All entries by this author

A maniac at the helm

May 22nd, 2018 5:24 pm | By

John Cassidy at the New Yorker says it’s getting worse.

Since Donald Trump entered the White House, American democracy has sometimes been described as dangerously fragile, but that isn’t necessarily true. Having survived for two hundred and forty-two years, American democracy is more like a stoutly built ocean liner, with a maniac at the helm who seems intent on capsizing it. Every so often, he takes a violent tug at the tiller, causing the vessel to list alarmingly. So far, some members of the ship’s crew—judges, public servants, and the odd elected official—have managed to rush in, jag the tiller back, and keep the ship afloat. But, as the captain’s behavior grows more erratic, the danger facing the ship

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More barriers crumble

May 22nd, 2018 4:16 pm | By

Worse.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said that the White House had brokered a meeting at which two key Republican chairmen would hear from the leaders of the Justice Department, FBI and the intelligence community following weeks’ worth of requests for the classified material.

No one from the White House is scheduled to be present, Sanders said — nor, at this point, are any senators or any Democrats, in defiance of a request from the Senate minority leader.

So it’s a Republican meeting to see secret documents from an ongoing investigation. Not a Congressional meeting but a Republican one.

“A lot of people are saying they had spies in my campaign,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “If so, that would

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Shoved forcibly out of the building

May 22nd, 2018 11:56 am | By

Scott Pruitt really doesn’t want us to know what he’s doing.

The Environmental Protection Agency is barring The Associated Press, CNN and the environmental-focused news organization E&E from a national summit on harmful water contaminants.

The EPA blocked the news organizations from attending Tuesday’s Washington meeting, convened by EPA chief Scott Pruitt.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox told the barred organizations they were not invited and there was no space for them, but gave no indication of why they specifically were barred.

Pruitt told about 200 people at the meeting that dealing with the contaminants is a “national priority.”

Guards barred an AP reporter from passing through a security checkpoint inside the building. When the reporter asked to speak to

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The DoJ works for HIM

May 22nd, 2018 11:23 am | By

How much does Trump understand about the institutions he’s damaging and the norms he’s defying? It doesn’t really matter, because he doesn’t care in any case. As has been regularly pointed out, his motivations are all entirely self-directed; he does what he considers good for him and is entirely indifferent to what’s good for other people or the country as a whole.

Greg Sargent at the Post:

[W]hat we now see happening is that Trump is directly pressuring Justice to conduct this investigation into his campaign in a certain way, and at least to some extent, it is complying. As Charlie Savage puts it, Trump is slowly eroding an “established constraint on executive power.”

Trump signaled in his

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What’s the problem?

May 22nd, 2018 10:58 am | By

Jennifer Rubin explains the legal norms Trump is stamping on.

Former acting attorney general Sally Yates hit the nail on the head on Monday on “Morning Joe.” She explained, “I think what we’re seeing here is the president has taken his all-out assault of the rule of law to a new level and this time he is ordering up an investigation of the investigators who are examining his own campaign. You know, that’s really shocking.” And things got even worse as the day progressed.

Among the other things it is, it’s a massive abuse of power. The rest of us don’t get to order the Justice Department to investigate the people who are investigating us. But even more … Read the rest



She dreamed of being a diplomat

May 21st, 2018 5:30 pm | By

Sabika Sheikh’s funeral was yesterday.

Sabika, 17, dreamed of being a diplomat, of working to empower women. A Muslim exchange student from Karachi, Pakistan, she had come to the United States through a State Department-funded study program, excited to leave behind the dangers posed by extremists at home to experience a country that represented all that was possible.

Outside the mosque here, long before hundreds of people gathered to mourn, two men wondered what had become of America, their adopted homeland.

“I’m aghast,” said Abdul Khatri, 60. “People come here because they are told there is peace here. You have the right to be protected here. It’s why I came. But to have this happen not in India

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Guest post: Women, Floods, Bodies

May 21st, 2018 4:25 pm | By

Guest post by Lady Mondegreen.

A little while ago, thinking of Jordan Peterson, I flashed on a book I read thirty years ago or so: Klaus Theweleit’s Male Fantasies.

Theweleit, a German sociologist with a Freudian bent, wrote about the men of the Freikorps, paramilitary bands of anti-Communists active in Germany between the World Wars. Many of them went on to be committed Nazis.

The Freikorps had their own subculture, including pulp fiction. Theweleit examined their novels, along with their letters and other documents, and found–brace yourselves for a surprise here–a profound fear of women and sexuality. The subtitle of the first volume of Mannerphantasien is “Women, Floods, Bodies.”

The Freikorps associated women with sex and sex with water … Read the rest



It may become the template for dehumanization

May 21st, 2018 3:42 pm | By

This is blood-chilling.

On Monday morning, the White House press office released a remarkable statement detailing violent crimes allegedly committed by members of the criminal gang MS-13. That alone isn’t remarkable; President Trump has been railing against MS-13 for months, using it as a foil to bolster his rhetoric about the risk posed by immigrants to the United States.

What was remarkable about the statement was the White House’s enthusiastic embrace of the term “animals” to describe those alleged gang members. Over the course of 480 words, the subjects of the statement were described as gang members nine times and as “animals” 10 times. The statement was direct about its aim, titled, “What You Need To Know About The

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We can all raise our voices to echo her “no”

May 21st, 2018 11:42 am | By

Glosswitch in the Independent:

If only Shana Fisher had said yes. This is the implication of countless headlines following Dimitrios Pagourtzis’ decision to slaughter her along with nine of her teachers and classmates.

According to a Facebook post by Fisher’s mother, Fisher “had four months of problems from this boy” where “he kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no. He continued to get more aggressive”. So a girl endures several months of harassment, until her harasser kills her. How are we supposed to see this?

Spurned advances spark Texas shooting.” “Texas school shooter ‘killed girl who turned down his advances’.” “Spurned advances provoked incident at Santa Fe high school.

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A sinister tchotchke

May 21st, 2018 11:26 am | By

Really?

Really??

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Words matter

May 21st, 2018 10:24 am | By

Me, yesterday morning, in the post titled It’s all because she said no:

The people in charge of news headlines and first paragraphs and the like really need to stop doing this:

Spurned advances provoked Texas school shooting, victim’s mother says

“She provoked me so I killed her and nine other people.”

Also? Simply saying no to a guy’s invitation or request is not “spurning” anything. It’s just not accepting an offer you don’t want. Women are allowed to do that. Women are allowed to say no. Women are allowed to say no without being killed or raped or beaten up or blamed for it. Women are not walking talking merchandise that is there for the use of

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Gorsuch declares one for the ruling class

May 21st, 2018 9:59 am | By

Sometimes the rage and disgust is overwhelming.

In a case involving the rights of tens of millions of private-sector employees, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, delivered a major blow to workers, ruling for the first time that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws.

Writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch said that the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act trumps the National Labor Relations Act and that employees who sign employment agreements to arbitrate claims must do so on an individual basis — and may not band together to enforce claims of wage and hour violations.

5 to 4. Guess which 5 and which 4. Mitch McConnell should burn in hell.

“The

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Whether there was any impropriety or political motivation

May 20th, 2018 4:17 pm | By

The DoJ is jumping because Donald said “jump.”

In a statement, the Department of Justice said it would ask the Inspector General “to expand the ongoing review of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] application process to include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein added that “if anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action.”

Or maybe it’s not so much jumping as allowing Trump to make a fool of himself, because there is … Read the rest



Where past presidents have rarely tread

May 20th, 2018 1:11 pm | By

The Times tries to talk it down:

President Trump on Sunday demanded that the Justice Department open an investigation into whether the department or the F.B.I. “infiltrated or surveilled” his campaign at the behest of the Obama administration, following through on his frequent threats to use his own government to target his political opponents.

Mr. Trump made the order on Twitter during a day of public venting about the special counsel investigation, which he charged had turned up no evidence of collusion with Russia and was now casting a worldwide net so that it could harm Republicans’ chances in midterm congressional elections this fall.

But in ordering up a new inquiry, Mr. Trump went beyond his usual tactics of

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Step one of the coup

May 20th, 2018 12:56 pm | By

Ok this is scary now.

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The lunatic man du jour

May 20th, 2018 12:48 pm | By

More thoughts on Kermit Peterson and the Times article about him:

Gail Dines:

So decided Jordan Peterson is really a comedian. Subtitle of his latest book is: “An Antidote to Chaos.” The chaos. according to this joker is the feminine and order is the masculine. Question, What would the home look like without women cooking, cleaning, tidying and ordering the home? Question: What would the world look like without women tirelessly working to clean up the messes men make wherever they go? How much worse would poverty, violence, war, global destruction be if women were not at the forefront of bringing some order to the chaos men leave in their path of destruction?

Mad dog Peterson is of no

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It’s all because she said no

May 20th, 2018 9:34 am | By

The people in charge of news headlines and first paragraphs and the like really need to stop doing this:

Spurned advances provoked Texas school shooting, victim’s mother says

“She provoked me so I killed her and nine other people.”

Also? Simply saying no to a guy’s invitation or request is not “spurning” anything. It’s just not accepting an offer you don’t want. Women are allowed to do that. Women are allowed to say no. Women are allowed to say no without being killed or raped or beaten up or blamed for it. Women are not walking talking merchandise that is there for the use of other, more important people called “men” – women are themselves people, and they are … Read the rest



He learned it from Solzhenitsyn

May 19th, 2018 5:07 pm | By

Kermit says don’t be like some damn two-bit do-gooder.

H/t Leonie Hilliard… Read the rest



How can we move forward?

May 19th, 2018 3:02 pm | By

Oh good, now Playboy is telling us how to feminism. Thank god; we’ve been wondering all along how we could do it more Playboyishly.

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These harpy women

May 19th, 2018 11:52 am | By

Jordan Peterson explains the tragedy of why men can’t control women: it’s because they’re not allowed to hit us so it’s all just hopeless, hopeless. It’s fatal for the culture, is what it is.

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