Notes and Comment Blog


They is a Freemason

May 24th, 2019 10:40 am | By

Oh, really?

Edward Lord is the boss of the move to take women-only spaces away from women in London. Edward Lord has also blocked every single obstreperous woman on Twitter whether he’s ever interacted with them or not, in other words he uses a sweeping block list. Women who object to having women-only spaces taken away may not tell Edward Lord of their objections; he won’t allow it. Lord indeed.

So I’m reading the Telegraph article.

The architect of a gender identity drive who campaigns for transgender rights has been forced to defend their membership of the Freemasons amid accusations of hypocrisy.

Edward Lord chairs the City of London’s establishment committee, which has launched a consultation on ending sex segregation in its women-only spaces such as public lavatories and changing facilities at well-known landmarks including Hampstead Heath ponds, the Barbican arts centre, Tower Bridge and the Museum of London.

Man who claims to be “non-binary” takes right to privacy from pervy men away from women.

A Twitter row erupted yesterday as it emerged that Lord, who identifies as non-binary and asks to be described by the pronoun “they,” is a Freemason, an institution that has famously refuses to allow women to join its men-only lodges.

Oh well that’s easy to explain. Men have a right to privacy, including men who call themselves “non-binary.” Women have no such right. Clear?



He delights in the abuse of his power

May 24th, 2019 10:21 am | By

Quinta Jurecic on why Trump has to be impeached:

Here are the facts: The president is unsuited to his office. That should have been obvious well before the release of the special counsel’s report, but the text of the report, even with a smattering of redactions, makes his unfitness brutally clear. He shows no understanding of the responsibilities of the presidency. He delights in the abuse of his power. As Memorial Day approaches, he is reportedly planning to celebrate the holiday by pardoning, among other service members accused of war crimes, a Navy SEAL scheduled to stand trial for the murder of multiple unarmed Iraqi civilians.

Because hooray for murdering unarmed civilians in foreign countries; that’s what we stand for now. My Lai? Our finest hour.

Jurecic notes that Pelosi opposes impeachment for pragmatic reasons: because it will energize his base.

This is a very practical argument. But there is value to an impeachment inquiry—and to impeachment—as an act in itself, regardless of whether the Senate will convict or what the president’s supporters will think.

Pelosi and the more hardheaded Democratic strategists regard this position as overly idealistic. That’s the point.

Trump is absurd in the colloquial sense, she goes on, but also in the philosophical sense.

What better to emphasize the gap between the desire for the Constitution to mean something and the reality of the document as some words on paper than the scene of Donald J. Trump swearing an oath to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and … preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”?

The Constitution is what Camus would call a “closed universe”—a space of “coherence and unity” in an incoherent world, in which words carry weight and actions have consequences. Trump’s disrespect for the law is a reminder of how fragile that structure of meaning can be. For that reason, there is a real service in using impeachment proceedings to push back against the notion that, in the parlance of the internet, “lol nothing matters.”

Susan Hennessey and I have argued that the House of Representatives has a duty to begin an impeachment inquiry insofar as representatives swear an oath to “support and defend the Constitution” and to “well and faithfully” execute the duties of their office. Another way of saying this is that an impeachment inquiry depends on an insistence that this oath really means something—and that the president’s oath means something as well. Keith Whittington, likewise, has written that impeachment is partially a matter of “norm creation and norm reinforcement.” And Yoni Appelbaum argued that the impeachment of Andrew Johnson “drew the United States closer to living up to its ideals.”

Let’s have a little norm reinforcement around here.



We are talking about identity here

May 24th, 2019 9:06 am | By

Hmmm.

JM: Women are discriminated against because of their biological sex, and we can’t erase that because if we erase that we’re erasing women.

MC: But we know that biological sex is not binary…Biological sex is not binary. We are talking about identity here Joan…

What is identity then? What are people using it to mean? It’s become a magic word that means whatever you need it to mean in the moment and then its opposite a few seconds later. An “identity” that flatly contradicts the identity-haver’s biology is…what? I don’t know what to call it. An item of magical thinking; a fantasy dressed up as something more respectable and adult.  We can, I suppose, decide that our “identity” is that we are ten feet tall and slender as an aspen, but can we, reasonably, try to impose that “identity” on other people? Can we demand, with menaces, that the rest of the world believe in our “identity”? We can in the sense that it’s physically possible, but can we in the sense that it’s a reasonable, workable, justifiable thing to do? Not that I can see.



Another blasphemous one

May 23rd, 2019 6:05 pm | By

Oh, Pakistan tells WordPress to block Jesus and Mo, does it?

Okay then.

tax



More alarming

May 23rd, 2019 5:59 pm | By

The purge begins.

Show trials. Executions at dawn. Reprisals.



Running out of oys

May 23rd, 2019 5:37 pm | By

Oy.

Oyy.



See this milkshake?

May 23rd, 2019 3:24 pm | By

Also

Is Emma Garland embarrassed? Hahaha don’t be silly.



The dignity of the office

May 23rd, 2019 3:12 pm | By

We’re going full-schoolyard now, it seems.

The Post reports that Pelosi said today she wished his family would do an intervention. (Don’t we all? One that entails his immediate permanent incarceration in a facility of their choice?)

Speaking at the White House Thursday afternoon, Trump dismissed the comment as a “very sort of a nasty type statement,” argued he was calm at the Wednesday session and called Pelosi “crazy Nancy.”

“She’s not the same person. She’s lost it,” he said.

It will be hair-pulling and biting next.



A robust and consistent approach

May 23rd, 2019 11:47 am | By

The Guardian reports a policy change:

Transgender women have had their right to use Hampstead Heath ponds formalised in a new policy.

The City of London Corporation (CoLC), which manages Hampstead Heath and its ponds, announced that it had adopted a new gender identity policy to make sure services in the area “are fully compliant with the Equality Act 2010, and do not discriminate against trans people”.

In January, the City of London, confirmed that the ladies’ pond – which counts people such as the actor Helena Bonham Carter and novelist Esther Freud among its swimmers – was open to transgender women. That was formalised in an announcement on Thursday that the new rules would “ensure a robust and consistent approach to gender identity”.

But what is “gender identity”? And why does the City of London need to have a robust and consistent approach to it? And, most to the point, what about the other rights? Why is the supposed right of transgender women to use the ladies’ pond more important than the right of women to use it? Why is it bad to discriminate against trans people but fine to discriminate against women? What is the point of having a pond for women and then ruling that men can use it too while bragging about rights?

Edward Lord, the chair of the establishment committee, which leads on the CoLC’s workforce and inclusion policies, said: “All communities should be fully respected, and equality and basic human rights upheld.”

Except those of women.

I could see it if the City of London had decided that sex segregation at the Hampstead ponds was an anachronism and a bad idea in light of moves to segregate Muslim women at university events and the like, but that’s not what this is. This is keeping the sex segregation but saying a particular subset of men have the “right” to creep on women while pretending it’s a matter of respect and equality and basic human rights.

A statement on the CoLC website said the new approach would “minimise potential issues of exclusion and discrimination”.

Will it? How can they know that? How can they know there won’t be women who wonder how anyone one will know that all the trans women are genuinely trans women, with not a single opportunistic dude among them?

The announcement comes after a consultation on attitudes to gender identity held last year received nearly 40,000 responses, of which 21,191 were deemed valid. CoLC said 65% of those valid respondents favoured ensuring trans people did not suffer discrimination.

In other words they threw out nearly half the responses in advance. Well that’s one way to get the desired result.



The only debate to be had

May 23rd, 2019 11:24 am | By

Hmmmm, really?

Being transgender is an innate part of the human condition? So everybody is trans – which is pretty much the same as saying nobody is trans. If everybody is trans we just carry on as before.

But if that is true, why were we never told it before? Why in all this time, when humans were inventing agriculture and trade and alphabets and yoga and the Mars Rover, did no one tell us that being transgender is an innate part of the human condition?



Hamburg is in Germany??

May 23rd, 2019 10:57 am | By

Trump this morning.

Let’s pause to remember just one thing. The guy who composed that tweet is the guy who decided to make Rex Tillerson Secretary of State. If Tillerson was indeed totally ill-prepared and ill-equipped to be Secretary of State, then why did Trump decide to appoint him Secretary of State?

From that question, another follows. Clearly Trump didn’t think of that when he composed the tweet. Trump somehow managed to compose and post a tweet saying the guy he first appointed Secretary of State was totally ill-prepared and ill-equipped to be Secretary of State without realizing how that would reflect on him. How can you be that stupid and remember how to breathe?

I don’t know. Sarah Sanders refuses to discuss it.

Sarah Sanders declined to answer Thursday why President Donald Trump appointed Rex Tillerson as secretary of state despite saying he was “totally ill prepared” for the job.

And ill qualified. Don’t forget that part.

Tillerson has spoken little about his time in the administration since leaving last year. However, reports Wednesday claimed that Tillerson had met with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and told them that Trump was, according to The Washington Post, out-prepared by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Hamburg, Germany.

Therefore, as sure as eggs is eggs, Trump retorted publicly on Twitter, blithely failing to notice that he was admitting gross incompetence.

Minuted later Sanders appeared for an interview on CNN and was asked why, if Tillerson was so “ill prepared and ill equipped,” the president nominated him in the first place.

“Look, the President’s meeting with Putin went extremely well,” Sanders responded, declining to answer the meat of the question. “The president has made clear that having a relationship with the president of Russia is better than not having one.”

Look, that wasn’t the question. Look, you can’t hide the fact that you’re not answering the question by answering a different question that nobody asked. Look, it doesn’t make you any more credible to start your non-responsive response with “Look.” Look, you’re a lying hack and should go back to Arkansas, never to be seen again.



Rip off the mask and there is Mister Misogyny!

May 22nd, 2019 5:43 pm | By

Men who have nothing but contempt for women have a gold mine in trans activism.

He must not read anything at all, then, because it isn’t.

But never mind. He knows how to put women in their place.

Ooooooh radicalized mumsnet users – a tactful way of saying “stupid bitches.” Stupid women with their “babies” and “children,” what can they possibly know about anything, they should leave writing and thinking and talking to the men.



Nah, we threw it out

May 22nd, 2019 4:51 pm | By

Meanwhile

Remember the planned redesign of the $20 bill that was going to include the first African American woman to appear on U.S. currency?

Well, don’t expect to see Harriett Tubman on your $20 any time soon.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin confirmed Wednesday what had been apparent for some time: The currency redesign pursued by his Obama administration predecessor Jacob Lew not is going to happen during the Trump administration.

Well of course it’s not. Trump has a plan to put war criminals on your $20 so Harriett Tubman will just have to go back to Mexico where she belongs.

Mnuchin said a new design for the $20 bill will not come out until 2028. The $10 and the $50 will come out with new features before that.

In 2016, Lew announced with great fanfare that Tubman, a freed slave who became a 19th century abolitionist, would replace Andrew Jackson, the seventh president, as the face of the $20, and that portraits of suffragists including Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul and Susan B. Anthony would be on the back of the $10 note.

But Trump and his enforcers obviously weren’t going to stand for that.

The new designs were to be revealed next year, which is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote.

But President Trump derided the new currency as “pure political correctness” before being elected and suggested Tubman be put on the rarely used $2 bill instead.

Trump is also known to be a fan of Jackson.

The Trail of Tears guy. Of course Trump is a fan.

Image result for harriet tubman

Currency is for white guys.



Faux outrage for the win

May 22nd, 2019 4:11 pm | By

Hey kids, let’s play Pretend Feminist for ten seconds before we go back to cheering for forced birth.



I would have borne a child for them: the authorities, the fundamentalists

May 22nd, 2019 3:57 pm | By

Ursual Le Guin on abortion:

My friends at NARAL asked me to tell you what it was like before Roe vs Wade. They asked me to tell you what it was like to be twenty and pregnant in 1950 and when you tell your boyfriend you’re pregnant, he tells you about a friend of his in the army whose girl told him she was pregnant, so he got all his buddies to come and say, “We all fucked her, so who knows who the father is?” And he laughs at the good joke….

What was it like, if you were planning to go to graduate school and get a degree and earn a living so you could support yourself and do the work you loved—what it was like to be a senior at Radcliffe and pregnant and if you bore this child, this child which the law demanded you bear and would then call “unlawful,” “illegitimate,” this child whose father denied it … What was it like? […]

It’s like this: if I had dropped out of college, thrown away my education, depended on my parents … if I had done all that, which is what the anti-abortion people want me to have done, I would have borne a child for them, … the authorities, the theorists, the fundamentalists; I would have born a child for them, their child.

But I would not have born my own first child, or second child, or third child. My children.

The life of that fetus would have prevented, would have aborted, three other fetuses … the three wanted children, the three I had with my husband—whom, if I had not aborted the unwanted one, I would never have met … I would have been an “unwed mother” of a three-year-old in California, without work, with half an education, living off her parents….

But it is the children I have to come back to, my children Elisabeth, Caroline, Theodore, my joy, my pride, my loves. If I had not broken the law and aborted that life nobody wanted, they would have been aborted by a cruel, bigoted, and senseless law. They would never have been born. This thought I cannot bear.

H/t J.A.



Potentially devastating consequences for women

May 22nd, 2019 3:34 pm | By

The Telegraph introduces the UK to Meghan Murphy:

As one of the lone voices unequivocally arguing that identifying as a different gender does not change one’s chromosomal sex (and, ergo, that trans-women are not actually women) Murphy was swiftly labelled a ‘radical’ feminist, as well as a bigot and a transphobe by her detractors, many of whom also accuse her of being Right-wing.

To Murphy, a once proud socialist with a Marxist father, it’s a laughable claim. But she feels betrayed by the Left. ‘The NDP [Canada’s equivalent to Labour] has fully vilified women who speak out about this,’ she says. ‘They won’t even have a conversation.’

On Monday evening she spoke at a sold-out event on women’s rights in Bloomsbury, where she received something of a rock star’s welcome, with extended applause and whoops of appreciation as she walked onto the podium. It makes our meeting at one of Camden’s most rock ‘n’ roll pubs the following afternoon feel quite appropriate.

The reason for Murphy’s visit is because a similar ideological battle is taking place on this side of the Atlantic. Last year the Government launched a public consultation on ‘gender self-ID’, a policy which would require little more than signing a statement – and no medical oversight – for anyone to obtain a legal gender change. The debate in the UK has been equally fraught, with accusations of transphobia liberally hurled at those who dare raise the potential practical impact of such sweeping legislative reforms.

Liberally in one sense but very illiberally in another.

Murphy has genuine sympathy for those suffering from gender dysphoria (the belief they have been born the wrong sex) but it is outweighed by her concern that trans activists’ increasingly rapacious demands, particularly in the name of trans-women, many of whom, it is believed, opt to retain their male anatomy, will have potentially devastating consequences for women and children in a plethora of areas from professional sports to domestic violence provision.

In Vancouver, she points out, a women’s rape shelter which denied services to trans-women was deemed ‘transphobic’ by local politicians, who subsequently voted to cut its government subsidies. ‘Women who are escaping male violence need somewhere to go,’ Murphy says. ‘And these places are going to lose funding unless they cave [to the demands of trans activists].’ It is for erstwhile uncontroversial statements such as these that Murphy has attracted such opprobrium.

Despite her public aura of bravado, Murphy admits the incessant harassment has taken its toll. In Canada she has lost friends who are afraid to associate with her for fear of damaging their ‘woke’ credentials, received obscene telephone calls, and even been reported to the police for alleged transphobia. ‘They obviously thought it was silly,’ she says, but nevertheless a policeman warned her to ‘be careful’.

‘I’m scared for my safety,’ Murphy confesses. ‘Lots of women are. I know people who’ve lost their jobs over this. Women are being silenced.’

Yes but pronouns. Pronouns, I tell you.



Let’s forced raped women to stay pregnant

May 22nd, 2019 12:39 pm | By

Of course they did.

Opponents of abortion rights have a long history of supporting abortion bans with three major exceptions: when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or when a woman’s life is at risk.

But, fueled by momentum from the passage of a restrictive abortion law in Alabama, a coalition of anti-abortion-rights groups released a letter Wednesday asking Republican officials to “reconsider decades-old talking points” on exceptions to such laws.

“We understand that issues like rape and incest are difficult topics to tackle; nevertheless, it is our view that the value of human life is not determined by the circumstances of one’s conception or birth,” said a draft of the letter provided to NPR by Students for Life of America, which led the effort.

But it’s not just about “one’s” conception or birth. It’s also about the female human being in which “one” has to gestate for nine months in order to be able to have an actual human life. That female human being is already a human being with a life; she’s not a process, she’s completed. If she’s not completed she can’t possibly gestate or conceive an infant, so we know she’s completed.

If we think about it from the angle of valuing her human life first, then we grasp that the circumstances of conception do indeed determine the value of the process inside her body that depends on her before it can be a human life. If the conception is a result of rape then it is violently against her will: it is something she did not want and did not seek, and it’s something that was imposed on her forcibly by the kind of human being that is free from ever being forced to gestate an infant she never asked for.

The forced-birthers of course want us to put the life of the fetus first, with the life of the host a distant second if at all. But there’s no reason to do that. An embryo has no reason to cling to life, to want to stay inside the female body long enough to have a human life; an embryo has no plans, no ongoing life it wants to continue, no dreams, no memories, no favorite landscapes. The imagined life of the embryo should not trump the real life of the woman or girl.

The letter to McDaniel comes as Charlotte Pence, the daughter of Vice President Pence, penned an op-ed in The Washington Times expressing support for Alabama’s law. “Personally, I would not encourage a friend to get an abortion if she suffered the horrendous evil of rape or incest because I care about her child — and her. I do not believe abortion provides healing,” she writes.

But it’s not about what Charlotte Pence believes. It’s about what the woman or girl wants.



Mr. Trump was loaded for bear

May 22nd, 2019 11:47 am | By

The Times on Donnie’s tantrum:

President Trump abruptly blew up a scheduled meeting with Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday, lashing out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi for accusing him of a cover-up and declaring that he could not work with them until they stopped investigating him.

He then marched out into the Rose Garden, where reporters had been gathered, and delivered a statement bristling with anger as he demanded that Democrats “get these phony investigations over with.” He said they could not legislate and investigate at the same time. “We’re going to go down one track at a time,” he said.

Before the White House meeting Pelosi had been meeting with Democrats to talk about impeachment.

She emerged from that meeting with Democrats accusing Mr. Trump of a “cover-up.”

When she and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, arrived at the White House, Mr. Trump was loaded for bear. He walked into the Cabinet Room and did not shake anyone’s hand or sit in his seat, according to a Democrat informed about the meeting. He said that he wanted to advance legislation on infrastructure, trade and other matters, but that Ms. Pelosi had said something “terrible” by accusing him of a cover-up, according to the Democrat.

Well, yes, it’s terrible, because his cover-up is terrible. If you don’t want people saying terrible things about you, don’t do terrible things.

After just three minutes, he left the room before anyone else could speak, the Democrat said. From there, he headed to the Rose Garden, where a lectern had been set up with a sign that said “No Collusion, No Obstruction” and gave statistics intended to show that he had cooperated with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

“Instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk in to look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover-up,” Mr. Trump said. “I don’t do cover-ups.”

He’s been doing cover-ups his entire life. He hides his school and university transcripts, his taxes, his wealth, his sexual assaults, his infidelities, his thefts, his lies, his dirty tricks, his mistakes, his cheating at golf – he tries to cover up things we see him saying and doing on camera. He does do cover-ups. They probably number in the hundreds. He’s a cheat and a thief and a liar. Of course he does cover-ups.

Mr. Schumer expressed shock at the outcome. “What happened in the White House would make your jaw drop,” he said.

He suggested that the real reason Mr. Trump blew up the meeting was that he had not come up with a way to pay for such an enormous spending package and therefore was looking for other excuses. He said it did not make sense that investigations would cause such an eruption because they had met late last month to discuss infrastructure.

So it’s another cover-up, by the guy who doesn’t do cover-ups.

But hey, it makes him look good, right?



No one ever even sat down

May 22nd, 2019 10:50 am | By

How this morning went:

Interesting. Democrats arrive for a meeting so Trump’s people summon reporters to the Rose Garden. Is there a flower ceremony?

Trump has called an impromptu presser just as Democrats arrive for a meeting? And if it’s impromptu, how can there be signs ready?

Dems have arrived to discuss infrastructure, while reporters are summoned to an “impromptu” presser featuring graphics about the Mueller investigation. None of this makes sense.

Ah. So it wasn’t impromptu at all. It was fake-impromptu. Real tantrum, fake impromptu press gathering.

Planned childish display of rudeness and refusal to do his one job.



Stay out of the locker room then

May 21st, 2019 4:46 pm | By

Boys’ Club gets boy in trouble yet again. Boys just wonder how come all the rules got changed alla sudden and nobody ever told them.

Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada, a Republican, said on Tuesday he plans to step down from his position after lewd and racist text messages between him and his former chief of staff were leaked to the media.

Opposition to his leadership snowballed after texts were leaked to the media in which Casada and his now-former chief of staff, Cade Cothren, traded lewd remarks. Sent in the summer of 2016, the messages show Casada egging on the aide as he bragged about a sexual encounter in a restaurant bathroom, as one example.

The leaks also included a text message in which Cothren disparaged African Americans calling black people “idiots.” Only one of those went to Casada, and it is not clear if he responded.

Casada first questioned the authenticity of the texts, then wrote them off in an interview as “locker room talk.” Finally, Casada conceded that the texts were real and apologized.

What is this idea that “locker room talk” is some kind of escape clause? That of course is what Trump said, dismissively, about his “you can grab them by the pussy” brag – the one that cost Billy Bush his job and the respect of his daughter. So what is this idea? Who decided that when men talk contemptuous sexist shit about women in a locker room it doesn’t count? Why the fuck wouldn’t it count? Of course it counts! Locker rooms and other all-guy let your hair down places are where boys and men learn to talk contemptuous sexist shit about women. It’s where they learn they’re expected to talk contemptuous sexist shit about women, and that they’ll be mocked and bullied and ostracized if they don’t.

The fact that the contemptuous sexist shit about women is “locker room talk” doesn’t make it one tiny bit less contemptuous and sexist and guaranteed to train men to look down on women. Not.one.tiny.bit.