Notes and Comment Blog


Cruelty is everywhere

May 27th, 2019 10:56 am | By

A tragic headline:

Mumbai: Protests held over suicide of Dr Payal Tadvi who killed self due to abuse from seniors

Abuse why? Caste.

Payal committed suicide due to alleged casteist abuse in a Mumbai hospital and demanded stringent action against the culprits here on Monday.

The Students Federation of India (SFI) and other student organisations staged vociferous protests against the recent suicide of a post-graduate woman medical student due to alleged casteist abuse in a Mumbai hospital and demanded stringent action against the culprits here on Monday.

“This is the first time in Maharashtra that any post-graduate medico has taken the extreme step of ending her life after alleged harassment on grounds of her caste background,” Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) General Secretary Dr. Deepak Mundhe told IANS.

Hailing from a Muslim tribal family of Jalgaon, Dr. Tadvi, 25, was a second-year post-graduate student in obstetrics and gynaecology and had earlier served in the tribal areas of Gadchiroli.

She and her family had in the past complained to the hospital authorities of the alleged ragging, taunting on her tribal status, not permitting her inside the operation theatre, posting derogatory messages on social media, and other forms of harassment by the three senior women doctors.

There are little trumps everywhere.



Facing an existential question

May 27th, 2019 10:28 am | By

Hope Hicks got a subpoena from the Dems last week. Now she’s apparently racking her brain to figure out whether she will comply or not, as if it were optional. It’s not optional. Ignoring a subpoena is contrary to law.

But the 30-year-old’s decision about whether to comply with the law is “an existential question,” according to a recent article by the New York Times.

Maggie Haberman’s piece — entitled “Hope Hicks Left the White House. Now She Must Decide Whether to Talk to Congress.” — has drawn intense scrutiny and raised questions regarding disparities in law enforcement.

The very title is stupid. (Titles are usually the work of editors, not the reporter.) No, it’s not the case that she “must decide”; what she must do is comply.

Of course there are such things as principled decisions to ignore a law. The black students who sat down at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro were breaking a law. No doubt Trump’s criminal gang all have themselves convinced that their crimes are a matter of principle too, but they’re wrong.

It certainly didn’t help that the Times opted to illustrate Haberman’s puff piece with a glam shot of Hicks. (The same thing happened during the flutter of coverage of her when she resigned, too – the news channels all showed endless clips of her in this or that elegant outfit looking very nicely cleaned up.) Yes, she is indeed very pretty, but what does that have to do with anything?

Calling it “an existential question” makes it sound deep and thoughtful and significant, when in fact it’s just a corrupt plan to break the law in order to protect a shameless criminal.



If you cannot define women, then you cannot defend them

May 26th, 2019 11:54 am | By

Councillor Sarah Field at Leeds Civic Hall yesterday:

Our brilliant panel of academics will be speaking today about the Declaration of Sex Based Rights. But by way of introduction I am going to talk a little bit about Leeds and why I’m here.

So, I just want to start off by thanking the many women on the Mumsnet Feminism boards. You are a constant strength and inspiration.

About three years ago, not long after I was first elected, I was contacted by a woman in Leeds, for advice. Her six year old daughter had been verbally attacked and then subjected to a violent outburst by a 17 year old male who had been allowed to join a local girls group as a helper. This was because he said he identified as a female. What had this child done? She had asked him if he was a boy. And then this six year old girl had been made to stand alone in front of the entire group and apologise to him.

And I couldn’t get my head around this. So I began to do some research. And this was how I found my way to gender critical thinking and radical feminism.

And these are the following statements I’d like to make:

Every single person on the planet is unique. And I don’t care what they wear. And I don’t care who they love or have sex with, as long as they are consenting adults.

There is no such thing as living as a woman. We are women. And it is our female biology which makes us women. It is our sex. And biological sex is observable in every single cell in our bodies: it is a physical, material and biological fact. And our sex is what makes us a class. Our sex which makes us uniquely vulnerable to male violence. Our sex which means we bear the entire burden of reproductive labour. The structural oppression which women face as a class is because of their sex. And that is why all women need legal recourse to separate and sex segregated spaces.

It is simply not ethical to categorise males as females based on their subjective feelings. To do so means the female sex no longer has legal protections or legal meaning and is instead reduced to destructive, regressive gender stereotyping.

If you cannot define women, then you cannot defend them.

Which brings me to Leeds City Council, which famously prevented a meeting here last year to discuss changes to the Gender Recognition Act. When the WPUK meeting was cancelled I read the email from a Labour Councillor and then I read the flurry of replies and actions that not once asked for clarification or any other viewpoints – just this blind acceptance of a hateful narrative – and it became clear to me that it’s become a virtue to dismiss, intimidate and silence women.

That meeting was to discuss proposed changes to legislation and the government’s consultation. Its purpose was not to tell Trans people what is best for them, but to tell politicians and law makers what is best for women.The vast majority of those who ask questions about Self-ID are lifelong left leaning, are lesbians, trade unionists, LGB allies and of all faiths and none. These accusations we face – transphobes, bigots, TERFs, religious fundamentalists, hate preachers – are utter nonsense. And I’ve had enough.And I must say I absolutely refute in the strongest terms any accusations of homophobia against gender critical women. A huge number of them are lesbians. And I stand with my lesbian sisters. Just as I’ve always done for years of solidarity with the LGB community. And since the woke brigade of word salad identity politics seems to love a good cliché, I’ll throw in a mention of my magnificent gay best friend and godfather to both my children.

Leeds City Council has brought in Self-Identification. Anyone can change their sex, or “gender marker” as they call it, across all council services and departments by completing a short online form.

When I asked, under FOI, for the Equality Impact Assessments I was told they didn’t do any. When I asked, under FOI, how this might impact sex segregated services and spaces I was told Leeds City Council does not have any such spaces or services. When I asked, under FOI, for a comprehensive list of women’s and men’s clothes, as cross dressing is specifically defined in council policy as a protected characteristic, I was told no such list exists. When asked to define a woman, they said no such definition exists.

So to be clear: men in this city can access a woman’s changing facility, toilet, leisure facility or support group or service – anywhere they are vulnerable, traumatised, undressed or asleep – because men might at some point feel like they are something which the council says is indefinable, but might mean he once wore something which may or may not be something a woman might also wear.

Well, women fought for those spaces and they are not this council’s to give away.

It is absurd, it is dangerous and millions of women across the country are saying we have had enough. You cannot identify into an oppressed class because you cannot identify out of an oppressed class. And women are uniquely oppressed across the planet: reproductive health and autonomy, Female Genital Mutilation, violence, rape, child marriage, no right to vote, death in childbirth, post-natal illness, denied access to education, lower wages, chemical contraception, sex trafficking, surrogacy, pornography, prostitution and objectification.

I’ve had women in prisons and post-prison services in Leeds who have contacted me in fear and despair because they are confined with men who threaten them with rape, assault them, repeatedly expose their so called female penises and taunt them about playing the system and flushing their hormones down the toilet.

Our statistics will be skewed and we will lose a tool of analysis that provides us with the ability to challenge the very inequalities for which sex based provisions and quotas were created.

And of course there is a wider underbelly of misogyny in Leeds. The so called managed zone of prostituted, emaciated and addicted women is our flagship. In the last few months I’ve visited Holbeck twice, once at night where I observed several men out on the street openly watching pornography in their cars as women stumbled to them to be used and discarded for a fiver. During the day I was approached by punters three times in 10 minutes while simply standing by a car for some fresh air at 2pm. We are spending hundreds of thousands of pounds so men can buy the addicted bodies of the most vulnerable women in the city. Men know what a woman is in Holbeck.

I’m often asked how I would feel if I was born in the wrong body. And I say, I’ve been feeling like that every single day for as long as I can remember. You only have to go into a shop, turn on the TV, open a magazine, click on the internet and women are assaulted with GET A BIKINI BODY, 12 WEEKS UNTIL YOUR CHRISTMAS PARTY BODY, GET THE BODY YOU DREAM OF, THE BODY OF SOMEONE 20 YEARS YOUNGER, THE BODY YOU DESERVE. Botox, surgery, hair removal, Photoshop, permanent makeup, designer vagina. We get it.

I don’t think all men are rapists. I don’t think all men are intrinsically violent, creepy or degenerate. God knows I love my dad and my brother and my dear nine year old son. But 98% of sexual violence is committed by men. And there is no way to tell the good ones from the bad ones. There never will be. That’s why we need our spaces and services and boundaries, for our privacy, our dignity and our safety. It’s why we need to preserve the social norms which generally prevent men from entering our spaces and preserve our confidence to challenge men who do so. Bad men will do anything to gain access to women and girls. That’s why every institution in the world attracts those who will use power and access to abuse us. If they do it in schools, the care system, churches and families then they will sure as hell do it in prisons, toilets, refuges and changing rooms. They already are.

In terms of protecting females from a significant minority of dangerous males, these reasons don’t cease to operate when males self-identify as women. And self-identification removes any gatekeeping, safeguarding or requirement for any man to do anything other than complete a cursory administrative process via an online form.

I’m truly sorry for any man who feels imprisoned and tortured by masculinity. But that is something for men to deconstruct, to dismantle and to overthrow. And there are men doing it. There are transsexuals and cross dressers and allies against the male stereotypes which damage everyone. But it is not the moral duty of women to facilitate that. If your feminism prioritises the internal identifications of men over the material conditions of women then you are not a feminist. In a world of structural and systematic oppression, and an epidemic of male violence, we owe it to women and to the legacy of every feminist who has fought before us, to stand for ourselves.

Thank you.

Editing to add:



Trust

May 26th, 2019 11:17 am | By

(Yes, I’m clearly going to be beating this to death today. It’s that astounding.)

It’s not just knowing enough not to trust Kim Jong Un to keep a promise – it’s another level of stupid even from that. It’s knowing enough not to be bounced into trusting Kim Jong Un because he flatters me.

How dumb and incompetent and undeveloped and practically fetus-level immature do you have to be to 1. take the flattery of a known murderous tyrant seriously and 2. allow that flattery to motivate you to slobber publicly on a known murderous tyrant? Seriously. This sack of shit in a gilt wig would see the whole world nuked to an ash pile for the sake of compliments from Kim Jong fucking Un.



Horrifying evidence of a disordered personality

May 26th, 2019 11:02 am | By

Radio Free Tom sums it up.

I’ll just quote the rest.

  • These are the same Republicans – my former tribe – who pointed to every slip of the tongue by Hillary Clinton as evidence of fatal illness. Who took a dumb hot mic aside from Obama to Medvedev as treason. Who parsed every word from every Democrat for signs of betrayal. /2
  • Now, the President shows us horrifying evidence of, as @Peter_Wehner once put it, a “disordered personality,” and the GOP and their voter base applaud because it’s evidence to them that Trump is just a Regular Guy Who Talks Like Them. This is not only immoral, but stupid. /3
  • It’s stupid because, on a fundamental level, it’s false. No one “talks like Trump.” Trump-cultists in the heartland claim he’s just like them, when in fact if someone spoke to them – or their loved ones – as Trump speaks to others, they’d punch them right in the face. /4
  • And no one really “talks like Trump” about things like war, or about what a swell guy Kim Jong Un is. With the exception of some morons sitting around diners in red hats, no one really talks this way. No one says “I’m glad the dictator of North Korea is insulting Joe Biden.” /5
  • But because we fear resentment and status envy and intellectual insecurity, we all have to pretend that it’s not a massive failure of character that an entire political party is too cowardly and un-patriotic to stand up to this man even when he’s applauding Kim Jong Un. /6
  • If you can’t bring yourself to criticize Trump for what he just said – and for how he’s been conducting himself for two years – you are either an idiot or a morally deficient coward. And either way, you’re harming your country. /7
  • Happy Memorial Day and thank you for coming to my TED talk. /8x

He’s not wrong.



Keyword: me

May 26th, 2019 10:12 am | By

Another thing about Trump’s bottom of the sewer tweet – a thing that’s obvious but needs underlining anyway.

It’s the “promise TO ME” bit. It’s the radiant, glowing conceit that burns out of those two words. You peasants just don’t understand, it’s between the two of us: he promised ME, and it’s intrusive and blasphemous for you to try to get between us.

It’s that and it’s also the conceit of thinking a promise to him is magically unbreakable because it’s to him. It’s the radioactive conceit and confidence of this bloated nitwit that is so astonishing, along with our helplessness to stop him. It’s as if Daffy Duck or Yosemite Sam were pirouetting in front of the cameras with Kim Jong Un.



Outcry

May 26th, 2019 9:59 am | By

The Post on Trump’s alliance with Kim Jong Un against Joe Biden:

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Sunday said President Trump and Kim Jong Un “agree in their assessment” of former vice president Joe Biden, after Trump prompted an outcry by leveraging his friendship with the North Korean dictator against Biden in a tweet.

Well now who ya gonna trust, a Democrat or Kim Jong Un?

Members of both parties sharply criticized Trump’s handling of North Korea on Sunday.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said she “certainly wouldn’t trust” Kim. She described herself as disturbed by both North Korea’s recent missile test as well as Trump’s reaction.

And on the other hand there are the packets of slime who will do anything for the crook.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a close Trump ally, said that he was “glad the president is engaging” Kim and that the president was “trying to give North Korea some space to come back to the table and end this.”

“Like every other president, he’s trying hard to stop the advance of nuclear armament in North Korea,” Graham said on “Fox News Sunday.” He added: “I’ll give Trump the space he needs to deal with Kim, but I’ll remind the president, you have to deliver on this. This is one of the signature issues of your administration.”

But he already has delivered – he and Kim are in total agreement about how stupid Joe Biden is.



Swampman

May 26th, 2019 9:33 am | By

In case Trump’s tweet yesterday saying he’s not worried about Kim firing all those missiles but he’s happy as a pig in shit that Kim called Joe Biden stupid WASN’T ENOUGH, today Sarah Sanders cheerily told us that yes that’s how he sees it and isn’t it awesome.

Appearing on NBC News’ Meet the Press on Sunday morning, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders doubled down on her boss’s endorsement of a totalitarian dictator’s attacks on one of his political opponents—an opponent who also happens to be a former American vice-president.

While overseas during a four-day trip to Japan, President Trump tweeted that he wasn’t bothered by North Korea firing off “some small weapons” because the nation’s brutal leader made him smile “when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual.”

“Go ahead, nuke Japan, nuke Hawaii, nuke the west coast of the US, as long as you keep joking about how dumb Joe Biden is.” That’s the actual literal president and his actual literal official press secretary.

After Sanders said that Trump “still feels comfortable and confident in his relationship” with Kim despite recent missile tests and that the North Korean dictator will “stay true to the commitment” of denuclearization, host Chuck Todd asked her about the president’s words.

“Can you explain why Americans should not be concerned that the president of the United States is essentially siding with a murderous authoritarian dictator over a former vice president in the United States?” Todd wondered.

“Chuck, the president’s not siding with that,” the press secretary asserted before adding, “but I think they agree in their assessment of former Vice President Joe Biden.”

She went on to say that Trump’s focus right now “is the relationship he has” with Kim and that he hopes that relationship will “move us further down the path” of denuclearization.

“The president of the United States takes the North Korean dictator’s word about Joe Biden?” Todd exclaimed. “What happened to speaking with one voice in American foreign policy? Is the president not setting up trying to have world leaders sort of pick which political party they should side with? I don’t understand what message the president is sending here.”

Yes you do. We all do.



Confidence is high

May 25th, 2019 5:26 pm | By

Good god.



Have they thought it through?

May 25th, 2019 4:26 pm | By

A guy called Will Roberts has written a post disputing the article by Sophie Allen, Jane Clare Jones, Holly Lawford-Smith, Mary Leng, Rebecca Reilly-Cooper, and Kathleen Stock on bad arguments against gender critical feminism. The first item snagged my attention.

Section one: fallacious arguments

  1. ‘Your position has been historically associated with far right-wing thought, and hence fails’.

The authors write: “Associating our intellectual position with a far right-wing one, because some far right-wing thinkers would agree with us in some of our conclusions, and insinuating that our position is all the worse because of it, is an ad hominem. Ad hominems are widely recognised as inappropriate in philosophy.”

Political arguments are different from purely philosophical arguments. The fact that one group of political advocates makes the same, or similar, arguments as another – politically dangerous and loathsome – group is not irrelevant to the political assessment of those arguments. It is true that “the fact that person shares a conclusion with a far right-wing person could never show, on its own, that the conclusion was false.” However, when people claim “that women, by definition, are adult human females,” and conclude, on this basis, that “no trans woman is correctly categorised as a woman,” this is not like happening to agree with a far right wing person about what day of the week it is.

The “gender critical” position is a reactionary political position – in the sense that it is a “backlash” position, reacting to trans people’s progress towards social and political liberation…

That last bit is what snagged my attention. The trans movement, or the gender uncritical position, is not about social and political liberation. It’s about universal compelled agreement that people can change sex (and gender) by self-declaration. It’s not about wanting the same rights everyone else has, it’s about wanting new, peculiar rights, that are in tension with existing rights that other people have. Its fans want it to be like the previous liberation movements, but it isn’t. Roberts doesn’t get to make it that just by saying the words.

Isn’t this where we came in?

There’s a choice bit later on that Jane Clare Jones pointed out on Twitter, which must not be missed.

But, the authors assure us, the “gender critical” position is not “that trans women don’t have full moral personhood. We emphatically and repeatedly assert that they do, emphasising their full human rights.” “The question is not whether they are human,” the authors continue, “but whether they are female, and on the basis of being female should be able to access spaces designed to protect the comparatively greater vulnerability of female people.” “No one thinks a man is denied his full and equal humanity merely because women-only spaces exist, and the same reasoning applies to trans women. Not giving people everything that they desire is not a denial of their humanity.”

Wow. I don’t think the authors have thought through what having your full and equal humanity denied might actually look like.

Emphasis added. This is a man, disputing an article by several women.

You couldn’t make it up.



For the union makes us strong

May 25th, 2019 12:23 pm | By

The Telegraph on the awkwardness of having a new union boss who uses a blocker to block a hefty proportion of union members:

Feminist academics have complained that their new union boss cannot uphold free speech because she has refused to listen to opposing views in the transgender debate.

Dr Jo Grady, who was elected on Friday as the new general secretary of the University and College Union, used a controversial “Terf-blocker” which is a tool on Twitter that allows users to block a list of accounts.

A very long list of accounts. I’m on it, which I know because a lot of people I’ve never heard of or interacted with (before seeing “Has X blocked you too?” tweeted) have blocked me. It’s a stupid reason to mass-block people: not for being rude or abusive but for having an officially disapproved opinion on whether people can change themselves into the opposite sex by saying so.

Ms Grady has defended her past use of a “Terf-blocker”, which she said is an “easy mechanism for blocking large numbers of accounts that have been identified as articulating transphobic views”.

Except that “transphobic” is the wrong word. We’re supposed to think “transphobic” is parallel to racism and misogyny, but the word includes people who simply don’t agree that people can change sex with an assertion. That isn’t phobic.

Prof Selina Todd, an expert in modern history at Oxford University, said that she and many colleauges consider “Terf” to be an “abusive term”.

Refusing to debate with people whose views you disagree with is not a suitable approach for a representative of academics, she said.

Prof Rosa Freedman, Reading University’s chair of law, conflict and global development, said that by using a Terf-blocker “legitimises” the narrative that anyone who expresses gender critical views poses a danger to transgender students.

“She is in a position of leadership and is supposed to defend all academics and academic freedom,” she added.

It’s in the job description.



Emergency, send adjectives

May 25th, 2019 11:37 am | By

Also let’s get people in low-paid jobs fired or reprimanded or whatever we can successfully demand for Not Using The Correct™ Pronouns™ all power to the firing class yeah?

https://twitter.com/MelzDot/status/1132233737268269056

Did MelzDot ask “the security” (rather a dehumanizing way to refer to a person) what his pronouns were? Are Bespoke Pronouns only for the privileged few who speak at a TRANS Conference and not the riffraff who guard them?

There follows a long maudlin thread of people offering Mr Dot massive sympathy for this hideous unparalleled tragedy.

It’s all like that or worse.

This isn’t good. It’s not healthy. Even if you agree that people can change sex by assertion, it’s still not good or healthy. Frenzied maudlin over-reaction to something as trivial as a complete stranger not consenting to use “the pronouns” you order him to use is not reasonable or sane or healthy or any kind of way to go about living in the world. It just isn’t. Proportion is absolutely key to being an adult. We don’t argue that fact very much because it’s so obvious and we’re so used to fellow adults knowing that and acting accordingly. Adult public life doesn’t feature watching another adult have a screaming meltdown because the coffee is lukewarm. You know? Even if you want to have a screaming meltdown, because it’s been a bad day and your nerves are shredded and it feels like just the last thing in a long list and you want to freak out – you don’t, because you still know it would be all out of proportion and you would start to feel like an asshole about ten seconds in. Right?

But this shit – it’s all about the narcissistic rages over utterly minor wounds to the ego. It’s all about running to Twitter to stage a “you won’t believe what those devils did to me!!” tantrum in order to collect replies saying “what an utter disgrace” “that’s absolutely disgusting” “absolutely unacceptable transphobia” “absolutely disgraceful” “horrendous” (all actual labels in replies). That’s not political activism, and it’s sure as hell not political analysis or discourse; it’s nothing but childish attention-seeking and histrionics. It’s…

…absolutely disgraceful.



Starve the OBVIOUS ENEMIES

May 25th, 2019 10:28 am | By

Political discourse today, state of.

There’s a card you can carry? An official card, with your name on it, issued by the head office? Why wasn’t I told?

Oh yes, all about taking money and resources away from our OBVIOUS ENEMIES, feminist women who don’t agree that men can become women by assertion. Much obvious, very enemies.

And in conclusion –

Tell us again how “TERF” is not a slur.



Guest post: Desperately trying to be Anything But Female

May 25th, 2019 9:55 am | By

Originally a comment by cluecat on We are talking about identity here.

How people cannot see that this is a male-supremacist idea/movement is beyond me, I’m afraid.

If it was really about Identitay, and everyone being able to force others to see them as they see themselves, women & girls would be able to make everyone see us (and therefore treat us) as Real People. This would mean much less sexual violence committed by males against us, the obvious fact that bodily autonomy trumps anyone else’s wants regarding using us as brood mares, the pay gaps/work gaps would vanish (the Second Shift would be a thing of the past), and so on.

What we get instead is this deliberate conflation between biological sex, and sex role stereotypes. It should be obvious, but apparently it isn’t.

What it comes down to is: Doodz get to do whatever they want, as usual. Whatever ridiculous pronouncement a dood makes is to be taken as word from On High. If dood puts on a frock, it MUST make him a Laydee, because he says so.

Women & girls apparently only exist as accessories to the Very Important Journey of these doodz. We can’t possibly be an actual group of people with specific characteristics that differ from those of males, because that would spoil all the fun. Women are what men say we are, and any actual differences must be ignored.

Again, it seems to come down to the fact that we are the ones who make Life. Males cannot have babies, and they hate the idea of us doing something they can’t. Something that is outside their direct control, and punctures their fantasy of being in charge of everything.

The bit I really don’t get is, how can these women arguing in favour of male supremacy not see how much men hate us? They really do. That “breath play” thing that’s mentioned (in a later post) – choking someone is not an action performed towards someone one loves. Women don’t need to be told that it’s unsafe and cruel. It would never occur to someone who isn’t obsessed with having power over others.

I can see why so many girls & young women are desperately trying to be Anything But Female. They see the hatred and degradation being heaped upon us, and are rightly terrified – “If that’s what Female means, I want none of it!”. What I don’t understand is the women who are happy to beat down any of her “sisters” who notice the problem. The problem being MALES, and their fixation on death, humiliation, cruelty, torture and destruction.



ivesssapology for a video

May 24th, 2019 5:25 pm | By

Facebook isn’t helping.

Facebook says it will continue to host a video of Nancy Pelosi that has been edited to give the impression that the Democratic House speaker is drunk or unwell, in the latest incident highlighting its struggle to deal with disinformation.

What struggle? Saying “no” isn’t a struggle. Saying “no” is dead easy.

The viral clip shows Pelosi – who has publicly angered Donald Trump in recent days – speaking at an event, but it has been slowed down to give the impression she is slurring her words. Several versions of the clip appeared to be circulating.

The president’s personal lawyer, the former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, was among the Trump supporters who promoted the story. He tweeted – then deleted – a link to a copy of the video on Facebook with the caption: “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi? Her speech pattern is bizarre.”

Despite the apparently malicious intent of the video’s creator, Facebook has said it will only downgrade its visibility in users’ newsfeeds and attach a link to a third-party factchecking site pointing out that the clip is misleading. As a result, although it is less likely to be seen by accident, the doctored video will continue to rack up views. Facebook only took the action following inquiries from the Washington Post, which first reported the story.

Giuliani tweeted.

That’s a fairly halting tweet, but whatever.

In case he deletes it, I’ll quote it.

ivesssapology for a video which is allegedly is a caricature of an otherwise halting speech pattern, she should first stop, and apologize for, saying the President needs an “intervention.” Are

sic

The viral success of the crudely produced video highlights the challenges in fighting online disinformation when individuals are willing to share material that backs their own political views, even when it is accompanied by warnings.

The administrator of the Politics WatchDog page polled readers on whether to remove the video, with most voting for it stay online. They defended the decision to keep the video live, insisting “it’s a free country”.

Blah blah blah; fake videos aren’t a matter of “freedom.” It’s a free country, but we don’t get to strangle each other.

A Facebook spokesperson said: “There’s a tension here: we work hard to find the right balance between encouraging free expression and promoting a safe and authentic community, and we believe that reducing the distribution of inauthentic content strikes that balance. But just because something is allowed to be on Facebook doesn’t mean it should get distribution. In other words, we allow people to post it as a form of expression, but we’re not going to show it at the top of News Feed.”

What pathetic mealy-mouthed horseshit.



Actually…

May 24th, 2019 4:43 pm | By

Naomi Wolf has a new book out. In it she says that a teenage boy was executed for sodomy in 1859, but in fact he was paroled two years after he was convicted.

Silver, who was 14 when he was convicted, is just one of several cases cited in the book but, according to the writer and broadcaster Matthew Sweet, the error stems from a simple misreading of a historical record and raises wider questions about the argument Wolf puts forward.

In Outrages, which was published by Virago, Wolf examines the effect of 19th-century legal changes on the lives of Victorian poets such as John Addington Symonds and argues that the Obscene Publications Act of 1857 marked a turning point in the treatment of gay people.

“People widely believe that the last executions for sodomy were in 1830,” Wolf told the Observer. “But I read every Old Bailey record throughout the 19th century, so I know that not only did they continue; they got worse.”

According to Sweet, who first challenged Wolf on Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas, her error concerning Silver stems from a misunderstanding of “the very precise historical legal term, ‘death recorded’, as evidence of execution, when in fact it indicates the opposite”.

You can hear him telling her so. It’s a painful moment.

The historian Richard Ward agreed, adding that the term was a legal device first introduced in 1823. “It empowered the trial judge to abstain from formally pronouncing a sentence of death upon a capital convict in cases where the judge intended to recommend the offender for a pardon from the death sentence. In the vast majority (almost certainly all) of the cases marked ‘death recorded’, the offender would not have been executed.”

So it’s like saying “duly noted” when you plan to ignore the thing noted? I guess.

While Wolf only quotes the “death recorded” verdict in Silver’s case, Sweet challenges the wider argument put forward in Outrages.

“I think her assumptions about ‘death recorded’ have led her to the view … that ‘dozens and dozens’ of Victorian men were executed, and that one of the main subjects of her book, the poet John Addington Symonds, grew up with the fear of execution hanging over his head. I have yet to see evidence that one man in Victorian Britain was executed for sodomy.”

Wolf’s argument that 1857 saw a brutal turn against consensual sex between men runs counter to most scholars, Sweet continued, who suggest that it was only in 1885 that a less tolerant legal climate developed. “She argues that historians have misread this moment and we should see that 1857 was a more significant date. I think she is wrong.”

If you’re going to challenge most scholars you need to do all your homework.



How purple is she exactly?

May 24th, 2019 4:16 pm | By

Seen on Facebook:

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How to strangle a woman during sex SAFELY. (Funny how it’s the woman getting strangled, isn’t it.)

Nah, I say forget strangling people SAFELY, don’t strangle them at all.



Working to dispel the taboo

May 24th, 2019 3:14 pm | By

What is a doula? Ask the Google.

dou·la
/ˈdo͞olə/
noun
a woman, typically without formal obstetric training, who is employed to provide guidance and support to a pregnant woman during labor.
“from admission through delivery, a doula stayed at her assigned patient’s side”
a woman employed to provide guidance and support to the mother of a newborn baby.
“my mother-in-law hired a postpartum doula to help me for a couple of weeks”

So what do we find?

That Doula Guy

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That’s not a “taboo,” it’s a fact. Men can’t give birth; just a fact, ma’am.

Tell us about yourself, Mac Brydum.

“That Doula Guy” is Mac Brydum.

Specializing in comprehensive doula support, including labor support, postpartum care, infant sleep consulting, and lactation support.

Mac enthusiastically offers LGBTQ-inclusive, empowering, compassionate care for ALL families.

Also offering consulting for professional organizations on LGBTQ inclusion.

Don’t you want him for your lactation support?

But the last line gives it away a little – really he’s about the LGBTQ inclusion, and really what that means is the T inclusion. What’s best for women in childbirth isn’t his concern.

It’s so irritating, and so male-entitled, this move to have men take over everything women do. I’m making an educated guess that doulas are women because women don’t actually want to hire a man to hold their hand and cheer them on at that particular project. They’ve had to accept male doctors for generations because women doctors were so scarce, but there’s no reason they should have to accept men doing the female support person job too. No doubt some women will sign Mac Brydum that doula guy right up because women are expected to be sweet and accommodating, but a man who knew how to give a shit about anyone other than himself wouldn’t make women feel obliged to make him feel “included.” Women in labor shouldn’t have to be “inclusive” in that way.



Not that wall, this wall

May 24th, 2019 12:15 pm | By

Meanwhile Trump is also abusing his power by trying to muscle the Army Corps of Engineers to buy its new border wall from a company he favors because he’s a corrupt mob boss.

The Post reports:

In phone calls, White House meetings and conversations aboard Air Force One during the past several months, Trump has aggressively pushed Dickinson, N.D.-based Fisher Industries to Department of Homeland Security leaders and Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the commanding general of the Army Corps, according to the administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal discussions.

It may be a not-very-subtle sign of the frustration in the Army that the news leaked to the Post the same day that Trump called General Mark Milley, the Army chief of staff, to the White House and once again pressed him.

Is Fisher good at Wall though? Is it a leading expert when it comes to Wall?

Fisher is a curious choice. The company is already suing the government after being rejected for any Army Corps contract for the border wall. Fisher was one of the companies that participated in a prototype exercise outside of San Diego in 2017, but the company’s wall didn’t meet the specifications laid out by the Department of Homeland Security, which wanted a wall through which agents could see.

Interjection: a wall agents could see through. The “rule” against ending a sentence with a preposition is a bogus rule and it often produces clumsy obscure phrasing like that.

Instead, Fisher pushed a more expensive concrete wall, similar to the one that Trump promised during the 2016 presidential campaign. But the Fisher prototype was late and over budget. CEO Tommy Fisher criticized the steel-bollard design that the government chose. Now, Fisher is promising a steel wall, and it says it can build it cheaper and faster than any other contractor.

Fisher Industries has some assets, though. Tommy Fisher is a major GOP donor. He has North Dakota’s Republican Senator Kevin Cramer in his corner. He’s already working on a private-sector attempt to build a barrier on private land in New Mexico, which is backed by close Trump allies like Steve Bannon, the former White House strategist; Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; and Kris Kobach, the former vice chair of Trump’s voter-fraud commission, who was under consideration as his “immigration czar.”

Moreover, Tommy Fisher has wisely made himself a fixture on Fox News, which the president watches obsessively. He’s used those appearances to pitch his company’s plan.

throws up hands in disgust



The fix is in

May 24th, 2019 11:38 am | By

Paul Waldman at the Post on Trump’s move to have his tame AG expose classified intelligence looking for some pretext to say the investigation was dirty:

Barr’s “investigation” is nothing but a propaganda exercise, an effort to provide ballast to the lunatic idea that there should never have been any investigation at all into Russia’s attempts to help Trump get elected president. But we have to be clear about just how shocking this order from Trump is.

The executive order not only gives Barr permission to “declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence” to whatever degree he likes, but also orders the leaders of every intelligence agency to give him whatever he wants. If he wants to declassify something and they object, tough luck for them. The New York Times reports that this is “likely to irk the intelligence community”:

One official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters, said previously that Mr. Barr wanted to know more about what foreign assets the C.I.A. had in Russia in 2016 and what those informants were telling the agency about how President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia sought to meddle in the 2016 election.

Needless to say, the identity of foreign assets is one of the most sensitive categories of information intelligence agencies hold.

If Barr were a normal AG, Waldman goes on, we could figure he would be careful with that intel, but since Barr is what he is, we can’t.

[W]ith virtually every action Barr has taken and statement he has made, he has shown himself to be someone who is only too happy to deceive the publicmislead Congressgo on Fox News to spin on the president’s behalf, and generally act as though the only purpose of his office is to cover up for Trump. The idea that this political hack would conduct any investigation related to this president with any other goal in mind is, at this point, not even worth discussing.

And none of it is anything to do with real investigation, it’s purely a propaganda exercise. They want to find something they can distort into dirt.

We can be pretty sure of what’s going to happen. Barr will scour every record he can to learn as much as possible about the Russia investigation. Whenever he comes across something that can be spun to make the FBI or anyone Trump has decided is his enemy look bad, he’ll put it in the “Declassify” pile. Then he’ll release it all to the public and hold a news conference where he suggests that there was a conspiracy to take down Trump. The president will then take to Twitter to proclaim that he was indeed the victim of a vile witch hunt that has at last been exposed. The news media, in possession of only the materials Barr has chosen to give them, will struggle to avoid amplifying and reinforcing Barr’s claims.

And then Trump will tell Barr to do the same thing to the Democratic candidate for president.