Notes and Comment Blog


He no longer has to be politically correct

Jan 15th, 2017 12:37 pm | By

A sweet little boy-meets-girl story out of Connecticut.

A local Republican politician in Connecticut was arrested for allegedly pinching a female employee’s genitals, reports the Westport Daily Voice.

Christopher von Keyserling, 71, was arrested Wednesday in Greenwich Town Hall and charged with fourth-degree sexual assault, a misdemeanor. He was released on a $2,500 bond and given a court date of Jan. 25.

It was last month. The woman encountered von Keyserling in a hall.

The two had a brief political argument, in which von Keyserling remarked, “I love this new world, I no longer have to be politically correct.”

When the woman tried to walk away, von Keyserling allegedly reached from behind to place his hand between her legs and pinched her in the groin. He said “it would be your word against mine and nobody will believe you,” the woman claimed.

There he is, no longer having to be politically correct. It’s so horrifyingly politically correct to refrain from grabbing women by the pussy, isn’t it?

His lawyer told Greenwich Time the charges were the result of a “jocular” moment with a woman.

“In almost 30 years of practicing law in this town, I would say Mr. von Keyserling is the one person I would never suspect of having any inappropriate sexual predilections,” the lawyer, Phil Russell, said. “There was a playful gesture, in front of witnesses. It was too trivial to be considered anything of significance. To call it a sexual assault is not based in reality.”

Sure. Women are just furniture, after all. They walk around and talk, but that’s only because somebody programmed them. They have no actual minds, no actual thoughts and plans and intentions.

Police said surveillance recordings from the day of the incident are consistent with the woman’s claims.

Well they’re just being politically correct.



Compare

Jan 15th, 2017 12:13 pm | By

Susan Campbell has a terrific post at The Hill comparing Trump and John Lewis over time.

n a photograph from his youth, President-elect Donald J. Trump poses in the dress uniform of a New York Military Academy cadet. He’s posed next to his father, real estate mogul Fred C. Trump, and his mother, the Scottish immigrant/social climber, Mary Anne MacLeod Trump.

He graduated from NYMA in 1964, and with all due respect to the class of ’17, at the time his school had the reputation as little more than a holding pen for rich, disaffected young men who’d reach a level of incompetence unwelcome at other institutions.

During that same time, John Lewis, the son of the sharecropper Eddie Lewis, and Willie Mae Carter Lewis, was running the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and he was a keynote speaker at the 1963 March On Washington, the gathering where the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream Speech.”

Now to be fair Lewis is six years older than Trump, so in the early years he gets a partial discount for that…but only partial, because the discrepancies in material advantages remain.

While Trump was playing Animal House Lewis was having his skull fractured by Alabama state troopers.

Trump transferred to Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, and racked up five draft deferments — four for college, and one for bone spurs in his heels. He entered his father’s real estate business, where in 1973, the Department of Justice sued Trump and his company for alleged racial discrimination at their housing developments.

Trump and family settled, without admitting guilt, but only after Trump tried to counter-sue for $100 million.

During that time, Lewis was director of the Voter Education Project, which coordinated the voter registration work of five different organizations, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, and the National Urban League. In 1987, John Lewis was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia’s Fifth district. In 1998, he published, “Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of a Movement.” It won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He followed it with a much-acclaimed series of graphic novels titled, “March.”

In 1987, Trump published “Art of the Deal,” followed by “The Art of the Comeback,” “How to Get Rich,” and “Think Like a Billionaire,” though we don’t actually know if Trump is a billionaire as he won’t release his income taxes.

Speaks for itself, dunnit.

In 2011, Trump began floating the (false) rumor that Pres. Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. That same year, Lewis was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Trump isn’t good enough to empty the wastebasket in Lewis’s office.



It was probably a technical error

Jan 15th, 2017 11:39 am | By

Item 23 from Amy Siskind’s list – C-Span being interrupted by RT during testimony by Maxine Waters. It happened but C-Span considers it a glitch as opposed to a sinister move by the Rooskies.

The NY Times:

At 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Representative Maxine Waters was on the floor of the House of Representatives, arguing for the importance of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“At this time,” Ms. Waters, Democrat of California, said, “with a bill that would basically take our cop on the block, the S.E.C., and literally obliterate ——”

Alas, politics junkies, news editors and anyone else who was watching the broadcast online did not learn how that sentence ended. Ms. Waters was cut off. Instead, they heard the jangling music of a feed from RT, a state-run Russian television network that has been accused of helping its government interfere in the American election.

Some on social media immediately assumed that the interruption, which lasted about 10 minutes, had nefarious implications.

C-Span, in a statement, had a simpler explanation: It was probably a technical error. C-Span’s television broadcast continued uninterrupted.

Probably.

Noting that RT is among the news feeds it regularly monitors, it said: “We don’t believe we were hacked. Instead, our initial investigation suggests that this was caused by an internal routing error. We take our network security very seriously and will continue with a deeper investigation, which may take some time.”

So that one’s a question mark.



More than $5 million for unpaid labor

Jan 15th, 2017 11:24 am | By

Item 2 from Amy Suskind’s list – Bloomberg reported on January 5:

Donald Trump’s new Washington hotel, located just blocks from the White House, owes electricians, wood workers and a plumbing and heating business more than $5 million for unpaid labor, according to liens filed against the property with the District of Columbia.

The 263-room hotel, located on the historic site of the city’s former main post office, opened in October following a $212 million renovation of the 1899 structure. The liens were filed in November and December, according to public records.

Trump has acknowledged not always paying all his bills, saying it’s often a negotiating tactic when work is subpar. His companies have been sued numerous times over unpaid work. Among them were landscapers at Riverside South Park in Manhattan, who sued in 2001 seeking $111,000. Contractors at Trump Park Avenue sued in 2003 seeking $206,000. And in 2010 a painter in Chicago sued a Trump entity developing a high-rise claiming to be owed more than $4 million.

Beautiful, isn’t it? The guy who will be president in 5 days owes 5 million bucks to working people? Are we a classy nation or what.

Those claiming they’re owed money by Trump Old Post Office LLC include the Washington plumbing and heating firm, Joseph J. Magnolia Inc., which says it’s due $2.98 million. A Maryland company, AES Electrical Inc., claims it’s owed $2.075 million and A&D Construction of Virginia LLC, says the hotel hasn’t paid $79,700 for trim work including crown and base moldings.

Rebecca Woods, an attorney representing the president-elect in other hotel-related litigation, didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment on the liens. Trump’s communications office didn’t immediately reply to an e-mailed request for comment.

Trump is a thief, and the people he steals from are contractors and workers.



Thank you all for peeing here

Jan 15th, 2017 11:14 am | By

Last night’s Alec Baldwin as Trump:



36 items

Jan 15th, 2017 11:03 am | By

Amy Siskind posted a list yesterday, saying that “experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.” Some of the items are new to me and demand research. Number 2 for instance made my eyes stand out on stalks, as did 23.

1. The Office of Government Ethics director publicly lamented, “we seem to have lost contact with the Trump-Pence transition since the election.”
2.Three vendors have placed liens on the Trump hotel in DC for unpaid bills of over $5 million, in total.
3. The OGE similarly said they had not completed ethics reviews of Trump’s cabinet nominees. Leader McConnell said the Democrats need to “grow up” on Trump’s desire for speedy confirmations.
4. Sean Hannity endorsed a tweet which said “Make Russia Great Again” with the word, “Amen.” Hannity later deleted his tweet.
5. Meryl Streep used her Golden Globes lifetime of notable work speech to eloquently attack Trump, without mentioning his name.
6. Trump responded via a tweet that Streep is an “over-rated” actress, and denied he had mocked a disabled reporter.
7. Trump took credit for a Fiat Chrysler plant and jobs in MI and OH. Fiat Chrysler responded that Trump had nothing to do with it.
8. Trump appointed Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, to a top WH post, possibly violating the 1967 federal anti-nepotism statute.
9. Trump told the NYT that all the dress shops in DC are sold out for his inauguration. This was a lie.
10. Trump team dismissed the National Nuclear Security Administration and his deputy, responsible for maintaining our nuclear arsenal, as of January 20. Trump also dismissed the commanding general of the DC national guard.
11. Cory Booker became the first US Senator to speak out against a fellow sitting senator at a confirmation hearing (Sessions for AG).
12. CNN reported a bombshell – Intelligence chiefs had briefed Trump that Russia had gathered information to blackmail him (the dossier).
13. Same day, BuzzFeed published contents of the dossier, which apparently had been in the hands of the FBI and some in the media since the summer. Contents include the infamous golden shower.
14. Trump denied having been briefed, and said the contents of the dossier were confirmed by intelligence to be fake. DNI Clapper issued a public statement indicating the dossier’s contents are still being verified (not fake), and media reported that Comey met with Trump one-on-one to review the dossier the prior Friday.
15. Trump held his first press conference since July. Trump packed the room with paid employees, who applauded him, and jeered at reporters.
16. At presser, Trump said he had no plans to release his tax returns, or resolve conflicts of interest, saying, “I have no-conflict situation because I’m president.”
17. Trump bullied reporters at two news outlets, calling them “fake news,” and used other news outlets as evidence.
18. The director of the OGE publicly blasted Trump’s non-plan for dealing with conflicts of interest. Next day, Rep Jason Chaffetz threatened to investigate the OGE.
19. Next day, while meeting with CEO of AT&T at Trump Tower (AT&T needs approval for their merger with Time Warner, parent company of CNN) Trump tweeted CNN is “FAKE NEWS” and tanking.
20. Rep Barbara Lee said she would not attend Trump’s inauguration. During the week, the list grew to 12 members of Congress.
21. Trump encouraged his followers in a tweet to “buy L.L. Bean,” in violation of a WH policy prohibiting the endorsement of products.
22. The Justice Department inspector general opened an investigation into allegations of misconduct by the FBI and Comey, leading up to the election.
23. C-Span’s online broadcast was interrupted by Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT, while Rep Maxine Waters was speaking. Waters has said she will not meet with Trump. The broadcast was also interrupted that morning when a Senator discussed Russian hacking.
24. WAPO reported that Michael Flynn, Trump’s NSA, spoke to Russia’s envoy on Dec 29th, the day Obama announced sanctions on Russia. Trump team initially denied this, then later, said they spoke only once that day. Reuters reports they spoke 5 times that day.
25. Trump continued to deny Russian hacking, and to use quotes around Intelligence in his tweets.
26. Trump appointed Rudy Giuliani to a cybersecurity role – albeit though a private company.
27. Trump appointed a sixth Goldman Sachs (past or present) employees to a major role in his administration.
28. After Congress was briefed by Intelligence chiefs, Rep John Lewis said, “I don’t see Trump as a legitimate president.”
29. Next morning, Trump tweeted a disparaging attack on Lewis, on MLK weekend, saying he was all talk.
30. Democrats in Congress were furious with FBI director Comey’s unwillingness to answer their questions and fully brief them.
31. UK media broke that the former agent who gathered the info in the dossier, had shared his findings with the FBI, starting in the summer, and had become concerned that a cabal within the FBI was compromised and attempting to cover-up information.
32. The Senate announced hearings on possible Russia-Trump ties, and said subpoenas would be issued if necessary.
33. The FEC sent Trump a letter listing 247 pages of illegal contributions to his campaign.
34. In the wake of the Trump dossier becoming public, Russia’s cybersecurity head is out of a job.
35. Human Rights Watch issued its annual report of threats to human rights around the world. For the first time in 27 years, the US is listed as a top threat because of the rise of Trump.
36. A Quinnipiac poll showed Trump’s favorability ratings continuing to slide to historic lows for modern day presidents: only 37% of Americans view Trump favorably.

That’s week 9. She includes links to weeks 1-8 at the end.



Charlie

Jan 14th, 2017 5:07 pm | By

The LA Times:

The captions:

Did we have to give him the nuclear codes?

Obama: again a citizen like everyone else

H/t Katrina



Symmetry

Jan 14th, 2017 4:55 pm | By

I hunted down the column in which Dan Savage gave the advice that Jocelyn MacDonald quoted, to see if it’s really as one-sided as she said. It is.

It’s from May 2015.

I’m a lesbian who has been pretty successful at online dating. Lately, however, I’ve had a few women contact me who turn out not to be cisgender. I’ve tried to remain open, but I have never been attracted to a trans woman. I don’t rule out the possibility that it could happen. But one great thing about online dating is that you can express preferences before going on a date, and I’d rather not unknowingly walk into these potentially awkward and painful situations. Is there something I could put on my profile expressing my preference for cisgender women that is not offensive to trans people? It’s important to me that I remain an ally.

Can I Say?

You can put “not into trans women” in your online dating profile, CIS, but you’ll have to hand in your Trans Ally card. Gay men are likewise free to put “no fats, no femmes” or “white guys only—just expressing my preference” on their profiles, and too many do (and not all of them are white guys), but gay men who do that have to hand in their Not an Asshole cards. Occasionally having coffee with someone you’re not into—and having to tiptoe through the awkwardness—isn’t something you can avoid in online dating. You would have to do that even if only cis lesbians responded to your ads, as you’re presumably not attracted to all cis lesbians. Having a coffee now and then with a trans woman you most likely won’t find attractive—but you never know—is a small price to pay to make the online dating world a less shitty place for trans people. It’s what an ally would do.

See? It’s weird. Instead of saying “Gay men are likewise free to put ‘no trans men’ on their profiles, and too many do” he says “no fats, no femmes” and “white guys only.”

Ally to whom, exactly?



In the superwoke queer community

Jan 14th, 2017 4:37 pm | By

At Feminist Current, Jocelyn MacDonald notes that a lot of people have been asking about the disappearing lesbian.

For those of us in rainbow community, it’s not really a head-scratcher. We’ve watched lesbian culture be beaten back, redefined, and undermined — in many cases with the gleeful participation from the other letters in LGBTQ.  For lesbians, it seems obvious that this is happening because we are in the midst of a backlash against feminism and women’s rights.

A ferocious, noisy, and very hostile backlash.

(It depressed me to notice a moment in Obama’s farewell address when he singled out every marginalized group…except the biggest one.

For blacks and other minority groups, it means tying our own very real struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face — not only the refugee, or the immigrant, or the rural poor, or the transgender American, but also the middle-aged white guy…)

Back to the Feminist Current piece.

In the last couple years, I’ve moved from identifying as a bisexual/queer woman, to identifying as a lesbian. I offer this personal information because, as I’ve moved away from dudes and ever deeper into community and intimacy exclusively with women, I find the opposite is occurring in the communities where I once felt at home. More and more women call themselves queer (whether or not they engage in homo sex) and are going so far as to position lesbianism as an outmoded, “problematic” lifestyle. In queer circles, “lesbian” is synonymous with second wave feminism.

And second wave feminism is synonymous with practically dead, with stale and conservative and outmoded and wrong wrong wrongity wrong.

Queer women owe their rights to the radical resistance and separatism of their lesbian foremothers, but are embarrassed by lesbian culture and history. Christina Cauterucci contributed an entire article explaining why queers hate the term “lesbian,” in unironically self-hating terms:

“In the space between ‘lesbian’ and ‘queer,’ my friend and I located a world of difference in politics, gender presentation, and cosmopolitanism. Some of our resistance to the term lesbian arose, no doubt, from internalized homophobic notions of lesbians as unfashionable, uncultured homebodies. We were convinced that our cool clothes and enlightened, radical paradigm made us something other than lesbians, a label chosen by progenitors who lived in a simpler time with stricter gender boundaries.”

Yeah – lesbians are indistinguishable from those 50s sitcoms in which Mom ran the vacuum cleaner in a starched dress and high heels.

Cauterucci thinks the 70s were simpler times and that gender boundaries were not something women played with, defied, and remade in their own image. She admits an internalized homophobia is responsible for her unfair characterization of lesbians, but still refuses the term and the legacy that goes with it.

Queers hurl “lesbian” sneeringly at assigned-female-at-birth homosexual women, recharacterizing females as “cis” women, which in the twisted logic of queer is equated to “privileged women.” In the superwoke queer community, privilege is finally, inexorably, another way of saying “you need to shut up, take up less space, and admit that it’s an unearned honour to have had your life shoved into a tiny pink box.” This cannot come as a surprise, as the term lesbian has always been weaponized to silence and deride women.

Well, yes, but not so much by the more radical feminists, and not by lesbians themselves.

Queer culture demands that female homosexuals redefine our sexuality away from female bodies and toward gender roles, those which are traditionally associated with femininity.

Take trans comedian Avery Edison, who said this on the topic of lesbians dating people with male bodies:

“Look, it’s not like I require the women I date to be cool with having my dick inside them. In fact, I’m fine if that never happens. But being shut off from the very idea of it, not even considering that having my penis inside you is different from having a man’s penis inside you? That hurts.”

Gaymous cultural icon and sex columnist Dan Savage offers this advice to a lesbian:

“Having a coffee now and then with a trans woman you most likely won’t find attractive — but you never know –is a small price to pay to make the online dating world a less shitty place for trans people. It’s what an ally would do.”

Both of the above are examples of people socialized with male privilege telling women that they should not listen to or trust their own instincts. In order to protect the feelings of people socialized with male privilege, women should “interrogate their sexual preferences” for signs of bigotry, and then bring their newly inclusive political analysis into practice by dating people who they are neither romantically nor sexually attracted to. This is quite rich coming from Savage, a man who posits that gayness is an inborn, unchangeable biological condition.

Does Dan Savage go on dates with trans men I wonder? I kind of doubt it. Men don’t think they’re supposed to “pay a small price” of that kind, but they do think they’re entitled to push women to do so. Funny how that works.



Roll out

Jan 14th, 2017 3:25 pm | By

Tired of wanting to rip your own head off to avoid seeing Trump’s gestures any more? Here’s a pleasing alternative.

H/t Jen



New improved feminism

Jan 14th, 2017 11:40 am | By

Hey, what do you know, feminism is no longer a movement for the liberation of women, it’s a movement for the liberation of everyone. All lives matter.

At least that’s according to this genius. She explains that there are two kinds of feminism, one of which is the boring dreary old historical kind that was about the liberation of women, and the other of which is the hot new kind that’s so much better than that.

There’s also another way that “feminism” is used and that’s to refer to a broader movement. So “feminism” might also refer to what we do here at Everyday Feminism: the fight to end all kinds of oppression. So this may or may not be directly regarding women. Women will certainly gain freedom if oppressive systems are dismantled, as women are still oppressed in many ways due to their identities as women; however feminism as a broader movement is interested in freeing all genders and agender people from all oppressions. So it’s a movement that focuses on more than gender-based oppression against women.

Is it? Why? Why does it do that? Why does it call itself feminism if that’s what it does?

Why can’t feminism be about the liberation of women? Why are women the one group who are expected to move over and stfu and make room for everyone else? Why are there women who call themselves feminists who buy into this shit? Why is Everyday Feminism so idiotic?

Magdalen asks the same questions.



Trump’s outburst drew indignation

Jan 14th, 2017 10:39 am | By

The Times (and everyone else) reports the uproar over Trump’s disgusting scummy attack on John Lewis.

While some, including David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Obama, said they were uncomfortable with Mr. Lewis’s assertion, Mr. Trump’s outburst drew indignation from many people who pointed out the unseemliness of attacking a civil rights leader on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Mr. Lewis was one of the original Freedom Riders, beaten by police officers while marching from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama.

It’s not as if Trump’s scummy attack would be more acceptable if the date were more distant from MLK Day. It wouldn’t. It wouldn’t ever be more acceptable. Trump is a bloated pampered rich crook, while John Lewis is a lifelong civil rights activist who was nearly killed for his activism. Trump is a lying racist birther, while John Lewis is not.

Others ridiculed Mr. Trump’s characterization of Mr. Lewis’s district, which is majority African-American and encompasses three-quarters of Atlanta, as “horrible,” “falling apart” and “crime infested.” While Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District faces challenges typical of many urban areas, it also includes wealthy neighborhoods like Buckhead; the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Also Atlanta has been booming for years. Trump was, as usual, simply lying. This time, as so often, the lies were born of racism.

Some pointed out that fighting with Mr. Lewis distracted attention from a Senate investigation, announced the day before, that will look at possible contacts between Mr. Trump’s campaign team and Russia. In addition, Mr. Trump’s poll numbers have slipped into uncharted depths for an incoming president, with a Gallup poll released on Friday finding that about half of Americans disapprove of Mr. Trump’s transition effort. Some also noted that Mr. Trump had questioned the legitimacy of Mr. Obama’s presidency with false claims about his birthplace.

With lies about his birthplace. Lies. Repeated, relentless lies. Donald Trump is a liar who tells lies. John Lewis is not.

Mr. Lewis, who is 76 and was first elected to Congress in 1987, is one of the few genuinely historic figures on Capitol Hill, revered by Democrats and Republicans alike. Allies of Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama and Mr. Trump’s nominee for attorney general, circulated pictures of him linking arms with Mr. Lewis at the 50th anniversary of the Selma march to fend off accusations that Mr. Sessions was a racist.

Nevertheless, Mr. Lewis testified against Mr. Sessions, declaring, “We need someone as attorney general who’s going to look out for all of us, and not just some of us.”

Axelrod doesn’t like it that Lewis said he doesn’t see Trump as legitimate. (Note the point of view; he didn’t say Trump is not legitimate, he said he doesn’t see him as legitimate. Honest people instinctively do that: make it clear when they’re voicing a judgement as opposed to a fact claim.) Meh. Trump is illegitimate in so many ways – the lies, the refusal to disclose his tax returns, the help from Putin and Assange, the lies, the insults, the pussy grabber, the lies – there are a lot of reasons to see him as less than legitimate.

And to conclude, Trump is scum.



Talk talk and no action?

Jan 14th, 2017 9:35 am | By

John Lewis:

Image result for john lewis selma march

Image result for john lewis selma march

Donald Trump:

Image result for donald trump 1964



Scum

Jan 14th, 2017 8:21 am | By

Latest TrumpOnTwitter. I can barely contain my disgust.

Donald Trump is scum.



What was once an open, inclusive, exhilarating politics

Jan 13th, 2017 3:35 pm | By

Beatrix Campbell posted a letter to the Working Class Movement Library to offer support for their invitation to Julie Bindel.

May I share some of my own experience with you — in the hope that it might encourage you to withstand the hostility.

I have been involved in working class, progressive politics all my adult life and I have received many awards and honours for my writing. I came out as gay in my early 20s — in the 1970s — and like many other gay people I have felt over the past few years that what was once an open, inclusive, exhilarating politics, which has been spectacularly successful in advancing gay rights, has become overwhelmed by a toxic element of trans activism, a campaign of authoritarian silencing in the name of ’safe space’. Many gay activists, particularly women, are now deeply alienated. Some years ago I wrote an article in the Guardian opposing the NUS no-platforming of Julie Bindel.

I should say that she is a friend, I’ve known her since the 1980s when I made a TV documentary on battered women who kill their assailants, and since Justice for Women and Southall Black Sisters campaigned successfully for the release of Kiranjit Aluwhalia.

Julie Bindel is one of the founders of Justice for Women, a pathbreaking movement supporting women who live with violence, and an enduring campaigner against violence and sexual exploitation of women, and for gay rights.

We have disagreed about many things — not least the Green Party, for whom I’ve been a local and Parliamentary candidate. But I would go to great lengths to defend her right to write and speak and, just as important, for people’s opportunity to hear her in person and to challenge her. She is always interesting, adroit and sometimes very witty and, yes, offensive.

I support the Index on Censorship approach to this: there is no right to not be offended.
During the 2010 General Election, trans gender friends in the Green Party alerted me to some trans activist  threats to picket me at hustings — they offered to attend the hustings in the event of trouble. There was no trouble, those making the threat never turned up.

In the last couple of years the movement to no-platform people who are against the sexual exploitation of women, who support the ’Nordic model’, or who have a critique of some trans positions on gender, have also found themselves being subjected to harassment.

It was in response to this that myself and Prof Deborah Cameron (also a working class lesbian, by the way) organised a letter to The Observer opposing no platforming. The 130+ signatories included people who are transgender, and who have been involved in prostitution.

This was repudiated by another letter the following week, initiated by Sara Ahmed.

I suggested to a couple of publications — a progressive Oxbridge journal, and a lesbian magazine — that they host a round table to air the issues. My contact on the Oxbridge journal rejected the idea on the grounds that it was universities’ duty to provide students with a safe space, a ‘home’ away from home. The lesbian magazine editor rejected the proposal — the editor, very committed to trans people, admitted to me that she was afraid.

I also wrote a couple of letters to the London Review of Books in response to a long feature by Jacqueline Rose which had failed to address these controversies, and which did not engage with trans activists who do not support no platforming, and who have a critique of some trans people’s theories of gender…

You may, of course, not be interested in all of this. You may disagree with me.
But whatever your position on trans gender debates might be, there are vital ethical and political issues at stake here for all of us:

The claim that critique or analysis or debate amount to ‘killing’ is an abuse of language.
And what is being suppressed by no-platforming is not only the right to speak, but other people’s right to listen, to participate and to challenge.

It has taken centuries of heroic effort for oppressed and marginalised people to find their voices; Julie Bindel is one of those voices; the Library is a monument to those efforts and to its founders, Ruth and Eddie Frows’ commitment to honouring them.

Please don’t be afraid. Be brave, be normal, keep on doing what you do so well — showing the richness of working class life and struggles.

Yours in solidarity
Beatrix Campbell

I second that.



More war on women

Jan 13th, 2017 3:17 pm | By

The Republicans are still trying to vote forced pregnancy into law.

Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Steve King released the following statement after introducing “The Heartbeat Bill,” that would require physicians to detect the heartbeat and prohibit the abortion of a baby with a beating heart:

“Since Roe v. Wade was unconstitutionally decided in 1973, nearly 60 million innocent babies’ lives have been ended by the abortion industry, all with a rubber stamp by the federal government,” said King. “Human life, beginning at the moment of conception, is sacred in all of its forms and today, I introduced a bill that will protect the lives of voiceless innocents.

My legislation will require all physicians, before conducting an abortion, to detect the heartbeat of the unborn child. If a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected.

America was founded on the concept that our rights come from God. All human persons have a right to life. How then could we confer that those rights allow the killing of a baby? I believe our most important responsibility that God has bestowed upon us is to protect innocent human life, and I will continue to dedicate my life to that responsibility.”

Issues:

Traditional and Family Values

Rewire comments:

His spokesperson provided Rewire with legislative text specifying that an abortion provider “who knowingly performs an abortion and thereby kills a human fetus” without determining a heartbeat, informing the patient of a heartbeat, or proceeding regardless of a heartbeat would face fines and up to five years in prison. The bill includes limited exceptions for the physical health of the pregnant [woman] but not for “psychological or emotional conditions.”

King worked on the bill with anti-choice activist Janet Porter, the Faith2Action leader deemed too extreme for Christian talk radio, the congressman’s spokesperson said. Porter was behind Ohio Republicans’ recent failed attempt to push through a total abortion ban. Anti-choice Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) vetoed the measure the same day he signed a 20-week ban into law, reasoning that the 20-week ban would be more constitutionally prudent. It’s not.

Porter persuaded King to act while both attended the funeral of Phyllis Schlafly, the notorious Equal Rights Amendment opponent, as People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch first reported in October.

Misogynists gotta network.



Grind the faces of the poor

Jan 13th, 2017 2:49 pm | By

The Times gives a rundown of what will go away as the Republicans dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

The health law reduced the number of uninsured Americans by an estimated 20 million people from 2010 to 2016. One of the primary ways it did so was by creating online markets where people who didn’t get insurance through work or the government could shop for a health plan from a private insurer. The law offered subsidies for Americans with lower incomes to help pay their premiums and deductibles.

What would happen? The Republican bill is expected to eliminate the subsidies. This would make insurance unaffordable for millions of Americans and sharply reduce the number who buy their own health coverage.

The Republicans want to make sure that millions of people will be unable to afford health insurance. Why? Because they’re just that awesome, I guess.

With many fewer people buying coverage, the insurance markets are likely to become increasingly unstable. Many insurers will stop offering policies, and the remaining customers are likely to be sicker than current Obamacare buyers, a reality that will drive up the cost of insurance for everyone who buys it, and force more people out of the markets. The Urban Institute estimates that the change would cause a total of 22.5 million people to lose their health insurance.

But the people doing this will be fine, because they get high quality insurance through their jobs – their jobs taking health insurance away from people who make less money than they do.

2) Obamacare insured millions more by expanding Medicaid.

The health law provided federal funds for states to offer Medicaid coverage to anyone earning less than about $16,000 for a single person or $33,000 for a family of four. Not every state chose to expand, but most did.

What would happen? The Republican plan is expected to eliminate federal funding for the expansion. An estimated 12.9 million people would lose Medicaid coverage, according to the Urban Institute’s projections.

Sucks to be them.



God loves rich people

Jan 13th, 2017 11:39 am | By

Tom Gjelten at NPR notes that Trump’s choice of god-botherers for his inauguration shows what his values are.

Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, who leads Great Faith Ministries in Detroit, played a key role during the presidential campaign by inviting candidate Trump to visit his church. For Trump, it was a rare appearance before a black congregation.

Jackson is rich.

Jackson lives in a multimillion-dollar mansion in Detroit and drives luxury cars. He preaches that being rich is not bad and that Trump’s wealth shows he is “blessed by God.”

Such teachings exemplify the “prosperity gospel,” which holds that God rewards faithful Christians with financial success. It is a faith tradition with which Trump long has been associated. His “spiritual adviser” is Paula White, who as the leader of New Destiny Christian Center near Orlando, Fla., is perhaps the best known prosperity preacher in the country.

“Every day you’re [living] your destiny, designed by God and discovered by you,” White said in a recent sermon. “You’re either in a position of abundance, you’re in a position of prosperity, or you’re in a position of poverty. Now that’s in every area of your life. … You’re living abundant in your affairs of life — and that includes your financial conditions — or you’re living in poverty.”

Ah. So rich people are good people, and rewarded by Mr God, and poor people are bad and punished. That’s a convenient doctrine. No wonder Trump and his friends want to repeal the Affordable Care Act – if you can’t afford health insurance it’s because you’re a bad person and Mr God is punishing you. The money squandered on subsidizing health insurance for poor people should obviously all go to rich people, to reward them more.

The least surprising prayer leader choice is Cardinal Dolan. Most U.S. presidents in recent years have asked a prominent Catholic bishop or theologian to pray at their inaugurations, and as fellow New Yorkers, Dolan and Trump have known each other for a long time.

No doubt. The fact remains, however, that Dolan is a very bad man. He’s the guy who moved those funds when he was archbishop of Milwaukee so that they wouldn’t be available to pay victims of priestly abuse who won law suits.



Inner-directed versus outer-directed

Jan 13th, 2017 11:08 am | By

A classicist, Andrew James Sillett, explains on Twitter a possible (indeed highly likely) Trump’s shamelessness.

Seeing a few tweets in which folk are debating whether Trump “has no shame” or whether he acts as he does because he feels shame intensely.

Worth noting, I think, that the Romans had 2 words that we translate as ‘shame’; the difference between them somewhat resolves the paradox.

The two words are Pudor and Verecundia. They both describe that combination of regret and sorrow one feels when doing something shameful.

The difference between them is simple: pudor is inward-facing, and verecundia is outward-facing.

And there you go. Trump has none of the inward-facing kind, but a heightened version of the outward-facing.

There are extra steps after that, I think, to do with how his complete lack of pudor translates to having very limited (yet heightened) verecundia. We can’t make him feel shame for being a lying corrupt pussy-grabbing bully because he has such a massively high opinion of himself that it insulates him from believing those charges, and/or because he’s such a moral wasteland that he doesn’t agree they’re bad things to be – yet some charges do hit home, and we know that because they cause him to erupt.



No one can

Jan 13th, 2017 10:46 am | By

Elizabeth Warren asks Ben Carson if he can assure us that no money spent on HUD projects will go into Trump’s pockets…and after he tap dances for awhile, explains why he can’t: it’s because no one can, and that’s because no one knows what Trump’s holdings are except Trump, so we simply have no way to tell whether or not Project X has any connection to President Monster.