All entries by this author

He has unspooled one lie after another

Jul 22nd, 2016 5:20 pm | By

The Washington Post puts it all out there on Trump.

The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.

Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you like the play?

But seriously, they’re right. It takes incredible gall to run for … Read the rest

The classic technology of the demagogue

Jul 22nd, 2016 11:30 am | By

Evan Osnos at the New Yorker says the scary thing about the Republican convention is that the Republican party seems to have fallen into line behind this terrible terrible man.

Four years after the previous Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, told delegates that “we are a nation of immigrants,” Trump connected killings of police officers, misperceptions of immigration levels, and distorted anecdotes about crime in order to employ the classic technology of the demagogue: he created a grave national threat that only he can solve. His opponent, he said, promises “mass amnesty, mass immigration, and mass lawlessness. Her plan will overwhelm your schools, your hospitals.”

For moderate Republicans, the Convention cemented a bewildering transformation at the top of their Party. There

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As all would-be authoritarians do

Jul 22nd, 2016 11:03 am | By

People with more determination to look straight at unpleasant things than I have watched Trump’s acceptance speech last night, and reported that it was pure fascism, which by that time surprised no one.

The Times says about it:

In the most consequential speech of his life, delivered 401 days into his improbable run for the White House, Mr. Trump sounded much like the unreflective man who had started it with an escalator ride in the lobby of Trump Tower: He conjured up chaos and promised overnight solutions.

To an electorate that remains anxious about his demeanor, his honesty and his character, Mr. Trump offered no acknowledgment, no rebuttal, no explanation.

His demeanor, his honesty, his character and his politicsRead the rest

What all forms of fascism have in common

Jul 21st, 2016 6:14 pm | By

Adam Gopnik pointed out a week ago how shockingly normalized Trump is being, by Republicans and by the media.

What is genuinely alarming is the urge, however human it may be, to normalize the abnormal by turning toward emotions and attitudes that are familiar. To their great credit, the editors of most of the leading conservative publications in America have recognized Trump for what he is, and have opposed his rise to power. Yet the habit of hatred is so ingrained in their psyches that even those who recognize at some level that Trump is a horror, when given the dangling bait of another chance to hate Hillary still leap at it, insisting on her “criminality” at the very

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He mad

Jul 21st, 2016 5:55 pm | By

Trump of course is threatening Tony Schwartz over Jane Mayer’s New Yorker piece on what an empty shell of a human Schwartz says he is.

On Monday, July 18th, the day that this magazine published my interviewwith Schwartz, and hours after Schwartz appeared on “Good Morning America” to voice his concerns about Trump’s “impulsive and self-centered” character, Jason D. Greenblatt, the general counsel and vice-president of the Trump Organization, issued a threatening cease-and-desist letter to Schwartz. (You can read the full letter at the bottom of this post.) In it, Greenblatt accuses Schwartz—who has likened his writing of the flattering book to putting “lipstick on a pig”—of making “defamatory statements” about the Republican nominee and claiming that he, not

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A rotten carcass of an issue

Jul 21st, 2016 5:29 pm | By

Hadley Freeman doesn’t find it a tragedy that Milo Yiannopoulos has been booted off Twitter after years of using it as a tool for abusing people.

Sensing a rotten carcass of an issue, the vultures soon arrived. Louise Mensch, a former MP, took a break from calling a man whose child was having an operation a “scumbag” and “loathsome tit”, desperately gripped on to Mr Loser’s coattailsand demanded that Congress “look at” this vital issue of someone not being able to log into their social media account. Poor Mensch, it must be so hard for her stuck in boring New York City when all she cares about is how many mentions she gets on Twitter. One day we will

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He’s a living black hole

Jul 21st, 2016 1:45 pm | By

The guy who ghost-wrote Trump’s The Art of the Deal is regretting having done so. He regrets having helped shape the Trump image that has brought him so terrifyingly far.

But the prospect of President Trump terrified him. It wasn’t because of Trump’s ideology—Schwartz doubted that he had one. The problem was Trump’s personality, which he considered pathologically impulsive and self-centered.

Schwartz thought about publishing an article describing his reservations about Trump, but he hesitated, knowing that, since he’d cashed in on the flattering “Art of the Deal,” his credibility and his motives would be seen as suspect. Yet watching the campaign was excruciating. Schwartz decided that if he kept mum and Trump was elected he’d never forgive himself. In

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Spare us the nostalgia

Jul 21st, 2016 12:25 pm | By

A political cartoon last year at Indian Country Today:


It’s pretty clear that the takeaway is: what a falling off is there. Radicals in the 70s were strong and slim and heavily armed, and of course male. Now radicals are nerdy and weak and writers, and of course female.

So what we’re being invited to agree with is the idea that violence is better than discourse…and that weapons are better than keyboards, buff people are better than nerds in glasses, men are better than women.

Hi. Allow me to speak up for writing as being preferable to weapons. Weapons are just force. Writing is about presenting reasons. Explaining why your political views are better than your opponent’s is … Read the rest


Jul 21st, 2016 11:54 am | By

No, it really isn’t. It isn’t that simpleIt isn’t that simple.

If it really were that simple, then we should want more and more and more racist and anti-Semitic and misogynist commentary. There should never be enough, because we should always want more of it so that we can be free to say “wow, what a dick” in response.

If it really were that simple, there would be no problem with actual racists or anti-Semites or misogynists stirring up hatred of and violence against disfavored groups of people – and yet we know that racists and misogynists do stir up hatred of and violence against disfavored groups of people.

If it really were that simple, words would … Read the rest

Only 22?

Jul 21st, 2016 10:49 am | By

If only we could have the discussion without misogynist or racist or homophobic or xenophobic slurs. If only.

Like 6.5 hours worth on Monday night:

Read the rest

Guest post: Some of the more common misconceptions about GMOs

Jul 20th, 2016 5:41 pm | By

Guest post by James Garnett, from a Facebook post inspired by yet another GMO fray on a friend’s wall.

This is off the cuff and not super organized, but I want to hit some of the more common misconceptions.

1. Monsanto does not “ruin farmers with lawsuits”. In the last ~20 years, Monsanto has gone to court only 11 times, in cases of overt lawbreaking. Moreover, the juries have found in Monsanto’s favor every single time.

2. Exactly one farmer was sued for replanting patented seeds in a lawsuit brought by Monsanto: Canadian Percy Schmeiser. He lost the case after being caught in an outright lie about his practices. However, the court awarded no damages to Monsanto because—bizarrely—Schmeiser didn’t … Read the rest

Guest post: Very few people understand what a “right” is

Jul 20th, 2016 4:33 pm | By

Guest post by George Felis, from a discussion on the “right to insult people” issue elsewhere.

In addition to the obvious smug stupidity here, there’s a subtler level of plain old ignorance: Very few people understand what a “right” is. The word “right” does not necessarily always mean a civil right, legal right, or constitutional right. For one person to have a “right” simply means that some other person or persons has an obligation to do or refrain from doing something that affects that person. For example, children have a right to the love and care of their parents because their parents have a moral obligation to love and care for any children they create. Rights can be personal (an … Read the rest

Erdoğan eliminating

Jul 20th, 2016 4:24 pm | By

Erdoğan’s purges continue.

[T]he Turkish government crackdown widened on Tuesday to include the education sector and government departments.

Turkish media announced that:

  • 15,200 teachers and other education staff had been sacked
  • 1,577 university deans were ordered to resign
  • 8,777 interior ministry workers were dismissed
  • 1,500 staff in the finance ministry had been fired
  • 257 people working in the prime minister’s office were sacked

Turkey’s media regulation body on Tuesday also revoked the licences of 24 radio and TV channels accused of links to Mr Gulen.

The news came on top of the arrests of more than 6,000 military personal and the sackings of nearly 9,000 police officers. About 3,000 judges have also been suspended.

The removal of thousands of

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Jul 20th, 2016 4:06 pm | By

This is scary. When I say Trump is scary I’m not being hyperbolic or metaphorical, I mean scary. Getting people killed scary. Stirring up the fascist beast scary.

One of his advisers has said Clinton should be shot for treason.

A New Hampshire state representative who advises Donald Trump on veterans’ issues called Tuesday for Hillary Clinton to be “put in the firing line and shot for treason” for her handling of the Benghazi terror attack.

Appearing on WRKO radio from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, state Representative Al Baldasaro, a Londonderry Republican, called the presumptive Democratic nominee “a piece of garbage.”

“She is a disgrace . . . for the lies that she told those

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Bad things are bad

Jul 20th, 2016 10:55 am | By

The moral bankruptcy de nos joursa comment right here on my post about Milo Yiannopoulos’s permanent banishment from Twitter –

I’m indifferent. I know little about the tweets aimed at Jones, but I do know that no one has a ‘right’ not to be insulted or offended.

Emphasis added.

It could be the anthem of the Sadistic Callous Asshole brigade – no one has a ‘right’ not to be insulted or offended, therefore I can and will devote all my leisure time to insulting people on Twitter.

The lack of thought of it – the crudity – the emptiness. Yes, no kidding, there aren’t laws against being mean and rude. We know that. We know that treating … Read the rest

Milo joins the Brighton Grammar Two

Jul 20th, 2016 7:15 am | By

Famous Twitter harasser Milo Yiannopoulos has finally been banned altogether from the social platform that made him internet-famous. It’s about time. The guy has built a career (however shoddy) on sadistically torturing people via Twitter.

Twitter has permanently banned a rightwing writer and notorious troll for his role in the online abuse of Leslie Jones over her role in the Ghostbusters reboot.

Milo Yiannopoulos, the technology editor for, tweeted as @Nero. Before he was banned, he had more than 338,000 followers and called himself “the most fabulous supervillain on the internet” for his provocations online.

A known contrarian who likened rape culture to Harry Potter (“both fantasy”) and affectionately referred to Donald Trump as “daddy”, he emerged as a

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They’re out

Jul 20th, 2016 6:31 am | By

Brighton Grammar expelled the two boys who set up the Instagram account to post pictures of much younger girls and label them “sluts.”

Police are investigating the social media account, which was created on Friday and featured photos of girls as young as 11 without their knowledge.

The school is reeling from the scandal, and reassuring parents and students that it will not tolerate “disrespectful behaviour on any social media”.

“Disrespectful” is not the right word. It’s much, much too mild. What those boys did is misogynist, and cruel, and damaging. We really need to not trivialize or minimize this kind of shit. We need to name it accurately.

The case was brought to the public’s attention after a concerned

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Because she loves the female body

Jul 19th, 2016 3:32 pm | By

She “apologized.”

At 19 seconds:

That photo was taken to be part of a personal conversation with a girlfriend

Stop right there. You don’t get to take naked photos of people without permission. PERIOD.

Also by saying that she yanked the rug out from under her claim that she’s “not that kind of person.” Please. That “personal conversation” with a “girlfriend” (she means friend) would not have been about how nice the other women at the gym are and what a good time she was having, it would have been about the horror of seeing women who don’t look like Danni Mathers. That’s the kind of person she is.… Read the rest

Remember why the good lord made your eyes

Jul 19th, 2016 3:07 pm | By

So the big question today is (not counting the one about will the US go down in flames in a few months or not) why did anyone think it was a good idea to fill out Melania Trump’s convention speech by plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s from 2008?

The disarray was evident as Mr. Trump’s campaign and senior Republicans offered conflicting explanations for the similarities in the speeches, with some officials conceding that the passages were lifted and demanding accountability, and others arguing that nothing untoward had occurred.

They aren’t similarities you know. They’re the same words.

Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, pushed back aggressively against accusations of plagiarism and even tried to go on the offensive.

Describing it as “a

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Guest post: Remake Rambo. Remake Commando. Remake Star Wars, Star Trek, and Star Rambo.

Jul 19th, 2016 12:43 pm | By

Guest post by Pieter Droogendijk

I have a rage. I’m not linking to anything, because the articles in question don’t deserve even one additional hit. But here’s the thing; there’s apparently an uproar on the internet about Rogue One, Star Wars, Ghost Busters, Mad Max, and a bunch of other crap. Here’s my take:


If it were up to me, every movie would have a lady protagonist. I don’t care if it “makes sense for the story;” it’s a story. Make it make sense. We have some catching up to do; men have led movies since the first one.

Remake Rambo. Remake Commando. Remake Star Wars, Star Trek, and Star Rambo. Remake everything, whatever you want, … Read the rest