Update on Jian Ghomeshi Allegations

[CN: intimate partner violence, sexual assaults, BDSM imagery, disbelief of survivors.]

There have been a number of new developments related to the allegations against Jian Ghomeshi.

Lawyer and author Reva Seth stepped forward yesterday under her own name with a new allegation of assault against Ghomeshi.

Lucy Decoutere, who previously stepped forward under her own name with her story, has seen an an outpouring of support on Twitter and from her Trailer Park Boys castmates.

(Of course, there are still people demanding that survivors must report to the police or be disbelieved. Former Crown prosecutor Sandy Garassino has helpfully laid out why that’s bullshit.)

Ghomeshi said in a Facebook post that he would ”meet allegations directly,” whatever that means.

Carleton University has launched an investigation into their student field placements at Q. This is apparently a response to the discovery of Tweets dating back to April referencing Ghomeshi and accusing him of assaulting multiple Carleton undergraduates.

The CBC has offered counseling to employees and hired a third party investigator to look into the claims against Ghomeshi.

That’s especially important since one of the claims is from a former employee who describes reporting sexual harassment at the CBC, and getting nowhere. Let’s hope the new investigation is a tad more helpful.

Meanwhile, both current and former CBC management are staying mum. The union representing CBC employees, who are also accused of dropping the ball when alerted of the harassment allegations, are similarly tight-lipped.

Ghomeshi has been dropped as a client by Navigator, the “crisis management” PR firm he recently retained, and Rockit Promotions, who have represented him for several years.

An anonymous source from Navigator says this is because Ghomeshi lied to them when he sought representation. Colour me unshocked.

But Amanda Palmer is standing by him. What an asshole.

If there are more developments over the weekend, I will try to report them here. As ever, please remember to keep this space safe.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Kermit the Frog: "Bein' Green"

This week's TMNS have been brought to you by songs with colorful titles.

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War on agency] Black women are organizing against Tennessee's "highly controversial and extreme anti-choice ballot initiative" Amendment 1, which, if passed, would give "state lawmakers the power to enact, amend, or repeal state laws regulating abortion by writing into the state constitution language that includes, 'nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.'" Says SisterReach founder and CEO Cherisse Scott: "We stand today because pending legislation has the potential to send women back to the back alleys where we died from unsafe and unsanitary abortions." SisterReach is one of many women's organizations involved in the fight against the horrendous Amendment 1. I love Scott's absolutely blunt statement on what's at stake.

[CN: Racism; eliminationist violence] What the absolute fuck: "A North Carolina math teacher is under investigation for allegedly telling a student that 'if she had 10 days to live, she would kill all black people.' ...WAVY-TV's Jason Marks reports that 'several students' told the 'same story' to investigators. [Camden County High School math teacher Cynthia Ramsey], who is head of the math department, was suspended with pay. A few days later, however, Ramsey returned to the classroom. ...Ramsey has the potential to face criminal charges, but that decision is in the hands of the district attorney. The local school board will reportedly discuss this incident in a few weeks." Well, don't strain yourselves with urgency or anything.

[CN: Homophobia; transphobia; disablism] In good news: "The Philadelphia City Council has unanimously approved a measure that would provide additional penalties for crimes motivated by hatred regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, or disabilities." Naturally, the good news is contingent upon those crimes actually being acknowledged for what they are and prosecuted accordingly.

[CN: Rape apologia] I haven't heard the name Dennis Prager in awhile, and it's no surprise that, hearing it again, it's because the conservative radio host has said something completely terrible: "At a rally to get out the vote for Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) on Tuesday, conservative talk radio host Dennis Prager called the issue of campus sexual assault 'a big lie' invented by 'the feminist left.' ...'Culture of Rape? No. I'll tell you why it exists on the campus, and that is: a rape of the culture.'" Rick Scott must be so thrilled. It continues to be a mystery why Republicans don't have the female vote locked down.

[CN: Food insecurity] Welp: "A small town outside Pittsburgh is getting a new, unusual grocery shopping option. Denise Marte is opening a store that will sell dented cans, bent boxes, and expired packages of food and other necessities at cut-rate prices in Rural Valley, PA." Grocery stores known as "food salvage stores," which "buy damaged goods that traditional retailers refuse," are increasingly not unusual in the US. And they're a good idea, since the food is regulated and what's sold is perfectly good. (Some grocery stores have long sold this exact kind of food in-store at discounted prices.) "Necessity is the mother of invention, and America's neediest families are indeed innovative about staying fed." Food should be a right. Fuck.

[CN: Animal endangerment] Here's an interesting piece on the elephant crisis in Africa, and what some humans are doing in order to try to combat it.

Beautiful: "A Stunning View of Sunlit Seas on Titan."

I am not a Hiddleston-head (I don't dislike him at all, but I'm just not wild for him like SOME PEOPLE I KNOW), but SOME PEOPLE I KNOW are major Hiddleston-heads, and, if you are one of those people, then you might enjoy this news: "AMC Lands Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston Limited Series 'Night Manager.'"

And finally! You can't break this cat's concentration, so don't even try, pal!

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Here We Go Again

[Content Note: Fat hatred; disablism; misogyny.]

Professional fat-shamer Katie Hopkins decided to gain and then lose 50 pounds in order to "prove" that fat people cannot be happy and that fat people are liars if they say they can't lose weight.

The TV personality said that after years of relentlessly reminding overweight people that if they just tried a little bit, they too could be skinny. A live TV moment triggered her to finally do something to take her anti-fat theories to an extreme.

During her appearance on the "Late Late Show" back in February, Hopkins was torn apart for her bullying.

"I don't believe you can be fat and happy. I think that's just a cop out," she said on the show in response to the critics. "It's living a lie. It's not having the balls to cope with things and make a conscious effort to say, 'I'm going to do something about the state I've gotten myself in.'"

Just then, a 250 pound woman in the audience stood up and said she actually was fat and happy. Hopkins claims this is the moment that inspired her to prove the "fat and sloppy" woman, and everyone else who is overweight, wrong.
screen cap of a tweet authored by Katie Hopkins reading: 'For my new American friends. Fat and Back is my journey to prove fat people are lazy and eat too much. I gained 50lbs to prove a point'

So Hopkins set about gaining weight by eating nearly 6,500 calories a day. Which of course is not the typical caloric intake of any person, fat or otherwise. And once she had gained about 50 pounds, and found herself miserable, as anyone with a pathological hatred of fat people would be, she declared her experiment a success. She had definitively proven that fat people can't be happy, because she wasn't happy.

screen cap of a tweet authored by Katie Hopkins reading: 'Good morning good people of Britain. And to my fat friends - how are we doing? Continuing to live in denial? Or deciding to get a grip?'

Fat people who claim to be happy are thus crazy liars.

And the entire thing was documented on camera, naturally, and will air in the United States as a TV series titled Fat and Back. Because what fat people need is for people who bully and harass us to have more ammunition to use against us. Terrific.

I've already said everything I have to say about people who imagine that it's impossible to be fat and happy. I'm never going to convince someone like Katie Hopkins that I'm content, so I won't even bother trying.

What a waste of my emotional energy to try to convince someone who believes I'm a delusional liar if I express my own genuine lived experience.

I do, however, want to point out that this is a basic form of oppression: To deny even the possibility of people's authentic emotional expression by deeming it a lie, deeming it evidence of not having a grip on reality, before they even speak.

And this, too, is a basic form of oppression: To privilege the pronouncements of someone who is not part of a marginalized community over the reported lived experiences of the people who are, even if that person readily admits to despising us.

Finally, once more I will note that this seething hatred is simply about the way we look. It is not about our health. If any of the people who engage in this vile garbage were the slightest bit concerned about our health, they would:

1. Care about our emotional health, and the deleterious effect it has on one's overall health to be constantly policed and bullied.

2. Stop trying to demonize our bodies and shame us for having them, and instead get on board with the idea that there is little incentive to take care of a body you hate, that fat hatred is a barrier to seeking care, that fat hatred kills.

The reason Hopkins can't imagine for a moment that I am happy with my body is that she is so unhappy with my body. That isn't about my health. That's about rank hatred.

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Well, Happy Halloween, if you care about it! Are you going to any parties, or having a party? Are you taking anyone trick-or-treating? Do you get lots of trick-or-treaters? If you're wearing a costume for any reason this Halloween, what is it? Discuss!

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Open Thread

image of a display of many different colors of yarn

Hosted by yarn.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Bearpaw01: "What food combination do you like that most people think is weird? (E.g., pickles, peanut butter, and hot sauce sandwich.)"

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: "Purple Haze"

'Scuse me while I kiss this guy.

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Headline of the Day

[Content Note: Class warfare.]

Number of Billionaires Has Doubled Since the Financial Crisis.

The super-rich club has become less exclusive, with the amount of billionaires doubling since the financial crisis, according to a report from global charity Oxfam. There were 1,645 billionaires globally as of March 2014, according to Forbes data cited in the Oxfam report, up from 793 in March 2009.

...The report 'Even it Up: Time to End Extreme Inequality' noted that the world's richest 85 people saw their wealth jump by a further $668 million per day collectively between 2013 and 2014, which equates to half a million dollars a minute.
Cool. How's everyone else doing?

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound caught mid-sneeze, to which I have added text reading: 'AHHHH-CHOO!'

image of Dudley looking at the camera, to which I have added text reading: 'You didn't just take a picture of that, did you?'

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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Good Grief

Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is still considered to be a leading contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, and I have no idea why. As soon as voters get a look at what this guy is really like, they're going to see what a reprehensible bully he is, and, although there is certainly a contingent of voters who get off on that sort of thing, it didn't work for John McCain and it ain't gonna work for Chris Christie.

In the last two days, I have seen a video of Christie screaming at a Superstorm Sandy victim who was interrupting a press conference to "sit down and shut up," and another video of Christie responding to a reporter saying he may have to fight his Ebola quarantine policy in court with: "Well, whatever. Get in line. I've been sued lots of times before. Get in line. I'm happy to take it on."

Trying to explain this sort of shit with "my comments are never almost universally interpreted the way I mean them" is only going to go so far. There's lot a lot of room for nuance in "sit down and shut up."

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Discussion Thread: Whispered Warnings

[Content Note: Sexual harassment and abuse.]

Last night, after reading Melissa Martin's terrific piece, "Do You Know About Jian?", which Aphra also linked below, I was texting with Jessica Luther about it, and I told her: Reading that piece, I was thinking about all the professional (and educational, and social, and other) spaces in which women whisper warnings to each other about men who have already hurt women or have sent up red flags that they might hurt women.

And then I thought about the traditional professional spaces in which I've worked, and how, in each one, the women have whispered warnings to each other about certain men. And, in those same spaces, (some) men have whispered about which women were "easy."

Women whisper about which men will try to take advantage of us, while (some) men whisper about the women they can take advantage of.

That's a pretty stark disparity between many women's and men's experiences of shared spaces.

Later, Jess tweeted: "I would bet almost every single woman can think of a man that she has had to whisper warnings about."

I have written previously on my experience of male coworkers about whom women in the office whispered warnings. They are two of many about whom I could write.

I've warned and/or been warned about coworkers. Classmates. Peers in social groups. Participants in gaming groups. Family members.

I suspect, like Jess, that nearly every woman has a story she could tell.

Here is a space to tell them, if you are so inclined.

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Follow Up: More Women Speak About Jian Ghomeshi

[CN: physical abuse, sexual assault, verbal abuse, BDSM discussion, rape apologia]

More women have come forward with allegations against Jian Ghomeshi. One woman, actor and Royal Canadian Air Force captain Lucy Decoutere, agreed to use her name. (Decoutere is best known for her recurring role on Trailer Park Boys as "Lucy.") In her statement to the Toronto Star, Decoutere describes abuse similar to previous allegations:

She first met Ghomeshi at a barbecue at a Banff television festival in 2003. They chatted and, in time, she visited Toronto and they had dinner at a restaurant on the Danforth. She recalls him telling her how famous he was and “how lucky you are to be with me.” They went back to his house in Riverdale. DeCoutere said they began making out and then she alleges he pushed her against the wall, choked her with his hands around her neck and then slapped her three times.

“That was something I had never experienced before,” DeCoutere said. She left his house shortly after that in a taxi. “It did not escalate; it stopped,” she said.

If you have the spoons, I recommend reading all of the women's accounts. They are depressingly familiar, and must have been very difficult to talk about. The CBC has a longer interview with Decoutere here.

In addition, yet another woman was interviewed on CBC's "As It Happens."

And also, the Huffington Post reports that a Twitter account called "Big Ears Teddy" made detailed allegations against Ghomeshi in Apil. "Big Ears Teddy" is referred to in in some of the allegations made in The Star's pice. It is the name of Ghomeshi's stuffed teddy bear that he keep in the bdroom. According to their accounts, he has referenced it during their encounters, turning the bear away so he cannot "see" what's going on. The Twitter account predates those allegations; its tweets about Ghomeshi come from April of this year.

Eight. Nine. Ten, if the Twitter account is not from one of the women who have come forward. Ten women. I am sure there will be more.

I know that misogyny is infinite, so what should be more and more evidence that Ghomeshi is an abuser will be turned around and used as evidence that more and more women are angry, evil deceitful harpies.

This should also be damning evidence about how many women (correctly) deduce that the legal system will be of absolutely no help if they are assaulted (a) by a famous man (b) on a date (c) after they have consented to ANY contact with said man.

Yet I know, depressingly, that this will simply be used to task MORE individual women with solving a systemic problem, blaming them for not going to the police without the TINIEST bit of empathy for how difficult and useless that is, how much MORE they will likely be hurt by the system itself.

If you've not read it, Melissa Martin has a brilliant piece about people "knowing about" Jian Ghomeshi, and all the ways it's made near-impossible to really "do anything" about people like him. And I want to know: how many women have to come forward before we CAN start Doing Something? How many women have to get hurt before those misogynistic assumptions and misogynistic systems get shaken? Eight? Nine? Ten? A dozen? Two dozen?

It should be one. But it sure seems like infinity.

[H/t to Liss for Melissa's piece.]

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War on agency] Fuck fuck fuck: "The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately. ...The clinic may decide to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court." I'm sure there will be a lot of weighing whether appealing the decision would be wise, given the current ideological make-up of the court. To have this one go the wrong way at the Supreme Court would be devastating.

[CN: War on agency] Meanwhile: "Chances are good that, if Republicans seize control of the U.S. Senate on Election Day, they will try to push through a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks' gestation nationwide." You know I am not in the business of telling people how, or whether, to vote. But if you're in the US and on the fence about voting in the midterms, well, this is a pretty compelling reason to head to the polls.

Protests, protests everywhere:

* In Spain, "a massive feminist strike paralyzed the streets of Barcelona, with thousands of women and their allies shutting down traffic and the subways, spray-painting feminist slogans all over city walls and occupying the offices of powerful political and economic institutions." The protest "brought together more than 600 different feminist and community groups over the course of a year of organizing that culminated in one riot grrrl-like takeover of Barcelona." Wow!

* In Burkina Faso, demonstrators have taken to the streets in protest of a planned (and now canceled) parliament vote which "would have paved the way for extending the president's 27-year rule."

* In Hungary, 100,000 people protested a per-megabyte tax on Internet traffic proposed by the government. "The issue has come to stand for the alienation of Hungarians from the mainstream political parties, and has left the government backpedalling, now offering to cap the maximum monthly tax bill at about $3/connection—down from the approximately $294 that the original proposal would have levied on each household (this being equal to the monthly rent on a nice apartment in Budapest)."

* In Hong Kong, a photo booth with a yellow backdrop is being used to try to capture the spirit of the now month-long democratic protest. "'We wanted to use what we know to get involved in this movement, to let people know what is happening here. Because in the news, people will see some violent actions involved and maybe in our photos, we show other faces of the people here,' explained Max Wong, one of the organisers."

* In Minnesota, thousands of protestors are expected to participate in a protest of the Washington R*dskins team name, when they show up to play the Vikings.

* In New York, hundreds of students protested Columbia University's mishandling (ahem) of rape cases, in solidarity with Emma Sulkowicz, who pledged to carry her mattress around campus until her rapist is expelled.

[CN: Illness] In other news, Kaci Hickox, the nurse who was forcibly quarantined in an unheated tent in New Jersey for three days after returning from working with Ebola patients, went for a bike ride, so cue everyone losing their shit.

[CN: Sexual violence; war on agency] Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich "repeatedly refused to answer questions about why he signed into law a budget that included a provision prohibiting state-funded rape crisis counselors from referring women to abortion services." Huh. Maybe that's because there's literally no legitimate reason to have done such a thing.

[CN: Sexual violence] Roman Polanski was questioned in Poland but "Deputy Foreign Minister Rafal Trzaskowski said the charges against Polanski have expired in Poland, providing no grounds for an extradition." Shocking.

[CN: Misogynist terrorism] Anita Sarkeesian was on The Colbert Report last night. Yay!

And finally! This story about Lentil, a French bulldog who was born with a cleft palate who has become a therapy dog for children with craniofacial differences, is pretty much the best thing ever. Lentil got surgery to correct his functional issue, thus allowing him to eat and drink on his own, but not to correct his physical difference, so children with facial differences can bond with a dog who also has facial differences. Blub.

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Sexual and domestic violence; failure to support survivors.]

"The negative impact of college dating abuse is not limited to a survivor's academic career. There can be a literal cost to being a victim. I have more than $80,000 in private student loan debt used to attend a school that didn't care that I had been raped and abused. Think paying back your student loans is traumatic? Trying doing it when every payment reminds you of your abuser."—Wagatwe Wanjuki, in a powerful and intimate piece about the costs to students when colleges fail to seriously address gender-based violence, in flagrant violation of Title IX.

Wagatwe's writing and activism on this subject is just continually terrific. If you're on Twitter, follow her here to keep up with her work.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook Publicly Discloses He Is Gay

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been out to people in his personal and professional life, so it's not really right to say that he's come out, as if, previous to this statement, he's been not out. We tend to use language that treats coming out like an on/off switch, instead of acknowledging that it's an ongoing process of assessing one's safety and balancing it against the need for disclosure. He just hasn't previously made a public statement about being gay, which is something he doesn't owe the public.

But he decided to make one, anyway, and he explains why:

I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" I often challenge myself with that question, and I've come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That's what has led me to today.

For years, I've been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I'm gay, and it doesn't seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I've had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people's differences. Not everyone is so lucky.

...Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation.

I don't consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I've benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy.

...I will personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up.

When I arrive in my office each morning, I'm greeted by framed photos of Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. I don't pretend that writing this puts me in their league. All it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I'm doing my part, however small, to help others. We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.
There's much more at the link; Cook talks about how being gay has been a gift that has helped him be a more empathetic person, and it's definitely worth your time to read the whole thing.

This is my brick. I like that.

* * *

And, yes, I realize that some of Apple's corporate practices are deeply exploitative and explicitly trade on the lack of equality among people globally. A valid and necessary criticism that needs to be made in places other than this thread on this day.

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He Seems Nice

[Content Note: Privilege; white/male supremacy.]

Ha ha jokes!

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) joked in a private meeting this month [with the Hibernian Society of Charleston] that white men would "do great" under his presidency, according to audio obtained by CNN.

..."If I get to be president, white men who are in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency," Graham says in one audio snippet as the audience laughs.

"I've tried to help you with your tax status," the senator says in another recording. "I'm sorry the government's so f*cked up."

Graham, who has said that he'd consider launching a 2016 bid, explained to CNN that he was just making fun of the Hibernian Society's all-male membership.
Okay, player. So, what's the punchline then? Is it supposed to be that white male supremacists aren't going to "do great" in your hypothetical presidency? Because I think we all know that, uh, they would.

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Open Thread

image of a yorkie, standing on a deck, looking up at the camera

Hosted by a Yorkshire Terrier.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker itchbay: "When you can't sleep, what do you do to try and help yourself fall asleep?"

I count backwards from 100, very slowly. Like when a doctor asks you to count backwards when you're going under anesthetic. Especially after years of doing it, so that my body/mind associate backwards counting with falling asleep, it works like a charm. I rarely see 70.

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Fair & Balanced

[Content Note: Violence; Christian Supremacy; anti-atheism; Islamophobia; imperialism.]

This is what passes for "fair and balanced" discourse at Fox News: Fox's Keith Ablow: 'It's Time For An American Jihad.'

"An American jihad would embrace the correct belief that if every nation on earth were governed by freely elected leaders and by our Constitution, the world would be a far better place," [Fox contributor and conservative psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow wrote for Fox's website].

...The screed demanded that America pressure countries, including allies such as Germany, Sweden and Italy, to "adopt laws similar to our own." Ablow even suggested U.S. politicians obtain dual citizenship so they may run for office in other nations.

"We might even fund our leaders' campaigns for office in these other nations," he wrote.

Ablow admitted that you can't have a crusade without war: "We would accept the fact that an American jihad could mean boots on the ground in many places in the world where human rights are being denigrated and horrors are unfolding," he wrote.

"[W]e have a God-given right to intervene," he added.

...Ablow appeared on "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday morning to further discuss his proposal for "jihad."

"I looked it up, to make sure I was being consistent with the spirit of the word, which is a struggle against nonbelievers," he told co-host Steve Doocey.

"We need to again embrace the fact that we have Manifest Destiny as this country, as Americans," Ablow said, "to not only remain American — fundamentally, in our own national character — but to spread our national character to other nations."
This is so fucking gross. I don't even know what else to say besides that. It's terrifying how many people read and listen to shit like this and think it's reasonable.

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