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Friday, February 22, 2019

Nancy Rommelmann: Outrage Culture is Out of Control

A woman shows support for sexual assault survivors at the #MeToo Survivors' March in Los Angeles on Nov. 12, 2017. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2019

FEB 22, 2019

It was 9:30 at night when my husband slid his iPad across the bed to me. On it was an email an ex-employee had sent to current and former staff of his coffee-roasting company in Portland, Ore. The ex-employee explained that a new YouTube series I was hosting, #MeNeither Show, in which another journalist and I discussed, among other topics, some excesses of the #MeToo movement, was “vile, dangerous and extremely misguided.”

She considered the show hostile to assault survivors, and felt it her duty to alert several newspapers that my opinions posed a potential threat to my husband’s female employees and the community at large.

I told my husband it would blow over. After all, there was no suggestion in the email that he’d ever been inappropriate; only that my views were dangerous. And I hadn’t worked in the business in anything but a supportive capacity for two years.

Why ask questions, when it’s more expedient, maybe more kickass, to turn anything you might disagree with into an emergency?

I couldn’t have been more wrong. It blew up, and in less than a month, a 15-year-old business with a spotless track record is now in danger of collapse. Baristas quit and wholesale accounts fled, their unease fed by a local press that keeps banging the drum.

This is the current pitch of outrage culture, where voicing an opinion someone says she sees as a threat qualifies you for instant annihilation, no questions asked. Why ask questions, when it’s more expedient, maybe more kickass, to turn anything you might disagree with into an emergency?

A sense of emergency is what people on all sides have developed an addiction to. Show us the next person to hate and we are so there; we take an animalistic pleasure in destroying the kid in the MAGA hat, in fashioning a decades-old interview with John Wayne into a knife with which to posthumously eviscerate the actor. And then we look for the next target.

Because we need that next hit, we need it right now. Being in a constant state of emergency — a condition in which people notoriously make terrible decisions — is like having a fire raging inside the body, one that needs to be fed. It needs new fuel, and so we seek new enemies.

Meanwhile some of us are watching from the sidelines, trying to stay out of the way, hoping not to be next. (Good luck with that.)

Maybe the fractiousness in which we are currently living, people sectioning themselves into smaller and smaller tribes, is a side effect of the addiction. It needs an unlimited supply of people to hate, and the smaller the in-group, the larger the potential enemy pool. That this creates rancor and instability for everyone is a price addicts are willing to pay; indeed, it may taste like victory.

While those engaging in these fights may be a tiny but vocal minority, they are nevertheless a contagion. They value feelings over facts. They reject direct confrontation, preferring to scrap it out online or letting the media do their work for them. Those of us who can still stomach cable news watch as opponents chew each other’s faces off in prime time. Pundits and politicians who should wait for the truth to be revealed instead turn today’s story into a cudgel and, when proven wrong, refuse to walk it back, and who cares anyway? There will be a new epidemic of hate-shredding in the morning, in an hour, and as soon as it’s there, we engage. Or we don’t, and are spattered with the blood regardless.

Enter the Fray: First takes on the news of the minute »
It can be enlivening, certainly, to get caught up in a fight. However, one should come armed with courage, rather than, say, surreptitiously taking photos of me in public and posting them on social media, or anonymously calling all my husband’s vendors and telling them to stop working with a company that supports “rape culture.” Yes, that’s a quote. This campaign, led by so-called feminists, sees no irony in trying to drive a man out of business because his wife voices opinions of her own.

Still, I don’t regard the people pitching this battle as evil. I see them as unwilling to confront the world beyond their small chosen groups. Humans are hugely nuanced and complex and fascinating, and they are great to talk to. Why anyone, especially young people, who in Portland are in the main the ones waging these campaigns, would want to experience less of humanity strikes me as profoundly sad.

I have been asked whether I hate the people who started this. The answer is I don’t. I see them as afraid of the ideas of others. With this in mind, I have several times offered to have conversations about issues they evidently find dangerous enough to go to war over. No one has taken me up on the offer.

Nancy Rommelmann is a journalist and the author most recently of the book “To the Bridge: A True Story of Motherhood and Murder.” Follow her at Twitter @nancyromm

Monday, February 18, 2019

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner is Out of Jail. That's the Bad News

Anthony Weiner
There is no good news.

Anthony Weiner was the husband of Huma Abedin, the senior aide to Hillary Clinton before, during and after the Clinton email scam. If it weren't for Weiner's sexting a 15-year old girl from his computer, we might not have known about his wife Huma and Hillary Clinton using Clinton's private email for classified government materials. See my post on,
"Anthony Weiner Is Released From Prison, Moved To Re-Entry Center in Brooklyn"

As I wrote in that post, Conservative Group Judicial Watch has led the way on exposing the massive corruption of both Hillary and Bill Clinton for decades. JW's work is a part of American jurisprudence history. And the story is continuing today in federal court.
Kudos to Judicial Watch for protecting the public interest in transparency and political integrity. President Tom Fitton's book The Corruption Chronicles is a wonderful book which should be read in its entirety.
I believe in second chances, but someone should keep an eye on this guy. Please.
Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice

Anthony Weiner pops up outside Bronx halfway house after prison release

NY POST, February 18, 2019
By Cedar Attanasio, Bruce Golding and Lia Eustachewich

Anthony Weiner has gone from hard time to a Bronx halfway house after being convicted for sexting an underage girl.
But even a registered sex offender’s got to eat — and The Post was there Sunday as Weiner popped outside his new Bronx digs to grab a delivery order.
Wearing his signature Mets baseball cap, the 54-year-old disgraced ex-congressman — who served 15 months of a 21-month federal prison sentence for sexting with the 15-year-old — briefly exited to greet a food deliveryman ferrying his $22.50 order.
He’ll serve out the next three months in the Bronx facility before being released outright in May with an accumulated three months off for good behavior.
On the menu for Weiner was hearty Italian fare from Brother’s Pizza a few blocks away. He ordered a $9.50 dish of homemade lasagna and $10 penne alla vodka with grilled chicken, along with two Snapples at $1.50 apiece to wash it all down.
“Hold on a second here. Hold on a second. They’re in here?” Weiner grilled the deliveryman around 2 p.m. after he was handed a large pizza box and brown paper bag with straws poking out at the door of the GEO Care Inc. facility in Fordham Heights.
“Everything’s in there,” the worker answered.
But Weiner could be in hot water for the Sunday feast: The food exchange took place right next to a sign that reads in all caps: “You May Not Bring Food or Beverages Into This Facility. Stop. No Exceptions!!”
After grabbing his food, Weiner couldn’t beat it fast enough.
“How you doing, buddy? Not allowed to talk, I’m sorry, my friend,” he told a Post reporter with a meek smile before ducking back inside.
The former politician left a paltry $2.50 tip on his online order, employees said.
The convicted pervert — dressed in a blue fleece zip-up and baggy navy sweatpants — spent the bulk of his sentence at the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Mass.
But Federal Bureau of Prisons records show he was transferred from the lockup to the halfway house, one of many facilities across the nation under the Residential Reentry Management program.
Before Weiner emerged from the halfway house, his visibly impatient deliveryman — ironically named Carlos, given Weiner’s sexting alter-ego was “Carlos Danger” — paced back and forth while calling the fallen politician repeatedly and asking passersby how to get in.
A restaurant receipt obtained by The Post showed no name on Weiner’s order — just an address, phone number and direction to “ring the silver buzzer.”
“He wasn’t answering his phone,” Carlos later groused about Weiner, saying he had no idea he was delivering to the infamous sex addict.
“He’s a f–king pervert,” Carlos said after being told.
The food worker said that after he completed the delivery, Weiner was so clueless that he rang him back.
“He was like, ‘You called?’ ” Carlos recalled.
Weiner is set to be released from federal custody May 14, thanks to good conduct behind bars that shaved about three months off his sentence.
His political career flamed out starting in 2011, when he resigned from Congress after being forced to admit sending lewd photos to women he’d met online.
Two years later, his comeback bid for mayor was torpedoed by revelations that he sexted with a woman under the pseudonym “Carlos Danger.”
His creepy behavior took a more disturbing turn in 2016 when he started up an online relationship with the teen — despite knowing full well that she was underage.
The fall from grace was capped in May 2017, when he pleaded guilty to exchanging X-rated texts with the North Carolina teen.
“I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” Weiner sobbed in court at the time.
After the halfway house, Weiner will spend three years on supervised release, pay a $10,000 fine and register as a sex offender.
Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, Weiner’s wife and the mother of their young son, filed for divorce just hours after he pleaded guilty. Abedin later withdrew the petition to settle matters out of court.
Neither the BOP nor Weiner’s or Abedin’s lawyers returned messages seeking comment.
An employee at the halfway house feigned ignorance when asked about Weiner’s stay — after he was spotted there.
“Who?” she said, before slamming the phone.