Posted in latest posts

I’m Tired of Bernie Sanders

I find myself once again in election hell. Being a woman on the internet is generally hard but it’s particularly difficult during an election cycle. This is especially true if you support a woman running for a higher elected office such as President. It was hard during the 2016 election cycle and history repeated itself for the 2020 election.

The past two election cycles featured several brilliant and imminently qualified women running for this nation’s highest office. Being human, they had flaws. Being women, their flaws were often blown out proportion in comparison to their male counterparts and unforgiven by those who hold women to higher standards. Narratives against them were manufactured that had little basis in reality and were entirely rooted in misogyny,

Misogyny is deeply rooted in America in ways we are only now starting to comprehend and combat. Considering how deeply embedded it is, running for an office of power is difficult under the best of circumstances. It is extremely problematic when a candidate relies upon a misogynist troll army designed to take down the women running for office.

Bernie Sanders has such an army. During the 2016 election cycle, that army engaged in misogynistic attacks on Hillary Clinton as well as her supporters. They spread negative information, some of it untrue, and misogynistic memes designed to boost his candidacy. While it is clear the origin of some of the disinformation had Russian ties; troll armies rarely care about things such as truth or origin. Their sole purpose is to intimidate, harass and silence in service to their purpose. In Sanders’ case, that purported purpose is his election.

Despite their origins, troll armies expand and enlarge to form identities often reflecting the loudest among them. Humans are pack animals. Herd mentality develops and forms an identity. Oftentimes those involved have no little recognition of what is happening. When carried to extremes, it can become quite dangerous.

The 2016 disinformation problem was included in the Mueller Report. Sanders knew about the disinformation campaign against Hillary Clinton then lied about whether he ever communicated it to her campaign. Her campaign had publicly raised questions about it weeks earlier. Pro Sanders facebook pages were infiltrated and spread of disinformation immediately prior to the election was rampant.  Seemingly there was little concerted effort to combat it. We are still sorting through it’s impact.

Disinformation on social media is particularly hard to battle when coupled with tactics that encourage online harassment.

Here’s how it works. Bad faith actors post inaccurate information on social media. Sometimes it contains a bit of truth that gets distorted out of proportion. It starts to spread. Other users post on the thread trying to discuss the issue or correct disinformation and get swarmed by the army. Sometimes they are threatened and doxxed. The harassment is intended to prohibit correction of disinformation or clarify the issues. The harassment becomes the issue and the disinformation spreads.

Online harassment happens to everyone but it is particularly difficult for women who suffer daily from efforts to silence their voice. When combined with abuse, it adds an increased burden. Abusive behavior is defined as threatening or harassing behavior designed to control it’s intended target. Abusive behavior silences. It causes symptoms such as depression and withdrawal. For survivors of abuse, it is particularly difficult. There are far too many survivors.

But surely you say a progressive movement wouldn’t rely on tactics seeking to diminish the participation of marginalized groups? LOL PLZ.

When confronted with questions regarding his troll army, Sanders has been either dismissive or brief. He can afford to be both since his troll army does the heavy lifting while he reaps its benefits. When those affected by targeted harassment seek dialogue and discussion on the issue, they are met with similar dismissiveness, or mocking narratives on “mean tweets.” Efforts to combat or form true dialogue regarding the issues are few and far between.

If this all sounds familiar you would be correct. It mirrors the tactics used by the Donald Trump campaign in the 2015-16 election against Clinton and serve largely similar purposes.

Once again history repeated itself in this election cycle in efforts to take down both Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Trump didn’t even have to deploy his tactics because Sanders has his own. The extent to which online harassment impacts voting is still being investigated but disinformation works. It undermines our democratic process.

Despite the appeal of some of Sanders’ policies, I am disgusted by his methods. He knows and understands what his troll army does. He simply doesn’t care because it works to his benefit.

Posted in commentary, latest posts

From Russia With Love Podcast Wrap Up

Back Talk returned with a new episode of Chopping It Up with Matt to discuss the latest in #RussiaGate plus the Presidential Records Act and why violations of it matter.

We are living in historical times, some of it good and some of it bad. The resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn a mere 25 days into this new administration is historical, in a bad way. Participation in the democratic process by average Americans is one of the lone bright spots.

The Russia connection with the current administration should be concerning to everyone but we live in times where partisan politics trump all else for far too many (okay sorry).That Russia interfered in our country’s 2016 presidential election no longer seems debatable and that certain high ranking officials in the White House were at least complicit.

The question remains as to the identity of those individuals and the extent to which they were involved, or did nothing to stop it.

Russia is a problem worldwide and the United States isn’t the only country where it is middling in national elections. Russian aggression in the Ukraine, and elsewhere, remains a problem too. Destabilization, along with the close ties between certain high ranking governmental officials, are ways to make certain this aggression gets lost in the crossfire.

Combine all this with violations of the Presidential Records Act and obstructionism from those in positions of power toward an investigation of Russian interference and you get an authoritarian cocktail that is deadly to democracy. You can listen to today’s podcast here.

Posted in commentary, latest posts, Sports

Hard Out Here Podcast Wrap Up

Happy October! Thanks to Josh Taylor (@JoshTaylorHD) for joining me on Wednesday’s show to discuss the Pittsburgh Steelers, their injury situation and whether Mike Tomlin should be on the hot seat. We also brought you Week 4 NFL picks. 

Today’s show was one of our Saturday offerings and featured this week’s Chopping It Up with Matt Wood (@w00dstok). We talked about #debatenight and the news concerning Donald Trump violating the Cuba embargo in 1998. We also discussed how women who are the most qualified still can’t get credit and “The Gary Johnson Question.”

We finished up the non sports hour with a discussion on the John Greathouse Op Ed telling women to pretend to be men in order to get tech jobs. Sure he apologized but there is a troubling trend in academia and media right now that must be addressed. Speaking out on these issues is important and why sticking to sports isn’t going to cut it.

Continue reading “Hard Out Here Podcast Wrap Up”

Posted in commentary, latest posts, Sports

Rocking Me Baby Podcast Wrap Up

Back Talk returned to politics today with a discussion on #debatenight and what it was like being a woman watching the country’s most powerful female politician continually interrupted by her opponent.

THE TALKOVER. SO MUCH TALKOVER.

Any woman with a brain and an opinion can safely say we’ve experienced our fair share of the talkover. Girl children learn to deal with this early on and Clinton handled it to perfection. Bottom line, you smile pleasantly and deal with it as best you can.

hillary-clinton-debate-w710-h473-2x

Trump interrupted Clinton repeatedly in the roughly hour and a half debate. We were wrong on the podcast when we said 31 times it was a whopping 51 times. Lester Holt seems like a nice man but he may not have the strong personality required to moderate these debates and keep The Donald under control.

The Donald also made a number of interesting statements during the debate and repeatedly contradicted himself. This is nothing new. Fact checking has long revealed a number of outright fibs by The Donald but his die hard supporters, a large variety of whom appear to actively hate women, don’t seem to care.

5e4f1b5ccee2805dbfe24706d7ea7546

As with most everything, I tend to agree with John Oliver on the two main candidates. Clinton has her issues but Trump is utterly incompetent to lead this country. Trump’s racist and misogynistic agenda must be stopped or we are in a world of trouble.

This debate and the remaining two, if they are done at all, won’t change those minds and there likely aren’t very many who are undecided. If anything, they might spur more commitment to actually getting out to vote which is important. Exercise your right to vote its the most important fundamental right we possess.

Continue reading “Rocking Me Baby Podcast Wrap Up”