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Wednesday: The Cost of Sexism

The Peapicker Mother by Dorothea LangeA lot of people don’t think there is any harm to a little bit of sexism. It’s no biggy. Actually, I don’t think many men (and some women) are aware of the sexism that occurs on a day-to-day basis that results in undermining the authority of many women. This isn’t the most overt type of sexism but it is the most pernicious.

Imagine what it is like to go to a meeting where you are one of less than a handful of females in a roomful of men. You have a presentation but as you begin to make it, several of the guys interrupt you. They smirk at some of your statements. They snicker at some prediction or proposal you make that they were previously unaware of. They terminate your presentation prematurely. When they are meeting with another department and you aren’t around, they commiserate with the other department members that you don’t know what you’re doing. They put you down.

A year later, everything you predicted comes to pass and it hurts your department in the end because work can’t proceed as smoothly as it should have. You get blamed for having a difficult personality that makes it hard for others to deal with you.

Ok, the scenario above has actually happened to me. I have the white paper that I painstakingly put together of the current working environment and policies to be implemented to improve it and it was completely ignored and ridiculed. The jerks, er, colleagues didn’t listen. They sympathized with the uncooperative department I had been working with to extract concessions. Nothing got done. We got screwed, majorly, when everything I predicted came true. Thank you very much, guys. It’s still a problem. They still haven’t learned. They are back to square one where they were two years ago.

The same thing happened to Hillary Clinton last year. Three months ago, during the bailout bill negotiations, she hit the morning TV circuit, speaking in her flat, midwestern policy speak (can’t you just see the Big Dawg doing a Gomez Addams on her? “Oh, Hill, I love it when you speak wonk!” ) She talked about refinancing mortgages, putting checks and balances in the bill, not handing the bankers a blank check, lowering expectations for investors, etc. And what did the guys do? Ignore her. Ridicule her. Smirk and completely dismiss everything she said. The didn’t implement any of her suggestions into the bailout bill.

Something similar happened with Sheila Bair, the head of the FDIC. Elizabeth Warren who heads up a Congressional Oversight Committee of the bailout bill described to Terry Gross’s Fresh Air recently how Bair has been working overtime to get investors to forgo the 15% return on investments they were expecting from their mortgage based tranches and how she has been rebuffed by those investors who insist on putting their short term interests first. To make matters worse, Tim Geithner, the new head of Treasury, is no fan of Bair’s and hasn’t been supporting her initiatives.

It all adds up. This morning in the NYTimes we have a picture of four guys sitting around a table to discuss the enormous deficit and an article titled, Obama Warns Trillion Dollar Deficit Potential. Let’s remember where Obama was during the negotiations of the bailout bill. He was on the campaign trail. John McCain thought the bill was serious enough that he suspended his campaign. I think McCain was acting responsibly, others think it was political opportunism. As a Republican, he was constrained by his party and his own past deregulatory rhetoric from doing much of anything about it. But he did give Obama a chance to lead on the subject. Obama’s response was inadequate and perfunctory. The bill was passed without many checks and balances. Instead of injecting liquidity into the markets, the banks lavished themselves with bonuses and sat on, are *sitting* on, the rest. That means it is harder for businesses that employ people to borrow money to operate. That means unemployment, fear, reduced spending and the beginning of a vicious cycle. Our own Dakinikat, also a girl with scary lady parts. has been reading the financial tea leaves and she agrees with Krugman. We are talking about a Depression.

Could it have been avoided? I don’t know. I *do* know that after the humiliating roll call at the DNC Convention, Hillary Clinton no longer had the wherewithal to promote much of anything. And yet, had the proposals she had obviously researched and put so much time into researching been implemented, there is little doubt that they would have slowed or prevented the situation we now face. It is clear that checks and balances would have directed the banks to lend. The HOLC plan would have gotten homeowners to pay their mortgages. Who knows? She might have worked with Sheila Bair to get the investors to take a loss on their tranches.

But all of that requires that the person making the suggestions have the support of her management or party or colleagues. Everytime her credibility is undermined by sniggering, dismissive behavior, the opportunity to make a difference in a timely fashion is lost.

So, the Obots who got erections from slam-dunking the women out of malice or stupidity this year should shut the F^&* up right about now. We’re all going to pay for it in one way or another.

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Conflucians Say: Would you buy a used car from this man?

Heidi Li has the latest ad from Democrats for Principle before Party up.  And now that I think about it, I do see a certain resemblance:

Naaahhhh, Tricky Dick was a crook, not a used car salesman.  I think Heidi must be thinking of this guy:

His teeth!  Bright light!  Bright Light!!

Heidi could use a little help getting this ad on the air.  You can make a donation to The Denver Group here.

And what else happened today, boys and girls?  Did you read about what Hillary said about the bailout?  Have you called your congresscritter or did the fall in the Dow leave you shaky?  And why are the banks being so greeeedy?  Why isn’t the obscene wealth they already have enough?  Does it have anything to do with drowning in a bathtub?  Check in with Conflucians Say tonight at 10PM EST on PUMA United Radio and we’ll shine a light on it.