Notes and Comment Blog


Guest post: Fighting these battles for decades

Mar 9th, 2016 4:52 pm | By

Guest post by Tigger the wing.

I fear that my generation may have been far too indulgent of baby mtf trannies, when I discover them saying things like this:

Reminder to not use vaginas, periods, or slogans like “pussy power” as symbols for feminism!!! don’t exclude women who don’t have vaginas :)

How DARE you! How VERY dare you, you entitled little shits‽

Your grandmothers, mothers, sisters, ftm cousins, and older transwomen, have been fighting these battles for decades before most of you decided that you’d like to wear dresses and make-up. Did you have no idea, when you discovered your feminine internal person, that by joining the underclass you would automatically lose all the privileges that being born with a penis gave you, whether you asked for or expected such or not? And that by privileging those women born with a penis over all the billions of women who weren’t, you are perpetuating the patriarchal constructs that gave all queer people, including trans people like us, such a fucking hard time until feminists fought for us to have rights?

And then you have the sheer unmitigated gall to accuse people who say “Stop trampling over women” of being TERFs or ‘transmisogynistic’?

And to think I mulled over this for two days, because I was worried that my following initial response was too strong to post. And instead, I decided that it wasn’t strong enough. ;)
_____________________
“Weird, isn’t it, that women who have had their reproductive organs removed, for health reasons for example, have never had a problem with generalised language like that, because they understand that it was never intended to be exclusive.

It was much more important to focus on getting an education and the vote, being allowed to work where one was qualified to work regardless of marital status, being allowed to control one’s own fertility, being paid the same as a man for doing work of equivalent value, being treated as an autonomous being in marriage instead of a sex slave, etc., etc., et bloody cetera.

Has it really come to this, that the struggle to improve the fate of half the human race is going to be derailed by a tiny percentage of trans extremists who think that the fact that they were born with a penis makes them more important, so it should be all about them? Isn’t that the very attitude that feminism was formed to fight against?”
_____________________

So, go on then – defriend and block me, you snivelling little cowards, too pusillanimous to engage with adults on adult terms, engaging in online slacktivism and faux outrage against manufactured slights. Bloody social justice draft-dodgers and weasels, defending the pore ould patriarchy against those eebil wimminz and their disgusting procreative ways. I’m going to hit my drums, and pretend that it is possible to knock some sense into your dense little brains.



Sophisticated

Mar 9th, 2016 4:31 pm | By

The new Jesus and Mo considers a question that I often ask: whence came Mo’s reputation for being such a kind lovely fella?

strong

The Patreon.



Every conservative guy out there believes in everybody’s rights

Mar 9th, 2016 11:41 am | By

The second season of Caitlyn Jenner’s show about Caitlyn Jenner has started, CBS reports.

Don’t expect to see Caitlyn Jenner campaigning for Hillary Clinton anytime soon.

The avowed Republican — who recently expressed interest in working with Ted Cruz on transgender issues — chastised Clinton during the second season premiere of her reality series, “I am Cait.”

“If we’re unfortunate enough to get Hillary as our next president, we need her on our side,” Jenner said during a political discussion featured on the show. “Although she won’t be … she couldn’t care less about women. She only cares about herself.”

Hmmmmm.

One of Jenner’s friend, Jennifer Finney Boylan, then asks her which of Republican would be likely to help the trans rights cause.

“All of them,” Jenner responded. “None of the Republicans [say], ‘Oh, I hate trans people’ or ‘I hate gays.’ They do more, ‘I want a thriving economy so every trans person has a job.'”

Later in the episode, Boylan discussed the defeat of the Houston equal rights ordinance, which she insisted was defeated in large part by anti-LGBT fear-mongering from Republicans, an assertion Jenner refuted.

“I don’t feel like they’re out to get us,” Jenner said. “Every conservative guy out there believes in everybody’s rights.”

She’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, is she.



They deserve to be remembered

Mar 9th, 2016 11:00 am | By

CCP has a new petition.

Put a statue of a suffragette in Parliament Square to mark 100 years of female suffrage

Caroline Criado-Perez London, United Kingdom

Why Parliament Square?

There are eleven statues in Parliament Square. Not a single one is of a woman.

There are some great men honoured, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi among them. These are men who fought hard for their democratic and human rights and they deserve to be recognised.

But today is International Women’s Day. And I find myself thinking of others who fought hard for their democratic and human rights. I find myself thinking of the women who defied convention and police batons. Who went out on the streets. Who faced ridicule, imprisonment, violent assault, simply because they believed women were equal to men.

In two years’ time it will be 100 years since those women won their fight and women were first granted the right to vote.

They deserve to be remembered. They deserve to be commemorated at the heart of our democracy. Give them a statue in Parliament Square.

She made a list of the eleven men:

Churchill, Lloyd George, Jan Smutts, Palmerston, the 14th Earl of Derby, Disraeli, Peel, Canning,  Lincoln, Mandela, Gandhi. I have no idea what the 14th Earl of Derby did.



End child marriage now

Mar 9th, 2016 10:47 am | By

 



If we can’t say women we can’t say feminism

Mar 9th, 2016 10:34 am | By

Why does it matter, saying “women” instead of “people” when we talk about abortion or contraception or pregnancy?

It matters for the same reason we have the word “feminist” at all – because it picks out the fact that women are treated as an inferior caste, whose bodies don’t fully belong to them.

The logic is identical to the logic of “Black Lives Matter” versus “All Lives Matter.” BLM became a slogan because black people are treated as an inferior caste, subject to arbitrary interference and violence by the state. People on the left are well aware that retorting to  “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter” is at best a clueless irrelevance and at worst a racist provocation.

Talking about abortion rights in terms of “people” obscures the fact that many people (sic) think it’s ok or even obligatory to boss and control and limit women because they are women – that women are an inherently subordinate group, designated to be obedient to the dominant group. The fact that women and only women get pregnant is the core reason they are treated as an inherently subordinate group: childbearing must be controlled.

Once you start using language to obscure that fact, you lose the ability to name it and analyze it and rebel against it. Sexism becomes completely weird and unfathomable, it becomes random, and the random is not political; it can’t be resisted.

We understand this with no trouble when it comes to issues around race – so why is it so occluded when it comes to sex?



Ammon’s not having fun yet

Mar 8th, 2016 5:59 pm | By

Ammon Bundy has discovered, apparently to his surprise, that being in jail is not much fun.

“It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said Bundy, his hair cut short and wearing the standard blue jail smock over a pink T-shirt in a visiting room of the Multnomah County Detention Center. “But I don’t regret what we did because I knew it was right.”

It’s funny how delusional people can be – thinking that grabbing public property to use for private gain is some sort of noble cause. Stealing public resources to enrich yourself is not noble.

Bundy said he misses his wife and six children in Idaho — three daughters and three sons ages 1 to 13 — and struggles to maintain contact with them through letters and phone calls.

To pass the time, he takes inspiration from the jailhouse words of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. about the importance of civil disobedience, reads passages from Scripture, keeps a journal and tries to respond to the more than 220 people who have sent him letters since his arrest.

There it is again. He’s not King. He’s not like King. He’s not a civil rights activist. He’s not an idealist. He thinks he is, but he’s not.

Bundy said he knew his arrest was a real possibility, but he was surprised when the FBI and state police moved in while they were traveling to John Day to meet with residents there.

Why? Did he think breaking the law over a period of weeks made it not breaking the law? Well maybe he just thought the FBI wasn’t going to do anything, and since that’s what I thought, I can’t very well scorn him for that.

“We were headed with weapons of laptops, projectors and PA systems and they attacked us – literally ambushed us with a standing army,” Bundy said. “Yeah, we were surprised because we were going peacefully to a community meeting. We were legally moving about the country peacefully the way that people should be able to do.”

Yes but it’s the part about not-legally grabbing the federal wildlife refuge and refusing to leave that is what prompted the arrests. You can do legal things while committing crimes, and that won’t wash the criminality off.

While Bundy’s older brother, Ryan Bundy, 43, and their father, Cliven Bundy, are being held in the same jail, they have no contact at all, he said.

He described his father’s arrest as he stepped off a plane in Portland as “vindictive.” Cliven Bundy, 69, faces federal charges for the 2014 standoff near his Nevada ranch when armed militants confronted federal rangers in a dispute over grazing fees.

Yeah so not actually vindictive, but rather arresting him for a bunch of crimes.

His dad had flown all over the country since 2014 and was never bothered before now, he said.

He doesn’t think very clearly, does he.

“I’m grateful for him teaching me to do what is right, no matter what the consequences are,” Ammon Bundy said.

Nope. That’s not what he taught you. He taught you that other thing – to do what is wrong. He taught you to grab other people’s stuff because you want it for yourself. That’s not what is right.

He holds out hope that his side of the story will prevail in court.

“We went into a public building and we did a demonstration,” he said. “I believe that this will be recognized for what it is and we will be able to go home to our families. It will take us some time.”

No, that wasn’t a mere “demonstration.”

What a poltroon.



Attack of the pregnant people

Mar 8th, 2016 5:06 pm | By

This again. A piece by Katie Klabusich on a horrible Tennessee abortion law is undermined by Klabusich’s near-perfect attempt to avoid using the word “women” entirely. I still think erasing women from the abortion issue is politically suicidal and grotesquely insulting.

It starts with the title: Inside The “Fetal Assault Law” Sending Pregnant People To Prison.

And it continues with the text:

Tomorrow, a subcommittee in the Tennessee legislature will consider a bill to permanently extend the most horrific anti-pregnant person law you’ve never heard of.

House Bill (HB) 1660 and the Senate companion (SB 1629) would remove the built-in expiration date of July 1, 2016 for a criminal code provision—dubbed “Tennessee’s Fetal Assault Law” by reproductive justice advocates—that allows the prosecution and subsequent 15-year prison sentence for any pregnant person who ingests an illegal drug.

Nearly 40 advocacy groups focusing on reproductive rights, addiction, and/or criminal justice are calling for the law to sunset, and for the redirection of taxpayer funds being used to imprison sick people who happen to be pregnant at a time when they need treatment.

There are 95 counties in Tennessee and only 33 state-funded abuse agencies equipped to treat pregnant people

The Tea Party wave, “personhood” emphasis within the “pro-life” movement, and the increasing power and prevalence of for-profit prisons have created a perfect storm for more prosecution of pregnant people and those who have recently given birth.

Then there’s a break, where she mars her nearly perfect omission of women:

Unsurprisingly, when these laws are used with broader reach than advertised at their passage, it is women of color—particularly low-income women of color—who are most often prosecuted for fetal assault.

Two mentions of women – but the crime is not repeated.

Amnesty International has gotten involved as well, reinforcing the well-supported claim that jailing and surveilling people while they’re pregnant is a massive invasion of privacy.

The entanglement of health care and law enforcement highlights an important distinction between intention of the law—purportedly to provide care for pregnant people as well as the potential children they’re carrying—and its usage.

The punishment of pregnant people comes into play when overzealous, often ideologically-driven prosecutors and attorneys general use fetal assault/harm laws to advance a “pro-life” agenda.

The symposium attended by more than 250 participants from around the country addressed human and civil rights, bodily autonomy, current available treatment options for pregnant people, recommendations from leading medical professionals, and the impact of the fetal assault law on people’s lives.

  • The criminal justice system is not an effective vehicle to reduce NAS rates or to help pregnant people access appropriate substance use disorder treatment.

Emphasis mine throughout.

How is this not just blatant, shameless erasure? How is this not just “All Lives Matter” or “I don’t see color”? How is this anything but insulting?



Guest post: Everything has one cause rather than many

Mar 8th, 2016 4:36 pm | By

Originally a comment by SAWells on A collective of intellectuals and academics.

I think at root it’s a failure to grasp that there are more than two sides. Some people really do seem to think that every conflict or opposition or disagreement has two sides, a right one and a wrong one; and, critically, that the moment they can identify somebody as being in the wrong, any and all opposition to the Wrong Person makes you right, and any and all agreement with the Wrong Person makes you wrong.

So here, the “collective” have noticed – how perceptive of them! – that racists who hate immigrants for being foreign are wrong. Therefore, absolutely anyone who suggests that anything about immigrants or the countries they come from might not be 100% peachy – is also wrong! How simple life must be.

You can see this kind of thinking all over the place if you look for it. You’ll notice that the “collective” fail to address a single one of the substantive points about the current social politics in Islamic countries; they skip directly to saying the article must be bad, because it suggests that there might be problems, and racists have also said that there are problems, so any suggestion there are problems means you’re siding with racists.

It seems like a rejection of complexity. Everything has two sides rather than many; everything has one cause rather than many; you are either with us or against us.



Women are seen as a source of destabilization

Mar 8th, 2016 12:46 pm | By

The NY Times has a translation of that piece by Kamel Daoud. I’m pretty surprised it caused a fuss, since what he said is hardly very deniable.

ORAN, Algeria — AFTER Tahrir came Cologne. After the square came sex. The Arab revolutions of 2011 aroused enthusiasm at first, but passions have since waned. Those movements have come to look imperfect, even ugly: For one thing, they have failed to touch ideas, culture, religion or social norms, especially the norms relating to sex. Revolution doesn’t mean modernity.

Remember the bitter disappointment of those sexual assaults in Tahrir Square? I certainly do.

The attacks on Western women by Arab migrants in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve evoked the harassment of women in Tahrir Square itself during the heady days of the Egyptian revolution. The reminder has led people in the West to realize that one of the great miseries plaguing much of the so-called Arab world, and the Muslim world more generally, is its sick relationship with women. In some places, women are veiled, stoned and killed; at a minimum, they are blamed for sowing disorder in the ideal society.

That’s a harsh thing to say, certainly, but it’s not false.

Women are a recurrent theme in daily discourse, because the stakes they personify — for manliness, honor, family values — are great. In some countries, they are allowed access to the public sphere only if they renounce their bodies: To let them go uncovered would be to uncover the desire that the Islamist, the conservative and the idle youth feel and want to deny. Women are seen as a source of destabilization — short skirts trigger earthquakes, some say — and are respected only when defined by a property relationship, as the wife of X or the daughter of Y.

Is that “Islamophobia”? Or is it just reporting?

In some of Allah’s lands, the war on women and on couples has the air of an inquisition. During the summer in Algeria, brigades of Salafists and local youths worked up by the speeches of radical imams and Islamist TV preachers go out to monitor female bodies, especially those of women bathers at the beach. The police hound couples, even married ones, in public spaces. Gardens are off-limits to strolling lovers. Benches are sawed in half to prevent people from sitting close together.

He’s in Algeria. He should be able to write about what he sees around him.

The West has long found comfort in exoticism, which exonerates differences. Orientalism has a way of normalizing cultural variations and of excusing any abuses: Scheherazade, the harem and belly dancing exempted some Westerners from considering the plight of Muslim women. But today, with the latest influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, the pathological relationship that some Arab countries have with women is bursting onto the scene in Europe.

What long seemed like the foreign spectacles of faraway places now feels like a clash of cultures playing out on the West’s very soil. Differences once defused by distance and a sense of superiority have become an imminent threat. People in the West are discovering, with anxiety and fear, that sex in the Muslim world is sick, and that the disease is spreading to their own lands.

Maybe that’s the part that got people agitated, those final two paragraphs. Maybe it sounds too much like what Pegida and UKIP say. But are Pegida and UKIP a good enough reason to cover up realities?



A collective of intellectuals and academics

Mar 8th, 2016 12:21 pm | By

The BBC tells us of another round of denunciations:

Kamel Daoud is the Algerian novelist who came within an ace of winning France’s top book award – the Goncourt – last year for his Camus-inspired The Meursault Investigation.

He is also an independent-minded newspaper journalist, who has won as many enemies as friends over the years for his critical articles about the state of his country.

But Kamel Daoud has now announced to the world that he is giving up his newspaper work, and will focus on fiction.

Why? Because of the frenzied reaction to a piece he wrote in Le Monde concerning New Year’s Eve in Cologne.

Let me guess – he’s accused of “Islamophobia”?

The article in question – entitled “Cologne – City of Illusions” – was a two-pronged attack on the cliches triggered by the mass molestations of women.

On the one hand Daoud deplored the far-right “illusion” which treats all immigrants as potential rapists.

But by far the greater part of his anger was directed at the “naive” political left, who in his view deliberately ignore the cultural gulf separating the Arab-Muslim world from Europe.

Or they don’t ignore it but they pretend it’s just a matter of different as opposed to worse – stoning women, not stoning women, it’s all just part of the great tapestry of Culcha.

What Cologne showed, says Daoud, is how sex is “the greatest misery in the world of Allah”.

“So is the [male] refugee ‘savage’? No. But he is different. And giving him papers and a place in a hostel is not enough. It is not just the physical body that needs asylum. It is also the soul that needs to be persuaded to change.

“This Other (the [male] immigrant) comes from a vast, appalling, painful universe – an Arab-Muslim world full of sexual misery, with its sick relationship towards woman, the human body, desire. Merely taking him in is not a cure.”

I added the [male] because French does that but English doesn’t and it makes a difference.

These were strong words, and the reaction came fast.

In an opinion piece also in Le Monde, a collective of intellectuals and academics delivered an excoriating attack on Daoud, whom they accused of “feeding the Islamophobic fantasies of a growing part of the European population.”

That must have been pleasant for him.

Last year Adam Shatz, a leading liberal journalist and editor, wrote a long and favourable profile of Daoud for the New York Times.

But now – regretfully but firmly – he turned against him.

“It is very hard for me to imagine that you truly believe what you have written. This is not the Kamel Daoud that I know,” Shatz wrote in an open letter.

What worried Shatz – like the intellectuals (though he hated their “Soviet”-style public denunciation) – was the link Daoud drew between the events in Cologne and Islam.

“A few years ago we saw similar events at the Puerto Rico Day parade in New York. There too women were molested. But the molesters were not under the influence of Islam, but of alcohol,” he wrote.

That’s interesting, but so what? Both can be true – and also the influences can be combined. Maybe the Cologne abusers were fueled by alcohol as well as (partly or mostly or wholly) religious misogyny, and maybe the New York abusers were fueled by religious misogyny as well as alcohol. Or maybe the difference was absolute, but that doesn’t tell us much – it certainly doesn’t demonstrate that the Cologne abusers were not influenced by religious misogyny.

Daoud says he has had enough.

In an open letter to Shatz (a friend whose criticisms he respects), he denounces the academics and intellectuals who earlier denounced him.

“They do not live in my flesh or in my land, and I find it illegitimate – not to say scandalous – that certain people accuse me of Islamophobia from the safety and comfort of their western cafes.”

And that is his last word.

It’s like well-meaning lefties in the UK accusing Maryam of “Islamophobia” from the safety and comfort of their local pubs.



What are women doing wrong when

Mar 8th, 2016 11:48 am | By

Deborah Cameron on the chronic question do women and men write differently, and if so how much more do women suck at writing?

When people ask questions about male-female differences, they’re rarely motivated just by idle curiosity. They may formulate the question as a neutral inquiry into the facts of a given matter (‘how do men and women do X?’), but often the underlying question is more like ‘why do women have a problem doing X?’, or ‘what are women doing wrong when they do X?’

Aka why can’t women do anything correctly, the way men do it?

In one study of the language of blogs, the researchers found what appeared to be differences between male and female bloggers; but on closer inspection they turned out to be more closely related to the distinction between ‘diary’ blogs, containing the author’s personal reflections, and ‘filter’ or content-sharing blogs, where the author comments on the links s/he recommends. This looked like a gender difference because more women in the sample produced diary blogs, and more men produced content-sharing blogs. Of course that in itself is a gender difference; but it’s not a gender difference in writing style, it’s a gendered preference for different kinds of blogs.

I wonder if women tend to absorb a veiled message from the culture around them that the only thing women really know much about is their own individual selves. If so, that’s tragic. I get a lot of shit from the many tweeters and bloggers who hate me for doing a mostly content-sharing blog, but I think that’s an asinine complaint. I’m interested in a lot of things that aren’t Me, and I share them on my blog – why is that a bad thing? It’s too much interest in the Self that I think is a bad thing.

There used to be a site where you could paste in some text and it would tell you whether a woman or a man wrote it. Most people used it to test their own writing.

Obviously they already knew if they were male or female, so presumably what they were trying to find out was whether their writing was gender-typical. And when the Genie told them it wasn’t (which happened frequently: while I was monitoring it its success rate never got above 68%), their reactions were instructive. Almost no one concluded that there was something wrong with the program, or with the basic idea of gendered writing styles. More commonly they fell to pondering why they, as individuals, did not match the profile for a ‘normal’ male or female writer.

Women who’d been misidentified as men often put this down to being ex-tomboys or geeks who had no truck with ‘girly’ things: none of them seemed offended by being told they wrote like men, and sometimes they appeared to be flattered. Men who were miscategorized as women, by contrast, more often expressed bafflement, annoyance or discomfort. They also got teased by other people in the comments: had they been writing poetry again? Were they secretly gay?

Yep. Being perceived as male or male-like, good; being perceived as the other thing, bad.

These contrasting responses underline the point that gender isn’t just a difference, it’s a hierarchy. As Caroline Criado-Perez notes in her book Do It Like A Woman, to do something ‘like a woman’ usually means to do it badly, or less well than a man would do it. It’s your basic deficit model, in which men set the standard of excellence and whatever women do is somehow deficient, weak and inferior.

Women’s writing, on the face of things, is not an obvious candidate for this treatment. If we consider writing as a basic skill, it’s one on which girls outperform boys from an early age, and if we consider it as an art, it’s one that women have excelled in for centuries. And yet the idea has persisted that men do it better. Only yesterday, I heard a male writer on the radio explaining why he preferred to read other male writers: one of the reasons he gave was that men’s writing gets to the point (while women’s by implication beats endlessly about the bush). Had he ever, I wondered, opened Finnegan’s Wake, or any of the novels of Henry James?

Seriously. Jane Austen? Emily Bronte? Straight to the point, with not a word wasted. Thackeray? Dickens? Not so much.

Abrupt ending.



These women are gone

Mar 8th, 2016 10:31 am | By

The Mirror reports:

A Labour MP stunned MPs today by listing the 120 women who have been killed by men in the last year to mark International Women’s Day.

Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips made the moving speech at the beginning of a three hour debate honouring the day, prompting a rare round of applause from the House of Commons benches.

 

I want to thank Karen Ingala Smith and the Counting Dead Women project. She doesn’t allow these women to be forgotten. She shouts their names so we can do better.

I want to note that as I read each and every woman’s story, the variety of women struck me.

These are not all poor women. These were women of every age. They were teachers, dinner ladies, doctors, dancers and daughters.

Their perpetrators were not feckless drunks, they were respected fathers, city bankers and eminent lawyers.

Violence against women has no one face. We must do better. These women are gone.

Here in this place, we must not let them die in vain. We owe that much to them. We owe them much more than what they got.

Have a safe International Women’s Day.



As long as they do not make anyone else uncomfortable

Mar 8th, 2016 8:41 am | By

Jill Rafferty-Weinisch at Celebrations Beyond Belief explains what the big deal is about Lands End’s repudiation of its own celebration of Gloria Steinem.

But this is just a clothing retailer right? Isn’t it unfair to place the mantle of social justice on a catalog company that sells cute cardigans and water shoes? Here’s my view.

Women and girls are routinely socialized that their rights are acceptable – as long as they do not offend or make anyone else uncomfortable. Our existence is regularly constrained by the possibility we might make someone feel bad, or horny, or angry, or threatened. It has broad and sweeping ramifications in terms of violence against women, educational attainment, workplace equity, the provision of medical care, basic bodily autonomy… virtually every part of our lives.

Because where would we all be if women just weren’t socialized to be compliant any more? What would we do without the adult babygirls simpering and pouting and looking up at us through their adorable eyelashes? What would be do without the constant, automatic efforts to seduce, flirt, manage, wheedle, evade, conceal, and otherwise manipulate? Where would we all be if women just stopped giving any fucks about how acceptable they are?

The current outrage isn’t about a single retailer, or even an individual iconic public figure. In apologizing for having promoted women’s equality alongside chinos and swimsuits, Lands End sent a clear message that women hear repeatedly:

Your rights are not important enough to discuss publicly because the people who feel they aren’t important matter more than you. Those who promote them will be dismissed. Those who bring them up will be castigated. And your protests over that dismissal will be met with weak apologies rather than any meaningful action.

It’s not a new refrain; we can all hum the tune, and it certainly doesn’t go with “Spring’s Must-Have Sundresses for Women and Girls.”

Because women just aren’t in the group “People Who Matter.” That group is reserved for men.



Homegrown

Mar 7th, 2016 4:53 pm | By

Grim news from Manchester:

Anti-terror police have been called in to investigate the death of Rochdale imam Jalal Uddin.

The investigation into Mr Uddin’s death has been escalated after the discovery of material linked to the Islamic State terror group during a series of raids last week.

Mr Uddin had made efforts to turn youngsters away from radical Islam.

The 64-year-old was attacked as he walked through a children’s park last month.

He was taken to hospital but died later.

Trying to turn people away from Islamism is not popular with Islamists.

Detectives investigating the death raided three properties last week, and so far three people have been arrested.

But the discovery of material connected to the so-called Islamic State terror group prompted Greater Manchester Police to call in counter terrorism experts, who are now leading the enquiry.

Detectives are now examining the material, which includes digital media thought to have been found on computers or smart phones.

Mohammed Hussain Syeedy, 21, of Ramsay Street, Rochdale, has been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Grim.



A little bit louder now

Mar 7th, 2016 4:17 pm | By

RH Reality Check on Facebook:

Martha Plimpton, dressed in Shout Your Abortion style

Photo by Amy Sedaris

 



Afternoon

Mar 7th, 2016 4:03 pm | By

Pelting rain all morning – then clearing this afternoon – so Cooper and I went here:

It was good.

 



The role of fantasy

Mar 7th, 2016 10:53 am | By

I’m wondering how much the potential for doing something useful in a movement for political change relies on a rejection of fantasy.

By fantasy I don’t mean an optimistic vision for the future, I don’t mean ideas about how things should be, I mean actual pretending that X is so when it’s not.

My hunch is that the answer is: a lot.

Many MRAs and other anti-feminists claim that feminism is largely based on fantasy, but that relies on the belief that women really are stupider and less competent than men, and that’s something of a fantasy itself.

Feminism isn’t the belief that women are magical god-like beings. It’s the belief that women are people coupled with the belief that people should have equal rights. It doesn’t require any fantasizing at all, and it doesn’t rely on ordering people to accept fantasies as describing reality. The same applies, mutatis mutandis, to other movements for equal rights. The whole point of universal rights is to detach them from value judgments in order to make them apply across the board, no matter what.

I think a politics based on fantasy has some problems.



His verification check was taken awaaaaaaaaay

Mar 6th, 2016 4:47 pm | By

In hilarity news, Milo Yiannopoulos – who is a tweeter, not a journalist – crashed the White House press briefing on Friday to tell Obama that Twitter took his blue tick away.

Yiannopolous began by quoting Reddit founderAaron Schwartz, who argued that the importance of free speech also extended to social media sites, and brought up Obama’s previous statements denouncing university safe spacesand the coddling of college students.

“It’s becoming very clear that Twitter and Facebook in particular are censoring and punishing conservative and libertarian points of view…” he argued. “Is there anything the president can do to encourage Silicon Valley to remind them of the critical importance of open free speech in our society?”

Can Obama please please do something to make Twitter more welcoming to misogynist bullies?

“You obviously can’t enforce the First Amendment on private corporations,” Yiannopolous allowed. “But there seems to be a very clear trend. My verification check was taken away for making fun of the wrong group of people. Conservative commentators and journalists are being punished, being suspended, having their tweets deleted by Twitter. Facebook is removing criticism of immigration in Europe.”

“Are there any mechanisms the government can use to remind these companies that they have this responsibility, or do we just have to trust the market will punish them if they don’t?” he asked.

His verification check was taken away! That’s literally the worst thing that has happened to free speech since ever. How can the world have an intelligent conversation about whether or not women are stupid sluts if Milo Yiannopolous doesn’t have his blue tick?



A bauble for the prince

Mar 6th, 2016 4:14 pm | By

So guess what François Hollande did on Friday – gave the god damn Legion of Honor to Saudi Arabia. To Saudi Arabia.

The French government was among the most vocal outside the Middle East in its condemnation of Saudi mass executions earlier this year, calling the kingdom’s killing of 47 people “deeply deplorable”.

Yet almost two months to the day after that statement was issued, President François Hollande awarded his nation’s most prestigious award to the heir to the Saudi throne, Prince Mohammed bin Naif.

Thus letting him know the French government didn’t really mean it about those 47 executions.

They tried to keep it a secret. There was a meeting with Angela Merkel the same day and that got lashings of coverage, but they drew a tactful veil over the high five to the Saudis.

That the Prince even received the award was only confirmed by Mr Hollande’s entourage on Sunday afternoon. Officials sought to play it down, telling Le Monde it was “common protocol” to issue visiting dignitaries with the honour.

But while in France the decoration was done, as media outlets put it, “with discretion”, the government-owned Saudi news agency SPA hailed the honour as recognition for the prince’s “great efforts in the region and world for combating extremism and terrorism”.

Nonsense. They don’t combat extremism, they promote it. They spend their oil money on funding Wahhabi mosques all around the world. They fund Wahhabi madrasas. They sue academics who criticize them. They sentence atheists and liberals to prison and torture. They are all about extremism. They are not nice people and they don’t deserve honors.

In its report from the Crown Prince’s visit, SPA said the two sides “reviewed bilateral relations between the Kingdom and France and ways of enhancing and developing them in all fields, particularly joint cooperation for combating extremism and terrorism”.

“The French President and the Crown Prince also discussed the latest developments in the Middle East and exerted efforts towards them in addition to the two countries stances towards them,” it said.

The visit was a “success”, said Saudi minister of culture and information Adel al-Toraifi, and included discussions of “investment”.

Neither report made mention of the refugee crisis, throughout which Saudi Arabia been accused of failing to take its fair share of asylum seekers. And given the “discretion” surrounding the visit, it is not known whether Mr Hollande felt able to bring up the Saudi human rights record.

Saudi Arabia hasn’t taken any asylum seekers.

Merde, France.