Notes and Comment Blog

It’s also important to call out the disgraceful views

Apr 29th, 2019 10:51 am | By

So close…then a fall just before the finish line.

I find that some areas of the LGBT+ community are disproportionately taken up by gay and bisexual men. Like the rest of society, men are too often in the highest positions and the most visible.

In the mainstream media, as a journalist, it’s rare for me to see radio shows or newsrooms discussing recent LGBT+ stories – including the Birmingham school protests – with lesbians or bisexual women rather than gay men. I think the patriarchy exists within the LGBT+ community, and that lesbians just don’t have same exposure as their male counterparts.

To put it mildly.

We need to give more space to lesbians, as well as bisexual, queer or pansexual women. This visibility needs to be intersectional so that it strikes a chord with all, including lesbians of colour, disabled lesbians, and trans and non-binary lesbians.


You can’t be both a lesbian and non-binary; that makes literally no sense. You can’t be both neither-female-nor-male and a lesbian. Same goes for trans.

It’s also important to call out the disgraceful views of a small number of lesbians, who oppose rights for trans people and will try to hijack this Lesbian Visibility Day. Their bigotry was highlighted at Pride in London last year, when around ten anti-trans lesbians gatecrashed the front of the parade, claiming that “transactivists erase lesbians”. This is completely wrong.

So much for giving more space to lesbians then.

For me, Lesbian Visibility Day is a moment to be proud of who I am and where I’ve come from. If you’re stuck there reading this from inside your lesbian closet somewhere in rural England (or even further afield), then please don’t give up. It really does get better.

Unless you disagree that “trans lesbian” makes sense.

Never enough room in the headline

Apr 29th, 2019 10:32 am | By

Soraya points out yet another “women don’t count.”

In the actual story, misogyny is cited in the first paragraph:

Student activists at Swarthmore College are demanding the school permanently shut down campus fraternities in the aftermath of leaked documents showing racist, misogynist and homophobic comments as well as jokes about sexual assault allegedly from fraternity members.

Misogyny and sexual assault – you’d think that would put misogyny first in the headline, but instead it’s dropped altogether, as if it just doesn’t count quite as much, even with the violence. Women…you know…they’re probably just privileged white sorority girls, or rich lawyers, or boring mommies, or hags, or [shudder] feminists. They don’t belong in the headline. They just don’t matter that much. Sorry.


Apr 28th, 2019 4:18 pm | By

CNN puts it more strongly:

President Donald Trump made an incendiary remark at a rally Saturday night, veering from criticism of Wisconsin’s Democratic governor to a false claim that mothers and doctors have the option to “execute” babies.Speaking at a rally he hosted in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Saturday, Trump pointed to former Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who was in attendance, and said Walker’s successor, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers “shockingly stated that he will veto legislation that protects Wisconsin babies born alive.”

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Evers planned to veto a GOP-backed state bill that could have meant life sentences in prison for doctors who intentionally did not provide medical care to babies born alive after a failed abortion.

Trump continued on the theme after his initial comment to claim that mothers and doctors are given the choice to “execute” a baby.

Which is a crock of shit.

Asked why abortions would happen at a later stage of pregnancy, Dr. Jennifer Conti, a fellow with the advocacy group Physicians for Reproductive Health and co-host of The V Word podcast, said, “Those exceptionally rare cases that happen after 24 weeks are often because a fetus has a condition that cannot be treated and will never be able to survive — regardless of the gestational age or trimester.”

“It’s this exact reason that it’s nonsensical to legislate these cases: Nobody arrives at the decision to have an abortion after 24 weeks carelessly,” Conti said. “Rather, it’s the rare case of rapidly decompensating maternal heart disease or a delayed diagnosis of anencephaly, where the fetus forms without a complete brain or skull, that bring people to these decisions.”

It’s not a matter of “Oh I want to go to a party that weekend.”

Extreme measures

Apr 28th, 2019 4:04 pm | By

The Times on Trump’s lie about “executing babies”:


“The baby is born. The mother meets with the doctor. They take care of the baby. They wrap the baby beautifully. And then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby.”

President Trump revived on Saturday night what is fast becoming a standard, and inaccurate, refrain about doctors “executing babies.” During a more than hourlong speech at a rally in Green Bay, Wis., Mr. Trump admonished the Democratic governor, Tony Evers, for vetoing a Republican bill that could send doctors to prison for life if they fail to give medical care to children born alive after a failed abortion attempt.

“Children”? That’s forced-pregnancy vocabulary. It’s an embryo or an infant; it’s not a child.

The comments are the latest in a long string of incendiary statements from the president on abortion.

He wrote in January on Twitter that Democrats had become the “Party of late term abortion” when efforts to expand abortion rights in Virginia and New York gained national attention. About a week later, in his State of the Union address, he falsely said New York’s law would allow “a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.” And in February he responded to the blocking of a federal measure similar to the Wisconsin bill by tweeting that Democrats “don’t mind executing babies AFTER birth.”

It’s because he’s so vibrant.

The Times has fact-checked before and pointed out that late-term abortions are very rare.

In another fact check, The Times found that infants are rarely born alive after abortion procedures:

It hardly ever happens, according to Dr. Daniel Grossman, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. He performs abortions and is a spokesman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, where he leads a committee on health care for underserved women. Infants are hardly ever born alive after attempted abortions, though there are rare cases where an infant survives a premature birth but cannot survive without extreme attempts at resuscitation.

Moreover, The Times reported, doctors do not kill the infants who survive, although families may choose not to take extreme measures to resuscitate them:

Dr. Grossman said there were painful situations in which the fetus might be at the edge of viability and labor must be induced to save the mother’s life. For instance, a condition called pre-eclampsia, involving high blood pressure and other problems, can kill both mother and fetus, and in most cases the only treatment is to deliver the baby. If it seems unlikely that the baby will survive, the family may choose to provide just comfort care — wrapping and cuddling the baby — and allow the child to die naturally without extreme attempts at resuscitation.

Bills like the one in Wisconsin and the one that Democrats blocked in Congress in February would force doctors to resuscitate the infant, even against the family’s wishes.

Why is it that the family may decide to provide just comfort care — wrapping and cuddling the infant — and allow the infant to die naturally without extreme attempts at resuscitation? I’m guessing it’s because the odds of success are abysmal and the extreme attempts at resuscitation are a nightmare so they prefer not to put the infant through torture. Bills to take that out of the hands of families look like sheer spite.

Watch the dudes leapfrog over women

Apr 28th, 2019 3:18 pm | By

We keep being told that women need to lean in but…

Women’s lack of ambition is not the reason white men are leading in that race. Rather, it’s some dubious notion of who’s “electable” against Donald Trump. (Read: not a woman.)

That’s why watching South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who represents a population smaller than a New York City council district, outpoll Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren makes many of us want to eat glass; an entirely rational reaction to a datapoint that might discourage anyone without a Y chromosome…

Speaking of not giving anything up, the most recent Emerson poll shows Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke all ahead of the nearest women, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.

While Biden and Sanders are well-established candidates with decades of public service and national name recognition, it’s galling to see  previously obscure men with limited accomplishments like “Beto” and “Mayor Pete” leapfrog over women whose outsized accomplishments and respective résumés would put most people to shame.

Just as it was galling to see an ignorant brainless rapey corrupt shit like Trump leapfrog over a woman whose outsized accomplishments and résumé would put most people to shame. Elections are like that, of course: people can vote for whatever reason they feel like, and often the reason is as ridiculous as “I’d be happy to have a beer with the guy.” That doesn’t make it any less galling.

Voters require female candidates to be more prepared than men—and then punish them for it when they inevitably prove less “likable.” This is not just a Republican sickness. According to the same Emerson poll, 26 percent of Sanders supporters would vote for Trump over Warren in a general election.

I guess men are just better, huh?

Whether or not they will execute the baby

Apr 28th, 2019 12:07 pm | By

He did say it. I just watched the clip in which he says it.

If you want to skip the part where they all cheer Scott Walker and Walker takes a bow and yadda yadda, skip ahead to about 1 minute in.

A small group of people that have very, very serious problems

Apr 28th, 2019 11:16 am | By

The Guardian points out, in case we’d missed it, that the shooting of the week yesterday doesn’t make Trump look good. You don’t say.

Trump unequivocally condemned the shooting, telling a rally on Saturday evening in Wisconsin: “Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded, and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community. We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate, which must be defeated.”

Oh stop. Trump read words that someone wrote for him. He doesn’t “forcefully condemn the evil of hate”; he stokes it every time he opens his mouth or taps his phone.

But the president stated last month, following a hate-inspired mass shooting that left 50 Muslim worshipers dead in Christchurch, New Zealand, that he did not believe white nationalism presented a growing threat.

“I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess,” Trump told reporters in March.

Of course he says that when asked. It’s a small group of people far far far away from him, on a tiny island in the Pacific somewhere, with Problems.

The shooter in Saturday’s attack in Poway, near San Diego, was named as a white 19 year-old man, John Earnest. Authorities were examining a series of online posts linked to the suspect that are littered with anti-Semitic and racist language.

Much as Trump’s tweets and speeches at rallies are, although he tends to rant about football players and asylum seekers more than people in synagogues.

No, says Barr

Apr 28th, 2019 10:30 am | By

More Oppositional Defiance Disorder from Barr:

Attorney General William P. Barr, who is scheduled to appear Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee to testify about the special counsel’s report, is threatening to skip the session because he objects to the proposed format for questioning, a spokesman for Representative Jerrold Nadler, the committee chairman, said Sunday.

In addition to allowing each member of the committee to question Mr. Barr for five minutes, Mr. Nadler, Democrat of New York, has proposed a second round of questioning for Democrats and Republicans. However, he has also proposed that staff lawyers for both sides be included in that round, which Mr. Barr opposes.

Anything to disrupt.

He is a young vibrant man

Apr 27th, 2019 4:14 pm | By


Vibrant. He thinks he’s vibrant. That’s not vibrant, it’s shouty and loud and choleric.

No one remembers who Walter Hagen is

Apr 27th, 2019 12:50 pm | By

Trump on second place:

Also a couple of miscellaneous items:

The bank is in the process of turning over documents

Apr 27th, 2019 11:12 am | By

No wonder Trump is agitated. Deutsche Bank is spilling.

Deutsche Bank has begun the process of providing financial records to New York state’s attorney general in response to a subpoena for documents related to loans made to President Donald Trump and his business, according to a person familiar with the production.

Last month, the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James issued subpoenas for records tied to funding for several Trump Organization projects.

The state’s top legal officer opened a civil probe after Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress in a public hearing that Trump had inflated his assets. Cohen at that time presented copies of financial statements he said had been provided to Deutsche Bank.

Donnie Two-scoops can’t be happy about that.

The bank is in the process of turning over documents, including emails and loan documents, related to Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC; the Trump National Doral Miami; the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago; and the unsuccessful effort to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

The bank is already the subject of a joint investigation between the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees into Trump’s businesses and money laundering.

Deutsche Bank has been one of the few big banks willing to lend to the Trump Organization in recent years.ling to lend to the Trump Organization in recent years.

To the tune of more than $300 million. The question is why they are willing when others are not.

Always stay true to yourself

Apr 27th, 2019 10:37 am | By

The Post has the rest of the story on why Trump tweeted congratulations to a white runner-up while ignoring a black number one.

President Trump offered support to Nick Bosa on Saturday morning, hours after the San Francisco 49ers’ top draft pick addressed scrutiny over past social media posts, including those supporting Trump and criticizing former quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Bosa, selected second overall by the 49ers on Thursday night, was asked during his introductory news conference Friday about his previous use of social media, including an August 2016 tweet in which he wrote, “Kaepernick is a clown.

“I definitely made some insensitive decisions throughout my life,” said Bosa, who deleted several of his posts leading up to the NFL draft. “I’m just excited to be here with a clean slate. I’m sorry if I hurt anybody. I definitely didn’t intend for that to be the case.”

So naturally the president of the United States had to jump in to congratulate the guy who called Kaepernick a clown, because white guys gotta stick together plus Kaepernick is not a Trump fan would you believe it!!!

Petty enough?

And the runner-up is…white!

Apr 27th, 2019 10:28 am | By

Another weird inappropriate thing for a president to do.

It doesn’t follow a tweet congratulating the guy who was picked number one. There is no such tweet.

Wait, maybe Nick Bosa is not white!


The way she got treated

Apr 26th, 2019 6:08 pm | By

Biden is just flummoxed that anybody gives a damn about the way he treated Anita Hill.

Biden appeared on ABC’s The View Friday morning and told the show’s five female co-hosts: “I’m sorry for the way she got treated.” But then he added that people should go back and look at what he said during those hearings, asserting, “I don’t think I treated her badly.”

And yet, Hill doesn’t agree with him. Imagine that.

Host Joy Behar said, “Here’s your opportunity right now to just say you apologize, you’re sorry. I think we can clean this up right now.”

Biden responded, “I said privately what I said publicly, I am sorry she was treated the way she was treated.”

In other words he continued to frame it in the passive voice so that no actual people can be said to have treated her the way she was treated, especially not Joe Biden. She was treated a way, a way that can’t be specified, a way that apparently had nothing to do with any human agents. Biden feels just rotten about that way. Bad bad way – let’s all get together and scold it.

Moira Donegan at the Guardian is not impressed.

In the past, Biden, under pressure from women’s rights activists and a Democratic base increasingly intolerant of sexual misconduct, has spoken of the Thomas hearings in passive terms, as something that happened rather than as something he did. At an event in New York in March, he said: “To this day, I regret I couldn’t give her the kind of hearing she deserved. I wish I could have done something.” Like his announcement, this statement partakes of a kind of rosy historical revisionism, one that conveniently absolved Biden of all responsibility. Because he absolutely could have, in his words, “done something”. He was the chairman of the committee overseeing the hearings. There was no one with more power to “do something” than him.

Biden’s non-apology to Hill, coming as it did 28 years after the disastrous hearings, six months after a similarly humiliating and futile ordeal was endured by Dr Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, and mere days before Biden’s own presidential run, smacks of insincere opportunism. He seems to understand Hill as an annoying obstacle to his own rise, rather than as a full person with rights and dignity, whom he wronged and should make amends to.

His insistent use of the passive voice, meanwhile, makes him appear to lack an understanding of his own agency and power, like someone who will exaggerate his responsibilities for successes and disavow any role in missteps, wrongdoings and failures. As the journalist Bryce Covert put it: “There’s a huge difference between ‘I’m sorry for what I did’, and ‘I’m sorry that happened to you’.” In failing to grapple with his own blind spots, privileges, prejudices and personal failures, Biden has betrayed a lack of personal responsibility that in unacceptable in any adult, let alone in a national leader. The episode does not make Biden seem like a responsible, self-aware man who had learned from his mistakes and wants to make amends. It makes him seem like a man who wants to shut a woman up.

I wish someone could shut him up.

Birth of a nitwit

Apr 26th, 2019 5:50 pm | By

From a very great height

Apr 26th, 2019 11:55 am | By

You wanted to see Trump mocking asylum seekers? Here you go.

Complete with mockery of asylum-seekers

Apr 26th, 2019 11:50 am | By

Trump is ranting at the NRA convention, and Daniel Dale is tweeting it.

Just another Friday.

The myth of Lee

Apr 26th, 2019 11:15 am | By

What is this nonsense about Robert E. Lee, anyway?

It’s a stupid myth created to glorify the slave-owning South. That’s all. It’s not complicated.

Adam Serwer in The Atlantic two years ago:

This year, the removal of Lee’s statue in New Orleans has inspired a new round of commentary about Lee, not to mention protests on his behalf by white supremacists.

The myth of Lee goes something like this: He was a brilliant strategist and devoted Christian man who abhorred slavery and labored tirelessly after the war to bring the country back together.

The “Christian” part is true.

But even if one conceded Lee’s military prowess, he would still be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans in defense of the South’s authority to own millions of human beings as property because they are black. Lee’s elevation is a key part of a 150-year-old propaganda campaign designed to erase slavery as the cause of the war and whitewash the Confederate cause as a noble one. That ideology is known as the Lost Cause, and as historian David Blight writes, it provided a “foundation on which Southerners built the Jim Crow system.”

And it’s what generations of white people, southern and northern, grew up on. As I mentioned earlier, it’s Thomas Dixon to D. W. Griffith to Margaret Mitchell to that godawful movie. And it’s far from over.

In the Richmond Times DispatchR. David Cox wrote that “For white supremacist protesters to invoke his name violates Lee’s most fundamental convictions.” In the conservative publication Townhall,  Jack Kerwick concluded that Lee was “among the finest human beings that has ever walked the Earth.” John Daniel Davidson, in an essay for The Federalistopposed the removal of the Lee statute in part on the grounds that Lee “arguably did more than anyone to unite the country after the war and bind up its wounds.” Praise for Lee of this sort has flowed forth from past historians and presidents alike.

This is too divorced from Lee’s actual life to even be classed as fan fiction; it is simply historical illiteracy.

White supremacy does not “violate” Lee’s “most fundamental convictions.” White supremacy was one of Lee’s most fundamental convictions.

Lee was a slaveowner who talked pious bullshit about how slavery was a great thing for the slaves because it was, like, educational.

The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence.

Which was very convenient for a guy who made money from their coerced unpaid labor.

Lee’s cruelty as a slavemaster was not confined to physical punishment. In Reading the Man, the historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor’s portrait of Lee through his writings, Pryor writes that “Lee ruptured the Washington and Custis tradition of respecting slave families,” by hiring them off to other plantations, and that “by 1860 he had broken up every family but one on the estate, some of whom had been together since Mount Vernon days.” The separation of slave families was one of the most unfathomably devastating aspects of slavery, and Pryor wrote that Lee’s slaves regarded him as “the worst man I ever see.”

Keep that firmly in mind when you hear Trump and his fans burbling about the greatness of Lee.

When two of his slaves escaped and were recaptured, Lee either beat them himself or ordered the overseer to “lay it on well.” Wesley Norris, one of the slaves who was whipped, recalled that “not satisfied with simply lacerating our naked flesh, Gen. Lee then ordered the overseer to thoroughly wash our backs with brine, which was done.”

To be clear (I read the full passage by Norris somewhere else a couple of hours ago, I forget where), the slaves were whipped until their backs were raw, and then brine was rubbed into the raw flesh. That’s Trump’s precious Great General.

During his invasion of Pennsylvania, Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia enslaved free blacks and brought them back to the South as property. Pryor writes that “evidence links virtually every infantry and cavalry unit in Lee’s army” with the abduction of free black Americans, “with the activity under the supervision of senior officers.”

He not only owned slaves, he not only tortured slaves, he not only tore up slave families, he also kidnapped free black people into slavery. That’s Trump’s precious Great General.

Intersectional me map

Apr 26th, 2019 10:14 am | By

Stonewall UK is having its annual Workplace Conference.

So far so good.


It’s not easy to read, so I’ll transcribe.

                               Trans Status     Wealth

      Nationality                                                        Class

       Gender Identity               ME        Race

       Disability                                                             Faith

                                        Sexual Orientation

Notice anything?

Anything missing?



Of course.

Women have ALL the privilege and power.

The question was answered PERFECTLY

Apr 26th, 2019 9:49 am | By

This again.

Oh I’ve answered that question,  and if you look at what I said you will see that that question was answered perfectly.

He said, with his usual air of ineffable conceit.


And I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general – whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals – I’ve spoken to many generals here, right at the White House, and many people thought – of the generals, they said he was maybe their favorite general – people were there protesting the taking down of the monuments of Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that.

Well, lots of people think that, and lots pretend to think it, but that’s because it’s the propaganda. It’s the dainty fig leaf pasted over the shameful history of slavery and white supremacy in the utterly literal sense that people like Trump want to translate into something noble. It’s just more Gone With the Wind which itself was just more Birth of a Nation which itself was based on the novel The Clansman by Thomas Dixon.