comments:

This article is an incredibly rich and exciting contribution to the study of sexuality and culture, and particularly the intersection between masculinity and anality. … This contribution, to be certain, is important, timely, and worthy of publication.” -Reviewer 1, Sexuality and Culture

Sorry for so many questions, but this paper is so rich and exciting, I’m just overwhelmed by so many new questions—which is a sign of a marvelous paper!” -Reviewer 1, Sexuality and Culture

Overall, this paper is a very interesting contribution to knowledge.” -Reviewer 1, Sexuality and Culture

Thank you for this exciting research. I enjoyed reading your paper, and I recommend publishing it after significant revisions.” -Reviewer 2, Sexuality and Culture


“Hooters

Title: An Ethnography of Breastaurant Masculinity: Themes of Objectification, Sexual Conquest, Male Control, and Masculine Toughness in a Sexually

There should be a Nobel Prize for satire, and these three should share it

James A. Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose and Peter Boghossian wrote 20 fake scholarly papers and had several accepted and published in journals. Credit Mike Nayna

Oct. 4, 2018

One paper, published in a journal called Sex Roles, said that the author had conducted a two-year study involving “thematic analysis of table dialogue” to uncover the mystery of why heterosexual men like to eat at Hooters.

Another, from a journal of feminist geography, parsed “human reactions to rape culture and queer performativity” at dog parks in Portland, Ore., while a third paper, published in a journal of feminist social work and titled “Our Struggle Is My Struggle,” simply scattered some up-to-date jargon into passages lifted from Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”

Such offerings may or may not have raised eyebrows among the journals’ limited readerships. But this week, they unleashed a cascade of mockery — along with a torrent of debate about ethics of hoaxes, the state of peer review and the excesses of academia — when they were revealed to be part of an elaborate prank aimed squarely at what the authors labeled “grievance studies.”

“Something has gone wrong in the university — especially in certain fields within the humanities,” the three authors of the fake papers wrote in an article in the online journal Areo explaining what they had done. “Scholarship based less upon finding truth and more upon attending to social grievances has become firmly established, if not fully dominant, within these fields.”

America’s FAKE ELECTIONS, and what to do about them: MCM, Bob Fitrakis & Jonathan Simon speak online, TOMORROW (Oct. 6th)

Saturday, October 6th

ONLINE CONFERENCE by donation

Was the 2016 election rigged for Trump? 

Will the 2018 midterms be rigged too?

Did Bernie actually win the primaries over Hillary?

election theft by computerbuy tickets

You can ask questions by email during the broadcast. The video stream will be instantly archived for 10 days. You can arrive late or watch it again. You can watch on your computer, iphone, android phone, ipad, etc.

The 2016 exit polls varied widely from the actual vote count in the key states–this combined with other pattern evidence is a strong indicator that the vote counts were manipulated (click here for proof).

Did Trump’s presidential victory and Hillary’s primary victory express the will of the electorate? Or were they based on the same tactics, rampant vote suppression and computerized election fraud, that have “elected” losing candidates since 2000, including Bush/Cheney, and a multitude of other rightist politicians now controlling Congress, and statehouses and legislatures from coast to coast.

These urgent questions have been drowned out by the furor over “Russia-gate”,the propaganda fantasy that Russia somehow “rigged” the 2016 presidential race. We need to focus on the overwhelming evidence that our elections have been stolen time and time again by operatives right here at home. Such criminal activity will certainly destroy American democracy, unless we face it squarely, talk about it openly, and push for radical reform of our abysmal voting system, the worst in the developed world. This all-important issue is the subject of this online panel, which includes three prominent election reform activists.

LIVE STREAM BROADCAST TIME: Saturday, October 6, 2018 
12 Noon Pacific * 3pm Eastern * 19:00 GMT (3 hours duration)

Panelists:

Moderator:

  • Jeremy Rothe-Kushel Jeremy Rothe-Kushel is a Co-Anchor and Researcher on the YouTube news show False Flag Weekly News and radio show host of The Antedote. Jeremy has a background in politics – from local to international, officeholder to activist – with experience in community organizing, mediajamming, documentary journalism and consensus-building in deep politics, economics and ecologics. Rothe-Kushel has put public figures across the political spectrum “on the record” about vital issues that are often controversial and always emancipatory. Some of his journalistic encounters include Michael Hayden, John Yoo, Joe Biden, Eric Holder, Mike Pompeo, Kris Kobach, Ron Paul, Alex Jones, Jay Rockefeller, Ted Turner, Jill Stein and Amy Goodman.

Live Video Streaming and Archiving for this news event is provided by No Lies Radio News

Cops bust 58 activists protesting horrors at “free range” chicken factory (a big Perdue supplier)

The animal rights organization, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) provided exclusive undercover footage of visibly sick and starving birds at a Petaluma, California based Lakeville Growers’ Petaluma Poultry Farm, dispelling the company’s claims of raising organic and free range chickens

Published on Thursday, October 04, 2018

DxE claimed the farm’s practices are a result of the Trump Administration’s decision to rollback a rule proposed under Obama in 2016 to create a minimum standard of animal welfare for organic farms. (Photo: Screenshot)

 

DxE claimed the farm’s practices are a result of the Trump Administration’s decision to rollback a rule proposed under Obama in 2016 to create a minimum standard of animal welfare for organic farms. (Photo: Screenshot)

Lakeville Growers’ Petaluma Poultry, which provides products to Perdue Chicken in addition to direct sales to grocery stores, has built their brands on claims of raising organic and free range chicken. The company’s Rosie Organic Chickens were the firstchickens to receive an Organic seal from the United States Department of Agriculture. The company’s other product, Rocky the Free Range Chicken, was created in 1986 in response to growing public concerns of factory farming and use of antibiotics on farm animals. The products are a supplier to one of the nation’s largest chicken producers, Perdue, which also commercially markets their products as organic and free range.

The animals rights organization, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) provided exclusive undercover footage of visibly sick and starving birds at a Petaluma, California based Lakeville Growers’ Petaluma Poultry Farm, dispelling the company’s claims of raising organic and free range chickens.

“Our secret camera footage shows thousands of birds crowded in industrial sheds and no evidence of the birds stepping outside,” said Matt Johnson, a spokesperson for Direct Action Everywhere, in an email. The footage, gathered through an investigation conducted over the past several months, is a sharp contrast from marketing commercials created by Lakeville Growers that show chickens raised for the Rocky and Rosie products roaming free in a field.

On Saturday, September 29, around 200 Direct Action Everywhere activists descended on the Petaluma Poultry Farm in an attempt to save several visibly sick chickens from the facility. Some of the birds were provided with on-site veterinary care by the activists. All but one of the rescued chickens were removed from activists by police, and allegedly sent to animal control rather than placed back on the farm due to the health conditions of the seized chickens.

DxE argued that  California  Penal Code 597e  provided them with the right to enter the poultry farm to rescue the chickens in duress. The code states  that “in case any domestic animal is at any time so impounded and continues to be without necessary food  and water for more than 12 consecutive hours, it is lawful for any person, from time to time, as may be  deemed necessary, to enter into and upon any pound in which the animal is confined, and supply it with necessary  food and water so long as it remains so confined. Such person is not liable for the entry.” In a legal opinion, University of California Hastings Law Professor Hadar Aviram affirmed this right to open rescue in citing this penal code and arguing in favor of a necessity defense.

The activists were met with a large police presence, including a police helicopter and a bus to transport those arrested.

Marty Balin, R.I.P.

He was one of the only three rockers with the guts to stand up to the Hell's Angels at Altamont:

http://dailykemp.com/2016/01/31/that-time-when-paul-kantner-stood-up-to-the-hells-angels/

MCM

Jefferson Airplane Co-Founder Marty Balin Dead at 76

Hall of Famer and co-vocalist of San Francisco psychedelic rock band also founded Jefferson Starship

By Andy Greene 

marty balinJefferson Airplane guitarist and co-founder Marty Balin has died at age 76.  Tom Hill/WireImage

Jefferson Airplane vocalist-guitarist Marty Balin, who co-founded the San Francisco psychedelic rock band in 1965 and played a crucial role in the creation of all their 1960s albums, including Surrealistic Pillow and Volunteers, died Thursday at the age of 76. Balin’s rep confirmed the musician’s death to Rolling Stone, though the cause of death is currently unknown.

“RIP Marty Balin, fellow bandmate and music traveler passed last night,” Jefferson Airplane bassist Jack Casady said in a statement. “A great songwriter and singer who loved life and music. We shared some wonderful times together. We will all miss you!!!!”

“Marty and I were young together in a time that defined our lives,” Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen wrote on his blog. “Had it not been for him, my life would have taken an alternate path I cannot imagine. He and Paul Kantner came together and like plutonium halves in a reactor started a chain reaction that still affects many of us today. It was a moment of powerful synchronicity. I was part of it to be sure, but I was not a prime mover. Marty always reached for the stars and he took us along with him.”

Born Martyn Jerel Buchwald, Balin was a struggling folk guitarist on the San Francisco scene when he formed a band with Paul Kantner after meeting the 12-string guitarist at a hootenanny. They met up with guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, bassist Jack Casady, drummer Skip Spence and singer Signe Toly Anderson and cut their 1966 debut LP Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. They developed a strong following around the budding San Francisco rock scene, but became nationwide superstars in 1967 when Anderson left the group and was replaced by Grace Slick.

Balin co-wrote five songs on their breakthrough LP Surrealistic Pillow , including “Comin’ Back to Me” and album opener “She Has Funny Cars,” and his tenor voice became a key component of their signature sound. He played with the group at all of their most famous gigs, including the 1967 Human Be-In in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, The Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock and Altamont. At the latter gig, Balin was brutally beaten by the Hells Angels after he dove into the audience to help an audience member in distress. “I woke up with all these boot marks all over my body,” he told Relix in 1993. “I just walked out there. I remember Jorma saying, ‘Hey, you’re a crazy son of a bitch.’”

A little over a year later, Balin quit the group. “I thought everybody [was] kind of an asshole,” he said earlier this year. “It was a period of cocaine then…everybody took cocaine. And people I would work with, they would yell at you and it got intense. The Airplane was on that kind of trip. You know, I personally just drank alcohol. But some of the chemicals made people crazy and very selfish, and it just wasn’t any fun to be around for me. So I bailed.”

Balin spent a few years managing rock bands in San Francisco, but was pulled back into the group’s orbit by Kantner in 1974, though by this point Casady and Kaukonen had defected and the remaining members were billing themselves as Jefferson Starship. The offshoot band was incredibly successful and scored more hits than the original Airplane, including the Balin-penned “Miracles” from Red Octopus, hitting Number Three in 1975. But by 1978, Balin grew tired of touring, especially since Slick’s alcohol issues caused many uneven performances, and he left the group for a solo career. In 1989, he participated in the short-lived Jefferson Airplane reunion tour and returned four years later to Jefferson Starship, finally leaving for good in 2008.

In 2016, Balin underwent open-heart surgery at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York City. He later sued them for medical malpractice, claiming they caused him a myriad of injuries, including a paralyzed vocal cord, bedsores, kidney damage and the loss of his left thumb and half of his tongue.

Julie Swetnick’s story too deserves a hearing, and investigation—just like Christine Blasey Ford’s (and Kathleen Willey’s, and Juanita Broaddrick’s, and…. )

The spotlight on Brett Kavanaugh has shed some sudden light on the elite rape culture inside Washington; but it's not just the Republicans who've kept it going by slandering its victims.

In any case, here's a detailed story about Swetnick's claims, and, below that, David Talbot's cogent posts on the Ford hearings.

MCM

 

  • The lawyer Michael Avenatti on Wednesday identified another accuser of Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh, Washington resident Julie Swetnick.
  • Swetnick, in an affidavit posted online by Avenatti, claims that Kavanaugh, as a high school student in the early 1980s, with others spiked the drinks of girls at house parties with grain alcohol and/or drugs to “cause girls to lose inhibitions and their ability to say ‘No.’ “
  • Swetnick said these efforts by Kavanaugh and his buddy Mark Judge were done so the girls “could then be ‘gang raped’ in a side room or bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys.” She said “I became the victim” of one such rape “where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present.”

CNBC.com

Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 11.07.11 AM.jpg
[go to above web address to watch this 1:48 minute video ]

A third accuser of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Wednesday publicly identified herself and alleged that Kavanaugh and others while in high school spiked the drinks of girls at parties with intoxicants to make it easier for them to be gang raped.

The woman, Julie Swetnick, said Kavanaugh was in line with other boys, including his close friend Mark Judge, waiting to rape those girls at many parties, and that she once became a victim herself. The allegations were detailed in an affidavit released by her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, and signed under penalty of perjury.

Swetnick’s stunning claims, made on the eve of scheduled testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee by Kavanaugh and his first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, came in an affidavit sent to a senior committe staffer. Ford claims Kavanuagh held her down on a bed and groped her during a gathering in the 1980s while Judge watched.

Swetnick’s accusations against Kavanaugh, who currently serves as a federal appeals judge in Washington, D.C., could make an already imperiled nomination to the Supreme Court even less likely to succeed.

Source: Michael Avenatti

Kavanaugh said, in a statement about Swetnick: “This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone.”

“I don’t know who this is and this never happened,” Kavanaugh said. He had told Fox News earlier this week that “I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.”

In a letter to Judiciary Committee leaders made public after Swetnick’s claims came to light, Kavanaugh vowed not to withdraw his nomination.

Butr Avenatti, during an interview on MSNBC, said, “There should be an immediate investigation” of Swetnick’s claims against Kavanaugh, ” and there should be no rush to confirm him to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

“The allegations in this declaration are shocking,” Avenatti said.

In addition to Swetnick and Ford, another woman, Kavanaugh’s Yale University classmate Deborah Ramirez, has accused him of exposing himself to her and causing her to touch his penis at a boozy dorm party.

President Donald Trump blasted the claims in a tweet insulted Avenatti by calling a “a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh.”

Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 11.00.08 AM.jpg

Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNBC the White House “stands with Kavanugh.”

Judge’s lawyer Barbara Van Gelder said, “Mr. Judge vehemently denies the allegations contained in the Swetnick affidavit.”

Source: Fox News

The 55-year-old certified systems engineer Swetnick, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC, identified herself as a resident of Washington, D.C.

A 1980 graduate of Gaithersburg High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland, she said she has has held multiple work clearances for work done at the Treasury Department, U.S. Mint, IRS, State Department and Justice Department, among others.

Swetnick, in the affidavit posted on Twitter by Avenatti, claims that she saw Kavanaugh, as a high school student in Maryland in the early 1980s, “drink excessively at many” house parties in suburban Maryland. At the time, Kavanaugh and Judge were students at the the private Catholic school Georgetown Prep.

She said he and Judge engaged in “abusive and physically agressive behavior toward girls,” which “included the fondling and groping of girls without their consent” and “not taking ‘No’ for an answer.”

During the years of 1981 and 1982 she said she learned of efforts by Kavanaugh, his friend Judge and others “to spike the drinks of girls at house parties I attended with grain alcohol and/or drugs so as to cause girls to lose inhibitions and their ability to say ‘No.’ ”

Certain girls were targeted by those boys, and “it was usually a girl that was especially vulnerable because she was alone at the party or shy,” Swetnick claimed.

Swetnick said these efforts by Kavanaugh and his buddy Judge were done so the girls “could then be ‘gang raped’ in a side room or bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys.”

“I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room. These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh,” Swetnick said.

She also said in her affidavit sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee that in approximately 1982 “I became the victim of one of these ‘gang’ or ‘train’ rapes where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present.”

“Shortly after the incident, I shared what had transpired with at least two other people,” Swetnick said.

“During the incident, I was incapacitated without my consent and unable to fight off the boys raping me, I believe I was drugged using Quaaludes or something similar placed in what I was drinking.”

She says that she shared the story of her own alleged gang rape with “at least two other people” shortly after it occurred.

Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 10.55.33 AM.jpg

Avenatti told MSNBC that “My client has been issued a number of security clearances by the federal government over the years. She has been fully vetted time and time again, and she is an honest and courageous woman.”

“And I’m going to caution Donald trump, Brett Kavanagh, Chairman Grassley and others, if they try to come after my client or engage in some smear campaign, they better pack a lunch because we’re going to respond two-fold,” Avenatti said. “We are going to respond double as it relates to force. So they better be very careful before they start spewing nonsense and trying to call my client a liar.”

A spokesman for Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in response to the affidavit, said, “This morning Michael Avenatti provided a declaration to the Judiciary Committee. Committee lawyers are in the process of reviewing it now.”

Ranking Judiciary Committee Democratic member Dianne Feinstein of California did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said he believed Kavanaugh’s nomination should withdrawn.

If not, Schumer said, the Republican majority in the Senate should “immediately suspend the proceedings related to Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, and the president must order the FBI to reopen the background check investigation.”

“There are now multiple, corroborated allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, made under penalty of perjury, all of which deserve a thorough investigation,” Schumer said.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, told MSNBC that she had read Swetnick’s claims, “and it is horrifying.”

“It is important to note that it is an affidavit and she has signed it under perjury or law. So people don’t do this randomly. It needs to be investigated, absolutely,” Murray said. “I believe that there are responsible Republicans who are going to share the view that it is not just a supreme court nominee that is on trial right now. It is the United States Senate.”

Avenatti had for several days said he had a client, until now unnamed, who had been aware of gang rapes connected to Kavanaugh.

Before he took Swetnick’s case, Avenatti already was well known as the attorney for Stormy Daniels, the porn star who says she had sexual with President Donald Trump in 2006, in the months after his wife Melania gave birth to their son.

Daniels was paid $130,000 in hush money by Trump’s then-personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, on shortly before the 2016 presidential election that sent Trump to the White House.

Cohen last month pleaded guilty to tax crimes and to violating campaign finance law with the payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. Cohen during his plea hearing told a judge that he paid Daniels at the behest of Trump for the purpose of affecting the presidential election.

Trump, who has admitted reimbursing Cohen, has not been charged in the case.

Avenatti has said he is exploring a run for the presidency himself in 2020.

Additional reporting by CNBC’s Tucker HigginsChristina Wilkie, and John Schoen

Download Swetnick’s affidavit or read it here:

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and from David Talbot on facebook:

What a Grand Old Party! One of the most enlightening aspects of the Kavanaugh culture war is how it’s exposing the ugly inner reality of the GOP. This is a party ruled at the top by smug, entitled, prep school-bred men like Brett Kavanaugh; funded by shady oil and gambling oligarchs; and powered at the ground level by crazy “Christians,” white supremacists and misogynists who feel compelled to control women’s bodies. What a coalition of humanity!

For yet another disgusting inside look at the Kavanaugh prep school world, where he and buddies like Mark Judge strutted around like young lords, boozing and preying on girls, read today’s front-page article in the NY Times about how young Kavanaugh and a number of his Georgetown Prep football teammates targeted an unsuspecting teenage girl at a nearby Catholic girls’ school. In the 1983 Georgetown Prep yearbook, Kavanaugh and at least a dozen other classmates bragged about being “Renate Alumni,” a not-too-veiled nudge-nudge boast that they’d each sexually enjoyed the teenage girl, Renate Schroeder.

Sadly, the target of the Georgetown Prep cabal – now known as Renate Schroeder Dolphin – was unaware of how she was being sexually ridiculed by Kavanaugh and his pack until recently when the NY Times informed her. Before being contacted by a Times reporter, Dolphin even joined more than 60 other women who signed a letter attesting to the judge’s high character and claiming he has always “treated women with respect.” But Dolphin obviously sees Kavanaugh differently now. She has released this statement to the Times:

“I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago. I don’t know what ‘Renate Alumnus’ actually means. I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way. I will have no further comment.”

In their eagerness to shore up Kavanaugh’s sinking nomination, many GOP dignitaries have brushed off his youthful behavior as “boys will be boys.” But I too went to an all-boys’ prep school – and while I certainly knew young men there who could’ve happily run with Kavanaugh’s wolf pack, most would be as repulsed by their behavior as Sean Hagan, the Georgetown Prep schoolmate of Kavanaugh quoted in the Times article.

“They were very disrespectful, at least verbally, with Renate,” Hagan told the Times, referring to Kavanaugh and his teammates. “I can’t express how disgusted I am with them, then and now.”

Amen, brother

and more:

I have complete faith in Christine Blasey Ford to stand up to the Republican inquisition on Thursday. But how strongly will Senate Democrats have the brave woman’s back? We know how the Republican majority on the Judiciary Committee is already stacking the deck against her. They refuse to allow the FBI to conduct an independent investigation. They refuse to subpoena Kavanaugh’s high school drinking buddy and accused accomplice, Mark Judge (whom the Washington Post tracked down, hiding out in a Delaware beach house). They’re too cowardly to interrogate Ford themselves — knowing that will call to mind the same committee’s gang assault on Anita Hill. So Sen. Chuck Grassley and his old boys club have hired a woman prosecutor to do their dirty work. Her name is Rachel Mitchell, and guess where she has long worked? In the DA’s office in Arizona’s notorious Maricopa County, where Trump-pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio ruled as the law-breaking lawman.

Finally, to complete the whole kangaroo court picture, Grassley & Co. refuse to even speak with Kavanaugh’s second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, breaking repeated appointments to converse with her aghast attorney John Clune, who can’t believe the partisan stonewalling.

In the face of this naked Republican aggression and obvious effort to steamroll the Kavanaugh vote, will the Democrats stand up and fight? The Republicans have already boxed in their Democratic opponents, limiting each Democratic Senator to only FIVE minutes of questions. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, hired gun Mitchell will have a whopping 55 minutes to grill Ford.

So here are my hardball suggestions for the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, who frankly have been pretty absent from the media fray in recent days. Where the hell are they — resting up for their big day on camera? The ten Democrats on the Judiciary Committee should huddle before the hearing and pick their two or three toughest interrogators to take over the questioning, such as former prosecutor Sen. Kamala Harris and Hawaii’s aggressive Sen. Mazie Hirono. Not every member of the Democratic caucus on the committee has to have his or her grandstanding moment in the spotlight. It’s all about pinning down the slippery Kavanaugh, not getting your five minutes on camera.

And if the GOP old boys club continues to block Deborah Ramirez and other Kavanaugh accusers from testifying, the Democrats must immediately hold separate hearings to give the women a chance to air their charges.

This is not Senate business as usual. The fate of the country is at stake. Senate Democrats must go above and beyond the call of duty to derail the Kavanaugh nomination. History will be judging each member of the Judiciary Committee this week.

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The latest on a slaughter that the Western press ignores

Last Monday, Amal Arafa, my friend in Gaza, gave birth to a baby boy: Nazeer, her third child.

By week's end, she was back at work with her medical team, dealing with the daily carnage that the Western press continues to ignore.

Here is Amal's latest report, including her photos. Please donate what you can to help pay for the medical supplies that her team desperately needs.

MCM
 
From Amal Arafa:
 
Yesterday, seven people, including two children, were killed by the 
Israeli occupation forces:
 
Nasser Azim Musabeh, 12
Mohammed Nayef Ai, 14

Mohammed Ali Mohasmmed Anshasi, 18

Iyar Khalil Al-Sha’er, 18
Mohasmmed Bassam Mohammed, 24
Mohammed Walid Haniyeh, 23
Mohammed Ashraf Awawdeh, 23
 
Our team is struggling to take care of all the wounded here, despite the siege imposed by Israel. There are people here who can obtain the things we need so urgently—first aid supplies, including salt and iodine, and medicine, as well as food.
 
This is why we badly need your help, to pay for those essential things. So
please use this link, to donate whatever you can afford: 
 
Amal

Why Lindsey Graham decided to “explode”

From Mitchel Cohen:

As I posted in a comment to Reader Supported News at https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/52547-lindsey-graham-disregards-violence-toward-women-and-his-state-is-a-womens-murder-capital , there’s even more to it than the Republicans’ comments. Think: When did the odious Lindsey Graham “explode”? The Republican-hired prosecutor/questioner had just started to ask Kavanaugh about his calendar indicating his presence at that July 1 1982 “party” where he sexually assaulted Dr. Blasey Ford. Suddenly, she was disappeared, and we heard from that questioner no more (!), and the Republican Senators took over their softball questioning of Kavanaugh. This was a typical trick, to divert attention away from what she’d been asking Kavanaugh. And it worked. For a while. The Young Turks on Youtube have exposed this very well!

Young Turks at:
https://youtu.be/KR8SiZbzbKs

Mitchel Cohen
former Chair, WBAI radio Local Station Board

Brett Kavanaugh’s serial perjury

So he shouldn't be a judge on any court (and neither should Clarence Thomas).

MCM
Published on Friday, September 28, 2018 by Medium

Brett Kavanaugh Really, Really Likes to Perjure

I believe these women, because they don’t have a well-documented and extensive history of perjury dating back to 2004
by Kyle Whipple

“LOOK AT HOW LOUD I CAN PERJURE MYSELF.” (Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool/AP)

 

“LOOK AT HOW LOUD I CAN PERJURE MYSELF.” (Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool/AP)

Accused sex criminal and admitted drunkard Brett Kavanaugh (R-MD), is the Supreme Court nominee nominated by accused sex criminal and President of the United States Donald Trump. Throughout his Supreme Court confirmation hearing, his original D.C. Court of Appeals hearing from 2004 to 2006, and in a new hearing based upon an allegation of sexual assault, Brett Kavanaugh has demonstrated he has a love of perjury that rivals his suspicious love of baseball tickets.

Document Theft

In 2002, a Republican aide working for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Manuel Miranda, stole thousands of documents from Democratic senators on the committee. Miranda then forwarded these documents to many other individuals, including Brett Kavanaugh who replied to the email. These emails were revealed in 2018 as part of the hearings into Brett Kavanaugh.

Yet in 2004, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Ut.) questioned Brett Kavanaugh under oath with the following exchange:

Hatch: Now, this is an important question. Did Mr. Miranda ever share, reference, or provide you with any documents that appeared to you to have been drafted or prepared by Democratic staff members of the Senate Judiciary Committee?

Kavanaugh: No, I was not aware of that matter ever until I learned of it in the media late last year.

This was no small flub, as he continued to repeat this lie under oath to Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY):

Schumer: Had you seen them in any way? Did you ever come across memos from internal files of any Democratic members given to you or provided to you in any way?

Kavanaugh: No.

In 2006, as his confirmation hearing continued, he was also questioned under oath by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.):

Kennedy: Have you ever gone back, now that you are aware of it, and seen what decisions you may or might not have taken on the basis of documents that were illegally taken? …

Kavanaugh: Senator, there’s a very important premise in your question that I think is incorrect, which is I didn’t know about the memos or see the memos that I think you’re describing. So, I think –

Kennedy: Oh, you never saw any of those?

Kavanaugh: No, senator, that’s correct. I’m not aware of the memos, I never saw such memos that I think you’re referring to. I mean, I don’t know what the universe of memos might be, but I do know that I never received any memos and was not aware of any such memos. So, I just want to correct that premise that I think was in your question.

These answers were not Kavanaugh giving himself any room to truthfully tell his side of events from a certain perspective. Instead, Kavanaugh gave a definitive, concrete answer that was a lie. He committed perjury in 2004 and 2006 to multiple Senators. This alone should be disqualifying for a Supreme Court justice.

Wiretapping

In a 2006 hearing, Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) questioned Kavanaugh under oath about an NSA program to warrantlessly surveil cellphones of people in the United States. Kavanaugh said he had no knowledge of such programs. In his 2018 Supreme Court nomination hearing, he confirmed that this account in 2006 was accurate.

Yet on September 17, 2001, Kavanaugh was emailing with a lawyer at the Bush Department of Justice regarding “implications of random/constant surveillance of phone and e-mail conversations of non-citizens who are in the United States.” Kavanaugh clearly had prior knowledge of these plans to warrantlessly surveil cellphones, prompting his questioning of the implications of such tactics all the way back in 2001. By telling Sen. Leahy that he had no knowledge of these programs, Kavanaugh perjured himself in the initial 2006 hearing and again in 2018 when he claimed the information he stated in 2006 was accurate.

Detention and Torture

During the same 2006 hearing mentioned above, Kavanaugh was questioned by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) about his support for William Haynes, General Counsel for the Department of Defense, and Haynes’ use of detention and torture. Kavanaugh made the following remarks under oath:

Kavanaugh: I was not and am not involved in the questions about the rules governing detention of combatants or — so I do not have any involvement with that.

In the 2018 hearing, Sen. Durbin explains that evidence since then reveal Kavanaugh was involved in discussions about access to counsel for detainees, in discussions regarding specific detained combatants (a detail confirmed by Kavanaugh and in emails), and in President Bush’s 2005 statement regarding Sen. John McCain’s amendment banning cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees.

With these three examples, Kavanaugh perjured himself in 2006 when he told Sen. Durbin that he was not involved with rules governing detention.

Nomination of William Pryor

In a hearing that took place in 2004, Sen. Ted Kennedy asked questions to Kavanaugh regarding the nomination of the controversial Judge William Pryor. Kavanaugh stated, under oath, that the nomination of Pryor was “not one that I worked on personally.”

Yet, recently released emails reveal quite a different story. In communications with other Justice Department officials, it is revealed that Kavanaugh was included in a conference call request to “coordinate plans and efforts” regarding the nomination. Kavanaugh also conducted an interview with Pryor in December 2002, four months before President Bush nominated him to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

In denying that he worked on the nomination of Judge William Pryor, Kavanaugh perjured himself.

Nomination of Charles Pickering

In his 2006 hearing, Kavanaugh claimed that Charles Pickering was not “one of the judicial nominees [he] was primarily handling.” Yet Derrick Johnson and Leslie Proll of the NAACP, one of the staunchest opponents to the nomination of Charles Pickering, explain that this is far from the truth.

His now-available written letters, coordinated planning and research, and ghostwriting of favorable op-eds, along with the fact that many details regarding Pickering’s nomination were deferred to Kavanaugh, plainly demonstrate another clear lie under oath in 2006.

Opinions on Investigating a Sitting President

In his 2018 Supreme Court hearing, Kavanaugh claimed to have “never taken a position on the constitutionality of indicting or investigating a sitting president.” He has written pieces for The Georgetown Law Journal in 1998, The Washington Post in 1999, and The Minnesota Law Review in 2009 regarding his beliefs about investigations and/or indictments of sitting presidents. These three articles demonstrate perjury in his 2018 claim to not take positions regarding this issue.

Mark Judge

In the most recent hearing, one concerning his alleged assault of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh claimed that high school friend Mark Judge wrote an “affidavit under threat of perjury” to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The actual document containing Mark Judge’s words is simply a signed letter from his lawyer.

Mark Judge’s signature appears nowhere on the letter and nowhere does it imply any sort of legal standing other than a mere letter sent out by Judge. Kavanaugh repeatedly claimed a simple letter was an affidavit carrying a possible penalty of perjury, which is false. Today, September 27, 2018, Kavanaugh perjured himself.

Also of note regarding Kavanaugh’s moral character: Mark Judge has not been subpoenaed to testify under oath by the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee.

Drinking with Judge

In attempting to explain how he could not have been at a party to assault Dr. Ford, Kavanaugh claimed that he was out of town on the weekends and would not have partied on weekdays because he had work. However, that latter claim is very dubious due to the memoir Wasted: Tales of a Gen-X Drunk, written by Judge.

Judge wrote the following:

Invariably I would be hungover — or still drunk — when I got to work at seven in the morning, and I spent most of the first hour just trying to hold myself together.Included in the memoir is a “character” by the name of Bart O’Kavanaugh, a clear reference to Brett Kavanaugh, a fellow heavy drinker and party-goer. Other details of Judge’s memoir, such as his time working as an employee of Potomac Village Safeway, corroborate Dr. Ford’s testimony while casting doubt over Kavanaugh’s statements made under penalty of perjury.

Polygraph Tests

Brett Kavanaugh perjured himself today when it came to the issue of polygraph tests as well. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Cal.) asked if Kavanaugh had taken a polygraph test to confirm he was telling the truth, as his accuser, Dr. Ford, has passed a polygraph examination. Kavanaugh responded by claiming that “[t]hey’re not admissible in federal court because they are not reliable, as you know.”

His claim that polygraph tests “are not reliable” is directly against his own opinion from 2016. In Sack v. United States Department of Defense, Kavanaugh wrote that “law enforcement agencies use polygraphs to test the credibility of witnesses” and that polygraph examinations “serve law enforcement purposes.”

By claiming that polygraph tests are not reliable today, he directly contradicts an opinion he decided in 2016.

Various Suspicious Claims

These various claims cannot be confirmed as perjury just yet, due to the lack of testimony from other individuals. For example, Kavanaugh claimed that references to “boofing” and the “Devil’s Triangle” are references to flatulence and a drinking game respectively.

However, according to slang dictionary Urban Dictionary, a “Devil’s Triangle” is a term for a threesome between two men and one woman. Before Kavanaugh’s testimony today, there were no mentions online of the Devil’s Triangle being a drinking game. Instead, it refers to sexual acts, further contributing to the question of Kavanaugh’s behavior in regards to sexual acts against others. “Boofing” refers to taking in illicit drugs via the rectum.

Furthermore, Kavanaugh’s claims of his drinking habits have now been disputed by classmate Lynne Brookes on Chris Cumo’s CNN program.

Sex Crimes

With all of these lies under oath, his undeniable pattern of perjury to the US Senate, then why on Earth should we believe a single word of what he said today in his denial of sexual crimes against Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick?

I believe these women, because they don’t have a well-documented and extensive history of perjury dating back to 2004.

According to the New York Times, SCOTUS first “became divided along party lines” in 2010—nine years AFTER Bush v. Gore.

Brett Kavanaugh is not the only one with memory lapses.

MCM
“Ideology has long figured in the Supreme Court’s work, but a sharp partisan split on the court is a recent phenomenon. Starting in 2010, the court became divided along party lines, with all five Republican appointees to the right of all four Democratic ones.”

A Bitter Nominee, Questions of Neutrality, and a Damaged Supreme Court

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s testimony raised questions about his neutrality and temperament, threatening the already fragile reputation of the Supreme Court as an institution devoted to law rather than politics.

Credit Erin Schaff for The New York Times

Sept. 28, 2018

WASHINGTON — In the first round of his Supreme Court confirmation hearings early this month, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh kept his cool under hostile questioning, stressed his independence, and exhibited the calm judicial demeanor that characterized his dozen years on a prestigious appeals court bench.

“The Supreme Court,” he said, “must never be viewed as a partisan institution.”