Notes and Comment Blog

Facebook is here to protect free speech

Nov 13th, 2019 4:43 pm | By

Andrew Marantz, a New Yorker writer who’s written about for instance Mike Cernovitch, talked about Zuckerberg and Facebook and Free Speech on Fresh Air yesterday.

GROSS: There’s a lot of pressure now on social media to prevent smears, hate speech, threats, disinformation, propaganda. And, you know, Facebook is a good example of a company that appears to be trying to deal with it. So what has Facebook done recently to try to cut down on propaganda, disinformation, smears, threats?

MARANTZ: So in one sense, Facebook is doing a lot of stuff. In another sense, they’re kind of running away from their responsibility. Often, something really awful will happen on Facebook. Like, they will add fuel to the fire of Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, or in Sri Lanka, they had to just shut down – essentially, shut down the Internet for a few days because people were inciting so much violence. Now, we can’t lay all of that at the feet of Mark Zuckerberg. Obviously, violence and ethnic strife and all those things existed before the semiconductor did.

But for a long time, the reason I was so obsessed with this ideology of laissez faire – the reason that techno-utopianism is in the subtitle of my book is that when you just believe to your core that everything will be sorted out by the marketplace of ideas in the long run, you’re much more reluctant to do anything in the present to impede people saying anything they want to say. And I think we’ve reached a point now where we really recognize how irresponsible that is. What worries me about Facebook right now is that they do keep kind of falling back on that rhetoric.

I mean, Mark Zuckerberg gave a speech recently at Georgetown University. It was a 40-minute written speech from a lectern with teleprompters. I mean, for someone who doesn’t like being thought of as a politician-like political figure, he really made himself seem sort of analogous to a politician in that setting. And his entire speech was just about freedom of expression. You know, we love freedom of expression. Facebook is here to protect free speech. And it’s the kind of airy abstraction that sounds nice. But in practice, what it’s being used for is to avoid the responsibility that Facebook has to be a responsible gatekeeper, to be a curator of information. It’s essentially being used as a cop-out.

Yep. We saw it just today – they won’t let Kate Smurthwaite run her paid-for promo of her show because the title is “BITCH” but they will let men call her a bitch on Facebook all day long.

GROSS: Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook will continue to take political ads, and it won’t fact-check or reject those ads. He doesn’t see it as their job to do that. And then there was a letter from about 250 Facebook employees offering suggestions to improve the policy on political ads without eliminating them altogether. What was said in that letter?

MARANTZ: It was really specific. You know, these are Facebook employees who know how to speak a language that Facebook executives can understand, so they didn’t lead with a lot of broad, sweeping political statements. They said, here are six things we can do to improve our policies. And, you know, we can reduce the amount of microtargeting that is used by political advertisers. So, yes, maybe they can put up false information, but maybe we shouldn’t give them the tools to be able to target that false information to single moms in Dayton, Ohio, who drink Bulleit Bourbon and go to church on Wednesdays, you know? Again, this is the kind of thing where the executives and Zuckerberg himself really, really seem determined to stay at the level of abstraction and keep the debate focused on, well, do you like free speech or don’t you? And this set of anonymous engineers within the company was willing to say, no, no, no. Let’s drill down on what we’re actually talking about. This isn’t about – I mean, first of all, it’s not about the First Amendment, right? – because Facebook is not the government. But it’s also it’s not about…

GROSS: Because the First Amendment is about government intrusion on speech. It’s not about…


GROSS: …Private enterprise.

MARANTZ: Yeah. The First Amendment says Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech. Now, there are people who say that Facebook should be governed more like a public utility, and I think that’s a worthwhile conversation to have. But as of now, Facebook is not a part of the government, and it’s not treated as such. And so rather than retreating to these sort of mottos that could be carved on marble statues, you know, these engineers and sort of activists outside the company are sort of saying, well, let’s talk about what we actually mean and how you’re actually making money by doing these things, rather than, you know, are you for free speech or are you against it? That doesn’t actually describe what’s happening.

No, it doesn’t.

A sham and shouldn’t be allowed

Nov 13th, 2019 4:06 pm | By

Trump claims to be totally bored by the whole thing.

The White House and its allies sought to dismiss the hearing as dull and irrelevant. Press secretary Stephanie Grisham and Trump’s son, Eric, both dismissed it as “boring”, with Eric adding “#Snoozefest” in a tweet.

The president himself seemed to have found the historic day soporific, judging by his low energy, croaky voiced performance at a joint press conference with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan which started an hour late.

“Are you talking about the witch hunt?” Trump asked a reporter in the White House east room who sought his first impression. “Is that what you mean? Is that what you’re talking about? I hear it’s a joke. I haven’t watched, I haven’t watched for one minute because I’ve been with the president, which is much more important as far as I’m concerned.”

He added: “This is a sham and shouldn’t be allowed. It was a situation that was caused by people that shouldn’t have allowed it to happen. I want to find out who was the whistleblower because the whistleblower gave a lot of very incorrect information including my call with the president of Ukraine, which was a perfect call and highly appropriate.”

Image result for angry toddler


How about if I just carry the ball to the net?

Nov 13th, 2019 3:07 pm | By

Another chickenshit club:

Rape prosecutors in England and Wales were given a conviction rate target which was never made public.

BBC Newsnight has had access to a Law Society Gazette investigation, which found that from 2016 prosecutors were judged against a 60% target of cases ending in conviction.

So what do you do if you want to hit the target? You don’t prosecute the tough cases. This is what James Comey reminded the SDNY prosecutors when he was their boss: if they made it their goal to have zero losses, then they were in the chickenshit club, because they would prosecute only the sure things.

Rape convictions in England and Wales are at their lowest level since 2008, despite record levels of allegations.

According to guidance set down in the Code for Crown Prosecutors, decisions should be based on two things: whether it’s in the public interest, and if the case has more than a 50% chance of a conviction.

But from 2016, rape prosecutors were also asked to consider a conviction rate target called a “level of ambition” of 60%.

One way to achieve improved conviction rates is by prosecuting only the strongest cases.

And those women who have the bad judgment to be raped in a difficult to prosecute way, well, they should just go away and do better next time.

The 60% rape conviction rate target was never made public by the CPS, but was discovered by the Law Society Gazette after a trawl through CPS inspection reports.

In one such report, inspectors criticised the Cheshire-Merseyside regional CPS for missing the target in 2017. Their conviction rate was 57.3%, down from 65.4% the previous year, but their actual number of rape convictions had gone up from 100 to 138 in the same period.

The following year, the same team introduced a “more stringent triage process for police files” on rape.

Their number of convictions dropped to 81 – the lowest for years – but by prosecuting fewer cases they actually exceeded the CPS target. Their conviction rate was 68%.

So it’s not the victims who count, it’s the stats of the prosecutors. Cool.

A coalition of women’s organisations, represented by the Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ), has launched a legal case against the service for what it says is an unlawful change in approach by the CPS.

Lawyer Harriet Wistrich, founder of the CWJ, told Newsnight: “What a change in the conviction rate would suggest is if they’re being targeted to improve their convictions, the easiest way to do that is to take weaker cases out of the system.

“If those that rape are not being held to account, they will feel they can continue doing so with impunity.”

And they’ll be right.

Facebook hates women

Nov 13th, 2019 11:07 am | By

Kate Smurthwaite writes:

Ok I’m seriously at my wit’s end. I’ve sold out shows in York the last couple of years with a fair bit of ease so although I wasn’t planning a larger-scale tour this year I figured when the opportunity came up I’d accept a date there.

My new show is called “bitch” and, as ever, it’s about lots of things but one of the key reasons it’s called that is because I get called “bitch” so much online, including on Facebook, Twitter, Insta and YouTube. I’ve tried reporting these messages and over and over the social media sites, including Facebook, have told me that the word “bitch” doesn’t breach their community standards so they can’t do anything about it.

Of course, as ever, when I share the ticket link to my show Facebook shows it to only a tiny handful of people – we know they deliberately hide ticket sales links because they want to force you to buy advertising. I’ve tried just sharing it in groups and so on but finally this week I decided to give up and just spend some money making sure people who want to come to the show know that it’s on.

I wake up this morning and my advert still isn’t running – the show is Friday so I’m pretty annoyed about this. I chase them up for an answer and…


…apparently the word “bitch” breaches their fucking community standards. Now it does. When it’s my show title, when I’m trying to give them money, when I’m trying to discuss the abuse I get and reclaim the vile insults that get thrown at me.

So I’ve got less than half my tickets sold for Friday and I can’t even pay to let people know the show is coming to York.

If you know anyone in York please ask them to get a ticket for my show and come along and please like and share this post if you can cos I have a strong feeling I’m not going to do much touring for a bit after this.

The baseless conspiracy theory

Nov 13th, 2019 10:32 am | By

One of the potential bad side effects of Trump’s extortion of Ukraine was said to be undermining the bipartisan support for Ukraine v Putin.

So the Republicans are now making it happen.

Republicans on the House intelligence committee appear to be using their questioning time to add credibility to the baseless conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. (The US intelligence community has thoroughly confirmed that Russia interfered in the election.)

Meanwhile Fox News is doing its thing.

Fox News has so far done its best to present Bill Taylor’s testimony as un-explosive.

As the rest of the media has marveled at Bill Taylor’s statement that Trump “cared more about investigations of Biden” than Ukraine policy, and that a Taylor staffer overheard a Trump phone call where the president asked about “the investigations”, much of Fox News’ coverage has adopted a “nothing to see here” approach.

Across television news coverage, CNN, ABC and MSNBC have repeatedly changed their chyrons to represent the latest revelations from Taylor and George Kent’s testimony, Fox News has kept its own on-screen text staunchly neutral: “TAYLOR AND KENT TESTIFY IN FIRST IMPEACHMENT HEARING.” It was also the only channel to cut to an adbreak as Adam Schiff began questioning the two officials.


Trump is too busy to watch it

Nov 13th, 2019 9:57 am | By

Oh, this is good. Erdoğan has arrived and Trump is presidenting him.

When asked by pool reporters about the public impeachment hearing, Trump said, “It’s a witch hunt, it’s a hoax. I’m too busy to watch it. I have not been briefed.” He added, “They’re using lawyers that are television lawyers.”

Television lawyers! Television lawyers!!! What does he think he is?! He’s the television president of all time!

His press secretary has tweeted to tell us that the hearings are boring.

This sham hearing is not only boring, it is a colossal waste of taxpayer time & money. Congress should be working on passing USMCA, funding our govt & military, working on reduced drug pricing & so much more. @realDonaldTrump is working right now-the dems should follow his lead!

The White House tweeted a little video clip (television president!!!) of Trump telling us the Democrats wanna take away ya gunz.

The Democrats wanna take away ya gunz, they wanna take away ya health care, they wanna take away ya vote, they wanna take away yer freedom, they wanna take away yer judgez, they wanna take away everything.

Puddle of piss not shown.

In a public box

Nov 13th, 2019 9:16 am | By

Day one of the impeachment hearings.

I’ve just realized, partly because of something Schiff said in his opening statement and partly because/while reading in the Guardian’s live coverage

Echoing his closed-door testimony, Bill Taylor said in his opening statement that he was told “everything” Ukraine sought, including a White House visit and the frozen military aid, was tied to a public announcement of investigations into Joe Biden and the 2016 election.

…that all this and more is going to come out and be nailed down and in the record, and if then nothing happens, we’ll be on the record as knowing all this and nailing it down and then saying no problem.

I know that’s obvious, we’ve all known that all along, but it became that bit clearer to me somehow. We’re going to document crime after crime after crime and be helpless to do anything, including even preventing new crimes. We’ll be nailing down the powerlessness to act along with the crimes. It has to be done, but…it’s sickening.

The acting US ambassador to Ukraine said of a conversation he had in early September, “Ambassador Sondland also told me that he now recognized that he had made a mistake by earlier telling Ukrainian officials that only a White House meeting with President Zelenskyy was dependent on a public announcement of investigations—in fact, Ambassador Sondland said, ‘everything’ was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance.

“He said that President Trump wanted President Zelenskyy ‘in a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such investigations.”

Could he sound any more like a hoodlum from a Warner Brothers movie from the 30s? Cagney and Robinson and Bogart all rolled into one?

New testimony is that a staffer overheard Trump on the phone asking about the “investigations” the day after the “perfect” phone call.

Here is Bill Taylor’s full account of his staffer overhearing Trump asking about “investigations” in Ukraine, which the longtime diplomat just shared with the House intelligence committee:

“Last Friday, a member of my staff told me of events that occurred on July 26. While Ambassador Volker and I visited the front, this member of my staff accompanied Ambassador Sondland. Ambassador Sondland met with [a senior adviser to the Ukrainian president, Mr. Yermak]. Following that meeting, in the presence of my staff at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv.

“The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about ‘the investigations.’ Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.

“Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for.”

I don’t know what the “front” is that Taylor and Volker were visiting, but the import of the phone call is clear enough.

Padding the CV

Nov 12th, 2019 5:42 pm | By

Somebody with a high-up job at the State Department got the job by telling a bunch of whoppers.

A senior Trump administration official has embellished her résumé with misleading claims about her professional background — even creating a fake Time magazine cover with her face on it — raising questions about her qualifications to hold a top position at the State Department.

An NBC News investigation found that Mina Chang, the deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stability Operations, has inflated her educational achievements and exaggerated the scope of her nonprofit’s work.

Chang, who assumed her post in April, also invented a role on a U.N. panel, claimed she had addressed both the Democratic and Republican national conventions, and implied she had testified before Congress.

She was being considered for an even bigger government job, one with a budget of more than $1 billion, until Congress started asking questions about her résumé.

In her State Department post, Chang, 35, from Dallas, helps oversee efforts to prevent conflicts from erupting in politically unstable countries. She earns a six-figure salary in a bureau with a $6 million budget. A deputy assistant secretary usually has a top secret security clearance. It’s not clear if Chang has such a clearance.

But it is clear that she’s never been on the cover of Time.

For Chang’s current job, her most relevant experience would appear to be her time as CEO of a nonprofit called Linking the World. Chang has touted her small nonprofit online and in speeches as operating in dozens of countries, building schools and “impacting” thousands of people. But tax filings for her organization offer no concrete information about overseas projects and show a budget of less than $300,000 with a handful of staff.

She sounds like Princess Ivanka. Princess Ivanka tells us she’s doing all this empowery stuff for women but really she’s just empowering herself. No doubt both of them “identify as” important thought leaders who are making things happen all over everywhere, but identifying as ain’t magic.

In a 2017 video posted on her nonprofit’s website, Chang can be heard describing her work while a Time magazine cover with her face on it scrolls past.

“Here you are on Time magazine, congratulations! Tell me about this cover and how it came to be?” asks the interviewer, who hosts a YouTube show.

“Well, we started using drone technology in disaster response and so that was when the whole talk of how is technology being used to save lives in disaster response scenarios, I suppose I brought some attention to that,” Chang said.

Behold the fake cover:

Image: A fake Time magazine cover with Mina Chang.


Chang’s biography says she was part of a panel on drones in humanitarian relief efforts convened by the U.N. But there’s no record backing up her claim and a source with knowledge of the matter said she was not part of the “panel,” which was a single public roundtable.

Chang says in her official biography that she is as an “alumna” of Harvard Business School. According to the university, Chang attended a seven-week course in 2016, and does not hold a degree from the institution.

But wait, there’s more!

Her biography on the State Department website says she is a “graduate” of a program at the Army War College. But the program she attended was a four-day seminar on national security, according to the college.

Chang does not cite any undergraduate degree in her biography, but her LinkedIn account mentions the University of the Nations, an unaccredited Christian school with volunteer teachers that says it has 600 locations “on all continents.”

She says she “addressed” both the Democratic and Republican national conventions in 2016, but videos and documents show she instead spoke at separate events held in Philadelphia and Cleveland during the same time periods.

Whatever. It’s only the State Department.

He’s disloyal!

Nov 12th, 2019 4:25 pm | By

Trump still thinks working in his administration=working for him.

President Trump has discussed dismissing the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, because Mr. Atkinson reported a whistle-blower’s complaint about Mr. Trump’s interactions with Ukraine to Congress after concluding it was credible, according to four people familiar with the discussions.

He’s been whining about the subject for weeks.

The president has said he does not understand why Mr. Atkinson shared the complaint, which outlined how Mr. Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals at the same time he was withholding military aid from the country. He has said he believes Mr. Atkinson, whom he appointed in 2017, has been disloyal, one of the people said.

In other words the president is mentally a child. It’s surely been explained to him a million times, but he can’t grasp that the people who work in his – and any – administration are supposed to be “loyal” to the country, the people, the Constitution, not to the crook who sits in the fancy chair. The more of a crook the crook is the more urgent that norm becomes. The IG isn’t supposed to be loyal to Trump despite Trump’s wildly abnormal and destructive and wrong actions, he’s supposed to do something about them.

Mr. Trump’s private complaints about Mr. Atkinson have come as he has publicly questioned his integrity and accused him of working with the Democrats to sabotage his presidency.

It is unclear how far Mr. Trump’s discussions about removing Mr. Atkinson have progressed. Two people familiar with what took place said they thought that Mr. Trump was just venting, and insisted that Mr. Atkinson’s dismissal was never under serious consideration.

But the mixture of public attacks and private discussions about a possible dismissal is a familiar way Mr. Trump has undermined investigators who have examined his conduct or that of people close to him. The president publicly criticized James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, and Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general, before he dismissed them for perceived disloyalty.

There is no “just venting” with Trump. He always means it, whether he gets around to acting on it or not.

Ask me my sign

Nov 12th, 2019 4:03 pm | By

T-Mobile has big news for us – not an object or plan we might to give them money for, but an employee relations story.

Another Way to #BeYou: T-Mobile Brings Gender Pronouns to Retail Stores

At T-Mobile, #BeYou has become an employee mantra — so much so that it’s displayed on magenta-painted walls in company hallways around the country.

Really? How awful. Seriously. How gorge-risingly eye-rollingly horrible. Work is work, it’s not a therapy session and it’s not a theater for narcissism. Be You on your own time; at work pay attention to Not-You.

But it’s more than just a catchphrase. It’s representative of the company’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion that is truly part of its DNA. With this in mind, senior leaders are always open to new ways to support employees who want to better express who they are. That’s why, starting November 6, T-Mobile is launching new optional name badges for all retail employees that can include employees’ personal pronouns. Employees at T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile retail stores can choose to add any of the following options:

  • He/him/his
  • She/her/hers
  • They/them/theirs
  • Ask me my pronouns

This is for all retail employees, they say – so I guess that means that people in their stores can wear them if they choose? Which means that customers will be confronted with people ordering them to “ask my pronouns”? In a situation in which the customer has zero, repeat, zero need to know the employee’s pronouns because they are talking directly to the employee and anything other than “you” will simply create confusion? Why? Why invite employees to tell customers to “Ask me my pronouns” when it makes no sense and will strike the customer as repellently narcissistic? 

Do people not get that narcissism and self-obsession are not good things?

A whole switch in ideology

Nov 12th, 2019 11:02 am | By

Another move – finally!! – to give men a little attention for a change.

For the first time in its four-decade history, Dunedin’s Rape Crisis centre will work with sexual abuse victims of all genders.

The shift is part of a major overhaul of the organisation, which also includes changing its name to the Otepoti Collective Against Sexual Abuse (OCASA).

The move has been met with cautious optimism by the head of a New Zealand male survivors group, who said the more support organisations could work together, the better.

OCASA development co-ordinator Angelo Libeau said the historically women-only organisation had changed its constitution to work with people of all genders.

Good, because why should everything be about women all the time? For centuries, millennia, everything has always been all about women. At last we are starting to redress the balance!

“We said `if we’re going to make these changes, can we still maintain our feminist philosophies’, and we talked about it for a really long time, and then we went `absolutely you can – it’s about how you manage the space to keep everybody safe’.”

He described the change as “quite huge”.

Yes, it is.

Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust chairman Phillip Chapman said Otago was leading the way in terms of communicating with the organisation.

But he acknowledged it would require some changes.

“If you’re only working with female victims, you don’t get the most pleasant view of men.

“So to start working with them, it’s a whole switch in ideology.”

Yes, it is.

Why Stephen Miller is trending

Nov 12th, 2019 10:54 am | By

In We already knew this but more so news, the SPLC has a new report on just how racist Stephen Miller is.

Senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller shaped the 2016 election coverage of the hard right-wing website Breitbart with material drawn from prominent white nationalists, Islamophobes, and far-right websites, according to a new investigative report by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Miller also railed against those wishing to remove Confederate monuments and flags from public display in the wake of Dylann Roof’s murderous 2015 attack on a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and praised America’s early 20th-century race-based, restrictionist immigration policies.

There’s this trove of emails, see.

The SPLC story is based largely on emails provided by a former Breitbart writer, Katie McHugh. McHugh was fired by Breitbart over a series of anti-Muslim tweets and has since renounced the far right, telling the SPLC that the movement is “evil”.

However, throughout 2015 and 2016, as the Trump campaign progressed and she became an increasingly influential voice at Breitbart, McHugh told the SPLC that Miller urged her in a steady drumbeat of emails and phone calls to promote arguments from sources popular with far-right and white nationalist movements.

It’s his field, his specialty, his leitmotif.

Peak stupid

Nov 12th, 2019 9:38 am | By

The University and College Union – UCU – in the UK has issued a position on trans inclusion [pdf].

It doesn’t start well.

UCU has a long history (from predecessor unions) of enabling members to self-identify whether that is being black, disabled, LGBT+ or women.

Oh really? I don’t believe that. UCU members can just “self-identify” as black or disabled even if they’re obviously…not? They can “self-identify” as lesbian or gay even if their sex lives and love lives are in fact entirely straight?

I don’t believe a word of that. And it’s the first sentence, so there you go.

UCU women’s conference passed an advisory motion in 2017.

Women’s conference reaffirms:

That our women’s structures within the union belong to all self-identifying women.

That our movement must be a safe space for all women.

That our strength is our collectively in fighting the structures that oppress women and that there is vital work to be done in building and channelling our collective strength.

The first item conflicts with the next two. If their “women’s structures” belong to men who “self-identify” as women as well as to actual women, then their movement can’t be a safe space for women and it can’t fight the structures that oppress women. If women are no longer allowed to organize and campaign as women then they no longer have any rights or strength or “empowerment.”

On page 2 –

UCU supports the right of all women (including trans women) to safe spaces and the continuation of monitoring that can help identify discrimination against women, men and those who identify as non-binary.

What is “discrimination” if it’s against women, men and those who identify as non-binary? That’s everyone, so what kind of “discrimination” is it? Sounds like a personal problem.

The UCU Women members’ conference 2018 agreed a motion reaffirming trans women are to be included in all UCU women’s organising agendas and actions.

All. Women can’t have anything that’s just for women.

UCU is committed to an intersectional approach within all its work. The concept of intersectionality has at its core an understanding that within marginalised groups there are a number of different identities, such as white women, Black women, disabled women, cis women, trans women.

Did a child write this?

One of the debates around gender identity is that there is a perceived conflict between trans rights and women’s rights. This is not new, for many years some feminist groups have been opposed to trans women being part of the organising agenda and activities. This has often been situated in a challenge that trans women are or at least have been men and therefore part of the oppressive machine against women. Trans women state that this position is core to the discrimination they face and prevents them being able to have the rights they need to live full lives. Saying or implying that trans women are really men denies trans women their right to be women.

But there is no such thing as a “right to be women.” That’s a made-up right, a pretend right, a fictional right. Men don’t have a “right to be women.” There is no such right, and men don’t have it, and it’s ludicrous to pretend that oppression or inequality works this way. Does Donald Trump have a “right” to be a war veteran? Does Sean Hannity have a “right” to be Randy Rainbow? Does Ivanka Trump have a “right” to be Rosa Parks?


Kathleen Stock has commentary.

Women’s sports are prospering so it’s time to give them to men

Nov 11th, 2019 4:47 pm | By

Outsports, self-described as “the leader in LGBTQ sports news & commentary for athletes, coaches & fans,” tweets:

For decades, women’s sports have existed to create opportunities for cis women and non-binary athletes. It’s finally time to include trans women in the growth and prosperity of women’s sports. Let’s have that conversation.

For decades, women’s sports have existed to create opportunities for women – but not all that many decades, and it took a fierce struggle, and the struggle for funding and coverage and fairness continues. Yes, women’s and girls’ sports exist to create opportunities for women and girls to play sports , and why shouldn’t they? That was the whole point, remember? Girls didn’t get that much opportunity, and neither did women, so quite a few women and girls thought it would be good to fix that problem. The situation has improved but certainly not as much as it could have. Why the hell should women’s sports now include men who claim to be women? Men already have sports, they don’t need to take over women’s too.

The sheer entitled gall of it is just disgusting.

Illustrating it with DOCTOR McKinnon doesn’t help, either.

Updating to add: there’s also an earlier tweet (with the same wording) that has 200+ replies. Hostile replies.

If you understand

Nov 11th, 2019 12:01 pm | By

A wisdom tweet:

I think the sentence “cis people shouldn’t be in charge of trans people’s healthcare” is just as true as “men shouldn’t be in charge of women’s healthcare”. If you understand why one is true, take some time to realise that it’s the same reasons that make the other true.

Well let’s slow down. Is the one true? Is it a general truth that “men shouldn’t be in charge of women’s healthcare”? In what sense of “in charge”? Setting policy, or administering policy that is already in place? Is it true that no men should be part of an administration that includes women’s health? My answer would be no. I think women should be involved, certainly, but I don’t think that has to mean no men should be involved. So I don’t think the one is true, let alone understand why it is. It’s too sloppy and general to be true, which is often a problem with Twitter – people hawk up clever-sounding aphorisms like this that turn out to be silly if you look at them for more than a second.

But even if I did “understand why” that one is true, that wouldn’t make the first one true. If a trans person gets the flu, is it bad or risky or unjust for a “cis” doctor to provide treatment? If so, why, exactly? Can the principle be extended to everything? If you’re a person who climbs mountains, does that mean you need a doctor who climbs mountains? Or a hospital administration that does?

If it became a principle that only trans people can be in charge of trans people’s health, where will they come from? Are there enough medically trained trans people for this to work?

I think further consideration is needed before we take this bold step.


Who, us?

Nov 11th, 2019 11:37 am | By

Grifter Princess Ivanka has the gall to say her crime family is not profiting from Donnie’s presidency.

Ivanka Trump brushed off criticism that her family has profited off the presidency and said Friday a big difference between her family and Democrat Joe Biden’s is that President Donald Trump amassed his fortune before he entered politics while Biden’s wealth is “derivative” of his time in office…

Ivanka Trump, a White House adviser, pushed back against nearly three years of ethics complaints and lawsuits accusing the Trumps of trying to turn the presidency to their financial advantage.

His hotel a short walk from the White House? The one where Barr throws expensive parties? And foreign governments book stays? His golf course in western Ireland where Pence stayed when he had meetings in Dublin? Trump shouting on Twitter that everyone should read Junior’s book? That kind of turning the presidency to their financial advantage?

Government watchdogs have criticized Trump for unethically mixing official business with promotion of his own interests.

Trump is the first president in modern history who has not walled himself off from his business holdings. He makes frequent trips to his for-profit golf clubs, collects dues at his members-only properties and hosts fundraisers and foreign delegations at hotels that bear his family’s name.

I guess the princess means aside from all that.

Lev who??

Nov 11th, 2019 10:24 am | By

The NY Times reports:

Not long before the Ukrainian president was inaugurated in May, an associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani’s journeyed to Kiev to deliver a warning to the country’s new leadership, a lawyer for the associate said.

The associate, Lev Parnas, told a representative of the incoming government that it had to announce an investigation into Mr. Trump’s political rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., and his son, or else Vice President Mike Pence would not attend the swearing-in of the new president, and the United States would freeze aid, the lawyer said.

The claim by Mr. Parnas, who is preparing to share his account with impeachment investigators, challenges the narrative of events from Mr. Trump and Ukrainian officials that is at the core of the congressional inquiry. It also directly links Mr. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, to threats of repercussions made to the Ukrainians, something he has strenuously denied.

But Mr. Parnas’s account, while potentially significant, is being contradicted on several fronts. None of the people involved dispute that the meeting occurred, but Mr. Parnas stands alone in saying the intention was to present an ultimatum to the Ukrainian leadership.

This is all so bizarre. Rudy Giuliani is not a government employee, he’s not part of Trump’s administration, which means among other things he’s not subject to any of the oversight and vetting such an employee faces – but it also means he has absolutely no business running around the world trying to extort favors from foreign heads of state, and the same goes for his “associates.” What is some random private citizen doing threatening the president of Ukraine?? It’s nuts.

Not just a horse

Nov 11th, 2019 9:56 am | By

It seems Don Junior was booed out of his own book event because he’s…not right-wing enough? Jeez, conservatives are so easily triggered. Pass me a hanky.

Donald Trump Jr. apparently failed to grasp the hypocrisy in refusing to answer questions for an event to promote his new book, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us, which is dedicated to mocking liberals and their so-called political correctness.

But the president’s eldest son’s missteps were not lost on the audience at UCLA on Sunday, where his own supporters, frustrated with the lack of a Q&A opportunity, filled the event with incessant booing.

So then his girlfriend, a former Fox “News” performer, taunted them with not being able to get a date.

The Guardian has more:

At first, Trump and Guilfoyle tried to ignore the discontent, which originated with a fringe group of America Firsters who believe the Trump administration has been taken captive by a cabal of internationalists, free-traders, and apologists for mass immigration.

What about the white mice? Don’t they get a credit?

When the shouting would not subside, Trump Jr tried – and failed – to argue that taking questions from the floor risked creating soundbites that leftwing social media posters would abuse and distort. Nobody was buying that.

In minutes, the entire argument put forward by the president’s son – that he was willing to engage in dialogue but that it was the left that refused to tolerate free speech – crumbled.

“I’m willing to listen…” Trump began.

“Q and A! Q and A!” the audience yelled back.

“We’ll go into the lion’s den and talk …” Trump tried again.

“Then open the Q and A!” came the immediate response.

Guilfoyle, forced to shout to make herself heard, told students in the crowd: “You’re not making your parents proud by being rude and disruptive.”

Then they left. So the question is…were they triggered?

The right of men to access women’s bodies

Nov 11th, 2019 8:55 am | By

Julie Bindel wrote about Sophie Wilson and Spearmint Rhino a week ago, starting from the humiliation of Labour under Corbyn:

Sophie Wilson, a 23-year-old Sheffield councillor who was last week selected as Jeremy Corbyn’s candidate for Rother Valley, has campaigned against feminists trying to close a notorious club, and for the “right” of women to “choose” to work there.

Last year, Wilson was carpeted by Sheffield City Council after a complaint about her online conduct was partially upheld. She had tweeted that the women protesting the existence of lap dancing clubs in the city — many of whom are survivors of sexual exploitation — were “trashy SWERFS”. Another tweet read: “SWERFS and TERFS are usually one in (sic) the same, aren’t they?”

So this is a (very young and thus inexperienced) woman calling feminist women “trashy” because they oppose treating women as receptacles for men, selected as a Labour candidate. They couldn’t find someone who doesn’t call feminist women trashy? Really?

Wilson joined a protest earlier this year to save the Spearmint Rhino club when its licence was under threat. Feminists campaigning for its closure had released film footage, obtained covertly, which allegedly showed dancers “sexually touching customers”. The club, according to the campaigners, breached more than 200 regulations.

I have seen similar things at lap dancing clubs with my own eyes. In 2004 I visited a number of them, posing as the PA of a businessman who was persuaded to join him for a few drinks. I found that many of the clubs were fronts for prostitution, and that the women were routinely sexually harassed.

Being sexually harassed is empowering! If you’re paid for it. I guess.

Unfortunately for Sophie Wilson, she has a formidable opponent in Sammy Woodhouse, who, if Wilson is elected, would be her constituent. Woodhouse has in the past courageously spoken about the abuse she suffered at the hands of grooming gangs in her home town, and has published a book about her experiences, called Just a Child.

Woodhouse was failed by the authorities, but nevertheless put heart and soul into helping police and prosecutors nail the perpetrators of the biggest sex scandal of modern times: the Jay Report uncovered the abuse of 1,400 children in Rotherham.

Woodhouse doesn’t see sexual abuse as empowering.

“Fun feminists” have long supported the pro-prostitution lobby, buying the lies that prostitution can be “sexually liberating” for women, and this group somehow lends its voice to other campaigns against patriarchal control of our bodies. But prostitution, of which stripping is a part, is about the right of men to access women’s bodies, and to view and treat us as commodities.

Sammy Woodhouse in fact worked at Spearmint Rhino after she escaped the grooming gang, and she doesn’t see it the way Sophie Wilson does.

Lap dancing, she says, is anything but feminist: “Rotherham is known all over the world for its exploitation, and we have a woman standing who is in favour of exploitation,” she said. “That lot say it’s empowering. But let me tell you, there is nothing empowering in sitting on some sweaty man’s lap grinding into his dick.”

What Wilson is defending is unconscionable, for as Woodhouse put it: “If you put a bloke on a street corner selling girls, we call him a pimp. Put him in a suit and stick him in a licensed lap dance club and we call him a businessman. He’s just a pimp in a suit.”

I suppose Wilson would say that’s trashy talk.

It was easy for him to accept because he’s 4

Nov 10th, 2019 4:37 pm | By

Even Parents Magazine? What next, The Mainstream Herald? The Churchy Gazette? Middleground Digest?


Mom’s Viral Post Celebrates That ‘Some Women, Some Non-Binary People, & Some Men’ Get Their Periods

Yunh hunh, and some bats make webs, some spiders echolocate, some tigers knit, some orcas play Bach cello suites, some houses are made of cotton candy, some cars can climb trees, some hats can fill out tax forms – let’s see some viral posts celebrating that.

Last month, Always announced that the Venus symbol would be removed from their sanitary products’ packaging to be more inclusive of transgender and non-binary people. “For over 35 years Always has championed girls and women, and we will continue to do so,” Always’ parent company, Procter & Gamble said in a statement, according to NBC. “We’re also committed to diversity & inclusion and are on a continual journey to understand the needs of all of our consumers.” Now, a mom from Hull, England named Milly Bhaskara is furthering the conversation, showing parents how easy it is to introduce your L.O. to the concept that women aren’t the only people who menstruate.

Her L.O. is four. Of course you can introduce your L.O. age four to the concept that [your choice of bullshit here], because children age four believe what adults tell them. They don’t have anything to compare it to, they don’t have other information, and they don’t yet have brains mature enough to do skepticism.

Bhaskara—who boasts 173K followers and is known for her posts on mental health awareness and body acceptance—posted a super-cute photo of her 4-year-old son Eli holding a pin board sign that reads, “Some men have periods too. If I can get it, so can you.”

Super cute! Also not true! In fact complete and utter bullshit!

There are some women who call themselves trans men, and they can have periods (unless the blockers have prevented them), but that doesn’t mean men can. Men can’t.

The proud mom’s caption: “Some men have periods. Some non-binary people have periods. Some women have periods. Eli has been told about periods since he saw blood on my pants a couple of years ago. I didn’t use the language of women have periods because it’s not entirely inclusive.”

Bhaskara continued, “I told him that SOME women, SOME non-binary people and SOME men have periods. It was easy for him to accept as he hadn’t had to unlearn the engrained societal norm, but if a 4-year-old can grasp it, I’m sure most of us can have a crack at unlearning transphobic/misinformed norms and open our minds… ya think?”

That poor kid.