Notes and Comment Blog


A formal process

Feb 19th, 2017 5:26 pm | By

I still say people are confused about this.

Campaigners have welcomed a decision by a private girls’ school to allow students to use boys’ names and wear boys’ clothes should they wish under a new “gender identity protocol”.

Oh golly, a girl can wear jeans and call herself Jack. Couldn’t she do that before? Perhaps the school had a very narrow uniform policy which meant she couldn’t wear jeans, and now the school has made it less narrow. Good, but that’s not “a new gender identity protocol.” It’s just wearing trousers instead of skirts.

St Paul’s girls’ school in west London, whose former pupils include the MP Harriet Harman and the actor Rachel Weisz, will now consider requests from students from the age of 16 to go through a formal process to be known within the school either as boys or as gender-neutral.

Thus making it seem as if girls who don’t go through “a formal process” are girly-girly all the way down. I’m still not convinced that’s a gain.

The move is a response to pupils questioning gender identity and an attempt to ensure the safety and wellbeing of pupils who “don’t want to identify as one gender or another”, the high mistress Clarissa Farr told the Sunday Times.

But it’s not questioning gender identity – it’s reinforcing it.

Sue Sanders, chair of Schools Out UK, called it a “sensible and smart” move. While enabling students to decide which gender they wanted to be should automatically be protected under the Equality Act, it was a positive move to be welcomed – particularly as it came in LGBT History month, she added.

“The gender fluidity of young people has become more pronounced in the last three to four years; there is a growing confidence in young people to challenge binary constraints,” she said. “This is really about organisations keeping up with how people are perceiving themselves – this is part of the whole process of exploding those gender boxes.”

But it isn’t. It’s the opposite. Saying girls who don’t want to wear skirts are therefore not girls is the opposite of challenging gender constraints. Making girls who prefer to wear trousers – and calling that “wearing boys’ clothes” – is not “exploding those gender boxes,” it’s locking people into them and throwing away the key.



It was on teevee

Feb 19th, 2017 4:43 pm | By

Trump explained on Twitter that his random remark about last night in Sweden was actually about this thing he saw on tv last night. So he’s like those people who prattle artlessly about what Joanie said as if everybody knows who Joanie is when nobody knows who Joanie is. I’ve always said his Theory of Mind was shit, and this is an excellent illustrations of that. We were supposed to understand “Sweden last night” as “that stupid thing on Fox News that Donald Trump watched last night.”

Derp.

So here is that story.

Scholarly stuff, for sure.



Be för Sverige

Feb 19th, 2017 3:57 pm | By

#PrayForSweden

https://twitter.com/truewhitehouse/status/833418021460811777

SO MANY IKEA jokes, and no Volvo jokes, no ABBA jokes, no Wallander jokes, no Stieg Larsson jokes? Sad.



Mandatory “respect” for religion

Feb 19th, 2017 3:36 pm | By

The National Secular Society via Spiked:

University administrations are becoming increasingly “censorious”, with 43% of universities censoring speech that might “offend” religious people, according to online magazine Spiked.

The magazine’s Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR) claims that 63.5% of UK universities “actively censor speech”.

Launching its third annual analysis of campus censorship, Spiked said: “The fight for the freedom to criticise religion, to blaspheme, was at the very heart of the historic fight for free speech. Yet it seems some universities, terrified of offending students of faith, are turning the clock back.”

It highlighted London South Bank University’s Code of Practice for Freedom of Speech, which warns students that one definition of an ‘unlawful meeting’ is one “at which there is a likelihood that the speaker(s) may… commit blasphemy”. In 2014 the University removed posters from their student atheist society for being “religiously offensive”. Following criticism the University removed the policy with a version that did not mention blasphemy, the document was hosted at the same address and gave no indication of when it was issued.

That’s a little confusing – I think it means the university tweaked its code after Spiked (or others) criticized it, but without saying it had tweaked, or when it had done so. But anyway – I have to wonder why they ever had such a code in the first place. Blasphemy? A mere likelihood of blasphemy? Was “unlawful”? That’s pathetic. I suppose some religious fanatic drew up the code and no one else read it carefully.

Warwick University’s Student Union Policy is also criticised for stating that speakers ‘must seek to avoid insulting other faiths or groups’. In 2015 the University’s student union barred Iranian-born secularist and human rights activist Maryam Namazie from speaking, claiming she was “highly inflammatory and could incite hatred” if allowed to take up secularist society invitation.

Trump isn’t helping. People are going to be even more defensive about any and all criticism of Islamism and Islam now, thanks to him. Islam, like all religions, should and must be wide open to criticism, because it makes such large claims on people’s loyalty, and gives such flimsy reason for those claims.

Nottingham University’s Student Union policy on “respecting religion” opposes “provocative” organisations and “certain groups with known antireligious views”.

We’re allowed to be anti-religion. This isn’t the 14th century.



No checks, no balances

Feb 19th, 2017 12:09 pm | By

Don’t worry, we have checks and balances.

Except that we don’t.

We have them provided various conditions apply…but otherwise, we don’t. So they’re not really checks and balances in the sense we’ve always understood, are they.

Brian Beutler at The New Republic points out this obvious problem.

Donald Trump’s Thursday press conference was so meandering and deranged that it brought the basic ebb and flow of all politics to a halt, as power brokers across Washington, including Republicans on Capitol Hill, stopped what they were doing to watch along in amazement.

Amazement at what? It’s been obvious all along how mindless and malevolent he is, hasn’t it? So amazement at what? I guess the fact that no one stopped him, that he didn’t make any attempt to restrain himself, that he went on that way for so long, that it kept getting worse and worse? Something like that, I guess. I was amazed myself, despite the obviousness all along. I don’t really know why – maybe it’s just something about human psychology.

But as surreal as the spectacle was, it wasn’t disturbing enough to shake Republicans out of their determined obliviousness to the chaos of the Trump administration. We’ve seen the pattern repeat itself so many times, it’s grown tiresome: Trump becomes unhinged; Republicans pretend they didn’t see it, or say they won’t comment on every offhanded Trump comment, or just chuckle about his “unconventional” presidency; and everyone moves on.

Oh, no, it’s been tiresome all along – or rather, not tiresome, but disgusting.

Their ostrich-like reflexes have been a running joke in politics for months now. But in this case, a great deal of reporting indicates Republicans awoke to the frightening implications of letting an unstable man have free reign over the government, yet remained committed to the course they’ve chosen nevertheless…

Because he’ll do a lot of things they want done. That’s all. All we can do is try to make it so costly that they’ll draw some lines.

[T]he unexpected, and abrupt, transition between completely divided and completely unified government has revealed a fatal weakness in our systems of political checks, which Republicans are placing under great strain.

These systems and processes—congressional oversight, Justice Department autonomy, and legislative independence—weren’t designed to withstand a vengeful, lawless, id-driven madman taking over one party, and then the government, without popular support.

Weren’t they? Then they should have been. It’s not as if the founding dudes were not familiar with monarchy.

If congressional Republicans were going to use their power to check Trump, the way they would a non-partisan political or national security threat, we have a pretty decent sense of what they’d do.

In the policy realm, they might restrain his Muslim ban and deportation force designs; in the oversight realm, they would force him to sell off his assets, or at least release some of his tax returns, as well as launch a full inquiry into whether his campaign colluded with Russian intelligence to disrupt the presidential election. As a matter of basic governing competence, they would try to sideline reckless advisers like Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and the now-deposed Michael Flynn. Republicans probably can’t stop Trump from holding destabilizing press conferences, but they could make life uncomfortable for him and his team unless and until they started to show some semblance of control.

Instead they choose to whine anonymously to the press.

In other words, they’re shits. Like this shit:

Representative Jason Chaffetz, the GOP’s chief investigator, has asked the Department of Justice to pursue criminal charges against a former Hillary Clinton aide who helped set up her private email server. The same man who continued issuing subpoenas at an impressive clip after the FBI shelved its Clinton investigation believes the appropriate number of subpoenas the scandal-plagued Trump administration should face is zero. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions—who called on his predecessor, Loretta Lynch, to recuse herself from the Clinton investigation for extremely flimsy reasons—is resisting demands, based on clear-letter rules, that he recuse himself from federal investigations of Trump’s aides and their potential ties to the Russian hackers who disrupted the election.

Kakistocracy as far as the eye can see.



Last Night in Sweden

Feb 19th, 2017 10:45 am | By

You have your Last Year at Marienbad, your Last Tango in Paris or Halifax, your Last Week in Kidderminster – and your Last Night in Sweden. What happened on that Last Night? We don’t know, but we know it was bad.

During a campaign-style rally on Saturday in Florida, Mr. Trump issued a sharp if discursive attack on refugee policies in Europe, ticking off a list of places that have been hit by terrorists.

“You look at what’s happening,” he told his supporters. “We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?”

This is how he actually said it:

“You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. [pause] Sweden! [pause] Who would believe this?”

Or to put it another way:

“You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden.

Sweden!

Who would believe this, Sweden!?”

Believe what? He didn’t say, and there was nothing he could have said.

“Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound,” Carl Bildt, a former prime minister and foreign minister, wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Trump did not state, per se, that a terrorist attack had taken place in Sweden.

But the context of his remarks — he mentioned Sweden right after he chastised Germany, a destination for refugees and asylum seekers fleeing war and deprivation — suggested that he thought it might have.

“Sweden,” he said. “They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what’s happening in Brussels. You look at what’s happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris. We’ve allowed thousands and thousands of people into our country and there was no way to vet those people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing. So we’re going to keep our country safe.”

It is of course a stark staring lie to say there was no vetting. There was vetting.

As the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet noted, Twitter users were quick to ridicule Mr. Trump’s remark, with joking references to the Swedish Chef, the “Muppets” character; Swedish meatballs; and Ikea, the furniture giant.

Others speculated that Mr. Trump might have been influenced by a Fox News interview of Ami Horowitz, a filmmaker who asserts that migrants in Sweden have been associated with a crime wave, by the correspondent Tucker Carlson. “They often times try to cover up some of these crimes,” Mr. Horowitz said, arguing that those who try to tell the truth about the situation are shouted down as racists and xenophobes.

So Trump managed to remember the word “Sweden” but nothing else.



Not the Enemy

Feb 18th, 2017 5:06 pm | By

#NotTheEnemy



The first thing dictators do is shut down the press

Feb 18th, 2017 4:44 pm | By

John McCain points out that Trump’s constant spittle-flecked rages at the news media are the short road to dictatorship.

Sen. John McCain spoke out Saturday in defense of the free press after President Trump lashed out against the news media several times over the past week, at one point declaring it “the enemy of the American People!

Such talk, McCain (R-Ariz.) said on NBC News in an interview set to air Sunday, was “how dictators get started.”

“In other words, a consolidation of power,” McCain told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd from Munich. “When you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press. And I’m not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I’m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history.”

He’s not not trying to be a dictator. I think he’d be delighted to be a dictator if he could manage it. I don’t know that that’s what he’s trying to do though. In all fairness I think he’s too stupid to think about it that clearly.



Nothing to see here

Feb 18th, 2017 4:24 pm | By

Donnie wasn’t happy about the latest cover of TIME.

by artist Tim O'Brien. (courtesy of TIME 2017)



The Donald’s prayer

Feb 18th, 2017 3:55 pm | By

Wut.

https://twitter.com/Patriot_Drew/status/833091742568157184



Lugenpresse

Feb 18th, 2017 3:39 pm | By

Little Hitler is ranting about the media at his Nazi rally. I heard him squawk “But despite all their lies” before I turned the sound off. He’s a fascist piece of crap and he’s going to keep on with this shit until he gets it, or drops dead trying.

In his speech, Mr Trump said he wanted to speak to Americans “without the filter of fake news”.

Describing the media as “dishonest”, he repeated his assertion that some outlets “don’t want to report the truth” and were making up their stories about him.

“We will continue to expose them,” he said, pledging to “win, win, win”.

In his speech, the president also:

  • Repeated his campaign pledge to keep America “safe” and said the country would “have strong borders again”
  • Said Americans would have “a great healthcare plan” and Obama reforms would be repealed
  • Stressed that the White House was running “so smoothly”, dismissing claims that his administration was in disarray

It is unusual for a sitting president to hold a rally in the style of those held during election campaigns.

Yes, it’s unusual for a sitting president to carry on like a fucking Nazi.

Throughout the week, Mr Trump launched attacks on the media while indicating his excitement at facing crowds in Florida again.

On Thursday, he held a 76-minute press conference where he told reporters their level of dishonesty was out of control, citing coverage of his campaign’s alleged contacts with Moscow.

Because he’s a Nazi.



Nobody is hungry for the shit sandwich

Feb 18th, 2017 11:28 am | By

So Trump’s insatiable need for total, uncritical admiration, or worship, is messing up that “fine-tuned machine” in a very tangible sense: it’s making it impossible for them to fill their thousands of vacancies.

During President Trump’s transition to power, his team reached out to Elliott Abrams for help building a new administration. Mr. Abrams, a seasoned Republican foreign policy official, sent lists of possible candidates for national security jobs.

One by one, the answer from the Trump team came back no. The reason was consistent: This one had said disparaging things about Mr. Trump during the campaign; that one had signed a letter opposing him. Finally, the White House asked Mr. Abrams himself to meet with the president about becoming deputy secretary of state, only to have the same thing happen — vetoed because of past criticism.

That’s a massive obstacle. There aren’t many intelligent people who uncritically worship Donald Trump. They’re narrowing their hiring pool down to a vanishing point. And there are a lot of vacancies still.

In some cases, the Trump administration is even going in reverse. A senior political appointee at the housing department, who had already started the job, was fired this past week and marched out of the building when someone discovered his previous statements critical of Mr. Trump. The State Department laid off six top career officials in recent days, apparently out of questions about their loyalty to Mr. Trump.

“Many tough things were said about him and by him” before last year’s election, Mr. Abrams, who served as Ronald Reagan’s assistant secretary of state and George W. Bush’s deputy national security adviser, said in an interview. “I would have hoped he would have turned toward just hiring the most effective people to help him govern rather than looking back to what we said in that race.”

But that’s not the kind of human he is…which is another reason intelligent people won’t want to work for him…so the hiring pool shrinks again.

The ill will between Mr. Trump and much of the Republican establishment works both ways. Many Republicans who might have agreed to work for the president have been turned off by what they consider his sometimes erratic behavior and the competing power centers inside his White House. After firing his first national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump found that his initial choice for a replacement, Robert S. Harward, a retired vice admiral, would not take the job without assurances that the president was ultimately unwilling to make.

Harward said it was a shit sandwich.

Contributing to the discomfort among potential officials was Mr. Trump’s rambling, disjointed news conference on Thursday, which several Republicans said made them worry about what life in the White House or agencies would be like.

Right? Can you imagine wanting to work in his administration? Even if you agreed with him politically? Nobody wants to work for a giant furious baby.



One criterion

Feb 18th, 2017 10:51 am | By

Life in the Trump administration – if they find out you wrote something critical of Trump in the past, they physically remove you from the premises.

A top aide to President Trump’s housing secretary nominee, Ben Carson, was fired and led out of the department’s headquarters by security on Wednesday after writings critical of Mr. Trump surfaced in his vetting, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Shermichael Singleton, who was one of the few black conservatives in the Trump administration, had been working at the Department of Housing and Urban Development since Jan. 23 as a senior adviser. He was preparing a cross-country tour for Mr. Carson, who is expected to be confirmed by the Senate this month.

But they hadn’t quite finished his background check yet. Oh no, oh no, what’s that – a deviation in thought.

Mr. Trump’s advisers turned up public writings by Mr. Singleton that appeared during the later stages of the campaign in which he was deeply critical of the candidate.

“My party in particular has allowed itself to be taken over by someone who claims to be a Republican but doesn’t represent any of our values, principles or traditions,” he wrote in The Hill in October 2016.

Call Security!!

The firing was reminiscent of the decision by the White House to block a senior Republican foreign policy adviser, Elliott Abrams, from becoming deputy secretary of state. The move came after Mr. Abrams’s anti-Trump writings came to the president’s attention. Mr. Abrams had been the choice of Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson.

This administration has one core belief: that Donnie Trump is the best human who has ever lived.



A chummy affair

Feb 18th, 2017 9:59 am | By

I do wish journalists would learn to stop portraying Milo Yiannopoulos as some sort of legit commentator or thinker or even forsooth fellow journalist. He’s a Twitter troll. That’s it. That’s all he is, that’s his only claim to fame, and it’s not something anyone should be taking seriously.

Despite a brief flare-up of controversy that preceded it, a conversation between Milo Yiannopoulos, the incendiary right-wing author and lecturer, and Bill Maher, the comedian and host of HBO’s “Real Time,” on that program Friday night was a largely docile, chummy affair. There was little conflict or cross-examination, as both men chided the political left for avoiding or drowning out Mr. Yiannopoulos’s views rather than engaging with them.

He’s not an author and lecturer. He’s a troll. He’s a verbal sadist who makes a career of bullying women. He is not any kind of substantive thinker. He doesn’t have “views”; he has a taste for bullying.

Introducing Mr. Yiannopoulos, 32, an openly gay editor at Breitbart News, Mr. Maher said: “I think you’re colossally wrong on a number of things. But if I banned everyone from my show who I thought was colossally wrong, I would be talking to myself.”

Blah blah blah they laughed when Beethoven sat down to play. Yes it would be foolish for Bill Maher to decide to talk only to people he thinks are right about everything, no it does not follow that he should talk to people whose only claim to fame is bullying women off the internet. That’s another thing I wish people would stop being so dense about. It’s generally good to interact with a wide range of ideas and people; that does not mean it’s generally good to seek out the worst, meanest, shallowest bullies on Twitter and interact with them.

Mr. Yiannopoulos began the interview by cracking jokes about gay people (whom he said he did not hire because they did not show up to work on time) and women, and telling Mr. Maher’s audience that they were “very easily triggered.”

“All I care about is free speech and free expression,” Mr. Yiannopoulos explained. “I want people to be able to be, do and say anything. These days, you’re right, that’s a conservative issue.”

Bullshit. Milo Yiannopoulos is not another Voltaire or Tom Paine or John Stuart Mill. Milo Yiannopoulos is another random shithead who gets his jollies from bullying women in public.

Describing himself as “a virtuous troll,” Mr. Yiannopolous said, “I hurt people for a reason.”

He said people “want to police humor” because “they can’t control it.”

“Because the one thing that authoritarians hate is the sound of laughter,” Mr. Yiannopolous said.

Milo Yiannopoulos is not Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator. Milo Yiannopoulos is a court jester for authoritarians.



From the Space Needle

Feb 17th, 2017 6:15 pm | By

The sunset this afternoon:

Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, twilight, outdoor, water and nature

Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, twilight, outdoor, water and nature



Maybe it’s the commentary you spike

Feb 17th, 2017 5:56 pm | By

Silencing of the press doesn’t have to be as crude as an actual armed shutdown. It can be just a constant stream of implicit threats of an actual armed shutdown.

Maybe it’s the story you decide against doing because it’s liable to provoke a press-bullying president to put the power of his office behind his attempt to destroy your reputation by falsely calling your journalism “fake.”

Maybe it’s the line you hold back from your script or your article because it could trigger a federal leak investigation into you and your sources (so, yeah, jail).

Or, maybe it’s the commentary you spike because you’re a publicly supported news channel and you worry it will cost your station its federal financing.

Or the commentary you never write in the first place, which I think is the case with public broadcasting. They are very timid.

A PBS station in San Antonio came very close.

The story began with a Jan. 24 speech that Representative Lamar Smith, Republican of Texas, gave on the House floor regarding what he described as the unfair way the national media was covering President Trump. He said for instance that the media ignored highs in consumer confidence, which of course it did not. And he ended with an admonition for his constituents: “Better to get your news directly from the president. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.”

His remarks caught the notice, and the ire, of a longtime San Antonio-area journalist and commentator, Rick Casey, who hosts a weekly public affairs program “Texas Week” on KLRN. He ends each week’s show with his own commentary, which also runs in The San Antonio Express-News.

Mr. Casey has been able to work for “40 years as a professional smart ass,” he told me, because “I’m not really a bomb thrower — I’ve watched politicians for so many years that I know how to be strong about something without being unfriendly.”

But Mr. Smith’s comments bothered him enough that he wrote up a stemwinder of a closing commentary. “Smith’s proposal is quite innovative for America,” it went. “We’ve never really tried getting all our news from our top elected official. It has been tried elsewhere, however. North Korea comes to mind.”

The station promoted the commentary before it aired. Lamar Smith’s office saw the promo and called the station.

Forty minutes before the show aired, the station’s president and chief executive, Arthur Rojas Emerson, left a message for Mr. Casey saying he was pulling the commentary and replacing it with an older one. Mr. Casey told me he missed the call, but saw what happened with his own eyes.

At a meeting the next Monday, Mr. Casey said, Mr. Emerson expressed concern “that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was under attack and that this would add to it.” The Corporation for Public Broadcasting provides financing for public stations, including KLRN, and Mr. Trump’s election has heightened fears that its financing will be cut.

It also happens that Mr. Emerson had left journalism for several years to run his own advertising firm and that Mr. Smith had at one point been a client.

Eeeeeeuccccccchhhhhhh. Sleaze piled on sleaze piled on sleaze.

But then:

when Mr. Casey’s commentary ran as planned in The San Antonio Express-News, astute readers noticed it was different than the previous night’s televised commentary. The story of what happened began traveling around San Antonio journalism circles, making its way to the Express-News columnist Gilbert Garcia, who shared the details last Friday.

Another titan of Texas journalism, Evan Smith, who co-founded The Texas Tribune and regularly appears on Mr. Casey’s program, noticed Mr. Garcia’s column while he was in Washington. “I had a hot coffee in my hand and I came very close to dropping it,” Mr. Smith told me. “Holding people accountable in public life is so fundamentally important that this idea that somehow we’re going to stop doing that because we’re worried about what the government’s going to do to us, I so unbelievably reject that.”

As it happened, Evan Smith was in Washington for a meeting of the PBS national board, on which he sits, and “I certainly got into the board room and talked to people in the system.” He also called Mr. Emerson, and told him “I didn’t see why The Tribune or I should continue to be associated with this show or this station.”

By late last week, Mr. Emerson had agreed to let Mr. Casey’s original segment run this Friday, as long as it included a new “commentary” label that will run with his opinion segments.

But in all the cases where there is no Evan Smith, the commentary will stay spiked.

Mr. Casey is satisfied with the result. But he acknowledged that it was a close call and that he was uniquely qualified to push back in a way others might not be. “I’m lucky to be in the position of being 70 years old, and not in the position of being 45,” he said, meaning that job security was not the same issue. “There’s no level of heroism here.”

In a week in which Congress is calling for a leak investigation into stories in The Washington Post, The New York Times and CNN that led to Michael T. Flynn’s forced resignation as national security adviser, heroism is what’s called for. Hopefully there’s enough of it to go around.

We’re in big trouble.



The result is to undermine the independence of the press

Feb 17th, 2017 5:40 pm | By

Robert Reich an hour ago:

Trump this morning escalated his attack on the free press: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” he tweeted.

Even if most Americans understand that a President of the United States calling the media the “enemy of the American people!” is unprecedented, delusional and dangerous, there will be some percentage of Americans who are becoming persuaded by his ever more strident attacks.

The result is to undermine the independence of the press in our society — making Trump the arbiter of truth in our society.

Last night, the Republican Party and Trump’s campaign websites posted a 25-question “Mainstream Media Accountability Survey,” asking: “Do you believe that the mainstream media has reported unfairly on our movement?” and then asking whether the survey-taker believes that MSNBC, CNN or Fox News “report fairly on Trump’s presidency,” allowing for answers of “yes,” “no” or “no opinion.

The survey formalized Trump’s attacks and his insinuation that media outlets are working against the American people.

The ads driving people to the survey are paid for by the “Trump Make America Great Again Committee,” a joint fundraising committee of Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee. People who fill out the questionnaire are taken to a donation page, which states: “President Trump is asking you to go the extra mile and make a contribution to help defend our movement from the outrageous attacks from the media coming our way. Contribute now to help us fight back against the media’s attacks and deceptions.”

Trump is dangerous.



Rush Limbaugh said

Feb 17th, 2017 4:15 pm | By

Today in TrumpOnTwitter.

Oh well if Rush Limbaugh said so.

Since then he’s been busy with stuff like that Rally at the Orlando airport. But then a couple of hours ago he went Full Fascist.

The press is the enemy of the people, according to him. Once again he’s inciting hatred and, potentially, violence.

Let’s go back to October 1933:

On October 4th 1933 the Reich Press Law stated that all journalism had to be “racially clean”. Any Jewish and liberal editors and journalists were sacked and all remaining editors had to take a Nazi citizenship test and prove that they were not married to a Jew. Any Jew who owned a newspaper was pressurised into selling out. If any Jewish owner refused to do this, the government banned the production of his newspaper for a few days that could then become weeks and months.

Trump would do that if he could. He wouldn’t hesitate.

He can’t, yet, and I don’t think it’s likely that he’ll be able to. But am I confident about that? No.


A value judgment can’t be “FAKE.” A value judgment isn’t the same as a fact claim.



More toxic mercury pollution please

Feb 17th, 2017 3:35 pm | By

Well then they should have the decency to rename it the Environmental Destruction Agency.

Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma’s attorney general spent years suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its efforts to regulate various forms of pollution, was confirmed Friday as the agency’s next administrator.

Pruitt cleared the Senate by a vote of 52-46, winning support from two Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. Only one Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, voted against him, saying he had “fundamentally different” views than she about the EPA’s role.

She probably thinks the P stands for protection, while he thinks it stands for…passivity? Poisoning? Polluting?

Pruitt has sued the EPA more than a dozen times during the Obama administration, challenging the agency’s authority to regulate toxic mercury pollution, smog, carbon emissions from power plants and the quality of wetlands and other waters. In Oklahoma, he dismantled a specialized environmental protection unit that had existed under his Democratic predecessor and established a “federalism unit” to combat what he called “unwarranted regulation and systematic overreach” by Washington.

And as the one-time leader of the Republican Attorneys General Association and the privately funded Rule of Law Defense Fund, he spearheaded a group of attorneys general that fought the Obama administration on such issues as the Affordable Care Act, Wall Street reforms and efforts to extend overtime pay to more workers.

And that is how you drain the swamp – you make sure poor people can’t get health insurance, you make sure bankers and hedge fund managers can destroy bankrupt millions of people, you make sure workers don’t get paid for working overtime. In short you make poor people poorer and sicker, and you make rich people richer. That’s the Republican political philosophy on a postage stamp.



$81 million a year

Feb 17th, 2017 11:49 am | By

Trump has gotten rid of that pesky rule that said coal companies couldn’t dump all their waste products into streams. Another victory for filthy water! The People, in all their glorious peoplehood, love filthy water; they thrive on it. It’s only coastal elites who look down on it from their spotless mansions in the sky.

President Donald Trump signed legislation repealing a regulation meant to protect streams from the effects of coal mining.

The congressional resolution killing the so-called Stream Protection Rule, which was issued in the waning days of the Obama administration, follows similar action by Trump overturning an anti-corruption rule that would have required oil companies to disclose payments to foreign governments.

We must protect corporations’ rights to make secret payments to foreign governments. It’s the American way. MAGA!

“In eliminating this rule I am continuing to keep my promise to the American people to get rid of wasteful regulations,” Trump said at a White House signing ceremony.

Companies such as coal producers Foresight Energy LP and Murray Energy Corp.stand to gain from repeal of the mining rule, which would have required those companies to monitor water quality and restore streams once their mining is complete.

So wasteful. It’s much more economical to dump the coal waste into the streams and let the locals die quietly up there in the hills.

The Interior Department, which spent seven years crafting the rule, had said the regulation, which updates 33-year-old regulations, will protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests, primarily in Appalachia. It is meant to stop the practice of dumping mining waste in streams and valleys during mountaintop mining. They estimated compliance with the regulation would cost $81 million a year, or 0.1 percent or less of aggregate annual industry revenues, it said.

“Leaders in Congress and the administration chose to put coal-mining profits over the health and safety of Appalachian communities,” said Deborah Murray, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Limiting the toxic waste coal companies can dump in our rivers and streams is not a burdensome government regulation; it is common sense and, quite frankly, the job of our federal government.”

What is the point of rivers and streams if it’s not waste disposal?