Notes and Comment Blog


The murders were live-streamed

Mar 15th, 2019 8:20 am | By

That’s not a statement we want to see, but it’s the reality.

The BBC reports:

The video, which shows a first-person view of the killings, has been widely circulated.

  • About 10 to 20 minutes before the attack in New Zealand, someone posted on the /pol/section of 8chan, an anarchist alt-right message board. The post included links to the suspect’s Facebook page, where he stated he would be live-streaming and published a rambling and hate-filled manifesto
  • Before opening fire, the suspect urged viewers to subscribe to PewDiePie’s YouTube channel.

We interrupt this murder to bring you a commercial message.

  • The attacks were live-streamed on Facebook and shared widely on other social media platforms, such as YouTube and Twitter

The revolution will be televised, only it’s the wrong kind of revolution.

Some basics:

Forty-nine people have been killed and at least 20 wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the incident as a terrorist attack and one of New Zealand’s “darkest days”. It is the nation’s deadliest attack.

A gunman identifying himself as an Australian live-streamed the rampage at Al Noor mosque to Facebook. He had espoused racist, anti-immigrant views.

Police say a man in his late 20s has been arrested and charged with murder.

The gunman live-streaming the attack from a head-mounted camera said he was a 28-year-old Australian called Brenton Tarrant. The footage showed him firing indiscriminately at men, women and children from close range inside the Al Noor mosque.

Everything is terrible and will get worse.



He totally predicted it

Mar 14th, 2019 5:15 pm | By

First, this, starting at 1:02 if you don’t want to listen to him explaining Brexit for the first minute. He says he predicted Brexit, people laughed, but he was right. He was at Turnberry and he predicted it.

But

He predicted it the day after it happened.

What a genius.

(Also he said Obama predicted the opposite, and he Trump was right.

Obama made no prediction.)



If only they had asked Trump’s advice

Mar 14th, 2019 4:48 pm | By

God I hate it when Trump thinks he knows better. (I know, he always thinks that, about everyone and everything, but I hate it when he mouths off about it.) He knows all about how Britain should leave the EU, and if only everyone had done what he said, everything would be fabulous now.

“I’m surprised at how badly it’s all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation,” he said.

Trump, who holds himself up as a master deal-maker, said he had given Prime Minister Theresa May his ideas on how she could negotiate a successful deal for leaving the 28-member group of nations. But “she didn’t listen to that and that’s fine. I mean she’s got to do what she’s got to do,” he said at the White House as he welcomed Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar for an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Well, she’s got to do what she’s got to do in the sense that she’s got to ignore any instructions on any subject from Donald Trump.

Trump predicted later Thursday that the situation eventually would work itself out. The president said he and Varadkar discussed the issue during their Oval Office meeting. Varadkar opposes Britain’s EU exit and expressed concern about how such a move would affect Northern Ireland.

“We talked about Brexit, something that’s turning out to be a little more complex than they thought it would be,” Trump said at an annual Capitol Hill luncheon for the Irish hosted by the House speaker. “But it’ll all work out. Everything does. One way or the other, it’s going to work out.”

This is what I mean. No one should ever take advice of any kind from the fool who uttered that stack of bullshit. Brexit isn’t “turning out” to be more complex than they thought it would be; anyone who knows anything knew all along it would be complex. He, Donald Trump, thought it would be not-complex, because he’s an idiot, but people who know anything didn’t. Theory of Mind fail # 7 billion. And then that bland assurance that it’ll all work out and that everything does…how can someone be that stupid and remember to breathe?



Their kaupapa is not “inclusive” enough

Mar 14th, 2019 11:23 am | By

Another lesbian group kicked out of another Pride:

It’s Pride Month in Wellington and as a part of that Out Wellington Inc. hosts a fair called Out in the Park.

We had our place at the fair confirmed in early February so we’ve been planning on attending for some time. We were excited to go along and show that it’s okay to be a lesbian and proud, but instead we’ve been banned because our kaupapa is not “inclusive” enough.

Kaupapa is Maori for statement of principles. Not inclusive enough how? Let’s see if we can figure it out.

We agree with these core principles laid out by the Women’s Liberation Front:

Maybe that’s it? Maybe “female humans” is considered insufficiently inclusive? But if so…then…then women have to be banned from everything, right? It will be just men and trans women from now on, because only they are inclusive enough?

But maybe it’s not that. Maybe it’s this:

We want an end to all laws and institutions which perpetuate men’s aggression towards and dominance over women.

We encourage non-compliance with sex-role stereotypes. Heteronormativity is built on and maintained through sex-role stereotypes. Nobody should be harassed, threatened or abused for not complying to sex-role stereotypes.

Maybe that’s it? Maybe it’s considered not-inclusive of trans people to encourage non-compliance with sex-role stereotypes? But if so…then…then we can’t encourage non-compliance with sex-role stereotypes any more, which means we can’t have feminism any more.

Or maybe it’s this:

The LRAA is opposed to pornography and the sex industry because it is violence against women and girls. Members of the LRAA do not participate in anyones sexual exploitation.

Not inclusive of pimps and johns? Is that where we are now?

Back to the post:

Festival directors Drew Hadwen and Karen Harris emailed us seemingly out of the blue rescinding our stall and invoice. They said that because they “welcome all people, groups and organisations who want to join with us to celebrate the amazing diversity and creativity in our LGBTIQ+ community”  they can not have our lesbian feminist stall or “presence” at Out Wellington Inc. organised events.

Problem. Hadwen and Harris explain that because they welcome all people, groups and organisations therefore they have to banish The Lesbian Rights Alliance Aotearoa. That’s a contradiction, for a start, but it’s also bizarre given the L in LGBTIQ+. The LGBTIQ+ Pride fair welcomes all people, groups and organisations except the L part of LGBTIQ+? Makes.no.sense.

Notes:

Our group was honest and transparent in our application. We applied with our names, as The Lesbian Rights Alliance Aotearoa and said we are “a new and growing lesbian group and we are starting to expand our events and social activities in Wellington.”

Our application was accepted and our attendance at the event was publicly announced on the Out in the Park Facebook page.

Our kaupapa has been publicly available online since 6 June 2018.

The Police, Corrections and Young Nats will all have stalls at the event.

Interesting. The cops are inclusive enough, the department of corrections is inclusive enough, the Young Nats are inclusive enough…

The New Zealand Young Nationals, more commonly called the Young Nats, is the youth wing of the New Zealand National Party, a centre-right political party in New Zealand, and a member of the International Young Democrat Union.

All those inclusive as fuck, but those pesky lesbian feminists…ewwwww no get them out.



All the toughs

Mar 14th, 2019 10:40 am | By

Trump has been threatening us again.

No matter what the White House says, President Trump has repeatedly and not-subtly suggested his supporters could be violent — sometimes in an approving manner. And there’s a common thread running through much of it: Again and again, Trump has suggested they could rise up if they feel either they or Trump have been wronged by the political process.

Aka by the fact that most of us hate him and want him gone.

In an interview with Trump-friendly Breitbart News this week, Trump talked about how “tough” the left was getting, relative to his supporters. His quote meanders a little bit, but stick with it and focus on the text in bold:

It’s so terrible what’s happening. You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you, I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad. But the left plays it cuter and tougher.

Don’t worry, I don’t think we need bold to see that as Trump threatening us.



Overthinking

Mar 14th, 2019 10:23 am | By

The essence of Trump.

He sees all thinking as “overthinking” because thought is so profoundly alien to him. He doesn’t know how to think. He reacts, he blurts, he exclaims, he feels angry or conceited, he watches Fox. That’s it, that’s his mental life.

He wants the issues to be “very simple” because very simple is all he can understand, and that is because he is lazy as well as stupid, so he’s never made any effort to improve the unpromising intellectual capacity he started with.

And the “should not be thought of any other way” is so classically trump-bully mode. “Think of it the way I tell you to think of it!” shouted the slumlord from Queens.



Selectively outraged

Mar 14th, 2019 10:04 am | By

From a State Department briefing on March 12:

MR PALLADINO: Let’s start with this: We are outraged to hear reports that the Iranian regime sentenced Iranian human rights defender and women’s rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes. This sentence is beyond barbaric. Her alleged crime was advocating for Iranian women’s rights and for defending other Iranian women who were arrested by the regime for peacefully protesting the mandatory hijab law. Nasrin was sentenced in absentia without a fair trial by the notorious revolutionary court, which is led by Judge Moghiseh, an accused human rights violator.

In addition, just this week, the regime cynically announced that as they enter the fifth decade of the Iranian Revolution, they would appoint Ebrahim Raisi, a man involved in mass summary executions of prisoners of conscience, as the head of the regime’s judiciary. The Iranian regime makes a mockery of the entire legal system in Iran, placing innocent people at the mercy of accused human rights violators. We condemn Nasrin’s sentence in the strongest possible terms and call on all of our partners and allies to speak out and demand the release of this courageous human rights defender and all those arbitrarily detained immediately. The Iranian people deserve a government that respects their legitimate demands and the human rights of all in Iran, not one that subjects them to prosecution in a justice system led by accused human rights violators.

There were several questions on various subjects and then:

QUESTION: Can I ask you, on a separate topic, your statement at the beginning on Iran and the sentencing of a women’s rights activist: Why didn’t you issue a similar statement when Saudi Arabia arrested women rights activists there, including a State Department International Women of Courage Award winner, Samar Badawi?

MR PALLADINO: We’ve – I mean, this particular case really was barbaric. Many others have spoken out on this as well. Thirty-eight – this is a – basically, a lawyer representing women clients that’s been sentenced to 38 years and 148 lashes. That kind of barbarism is something that must be called out.

In regards to other countries, Secretary Pompeo – we’ve spoken about – we speak about human rights, frankly, when we engage – when we travel the world engaging partners, allies. We do this regularly. It’s something that we stand for. It’s something that we’ll continue to do.

QUESTION: But why not do it from the podium in a similar fashion?

MR PALLADINO: I’m not sure what specific case you’re referring to. We choose different ways to communicate our – to promote the value – human rights values. It’s something we’re going to continue to be outspoken about and we raise this regularly with all partners.

In other words, Saudi Who?



It has emerged

Mar 14th, 2019 9:37 am | By

You don’t say.

Male sex offenders can skew crime statistics and put women at risk by claiming to be female when arrested, it has emerged.

Ya think?

It hasn’t “emerged”; feminists have been pointing this out for years. Remember the murder of a lesbian couple and their son in Oakland a few years ago? The suspect was reported as a woman but was in fact a trans woman. That’s just one example.

Humza Yousaf, the justice secretary, confirmed in parliament yesterday that criminal incidents are tracked according the self-identified gender of victims, witnesses and suspects. It prompted concerns that Scotland is introducing “self-identification through the back door” by allowing police and courts to record crimes according to the gender suspects feel they are.

Politicians, experts and women’s groups have warned that this could distort crime statistics and result in offenders who are male-bodied being placed in female-only refuges, exposing other inmates to danger and upset.

Not “could” but would, and in fact already is. And the male-bodied offenders are also people who grew up with male privilege and entitlement, however much they also felt not at home in those bodies.

Joan McAlpine, a fellow SNP MSP, had raised concerns that sexual offences are disproportionately perpetrated by biological men and asked whether self-identification would therefore lead to a “misleading” rise in the number of women recorded as sex-offenders. Official statistics show that 1,007 men were convicted for sexual crimes from 2017 to 2018, compared with 46 women.

Ms McAlpine, 57, said: “Aside from the statistical corruption, I cannot be the only woman who finds it deeply offensive that male sexual violence can ever be badged as a female crime.

Indeed she cannot, and she is not. Lots of us find it infuriating.

She highlighted the case of Katie Dolatowski, 18, a transgender sex offender who preyed on girls in public toilets in Fife and was housed in women-only accommodation after being convicted. Ms McAlpine said the policy meant Dolatowski was “recorded as a woman, when this person doesn’t even have a gender recognition certificate and is therefore legally male”.

And is housed in women-only accommodation despite the conviction for preying on girls in female-only toilets. It’s grotesque.



Home of all bad ideas

Mar 13th, 2019 5:45 pm | By

Even Rex Tillerson told Kushner he had no business meddling with US foreign policy. (Neither did Tillerson, but giving big policy jobs to CEOs didn’t start with Trump.)

Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was confronted by two of the most senior US government officials for mixing his personal interests with US foreign policy, according to a new book.

Kushner, an envoy to the Middle East for his father-in-law, is said to have been robustly challenged by both Rex Tillerson, then secretary of state, and Gary Cohn, formerly Trump’s top economic adviser.

The confrontations are detailed in Kushner Inc by the journalist Vicky Ward, who also describes interference in foreign relations by Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump.

The Guardian’s been reading it.

Ward reports that Tillerson blamed Kushner for Trump’s abrupt endorsement of a provocative blockade and diplomatic campaign against Qatar by Saudi Arabia and several allies in June 2017. The US has thousands of troops stationed in Qatar.

Tillerson “told Kushner that his interference had endangered the US”, an unidentified Tillerson aide tells Ward.

And then there’s that 666 Fifth Avenue thing…

Meanwhile, Cohn is said to have rebuked Kushner in January 2017 after it was revealed Kushner had dined with executives from the Chinese financial corporation Anbang, which was considering investing in the Kushner family’s troubled tower at 666 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

“You’ve got to be crazy,” Cohn is said to have told Kushner in front of others. Kushner met the executives around the time he hosted Chinese government officials at the Fifth Avenue tower. The building was eventually refinanced by a Qatari-backed investment fund.

Well he needed the money. What’s he supposed to do, not use his wife’s daddy’s theft of the presidency in his own financial interest?

Ward’s book portrays Kushner and Ivanka Trump as relentlessly ambitious operators who are loathed by many forced to work with them. She reports that White House staffers mocked Kushner as the “secretary of everything” for his wide-ranging meddling and derided Ivanka Trump’s team as Habi – “home of all bad ideas”.

Other than that, they’re a lovely pair.



Unkoo Tham Thaying hith pwayoows

Mar 13th, 2019 11:17 am | By

Trump retweeted this last night.



That’s not what she said

Mar 13th, 2019 10:52 am | By

Trump could pardon Manafort and probably will, but that’s not the end of the story.

Paul J. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, has been charged in New York with mortgage fraud and more than a dozen other state felonies, the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said Wednesday, an effort to ensure he will still face prison time if Mr. Trump pardons him for his federal crimes.

News of the indictment came shortly after Mr. Manafort was sentenced to his second federal prison term in two weeks; he now faces a combined sentence of more than seven years for tax and bank fraud and conspiracy in two related cases brought by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

Trump’s pardon power works only in federal cases.

The indictment grew out of an investigation that began in 2017, when the Manhattan prosecutors began examining loans Mr. Manafort received from two banks.

Last week, a grand jury hearing evidence in the case voted to charge Mr. Manafort with residential mortgage fraud, conspiracy, falsifying business records and other charges. A lawyer for Mr. Manafort could not immediately be reached for comment.

The loans were also the subject of Mr. Mueller’s investigation and were the basis for some of the counts in the federal indictment that led to Mr. Manafort’s conviction last year in Virginia. But the Manhattan prosecutors deferred their inquiry in order not to interfere with Mr. Mueller’s larger investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

In recent months, prosecutors in the district attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau resumed their inquiry and began presenting evidence to the grand jury, several people with knowledge of the matter have said.

The district attorney’s office determined some time ago that it would seek charges whether or not the president pardoned Mr. Manafort.

Meanwhile Manafort’s liar in the federal case is still lying.



When girls are pushed out of sports

Mar 13th, 2019 10:10 am | By

The ACLU has fully bought into the dogma.

The title does not inspire confidence:

Banning Trans Girls From School Sports Is Neither Feminist Nor Legal

But nobody is talking about “banning trans girls from school sports.” That’s not the issue.

The first paragraph is no better:

Andraya Yearwood, a junior at Cromwell High School in Connecticut, recently finished second in the 55-meter dash at the state open indoor track championships. But instead of well-deserved accolades from her community, she now finds her achievements being publicly challenged — simply because she is transgender.

No, not simply because she is transgender, and in fact not because she is transgender at all. It’s because she has a male body and is visibly much bigger than the girls with female bodies she raced against.

Next we get a sensible paragraph, about the long history of sex discrimination against female people in athletics. Then we get a lurching non sequitur.

The enactment of Title IX, the federal statute banning sex discrimination in school programs and activities receiving federal funds, was intended to end such discrimination, and it has indeed resulted in a dramatic increase in girls’ participation in sports. But girls — and particularly girls of color — still face stark inequalities in opportunities, funding, and resources.

The marginalization of trans student athletes is rooted in the same harmful history of gender discrimination and stereotyping that has impeded the achievement of gender equality in sports as a whole.

Like hell it is. It’s not the same history at all. That dramatic increase in girls’ participation in sports thanks to Title IX is because girls were able to have their own teams so that they could compete against each other. Allowing trans girls, i.e. girls with male bodies, to play on the girls’ teams takes that away from them.

Old stereotypes regarding athleticism, biology, and gender are being directed at transgender girls, who are frequently told outright that they are not girls (and conversely transgender boys are told they are not really boys). This policing of gender has been used to justify subjecting transgender student athletes to numerous additional barriers to participating in sports, from onerous medical requirements to segregation in locker rooms to outright bans on their participation.

It’s not policing, it’s reality. Bodies are what they are. Female bodies are different from male bodies, and that’s not a “stereotype,” old or otherwise, it’s just factual. The list of male athletic advantages is long; sad but true.

The truth is, transgender women and girls have been competing in sports at all levels for years, and there is no research supporting the claim that they maintain a competitive advantage.

That is a shamefully absurd claim, and the link – to Everyday Feminism! – is worse. Take one look at Hannah Mouncey looming over the women and tell us that again.

When girls are pushed out of sports, they miss out on the community building, leadership skills, and all of the other benefits that being part of a team can offer. This is particularly harmful for transgender students, who face detrimental effects on their physical and emotional wellbeing when they are pushed out of affirming spaces and communities.

I wonder if the authors – Shayna Medley and Galen Sherwin – paused to consider whether girls might be pushed out of sports by the presence of hulking trans girls depriving them of all possibility of winning. I wonder if that worried them for even a second before they plowed ahead with taking real sport away from girls and women.



Court is one of those places where facts still matter

Mar 13th, 2019 9:20 am | By

CNN is reporting live on Manafort’s sentencing hearing before Judge Amy Berman Jackson. I admit to a morbid interest in the subject, not so much because of the Trump connection but because of the horrors of his role in Ukraine.

Have a few highlights from Judge Jackson:

Judge Amy Berman Jackson expressed that she was not happy with how Paul Manafort approached the final stretch of this case.

 “Court is one of those places where facts still matter,” Jackson said.

She said Manafort has begun to “minimize his conduct and shield others.”

Jackson admitted she couldn’t tell from an FBI document if Manafort was actually asserting false facts or not.

Jackson believes he’s repeating a lie in his sentencing memo.

She went on to say that Manafort believed he had the right to manipulate the court proceedings and that he’s made overblown statements about where he was housed in jail when it was his benefit to do so.

Judge Jackson took issue with one of the points noted by Paul Manafort’s lawyer Kevin Downing earlier today.

Citing Downing’s words — that but for the special counsel, Manafort wouldn’t have been charged in the first place — Jackson said, “Saying ‘I’m sorry I got caught’ is not an inspiring plea for leniency.”

Jackson talked about how Manafort may not have been repeating some points for the person he was trying to persuade as she put her hands on her chest and not for “some other audience.”

Judge Jackson is now calling out the defense’s memo, which stated that the special counsel was never able to charge Russian collusion (this was their approach to the sentencing memo).

“It’s hard to understand why an attorney would write that,” she said about Manafort’s defense team’s approach. “No collusion” is “simply a non-sequitur.”

The judge said Manafort’s argument about the Russia investigation won’t affect her sentence.

“The defendant’s insistence” that this shouldn’t have happened to him “is just one more thing that’s inconsistent with the notion of any genuine acceptance of responsibility,” Jackson said.

Just in: the sentence is 43 months in addition to his sentence last week.



Piety in action

Mar 12th, 2019 5:20 pm | By

Monstrous.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, an internationally renowned human rights lawyer jailed in Iran, has been handed a new sentence that her husband said was 38 years in prison and 148 lashes.

Sotoudeh, who has represented opposition activists including women prosecuted for removing their mandatory headscarf, was arrested in June and charged with spying, spreading propaganda and insulting Iran’s supreme leader, her lawyer said.

She was jailed in 2010 for spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security – charges she denied – and was released after serving half of her six-year term. The European parliament awarded her the Sakharov human rights prize.

38 years in prison and 148 lashes.



The belief is a sin

Mar 12th, 2019 11:58 am | By

Jonathan Best on the attempted (and failed) no-platforming of Jenni Murray:

On March 1st, an open letter was published on Facebook demanding that Leeds Lit Fest and The Leeds Library cancel an event with BBC Woman’s Hour broadcaster Jenni Murray on the grounds that she is ‘an active transphobe’ and guilty of ‘hate speech’. The signatories included Trans LeedsNon-Binary LeedsTrans Pride and Yorkshire Mesmac (all of whom might be expected to sign such a letter) and five of Leeds’ arts and culture organisations: Live Art BistroLeeds Queer Film FestivalAire Place StudiosOxygen Films and the artist collective Queerology.

With four decades of experience as a BBC journalist, including more than thirty years presenting Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Murray is one of the UK’s most popular and accessible feminist voices. She’s interviewed hundreds of interesting women, from Hilary Clinton to Cher, from Shirley Williams to Bette Davis. And she’s got a new book out too  -  A History of the World in 21 Women. To their credit, Leeds Lit Fest and The Leeds Library stood firm behind their programming decision and the sold-out event went ahead as planned.

They failed, but not for want of trying. The new silencing of women is just like the old silencing of women, and these people who think they’re doing the latest most woke thing are profoundly mistaken. (I kind of hope it wakes them up at night a few years from now. I kind of hope they wake up sweating with shame and guilt, and that that happens to them repeatedly. I’m evil that way.)

Ultimately, Jenni Murray’s sin is to hold a belief;  that trans women are not women. This conflicts with a foundational principle of modern transgender ideology;  that trans women are women. To assert that a male human being who identifies as a woman is a woman is a metaphysical claim and, as such, we all have a right to examine it and choose to either accept or reject it.

We have the moral right, but in practical terms, we often don’t have the actual right in the sense of being free to do so without being shunned and silenced and even fired. This situation is both ridiculous and destructive, and I wish it would come to its natural end with more speed. Why do I think it has a natural end? Because it rests so heavily and unbudgeably on a delusion, and that makes it vulnerable.

However, within the context of today’s LGBTQ politics, Murray’s rejection of the belief that trans women are women is seen as illegitimate and amounts to a secular blasphemy. In fact, the signatories to the open letter have adopted a position not so different from the religious leaders who tried to censor Monty Python’s Life of Brian in 1979. Many Christians were deeply hurt by that film, arguing that it failed to respect their sincerely held beliefs. Similarly, some transgender people are genuinely hurt when the beliefs they hold about womanhood are not respected by other women. But just as the Bishop of Leeds cannot compel me to believe in the Resurrection, so Live Art Bistro cannot compel Jenni Murray to believe that trans women are women.

Or the rest of us, either, and the more frenzied the bullying gets, the more people back away.



Higher education racketeers

Mar 12th, 2019 11:26 am | By

Well now look at it from their point of view: how are people going to become The Elite if they never cheat? It’s the American way: get to the top via bribery and fraud.

Federal prosecutors charged dozens of people on Tuesday in a major college admission scandal that involved wealthy parents, including Hollywood celebrities and prominent business leaders, paying bribes to get their children into elite American universities.

The Justice Department isn’t in the business of prosecuting scandals; it prosecutes crimes.

Do we soft-pedal the language when it’s the genteel kind of crime committed by people with money? Hmmm? I think it should be called a major college admission fraud or scheme or racket, as opposed to a scandal. Journalists can always use “scandalous” in addition if they want to draw attention to that part, but they should call it what it is.

Thirty-three parents were charged in the case and prosecutors said there could be additional indictments to come. Also implicated were top college coaches, who were accused of accepting millions of dollars to help admit students to Wake Forest, Yale, Stanford, the University of Southern California and other schools, regardless of their academic or sports ability, officials said.

Yes but money. Don’t you understand? Money. Money is god; money can do everything; money is all that matters.

The case unveiled Tuesday was stunning in its breadth and audacity. It was the Justice Department’s largest ever college admissions prosecution, a sprawling investigation that involved 200 agents nationwide and resulted in charges against 50 people in six states.

Trumps and Kushners among them?

The charges also underscored how college admissions have become so cutthroat and competitive that some have sought to break the rules. The authorities say the parents of some of the nation’s wealthiest and most privileged students sought to buy spots for their children at top universities, not only cheating the system, but potentially cheating other hard-working students out of a chance at a college education.

I don’t see how it’s “potentially.” Surely the word should be “inevitably.” Cheaters inevitably cheat someone, because that’s what cheating means.

“The parents are the prime movers of this fraud,” Andrew E. Lelling, the United States attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said Tuesday during a news conference. Mr. Lelling said that those parents used their wealth to create a separate and unfair admissions process for their children.

But, Mr. Lelling said, “there will not be a separate criminal justice system” for them.

“The real victims in this case are the hardworking students,” who were displaced in the admissions process by “far less qualified students and their families who simply bought their way in,” Mr. Lelling said.

There you go: no waffle about “potentially”; it’s just reality. The fakes displaced non-fakes.

Now about those Trumps and Kushners…



A long-established pattern of male bonding

Mar 12th, 2019 10:24 am | By

Moira Donegan has more details on Tucker Carlson’s chatty misogyny with his buddy the lovesponge guy.

In the recordings, Carlson says women are “like dogs”, claiming: “They’re extremely primitive, they’re basic, they’re not that hard to understand.” He insists that women find misogynist degradation pleasurable and makes sexual, antagonistic comments about women he does and does not like.

He calls Arianna Huffington “a pig”, Justice Elena Kagan “ugly” and “unattractive”, and Martha Stewart’s daughter, TV host Alexis Stewart, “cunty”. He says he “wants to fuck” Sarah Palin and called for the elimination of rape shield laws, provisions that make it illegal for defense attorneys in rape cases to bring up an accuser’s sexual history as a way to discredit her. He laughs at a story about a woman being choked and calls Paris Hilton and Britney Spears “the biggest white whores in America”, a phrase that seems to imply that there are other, bigger “whores” who are not white. In other recordings, he makes repeated racist overtures, saying that white men are responsible for “creating civilization”, calling Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys” and creating virtuosic combinations of racism and sexism in attacking Michelle Obama and white women who date black men.

Does it matter? Yes, I think so. Tucker Carlson isn’t a random saddo on a barstool blaming women for what a saddo he is, he’s a star talking head on the US president’s favorite tv network. It’s pathetic that we have to pay attention to Tucker Carlson or Donald Trump or Ivanka Trump, but we do.

The radio shows aired at a pivotal moment for Carlson’s career, when he was transitioning from a bow tied conservative commentator for CNN and MSNBC with pretensions to seriousness into a full-throated avatar of the Republican party’s sexist and racist id.

It’s clear from the recordings that Carlson’s sexist remarks are part of an effort to ingratiate himself with the radio host. Carlson clearly wants the approval of Bubba the Love Sponge, and is trying to establish a rapport with him by making degrading and lewd attacks on people he perceives as their shared enemies – namely, whichever woman they are talking about at the moment. It is a long-established pattern of male bonding in which misogynist aggression is deployed as a signal of irreverent joy and shared virility, a tactic that Donald Trump, the man Carlson so frequently carries water for on his television show, famously termed “locker room talk.

Quite so. The same thing was clear in the Access Hollywood tape – Trump was “bonding” with the other two guys by talking contemptuous hostile smack about women. That, it seems to me, is why Billy Bush’s daughter was so upset by the tape: what girl wants to find out her father snickers at women along with Mister Grabthembythepussy?

It is not especially surprising to hear Tucker Carlson saying disgusting things in these newly rediscovered recordings. Scandal is quickly becoming not only a frequent part of his career, but a seemingly deliberate one – after all, he is fresh off the heels of a number of his major advertisers withdrawing from his show, following his racist comments that immigrants make America “dirtier”. He has shown us who he is before – he shows us on cable television, every weeknight, for an hour. But he has also shown us something about ourselves, about the things we tolerate men saying to men, and about the ways that we are willing to sacrifice young girls to grown men’s worst impulses. These comments are controversial now, and they were disgusting then, but the Media Matters report does not reveal anything new about Carlson. After all, he made these comments more than 10 years ago. It didn’t hurt him then, either.

And it hasn’t and doesn’t hurt Trump.



Inclusivize all the men

Mar 11th, 2019 4:06 pm | By

Kirsty Clarke in the Independent saying be more inncloosivv.

Sport is one of society’s most powerful tools for bringing people together and it should be open to everyone, including trans people.

Ok sorry to interrupt after just one sentence but I have to. Sport is open to trans people; that doesn’t mean sport should be open to letting male-bodied trans people compete against women. Everybody participate, yay, but that doesn’t mean throw out all the rules.

However, in recent days, sport has become a divisive issue around trans people’s right to participate.

No it hasn’t. That’s a stupid brainless lie. The objection is to letting male-bodied trans people compete against women.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen female athletes speaking out against trans women competing in sport, contributing to an environment of misinformation.

No; against trans women competing against women in sport.

It’s got to be deliberate, this repeated obfuscation. If it’s deliberate, she must know she’s both bullshitting and arguing for something dubious. She should stop doing that.

The conversation is currently being dominated by an overwhelming amount of bullying, minimising people to their physical bodies and using outdated stereotypes and abusive language.

It’s sport. It’s all about physical bodies.

There are several more paragraphs of evasive glurge full of generalities about the joy of sport and inklooozhyun, but not one word about the unfairness of male bodies competing against female bodies. She must know she’s trying to argue for the indefensible.



Return of the nearshore

Mar 11th, 2019 3:28 pm | By

Something more cheerful by way of refreshment.



This is what will happen to female sport

Mar 11th, 2019 3:05 pm | By

Oh noes are we denying her right to exist?

No, actually, we’re denying a man’s “right” to compete against women who will thereby be unable to win anything ever.

The Guardian last April:

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard went into the women’s +90kg finals at the Commonwealth Games as favourite, expected not only to win but also perhaps break records.

She finished the first half 7kg ahead of Samoa’s Feagaiga Stowers, but her efforts ended after she injured her elbow striving for a lift of 132kg.

But the eyes the Gold Coast’s Carrara Sport and Leisure Centre were also on Hubbard for another reason, after public challenges to her eligibility because she is a transgender woman who had competed in men’s weightlifting prior to transitioning.

Although no country lodged an official objection, many said they felt it was unfair for Hubbard to be going up against their athletes.

Because it is.

[Hubbard] said the support inside the arena spurred her on, even if her afternoon ended in disappointment.

“The Australian crowd was magnificent,” she said. “It felt like just a big embrace. They really made me try to lift my best. I gave it everything and I regret I wasn’t able to make the lift today.

“The Commonwealth Games here are a model for what sport can, and should, be. It’s an incredible environment and an amazing atmosphere. Without any doubt, they have lived up to the mantra of humanity, equality and decency.”

I’m not seeing the humanity, equality and decency in cheering on a person with a male body and a history of weightlifting as a male who is competing against women. What about Feagaiga Stowers? What about humanity, equality and decency for her?