Bone spurs urges violence from a safe distance

Jan 17th, 2020 3:34 pm | By

Ah yes, the Governor of Virginia is worried that a gun rights rally could turn violent, so what does Trump do? Trump does his bit to encourage violence. Of course he does.

“You’re a bunch of dopes and babies”

Jan 17th, 2020 2:57 pm | By

Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker tell us about Trump’s contempt for everyone who isn’t Trump:

There’s a room in the Pentagon nicknamed “the Tank” where the Joint Chiefs of Staff meet to make consequential decisions.

One hundred fifty-​­two years after Lincoln hatched plans to preserve the Union, President Trump’s advisers staged an intervention inside the Tank to try to preserve the world order.

By that point, six months into his administration, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had grown alarmed by gaping holes in Trump’s knowledge of history, especially the key alliances forged following World War II. Trump had dismissed allies as worthless, cozied up to authoritarian regimes in Russia and elsewhere, and advocated withdrawing troops from strategic outposts and active theaters alike.

Trump organized his unorthodox worldview under the simplistic banner of “America First,” but Mattis, Tillerson, and Cohn feared his proposals were rash, barely considered, and a danger to America’s superpower standing. They also felt that many of Trump’s impulsive ideas stemmed from his lack of familiarity with U.S. history and, even, where countries were located.

They figured they needed to tutor him a little, get him up to speed on the basics. “Now, over here, this is Europe…”

So on July 20, 2017, Mattis invited Trump to the Tank for what he, Tillerson, and Cohn had carefully organized as a tailored tutorial. What happened inside the Tank that day crystallized the commander in chief’s berating, derisive and dismissive manner, foreshadowing decisions such as the one earlier this month that brought the United States to the brink of war with Iran. The Tank meeting was a turning point in Trump’s presidency. Rather than getting him to appreciate America’s traditional role and alliances, Trump began to tune out and eventually push away the experts who believed their duty was to protect the country by restraining his more dangerous impulses.

Bit of a loss of control of subjects and objects there – let’s try “Not only did they fail to get him to appreciate America’s traditional role and alliances, but Trump began to tune out” and so on.

The episode has been documented numerous times, but subsequent reporting reveals a more complete picture of the moment and the chilling effect Trump’s comments and hostility had on the nation’s military and national security leadership.

Mattis devised a strategy to use terms the impatient president, schooled in real estate, would appreciate to impress upon him the value of U.S. investments abroad. He sought to explain why U.S. troops were deployed in so many regions and why America’s safety hinged on a complex web of trade deals, alliances, and bases across the globe.

An opening line flashed on the screen, setting the tone: “The post-war international rules-based order is the greatest gift of the greatest generation.” Mattis then gave a 20-minute briefing on the power of the NATO alliance to stabilize Europe and keep the United States safe.

Huh? Wozzat? Point is, that Angela person, she doesn’t respect the Donald. They all don’t respect the Donald. The Donald goes in front for every photo; that’s the law.

For the next 90 minutes, Mattis, Tillerson, and Cohn took turns trying to emphasize their points, pointing to their charts and diagrams. They showed where U.S. personnel were positioned, at military bases, CIA stations, and embassies, and how U.S. deployments fended off the threats of terror cells, nuclear blasts, and destabilizing enemies in places including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, the Korea Peninsula, and Syria. Cohn spoke for about 20 minutes about the value of free trade with America’s allies, emphasizing how he saw each trade agreement working together as part of an overall structure to solidify U.S. economic and national security.

Well that’s no fun. What’s fun is smashing it all, and taking credit for the smashing.

Anyway, Trump, of course, couldn’t grasp what they were telling him.

His ricocheting attention span led him to repeatedly interrupt the lesson. He heard an adviser say a word or phrase and then seized on that to interject with his take. For instance, the word “base” prompted him to launch in to say how “crazy” and “stupid” it was to pay for bases in some countries.

That’s the thing. He has the mind of a toddler, literally. He can’t understand a complete sentence; he grabs at an individual word because that’s the maximum he can process. “Base”: oooh I know that word.

They did a round on South Korea and how they should be paying rent, then NATO and how they should be paying dues, then Iran and how Trump wanted out, then Afghanistan.

Before they could debate the Iran deal, Trump erupted to revive another frequent complaint: the war in Afghanistan, which was now America’s longest war. He demanded an explanation for why the United States hadn’t won in Afghanistan yet, now 16 years after the nation began fighting there in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Trump unleashed his disdain, calling Afghanistan a “loser war.” That phrase hung in the air and disgusted not only the military leaders at the table but also the men and women in uniform sitting along the back wall behind their principals. They all were sworn to obey their commander in chief’s commands, and here he was calling the war they had been fighting a loser war.

“You’re all losers,” Trump said. “You don’t know how to win anymore.”

They tried to explain what was actually going on in Afghanistan.

Trump by now was in one of his rages. He was so angry that he wasn’t taking many breaths. All morning, he had been coarse and cavalier, but the next several things he bellowed went beyond that description. They stunned nearly everyone in the room, and some vowed that they would never repeat them. Indeed, they have not been reported until now.

“I wouldn’t go to war with you people,” Trump told the assembled brass.

Addressing the room, the commander in chief barked, “You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.”

For a president known for verbiage he euphemistically called “locker room talk,” this was the gravest insult he could have delivered to these people, in this sacred space. The flag officers in the room were shocked. Some staff began looking down at their papers, rearranging folders, almost wishing themselves out of the room. A few considered walking out. They tried not to reveal their revulsion on their faces, but questions raced through their minds. “How does the commander in chief say that?” one thought. “What would our worst adversaries think if they knew he said this?”

This is the guy, Leonnig and Rucker remind us, who got the bone spurs exemption.

Tillerson in particular was stunned by Trump’s diatribe and began visibly seething. For too many minutes, others in the room noticed, he had been staring straight, dumbfounded, at Mattis, who was speechless, his head bowed down toward the table. Tillerson thought to himself, “Gosh darn it, Jim, say something. Why aren’t you saying something?”

Gosh darn it? I think not.

Pence sat very still. People thought he would speak up, especially since he has a son in the Marines, but he just sat very still and uttered not a peep.

Tillerson is the one who spoke up, and told Trump he was wrong.

There was silence in the Tank. Several military officers in the room were grateful to the secretary of state for defending them when no one else would. The meeting soon ended and Trump walked out, saying goodbye to a group of servicemen lining the corridor as he made his way to his motorcade waiting outside. Mattis, Tillerson, and Cohn were deflated. Standing in the hall with a small cluster of people he trusted, Tillerson finally let down his guard.

“He’s a fucking moron,” the secretary of state said of the president.

Ah that’s when he said the immortal words. Good to know.

However bad we already know it is – it’s always worse. There’s always worse that we don’t yet know about.


Jan 17th, 2020 12:13 pm | By

Trump has been busy today honoring some athletes.

At the White House today, Donald Trump is honoring the 2019 college football national champions before heading to Mar-a-Lago.

Before heading to Mar-a-Lago to put many thousands more $$ in his pocket at our expense.

He told the players, speaking about the presidency and himself: “You’ve got a good one now, even though they’re trying to impeach the son of a bitch. Can you believe that?”

Cool cool, but for the punchline, look at that photo.

US President Donald Trump takes part in an event honoring the 2019 College Football National Champions, the Louisiana State University Tigers, in the East Room of the White House in Washington DC

The library gave no reason for the cancellation

Jan 17th, 2020 11:31 am | By

Feminist women to give a talk on being canceled.

Oops, no, wait, scratch that – the talk has been canceled.

You can’t make this up: The New York Public Library has canceled an event, scheduled for Friday at the main branch, that was to feature women who have been canceled.

Organized by the Women’s Liberation Front, a feminist organization that supports a biological definition of gender, the “Evening with Canceled Women” was to feature “five fearless feminists” speaking out about “women’s rights to a life free of pervasive harassment, silencing, coercion, violence, forced lying and endless punishment.”

Well we can’t have that, now can we. Whatever next? Leaving the house without permission?

In a blog post, the WLF’s Natasha Chart recounted how she was informed last week, just a day before the deposit for the room rental was due, that the library wouldn’t be hosting the event. The library gave no reason for the cancellation — which came even though earlier it had assured the women that “the contract was in process.” The NYPL didn’t respond to my request for comment.

All of the women slated to appear have been victims in one way or another of cancel culture, including social-media bans, protests and hecklers — all for asserting the not-long-ago common view that gender is based in biological facts, not subjective feelings.

Now the trans movement is telling them to shut up and let biological men decide what it means to be a woman. But in the tradition of powerful feminist voices in the past, these women won’t shut up or be nice.

And we won’t repeat the lies, either.

Arguing v marching

Jan 17th, 2020 10:50 am | By

Jane Clare Jones also objects to Alison Phipps’s assertion that “‘Reasonable debate’ cannot counter unreasonable ideas,” calling it “a pretty staggering statement from someone who is supposedly in the business of dealing with ideas.” Isn’t it though? Isn’t it just self-undermining as all hell for an academic?

If taken at face value, ‘unreasonable’ here would mean something like ‘lacking in reasoned argument,’ or ‘not capable of being justified with compelling reasons.’ Maybe this is what Phipps means, but if so, she would have to, y’know, actually demonstrate that the many reasons we have given for our position are not, in fact, reasonable. Which would, indeed, be the entire point of asking her to intellectually engage with us, rather than just doing an endless ‘tut and move away’ manoeuvre.

The first thought that leaps to mind is that ‘tut and move away’ is simply easier, but the second thought is that it’s more theatrical, more demonstrative, more showy. It does more to dramatize one’s impassioned loyalty and concern for “trans folx” than reasoned argument would do. It’s more like marching to Selma and less like writing an opinion on Brown. Marching to Selma is certainly part of what’s required, but it’s not supposed to displace reasoned discussion altogether.

Of course, we’re going to conclude from Phipps’ swerve that she knows full well that she can’t answer our reasoned objections, and no surprises there – this absolute refusal to deal with the substance of the issue has been the core political tactic of the TRM from the start, and it’s because, simply, they can’t deal with reasoned objections. What they can, and have done, inveterately, instead, is weave a web of analogical relations to explain why we’re evil, why everything we say is evil, and why they don’t have to engage with us or anything we ever say because we’re SO. DAMN. EVIL.

This is actually what Phipps is saying when she calls us ‘unreasonable.’ It can’t be a (potentially) demonstrable claim about our position ‘lacking reasoned argument’ because if it were, the claim that ‘reasonable debate cannot defeat unreasonable ideas’ would make no sense. What it is, rather, I’d suggest, is a moral claim – a claim that we and our ideas are so morally delinquent that we can, and should, be excluded from the community of legitimate speaking subjects.

Exactly so. That’s why I ended up leaving Freethought blogs: they wouldn’t let me try to discuss the ideas, try to make distinctions, try to separate the political from the ontological. That was noisily and then venomously Forbidden.

For a group of people so profoundly concerned with questions of recognition, validation, and the harms of dehumanisation and exclusion, it is marked how absolute and implacable the TR position is when it comes to refusing anyone who questions their ideology or political agenda the merest hint of basic recognition. We are never to be taken as good actors who have genuinely motivated concerns or objections grounded in our own political analysis of the world. We will not be interpreted or understood in anything resembling our own terms, but are, instead, a venomous horde of boogeywomen summoned by the projections of our opponents.

Funny how Jane and I both land on the word “venomous” independently – I hadn’t read that far when I wrote the previous paragraph. (I do it that way sometimes – comment as I read rather than reading it all and then commenting.) The venom is noticeable and strange. It’s one thing that sets this “movement” apart. It feels…it feels like mental illness, to tell the truth. It feels like mutual widespread socially-contagious mental illness. It doesn’t feel healthy at all.

Can we fix it?

278 x

Jan 17th, 2020 10:05 am | By

Top mediocrity at the New York Times David Brooks has perpetrated another fatuous column, this one saying vast inequality of wealth is because the top people create eleventy billion times as much value as the ants at the bottom. Paul Krugman raises an eyebrow.

But don’t go thinking that’s just because the plutocrat class rewards itself – no no – it’s totally merit. A plutocrat screwup is emphasis on the plutocrat dammit.


Jan 16th, 2020 5:31 pm | By

Don’t mess with perfection

Jan 16th, 2020 1:47 pm | By

It’s ok though, Trump has a brilliant defense.

Oh well never mind then.

OMB’s assertions have no basis in law

Jan 16th, 2020 1:27 pm | By

The Government Accountability Office, which is a non-partisan arm of Congress, says Trump broke the law.

President Donald Trump’s White House violated federal law by withholding military aid to Ukraine, a top government watchdog announced on Thursday, dealing a blow to the administration’s case against impeachment as the Senate prepares to put Trump on trial.

“Faithful execution of the law does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,” the GAO concluded in a report released Thursday morning. “OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA.”

“OMB’s assertions have no basis in law,” the report concluded.

Trump will say they were all born in Kenya.

Respecting the views

Jan 16th, 2020 12:02 pm | By

Yet another one.

The red haze of fury that immediately descended prevented me from noticing the staggering rudeness of simply cc-ing Stock on an email to others as opposed to communicating with her directly. I guess that’s because the latter would require apologies? I guess it’s just simpler and quicker for the bullies in charge to discuss it among themselves and cc the people they’re bullying?

I find this simply enraging. Preemptive “on second thought no” a mere week beforehand, on the basis of utterly spurious “health and safety issues” – which by the way are immediately nullified by the suggestion that a “transgender speaker” should be invited.

And all this in aid of the new and preposterous doctrine that we are required to accept men’s claims that they are women, that we are required to believe all such claims without hesitation and with enthusiasm. Women are required to accept men as women on command, and forbidden to say no or to ask any questions. If we fail to comply they will punish us.

It’s health and safety! Also, we should invited somebody trans!

Do the managers at the University of East Anglia want to bring their institution into disrepute? Because that is by god what they’re doing.

Captured battering a reporter

Jan 16th, 2020 10:58 am | By

Yaniv is still playing his disgusting games.

Tumultuous trans troublemaker Jessica Yaniv was caught on camera pummeling a reporter Monday in B.C..

In a widely circulated video, Yaniv, 32, is captured battering Rebel Media reporter Keean Bexte outside a Surrey courthouse.

But that’s not enough! There always has to be more!

Later, Yaniv allegedly confronted Post Millennial’s Amy Eileen Hamm, accusing the reporter of taking photos of [him]* in a women’s washroom.

Cops dutifully searched Hamm’s phone. None of the alleged photos were there.

What actually happened is that Hamm saw Yaniv as she (Hamm) entered the washroom, and she promptly backed out. Yaniv is now claiming (on Twitter) that she sexually assaulted him.

*Media outlets really need to stop calling Yaniv “her.” He’s a large violent aggressive man who assaults people as they film him doing so, and tells lies about women who try to use the women’s room while he’s lurking in it.

“The physical difference is not real,” she said

Jan 15th, 2020 5:23 pm | By

Pink News reports:

The Argentinian football club Villa San Carlos has signed its first ever transgender player for the top women’s league, Primera Division A.

Funny how it’s always for the women’s league.

As well as being the first for the club, Argentine striker Mara Gomez, 22, will also be the first transgender woman ever to play in an official Argentine FA tournament.

Gomez previously played for Toronto City* and the amateur league side Malvinas, where she won two league titles and became the club’s top goalscorer.

A picture of her standing next to another of the team’s newest acquisitions, Ludmila Angeli, went viral as a piece of the country’s footballing history.

Possibly because Gomez towers over Angeli.

Argentina women's football

“Being able to be in professional football represents a historical struggle,” she told EN24. “Just as women’s football fought for professionalisation, we all fight for the right to achieve a football in which we can all participate.”

Except of course women’s football won’t be women’s football for much longer if men who identify as women are allowed to play against women.

Throughout her sporting career Gomez has faced critics who believe that, as a transgender woman, she has an advantage over the cis female players – but she says this is never a factor.

“The physical difference is not real,” she said. “There are a lot of players with much more strength and speed than me and they are not men. It has nothing to do with it.”

Also, if you drop a ball, it will fall upwards.

Villa San Carlos are currently bottom of the league with only one point and are yet to win a game – but all that could change when Gomez and Angeli make their debut against league leaders Boca Juniors.

Yes it could.

*Updating to add: Toronto City is a youth league in Buenos Aires. H/t Rob in comments.

Gun gun day

Jan 15th, 2020 4:39 pm | By

This country is a sewer.

Fearing potential violence, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is declaring a state of emergency and is banning firearms and other weapons on the Capitol grounds in Richmond ahead of a gun rights demonstration planned for next week.

“Gun rights” fanatics are planning to converge on Richmond next Monday to complain about efforts to pass gun control laws, because hey, why would anybody ever want to control guns.

The event, hosted by Virginia Citizens Defense League, is expected to draw thousands of armed demonstrators, some from out of state. Organizers have said they hope to hold a peaceful event.

Can you imagine? Hundreds of random people armed with guns converging on one spot in one city?

But Northam said officials have heard reports of “out-of-state militia groups and hate groups planning to travel from across the country to disrupt our democratic process with acts of violence.” He said they “are coming to intimidate and to cause harm.”

Like those shitheads at Malheur. They went to intimidate and cause harm, and they did both.

Northam is raising concerns about a reprise of the deadly violence surrounding the white supremacist march in Charlottesville in August 2017. He said state intelligence analysts have identified threats and rhetoric online that mirror the chatter they were picking up around that time.

Brownshirts much?

“Is the Wicket Witch gone?”

Jan 15th, 2020 3:50 pm | By

Now there’s more.

Trump’s hoodlums deciding what ambassadors we can have.

The atmosphere thickens

Jan 15th, 2020 12:35 pm | By

NPR on the Parnas hotel room notepad scribbles:

The records provided by Parnas, who has been indicted in New York for alleged campaign finance violations, add to the evidence already released documenting Giuliani’s efforts to get the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to publicly announce an investigation related to former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who had ties to a Ukrainian energy company.

It’s not that there’s anything new in that, it’s just that I keep wanting to underline how DERANGED it is. Trump’s personal lawyer is working with random guy Lev Parnas to try to force another head of state to damage one of Trump’s political competitors. Trump might as well be sending Barron and a couple of Barron’s classmates to South Korea to try to get that government to sabotage Elizabeth Warren – it would make just as much sense. Then again that would omit the extra poignancy in the fact that Giuliani was once a famous prosecutor in the famous SDNY.

But there is new news on this revolting Robert Hyde character.

But it’s a string of WhatsApp messages from late March 2019 taken from Parnas’ phone that is drawing the most scrutiny. In those texts, Parnas and an associate named Robert F. Hyde, a retired Marine who is running for Congress as a Republican in Connecticut, criticize Yovanovitch, who was still a U.S. ambassador at the time.

She was still an ambassador at that time because Trump hadn’t yet fired her for his own evil self-dealing reasons.

“Wow. Can’t believe Trumo [sic] hasn’t fired this bitch. I’ll get right in that,” Hyde wrote in an encrypted message to Parnas. He added, “She under heavy protection outside Kiev.”

People working for Trump’s personal lawyer are conspiring to harm a US ambassador, presumably because she’s not corrupt and thus won’t help them with their corrupt Cunning Plan.

The messages also seem to indicate that Hyde might have been involved in monitoring Yovanovitch and her movements.

“They are moving her tomorrow,” Hyde later wrote, quickly followed by, “The guys over they asked me what I would like to do and what is in it for them.”

Hyde said Yovanovitch had turned off her phone and computer, and that his associates in Ukraine would give updates on the ambassador’s movements. He added, “They are willing to help if we/you would like a price… Guess you can do anything in the Ukraine with money … what I was told.”

These random crooks are monitoring an ambassador’s phone and computer. On behalf of the president of the US. Along with being criminal it’s just so filthy.

Two days later, on March 29, Hyde wrote, “It’s confirmed we have a person inside.”

But hey, he was only joking, folks!

In a a flurry of comments Wednesday, Hyde said he has never been to Kyiv and that the highlighted exchange was all in fun and had been misconstrued.

Uh huh. Just jokes.

So he’s illiterate as well as criminal and dangerous.

I do not like these people.


Jan 15th, 2020 11:50 am | By

This. Don’t. normalize. Trump.

Pencils down

Jan 15th, 2020 6:05 am | By

On another subject…

Image result for adam schiff
Image result for jared kushner

Just saying.

Personal lawyer

Jan 15th, 2020 5:55 am | By

CNN on the Giuliani-Parnas-Yovanovitch papers:

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch on Tuesday called for an investigation into the “disturbing” notion that she was under surveillance from associates of the President’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

I’ve asked this before, but the question is even more pressing now: what business would anyone’s personal lawyer have interfering with a US ambassador on the job? Giuliani was emphatic on the point that he wasn’t working for Trump the [pretend] president, he was working for Trump the person. Trump the person has even less right to sandbag an ambassador for his own criminal interests than Trump the [pretend] president has. It’s as if Trump’s dentist tried to pull an ambassador’s teeth out.

The texts released by the House Democrats Tuesday show Connecticut Republican congressional candidate Robert Hyde berating Yovanovitch and suggest he was monitoring her while she was in Kiev and relaying her movements to Parnas. Hyde declined to comment to CNN when asked if he had surveilled Yovanovitch, who served as a key witness in the House impeachment probe.

Robert Hyde is a strikingly horrible character. He’ll probably be president after Trump.

Three retired ambassadors who know Yovanovitch expressed shock and horror Tuesday at the idea that the longtime diplomat was being surveilled by an American.

“It’s horrifying, it’s just unbelievable,” retired ambassador Jim Melville said in a phone conversation with CNN. “The very idea that there were elements, possibly of the US government or connected to the US government, who were trying to do an end run around everything that we’ve established to keep our mission safe is just outrageous.”

Connected to the US government but not officially. Off the books connected. “Private” connected. Connected the way the plumbers were connected to Nixon.

Retired ambassador Nancy McEldowney echoed that sentiment.

“I find this really shocking and alarming and the idea that American citizens would be surveilling an American ambassador with the endorsement of the President’s personal attorney, it’s just so troubling to me,” McEldowney told CNN.

Another retired ambassador said they had “never heard of anything like it.”

“It’s common that terrorists and former communists do this to us. It’s appalling and incomprehensible that somebody who is working for the President’s personal lawyer would have been doing this to our ambassador,” they told CNN.

We get such an onslaught of outrageous criminal actions from Trump and his trumpers that we lose track of how outrageous some of the actions are. This business of having shadowy gangsters abusing an ambassador who is doing her job (and by all non-trumpian accounts doing it brilliantly) is hard to take in.

Asked whether they believed it would be helpful for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to come out in Yovanovitch’s defense in light of the latest developments, both Melville and McEldowney slammed the top US diplomat.

Pompeo isn’t the top US diplomat. He’s a hack, in way over his head. Diplomats are professionals; Pompeo is a hack.

“He hasn’t stood up for anybody in the foreign service. All he’s looking out for is his own back and the President,” Melville said. “He has no interest in the good of the service and its people and he’s made that abundantly clear repeatedly.”

McEldowney told CNN she believes Pompeo is “derelict in his duty for refusing to speak out about diplomats who are loyally and faithfully and professionally carrying out their responsibilities and who are being slandered by political attacks.”

Oh well, it’s only the State Department.

The announcement is everything

Jan 15th, 2020 5:26 am | By

Neal Katyal and Joshua Geltzer in the Post:

The new documents released Tuesday evening by the House Intelligence Committee were devastating to Trump’s continuing — if shifting — defense of his Ukraine extortion scandal, just days before his impeachment trial is likely to begin in the Senate. These new documents demolish at least three key defenses to which Trump and his allies have been clinging: that he was really fighting corruption when he pressured Ukraine on matters related to the Biden family; that Hunter Biden should be called as a witness at the Senate impeachment trial; and that there’s no need for a real, honest-to-goodness trial in the Senate.

They point out that even Nixon didn’t think he could just say No to impeachment.

That’s why the House added Article II to Trump’s impeachment: “Obstruction of Congress.” It was a response to an unprecedented attempt by Trump to hide the truth.

The documents released Tuesday show what Trump has been so afraid of. For starters, they prove that Trump’s already-eyebrow-raising claim to have been fighting corruption in Ukraine was bogus. Notes taken by an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, Lev Parnas — now facing federal criminal charges — show what his and Giuliani’s mission was when they got in touch with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: “get Zalensky to Announce that the Biden case will Be Investigated.” Look hard at the real goal here: not to prompt an investigation of Hunter Biden, but to score an announcement of a Biden investigation. Pursuing an announcement, rather than an investigation, makes sense only if Trump’s objective was to dirty the reputation of a leading political rival, Joe Biden.

It’s very Trump though. It’s incriminating but it’s also just so Trump – so about the appearance and so not about the substance. He’s a pretend genius pretending to be a president pretending to do serious grown-up presidenty things. It’s all performance; there is nothing else. He doesn’t know there’s anything else. He thinks what he sees is all there is. He’s that simple.

All told, the documents help to explain Trump’s consistent push to bury the evidence against himself. Every week, it becomes clearer why Trump has withheld documents from Congress, blocked executive branch officials and even private citizens from testifying before Congress, and overall, well, obstructed Congress, as the second article of impeachment rightly describes it. It’s because Trump is a man with something to hide. Let’s see what else he’s hiding — in front of the Senate next week, in a good, old-fashioned American trial for all to see.

Trump has almost everything to hide.

Guest post: Tactics common in abusive relationships make bad activism

Jan 15th, 2020 4:30 am | By

Originally a comment by Bruce Gorton on All the poles are reversed.

If there is no difference between a cis woman and a trans woman, if “trans women are women” – then it shouldn’t make any difference.

But of course, there is a difference.

Anyway the more I see these stories, the more this runs through my head:

You’ve heard of TERFs, you’ve heard of SWERFs, now introducing the hot new radical feminism, WERFs.

That’s right, Women Exclusionary Radical Feminism, for when you want to call yourself a feminist but think the only women whose voices matter, are those women who have penises.

Do you think it is okay to threaten 60 year-old-women with baseball bats while still claiming to be a radical feminist? Being a WERF is right up your alley.

Are you basically a frat boy who thinks putting on a dress means you get to call lesbians who don’t want to have sex with you bigots? Congratulations, you’re a WERF.

Do you present yourself as the most insulting possible parody of a female, with the barest essentials are “a willing asshole, an open mouth and blank, blank eyes” and think this makes you more legitimate than someone who was actually born female? You’re a WERF mate.

Do you think that harassing female athletes for having doubts about whether male bodied athletes should be allowed to compete in women’s sports is a good thing to do? That’s why you’re WERF.

Do you think you threatening to commit suicide when feminists say things you disagree with makes their words tantamount to violence? WERF.

Now note: Not all trans people are WERFs. Not all WERFs are trans. Most trans people are much like most other people, and not dickheads about it. One can argue in favour of trans inclusion in women’s sports without trying to silence the opposition.

One can legitimately argue in favour of “trans women are women” without harassment campaigns against the opposition, and calling people bigots because they’re not on the same page as you.

It is perfectly possible to do these things, but doing them requires actually having enough respect for women to be willing to listen to what they have to say. It requires respecting women having freedom to speech, even speech that you might find hurtful.

It requires arguments not dictates. And those are very rare from the trans activist community.

This is not a matter of simple disagreements between the TERF and WERF movements right now – it is a set of tactics which are common in abusive relationships being turned into activism.

We see gaslighting going on where women are dismissed as being crazy for having concerns. We see threats of suicide used as a silencing tactic. We see outright violence occasionally and a lot of harassment.

We see the idealisation of what it is to be female – in a way that a lot of feminists would regard as outright misogynist. We then see feminists who object to this being threatened.

Years ago my view on trans rights was this: I’m not in support of having a situation where people have their genitals checked before they go to the bathroom. I wouldn’t want somebody checking I’ve got a penis before going to a men’s restroom, and urinals are a lot more public than cubicles.

I can respect that people disagree – but I think in practical terms for the day-to-day, trans women should be treated as being women because nobody wants anybody going and looking up people’s skirts or in people’s pants to check.

But my view has warped. I still think nobody wants to institute the gender-police, but honestly trans activism has gone so far that it is now unsupportable.

I don’t believe in “double vision” – I think people are people. The oppressed are not suddenly granted super-perception by being oppressed, people are people, we see what we see, and we all make assumptions of varying accuracy.

My country has been governed by identity politics since 1994, and the result has been some of the highest rates of murder and rape in the world, a unemployment rate of over 29%, xenophobia, our 2019 GDP growth was 0.1%, and we’ve not even had any movement on those identity issues.

I still believe that Thabo Mbeki is the worst president South Africa has had. Not just because of the AIDS crisis, but because of how he handled the crime crisis. Mbeki responded to that crisis by calling the reporters who highlighted it racist.

It’s not worked because it doesn’t treat people as people, but as identities – so we’ve got a government that thinks it has “double vision” and thus ignores a lot of expertise from the old oppressor class, who had a greater chance to become experts due that oppression.

Nobody had “double vision” and now we can’t keep the lights on. Don’t assume you know better because you think you’re oppressed, at best you’re just as informed as your oppressor, maybe just on different issues, at worst you might not even be oppressed but rather feel oppressed and be justifying your own vile behaviour by that. This is why conversations and working together matter, why you should be prepared to listen even when it is something that you find deeply personally offensive.

It is also why you shouldn’t justify things by claiming you’re “punching up”, the people who are willing to tolerate really getting punched aren’t that far up, and all too often are actually too far down to retaliate. There is a reason why in any social justice activism, women are generally more in the firing line than men.

And this is why the trans activist community is part of what is driving situations where leftwing parties are losing – because this dictatorial style where everyone who disagrees is a bigot? It breaks countries. You don’t have to converse politely, mockery and all of that is fine, but don’t think just shutting down the opposition is going to do away with the opposition, you might just be doing away with your support.