All entries by this author

Guest post: So that the worst person in the world can skate by

May 23rd, 2018 4:10 pm | By

Originally a comment by Seth on The ultimate disrupter.

The worst thing about this whole mess is that, if the Republic does somehow limp through and Trump manages to get re-elected without going full-on fascist and sunsets without too much fuss when it’s over, the presidency will forever then be seen as an insulating force to one’s criminality and indeed one’s reputation. Just listen to the milquetoast way the author says ‘…a president who might not always be known for accuracy’.

Such an obvious Bowdlerisation of what everyone knows to be true is disgusting. Everyone who matters is pretending that the prestige of the office is paramount, and in so doing they are shitting on all of the work … Read the rest

The ultimate disrupter

May 23rd, 2018 3:17 pm | By

Mark Leibovich at the Times talked to some press secretaries for the Golden Hitler.

“What’s true on Monday in terms of a process decision may change by Friday,” Sanders said. “And I can’t always know that things will be different.” It often does not take that long for a “process” to evolve, I said. Sometimes a 5 a.m. tweet generated from the White House residence amounts to a “process” in Trump’s presidency. Or an old friend of Trump’s who just joined his legal team might go to dinner and jump on Fox News for a few minutes, and then the “process” jumps again. Like many of her White House colleagues, Sanders is quick to suggest that some of the criticism

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By the way, Trump’s phones are insecure

May 23rd, 2018 11:47 am | By

But her emails.

President Donald Trump uses a White House cellphone that isn’t equipped with sophisticated security features designed to shield his communications, according to two senior administration officials — a departure from the practice of his predecessors that potentially exposes him to hacking or surveillance.

The president, who relies on cellphones to reach his friends and millions of Twitter followers, has rebuffed staff efforts to strengthen security around his phone use, according to the administration officials.

He doesn’t have time for that, he’s too busy tweeting. On his phone. The one without sophisticated security features designed to shield his communications.

The president uses at least two iPhones, according to one of the officials. The phones — one capable

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Hurry up with those boots

May 23rd, 2018 11:00 am | By

Lie often enough and shamelessly enough and you win the game.

James R. Clapper said something Tuesday that he maybe shouldn’t have. In the course of rebutting President Trump’s conspiracy theories about the FBI “spying” on his campaign, the former director of national intelligence momentarily conceded Trump’s premise.

“They were spying on — a term I don’t particularly like — but on what the Russians were doing,” Clapper said. Asked whether Trump should be happy the FBI was doing this, Clapper said, “He should be.”

“He should be” if he cared about US interests, or about how authoritarian and criminal Putin is, or both.

Trump’s response? Take that badly out of context.

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Follow the money

May 23rd, 2018 10:37 am | By

From the Beeb:

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a secret payment of at least $400,000 (£300,000) to fix talks between the Ukrainian president and President Trump, according to sources in Kiev close to those involved.

The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Ukraine’s leader, Petro Poroshenko, the sources said, though Mr Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine as required by US law.

The meeting at the White House was last June.

Shortly after the Ukrainian president returned home, his country’s anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

Cash and carry diplomacy; what could go wrong?

A high-ranking Ukrainian intelligence officer in Mr Poroshenko’s administration described what happened before

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Be your best feminazi mother from hell

May 23rd, 2018 9:51 am | By

Glosswitch in the Staggers on bullshit about how to raise boys:

I suspect many of my fellow feminists have no idea just how truly awful the literature aimed at mothers raising sons has been. Think “misogynistic and essentialist” – Piers Morgan, perhaps – then times that by 1,000.

Of course, it doesn’t mean to be that way. Such literature is, we are told in that sad, regretful tone adopted by neurosexists and evolutionary misogynists everywhere, merely presenting the facts. No one wants to believe boys are naturally aggressive, girls naturally submissive, but you can’t argue with bullshit science. Just don’t blame the messenger, OK?

In 1997’s Raising Boys – a bestseller, still in print today – godfather of raising

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You can feel the momentum shifting

May 23rd, 2018 9:00 am | By

This is part of what’s making me (and others) pessimistic:

I’m pessimistic because it seems it could easily … Read the rest

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


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



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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.


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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