All entries by this author

Data collecting

Jul 15th, 2018 4:02 pm | By

This is funny, in a painful sort of way. Charles Murray at the American Enterprise Institute blog in 2009:

I’ve been marooned in Paris the last three days, waiting for a plane home after the snowstorm mess (“Poor Charles,” you’re all saying). Last night, having been struck by how polyglot Paris has become, I collected data as I walked along, counting people who looked like native French (which probably added in a few Brits and other Europeans) versus everyone else.

Oooh super-professional Data Collection there, counting the people you think look like native French,  and allowing that you may have accidentally counted a few “Brits and other Europeans” by mistake.

I can’t vouch for the representativeness of the sample,

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Turnberry and tweets

Jul 15th, 2018 11:38 am | By

The usual ethics-obliteration:

“The weather is beautiful, and this place is incredible!” Trump tweeted Saturday morning, promoting his own money-losing property in Turnberry.

“This place is incredible, so spend your money here!”

Says the president of the US about his own golf club.

Today he took a little time to assure us how great he is.

Because the … Read the rest

Void calling to void

Jul 15th, 2018 9:47 am | By

Masha Gessen tells us the Trump-Putin date tomorrow is nothing meeting nothing.

The deliberately empty gesture is the ultimate innovation of the Trump Presidency. Beginning with his transition-era announcement of saving American jobs at a Carrier plant—an accomplishment of no consequence for the country as a whole and little, if any, consequence for many Carrier employees—Trump has trafficked in hollow symbols. Each gesture is designed to affirm his image as a dealmaker, even though the deals are devoid of substance at best and costly at worst. In this context, the Trump-Putin summit, a meeting without an agenda, appears entirely logical.

For his part, Putin has spent nearly two decades hollowing out Russian politics, media, and public language. His system

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Beware the foe

Jul 15th, 2018 9:29 am | By

It turns out we’re in a cold war with the EU.

In an interview with “CBS Evening News” anchor Jeff Glor in Scotland on Saturday, President Trump named the European Union — comprising some of America’s oldest allies — when asked to identify his “biggest foe globally right now.”

“Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive,” Mr.

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Just one

Jul 15th, 2018 9:09 am | By

Even more lies about “TERFs”:

Oh really. Many people replied asking for just one example, but answer came there none.… Read the rest

Casting call

Jul 14th, 2018 5:16 pm | By

Scarlett Johansson has withdrawn from the role of a butch lesbian / trans man because of the outrage that the part wasn’t being played by a trans man.

Scarlett Johansson has opted to withdraw from a film in which she was set to play a transgender man after her casting drew criticism from the LGBTQ community.

No, not the “LGBTQ community”; from some people in that “community.”

Johansson had been set to play transgender man Dante “Tex” Gill, who owned a string of massage parlors in Pittsburgh that were fronts for prostitution in the 1970s and 1980s, in a film about his life.

Johansson’s casting, however, came at a moment when the LGBTQ community and allies are encouraging the casting

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He knew

Jul 14th, 2018 3:46 pm | By

The choreography of the whole thing was interesting. Trump went bopping off to Europe to insult more allies and fantasize aloud about his future friendship with Putin…when all the time he knew about the indictments that were in the pipeline.

President Trump had been aware all along about the charges against Russian actors, and had been briefed on them by the Justice Department even before he left for Europe. “The President is fully aware of the department’s actions today,” Rosenstein told reporters as he announced the indictments, which lay out in methodical detail the ways in which agents of the Russian government systematically worked to infiltrate the Democrats’ 2016 campaign with the apparent goal of helping Trump win

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Threats no problem

Jul 14th, 2018 3:28 pm | By

Also charming.

Except when they are. Some threats are just blowing off steam. Some threats are real and get carried out. They don’t come marked as one or the other.… Read the rest

Some echo

Jul 14th, 2018 11:14 am | By

The AP sidles cautiously up to the obvious:

President Donald Trump’s lament this week that immigration is “changing the culture” of Europe echoed rising anti-immigrant feelings on both sides of the Atlantic, where Europe and the United States are going through a demographic transformation that makes some of the white majority uncomfortable.

It doesn’t so much “echo” it as simply express it. Trump is a xenophobic and racist reactionary who detests immigration from anywhere south of Norway. He’s also a mean selfish shit.

Trump, in an interview with the British newspaper The Sun, blamed immigration for a changing culture in Europe: “I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad. I think you

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Isn’t lynching kind of fascist?

Jul 14th, 2018 10:46 am | By

There’s this winsome image:

I haven’t been able to find it on that group’s Facebook, so maybe Facebook has now removed it. But it’s interesting that people who seem to consider themselves to be on the left think that is a fine woke lefty image – a lynched woman with the inscription DEAD TERFs. The word “TERF” is a free pass for men to express loathing and contempt for women and be seen as awesomely progressive for doing so.… Read the rest

It was not just the rudeness

Jul 14th, 2018 10:33 am | By

The Guardian view on Trump’s visit is that it was doomed from the start, because he doesn’t want what Britain wants.

The president undermined Mrs May before he even left America. He bullied and lied at the Nato summit in Brussels. He then gave an explosive and deliberately destabilising interview to Rupert Murdoch’s Sun on the very day of his arrival in Britain.

Deliberately. I don’t know. Maybe, but maybe it was just more loosely Trump’s unerring taste for the mean and vulgar.

But it was not just the rudeness that mattered – though rudeness does matter, a lot, both in personal and in public things. It was the political impact and consequence. That unmistakable consequence is that Mr

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The glorious cause

Jul 14th, 2018 8:18 am | By

The Trump administration thinks Britain is being most unfair to that nice racist agitator Tommy Robinson.

Sam Brownback, the U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, complained to the British ambassador in Washington D.C. about the treatment of an English right-wing activist who is in jail for disrupting a trial, according to three sources familiar with the discussion.

Brownback raised the case of the activist known as Tommy Robinson in a June meeting with Sir Kim Darroch, Britain’s Ambassador to the United States, according to a British official and two sources close to the organizers of a pro-Robinson demonstration planned for London on Saturday.

Robinson founded the English Defense League, whose hobby is organizing violent demonstrations against Muslim immigrants in … Read the rest


Jul 13th, 2018 4:25 pm | By

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Attention deficit

Jul 13th, 2018 3:08 pm | By

Here’s an extraordinary thing:

A statement from the White House did not address the allegations of Russian government interference and focused only on what was not in the indictment.

“Today’s charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result. This is consistent with what we have been saying all along,” the statement said.

Think about that. I saw tweets quoting the “no allegations” minutes after the story broke, but I neglected to think about them at first.

That’s a statement from the White House about criminal interference with an election – and all it says is “See, it doesn’t say we did it” – it … Read the rest

Look out, me first

Jul 13th, 2018 2:48 pm | By

Piggy goes visiting.

Never even mind that she’s a monarch. She’s his host, she’s his senior, she’s a great deal smaller than he is.

Piggy should stay at home until he can learn to behave.… Read the rest

Cancel the meeting

Jul 13th, 2018 11:38 am | By

Much of the US government is saying on Twitter that Trump should cancel the meeting with Putin.

Journalists and legal experts agree.

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No Perry Mason

Jul 13th, 2018 10:14 am | By

New charges.

Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, on Friday announced new charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The announcement came just a few days before President Trump is expected to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Helsinki, Finland.

The 11-count indictment includes charges of conspiracy by the Russian intelligence officials against the United States, money laundering and attempts to break into state boards of elections and other government agencies.

The indictment is part of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trumpniks on Twitter are jumping up and down shouting that none … Read the rest

A very sensitive man

Jul 13th, 2018 9:40 am | By

A slice or two from the Sun interview.

Trump has total power. Nobody on his White House staff tells him what to say, or questions him when he says it.

When Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced our scheduled ten-minute slot was almost up, the President swiftly interjected: “No, give them a little bit more.”

We stayed for 28 minutes, with no more prompts to go.

Secondly, he is a very sensitive man, constantly saying how much various people like him. It clearly pains him today that he is not being welcomed to Britain as a hero and our most important ally.

Well, “sensitive” is putting it nicely. It could imply sensitivity toward other people too, and we know … Read the rest


Jul 13th, 2018 8:55 am | By

Go go go.

The camera pans south to catch the crowd filling every bit of space as far as the eye can see.… Read the rest

Little method

Jul 13th, 2018 8:27 am | By

Not surprisingly, many European leaders have decided Trump is not so much a calculating enemy as an out of control lunatic moron.

Trump’s wildly unpredictable performance over two days in Brussels left many European leaders convinced that there is little method to the American president’s rhetorical madness, and simply no way to anticipate what he might do next.

“Nobody knows when Trump is doing international diplomacy and when he is doing election campaigning in Montana,” Danish defense minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said. “It is difficult to decode what policy the American president is promoting. There is a complete unpredictability in this, and one of the things you need in this alliance is predictability towards Russia.”

Well that’s what you get … Read the rest