Notes and Comment Blog


Thumbs up everybody!

Aug 8th, 2019 9:25 am | By

Trump tweeted this nightmare yesterday:

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He thinks that’s what he was there for – to stand in the middle of a row of people in uniform, grinning broadly and showing us his filthy thumb.

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Grinny grin grin grin.

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It was just one long party.



To highlight the value of academic responsibility

Aug 7th, 2019 4:15 pm | By

Oh goody, the blog of the American Philosophical Association has a post on – you’ll never guess – the errors of TERFs. Not that they call it that. It’s a response to the IHE piece, as the APA blog explains:

Editor’s note: The letter below was penned in response to another letter titled “Philosophers Should Not Be Sanctioned Over Their Positions on Sex and Gender” that appeared in Inside Higher Education on July 22, 2019.  On July 30,IHE published a response titled “Taking Trans Lives Seriously” and declined to publish the following letter. The signatories are concerned that the climate in a field of study is being mischaracterized and important voices have been left out of the discussion. 

So, they’re here to clear it up for us.

recent letter in Inside Higher Education argues that philosophers who debate the nature of sex and gender cannot advocate certain positions, for example, skepticism about the concept of gender identity, or they risk being censured. But debates about sex and gender needn’t be conducted in an exclusionary way. Indeed, they usually are not. We are responding here specifically to clarify a potential misperception about the academic climate when it comes to discussions of sex and gender and to highlight the value of academic responsibility as an important aspect of academic freedom.

Wait. What does “in an exclusionary way” mean? To be more precise, how are the authors using it in this post? What do they mean by “debates about sex and gender needn’t be conducted in an exclusionary way”? Since they are philosophers, we expect them to make such things as clear as possible. And yet…they don’t. I have no idea what they mean.

The nature of sex and gender and the relationship between them are not forbidden topics of philosophical discussion. Many feminists holding significantly different philosophical views have been respectfully debating them for decades. One easy way to see a quick overview of these different positions is by reading the Stanford Encyclopedia entry on “Feminist Metaphysics” or the entry on “Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender.”

As feminist philosophers who have, variously, argued for, researched, engaged with, and taught these views, we are well-positioned to claim that there is no established orthodoxy about gender in academic philosophy.

Wait. Aren’t they relying on some sort of established orthodoxy about what is “exclusionary” in the discussion of gender? So established and so orthodox that they don’t even think they need to spell out what it is? Isn’t what they call “academic responsibility” a reference to the established orthodoxy?Aren’t they insinuating that it’s academically irresponsible to dispute that orthodoxy? Because if they’re not, what they hell are they talking about?

There continues to be much lively disagreement on matters of gender without accusations of transphobia. We do, however, think it is important, when exercising our academic freedom, that we consider how our views may impact others. Academic responsibility requires us to consider differences of power and vulnerability in speaking of and to others and the effects of our words in reinforcing structures of oppression. There are many diverse, contentious views about gender and gender identity that can be–and are–engaged with in ways that do not call into question the integrity and sincerity of trans people nor the validity of their own understanding of who they are.

Ah. So that’s what they mean by “in an exclusionary way” and “academic responsibility.” They mean believe whatever trans people say and believe their own understanding of who they are.

But that’s not a small or trivial demand. That’s a demand of a kind that would be laughed out of the room in any other academic discipline. In no other part of the university are we ordered to believe what people say about themselves without question, not least because one of the first things we’re taught there is to understand that we can be wrong about anything, very much including ourselves. It’s a recipe for mental death to decide that some people have infallible self-knowledge and we all have to bend the knee to it. It’s utter bullshit, and it never ceases to amaze me that academics can say that with a straight face.

The final sentence:

We should conduct our research freely and responsibly, without treating other people’s lives as though they are abstract thought experiments.

Bollocks. Academics study, inquire into, debate, research other people’s lives all the time. They don’t do so with an understanding that they’re not allowed to question “the validity of their own understanding of who they are,” because that is often just what is in doubt.

The idea is fundamentally unworkable, because we all like to think better of ourselves than the facts warrant. If there’s a rule that we can’t question people’s self-understandings, how can we for instance talk about Trump? His understanding of who he is is off the charts wrong and delusional, but everyone has that tendency to some degree. Should trans people be the one exception to that?

Don’t be ridiculous.

There are many signers.

Updating to add: Kathleen Stock has a blistering response.



Rest stop

Aug 7th, 2019 3:10 pm | By

And now for something completely different.

Each year in Italy, grazing animals are moved from high pastures down to the plains. Newborn lambs are unable to make this journey on their own. Instead, they ride in the pouches of a specially made saddle on the back of a donkey or a mule nanny. They are taken down at rest stops and returned to their mothers for a bite to eat and a bit of nuzzling.

Image may contain: sky, tree, outdoor and nature

Photo: medeamoon

H/t Vanina



Let’s give somebody an award

Aug 7th, 2019 11:39 am | By

The Guardian is following Trump’s awful road trip.

Predictably, Trump talked about irrelevancies.

The president met with first responders and some of the shooting victims at a local hospital. [Senator Sherrod] Brown said Trump expressed a desire to give an award to the police officers who helped end the shooting quickly.

“I said, Mr. President, respectfully, the most important thing you can do for these police officers is take assault weapons off the street,” Brown said.

Trump was generally vague about committing to any concrete action on gun control. Brown said.

It’s so Trump. Ignore the reality, ignore the incalculable anguish on all sides of him, instead prattle about giving an award to someone.

He’s on the way to El Paso now. Maybe he’ll treat the people of El Paso to a rant about people “flooding” across the border to “infest” the country.



Good-bye sea ice

Aug 7th, 2019 11:30 am | By

Meanwhile the ice keeps melting. All of it.

Alaska’s exceptional summer continues.

The most rapidly changing state in the U.S. has no sea ice within some 150 miles of its shores, according to high-resolution sea ice analysis from the National Weather Service. The big picture is clear: After an Arctic summer with well above-average temperatureswarmer seas, and a historic July heat wave, sea ice has vanished in Alaskan waters.

In the continually warming Arctic, sea ice has completely melted around the Alaskan coast before, notably during 2017’s melt season, but never this early. “It’s cleared earlier than it has in any other year,” said Thoman. (Sea ice starts regrowing again in the fall, when temperatures drop.)

Arctic sea ice has been either at record lows or flirting with record lows throughout much of the summer. “I’m losing the ability to communicate the magnitude [of change],” Jeremy Mathis, a longtime Arctic researcher and current board director at the National Academies of Sciences, told Mashable in June, when sea ice levels were at their lowest point in the satellite record for that period. “I’m running out of adjectives to describe the scope of change we’re seeing.”

Make for higher ground.



He slammed the boy to the ground because of his hat

Aug 7th, 2019 10:43 am | By

Meanwhile, in Trump’s America

A 39-year-old man has been charged with felony assault of a minor in Montana after he allegedly slammed a 13-year-old boy to the ground for not taking his hat off during the national anthem. The incident took place Saturday at the Mineral County Fair and Rodeo in western Montana. Witnesses told a local CBS affiliate that as the anthem began, Curt Brockway grabbed the teen, picked him up, and then slammed him headfirst to the ground. As people nearby approached, Brockway said he slammed the boy to the ground because of his hat. “He said (the boy) was disrespecting the national anthem so he had every right to do that,” eyewitness Taylor Hennick said.

So, what are we respecting when we “respect” the “national anthem”? Are we “respecting” a country where certain gestures and postures are mandatory when a particular song is heard, on pain of extreme violence?

Why would we respect a country like that? It sounds like a horrible dystopian nightmare, not like something to respect.

What does Curt Brockway think the song stands for, I wonder. Slavery? Genocide? Conquest? Capital punishment? Endemic poverty?

“There was a little boy lying on the ground,” Hennick told the Missoulian. “He was bleeding out of his ears, seizing on the ground, just not coherent.” She said she had heard a “pop” when the anthem began and recognized the boy as the neighbor of a family member. The injuries sustained by the boy were severe: He was taken to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with temporal skull fractures before being flown to a children’s hospital in Spokane, Washington. The boy’s parents said he continued bleeding from the ear for nearly six hours after the incident.

Yeah yeah yeah but national anthem. Respect it or die.



Something that’s going to be really, really good

Aug 7th, 2019 10:28 am | By

Racist in chief Trump is being “I can if I want to!” today, tweeting more racism to show us who’s boss.

Beto (phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage) O’Rourke, who is embarrassed by my last visit to the Great State of Texas, where I trounced him, and is now even more embarrassed by polling at 1% in the Democrat Primary, should respect the victims & law enforcement – & be quiet!

He shouted his usual grievances at reporters.

Trump defended himself before leaving the White House, telling reporters that criticism of him was politically motivated. He placed the blame for the scourge of mass shootings that have marked his presidency on mental illness and a culture of violence.

“These are people who are looking for political gain, and as much as possible I try to stay out of that,” Trump told reporters.

Trump tries to stay out of looking for political gain? Really? What are all those rallies for then?

Trump said that he supports stronger background checks and limits on allowing people with mental illness to have access to guns. He said Wednesday that he believes Congress will be able to reach a deal on gun control legislation, but he doesn’t expect that to include limits on assault-style weapons.

“I have had many talks over the last few days, and I think we are going to come up with something that’s going to be really, really good,” Trump said.

Great. That’s all we need to know. Many talks; something; really really good. You can’t get much more substantive than that.

But alas, fake news.

“Trump Urges Unity Vs. Racism,” was the correct description in the first headline by the Failing New York Times, but it was quickly changed to, “Assailing Hate But Not Guns,” after the Radical Left Democrats went absolutely CRAZY! Fake News – That’s what we’re up against…

No. The first headline was fundamentally misleading.

It’s tricky, because it’s technically accurate, in a sense. Trump did get up and grab both sides of the podium and read words off the teleprompter that urged unity. But the underlying truth is that he didn’t mean a word of it, that he barely even understood it, and that he was just haltingly and unconvincingly reading words other people had written, because he was obliged to by custom and public opinion. We know he didn’t and doesn’t mean it, even though he didn’t literally say so at the time. We know it because of his demeanor, and we know it because of his abundant history of saying and doing the opposite.

So that means the first headline was bad and misleading, though not literally fake. It wasn’t “fake” to change it in response to criticism. Trump doesn’t want unity (unless it’s unity for him), and he doesn’t oppose racism. Trump doesn’t want us to unite against racism. Everybody knows that. Some people love him for it and some don’t, but everybody knows it.



How to uplift the message

Aug 6th, 2019 5:32 pm | By

Another post attacking gender-critical feminists at Daily Nous…an exceptionally bad one this time.

It starts badly.

The following is a guest post* by three philosophers who wish to remain anonymous (though their identity is known to me).

As many people have been pointing out on Twitter – this is Jason Weinberg allowing three authors to be anonymous while they attack named people. Isn’t there something a little skeevy about that?

But also…

The current crop of trans-exclusionary “gender-critical” philosophers is first and foremost an activist movement. Their writings and behavior are best understood as aimed at achieving their activist ends, such as preventing trans women from using facilities designated for women, or making it more difficult for trans women to be legally recognized as women. Like other activists, they will denigrate or vilify their opponents, make use of dogwhistles, appeal to people’s baser emotions to increase support for their cause, and ignore inconvenient facts. Far from being worthwhile contributions to a scholarly discussion, their writings rehash discredited claims from the 1980s (if not earlier), express demeaning and offensive ideas about trans people, and inhibit truly careful, critical, and thoughtful scholarly debate.

The claim that they are three philosophers becomes hard to believe. Three philosophers wrote that?

We don’t want to advance a view about the correct way to respond to these writings. We understand the worry that suppressing them could do more harm than good. Our main point is that readers need to understand that the central problem is not how to uplift the message of “gender-critical” voices, but how to understand them as activists, and how to manage content that is disrespectful, fear-mongering, and misleading, while avoiding harm to the scholarly community.

Nawwwwwww, come on, they’re pulling our leg, they’re not philosophers.

But it gets worse.

It’s disrespectful to publicly speculate about your colleagues’ genitals, about whether you wish to have sex with them, or about who else wishes to have sex with them. This kind of speculation creates a hostile environment, and does not conduce to legitimate academic debate. And yet, we often see “gender critical” philosophers scrutinizing trans people’s bodies and sexualities in inappropriate ways.

Consider Kathleen Stock’s recent lecture for the Aristotelian Society, which discusses whether lesbians would or should want to have sex with trans women. Stock objects to “two conclusions” typically drawn by her opponents.

The first conclusion effectively says that a lesbian, understood as subject with a ‘female gender’ who is disposed to desire others with a ‘female gender’, might, as such, straightforwardly and repeatedly experience attraction to trans women as part of the normal terms of their own orientation, even under ideal conditions (see for instance, Chuck Tate 2012). The second is that any trans woman who is exclusively attracted to others with a ‘female gender’ counts as a lesbian (Chuck Tate 2012; Sharpe 2019). In other words, biologically male people can be the objects of genuine lesbian desire, and even can be lesbians themselves.

There are many reasons to be wary of such claims… But the main point to take away from present discussion is that such claims look confused.

Stock appears to be making the following two claims:

  1. Trans women are not objects of genuine lesbian desire (although lesbians might under “abnormal” or “non-ideal” circumstances experience sexual desire for trans women).
  2. Trans women cannot be lesbians.

There’s no reason for academic philosophers to publicly debate the sexual desirability of trans people in this way. This is something we can all sort out in our own private lives.

No. These are not philosophers. Not possible.

At the end:

Comments are closed here, but readers are welcome to discuss this post on Twitter (#DNrecognizing) as well as on the Facebook update for this post.

That’s nice. The authors are anonymous but they get to name their targets, and comments are closed. Hold still while I punch you.



Unrelenting pressure from Trump and his goons

Aug 6th, 2019 5:03 pm | By

Peter Strzok is suing the bastards.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t pay attention to FBI personnel issues, because what the hell would I know about it, but Trump’s bullying is so disgusting that I do pay some attention.

Peter Strzok accuses the FBI of violating his privacy by sharing the text messages with journalists.

“The campaign to publicly vilify Special Agent Strzok contributed to the FBI’s ultimate decision to unlawfully terminate him,” the suit says.

Strzok was removed from a special probe into links between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia after the Justice Department’s inspector general found the messages. He was fired from the FBI in August 2018.

Using his FBI phone, Strzok sent text messages disparaging Trump as a presidential candidate to FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

Shock-horror: his FBI phone! On the other hand who has caused more harm to the FBI, Strzok or Trump?

Strzok’s lawsuit alleges that “unrelenting pressure from President Trump and his political allies in Congress and the media” caused the FBI deputy director to ignore a disciplinary recommendation to demote and suspend Strzok rather than fire him.

He also says that the government acted unfairly because it had “consistently tolerated and even encouraged” pro-Trump “political speech” by other officials.

Strzok is seeking to be reinstated, receive back pay and get an official declaration that the government violated his constitutional rights.

I hope he wins.



Easy, right?

Aug 6th, 2019 4:57 pm | By

Thank you xkcd.

Physicists

H/t Dave Ricks



Those words inflame others

Aug 6th, 2019 4:16 pm | By

Representative Veronica Escobar:

The White House invited me to join @realDonaldTrump during his visit to El Paso. My response was clear. I requested a phone call with him today in order to share what I have now heard from many constituents, including some who are victims of Saturday’s attack.

My message would’ve been that he needs to understand that his words are powerful and have consequences. Using racist language to describe Mexicans, immigrants and other minorities dehumanize us. Those words inflame others.

The domestic terrorist who came to El Paso to kill innocent people had his sights set on Hispanics and immigrants. He took 22 lives, injured more than two dozen.

I have publicly said [Trump] has a responsibility to acknowledge the power of his words, apologize for them, and take them back because they are still hanging over us. I asked for a call so I could say this to him over the phone and ask for a dialogue that could lead to healing.

I was told that @realDonaldTrump is “too busy” to have that conversation.

I declined the invitation because I refuse to be an accessory to his visit. I refuse to join without a dialogue about the pain his racist and hateful words & actions have caused our community and country.

Tomorrow, I will again be spending time with fellow El Pasoans who are dealing with the pain and horror left in the wake of this act of domestic terrorism fueled by hate and racism.

Who is she? She’s the Representative for El Paso, first elected last November.

Trump has no business being “too busy” to talk to her, especially since we all know he’s not “too busy” to watch hours and hours of Fox News and to spend more hours tweeting his rages and resentments and racist insults. He has plenty of time to talk to her, he just doesn’t want to, because he’s all hat and no cattle.



A few responses to Neil Tyson

Aug 6th, 2019 12:07 pm | By

There are many fine comments on Tyson’s “I’m sorry I’m too smart for you” post. I will share some.

David Gorski Notpology. You didn’t really apologize for what you said. You just apologized for not realizing how badly it would be received, which is an entirely different thing. do better.

Kavin Senapathy You’re *just now* learning that facts presented without crucial context can be “true but unhelpful,” which shows that you haven’t learned the lesson you need. Anyone with the most basic google skills could have “offered up” a list like this–it reads like something a dime-a-dozen smart-ass account with a handful of followers would tweet, not at all something that “would be helpful to anyone trying to save lives in America,” as you say. People doing the work to save lives in America not only have access to available facts, but know to appropriately contextualize them within the flawed systems that allow for preventable deaths. It wasn’t only offensive, it was poorly-executed and not at all contextualized among all of the other relevant “facts.” You haven’t apologized here for your actions, you’re “apologizing” to those who took offense, as if it’s on them–it’s not.

tl;dr: Your “facts,” presented so callously, were not only not helpful during a time of tragedy, but could never be “helpful to anyone trying to save lives in America,” no matter when you presented them.

Jean Kazez Seriously bad response. The problem with your tweet wasn’t the unanticipated reaction, it was your bad reasoning. There are good reasons why mass shootings like the ones over the weekend upset people more than accidental deaths from disease and the like. They make us unsafe in formerly safe places. They are evidence of extremely sinister attitudes in our fellow citizens. We are doing nothing to prevent them, where we do a lot to prevent the other tragedies in your list. You didn’t think this through. That’s the problem, not people’s reactions.

Mine:

Good grief. “I’m sorry you misunderstood me” is not an apology at all, it’s a passive-aggressive insult.

And you’re the one who missed the point here. We KNOW there are other causes of “preventable deaths” but that’s not the entirety of the issue, to put it mildly. Even other shooting deaths are not a complete parallel. There really IS something special about people going to schools or Walmarts or bars in order to kill as many people AT RANDOM as possible. Add the fact that the intent appeared to be racist and that the president of the US incites racism every chance he gets, and it becomes pretty obvious why we pay extra attention.



Shocking new discovery: some information can be true but unhelpful

Aug 6th, 2019 11:26 am | By

Neil deGrasse Tyson bestowed a Facebook post on us yesterday, explaining that he’s sorry we’re too stupid to have understood his profound tweet on Sunday.

Yesterday, a Tweet I posted in reaction to the horrific mass shootings in America over the previous 48 hours, killing 34 people, spawned mixed and highly critical responses.

If you missed it, I offered a short list of largely preventable causes of death, along with their average two-day death toll in the United States. They significantly exceeded the death toll from the two days of mass shootings, including the number of people (40) who on average die from handgun homicides every two days.

Here it is again for us literal-minded peasants:

In the past 48hrs, the USA horrifically lost 34 people to mass shootings.

On average, across any 48hrs, we also lose…

500 to Medical errors
300 to the Flu
250 to Suicide
200 to Car Accidents
40 to Homicide via Handgun

Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data.

Back to Tyson’s explanation of how too stupid we are:

I then noted that we tend to react emotionally to spectacular incidences of death, with the implication that more common causes of death trigger milder responses within us.

Oh but that wasn’t the only possible implication. That’s part of the problem. It wasn’t particularly clear to me what the implication was, for instance. Was it that we’re just big stupid crybabies who don’t know how to count? Was it that we’re so clueless we don’t realize that more than 34 people die every day? Was it that everybody dies so what’s the big deal? Was it something to do with road safety? Was it an accusation that we pay attention to mass shootings only because we’re drawn to “spectacle”?

Those are a few of the possible implications, and there are more. The implication was far from clear. That’s not our fault.

My intent was to offer objectively true information that might help shape conversations and reactions to preventable ways we die.

But mass murder is not just another preventable way we die. My god. What a stunningly dense thing to say. If a woman close to him – a friend, a relative, a colleague – is raped, would he tell her there are many preventable ways we are injured?

Let me spell it out even more clearly. Murder is more than just a preventable way to die. That’s why it’s called “murder” and not just “death.”

So, cool about the “objectively true information,” but not so cool about the way it was framed or the timing of offering it or the general air of inhuman indifference accompanying it.

Where I miscalculated was that I genuinely believed the Tweet would be helpful to anyone trying to save lives in America. What I learned from the range of reactions is that for many people, some information –-my Tweet in particular — can be true but unhelpful, especially at a time when many people are either still in shock, or trying to heal – or both.

Ya think?

Yes, Virginia, some information can be true but unhelpful. I would say that’s the case not for “some” people but for all of us. I think possibly even Neil Tyson would see it that way if he had just accidentally chopped a finger off and a companion decided to take that moment to tell him how to get from Kensington to Peckham by tube.

So if you are one of those people, I apologize for not knowing in advance what effect my Tweet could have on you.

And that is just outright insulting. It’s “I’m sorry you’re too stupid to get my jokes.” It’s also…well it’s frankly kind of Trumpian in its failure to consider his own possible incomprehension. It’s a jeer at the idea that one could ever possibly suss out how a given remark might affect people – which is a jeer at the whole idea of checking what we say for the potential to hurt or shame or anger or frighten others. Neil Tyson is way too adult and accomplished to be that mind-blind.

I am therefore thankful for the candor and depth of critical reactions shared in my Twitter feed. As an educator, I personally value knowing with precision and accuracy what reaction anything that I say (or write) will instill in my audience, and I got this one wrong.

That sounds more as if he did see the point, but given what went before…I doubt it.



Toni Morrison

Aug 6th, 2019 10:11 am | By

Remembering Toni Morrison:

Toni Morrison, who didn’t publish her first book until she was almost 40, penned roughly a dozen novels, most lauded among them 1987’s “Beloved,” about a former slave who kills her baby to ensure it is never enslaved. “Beloved” won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Her books gazed unflinchingly on the lives of African Americans and told their stories with a singular lyricism. Her talent for intertwining the stark realities of black life with hints of magical realism and breathtaking prose gained Morrison a loyal literary following.

Themes such as slavery, misogyny, colorism and supernaturalism came to life in her hands.

It seems slightly odd to say “roughly a dozen” but I’m guessing it’s because she did some genre-crossing, so it depends on what you count as a novel.

“I didn’t become interested in writing until I was about 30 years old,” she later said. “I didn’t really regard it as writing then, although I was putting words on paper. I thought of it as a very long, sustained reading process — except that I was the one producing the words.”

Reading and writing can be very intertwined. I read with a spiral notebook always at my elbow, because sometimes – often – I need to write something down. I have more than fifty of them. I recommend the practice.

Then-President Barack Obama awarded Toni Morrison the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

“I remember reading ‘Song of Solomon’ when I was a kid and not just trying to figure out how to write but also how to be and how to think,” Obama said at the ceremony, referecing to Morrison’s 1977 novel.



out of Control

Aug 6th, 2019 9:43 am | By

No doubt you’ve already seen them but just to pin them down for the record…Trump’s “I didn’t, he did” tweets.

“Did George Bush ever condemn President Obama after Sandy Hook. President Obama had 32 mass shootings during his reign. Not many people said Obama is out of Control. Mass shootings were happening before the President even thought about running for Pres.” @kilmeade @foxandfriends

“It’s political season and the election is around the corner. They want to continue to push that racist narrative.” @ainsleyearhardt @foxandfriends And I am the least racist person. Black, Hispanic and Asian Unemployment is the lowest (BEST) in the history of the United States!

He’s not the least racist person.

Obama didn’t have a “reign” and neither does Trump.

Bush didn’t condemn Obama after Sandy Hook (that I know of) for a simple reason: Obama had done nothing to incite Sandy Hook. Obama had not done rally after rally after rally screaming hate-mongering shit about school children or Connecticut children or white children.

Trump has made it very very very clear that he despises the people who live south of the US border with Mexico, that he despises and hates and rejects them and wants to prevent them from coming to the US at all. El Paso is on that border. Most of El Paso’s population is Hispanic.

Trump’s record and intentions are clear.



Troubled individuals who embrace racist ideologies

Aug 5th, 2019 4:45 pm | By

Obama said it far better than Trump did.

Image

We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people.

Yes we should. Looking squarely at you, Donald Trump.



Lies lies lies

Aug 5th, 2019 4:27 pm | By

The White House has now released the transcript of Trump’s dreadful, clumsy statement this morning. It was clumsy because he’s so desperately bad at reading a prepared speech. It was also worse than clumsy.

Good morning.  My fellow Americans, this morning, our nation is overcome with shock, horror, and sorrow.  This weekend, more than 80 people were killed or wounded in two evil attacks.

On Saturday morning, in El Paso, Texas, a wicked man went to a Walmart store, where families were shopping with their loved ones.  He shot and murdered 20 people, and injured 26 others, including precious little children.

Then, in the early hours of Sunday morning in Dayton, Ohio, another twisted monster opened fire on a crowded downtown street.  He murdered 9 people, including his own sister, and injured 27 others.

The First Lady and I join all Americans in praying and grieving for the victims, their families, and the survivors.  We will stand by their side forever.  We will never forget.

That’s what makes it worse than clumsy. It’s a pack of lies. He won’t stand by their side forever; he’ll forget about them the instant he stops talking. He doesn’t join all Americans in praying and grieving – he can’t, because it’s not in him. He will forget, because he’s a trivial stupid shallow sack of wind.

These barbaric slaughters are an assault upon our communities, an attack upon our nation, and a crime against all of humanity.  We are outraged and sickened by this monstrous evil, the cruelty, the hatred, the malice, the bloodshed, and the terror.  Our hearts are shattered for every family whose parents, children, husbands, and wives were ripped from their arms and their lives.  America weeps for the fallen.

And that’s even worse. It’s so false. Trump loves cruelty and hatred and malice. Trump performs cruelty and hatred and malice all the time, right in front of us. His heart is not the least bit shattered and he doesn’t weep for anyone.

This is something his people really ought to take on board. They shouldn’t try to bullshit us to this extent. Trump is a mean, angry, spiteful, belligerent man, so they shouldn’t put words in his mouth that try to invoke the opposite of all that. It’s wrong, it’s not appropriate, it’s not honest, it’s not even respectful to the people mourning. He doesn’t mean any of it and we know he doesn’t mean any of it, so making him say it is just insulting to all of us.

We are a loving nation, and our children are entitled to grow up in a just, peaceful, and loving society.  Together, we lock arms to shoulder the grief, we ask God in Heaven to ease the anguish of those who suffer, and we vow to act with urgent resolve.

We’re not. We’re especially not now, since he took office. We’re not a loving nation. He’s made us a far more hating nation than we were three years ago. He’s a torrent of hatred, and he’s been spraying it all over us.

The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate.  In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy.  These sinister ideologies must be defeated.  Hate has no place in America.  Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul.  We have asked the FBI to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism — whatever they need.

Again – he’s the wrong person to say that. He can’t sell it, he can’t put it across, he can’t convince us he means it. His people should write a different kind of statement for him, because a pack of flagrant lies just does not cut it.



Texas and Ohio=Toledo

Aug 5th, 2019 3:51 pm | By

How did Trump manage to swap Toledo for Dayton in his hostage video address to the nation today?

He can’t read, so he misread the teleprompter.

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Anything at all, just ask

Aug 5th, 2019 3:16 pm | By

The Trump campaign owes El Paso hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And yet…

President Donald Trump has pledged the federal government will provide “whatever is needed” to help El Paso, Texas, recover from a mass shooting Saturday that killed 22 people.

But Trump’s own 2020 re-election committee still hasn’t paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in police and public safety-related bills and late fees that El Paso city officials say it owes from Trump’s campaign visit on Feb. 11.

“The Trump campaign has not paid the invoice as of yet,” El Paso spokeswoman Laura Cruz-Acosta confirmed to the Center for Public Integrity late Monday morning.

Well. You know. That’s Trump money – money to promote Trump’s interest in getting elected again. He said the federal government will provide, not that he will. He’s there to make money from being president, not to give it away, or let his Elect Me Again campaign give it away.

How much do they owe? $569,204 plus change. Half a million; lunch money.

In all, at least 10 local governments — from Mesa, Arizona, to Erie, Pennsylvania — are still waiting for Trump to pay public safety-related invoices they’ve sent his presidential campaign committee in connection with his political rallies, according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation in June. In all, the bills total $841,219.

Listen, he didn’t get rich by paying people the second they sent the invoice.



Team Mitch

Aug 5th, 2019 2:47 pm | By

Ah the fun-loving white boys:

i guess mitch is ok with a bunch of his white boys symbolically attacking a cutout of aoc

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One choking, one pointing at her crotch – all good clean fun. Hurr hurr.

Updating to add an observation:

It’s worth noting that strangulation is an almost uniquely gendered crime. A large majority of victims are women (often intimate partners of their attackers) and the vast, vast majority of perpetrators are men.

It’s one of those areas where the size and strength advantage is relevant.