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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Jim Webb and the Cosmos Club – The Pattern of Sexism

I am trying to obtain a copy of Jim Webb's April 1987 Confirmation Hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee. I am assured that Jim Webb admitted under oath that he was a member of the Cosmos Club. The Cosmos Club refused to allow Blacks membership

A high State Department officer, Carl T. Rowan, has been denied membership in Washington's distinguished Cosmos Club. Mr. Rowan is a Negro who enjoys a national reputation as a reporter and writer. The action led Ambassador John Kenneth Galbraith to resign from the club. This in turn had the effect of canceling President Kennedy's membership application, because Mr. Galbraith was one of his sponsors. (1:5-6) (LINK)

The club also refused to allow women until 1988. The NY Times has that story. Jim Webb was a member of this elite Sexist club with a racist past. Womens groups protested this club for a good reason. Jim Webb was not only a member at the time, but chose to ignore the requests of The coalition of Americans for Democratic Action, the National Women's Political Caucus, the D.C. chapter of the National Organization for Women request that he not speak there. Jim Webb showed his elitist and sexist power and spoke anyway. This pattern of Jim Webb and sexism is real folks. From his Woman Cant Fight and Horny Womans dream to his novels that show demeaning descriptions of women as sex objects, to his Non Fiction work Born Fighting that has very little praise for women other than they were hard workers or they had broad shoulders. I have yet to find anything of substance that Jim Webb has said or done to promote women. The pattern is there and it covers many years. I am surprised at the so called reporting of the Washington Post on this subject because their own paper had this:( I have bold Print were Webb is concerned, but please read the whole article)

The Washington Post
July 29, 1986, Tuesday, Final Edition
Cosmos Club Permit Challenged;
Group Seeks to Block Liquor License Renewal at All-Male Facility
BYLINE: By Ruth Marcus, Washington Post Staff Writer
SECTION: Metro; B3
LENGTH: 726 words

A coalition of feminist and liberal groups is seeking to block the renewal of a liquor license for the all-male Cosmos Club, charging that the club's refusal to admit women violates a D.C. anti discrimination law. The effort is the first public move against all-male clubs in the District by the Private Clubs Discrimination Project, a coalition of Americans for Democratic Action, the National Women's Political Caucus, the D.C. chapter of the National Organization for Women and other groups."It increasingly struck us as . . . absurd and outrageous that in the capital of the United States in 1986 we would have major institutions that openly discriminate against women," said Ann F. Lewis, national director of the ADA."Not being able to participate in these clubs can be a bar to women in their careers," she said. "There's a networking that can go on in private clubs and when women are excluded from them it can be a real problem."

The Cosmos' Club's liquor license came up for renewal yesterday before the D.C. Alcohol Beverage Control Board. The complaint was set for a hearing Sept. 10.Ben Johnson, administrator of the Business Regulation Administration, which oversees the liquor licensing process, said yesterday that the Alcohol Beverage Control Board "has no jurisdiction over this particular matter" because the club has not been cited by the D.C. Office of Human Rights for violating the human rights law."There's no ABC violation around this particular protest issue," Johnson said. "It may very well be a violation of the human rights law."The director of the Office of Human Rights, Maudine Cooper, said, "We would like to have the ADA come in and indeed file the case with us."Cosmos Club President Bruce E. Clubb declined to comment about the complaint or about the possible impact the loss of liquor license would have on the club. Members of the Cosmos Club, located in a mansion at 2121 Massachusetts Ave. NW, include at least one Supreme Court justice, top government officials, scientists, educators and lawyers. The issue of admitting women has divided the club for more than a decade, arising most recently when the club voted in January to suspend the reprimand of a club member who led an unsuccessful movement to allow women members. The coalition contends that the Cosmos Club's exclusion of women violates the D.C. Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based upon sex in any "place of public accommodation."Although the human rights law specifically exempts "distinctively private" clubs, the group argued in a July 22 memorandum to the Alcohol Beverage Control Board that the club's "substantial membership roster and calendar of revenue-deriving events" may make it a place of public accommodation. Even if it is considered a private club, the memorandum stated, the law also requires that issuance of all licenses be conditioned upon compliance with its nondiscrimination provisions and makes violation of the law a proper basis to revoke a license. The club's "sex-based exclusionary practices are so egregious, and work such an invidious discrimination against many citizens of this community, that we believe it to be a fundamental violation of public policy for the Cosmos Club to continue to receive a city-conferred liquor license," the memorandum said. The coalition also plans to employ a 1977 federal directive cautioning federal officials against participating in meetings held at discriminatory facilities. In May, Lewis wrote to Assistant Secretary of Defense James H. Webb Jr., who was scheduled to speak at the Cosmos Club on June 2 on "Being a Writer as Government Official.""Your participation in a meeting at one of the few openly discriminatory facilities still operating in the nation's capital would clearly violate this policy -- and, we believe, would violate important American principles as well," Lewis wrote. Webb sent back a memorandum by Assistant General Counsel Robert L. Gilliat concluding that federal policy did not bar the speech, primarily because Webb was not speaking in his official capacity. Lewis said the group would watch the club's bulletin for other federal officials scheduled to speak there. "We will regularly be writing and notifying federal officials that as we read the personnel manual, this is not allowed," she said.

We can see where Jim Webb put the priorities of women then. His Navy claims about helping women have been debunked.

1. "And I have never met a woman, including the dozens of female midshipmen I encountered during my recent semester as a professor at the Naval Academy, whom I would trust to provide those men with combat leadership." (pg. 148, "Women Can't Fight," Washingtonian Magazine, November 1979)

2. "Many women appear to be having problems with their sexuality…What kind of woman would seek out the Academy routine?" (pg. 282, "Women Can't Fight," Washingtonian Magazine, November 1979)

3. "What the whole world may not know is that women did not attain these positions in the same way that men historically have…Women will not be leading men inside the brigade this year. They will be managing them, buttressed by the officers who hurried them along. And the morale of the brigade will demonstrate this distinction far better than this article ever could." (pg. 277, "Women Can't Fight," Washingtonian Magazine, November 1979)

4. Webb referred to female midshipman at Annapolis as "thunder thighs." (Baltimore Sun, 8/28/92)

5. "Tailhook should have been a three or maybe five-day story." (Speech to the Naval Institute Annual Conference, Washington Times, 4/25/96)

That was 1979 and The Cosmos was 1986. Times have changed but Jim Webb stays the same.The pattern is there and it continues with his novels. To argue there is not a problem is absurd. I doubt you can make a stronger case showing a pattern of sexism then Webb has with his words and actions.

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