The principles of federalism

Feb 27th, 2020 10:14 am | By

Gotta watch out for that overreach stuff. It can get in your clothes and your pipes and your engines and just mess everything up. Like making lynching a federal crime – that would be a terrible reckless thing to do.

Historic legislation that would make lynching a federal hate crime passed the House by near-unanimous consent Wednesday—with four representatives opposing it.

Not because they like lynching – no no. Because they don’t like federal overreach.

Three Republicans voted against the measure: GOP members Ted Yoho of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Thomas Massie of Kentucky. The chamber’s lone Independent, Justin Amash of Michigan—who famously switched from Republican to Independent over his support for impeaching President Donald Trump—also voted no.

It passed 410 to 4 though.

Although Yoho said he’ll continue to condemn the “horrific act of lynching” and advocate for perpetrators to receive the “harshest penalty under the law,” the retiring congressman also felt the text took away too much power from states and was redundant.

Power to do what? Say that this particular lynching wasn’t a hate crime but a temper tantrum or mistaken identity or purely financially motivated?

“This bill today is an overreach of the federal government and encroaches on the principles of federalism,” the retiring lawmaker told Newsweek in a statement. “Hate crimes fall under the jurisdiction of states, which has led to 46 states producing various hate crime statutes. In my home state of Florida, these crimes are already under state government jurisdiction and are punishable up to death.”

But why not have the whole country on the record? Who is threatened by that?

Full-blown religious riots

Feb 27th, 2020 7:44 am | By

Soutik Biswas at the BBC on why the Delhi violence has echoes of the Gujarat riots:

What began as small clashes between supporters and opponents of a controversial citizenship law quickly escalated into full-blown religious riots between Hindus and Muslims, in congested working class neighbourhoods on the fringes of the sprawling capital.

Armed Hindu mobs rioted with impunity as the police appeared to look the other way. Mosques and homes and shops of Muslims were attacked, sometimes allegedly with the police in tow. Journalists covering the violence were stopped by the Hindu rioters and asked about their religion. Videos and pictures emerged of the mob forcing wounded Muslim men to recite the national anthem, and mercilessly beating up a young Muslim man. Panicky Muslims began leaving mixed neighbourhoods.

On the other side, Muslim rioters have also been violent – some of them also armed – and a number of Hindus, including security personnel, are among the dead and injured.

It took three days for Modi to appeal for peace.

Not surprisingly, the ethnic violence in Delhi has drawn comparisons with two of India’s worst sectarian riots in living memory. Nearly 3,000 people were killed in anti-Sikh riots in the capital in 1984 after the then prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards. And in 2002, more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died after a train fire killed 60 Hindu pilgrims in Gujarat – Mr Modi was then the chief minister of the state.

Not a coincidence.

There’s a chance that it won’t

Feb 26th, 2020 5:03 pm | By

More Trump trying to pull intelligent sentences out of his empty head:

Asked if he was worried about the spread of novel coronavirus in the United States, President Trump said, “No, because we’re ready for it.”

No we’re not.

“It is what it is. We’re ready for it. We’re really prepared,” the President continued. “We have, as I said, we have the greatest people in the world. We’re very ready for it. We hope it doesn’t spread. There’s a chance that it won’t spread, too. And there’s a chance that it will.”

Ah. There’s a chance that it won’t spread, and a chance that it will. What a relief to know that someone is in charge!

“It’s just a question of at what level. So far, we’ve done a great job. When you have 15 people — with this whole world coming into the United States — and the 15 people are either better or close to being better, that’s pretty good.”

And the situation is going to freeze at this stage, so everything is fabulous and we can all go hunt for the hidden ice cream.

Ongoing efforts

Feb 26th, 2020 4:39 pm | By

Trump said some words to the cameras, in the hopes that everyone would hear the words and feel safe.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday placed Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the US government response to the novel coronavirus, amid growing criticism of the White House’s handling of the outbreak.

At a wide-ranging White House news conference, the President defended the White House’s response, stressing the administration’s ongoing efforts and resources devoted to combat the virus.

What efforts? What resources?

“Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low,” Trump said.

All what they’ve done?

Trump has been publicly downplaying the novel coronavirus’ effects, because he thinks doing otherwise could cause further panic in the markets — and he’s been frustrated with officials issuing warnings about the unknowns of the virus’s spread. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is one aide who encouraged Trump to downplay the latest developments, at least publicly, one person says.

Yes that’s definitely reassuring, to hear that he’s more worried about the markets than about a pandemic.

The appointment of Pence came after the White House denied it was considering appointing a czar to oversee the administration’s response outbreak.

Trump said Pence would not be a “czar,” but stressed the vice president will be coordinating the efforts.

Well we know he won’t be a literal czar. We’re not stupid. To be a czar you have to be Russian, and named Romanov. We weren’t born yesterday you know.

“Mike will be working with the professionals, doctors and everybody else that is working. The team is brilliant. I spent a lot of time with the team the last couple weeks,” the President said. “But they are brilliant and we’re doing really well and Mike is going to be in charge and Mike will report back to me. But he has a certain talent for this.”

That’s the speech of a child who hasn’t done the homework. That’s someone saying filler-words because he has no idea what else to say. Professionals, doctors, working, brilliant, really well, talent. It means absolutely nothing. He could be talking about 3 people in a sub-basement eating pork rinds and playing poker for all we know. Trump has no clue about any of it.


Feb 26th, 2020 11:12 am | By

Pushing back.

Last week:

An hour ago:

As she cried and begged

Feb 26th, 2020 10:38 am | By

Out of Florida:

Newly released body-camera footage shows the moment a police officer in Florida arrested a six-year-old girl as she cried and begged not to be taken from school.

Kaia Rolle was led to a police vehicle with her hands fastened behind her back in zip ties after having a tantrum at her school in Orlando that included kicking and punching school personnel.

Later in the story we learn that she has sleep apnea which is thought to affect her behavior.

By the time police officers arrived at the Lucious & Emma Nixon academy, she had already settled down.

In the video, Kaia can be seen seated and listening to a teacher read as officers approach her.

Leading us to wonder what the hell for. If she’s still kicking and punching, surely summoning other adults to help restrain and calm her makes more sense than calling the police, and if she’s not…why are the police even allowed to enter the classroom?

After she asks what the zip ties are for, an officer, Dennis Turner, responds: “They’re for you.”

Kaia starts to cry as a second officer, who has not been identified, binds her wrists.

From this point on the video becomes excruciatingly painful to watch.

“Help me. Help me, please,” she can be heard pleading and crying, as officers restrain her.

As the officers lead her to a patrol SUV, Kaia can be heard saying: “I don’t wanna go in a police car.”

The second officer replies: “You have to.”

“Please, give me a second chance,” she sobs.

And continues to sob. It’s not fake-crying, it’s not tantrum-crying, it’s not rage-crying, it’s frightened pleading child crying, and it’s unbearable. SHE’S SIX YEARS OLD ffs.

Turner was later fired for violating policy. Apparently it’s not policy to terrorize small children.

According to the Orlando police department, a supervisor must first be present to approve the arrest of a child younger than age 12. Turner reportedly did not contact one.

In the clip, he brags about having arrested other minors. and attempts to reassure school officials that the juvenile detention center is not that bad.

He tells administrators he has made more than 6,000 arrests in his career, including of a seven-year-old, for shoplifting. School employees tell him that Kaia is six.

“Now she has broken the record,” Turner replies.

Sadism is too much in fashion in this country.

Don’t share the information with Congress

Feb 26th, 2020 10:02 am | By

More on Trump’s tightening of the screws on the intelligence-gathering branch of government:

Maguire and several of his deputies were reportedly fired because an official in his office, election security expert Shelby Pierson, briefed Congress without Trump’s knowledge on Russia’s ongoing election interference, though the White House is disputing that version of events. The NSA, CIA, and Pentagon have been urged by the White House not to share information about Russia and Ukraine with lawmakers, while the “Gang of Eight” senior members of Congress were bypassed leading up to at least one major intelligence operation.

Say that again?

The NSA, CIA, and Pentagon have been urged by the White House not to share information about Russia and Ukraine with lawmakers

I know we’ve seen it before, but put that way it does make the alarms go off.

I know how this is how democracy, as opposed to autocracy, works; I know it’s always political as well as substantive; I know they’re all thinking about the next election as well as the job at hand; but still. But still, surely they retain some sense of having to work in the national interest before their own.

The NSA, the CIA, and the Pentagon are not supposed to hide information from Congress.

“We have an enemy of the United States that is conducting information warfare against us and our executive leadership doesn’t want to hear it, doesn’t want the Congress to hear it, and doesn’t want the people to hear it,” said former acting DNI David Gompert, who said he was “aghast” at the hiring of Grenell. “We now have a situation where the principal objective, evidently, of this acting DNI is to ensure that information about Russian interference and Russian preference for this particular president does not get out.”

And we know about it but we can’t do anything about it.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has complained openly about the CIA and NSA’s supposed capitulation to White House demands that certain intelligence not be provided to lawmakers.

“The intelligence community is beginning to withhold documents from Congress on the issue of Ukraine,” Schiff said last month. “Both the NSA and CIA initially pledged cooperation, and it appears now that the White House has interceded before production of documents could begin,” an intelligence committee official said later.

The NSA was initially providing the requested information as part of normal congressional oversight, the former U.S. official said. But the situation became increasingly untenable as O’Brien, the national security adviser, urged the agency to at least temporarily hold back and wait to see what the CIA pushed to produce. Ultimately, the agency produced nothing—and NSA turned off the faucet, too.

That’s not how this is supposed to work.

Peak allaboutme

Feb 26th, 2020 9:12 am | By

Trump says the coronavirus is a plot against him.

Mobs demanding to know their religion

Feb 26th, 2020 8:30 am | By

The murderous riots in Delhi are absolutely fucking horrifying – a reprise of Partition and the Ayodhya riots.

Twenty-three people have been killed so far in the deadliest violence the Indian capital has seen in decades.

Photographs, videos and accounts on social media paint a chilling image of the last few days – of mostly Hindu mobs beating unarmed men, including journalists; of groups of men with sticks, iron rods and stones wandering the streets; and of Hindus and Muslims facing off.

Some 189 people are injured, according to officials at the Guru Teg Bahadur hospital, where many of them have been admitted.

BBC reporters at the hospital say they saw people with all sorts of injuries, including bullet wounds, scrambling for treatment. They say the hospital seemed “overwhelmed”, and many of the injured were “too scared to go back home”.

Many, including journalists, have tweeted and spoken of mobs demanding to know their religion. At least one photojournalist said he was asked to remove his pants to prove his religious identity. This has also happened during religious riots in the past to identify Muslims as they are usually circumcised.

That’s where fetishistic ideas about “validity” get you.

Modi is a Hindu nationalist. Religious nationalism is a short straight road to violence and genocide.

Valid until July 2020

Feb 26th, 2020 8:12 am | By

Arielle Scarcella has had enough.

Millennial lesbian vlogger Arielle Scarcella caused a stir last Friday when she announced that she no longer feels a part of the contemporary LGBTQIAA+ movement, the latest evolution of the gay rights movement that stands for ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Allies and others.’

My first introduction to Scarcella was via one of Magdalen Berns’s early videos, in which Magdalen took issue with some bit of trans dogma Scarcella was pushing. It’s been heartening to see her changing her mind since then.

Scarcella, who vlogs about women, sexuality and culture and has over 600,000 YouTube followers, denounced the ridiculously “woke” rainbow coalition movement as “a safe haven for the mentally unstable”, stating that she has been “more cancelled, tortured, tormented, harassed” by what is supposedly her own community than by any other group.

Mary Harrington gets to the core point in explaining why Scarcella has had enough.

The growing desertion of the movement formerly known as LGBT by actual lesbian, gay and bisexual people reflects a core issue raised by its current trajectory, namely the political paralysis that results from an attempt to practice inclusivity in the absence of limits.

Exactly. I keep pointing this out. “Inclusive” and “exclusionary” are bad stupid buzzwords because no politics can be “inclusive” of everyone and everything – politics is all about excluding some things, which entails also excluding people who want to include those things or who represent those things.

Forming a group in order to campaign for that group’s political interests necessarily means defining what that group is, which in turn means defining what it is not. That is, political agency requires a degree of self-definition that is necessarily exclusionary. But as other groups are added, willy-nilly, in the interests of inclusivity, it becomes increasingly difficult to discern the nature of their common political interests.

That + at the end of LGBTQIAA? That’s the door to chaos.

But the growing reluctance to impose limits, and willingness to include even heterosexual people (who sneak in under ‘queer’ or ‘ally’) in the rainbow coalition, renders the political programme ever more diffuse. What, from a political point of view, can lesbian women unite in solidarity with asexuals to campaign for, apart from a general feel-good assertion that ‘we are all valid’?

Not even a feel-good assertion, for me, because it’s such gibberish.

But validation has little meaningful substance as a political programme; in effect it takes away political agency. For if ‘validation’ is the core political demand, those pursuing this kind of identity-based programme ultimately hand power to the authority they claim to challenge, granting the state the ability to confer or withhold personhood itself.

And they turn themselves into something like a library card or a bus pass. No thanks.

Jesus and his journey of idenniny

Feb 26th, 2020 7:46 am | By
Jesus and his journey of idenniny

The BBC is doing a Lent talk. This year’s sermon: how Jesus is like a trans woman.

Jesus’ 40-day struggle in the wilderness led to his discovery of who he was and what his mission would be. This year’s Lent Talks theme is identity – losing and gaining identity, struggling with identity, accepting and owning identity. Anglican priest Rachel Mann reflects on the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and on her journey of identity as a trans woman.

Constantly in the process of becoming

Feb 25th, 2020 5:23 pm | By

From the Australian Feminist Law Journal, an abstract:

Sexually Dimorphic Bodies: A Production of Birth Certificates

Birth certificates produce bodies? Who knew?!

Registering a newborn’s gender/sex on the birth certificate is usually seen as a mere formality that reflects a natural state of affairs. This article, however, shows that the registration of gender/sex does something else than record naturally given sex differences in bodies; it actually produces and shapes bodies to develop in a way conformant with understandings of sexual dimorphism.

Hmm. I wonder what Lena Holzer means by “shows.” I say that because I doubt that a journal article can “show” something nonsensical.

Sexed bodies are therefore not pre-discursive and static objects, but they are constantly in the process of becoming, influenced by socio-legal procedures, including gender/sex registration.

Well obviously living bodies are not static, because a static body is dead. And of course bodies are in some sense always in the process of becoming, because they’re constantly changing in various ways.

The jargon makes this abstract look more like literary “theory” than law. You know you’re being conned (or if you don’t you should) when instead of “living bodies change constantly” you get “bodies are not pre-discursive and static objects.” It’s not difficult to think of obvious points one can make to demonstrate that being classified female or male leads to many effects that shape females and males, including their bodies…but that doesn’t sound clever enough for a journal.

By analysing the effects of registering the legal gender/sex on birth certificates and the change of gender markers thereof in various jurisdictions, in particular Australian states and territories, the article aims to show how bodies of intersex as well as endosex cis and trans persons are made into what they are expected to be: sexually dimorphic.

Oh yes? Then how does it work with all the other sexually dimorphic species? They don’t have birth certificates, so how do they manage to be sexually dimorphic anyway? How does the bull moose know it’s time to fight all the other bull mooses and impregnate as many cows as possible? Does someone pass him a note saying “You are a bull”?

It concludes that legally assigning a gender/sex has intrinsically violent effects on bodies, something that could be avoided by eliminating the public registration of gender/sex.

Where did “intrinsically violent” come from?

Whatever. I can tell you this much: if you visit Yosemite or Yellowstone in autumn don’t try to get friendly with the bulls. Rutting season is no joke, birth certificate or no birth certificate.

Why it matters

Feb 25th, 2020 3:48 pm | By

Someone who probably knows what he’s talking about explains why Trump’s tweet about the virus was so terrible.

Because it’s not “very much under control,” right?

But which is more important, telling the truth so that we can try to prepare, or making Trump look as if he’s doing his job? The question answers itself.

What’s more important – 300 million people, or Trump? Trump, of course, every time. His reputation matters far more than our survival.

Making America great again.

Quick, hide the cauliflower

Feb 25th, 2020 3:29 pm | By

Some children have to be tricked into eating vegetables.

Donald Trump, a 73-year-old man who has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal at his fingertips, must be tricked into eating vegetables. The White House staff has also sought to cut down the president’s ice cream consumption by making it “less accessible.”

They put it in the library.

The newsflash is from an interview with the former White House doctor in the NY Times.

In public, [Ronny] Jackson lauded Trump’s health as “incredible.” At one point, he even told reporters that Trump could live to 200 years old.

Behind the scenes, however, Jackson said he wanted Trump to lose 10-15 pounds. He mapped out a workout routine involving an exercise bike and elliptical machine, while also seeking to alter Trump’s nutrition. Ultimately, “the exercise stuff never took off as much as I wanted it to,” Jackson told The Times. “But we were working on his diet. We were making the ice cream less accessible, we were putting cauliflower into the mashed potatoes.”

And that little boy is only 73 years old.


Feb 25th, 2020 11:01 am | By

The story is by Pink News “gender and identity” reporter Vic Parsons, who is or pretends to be incredulous that any women or girls ever have issues to do with excess bleeding.

Conservative peer Lord Lucas has spoken out about gender-neutral toilets, which he bizarrely thinks should be scrapped because women don’t want to “wash their bloody underwear” in front of men.

Vic Parsons doesn’t explain what’s bizarre about that.

The reality is that women don’t want to wash bloody underpants in front of anyone except possibly immediate family. Certainly having to wash blood out of one’s underpants in any public restroom/toilet would be a depressing and embarrassing need, but it would for sure be much worse in a “gender neutral” restroom toilet. Personally I don’t think women do that much – I think it’s more usual to wrap everything in layers of paper towel and wait until you get home to do the washing part. But I think if they do need to they should have a man-free restroom/toilet to do it in. Vic Parsons however is full of disdain.

During a House of Lords debate on Monday, Lucas claimed that gender-neutral bathrooms should be scrapped because women are “unsafe and uncomfortable” sharing space with men when they’re on their period.

“I do not think that any woman really wants to wash her bloody underwear when she has flooded during a period in front of men,” said Lucas, who, despite what this statement would have you believe, has been married to three women and has two daughters.

Maybe one or more of them had or have exceptionally heavy periods. That can happen, you know.

Image result for carrie shower scene

Bloody sluts

Feb 25th, 2020 10:41 am | By

Pink News arrives at peak misogyny.

Normal by Saturday

Feb 25th, 2020 10:36 am | By

The BBC is live-updating news on the virus.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US’s top public health agency, has warned Americans to brace themselves for a spread of coronavirus within the country.

“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen in this country any more but a question of when this will happen,” Dr Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunisation and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), said.

And it will be bad.

In Iran however they’re saying don’t worry, it’s all good.

Amid fears around Iran’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, President Hassan Rouhani has appealed for calm, saying he expects the situation to be “normal” by this Saturday.

He was addressing the first meeting of the National HQ for Combating Corona, which was broadcast live by Iran’s rolling news channel IRINN.

“From Saturday onwards, all processes would be as per normal in the country,” he said. “If there is any special case, which the national HQ itself declares, then it would do so.”

So that’s where Trump is getting his information.

President Rouhani then urged people to go about their business and work as usual, and warned against listening to “conspiracies and fear-mongering of our enemies”, which he said were being spread in an attempt to bring Iran to a standstill.


Wait maybe Trump isn’t getting his cues from Iran.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he’s “deeply concerned” that Iran’s government may have suppressed vital details about the outbreak in the country.

“The United States is deeply concerned by information indicating the Iranian regime may have suppressed vital details about the outbreak in that country,” he told reporters today.

“All nations, including Iran, should tell the truth about the coronavirus and co-operate with international aid organisations.”

Does that apply to Trump? Or no?

Very much under control though

Feb 25th, 2020 10:15 am | By

The CDC says look out, it will be bad. Trump says he’s got everything totally under control.

The CDC says:

New outbreaks in Asia, Europe and the Middle East are renewing fears of a coming global pandemic, even as the spread in China appears to be slowing.

RIGHT NOW “We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad,” a C.D.C. official said.


He thinks his words are magic.

Who is most appropriate?

Feb 25th, 2020 9:03 am | By

Now Trump is pretending to think the sane Supreme Court justices should recuse themselves.

President Trump criticized remarks by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg as “inappropriate” and said the Supreme Court justices should recuse themselves from cases involving the president.

“I just don’t know how they cannot recuse themselves for anything Trump or Trump related,” Trump said Tuesday in a wide-ranging news conference in New Delhi.

It seems very rude to prattle about something so parochial when he’s in India. But…theory of mind again. He’s not capable of stopping to think that people in New Delhi have other concerns.

He then had the gall to say Sotomayor said something “highly inappropriate.” Dude.

The remarks are an apparent reference to a recent Sotomayor dissent in which she wrote that the administration had made a habit of turning to the Supreme Court after losses in lower courts.

“Claiming one emergency after another, the government has recently sought stays in an unprecedented number of cases, demanding immediate attention and consuming limited court resources in each,” Sotomayor wrote. “And with each successive application, of course, its cries of urgency ring increasingly hollow.” She added that the Supreme Court was “partly to blame” because it “has been all too quick to grant the government’s” requests.

In other words her point is that Trump’s administration is doing something “highly inappropriate” and in violation of precedent, so naturally his response is “No YOU are.”

Call people names and win big cash prizes

Feb 24th, 2020 3:47 pm | By

Trump is giving advice on how to win the primaries.

“Mini Mike—how’d he do in the debate the other day?” President Donald Trump asked, at a rally in Las Vegas on Friday. He was talking about Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York, for whom he had some advice. But first he wanted to remind the crowd of Bloomberg’s height. “Here’s a box, Mike!” Trump said. (Bloomberg did not, in fact, stand on a box for the Democratic debate in Nevada.) The crowd cheered on his derision. “He was a beauty—what happened?” Trump clutched his throat and lolled his tongue in a somewhat graphic mime of choking. Then he arrived at what he saw as Bloomberg’s central problem: “Pocahontas screaming at him.” He meant Senator Elizabeth Warren, and he knew just how Bloomberg should respond to her.

By calling her “Pocahontas,” of course.

“Why didn’t he bring that up when she was screaming at him?” Bloomberg didn’t call Warren “Pocahontas”; that was why “she won that debate.” The lapse was incomprehensible to Trump, who segued into a stream of reminiscences about how he had won his primary debates during the 2016 campaign. “That’s what they all said! I won,” he boasted.

He won by being more vulgar and belligerent and trashy than anyone else. So everyone else should out-trashy him? I guess.

No, wait a second – he won the Republican primaries. He’s telling Bloomberg what to do to Be Like Him but Bloomberg is running as a Democrat. I don’t think Democrats as a group are as wedded to trashy racist sexist insults as an election technique as the Republicans are. In fact many Republicans have switched to being Democrats because they can’t stand the trash-talk.

At a rally in Colorado, a day before his event in Nevada, he brandished printouts of old press reports touting his debating prowess. “I became President because of the debates, because unlike Mini Mike I could answer questions,” Trump said—a line that might seem delusional if one thinks that, in order to “answer questions,” a person actually needs to give answers, rather than just attack the questioner. And yet Trump has something of a point; even if he didn’t “win” all the Republican debates, he did, on the whole, dominate them, at least in terms of shaping the tone. And that domination prefigured his takeover of the G.O.P. and the Party’s abasement of itself before him. Little Marco, Lyin’ Ted, Low-Energy Jeb. The President seems amazed that the Democrats aren’t all calling one another names. That’s what he would do.

Lots of Republicans like it, lots of Democrats not so much.