Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 7:38 AM

No Sexual Harassment in Putin’s Russia…? Ha!

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Two things explain Donald Trump’s incriminating refusal to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin:

  1. Russia’s meddling to help him win the US presidential election; and
  2. Credible reports that Putin has compromising information on his shady businesses and kinky assignations in Moscow (some of which former British spy Christopher Steele documented in lurid detail in his famous Russia dossier).

But Trump might have a compelling reason to actually admire Putin. For Putin has normalized fake news, political ignorance, and sexual harassment in Russia in ways that must give Trump wet dreams.

To be fair, though, Trump is doing a pretty good job of normalizing fake news and political ignorance in America. But Harvey Weinstein’s sexual-harassment scandal has triggered such a transformation of national consciousness that he faces a daunting challenge where normalizing sexual harassment is concerned.

Never mind that Trump himself could be the poster boy for sexual harassment. I commented on his own scandal in “Donald Trump’s Growing Bill-Cosby Problem,” October 15, 2016. In fact, his record is such that pigs will fly before Miss America contestants hail him as a protector of women the way Miss Russia contestants are hailing Putin.

Russian women have President Vladimir Putin to thank for the lack of sexual harassment incidents that are coming to light in the United States, two Miss Russia finalists say. …

‘I believe that these situations cannot happen in Russia, and for that we have to thank Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and his policy,’ [runner-up Ksenia] Alexandrova said.

In January, Russian lawmakers voted nearly unanimously to decriminalize domestic violence and downgrade it to an administrative offense.

(Moscow Times, October 13, 2017)

For the record:

Discrimination and violence against women are widespread. The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs says that 40 percent of violent crimes against women in Russia are committed by spouses or intimate partners, but an independent study found that the figure was actually closer to 80 percent. …

Patriarchy is the rule, not the exception.

(Washington Post, July 5, 2017)

Evidently, “if he beats you, it means he loves you” is as Russian as “happy wife, happy life” is American. Not to mention that this is the same Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin who not only harassed but eventually imprisoned women for daring to criticize his authoritarian rule. I duly commented in “Putin Gives Pussy Riot the Clamp,” August 17, 2012.

This is why the propagation of Miss Russia’s big lie about sexual harassment in Russia is as Orwellian as it gets. It reminds me of the propagation of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s big lie about the persecution of homosexuals in Iran, which includes state-sanctioned executions:

In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I do not know who has told you we have it.

(Slate, September 25, 2007)

Of course, nothing defines Trump’s America quite like purveyors of big lies (a.k.a. “alternative facts”). And Trump has shown time and again that he’s the biggest purveyor of them all. But the pickle Mike Ditka got into recently is instructive.

He coached the Chicago Bears to victory in Super Bowl XX in 1986, and hadn’t made much news since then. But that all changed last week when he voiced support for Trump’s trumped-up beef with NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem:

All of a sudden, it’s become a big deal now, about oppression. There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of.

(Chicago Tribune, October 10, 2017)

It hardly matters that Ditka walked back that big lie in the dog-whistling, unrepentant way Trump often does.

The point is that Trump has displayed such ignorance and told such lies on so many issues, it’s easy to imagine him aping

  • Miss Russia by insisting that, despite his own predatory, “grab-them-by-the-pussy” scandal, there’s no sexual harassment in his America;
  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by insisting that, despite his own directive banning transgender people from the military, there’s no persecution of LBGTQs in his America; and
  • Mike Ditka by insisting that, despite his own record of racism (see August 2017 issue of Rolling Stone), there’s no racism in his America.

Fortunately, instead of voting to decriminalize sexual harassment, American lawmakers are more likely to vote to impeach Trump for committing it. After all, Summer Zervos is suing Trump in the same impeachable fashion Paula Jones famously sued former President Bill Clinton.

Lawyers for one of the women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault subpoenaed his campaign for all documents relating to her, all communications with or about her and ‘all documents concerning any woman who asserted that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately.’

This comes in the case of Summer Zervos, a former contestant on ‘The Apprentice’ who accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in 2007. …

Zervos claims Trump kissed her twice on the lips during a lunch meeting in his New York City office and on a separate occasion in Beverly Hills, she alleges he kissed her aggressively and touched her breast.

(CNN, October 16, 2017)

Unsurprisingly, Trump has dismissed every allegation by every accuser as “fake news” – as he did during a press conference at the White House on Monday.

‘Mr Trump became obsessed with calling Ms Zervos and any other woman who came forward to report his abuse liars with improper motives. … [He] is a liar and misogynist [who has] debased and denigrated Zervos with false statements about her,’ the lawsuit says.

(The Telegraph, October 16, 2017)

Of course, Mr. Clinton debased and denigrated his accusers in his own “slick Willie” style. But it all proved to no avail.

Hope springs eternal …

Related commentaries:
Trump’s Cosby problem
Weinstein
NFL players kneeling
Putin’s pussy riot

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