How things actually are in the world

Dec 20th, 2020 12:59 pm | By

The philosopher Miroslav Imbrišević has a post at The Electric Agora on language and the concept of “women.”

Conceptual engineering has been taken up by some feminist philosophers. A central concept in feminist philosophy is ‘woman’. Ordinarily it means “adult human female,” but some feminists would like to include transwomen under the term ‘woman’. This view is now widely accepted in academic feminism. If you dare to question this, you will be considered “transphobic,” as Kathleen Stock, a philosophy professor at the University of Sussex, has experienced.

But the rest of us are still struggling to understand how any feminist can think it’s feminist to include male people in the concept “woman” on the grounds that they are trans women.

By including transwomen under the umbrella ‘woman’, these well-meaning philosophers suggest that there is no real difference between the type of women in expressions like ‘young women’, ‘German women’, ‘married women’, ‘happy women’, ‘single women’, ‘tall women’ and ‘transwomen’ (or ‘trans women’). They are all women. The aim here is to shape reality; to change how we view the world.

The class of women – by which I mean, adult human females – can be understood as a natural kind; that is, as something that is part of nature.  There is a material, biological reality to it. The class of transwomen, on the other hand, is a social kind; that is, something we find in society. It is a notion that is socially constructed. We invented it. It relies on the idea that some people have a gender identity which can be in conflict with their sex. Male-bodied persons wish they were female or believe that they are female, and many want to express this through their gender presentation, which might include body modification. The natural kind term ‘woman’ refers to a material reality (sex), the social kind term ‘transwoman’ refers to a psychological reality (attempting to disregard your sexed body).

And the issue here is that wishing you were a something you’re not is not necessarily the same as being that something. It can be, in some cases, where desire and will can make you into the wished-for something. You can wish you were kinder and become kinder by working at it. You can wish you were more educated and get there by buckling down to the studies. But wishing you were a gibbon or Saturn or Chomolungma isn’t going to make you those things.

The social category ‘woman’ has a biological foundation: women, understood as a natural kind. The social kind supervenes upon the natural kind; that is, the social category has an underlying material basis: being of the female sex. There is nothing similar with respect to being a transwoman. In this case, one social kind (transwoman) supervenes on another social kind (woman). Transwomen, in this sense, represent a kind of supervenience squared; a supervenience of supervenience. And because the concept ‘transwoman’ is free-floating, without a tether (a female sexed body), there is a fundamental difference between women and transwomen.

Take the concept of marriage. We now accept that same-sex attracted people can get married. Our linguistic (and legal) practice has changed and with it the concept of marriage. But ‘marriage’ is a social kind term, something we created by agreement, and we can extend/alter its meaning through further agreement. Contrast this with the concepts: ‘tiger’, ‘water’ or ‘woman’. These three are natural kind terms and their concepts are not open to radical revision through our linguistic practice, because they are tied to how things actually are in the world. There are facts about tigers which we cannot alter. For example, we cannot simply decree that it would be good to class lions among the tigers. Admittedly, they have something in common: they are both big cats, but ‘tiger’ and ‘lion’ are distinct concepts, as tigers and lions are distinct species.

Because they are tied to how things actually are in the world.


Praised for?

Dec 20th, 2020 11:38 am | By

Stupidest headline ever.

Nutty and Loopy and Dippy

Dec 20th, 2020 11:25 am | By

Gosh what has happened to Trump, Mitt Romney wonders.

Trump’s flirtation with declaring martial law in battleground states and appointing a conspiracy theorist as special counsel to help his attempt to overturn defeat by Joe Biden are “really sad” and “nutty and loopy”, Mitt Romney said on Sunday.

Or, more precisely, criminal and traitorous.

“He’s leaving Washington with a whole series of conspiracy theories and things that are so nutty and loopy that people are shaking their head wondering what in the world has gotten into this man,” the Utah Republican senator said.

No we’re not. Nothing has gotten into him: this is what he is. He’s psychopathic in his indifference to everyone but himself, and he’s a hardened criminal in pretty much everything. This is what he’s been all along.

During the Friday meeting, Giuliani pushed Trump to seize voting machines. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made clear that it had no authority to do so. It is unclear what such a move could accomplish.

Shock and awe? Souvenirs? Paperweights?

Sedition follies

Dec 20th, 2020 10:36 am | By

The public coup plotting keeps chugging along.

President Trump said Sunday that he has spoken with Sen.-elect Tommy Tuberville, the Alabama Republican who suggested last week that he supports a potential challenge to the electoral vote count when the House and Senate convene next month to formally affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

A “challenge” meaning “No no no we don’t want to!!”

Trump told Giuliani in a radio interview that he talked to the future senator last night.

Biden last week achieved formal victory over Trump, winning his 306 votes in the electoral college and advancing one more step toward inauguration. But the president and his supporters are redoubling their efforts to block the normal transfer of power, including a potential challenge on Jan. 6, when both chambers of Congress conduct the final tally of electoral votes.

That is, Trump and his supporters are working even harder to overthrow the legitimate government.

Some incoming Republican members of the House, including Reps.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Barry Moore (Ala.), have suggested they will join Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) in using an 1880s law that allows members of Congress to dispute a state’s results and make the House and Senate vote on the challenge to the electoral vote tally.

Too bad for them that McConnell has already said Biden won and the game is over.

A host of damaging presidential traits

Dec 19th, 2020 5:08 pm | By

The Post has a big wrap-up story on how badly Trump failed to deal with the pandemic.

In mid-November, expecting a surge of cases after Thanksgiving, four members of the task force decided to try to move the needle.

After their warnings had gone largely unheeded for months in the dormant West Wing, Deborah Birx, Anthony S. Fauci, Stephen Hahn and Robert Redfield together sounded new alarms, cautioning of a dark winter to come without dramatic action to slow community spread.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, among the many Trump aides who were infected with the virus this fall, was taken aback, according to three senior administration officials with knowledge of the discussions. He told the doctors he did not believe their troubling data assessment. And he accused them of outlining problems without prescribing solutions.

What business does Mark Meadows have telling four medical experts that he doesn’t believe what they’re telling him about the pandemic? He was a real estate developer before he got into politics. How would he know better than they do?

The doctors explained that the solutions were simple and had long been clear — among them, to leverage the power of the presidential bully pulpit to persuade all Americans to wear masks, especially the legions of Trump supporters refusing to do so, and to dramatically expand testing.

Emphasis mine. He could have done that and it would have made a big difference. He could have used the bully’s pulpit to tell people to socially distance, to stay away from crowds, to make some sacrifices, and to wear a goddam mask.

On Nov. 19, hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised against Thanksgiving travel, Vice President Pence, who chairs the coronavirus task force, agreed to hold a full news conference with some of the doctors — something they had not done since the summer. But much to the doctors’ dismay, Pence did not forcefully implore people to wear masks, nor did the administration take meaningful action on testing.

As for the president, he did not appear at all.

So thousands of people die of the virus every day, so what.

“We were always going to have spread in the fall and the winter, but it didn’t have to be nearly this bad,” said Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA commissioner in the Trump administration. “We could have done better galvanizing collective action, getting more adherence to masks. The idea that we had this national debate on the question of whether masks infringed on your liberty was deeply unfortunate. It put us in a bad position.”

And why did Trump blow it so comprehensively? Partly out of deep stupidity, for sure, but the rest? I don’t know. Because he’s a psychopath, because he got his jollies mocking the whole idea of trying to avoid the virus, because he’s a psychopath, because he’s jealous and resentful of Fauci, because he’s a psychopath. I don’t know. I can’t make it make sense.

The catastrophe began with Trump’s initial refusal to take seriously the threat of a once-in-a-century pandemic. But, as officials detailed, it has been compounded over time by a host of damaging presidential traits — his skepticism of science, impatience with health restrictions, prioritization of personal politics over public safety, undisciplined communications, chaotic management style, indulgence of conspiracies, proclivity toward magical thinking, allowance of turf wars and flagrant disregard for the well-being of those around him.

His combination of evil and stupidity, in short. I wish we could dig a hole in the ground and push him into it and pile a ton of dirt on him and walk away singing a tune.

“There isn’t a single light-switch moment where the government has screwed up and we’re going down the wrong path,” said Kyle McGowan, who resigned in August as chief of staff at the CDC under Redfield, the center’s director. “It was a series of multiple decisions that showed a lack of desire to listen to the actual scientists and also a lack of leadership in general, and that put us on this progression of where we’re at today.”

So imagine you’re on a train, you and 350 million of your closes friends, and up ahead you see the railway bridge fall down into the gorge – do you pull the emergency cord or do you just shrug and laugh? Trump shrugged and laughed.

At the heart of the problem, experts say, have been Trump’s scrambled and faulty communications.

“Words matter a lot, and what we have here is a failure to communicate — and worse than that, the effective communication of policies, of myths, of confusion about masks, about hydroxychloroquine, about vaccines, about closures, about testing,” said Tom Frieden, a former CDC director in the Obama administration. “It’s stunning.”

Maybe he just doesn’t understand cause and effect. Maybe he doesn’t grasp that if the big boss sneers at the experts and makes a point of ignoring their advice, other people will do the same and then bad things will happen.

“In the backdrop”

Dec 19th, 2020 4:09 pm | By

Oh dear, we’re unacceptable.

In the past weeks there has been an unacceptable upsurge in Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) and transphobic talking points as well as false narratives being expressed within Irish media.

Unacceptable. I guess that means we should be locked up and deprived of all means of communication?

This is happening while the trans community is currently facing massive disruption in the implementation of healthcare reforms, including the potential collapse of healthcare for trans children and teenagers.

It’s not healthcare though. It’s destructive quackery. Women saying that one’s sex can’t be taken off the way one takes off a jacket does not cause the collapse of actual healthcare – the medical kind – for anyone, including children and teenagers who say they are trans.

Meanwhile, a recently successful case in the UK Supreme Court has had terrible consequences for the delivery of healthcare for trans people under the age of 18.

Again – it’s not healthcare.

In the backdrop to all this is an increased online harassment campaign from a handful of Irish TERFs, many of whom have a history of living in Britain, with important sounding Twitter accounts. The list of their Twitter followers is stuffed with transphobes from the UK who are systematically targeting womens’ rights organisations in Ireland for their use of trans-inclusive language and for supporting transgender rights.

The person who wrote this sludge is barely literate, in addition to being a dishonest polemicist. And yet, a department of University College Dublin thinks the piece is good enough to promote.


Trump people are WRINGING their HANDS

Dec 19th, 2020 1:09 pm | By

Oh gee, it would be a little bit unpleasant if Trump staged a coup.

Got it; so do we really have to stand around looking helpless while he continues to do this? Wouldn’t it maybe be a better idea to force him to stop, say by kicking him the fuck out?

Jonathan Swan at Axios:

Senior Trump administration officials are increasingly alarmed that President Trump might unleash — and abuse — the power of government in an effort to overturn the clear result of the election.

So do something. Don’t just be alarmed; do something.

Their fears include Trump’s interest in former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s wild talk of martial law; an idea floated of an executive order to commandeer voting machines; and the specter of Sidney Powell, the conspiracy-spewing election lawyer, obtaining governmental power and a top-level security clearance.

Got it. Do something.

A senior administration official said that when Trump is “retweeting threats of putting politicians in jail, and spends his time talking to conspiracy nuts who openly say declaring martial law is no big deal, it’s impossible not to start getting anxious about how this ends.”

“People who are concerned and nervous aren’t the weak-kneed bureaucrats that we loathe,” the official added. “These are people who have endured arguably more insanity and mayhem than any administration officials in history.”

Oh shut up about loathing bureaucrats and do something to stop this evil berserk criminal.

That’ll teach’em

Dec 19th, 2020 12:40 pm | By

Time for a quick demo at Target!

A group of about 30 people spray their aerosol all over the entrance to a Target store and then depart.

Is that departing line “Bye retards!” or “Buy retards!”? It is a store, after all, and it does sell a large array of objects.

Can we seize the voting machines?

Dec 19th, 2020 12:17 pm | By

The editor who wrote the headline made a weird choice – Trump Discussed Naming Campaign Lawyer as zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I think it would have been more eye-catching to focus on the Trump attempting a coup part, but maybe that’s just me.

Anyway. The campaign lawyer bit is also batshit, to be fair.

President Trump on Friday discussed making Sidney Powell, who as a lawyer for his campaign team unleashed a series of conspiracy theories about a Venezuelan plot to rig voting machines in the United States, a special counsel investigating voter fraud, according to two people briefed on the discussion.

Well duh. Only someone who traffics in batshit conspiracy theories is going to believe in the “voter fraud” myth.

Most of his advisers opposed the idea, two of the people briefed on the discussion said, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, who in recent days sought to have the Department of Homeland Security join the campaign’s efforts to overturn Mr. Trump’s loss in the election.

That is, Giuliani, who is corrupt and slavish enough to try to get DHS to help Trump steal the election, opposed the Sidney Powell idea. How integretatious of him.

Ms. Powell accused other Trump advisers of being quitters, according to the people briefed.

But the idea that Mr. Trump would try to install Ms. Powell in a position to investigate the outcome sent shock waves through the president’s circle. She has repeatedly claimed there was widespread fraud, but several lawsuits she filed related to election fraud have been tossed out of court.

Still not getting the shock waves thing. Do the people in “the president’s circle” think he’s careful? reasonable? law-respecting? decent? Surely not, so why the shock waves? Trump does trump-like things; surprise surprise.

Mr. Trump has been in contact with Ms. Powell in recent days, despite the fact that the campaign last month sought to distance itself from her as she aired wild and baseless claims about Dominion Voting Systems machines, which were used in some states, somehow being connected to a Venezuelan plot to control the election.

Or not despite the fact but because of the fact. Trump likes crazy. We know this.

Part of the White House meeting on Friday night was a discussion about an executive order to take control of voting machines to examine them, according to one of the people briefed.

Mr. Giuliani has separately pressed the Department of Homeland Security to seize possession of voting machines as part of a push to overturn the results of the election, three people familiar with the discussion said. Mr. Giuliani was told the department does not have the authority to do such a thing.

31 days to go.

Implicit assumptions about who can be pregnant

Dec 19th, 2020 11:43 am | By

Remember, kids, everything is worse for trans people – earthquakes, racism, fleas, pandemics, misogyny, Starbucks, everything. Miscarriages? Worse for trans people, obviously.

A 32-year-old man with obesity, Sam, arrived at the emergency room to be treated for intermittent abdominal pain that had been going on for 8 hours, according to a case described in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2019.

We can see where this is going already.

A triage nurse chalked this up to his “untreated chronic hypertension” and designated his symptoms as “nonurgent.”

Sam told the nurse that he was transgender, had taken a pregnancy test that was positive, had not menstruated in years, and had “peed himself” earlier that day. Yet the nurse still “deployed implicit assumptions about who can be pregnant” because she had “no clear classificatory framework for making sense of a patient” like him.

Or to put it another way, Sam had fucked up her-his body so thoroughly that the nurse was confused. No doubt that does add complications to a miscarriage, but then maybe we need to recognize that fucking up your body that thoroughly has its downsides? Maybe the issue is more medical/physical than political? Maybe this isn’t a particularly good example of How Society Oppresses Trans People?

Essentially, because of deep-seated assumptions that only women can be pregnant, the fact that Sam could be pregnant just didn’t compute.

The deep-seated assumptions are correct though. It’s true that only women can be pregnant.

It took several hours for a physician to discover that Sam was actually pregnant and in labor. Tragically, Sam delivered a stillborn baby after no heartbeat could be found.

… Sadly, this outcome [might] have been able to be avoided if the nurse had not had the assumption that men can’t be pregnant.

It’s not an assumption, it’s reality. In the context of a medical emergency it can be dangerous to appear to be the sex you’re not.

Big emphatic subhead:

Pregnancy, and pregnancy loss, isn’t limited to women

Yes it is. That’s exactly what it’s limited to.

In reality, many people who are not women (nonbinary people, transgender men, and others) get pregnant. One 2019 Rutgers study suggested that up to 30 percent of transgender men have unplanned pregnancies.

I wonder who those “and others” are. Or not so much wonders as understands that that “many people” is just the typical hand-waving. The people are not all that “many” and in any case they are all women. By definition.

Naturally, those pregnancies can also be lost, just like cisgender women’s. The emotional toll of a miscarriage or stillbirth is devastating for anyone, regardless of gender, but there are additional factors weighing on transgender people’s recovery from this loss.

So you see, kids, you have to remember to always add “additional factors weighing on transgender people” to every bad thing that happens to anyone anywhere.

Who is overwrought here?

Dec 19th, 2020 6:01 am | By

Joe Biden wants to punch him out but Jill Biden says nope.

“That was such a surprise,” she told CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert on Thursday, seated next to her husband, Joe Biden. “It was really the tone of it … He called me ‘kiddo’. One of the things that I’m most proud of is my doctorate. I mean, I worked so hard for it.”

Why did he call her “kiddo”? It seems so over the top – like caricaturing his own caricature. The whole thing was facetious, but it’s that kind of facetious that is just a phony pretense of not really being insulting because aw come on aincha got no sense of humor? Jokey-insulting. So why kiddo? I haven’t been able to figure it out. Maybe it’s just because he couldn’t resist another level of belittling.

Writing for the Journal, Joseph Epstein, a former adjunct professor at Northwestern University, suggested her doctorate in education from the University of Delaware did not entitle her to use the honorific “Dr”, as she was not medically qualified. Her use of “Dr” therefore “feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic”, he wrote.

Unfortunately Martin Pengelly forgets to point out that Epstein has no graduate degrees, which makes it a little odd that he taught at Northwestern even as an adjunct.

Jill Biden of course does have the right to call herself “Dr” while Epstein does not.

The column met with widespread outrage and accusations of sexism, as well as delight in the apparent hypocrisy of many attendant rightwing attacks. The Journal’s editorial page editor defended the column, calling its critics “overwrought”.

Oh please. The column was at best rude and utterly gratuitous as well as sexist.

Colbert asked the president-elect if the column had made him want to stand up for his wife, “to like get out the pool chain and go full Corn Pop on these people”.

That was a reference to remarks for which he was criticised in the Democratic primary, when he reminisced about facing down a bully at a pool in the Delaware of his youth.

The president-elect seemed tempted, but Dr Biden said: “The answer is no.”

He said: “I’ve been suppressing my Irishness for a long time.”

Joseph Epstein needs to suppress his whatever the fuck that was.

Guard my beer

Dec 18th, 2020 4:05 pm | By

Why not shepherds? Priests? Angels?

America’s newest branch of the military is about to celebrate the end of its first year, and now members of the Space Force will have something to call each other.

Vice President Mike Pence announced on Friday that members will be called “guardians.”

On the one hand it sounds a bit fascist, and on the other hand it sounds soppy. We’re not orphans, we don’t need “guardians.”

“It is my honor on behalf of the president of the United States to announce that henceforth the men and women of the United States Space Force will be known as guardians,” Pence told an audience at the White House. “Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and guardians will be defending our nation for generations to come.”

See it doesn’t fit. The other four are simple, descriptive, direct. (“Airmen” obviously needs work but at least it’s not fanciful.) “Guardians” is marketing-speak, it’s a public relations word, it’s touchy-feely, it’s soppy.

No, that doesn’t apply to the newspaper of the same name, because it used to have Manchester in front, which is the opposite of soppy.

Deflated but still self-obsessed

Dec 18th, 2020 2:54 pm | By

Trump is soothing his poor bruised ego with the thick poultice of cash he’s fooled a lot of people into giving him.

Deflated by a loss he has yet to acknowledge, Mr. Trump has cushioned the blow by coaxing huge sums of money from his loyal supporters — often under dubious pretenses — raising roughly $250 million since Election Day along with the national party.

Not bad as a consolation prize.

His astonishing talent for raising money by being a flaming asshole means he is still the boss of the Republicans.

Mr. Trump has long acted with few inhibitions when it comes to spending other people’s money, and he has spent millions of campaign dollars on his own family businesses in the last five years. But new records show an even more intricate intermingling of Mr. Trump’s political and familial interests than was previously known.

Normally that kind of thing is against the law, but when Trump does it, oh well trumps will be trumps hahaha pass the ice cream.

Those who have spoken with Mr. Trump say he appears shrunken, and over his job; this detachment is reflected in a Twitter feed that remains stubbornly more focused on unfounded allegations of fraud than on the death toll from the raging pandemic.

That is, stubbornly more focused on himself than on 350 million people who are not that self.

Whatever he decides to do next we can be confident he will keep himself front and center.

“There’s no bully pulpit as large as the presidency, but nevertheless, President Trump is likely to play a significant role in the future of the Republican Party,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. “It’s very difficult to imagine him following the same pattern as George W. Bush, Barack Obama and other presidents have followed in keeping their mouths shut and letting the new president try to govern.”

Well duh; where’s the fun in that?

Before spouting such embarrassing tosh

Dec 18th, 2020 11:49 am | By

I’m not the only one who finds it absurd that Jolyon Maugham says judges must not meddle with what parents decide is best for their children.

How can he be? If he thinks for even a second? Some parents are abusive. Some are mentally ill. Some are alcoholics. Some are addicted to drugs that render them incapable. Some are religious fanatics. Some are sadists. The law sometimes has to protect children from their own parents. Maugham is a barrister; he can’t possibly be unaware of that fact.

What I’m saying.

The Greens’ loss

Dec 18th, 2020 10:57 am | By

The Guardian reports:

One of the Scottish Greens’ most prominent MSPs has resigned abruptly from the party, citing its “intolerance” to open discussion of potential conflicts between women’s and transgender rights.

Andy Wightman, the Scottish Greens’ list member for Lothian region and a highly respected campaigner for tenants’ rights and land reform, stated in his resignation letter published on Friday afternoon: “Some of the language, approaches and postures of the party and its spokespeople have been provocative, alienating and confrontational for many women and men”.

It’s the part about treating women’s rights as entirely secondary to trans rights that gets on our nerves. That and all the rest of it, but it’s rooted in this bizarre assumption that we are The Privileged Class now.

The Graun continues:

It appears that a clash over policy and decision-making in the party was brought to a head by Wightman’s attempts to vote for an amendment to the forensic medical services (victims of sexual offences) (Scotland) bill last week, which legislated for the option to request an examiner of a particular sex.

The amendment substituted the word “sex” for “gender”, which supporters argued resolved ambiguity but other MSPs argued was hostile towards trans women, and was passed overwhelmingly.

There you go, you see. If women’s requests for female examiners are framed as “hostile to trans women” how the fuck can women’s rights be protected at all? If women are required on pain of bullying and ostracism to pretend that men who identify as women are literally women, what rights can we have at all?

In his letter, Wightman – who joined the Scottish Greens in 2009 and entered the Holyrood parliament in 2016 – says it was “made clear” to him that if he voted for the amendment and against the group mandate, he would face “complaints and disciplinary action leading to possible suspension, deselection or expulsion”.

For voting for the option to request an examiner of a particular sex. That’s all.

KBPlayer alerted us to this, and reminded us that we encountered Andy Wightman in June last year, at a time when he was trying to obey the commands to endorse the new dogma. Much to my surprise he commented on the thread; it was a good exchange.

It’s depressing and infuriating that the Green Party officially thinks that women have no right to request a woman examiner in sexual assault cases.

We can’t tell someone’s gender

Dec 17th, 2020 4:28 pm | By

Lesson time!


Your pronouns reflect…you!

Women don’t face much abuse or discrimination

Dec 17th, 2020 12:14 pm | By

It’s the old “feminism is just victimhood” trope.

Uh huh. It’s that simple. Just be full and capable and awesome and there will be no arbitrary unjust obstacles! Or maybe there will, but that means you get to overcome them and be better than everyone else. Yay we’re better than everyone else! Unjust obstacles are a good thing because we get to look so much more capable by overcoming them.

So…there are unjust obstacles, but they are thrown in front of trans people only. Women just sail through one open door after another, the bitches.

What is this “poverty”?

Dec 17th, 2020 11:16 am | By

Let them eat…grouse? Truffles? Caviar? Foie gras? Saffron-infused fish and chips?

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has accused Unicef of “playing politics” after the charity launched a campaign to help feed children in the UK.

The Tory MP said the charity was meant to look after people in the poorest countries and should be “ashamed”.

It comes after Unicef said it would pledge £25,000 to a south London charity to help supply breakfast boxes over the Christmas holidays.

Unicef said every child deserves to “thrive” no matter where they are born.

Surely even Jacob Rees-Mogg can grasp that living in a rich country is compatible with being personally very poor. If you live in a rich country with crap social services and an enormous disparity in wealth and incomes, there are going to be some poor people in that country. If you live in the United States, to pick an example entirely at random, there are going to be many millions of poor people. I hope Rees-Mogg understands that the fact that he is rich doesn’t mean everyone else is rich, or even prosperous enough to have plenty to eat.

Mr Rees-Mogg was responding to a question from Labour MP Zarah Sultana in the House of Commons.

“For the first time ever, Unicef, the UN agency responsible for providing humanitarian aid to children, is having to feed working-class kids in the UK,” she said. “But while children go hungry, a wealthy few enjoy obscene riches.”

She asked if Mr Rees-Mogg would “give government time to discuss the need to make him and his super-rich chums pay their fair share so that we can end the grotesque inequality that scars our society”.

Certainly not, peasant.

Responding, Mr Rees-Mogg said Unicef “should be ashamed of itself”.

“I think it is a real scandal that Unicef should be playing politics in this way when it is meant to be looking after people in the poorest, the most deprived, countries of the world where people are starving, where there are famines and where there are civil wars, and they make cheap political points of this kind, giving, l think, £25,000 to one council,” he said.

“It is a political stunt of the lowest order.”

Homemade Brioche Recipe | The Woks of Life

They tried it

Dec 17th, 2020 10:45 am | By

I keep thinking “imagine trying this bullshit with race – imagine white guys saying they ‘identify as’ black and trying to bully black people into agreeing.” Now we can see an actual example in the wild.

Call the navigator

Dec 17th, 2020 10:29 am | By

Trump longs and craves and pines and yearns to see a special counsel investigate something something something Hunter Biden, but it’s a little tricky in the last weeks of a lame duck presidency.

President Donald Trump is pushing extensively for the appointment of special counsels to separately investigate his baseless allegations of voter fraud and allegations surrounding Hunter Biden, the son of the President-elect, according to people familiar with the matter.

I wonder if it ever occurs to him that an investigation of his baseless allegations would simply underline the fact that they’re baseless. “Please please please investigate my fake claims! You’re sure to find something even though my claims are fake!!”

Justice Department rules say a special counsel must be named by the attorney general, though Trump has quizzed his team whether he could name one himself, according to one person familiar with the matter.

Sir no sir.

If the incoming acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, refuses to appoint the special counsels at Trump’s request, the President could fire him, the people said.


Next step:


But Trump administration lawyers likely can navigate past those requirements by appointing someone to act like a special counsel even if the requirements aren’t all in place, as Barr did in giving special counsel powers to John Durham, the Connecticut US attorney reinvestigating the Russia investigation.

“Navigate past those requirements” is an interesting way to put it. “Ignore the rules” would be a slightly less interesting way.