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On the Politics of 'Believing Women'

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/01/15/politics-believing-women


Cari Hernandez sez:

Believing women means starting from a context where women are not liars.

…unlike someone whose name I’ll not mention (the liar’s initials spell EW, and her manners spell ICK).


From the article: “This week, Elizabeth Warren released a statement confirming that Bernie Sanders told her a woman couldn’t win the presidency.”

No. The statement alleges that Bernie said something; it certainly does not confirm that he said anything. It was a private meeting. It’s a “he said, she said” allegation that doesn’t even pass the laugh test given Bernie’s record.

That said, this is an excellent article.


Surprised Liz didn’t accuse Bernie of groping her!!! I always thought she was a liar and now it is confirmed for the world to see. Thanks Liz!!!


every justice issue spawns a subset of opportunists who exploit that cause for personal gain.

hillary clinton made a career out of grievance politics. most right wingers have done the same.

the lesson is that you don’t just wildly swing pendulums to their most extreme positions. there’s always a ton of space between “never believe” and “always believe” for anything.


CNN reporters have confirmed and reported that Elizabeth Warren’s team leaked the story to them alleging Bernie stating a woman could not win the Presidency and that it was a lie. That they fabricated it. Honestly knowing that Bernie has stated repeatedly on camera that he backs women candidates, this was a VERY stupid move on her part. I can’t see the upside.


“The need for “believe women” as a political slogan came about because of the fact that in situations where women are victimized, they are typically first addressed with suspicion.”

To believe something is to accept it as true. The default position ought to be that unverified claims are possibly true and possibly false. And that should be the standard for both men and women.

“Believing women means starting from a context where women are not liars.”

That is not reasonable. Women are every bit as capable of lying as men.


I concur with the author’s overall point - this case of Warren’s credibility on this point (which is a big fat zero for me) has nothing to do with the very real issues that female victims of sexual assault have to face. I just finished watching Unbelievable (on Netflix - and I highly recommend the 8 part miniseries if anyone has the time and is a subscriber) which lays out a perfect contrast between the worst way a woman can be treated (the first victim) and the best way (a victim 3 years later). Anyone who tries to make a comparison between the sexual assault issue and this one between Warren and Sanders is doing a disservice to sexual assault victims bigtime.

I don’t believe Warren one bit. I don’t believe Buttigieg about anything either - does that make me homophobic - hell no.


Capable and apparently the rates are similar (https: // www . ncbi . nlm . nih . gov / pmc / articles / PMC3430664 /) (has anyone figured out why we can’t post links anymore?). That said, the sexual assault problem is real (see my post above) and I’m not unhappy that the idea that women have been and I’m sure continue to be treated more unfairly in some cases by the justice system even when they are telling the truth has sunk in with this ‘believe women’ meme and may increase some remedy effects.

It is important to recognize the possibility of a woman lying in a court of law against an alleged victim, but women victims (and men likely though you don’t hear about it is much) can be treated better while all possibilities remain on the table (though in this unrelated to sexual violence case, the possibility that Warren is telling the truth for me is vanishingly small).


EXCELLENT last paragraph!


I know you can’t share links on this site anymore but I would love to see that. Can you, somehow, let us know where to find that disclosure?


I think the aggregate base rates are not as important as the particulars for each case. A woman’s claim that she was sexually violated without consent at a frat party does not carry the same probability as a woman claiming to have been sexually violated during an alien abduction, for example.

(has anyone figured out why we can’t post links anymore?).

This happened shortly after someone posted 9 links in one comment in the thread for ‘warren-says-no-interest-in-discussing-it-further’. The temporal proximity is suggestive.

And breaking a link doesn’t have to involve breaking every bit of it to pieces. You can usually leave off the http(s) and break only the dot before the domain extension (com, net, org, gov, etc). The unfortunate thing is that without a link preview, that removes a layer of protection from people posting links to malicious sites.

“That said, the sexual assault problem is real (see my post above) and I’m not unhappy that the idea that women have been and I’m sure continue to be treated more unfairly in some cases by the justice system even when they are telling the truth has sunk in with this ‘believe women’ meme and may increase some remedy effects.”

Unfortunately, the false accusation problem is also real, and remedy effects trying to address one problem run the risk of making the other problem worse.

“in this unrelated-to-sexual-violence case, the possibility that Warren is telling the truth for me is vanishingly small”

It not only seems incongruous with Bernie’s long and well-established record, it is also incongruous with Warren’s behavior towards Bernie since that time. It also seems unlikely that this could have been a mere misunderstanding. I don’t see Warren letting something like that pass without so much as a follow-up question seeking clarification.

But I also don’t understand the mainstream narrative that this rift somehow benefits Biden. I would think Biden would benefit most from Bernie and Warren going into the primaries as equally strong and attractive candidates. A rift like this seems more likely to tip the scales between Sanders and Warren. (I think it will tip in Sanders’ favor. This definitely decided me that I cannot now vote for Warren.)


My wild guess is that cyber-peril is rising to the point where allowing links is now too much of a risk for CD to afford. There might be a few teams of malware hackers scheming to bring down sites like this, for all I know. There seems to have been a quiet epidemic of ransomware attacks, lately.

Anyways, someone on another thread suggested the following hack for sharing http addresses: just leave off the h. I’ll try it, what the heck:


Hmm. Seems to work. Paste into your address bar and prepend the h.


This will be the last thing I post on this insanity. To see it, cut the partial link and add an “h” at the beginning of the URL to get there. The information is WELL WORTH a look AND a SHARE!

1 Like

“Unbelievable” is excellent, and I’m glad you brought it up because it really does bear on what this author wrote.


Whatever else this situation is, the timing of this is beyond coincidence. This hurts progressives by casting doubt on both candidates. The question becomes if nothing else an unresolvable one of honesty for either of them. How exactly did a private conversation from a year ago mysteriously manage to become current? Unnamed sources? Excuse me? Say what? How did such a story remain unknown but yet appear at the moment it would impugn both progressives honesty since it is at best he said she said with no witnesses. If and that is an if that could be verified imo by CNN without naming people but which brings up the question of just how come a major news source would run with an alleged conversation story without witnesses. Hearsay? Hearsay they say, I think. Without verification then this can only be the choice by CNN to run a hit piece on the two progressives. In other words a set up from the get go and manipulative biased reporting at best. Unwitnessed allegations by unnamed sources is not reporting but an assassination by implication of both reputations.

Warren should have asked just how such a story became news? If the sources were actually from her camp then it must be asked why did she tell this to people a year later? Seeing how such things have been said here in CD by commenters shows a valid criticism was in play. People frequently said a black person would never be elected president until one was. People who said that would never happen still voted for Obama because they wanted it to happen but they were just expressing the common expectations at that time. Did hearsay become a pseudo fact because the issue is a real one even though the wording was rhetorical? Hearsay distorts one monkey said to another and that one to another and on and on till the hearsay became presented as fact.

Progressives were set up and it seems obvious that Warren is hyper sensitive to the mere mention of a woman’s electability. That being said… a year ago? How did it even become known? Warren failed to notice the set up but then so did Bernie when you think about it. Both candidates got tripped up by discussing the implications of heresay which they should have dismissed instead.


Warren is an outright damn liar, and Bernie is too polite to hit her head-on with that. I’ve seen the video from 1988, where he told elementary school kids in VT that a woman can and should someday be president. But not this corporately-owned B#$%h. Go away Lizzie!


Could you say Warren’s camp took #metoo

And twisted it into #MSNBCtoo?


What did Bernie say when Elizabeth Warren told him that a Jew couldn’t win the White House?


Yes, We Can!