Notes and Comment Blog


Guest post: Why the difference, do you think?

Feb 21st, 2019 6:06 pm | By

Lady Mondegreen emailed Athlete Ally letting them know what she thinks of their dismissal of Martina Navratilova. They sent her a crap reply, to which she responded. She shared both on Facebook and gave me permish to post it here.

From: Athlete Ally Info <info@athleteally.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2019 8:31:21 AM

As an organization, we are committed to upholding LGBTQ equality in and through sport, and advocating for the inclusion of trans athletes is a critical part of that work.

In her article, Navratilova stated that trans women are men who “decide to be female,” and that to allow them to compete with women is “insane and it’s cheating… it is surely unfair on women who have to compete against people who, biologically, are still men.”

Transgender or Trans people are people whose gender identity is different from the gender they were assigned at birth. Trans women did not “decide” to be female. Transphobia is perpetuated by misinformation such as this.

There’s a difference between competitive and unfair advantage. As of now, sports are divided in a very binary way. For a trans male athlete to compete as a woman, you’re essential telling that athlete to disregard who they are, how they live, and the gender identity they’ve worked hard their whole life to understand and identify. It’s not a choice for them- it’s a fundamental part of who they are.

The topic of testosterone is complex, and there’s still not a lot understood or known about testosterone’s effects on the body, though we do know that every individual responds to testosterone differently. Our organizational stance is that participation of all athletes, and their human rights, should be respected and protected. We have no evidence at all that the average trans woman is any bigger, stronger, or faster than the average cisgender woman, but there is evidence that often when you lower testosterone through hormone replacement therapy, performance goes down.

In our statement, we link to the data that shows that often when athletes lower testosterone through hormone replacement therapy, performance goes down. Specifically, see paragraphs 2-3 on page 6 of the study, also copied below.

Transgender women who have undertaken testosterone suppression change from normal male testosterone levels to normal female levels, in fact, after surgery their testosterone levels are below the mean for 46,XX women (Gooren and Bunck, 425–429). Largely as a result of their vastly reduced testosterone levels, transgender women lose strength, speed, and virtually every other component of athletic ability.

Since this study looks at endurance capabilities of athletes both pre and post testosterone suppression, it is also of significant interest to look at hematocrit or hemoglobin levels of transgender women. One year after testosterone suppression, hemoglobin levels in transgender women fell from 9.3 mmol/l to 8.0 mmol/l. This latter number is statistically identical to the mean hemoglobin level for cisgender women (Gooren and Bunck 425–429).

There are so many levels of complexity that go into the question of competitive advantage. Think about all of the other ways athletes have competitive advantage — access to better coaches and facilities; money to pay for nutritionists, recovery services, etc. At the highest levels of sport, physical characteristics can only get you so far — you also need serious technical skill to be able to beat top competitors from around the world.

Trans athletes aren’t competing because they want to win every trophy and all the prize money and kick women out of sports. They’re competing because, like anyone else, they love their sport. We think it’s fundamentally wrong to force them to go against who they are in order for them to take part in the sport they love. To say that by doing so they’re being unfair, cheating and even “making a choice” is not just wrong- it paints a picture of trans people that stirs up hatred and bigotry, when this population is already being targeted and attacked daily.

It is simply a myth that trans women athletes have an unfair advantage or are taking over women’s sport. Trans athletes are not seeking to take anything away from cis athletes. Trans athletes have been allowed to openly compete in the Olympics since 2003, and yet no transgender athlete has ever gone to the Olympics. Professional trans women athletes are extremely rare. Trans athletes simply want to participate in the sport they love, like any other athlete. Nothing about that is “insane” or “cheating”.

The International Olympic Committee developed a consensus on trans athlete participation in 2015, which stipulates conditions for transgender athletes to compete. We think this is definitely preferable to barring an entire population from having access to the sport they love.

We have a longstanding history of championing women’s rights in sports, from our successful #WomenInFIFA campaign which sought to remedy the staggering under-representation and under-resourcing of women in soccer, to our 2017 partnership with Shirzanan, a media and advocacy organization for Muslim female athletes, on a campaign demanding that FIBA (the world governing body of basketball) immediately overturn its discriminatory headgear ban adversely affecting observant Muslim women wearing hijab. We stand in full support of women in sports, and all LGBTQ people in sport. We believe all women, which includes trans women, deserve full access to sport.

We have and will continue to have tremendous respect for the legacy of icons like Martina, however we believe that one’s platform should be used to promote inclusion and respect for all.

Lady M’s reply:

You replied to me:

In her article, Navratilova stated that trans women are men who ‘decide to be female,’ and that to allow them to compete with women is ‘insane and it’s cheating… it is surely unfair on women who have to compete against people who, biologically, are still men.’

Transgender or Trans people are people whose gender identity is different from the gender they were assigned at birth. Trans women did not ‘decide’ to be female. Transphobia is perpetuated by misinformation such as this.

In fact, very little is known, scientifically, about gender dysphoria. But let’s be clear: “transgender” is an ideological term, not a scientific one, and there is NO good science behind trans activists’ claims about gender identity.

In any case, trans women are not female.

There’s a difference between competitive and unfair advantage. As of now, sports are divided in a very binary way.

Yes. Because male and females are physiologically distinct, we binarily divide athletes by sex in sports where greater male strength and speed give men advantages over women.

For a trans male athlete to compete as a woman, you’re essential telling that athlete to disregard who they are, how they live, and the gender identity they’ve worked hard their whole life to understand and identify. It’s not a choice for them-

Your emotional appeal is beside the point, and you know it. Trans women are males.

Tell me, are trans men beating males in cycling or tennis or basketball?

Why the difference, do you think? Surely trans men have “worked hard” to “understand and identify” their “gender identity”.

Could there be a factor that has nothing to do with “identity” at play here?

You also say that trans women do not wish to take over women’s sports. Again, that is a red herring. Whether or not they wish to “take over” women’s sports, they will take spots from female athletes.

How transgender males identify is none of my business. They are still males. Their performance while on hormone therapy may be lower than it was before, but they retain advantages in size, muscle mass, lung capacity, etc.

You then refer to the IOC guidelines and link to a study. THE VERY STUDY DISCUSSED IN THE LINK I PROVIDED.

Again: the link I provided details the scientific problems with the study used by the IOC.

You have confirmed that you care more about ideology than honesty, science, fairness, or women and girls (i.e., female human beings.)

You did Martina a favor. She deserves better than to be associated with your organization.



A fake report

Feb 21st, 2019 5:51 pm | By

Natasha Bertrand talked to Andrew McCabe for The Atlantic. Here’s a striking bit:

Bertrand: Some question now why the public should believe your recollection of events when the Justice Department’s inspector general concluded last year that you had lacked candor when describing your interactions with the press. How would you respond to that?

McCabe: It was very hard to leave the organization that I loved, and still love to this day, under those circumstances. To spend 21 years as an FBI agent, living under the ideals of fidelity, bravery, and integrity, and then to be branded a liar the day before you were gonna retire. It was very tough. But in some ways, it’s also entirely predictable. The facts are that this president has a long and illustrious history of attacking the credibility of people who say things that he doesn’t like, and I believe strongly that that’s what’s happened here. Firing me for lack of candor was a perfect way to undermine my ability to, who knows, provide testimony against him, to tell these stories that I’ve now told in the book. I never, ever intentionally misled the FBI inspection division, the office of the inspector general, or any director of the FBI, ever. Not ever. I completely reject the findings, the conclusions, and the recommendations in that [inspector general] report. I am very familiar with investigative reports. I’ve been writing them and reading them for 21 years. That is not an investigative report. That was a pretext to reach the conclusion that was being demanded by the president of the United States.

I wondered about that at the time. Trump was jumping up and down hoping to get McCabe fired, and then McCabe was fired. So…was the inspector general report just faked? And if so, how? The word was, as I remember it, that inspectors general don’t do that; that they’re independent and incorruptible and all that. Why isn’t it an investigative report? Why didn’t anyone do anything about it? Could anyone do anything about it? How did any of this work? I want to know. I wanted to know then and I want to know now. Was Trump really able to demand and get a faked-up inspector general report so that McCabe would be fired the day before he retired? If so, how? Why didn’t they all just say no?

Why is it so easy for Trump to do all this and get away with it? I still don’t understand it, two years in.



A string of vulgar clichés

Feb 21st, 2019 5:08 pm | By

Huh. I’ve wondered before why Claire Lehmann is a thing, and now I wonder that little bit more.



A guy who understands the hypocrisy of the ruling class

Feb 21st, 2019 1:28 pm | By

Aw, it was a setup.

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” is a binary production. Here’s how it breaks down: The host, Tucker Carlson, either welcomes a guest with whom he agrees, in which case the segment is a facile lovefest, or he welcomes a guest with whom he disagrees, in which case the segment is a gutter-scraping slugfest.

chat with Dutch historian Rutger Bregman was supposed to fall in the former basket, a nice, easy segment in which the host and guest find common ground on the hypocrisy of the world’s elites. In a display of common-sense advocacy, Bregman had appeared at the World Economic Forum in Davos and hammered all the rich people there for avoiding taxes.

So Carlson or Fox or both were confused enough to invite Bregman on as a friendly.

In a careful effort over the past two years-plus, Carlson has attempted to cast himself as the anti-elite elite, a guy who understands the hypocrisy of the ruling class because he was born into comfort in La Jolla, Calif., and Georgetown — followed, eventually, by a well-paid career on cable news.

The anti-elite guy who lives in Trump’s pocket.

But the interview didn’t go the way Carlson expected, and Fox didn’t air it. Bregman, however, did.

Bregman, you see, was brought in as a friendly voice, a fellow who would presumably play along with the host. That very status gave Bregman enough space to turn the whole conversation into a referendum on Carlson’s own hypocrisy. “The vast majority of Americans, for years and years now, according to the polls, including Fox News viewers and including Republicans, are in favor of higher taxes on the rich. . . . It’s all really mainstream but no one’s saying that at Davos just as no one’s saying that at Fox News,” Bregman said in the discussion. Folks at Davos and at Fox News, he alleged, had been “bought by the billionaire class.”

After some more back-and-forth, Bregman showed that he’d really, really studied the programming values of “Tucker Carlson Tonight”: “I think the issue really is one of corruption and of people being bribed and not talking about the real issues. What the Murdochs really want you to do to is scapegoat immigrants instead of talking about tax avoidance,” he said.

As Bregman continued showing a command of Fox News’s pro-elite advocacy, Carlson blew up. He called Bregman a “moron” and couldn’t figure out how this fellow had even viewed the network’s programming. “Fox doesn’t even play where you are,” said Carlson. “Well, have you heard of the Internet?” replied Bregman. “I can watch things whatever I want.”

By this point, Bregman, thousands of miles away, was sitting where Carlson usually sits — in complete command of the interview, setting the pace, putting his interlocutor on the defensive. The host was verily gasping for air. The most telling words of the interview came when Carlson said, “Wait — but, but can I just say?” That was just shortly after Bregman said Carlson was a “millionaire funded by billionaires.”

Someone had to blow the whistle on Carlson’s high-wire attempts to portray himself as a hero of the regular guy, even as he enjoys the fat paycheck of a Fox News host. So scandalized was Carlson about the situation that he could resort only to nastiness, which he commonly deploys, and profanity, which rarely makes it onto Fox News’s air. “Why don’t you go fuck yourself, you tiny brain.”

It’s coz he’s an elitist, yeah?



To be believed was a relief

Feb 21st, 2019 12:53 pm | By

It’s not just for university students.

A 15-year-old boy convicted of sexually assaulting a girl in a classroom has been allowed to stay at the same school as his victim.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of two counts of sexual assault and put on the sex offenders register.

The victim said: “I have to just keep my head down, pretend he’s not there, otherwise it makes me panic.”

Is she making a fuss about nothing?

The victim told BBC Inside Out East : “It was known that boy was very ‘hands on’ with girls.

“He started making comments about me, touching my legs and putting his hands on me.

“Then gradually he started putting his hands up my skirt, touching my chest and I kept telling him to stop.

“I wanted to leave but I felt like I couldn’t do anything. I felt powerless, like I was stuck.”

Now he’s been convicted on two counts, but she is still stuck.

The victim told the BBC the guilty verdict helped her to deal with the ordeal.

“It took a massive weight off my shoulders to be listened to,” she said.

“For most part I felt I was going mad. [I was] told in court I was a liar, but to be believed was a relief.”

But she said it had been incredibly hard to stay at school, knowing her convicted attacker had been allowed to continue there too.

Probably not ideal for all the other girls at that school, either.



These legal requirements could not be circumvented

Feb 21st, 2019 10:32 am | By

There’s a report from the House Oversight Committee. Paul Waldman at the Post boils it down for us:

We begin with a company called IP3 International, described as “a private company that has assembled a consortium of U.S. companies to build nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia.” IP3, which has an all-star team of former generals and federal officials on its staff and board, was pushing hard on the Trump administration to approve its plan to build these reactors despite the lengthy process required to transfer nuclear technology abroad.

Not to mention the fact that it’s Saudi Arabia. Remember the twin towers? That Saudi Arabia. Remember Jamal Khashoggi? That Saudi Arabia again.

A key proponent of this nuclear effort was General Michael Flynn, who described himself in filings as an “advisor” to a subsidiary of IP3, IronBridge Group Inc., from June 2016 to December 2016 — at the same time he was serving as Donald Trump’s national security advisor during the presidential campaign and the presidential transition. According to the whistleblowers, General Flynn continued to advocate for the adoption of the IP3 plan not only during the transition, but even after he joined the White House as President Trump’s National Security Advisor…

The other key person inside the administration was Derek Harvey, the senior director for Middle East and North African affairs at the National Security Council in the early days of the Trump administration.

Harvey was fired by McMaster and went to work for Devin Nunes.

But in the White House, he was an unusually strong advocate for IP3′s idea, despite the legal impediments meant to make sure that materials and technology capable of being turned into nuclear weapons don’t spread throughout the world:

Career staff warned that any transfer of nuclear technology must comply with the Atomic Energy Act, that the United States and Saudi Arabia would need to reach a 123 Agreement, and that these legal requirements could not be circumvented.

So they circumvented them, because of course they did.

H/t YNNB



Dreaming of a way

Feb 21st, 2019 10:07 am | By

Another citizen of Trump’s America:

A Coast Guard lieutenant and self-described white nationalist who was arrested in Maryland last week was plotting to kill a long list of prominent journalists and Democratic politicians, as well as professors, judges and what he called “leftists in general,” federal prosecutors said in a court filing on Tuesday.

A a long list of prominent journalists and Democratic politicians plus also everyone on the planet.

Prosecutors quoted a letter that he drafted to friends in 2017 and that the authorities found on his computer. In it, Lieutenant Hasson, who works as an acquisitions officer at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, wrote: “I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth. I think a plague would be most successful but how do I acquire the needed / Spanish flu, botulism, anthrax not sure yet but will find something.”

But maybe that was just a moment of grandiosity. Apparently he’s been more focused recently.

In the last month, prosecutors said, the lieutenant used his work computer to draw up a list of prominent figures he called “traitors” and wanted to kill, including many well-known anchors and hosts on the CNN and MSNBC news networks and a number of Democratic elected officials. The list included, among others, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Maxine Waters, Senator Richard Blumenthal, whom he referred to as “Sen blumen jew,” and many of the senators running for president in 2020.

He had recently performed internet searches seeking information about whether senators and Supreme Court justices receive Secret Service protection, the court filing said.

He was hoping to start a race war, to “get whitey off the couch.”

Federal investigators said in the court filing that Lieutenant Hasson had begun stockpiling weapons in 2017. When federal agents searched his cramped basement apartment in Silver Spring, Md., they said, they found a cache of 15 assault rifles, shotguns and handguns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition that the lieutenant had amassed.

The Program on Extremism at George Washington University called attention to the court filing in Twitter posts on Wednesday. In the filing, the authorities cited writings found on the lieutenant’s computer that point to extreme racist and apocalyptic views.

Shortly after the violence incited by a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, the authorities say, Lieutenant Hasson drafted a letter to a well-known neo-Nazi expressing support for the idea of building a “white homeland” in the Pacific Northwest.

Hey! No thank you! We’re just fine here, thank you very much, and we don’t need no stinkin white homeland.

The authorities said Lieutenant Hasson had studied the 1,500-page manifesto that the mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, a far-right Norwegian extremist who killed 77 people in 2011, wrote in the hope of inspiring other killers.

Following Mr. Breivik’s advice about how to start a race war that would topple liberal governments, Lieutenant Hasson planned to assassinate prominent figures. He performed internet searches for the MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, among others, and for the phrase “civil war if Trump impeached,” the authorities said.

Lieutenant Hasson’s efforts appeared to intensify in January. The authorities say he searched for a section of Mr. Breivik’s manifesto that advises other mass murderers to begin a six-week cycle of steroids once all their preparations for violent acts are complete. Federal agents said they had found a locked box in his apartment containing more than 30 vials of human growth hormone.

So, possibly, he was close to putting his plan into action.



A crackdown on intellectuals

Feb 20th, 2019 3:40 pm | By

Meanwhile in India Modi is locking up his critics.

Last year, the police in Maharashtra, one of India’s largest states, said they had uncovered a vast conspiracy to topple the Indian government that involved Mr. Teltumbde and other well-known writers, academics and lawyers.

Officers raided more than a dozen of their homes, confiscating hard drives and documents. Citing a broad antiterrorism law, the police have put nine of them in jail, accusing them of helping Maoist insurgents, trying to procure grenade launchers, inciting a riot and plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

One is Anand Teltumbde, “a prominent scholar and writer on Indian social issues.”

Human rights activists say the allegations are part of a crackdown on intellectuals who criticize Mr. Modi’s record, especially his government’s treatment of religious minorities and lower castes.

Mr. Teltumbde was an obvious target, activists say. He is a well-known champion of Dalits (the group formerly known as untouchables), a prolific writer with a wide audience, and an unrelenting critic of Mr. Modi.

At a literary festival in 2017, Mr. Teltumbde called the prime minister a “narcissist par excellence” who could prove to be more dangerous than Hitler. He said Mr. Modi’s politics, which are rooted in Hindu nationalism, amounted to “fascism plus something.”

He also mentioned Modi’s role in the Gujarat riots in 2002.

The case against Mr. Teltumbde has alarmed scholars across the world. Hundreds of academics, including Noam Chomsky and Cornel West, have signed petitions calling for the United Nations to interveneand for the police’s “fabricated charges” to be withdrawn.

“I enthusiastically signed this,’’ Mr. West said in an interview last week. “Anand is my brother and comrade, and I wanted to show my support for him as well as the Dalit freedom struggle.’’

Sangeeta Kamat, a public policy professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who also signed a petition supporting Mr. Teltumbde, called him the best-known of the Indian academics under official scrutiny. She said he had made a “compelling case for how and why the present regime is anti-democratic, anti-Dalit and anti-poor.”

The struggle never ends.



Almost reenacting slavery

Feb 20th, 2019 12:17 pm | By

BIG Supreme Court ruling, for once in a good way.

The Supreme Court struck an extraordinary blow for criminal justice reform on Wednesday, placing real limitations on policing for profitacross the country. Its unanimous decision for the first time prohibits all 50 states from imposing excessive fines, including the seizure of property, on people accused or convicted of a crime. Rarely does the court hand down a ruling of such constitutional magnitude—and seldom do all nine justices agree to restrict the power that police and prosecutors exert over individuals. The landmark decision represents a broad agreement on the Supreme Court that law enforcement’s legalized theft has gone too far.

Wednesday’s ruling in Timbs v. Indiana, authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is sharp and concise. It revolves around a single question of extraordinary importance. The Eighth Amendment guarantees that no “excessive fines” may be “imposed,” an ancient right enshrined in the Magna Carta and enthusiastically adopted by the Framers. But the Bill of Rights originally applied only to the federal government, not the states. After the Civil War, the 14thAmendment was ratified to apply these rights to the states, which had engaged in grotesque civil rights violations to perpetuate slavery. The Supreme Court, however, slowly applied (or “incorporated”) these rights against the states one by one, not all at once. And before Timbs, it had never incorporated the Excessive Fines Clause—allowing states to exploit their residents for huge sums of cash and property.

They did so through civil asset forfeiture, a process that we would call theft in any other context. Here’s how it works: Prosecutors accuse an individual of a crime, then seize assets that have some tenuous connection to the alleged offense. The individual need not be convicted or even charged with an actual crime, and her assets are seized through a civil proceeding, which lacks the due process safeguards of a criminal trial. Law enforcement can seize money or property, including one’s home, business, or vehicle. It gets to keep the profits, creating a perverse incentive that encourages police abuses. Because the standards are so loose, people with little to no involvement in criminal activity often get caught up in civil asset forfeiture. For instance, South Carolina police tried to seize an elderly woman’s home because drug deals occurred on the property—even though she had no connection to the crimes and tried to stop them.

Now, that’s out.

In her majority opinion, Ginsburg traced the right back to the Magna Carta through the English Bill of Rights and the Virginia Declaration of Rights, all of which heavily influenced the U.S. Constitution. By the time the 14th Amendment was ratified, 35 of the 37 states explicitly barred excessive fines. And during debate over ratification, congressmen noted that Southern states were using punitive fines to subjugate newly freed blacks. The framers of the 14th Amendment plainly intended to incorporate the Excessive Fines Clause to rein in these “harsh inflictions … almost reenacting slavery.”

“In short,” Ginsburg wrote, surveying this evidence, “the historical and logical case for concluding that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Excessive Fines Clause is overwhelming.” She also swatted down Indiana’s fallback argument that the clause does not apply to proceedings over an individual’s property, holding that these forfeitures still qualify as “fines” that trigger constitutional scrutiny.

Good.



That’s what he said

Feb 20th, 2019 11:39 am | By

“I don’t care, I believe Putin.”



A summary

Feb 20th, 2019 11:24 am | By

Mueller investigation wrapping up, or being wrapped up by new AG, who knows.

Attorney General Bill Barr is preparing to announce as early as next week the completion of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, with plans for Barr to submit to Congress soon after a summary of Mueller’s confidential report, according to people familiar with the plans.

A summary. Fantastic. How will anyone know what was left out? No one will. Wonderful.

Barr has said that he wants to be as “transparent” as possible with Congress and the public, “consistent with the rules and the law.”

Under the special counsel regulations, Mueller must submit a “confidential” report to the attorney general at the conclusion of his work, but the rules don’t require it to be shared with Congress, or by extension, the public. And, as Barr has made clear, the Justice Department generally guards against publicizing “derogatory” information about uncharged individuals.

And it’s DOJ policy that sitting presidents can’t be charged yadda yadda YADDA so the reeking criminal gets to sit there like a toad for two more years and use all the power at his disposal to rig another election and sit there for four more years if he doesn’t explode in a fireball of BigMacs and ice cream first. Fabulous. We’ve got this criminal evil monstrosity in there and we cannot get rid of him no matter what we do, no matter what crimes and cheats and thefts Miller has uncovered. It’s all been pointless. Fucking brilliant.



Increasingly disenchanted

Feb 20th, 2019 10:31 am | By

Trump is staging another Wounded Vanity Pageant by way of alerting Dan Coats that he should start packing.

President Trump has grown increasingly disenchanted with Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, who has served as the nation’s top intelligence official for nearly two years, leading some administration officials to worry he will soon be dismissed, according to people familiar with the matter.

The president has never seen Coats as a close or trusted adviser, the people said, but he has become more frustrated with him in recent weeks over public statements that Trump sees as undercutting his policy goals, particularly with respect to reaching a disarmament agreement with North Korea.

Wellllll not really “undercutting his policy goals,” since he can’t really be said to have such things. “Not echoing his most recent opinion to the letter” is more accurate.

Trump is still “enraged” about Coats’s congressional testimony on national security threats last month, believing that the director undercut the president’s authority when he shared intelligence assessments about Iran, North Korea and the Islamic State that are at odds with many of Trump’s public statements, said one adviser who spoke with the president over the weekend.

Wellllll undercut his authority and also his vanity, his ego, his conceit, his preening performance, his narcissistic supply, his self-admiration…

Trump had seemed to put the episode behind him and claimed shortly after the hearing that Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel told him they’d been “misquoted” in their comments at the televised hearing.

Which everybody laughed at because no they hadn’t and we all knew they hadn’t and they were just saying it to make Mr Bighead turn his rage in some other direction.

But privately, the president has continued to fume, and this weekend he told the adviser that Coats, a former Republican senator from Indiana, is “not loyal” and “he’s not on the team.”

Not loyal to TRUMPTRUMPTRUMP and not on the team of TRUMP and all the people who adore TRUMP.

When Coats attends Trump’s daily intelligence briefings, he has sometimes been unable to secure the president’s attention and to keep him from veering off on tangents, the former official said.

Nobody can. That’s well known.



Uneasy

Feb 20th, 2019 9:48 am | By

Well, what are we supposed to do then? If the top people in law enforcement can’t do anything then how do we deal with the dangerous enraged maniac who has a death grip on the throttle? Are we supposed to just sit there with our hands folded while he drives the plane into the ground?

The Post is frowning with concern at Andrew McCabe:

In addition to facing possible criminal exposure, McCabe has said he plans to sue the department over his termination, which he believes was retaliation for having opened an investigation into Trump. Barr’s commenting could affect both the criminal probe into McCabe and the litigation over his expected suit.

Some Justice Department officials were uneasy at the time about how quickly McCabe opened an investigation into Trump, people familiar with the matter have said. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) vowed to investigate the matter, using subpoenas if necessary.

“How quickly” – when it was after Trump fired Comey, and promptly told Lester Holt and all the rest of us that he’d done it because of “this Russha thing,” and equally promptly told Lavrov and Kislyak alone in the Oval Office that he’d done it to take the pressure off himself. It was a genuine national emergency, not the fake kind at the border. Why wouldn’t the new acting head of the FBI open an investigation into the crazed racketeer sitting in the president’s chair?

If there was impropriety — by Rosenstein, McCabe or anyone else — it would be up to Barr to determine whether they should face discipline or whether department policies need to change.

“Obviously, those are matters that raise really serious concerns and questions about what was going on inside the FBI at the time,” Terwilliger said.

But what about what was going on inside the White House at the time? It’s true that we definitely don’t want the FBI running amok and trying to run the government itself, nor do we want it investigating everything to the left of centrist Democrats, but we also don’t want a reckless self-willed criminal at the top of government.



If-then

Feb 20th, 2019 8:32 am | By

Attempted syllogism gone awry.



Some “ally”

Feb 19th, 2019 5:19 pm | By

That’s disgusting.

The full statement:

Athlete Ally unequivocally stands on the side of trans athletes and their right to access and compete in sport free from discrimination. Martina Navratilova’s recent comments on trans athletes are transphobic, based on a false understanding of science and data, and perpetuate dangerous myths that lead to the ongoing targeting of trans people through discriminatory laws, hateful stereotypes and disproportionate violence. As an organization dedicated to addressing root causes of homophobia and transphobia in and through sport, we will only affiliate with those committed to the same goal, and not those who further misinformation or discrimination in any way. Given this, Navratilova has been removed from our Advisory Board and as an Athlete Ally Ambassador, effective immediately.

Within her op-ed in the Sunday Times, Navratilova referred to trans women as men who “decide to be female,” and that to allow them to compete with women is “cheating and unfair.” First of all, trans women are women, period. They did not decide their gender identity any more than someone decides to be gay, or to have blue eyes. There is no evidence at all that the average trans woman is any bigger, stronger, or faster than the average cisgender woman, but there is evidence that often when athletes lower testosterone through hormone replacement therapy, performance goes down.

Italics mine. Seriously?

Trans women athletes aren’t looking to take over women’s sport. They are women, and want to compete in the sport they love, just as any other athlete would. In fact, they’re largely underrepresented. Trans athletes have been allowed to openly compete in the Olympics since 2003, and yet no transgender athlete has ever gone to the Olympics. Professional trans women athletes are extremely rare.

Public figures like Martina Navratilova have an incredible platform provided to them, and when they speak, the world listens. When we launched our Ambassador program in 2011 and invited Martina to join us, we saw her as a trailblazer for LGBTQ people in sports—someone who, like us, believed in the power of sport to advance equality, dismantle stereotypes, and build a more inclusive society.

Martina’s latest statements stand in stark contrast to that vision, and to our core beliefs and values as an organization. We live in a world where 1 in 4 trans people are assaulted simply for being trans, and bills across the United States are seeking to dehumanize trans people and prevent them from accessing the rights they deserve. The trans community is under attack, and we firmly stand opposed to any and all people who perpetuate attacks against them—regardless of who they are or their accolades. To spread misinformation is to create a ripple effect of bias and discrimination that restricts trans people from living their lives fully, and endangers their health, safety and livelihood.

Navratilova isn’t “perpetuating attacks” against trans people. Not accepting people’s counter-factual claims about themselves is not attacking them.

This is not the first time we have approached Martina on this topic. In late December, she made deeply troubling comments across her social media channels about the ability for trans athletes to compete in sport. We reached out directly offering to be a resource as she sought further education, and we never heard back.

Italics mine. No, not about the ability of trans athletes to compete in sport, the fairness of trans women to compete against women in sport.

We believe that growth is possible, and we extend once again to Martina the invitation to learn from this experience, to study the data on trans athletes in sport, and to examine how statements like hers further stigma and discrimination.

The LGBTQ community is not a monolith. We must always leave space to learn from one another, and to grow. If we fail to do so, we are not only failing our goal to advance LGBTQ equality as a whole, but failing to live up to the core of our potential as human beings who believe all of us deserve a place in sports and in this world.

Italics mine. The LGBTQ community is not a monolith but everyone in it has to believe and repeat exactly what we tell them to, on pain of instant removal and public defamation. That kind of not a monolith.



Sorry, doesn’t count

Feb 19th, 2019 4:15 pm | By

Huh. Word is, Shinzo Abe did indeed nominate Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Because the US asked him to.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated U.S. President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize last autumn after receiving a request from the U.S. government to do so, the Asahi newspaper reported on Sunday.

The report follows Trump’s claim on Friday that Abe had nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize for opening talks and easing tensions with North Korea.

Trump didn’t say anything about asking him to. He just said Abe nominated him – he said it smugly, as if it were an exciting unsolicited honor, as opposed to a favor done on request from a heavily-armed acquaintance. An extorted “favor” isn’t really a favor and an extorted honor doesn’t count as an honor. Rather the reverse, actually.

The Japanese leader had given him “the most beautiful copy” of a five-page nomination letter, Trump said at a White House news conference.

The U.S. government had sounded Abe out over the Noble Peace Prize nomination after Trump’s summit in June last year with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un…

But then there’s all the “Little Rocket Man” and “my button actually works” aggro, so I wouldn’t place any large bets on his chances.



They’re not Americans, they’re socialist-communists

Feb 19th, 2019 3:52 pm | By

Free speech?

The editor and publisher of a local paper in Alabama is under fire for penning an editorial calling for mass lynchings by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

The opinion piece ran in his print-only newspaper, the Democrat-Reporter, last Thursday, Goodloe Sutton confirmed on Tuesday.

He said Democrats were going to raise taxes and that the KKK should hang them and raid Washington DC.

Murder for raising taxes seems a little strong.

“Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again,” the article said, referencing the KKK’s terrorising raids through black communities.

“Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama… This socialist-communist ideology sounds good to the ignorant, the uneducated, and the simple-minded people.”

Sutton later confirmed to the Montgomery Advertiser that he had written the article.

“If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out DC we’d all been better off,” he said. “We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”

“It’s not calling for the lynchings of Americans. These are socialist-communists we’re talking about.”

And yet we’re going to DC to lynch them? DC is in the US, last I heard.

Democratic Representative Terri Sewell, who is black, said Sutton’s language was not a joke, but a threat.

So I’m following Representative Sewell on Twitter now.



Filled with leftist sentiment

Feb 19th, 2019 12:21 pm | By

The Wall Street Journal on trans women competing with women in sports:

Ms. Navratilova’s argument comes at a moment when institutions from high schools to state legislatures are wrestling with the real-world implications of equal access for transgender people. When the issue first arose, the most heated arguments were over single-sex locker rooms, rest rooms and college dorms. But the front lines have now shifted to sports—and girls’ sports in particular.

This is no coincidence. As Abigail Shrier notes in City Journal, “few biological boys are likely to lose top spots in sports competition or the college scholarships that follow because of transgender boys who outperform them.” But in girls’ sports, American moms and dads are increasingly watching their daughters in high school and college competing against biological boys.

And, more to the point, those daughters are experiencing what their parents are watching. Biological boys are shoving girls aside in some sports.

In June, two transgender high-schoolers in Connecticut made national headlines when they dominated the girls’ state track competition for the second year in a row. Such victories underscore Ms. Navratilova’s argument that if biological men are allowed to compete in women’s sports, girls will not be the winners.

Is it evil and transphobic to say that’s not fair? I don’t see it, myself.

This in turn has led to a curious development: Some of the most pointed criticism of allowing transgender women to compete in women’s sports isn’t coming from the culture warriors on the right, much as they might be in sympathy. A good part is coming from those like Ms. Navratilova, a longtime champion of gay rights who came out in 1981 and whose Twitter feed is filled with leftist sentiment on everything from Donald Trump and climate change to guns.

raises hand Over here! Mind you, it’s beyond me why it’s “leftist” to think it would be better not to alter the earth to the point that most animals including humans can’t live on it any more, ditto to think it would be better not to sit back and watch as people shoot up schools and concerts and shopping malls, but whatever. My Twitter feed is filled with leftist sentiment on many subjects, one of which is feminism.

Ms. Navratilova’s op-ed is already generating headlines, mostly of the “Martina Navratilova criticized for comments” variety. Of course, she anticipated the furor and name-calling, writing of the “tyranny” of transgender activists who rather than engage in argument simply denounce as “transphobes” anyone who dares disagree. Though she promises it won’t deter her, she worries that “others may be cowed into silence or submission.”

In the end, if the sports world can’t distinguish between girls and boys, the whole reason for women’s sports disappears. Bully for Ms. Navratilova for her willingness to insist on the distinction.

Weirdo anomalous lefties unite and fight, I guess.



Can ya fix it?

Feb 19th, 2019 11:34 am | By

The Times (the other one, the New York one) has another one of those big articles, this one on Trump’s moves to obstruct justice. It starts with a bang.

As federal prosecutors in Manhattan gathered evidence late last year about President Trump’s role in silencing women with hush payments during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump called Matthew G. Whitaker, his newly installed attorney general, with a question. He asked whether Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation, according to several American officials with direct knowledge of the call.

Ho yus, perfectly normal, a president asking an attorney general if they can put a friend in charge of an investigation into the president. What could possibly go corrupt?

We’re all familiar with the public obstruction, such as all those tweets; there is also a secret branch.

An examination by The New York Times reveals the extent of an even more sustained, more secretive assault by Mr. Trump on the machinery of federal law enforcement. Interviews with dozens of current and former government officials and others close to Mr. Trump, as well as a review of confidential White House documents, reveal numerous unreported episodes in a two-year drama.

The sewage rises, and rises, and rises.

Whitaker told Congress under oath that Trump had never pressured him over the investigations; Dems are now considering a perjury investigation.

Etcetera.



$150 per 50 absentee ballots

Feb 19th, 2019 10:48 am | By

Well, wow. Systematic voter fraud in North Carolina…on behalf of oh you’ll never guess, not in a million years.

A North Carolina woman testified Monday that she illegally picked up and falsified absentee ballots in a 2018 congressional election under the direction of a political operative who was working on behalf of the race’s Republican candidate.

In the first day of the North Carolina State Board of Elections hearing into election irregularities in the 9th District race, Lisa Britt detailed how the operation worked. The race is the last undecided contest from the 2018 midterm election and the North Carolina seat remains open amid allegations of fraud.

The state board of elections voted not to certify the results in which Republican Mark Harris, a Baptist minister, led Democrat Dan McCready, a businessman and retired Marine, by 905 votes. The decision to not certify stemmed from the board’s investigation into bizarre results involving absentee ballots.

Lisa Britt said Harris was not aware of the fraud.

Britt stated she was paid at least $150 per 50 absentee ballots she collected. Collecting absentee ballots is illegal in North Carolina.

She also admitted that she signed absentee ballots as a witness when she did not witness the voter filling it out. Britt said she forged her mother’s signature on between seven and nine ballots to “not raise red flags” that the same people were signed as witnesses on too many absentee ballots.

Britt said she did all of this under the instruction and often supervision of Dowless.

Britt testified that, following the election, Dowless invited workers to his home and told them not to admit to collecting ballots.

Then last week he sent them a letter telling them how to testify – which was to say nobody did anything everybody is innocent plus taking the 5th. (I think you have to choose between those two.)

The trial continues.