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(I still can’t believe I just wrote that.) #MeToo

When Gary Edward Keillor (AKA "Garrison" Keillor) gets booted from NPR for the "crime" of "Inappropriate Behavior" you know the sexual predator hype has spun hopelessly out of control and, like mass terrors of the past, the judges shall soon be killing their servants and, eventually, themselves. Not that the master storyteller is going quietly to la guillotine but as WaPo reports all the jabbering is coming from a head that's already rolling into the basket.

“I put my hand on a woman’s bare back,” he wrote. “I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called.”

Ah yes, that moment when the lawyer calls and your entire life's work goes down the drain. On the day that GK got banished from Lake Wobegon MSNBC's Chris Hayes (a "man" who will never be accused of inappropriate behavior) decided to delve into these troubling issues with the aptly named Stephanie Ruhle who, it turns out, knows all about it.

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC ANCHOR: It`s without a doubt a news story. But it`s also important to remember, we don`t necessarily know the lines and we need to reboot because there is a big difference between sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment.

WTF? Hollywood types, TV stars, politicians - even radio hosts are getting their dick heads lopped off left and right and this broad tells the American public, with authority,  that we can't define the difference - "don't necessarily know" how to even define the difference between sex crimes (except that it's BIG) and "we need to reboot", whatever that means. Actually, it might surprise you to learn that the first order of business in applying Ruhle's rules post-reboot is to demand President Trump's resignation because of the things he said on the infamous open mic recordings with Billy Bush leaked by NBC (hmmm) - specifically, "when you`re a star, you can do anything." More on that later, but let's move on to rule number two which, no surprise here, demands more diversity at the top and for reasons I will explain momentarily this one is pretty damn funny.

HAYES: Right. Well, that – I mean, that`s part of it. Part of it seems to me also is having more women in senior positions.
RUHLE: If there was more diversity, you wouldn`t have a boy`s club. It was just seven years ago I was – when I was an investment banker and –
HAYES: Where there`s no – I just want to be clear, there`s no sexual harassment.
RUHLE: Are you kidding me? It`s the mother ship. It is the mother ship. And Deutsche Bank had their first conference for senior managing director women and the CEO of the company, the chairman of the company stood before all of us and he was coming from an honest place and this is how absurd it is. He said, well of course when I go on trips abroad – it was Josef Ackermann, and I`m in let`s say Brazil. If I bring a woman with me, what will people think, I`m dancing with her at night? And we all sat there gobsmacked. Women you know –
HAYES: Meaning I can`t bring a woman with me on this business trip because it would look bad.
RUHLE: It would look bad.
HAYES: So like good luck coming on this business trip – 
RUHLE: And you know, it would look bad so of course I`m surrounded by men and we all sat there going this is what`s in the mind of these people, how are we possibly going to break through? So we have to make sure this is an important moment to change things and we don`t want to go too far because we don`t want to be in a situation where suddenly men in power say if I look at a woman cross-eyed, I`m going to get in trouble, let`s get them further out of the picture.

So when Ruhle cops to having been an investment banker my ears perk up because I know investment bankers and I've visited the "mother ship" on many occasions. The thing that's "in the mind" of Josef Ackermann or any other investment banker is the ever-present threat of litigation from a disgruntled employee - especially a sexual harassment claim that can cost the company a boatload of money and ruin their career. Not to digress too much but I must point out that climbing the corporate ladder in the investment banking world is NOT easy and requires a lot of time, effort and risk. First you need to get an MBA and then log years of 12 hour days (including weekends) running numbers and creating powerpoint charts, hundreds of thousands of miles of travel, corporate politics of the highest order all in the pursuit of something as ephemeral as money. That is to say that all the blood, sweat and tears emitted by investment bankers result in nothing more concrete than numbers on a spread sheet - no towering buildings, no timeless art, not even the high honor of political office - so if you lose it all just because you grabbed some ass at the water cooler you will literally have nothing to show for your efforts. Which brings me to Ruhle's rational for the "reboot" which suggests that we must "change things" but also warns that "we don't want to go too far" because if we do then "suddenly" women will find themselves pushed out of the picture. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Suddenly??? Let me recount a personal account from the late 90's (approx. 20 years ago) when I visited some of my investment banker chums at the office for a mid-town lunch meeting. I kicked back in the reception area, had a delicious cappuccino hand delivered by the firms lovely receptionist and skimmed through the WSJ waiting for my friends to finish whatever busywork the firm had them doing. Eventually my buddies emerged from behind the frosted glass doors of the mother ship and we started to the elevator that would carry us down to the street and the hustle and bustle of the proletariate. We started our decent on the 34th floor and on the way down, say floor 32, the elevator doors opened and a beautiful bombshell blond investment banker sauntered into the box and promptly started making chit-chat with my friends who were, it turned out, her co-workers. It would be more appropriate to say that she was trying to make chit-chat because my friends were having none of it and for every pleasant question or knowing comment this woman made the men said almost nothing - "yes", "no" and "I don't know" was the limit of their vocabulary. I was shocked and couldn't wait to chat this gal up if she would only ask me a question (which she didn't) and I could scarcely believe these dudes were ignoring this smoking hot piece of ass - to say nothing of their rudeness, I mean, what happened to their manners. When the doors opened at ground zero and we emerged from the elevator I confronted my friends because I just had to get the scoop on this girl - was she a psycho? Had she dumped one of them or rejected a prior advance? What gives with the cold shoulder? Turns out there was nothing wrong with her at all but all of my friends had a strict policy of not communicating with ANY of their female colleagues outside of a pure business function like team meetings, conference calls and the like. If they ran into a female at the office in some   location like the coffee machine, mail room or elevator they simply would not interact with the woman in any way whatsoever so that there could be absolutely no grounds for a sexual harassment law suit which, sad experience had taught them, usually came from your best girl friend at the office - the one who knows you well and can really put the screws to you. "It's not personal", they explained but it's just the way working conditions have evolved at all the investment banks due to the rash of sexual harassment claims filed in the 80's and 90's.

Since that day I've often contemplated the almost incomprehensible irony of this unwritten policy that's been in effect for at least 20 years at investment banks (and other, similar businesses) that places beautiful, smart women in an office filled with, what some would consider, the most eligible bachelors on earth (young, smart, rich, very talented, etc) who literally WILL NOT EVEN TALK to the girl. Who in their right mind would call this progress? Well, as it turns out, some women who are deemed to be particularly fetching by the brass will find themselves fast tracked to some C suite position with an impressive title and cash benefits that make claims of sexual harassment hard to prove. That's how Ms. Ruhle, with a bachelors degree in international finance from Lehigh, finds herself as a VP at Credit Suisse First Boston "and became the highest producing credit derivatives salesperson in the United States." For those of you still wondering how the financial crisis of 2008 happened, I just gave you the answer. You're welcome. Some of Ruhle's success might be attributed to her husband, Andy Hubbard, who she met at the Cretit Suisse training program and became an exceptional derivatives trader himself and is now a portfolio manager for a $6 billion hedge-fund. No, I'm not making this shit up... Google it, man. If you haven't suffered an aneurysm or chest pains yet then keep reading.

RUHLE: That`s what`s so important and while you could look at this Matt Lauer moment as massively important, it`s not. It`s what are we going to do going forward. If this has been happening which it has across industries since the dawn of time, this is the time to change it. You and I both know
HAYES: To stop it, to prevent it. That`s the key to me.
RUHLE: Yes, you and I both know people in the workplace get together, people in the workplace sleep together. We need to make it clear where this is acceptable. And if it is a senior person and their subordinate or a senior person who can influence the career of someone below them, that isn`t appropriate.

In other words, it's fine for peers in the workplace to sleep together (like I did) and you and I both know it. Not only do you and I know it but so does the housewife in Bronxsville who's just put her kids to bed and is waiting up for her banker husband who's working late at the office (again) on an important deal. So according Ruhle's rules workplace sex is inevitable and if you want to shag somebody toiling away in her cubicle then promote her and make it "appropriate." So let's reboot because the alternative is... what? Not having sex with ones co-workers? Where would that leave the Stephanie Ruhle's of this world? What would become of Her? And this bitch has the unmitigated gaul to call out Donald J Trump for doing, or rather saying what she knows to be true from personal experience.

HAYES: Well, right. I guess, what seems important to me is that there`s some again, some sort of systematic change here about what procedures are put in place and also some kind of – you know, what we have is there`s so much wrongdoing that has built up for so long that is pouring forward in these sort of individual adjudications of penalty that it obscures the fact that, A, this is happening in places that aren`t very prominent. It`s happening in insurance companies, it`s happening in fast food chains, it`s happening to maids in hotels, right?
RUHLE: It happens whenever there is a power paradigm. In Wall Street when someone makes loads of money to the bank, that let that man run rough shot over the place. And as soon as he starts losing money, then they shoot him in the back. In Hollywood, if you`re a star, they let you do anything, the rules start to bend around you.
HAYES: Right. Stephanie Ruhle, thank you for making time.

Yes, thank you for rebooting the conversation and confirming everything that DJT said during his "locker room talk" with Billy Bush. We'll put the proper procedures in place and also some kind of other thing that you, it must be assumed, know about but can not be mentioned during this conversation. And though most of the bloodletting has occurred in what's now commonly referred to as "America's post-Weinstein moment" (a term I hesitated to displace - because I love it) I must give Chris Hayes credit for alluding to the true watershed event which, to my mind, was Dominique Strauss-Kahn's humiliation and political decapitation as a result of raping (forcing himself upon, as they say) his hotel maid in 2011. It was the post-DSK moment that convinced the Bush cabal and it's #NeverTrump confederates that releasing the Billy Bush tape one month before the 2016 presidential election would sink the Elvis from Queens and force him from the campaign. For his part, Billy Bush still can't believe it didn't work out as planned - indeed, in the end, it was Bush who got fired in what must now be considered a pre-post-Weinstein moment and Trump lived on to MAGA.

"The key to succeeding in my line of work was establishing a strong rapport with celebrities. I did that, and was rewarded for it. My segments with Donald Trump when I was just a correspondent were part of the reason I got promoted. NBC tripled my salary and paid for my moving van from New York to Los Angeles.
Was I acting out of self-interest? You bet I was. Was I alone? Far from it. With Mr. Trump’s outsized viewership back in 2005, everybody from Billy Bush on up to the top brass on the 52nd floor had to stroke the ego of the big cash cow along the way to higher earnings.
None of us were guilty of knowingly enabling our future president. But all of us were guilty of sacrificing a bit of ourselves in the name of success."

This almost sounds like a sexual harassment claim. Bush uses Trump to advance his career (just like everyone else - "you and I both know"), triples his salary and gets promoted then has qualms about the way he prostituted himself to achieve his goals and decides to unload on the guy who made it all possible because though none of us are guilty it must also be remembered that all of us are guilty. Reading the Transcript: Donald Trump’s Taped Comments About Women it really sounds like some ménage à trois foreplay between two players and a beautiful woman who's been around the block and isn't buying any of it - unless, of course, Arianne Zucker had a change of heart after taping her soap scene with The Donald and things got much more interesting.

After the story went viral, the then-Republican presidential nominee issued an apology. “This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”

There you see the transition from the "post-SDK moment" and a prelude to the "post-Weinstein moment" in one concise statement. Trump used the cold hard reality of Slick Willy's wayward past to obliterate any pretense that he should suffer criticism for "locker room banter" with a celebrity journalist who clearly wasn't offended at the time and for anyone who was, should such a person actually exist in 21st century America - I'm sorry.


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