All entries by this author

Trying to be more like Vichy

Feb 26th, 2017 1:07 pm | By

US immigration authorities in Houston nearly deported a well-known French historian who had arrived to deliver a lecture. He’s a historian of the Vichy regime, so that’s deeply ironic. It’s also, of course, disgusting.

Henry Rousso is one of France’s most preeminent scholars and public intellectuals. Last week, as the historian attempted to enter the United States to attend an academic symposium, he was detained for more than 10 hours — for no clear reason.

On Wednesday, Rousso arrived at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport after an 11-hour flight from Paris, en route to Texas A&M University in College Station. There, he was to speak Friday afternoon at the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study.

But things did not go

Read the rest

Yes but he gives great tv

Feb 26th, 2017 12:43 pm | By

Bill O’Reilly needed a hotshot Swedish Security Expert for a tv conversation the other day, so he found one that no actual Swedish security experts have ever heard of. Forgive me if I find this funny.

Sweden became a hot topic in the US last week after Trump warbled randomly about “last night in Sweden” at that fascist rally he threw in Florida. “Last night in Sweden?!” many people said. “What is this buffoon talking about?” So O’Reilly decided to help out.

Following Trump’s comments, Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly convened an on-air discussion on Thursday over Swedish immigration and crime between a Swedish newspaper reporter and a man identified on screen and verbally as a “Swedish defence and

Read the rest

The quality of mercy

Feb 26th, 2017 11:54 am | By

Say you have a thieving banker or a fraudulent investment wizard. Should they be punished or should they be treated with mercy?

There are arguments either way, but I think few would argue that they should go right on being bankers or investment wizards. Having to find another line of work seems quite compatible with mercy.

But Pope Frankie doesn’t see it that way.

Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of pedophile priests, applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders in ways that survivors of abuse and the pope’s own advisers question.

One case has come back to haunt him: An Italian priest who received the pope’s clemency was later convicted

Read the rest

Making the cars run on time

Feb 26th, 2017 11:27 am | By

Republicans are excited about the project to Make America Great at long last, and one of their ways of doing that is to clamp down on all this god damn protesting. No Great nation allows all this god damn protesting! A Great nation has rapidly flowing traffic, and peaceful sidewalks on which people can sit sipping expensive coffee and talking about mergers.

Since the election of President Trump, Republican lawmakers in at least 18 states have introduced or voted on legislation to curb mass protests in what civil liberties experts are calling “an attack on protest rights throughout the states.”

From Virginia to Washington state, legislators have introduced bills that would increase punishments for blocking highways, ban the

Read the rest

Preparing for the worst-case scenario

Feb 25th, 2017 5:19 pm | By

This looks like a ray of hope: a group of lawyers who helped Obama with the ethics part of the job has formed a group to resist the wannabe dictator.

Top lawyers who helped the Obama White House craft and hold to rules of conduct believe President Donald Trump and his staff will break ethics norms meant to guard against politicization of the government — and they’ve formed a new group to prepare, and fight.

United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to

Read the rest

It is relevant to our common life together

Feb 25th, 2017 3:44 pm | By

You know…Obama made statements on incidents like the one in Olathe, Kansas. He made statements on mass shootings and on hate crimes; the Olathe shooting wasn’t a mass one (although I don’t know what the cutoff number is – maybe three should be enough) but it seems likely it was a hate crime. Maybe not; maybe there’s some story we don’t know of a quarrel between the shooter and the two Indian men he shot, and maybe the witness who said the shooter yelled “Get out of my country!” is lying or wrong. The crime is under investigation. But the reality is that whether it is or not, it at present certainly reeks of a hate crime, and people subject … Read the rest

It’s not his country

Feb 25th, 2017 12:26 pm | By

Thursday night in Olathe, Kansas a guy in a bar shot three men, killing one of them.

According to witness accounts, the gunman reportedly told two of the people who were shot — both Indian men who work for Garmin, the technology firm — to “get out of my country” before opening fire and had also used racial slurs during the Wednesday evening shooting.

Multiple law enforcement agents launched an investigation into the deadly shooting inside Austin’s Bar and Grill in Olathe, a city about 20 miles southwest of Kansas City. Even as authorities said they had not yet identified a motive for the attack, relatives of the Indian men said they feared the shooting was connected to a climate

Read the rest

Straight outta Bloomsbury

Feb 25th, 2017 11:31 am | By

Ok I’m wrong – I said in a comment “you don’t see Virginia Woolf dolls, Frances Perkins dolls, Janet Reno dolls” and I’m wrong, you do see Virginia Woolf dolls. She’s pretty damn cool, too.

On the other hand, the doll as a doll is a good illustration of my point. The doll is well supplied with indications that she is Virginia Woolf, while the putative transgender doll is supplied with zero indications that she is transgender.

By “indications” I of course don’t mean “anyone would know that’s Virginia Woolf” – I just mean the doll doesn’t look like your ordinary generic nobody in particular doll.

None of this will make any sense to anyone who hasn’t read the Read the rest

The calls were orchestrated by the White House

Feb 25th, 2017 11:03 am | By

This doesn’t look good. Trump’s cronies have been getting intelligence officials and Republicans in Congress to tell the press to stop reporting on Trump’s ties to Russia.

The Trump administration has enlisted senior members of the intelligence community and Congress in efforts to counter news stories about Trump associates’ ties to Russia, a politically charged issue that has been under investigation by the FBI as well as lawmakers now defending the White House.

Acting at the behest of the White House, the officials made calls to news organizations last week in attempts to challenge stories about alleged contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, U.S. officials said.

The people who are supposed to be … Read the rest

Also excluded

Feb 25th, 2017 10:11 am | By

The BBC was also excluded from Spicey’s informal press briefing yesterday.

The BBC, CNN, the New York Times and others were excluded from an audience with Press Secretary Sean Spicer, with no reason given.

Hey, dictators don’t have to give reasons.

Shortly after Mr Trump’s speech on Friday, a number of selected media organisations were invited into Mr Spicer’s office for an informal briefing, or “gaggle”.

Those allowed into the room included ABC, Fox News, Breitbart News, Reuters and the Washington Times.

When asked why some were excluded, Mr Spicer said it was his decision to “expand the pool” of reporters.

He also warned the White House was going to “aggressively push back” at “false narratives” in the news.

Which … Read the rest

Trump used to pose as his own public relations man

Feb 24th, 2017 5:22 pm | By

Our very own Nazi windbag worked up the crowd at CPAC today by pissing on the news media some more, in his stupidly banal, repetitive, smirking way.

President Trump intensified his slashing attack on the news media during an appearance before the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, reiterating his charge that “fake news” outlets are “the enemy of the people.”

The opening portion of the president’s free-range, campaign-style speech centered on a declaration of war on the news media — a new foil to replace vanquished political opponents like Hillary Clinton.

“They are very smart, they are very cunning, they are very dishonest,” Mr. Trump said to the delight of the crowd packed into the main ballroom at the

Read the rest

Hours after Trump delivered a slashing attack on the news media

Feb 24th, 2017 4:51 pm | By

Robert Reich on the orange monster’s attack on the press:

This is how authoritarian regimes operate:

Hours after Trump delivered a slashing attack on the news media today in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference – denouncing news organizations as “dishonest” purveyors of “fake news,” and mocking journalists for claiming free speech rights – the White House barred journalists from The New York Times, CNN, the LA Times, and Politico from attending a briefing by Trump’s press secretary. The White House only allowed in reporters from a handpicked group of news organizations, including Breitbart News, the One America News Network and The Washington Times, all with conservative leanings.

“Apparently this is how they retaliate when you report

Read the rest

“They always bring up the First Amendment,” Trump said to cheers

Feb 24th, 2017 4:29 pm | By


Once again, they manage to surprise me. And horrify and frighten. They’ve gone from verbally abusing the news media to shutting them out. The Times, one of the shut out news organizations, reports:

Journalists from The New York Times and several other news organizations were prohibited from attending a briefing by President Trump’s press secretary on Friday, a highly unusual breach of relations between the White House and its press corps.

Reporters from The Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer only allowed in reporters from a handpicked group of

Read the rest

The next name on the list?

Feb 24th, 2017 3:55 pm | By

Giovanni Gaetani at the IHEU on Mishu Dhar:

Following the murders of several fellow bloggers in his homeland of Bangladesh, and having received death threats himself, Mishu Dhar came to Sweden in search of asylum.

The Swedish Migration Board has now rejected his application and decided to deport Mishu Dhar.

In a joint statement yesterday, Swedish PEN and the Swedish Humanist Association, Humanisterna, condemned that decision as contrary to the country’s commitment to protect freedom of expression.

The decision is baffling, from here. It’s not as if those people who went after a series of writers and bloggers were joking or bluffing.

In 2015, fellow blogger and activist Ananta Bijoy Das also had a visa application rejected by Sweden.

Read the rest

He will say he did it

Feb 24th, 2017 1:02 pm | By

IS is losing the struggle. I heard a news story yesterday or the day before that it has lost the access to the oil that was providing all its funding, so now it’s just resorting to criminal activities, a much less reliable and safe way of operating. And the Atlantic has a piece by a guy who was the head of the Pentagon’s Middle East policy shop under Obama that says the war against them is being won. The only problem is, Trump will take the credit.

When President Obama turned the affairs of state over to President Trump on January 20th, the Islamic State was in full retreat across Iraq and Syria. This was no accident: In

Read the rest

They can’t even

Feb 24th, 2017 12:46 pm | By

Donnie is poking the FBI now. That went super well for Nixon, if you recall. (Remember who Deep Throat turned out to be? Deputy Director of the FBI.)

Good, Donnie. Keep doing that. Keep poking the bear.… Read the rest

Missing quality leadership

Feb 24th, 2017 10:29 am | By

Trump bestowed his magical presence on CPAC yesterday, to tell them how awesome he is and how lucky they are to have him.

The Post gives us an enlightening bit of background:

The speech marked the fifth time Trump has addressed the conference hosted by the American Conservative Union, which is showcasing how he has pushed the Republican Party and the conservative movement toward an “America first” nationalism that has long existed on the fringes.

Trump’s first appearance in 2011 offered clues to his political ambitions.

“America today is missing quality leadership, and foreign countries have quickly realized this,” he said six years ago.

“[The] theory of a very successful person running for office is rarely tested because most

Read the rest

Tell them we never did!

Feb 23rd, 2017 5:48 pm | By

Donnie demanded a cover-up from the FBI.

The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump’s associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN.

But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate.

White House officials had sought the help of the bureau and other agencies investigating the Russia matter to say that the reports were wrong and that there had been no contacts, the officials said. The reports of the contacts were first

Read the rest

Another bad deal

Feb 23rd, 2017 5:23 pm | By

Trump is going all “we have to have the most” again.

In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, Trump revisited the issue, declaring that the United States has “fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity.” He placed some of the blame for this on the 2010 New START agreement, a successor to the 1991 START agreement that was signed by President Barack Obama and aimed at further reducing the nuclear arsenals of Russia and the United States. New START, Trump said, was “another bad deal that the country made.”

“I am the first one that would like to see nobody have nukes,” he said, “but we’re never going to fall behind any country even if it’s a friendly country.

Read the rest

He wasn’t joking

Feb 23rd, 2017 2:03 pm | By

Oh, huh, it turns out Trump meant what he said, much to the surprise of people who rely on cheap labor to make them rich.

Jeff Marchini and others in the Central Valley here bet their farms on the election of Donald J. Trump. His message of reducing regulations and taxes appealed to this Republican stronghold, one of Mr. Trump’s strongest bases of support in the state.

As for his promises about cracking down on illegal immigrants, many assumed Mr. Trump’s pledges were mostly just talk. But two weeks into his administration, Mr. Trump has signed executive orders that have upended the country’s immigration laws. Now farmers here are deeply alarmed about what the new policies could mean for

Read the rest