If people “rise up”

Nov 16th, 2020 10:16 am | By

The Detroit Free Press reports:

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday denounced as shocking and reckless a call from a Trump administration official for Michigan residents to “rise up” over new coronavirus restrictions she announced Sunday.

“It’s just incredibly reckless, considering everything that has happened, everything that is going on,” Whitmer said in a call with Capitol reporters.

On Sunday night, Whitmer announced a three-week closure of indoor service at bars and restaurants, closure of the Detroit casinos and suspension of in-person learning for high school and college students, starting Wednesday, along with other measures aimed at bringing down surging coronavirus numbers.

Soon after Whitmer’s news conference, Scott Atlas, President Donald Trump’s top coronavirus adviser, tweeted: “The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept.”

In October, federal and state officials arrested 14 men in connection with an alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer and put her on trial for “treason.” Evidence in the case suggests the men were connected with armed anti-government groups and saw Whitmer as “a tyrant” because of emergency orders she had issued to control the coronavirus.

October, let’s remember, is last month. Scott Atlas, Trump’s top coronavirus adviser who is not a virologist or an epidemiologist, is telling people to “rise up” against measures to control a surging pandemic. We’re living a nightmare.

Hurry up and drill

Nov 16th, 2020 10:05 am | By

Trump really wants to get that pesky wildlife refuge destroyed.

In a last-minute push to achieve its long-sought goal of allowing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, the Trump administration on Monday announced that it would begin the formal process of selling leases to oil companies.

That sets up a potential sale of leases just before Jan 20, Inauguration Day, leaving the new administration of Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has opposed drilling in the refuge, to try to stop the them after the fact.

“The Trump administration is trying a ‘Hail Mary’ pass,” said Jenny Rowland-Shea, a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, a liberal group in Washington. “They know that what they’ve put out there is rushed and legally dubious.”

But it’s worth it to try to smash and break more of everything.

The Guardian’s loss

Nov 16th, 2020 9:39 am | By

And this has happened:

Her profile now says

“She left because she understood the value of defiance”

so I bet we can figure out what her defiance is about.

Blame some woman

Nov 16th, 2020 9:28 am | By

Quite the sexist pig, Glenn Greenwald is.

She had it coming, right? She talked back? She didn’t obey? She refused to submit?

Hur hur look at the Karen hur hur.

Meanwhile #WhiteHouseKaren is trending on Twitter. Who? Trump. He’s a Karen. Geddit?? He’s a whiny little bitch, aka a Karen, hur hur hur.


Nov 15th, 2020 4:22 pm | By

Trump has a low opinion of most Americans.



Tiny as in smaller than most high schools. But good enough for Trump!

In all fairness, we hate him right back. Our reasons are better though.

A return to public civility

Nov 15th, 2020 4:03 pm | By

Lisa Allardice talks to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:

The reason for our call is the announcement that Adichie has won the public vote in the Winner of Winner’s award, celebrating 25 years of the Women’s prize for fiction. She won the award, when it was sponsored by Orange, in 2007, for her epic war novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, beating many of the biggest names in contemporary fiction.

The prize that was necessary because the people who awarded prizes kept overlooking women.

She hopes that the election of Biden will usher in a return to public civility. “I’m really excited at the idea that the discourse across the country will not sound like childish name calling. There’s a sadness there that this is how low the bar has sunk,” she says. “When you are Nigerian there are things that are familiar to you. You don’t expect them to happen in America. Trump showed me how fragile democracy is, how fragile what we consider the norms are.”

Especially the norm that bullying is bad.

When I last spoke to Adichie following the paperback publication of Dear Ijeawele in 2018, her manifesto for bringing up a feminist daughter, she had recently been on the wrong end of what she calls “the American liberal orthodoxy” for comments she made arguing that the experiences of trans women are distinct from those of women born female. She has no truck with “cancel culture” (her quote marks). “There’s a sense in which you aren’t allowed to learn and grow. Also forgiveness is out of the question. I find it so lacking in compassion. How much of our wonderfully complex human selves are we losing?” she asks. “I think in America the worst kind of censorship is self-censorship, and it is something America is exporting to every part of the world. We have to be so careful: you said the wrong word you must be crucified immediately.” She was interested by “all the noise” sparked by JK Rowling’s article on sex and gender, “a perfectly reasonable piece” in her view, earlier this year. “Again JK Rowling is a woman who is progressive, who clearly stands for and believes in diversity.” She blames social media for this rush to censure, which she finds both “cruel and sad. And in terms of ideas, it is fundamentally uninteresting. The orthodoxy, the idea that you are supposed to mouth the words, it is so boring.”

Boring, simple-minded, and not true.


Nov 15th, 2020 12:19 pm | By

Oh goody – another man on a site purportedly for women, raging about a woman who writes something he dislikes.

Remember went J.K. Rowling went fully mask off about her transphobia in June, publishing an essay on her personal website about how she thinks trans women pose a threat to cis women’s personal safety? And how she, the second-highest paid author in the world worth at least $670 million, feels “police[d]” by trans randos on Twitter who don’t like her tweets (and all while failing to mention the concurrent worldwide uprising against the actual police that was just getting started at the time, to boot)? I know! Truly bananas! If I were a multimillionaire who hated trans women, I would simply go be rich and transmisogynistic in my Scrooge McDuck-style money vault in peace. The derangement! Unhinged!

But he’s not, he’s a trans woman who hates women, and does it noisily at Jezebel. Harron Walker, he calls himself, and there’s a nice little thing next to his byline where it says “Filed to: DIRT BAG” with a more arrow, under which it lists JK Rowling, Mariah Carey, and the target of his current rage, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Isn’t that cute? Isn’t it winsome? If he didn’t identify as a woman he probably wouldn’t do that, but he does identify as a woman, so I guess calling women he disagrees with “DIRT BAG” is fine. In other words same old same old: trans activism is the new misogyny.

What’s his problem?

Well, at least one person thought the Harry Potter lady’s essay was good: novelist and writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of Half of a Yellow SunAmericanah, and, probably most notably slash perhaps most ironically now, We Should All Be Feminists. In a new interview with The Guardian, Adichie refers to Rowling’s screed as “a perfectly reasonable piece,” calling its author “a woman who is progressive, who clearly stands for and believes in diversity.”

I don’t think feminism needs men like Harron Walker pontificating about the feminism of women like Adichie or Rowling, much less calling them DIRT BAG and sneering at the “irony” of their feminism.

Adichie’s comments are disappointing, obviously, but they’re not exactly surprising. Three years ago, the author faced deserved criticism for saying that she finds the idea that trans women are women “difficult” to accept, countering that “trans women are trans women” and that “gender is not biology.” Hemming and hawing over this for years on end is so mind-numbingly dull. Just call me a dude and let us both get on with our days!

You’re a dude – and a foul-mouthed woman-hating dude at that.

They stop yelling at you when they get intubated

Nov 15th, 2020 10:01 am | By

Yikes. They go on thinking it’s fake even when they have it.

The same shredded sweatpants

Nov 15th, 2020 9:05 am | By

Patricia Marx in the New Yorker last July:

With so many people homebound these past few months, indoors has become the new outdoors. It is where you exercise, digitally chat with friends, and, of course, work. But it is also still the indoors, where you sleep, eat, and putter. This can make for frequent wardrobe changes. Or you can give up and wear the same shredded sweatpants day after day. In April, a Florida circuit judge named Dennis Bailey sent a letter to local lawyers about proper attire during Zoom court hearings. “It is remarkable how many attorneys appear inappropriately on camera,” he wrote. “We’ve seen many lawyers in casual shirts and blouses, with no concern for ill-grooming, in bedrooms with the master bed in the background, etc. One male lawyer appeared shirtless and one female attorney appeared still in bed, still under the covers. So, please, if you don’t mind, let’s treat court hearings as court hearings.”

For hours after I read that I kept thinking of the one female attorney snuggled up in bed at a court hearing and laughing myself sick.

So true!

Nov 15th, 2020 8:57 am | By

There’s always a tweet.

Trump: not losing with dignity.

Early this morning:

Oops he slipped up, he said “He won” – but he didn’t mean Biden won won, he meant he fake-won. He EXPLAINED that.

“One must be able to lose with dignity.” So true!

So much deference

Nov 15th, 2020 7:54 am | By

Nicely done.

Under attack from all sides

Nov 14th, 2020 4:35 pm | By

More on the misogyny and murder issue:

The police – waylaid for 18 months by a hoax and having only started to take the case seriously once “innocent young girls” (their words) and not just sex workers had been killed – had shifted the responsibility for public safety on to women themselves, urging them not to go out after dark.

But on 25 October, with her boyfriend away in London on a CND march, Lea decided she would not stay at home. She went to the pub to plan her 21st birthday party and after a few drinks walked through Leeds University’s Headingley campus to get her bus home. It was then she was approached by a man who called to her with such warmth that she assumed he must be a friend she couldn’t quite recognise.

Talking to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Lea, now an artist, recalled the “nightmare terror” when she realised the man in fact posed her severe danger.

She turned and ran like hell, but she could hear him running after her, faster and faster. He smashed her over the head and knocked her out, but a passer-by had heard her scream and chased Sutcliffe off, so Lea survived.

The feminist campaigner Julie Bindel was 18 and living in Leeds when Sutcliffe killed his 13th and final victim there: Jacqueline Hill, a 20-year-old student, who was murdered three weeks after Lea was attacked.

Bindel lived less than a mile away from where Hill’s body was found and had been followed up the hill late one night the week before the murder by a man fitting Sutcliffe’s description. She reported it to the police, but they dismissed her.

Jesus, I didn’t know that.

She was involved in a group campaigning to end violence against women in Leeds and described how women felt under attack from all sides – not just by the Ripper, but by the blatant sexism from the press and West Yorkshire police.

“It was toxic,” she said. Headlines stated Sutcliffe made his “first mistake” after killing a 16-year-old walking home from school, Jayne MacDonald. The clear implication: that sex workers or women who had been drinking were fair game. She recalled how George Oldfield, who led the investigation, addressed the murderer on TV in 1979 saying: “There may be more pawns in this war before I catch you, but I will catch you.” That’s what women were to these detectives, said Bindel: disposable pawns.

Police were so fixed in their view of the world and what a serial killer would look like that they missed numerous chances to catch Sutcliffe, said [Joan] Smith: “One of the cops once said: ‘He doesn’t have to confess. The day we have him sitting across the table from us, we will know.’ But they visited him nine times and he never even made it into their top 10 lists of suspects.”

Hooboy, there’s a prize human delusion – that we “know” bad people when we see them. You’d think (you’d hope) cops know that better than anyone.

The Yorkshire Ripper moniker, attached to the case by the media early on, hampered the investigation, said Smith. “Jack the Ripper is the prototype serial killer but we don’t know who he was, we don’t know what his motivation was, what kind of person he was and he’s this mythic figure. If you project this on to an ordinary bloke, I think they were expecting him to have horns or something.”

And it wasn’t just the media who called him the Ripper. The Guardian includes this photo:

DCS Jim Hobson, left, and the West Yorkshire chief constable Ronald Gregory in 1979.

It’s horrifying – it makes almost a joke of the whole thing.

Nina Lopez of the English Collective of Prostitutes helped organise protests outside the Old Bailey during Sutcliffe’s trial and can recall the fury women felt when the attorney general at the time, Sir Michael Havers, said of the victims: “Some were prostitutes, but perhaps the saddest part of the case is that some were not. The last six attacks were on totally respectable women.”

Why yes, that is infuriating.

Sutcliffe contributed to the creation and galvanisation of “a very vibrant women’s movement against violence”, said Bindel. “Because as soon as you pick up the rock and see the misogyny underneath you can’t unsee it.

“We still haven’t got the message about the violence inherent in prostitution; we still haven’t got the message about how women in prostitution are not disposable, that there are no innocent victims because there were no guilty victims.”

Forty years on, not enough has changed, agrees Smith, who now chairs the Violence Against Women and Girls board. “Now we’re now in the situation where women’s organisations are having to take the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] to court for not prosecuting rapists.”

Remember – the rate of rape prosecutions has gone down over time.

They didn’t bother to search his garage

Nov 14th, 2020 3:50 pm | By

Joan Smith on Peter Sutcliffe and misogyny:

I am so angry, all these years later. When I heard that this insignificant little man had died, more than four decades after he ruined the lives of so many women, the anger and hurt came rushing back. I remember it as though it were yesterday: the fear we lived with in the north of England, the suspicion about neighbours and colleagues, the sense that we couldn’t rely on the police to protect us.

We couldn’t even rely on them to catch him, even though Peter Sutcliffe was hardly anyone’s idea of a criminal mastermind. He spoke to the women he targeted, letting them hear his Yorkshire accent and see his face. Detectives visited him at home on nine occasions but didn’t bother to search his garage, where he kept the weapons he used to kill at least 13 women.

That sounds very Silence of the Lambs…which is not surprising, because those stories don’t come out of nowhere.

From the moment I moved to Manchester in 1978 to work as a journalist on a local radio station, I felt the fear that saturated big cities in the north of the country. Stay at home, the police told us. Don’t go out on your own at night. Did they actually know that women had jobs? Why were they telling us to observe a curfew?

She expanded on that point on Woman’s Hour: she regularly had to work a night shift at the paper, until 1:30 a.m. But oh hey stay home ladies; put bags over your heads.

Police and crime correspondents were nearly always men, and they didn’t much care what women thought. I was convinced that the killer’s motive was misogyny, pure and simple, but the police decided differently.

“He has made it clear that he hates prostitutes,” a senior West Yorkshire detective, Jim Hobson, told a press conference in 1979. Staggeringly, it even struck him, and others, as unremarkable. “Many people do … but the Ripper is now killing innocent girls. That indicates your mental state and that you are in urgent need of medical attention.”

Prostitutes, you see, are not “innocent” – so it’s forgivable to murder them.

Sutcliffe’s murders opened my eyes to a vein of misogyny that permeated everyday life – and still does. Why is it still so hard to prosecute violent men? Why has the rape prosecution rate fallen to the lowest level since records began? Victim-blaming is widespread, most recently visible in the so-called “rough sex” defence, which some killers have used to avoid a murder conviction.

That reminds me of a tweet I saw yesterday…

What is a “sadistic side”? Is it pure coincidence that here it’s a man who has it, while a woman has no “sadistic side” and oh also by the way no masochistic side – i.e. she experiences pain as pain, and tries to tolerate it for the sake of his “sadistic side.” We’re supposed to smile approvingly because this is “kink.” Fuck that noise.

The risks

Nov 14th, 2020 12:11 pm | By

Benjamin Wittes on Trump’s Tantrum:

There exists no law or rule that compels a president to acknowledge the legitimacy of his defeat—or even the fact of it—except in the very limited sense that he has to vacate the office.

And he doesn’t have to do that until January 20. Until then he can tantrum his wee socks off.

So yes, the president is allowed to sulk. He is allowed to be the sorest of sore losers. He is allowed to once again display before the entire world the complete triumph of ego over patriotism, of self-interestedness over public-spiritedness, within his heart. There is, actually, nothing to do about it if he wants to play it this way; there is no way to stop him. And in and of itself, it’s not even a particularly grave problem. It is certainly sad that the United States has a president who so completely fails the basic tests of honor and decency. It would be lovely to see him just once rise to some occasion, any occasion. But it’s hardly a surprise that he can’t or he won’t or he doesn’t want to. He is, after all, Donald Trump.

I was thinking about that earlier today – how odd it is, in a way, that he didn’t grab such an easy chance to surprise us all. He has to go, so why not confound all our expectations by being generous and cheerful about it? He could take advantage of that maddening cognitive glitch which causes us to give more credit to people for being uncharacteristically decent than for being decent all the time. But noooooooooo, he has to act like a stupid petulant spoiled emperor up to the last second.

The bigger problem than the president’s refusal to concede the race is the toleration of that refusal by the overwhelming majority of congressional Republicans. Yes, a few senators—Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse—have congratulated Biden, and a few others have said that Biden should have access to transition resources and intelligence briefings.

But the Republican leadership in both houses of Congress have played along with the president’s obstinate refusal to face reality, pretending that there are still important questions about the integrity of the vote to litigate and resolve….And the president is capitalizing on the opportunity that McConnell and other congressional Republicans are providing.

Wittes then lists the ways Trump is capitalizing.

The administrator of the General Services Administration, Emily Murphy, has refused to “ascertain” (in the language of the law) that Biden is the “apparent” winner of the election, thus blocking transition funding and preventing certain other transition activity from beginning.

Pompeo said there would be a second Trump administration teehee. Biden is still not getting intelligence briefings.

More generally, the Washington Post reported on Nov. 9 that “[t]he Trump White House on Monday instructed senior government leaders to block cooperation with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team.”

And there’s the purge at the Pentagon.

Wittes goes on to explain how difficult it would be to steal the election in reality, and that all this sinister carrying on is dangerous anyway.

First, it is a harm to the orderly transition of power. Merely raising the specter of not honoring the results of an election, merely inducing democratic anxiety such that as serious-minded a person as Bill Kristol could write a piece like the one quoted above, is a democratic harm. Denying information to the Biden transition makes it harder to govern coming in. Conveying uncertainty to foreign actors is dangerous; it invites misunderstanding, and misunderstanding can be deadly.

Second there’s that pesky norms issue again – Trump has kicked them into smithereens with his lying sulks and sulky lies.

Finally, fourth, there’s the chance that I’m wrong that Biden’s prevailing in the election’s aftermath—that the automatic processes I have described are just a little bit less automatic than I think they are. There’s the chance that Republicans, having dug themselves into the Trump hole, don’t stop digging when the results are certified, that they don’t quite know how to back down. There’s the chance that state legislatures are little more aggressively partisan than I imagine, or that a few courts go off the deep end.

So that’s cheerful.

Those who mattered

Nov 14th, 2020 11:27 am | By

The mass-murderer of women Peter Sutcliffe died in prison yesterday. Women everywhere braced for more reporting that focused on him instead of the women whose lives he stole. The Yorkshire Post got it right.

Erasure by inclusion

Nov 14th, 2020 11:00 am | By

Today I learn that there’s a group called Zero Tolerance. Of what? Violence against women.

Zero Tolerance is a Scottish charity working to end men’s violence against women by promoting gender equality and challenging attitudes that normalise violence and abuse.

Good, good. (Mind you, in these troubled times, we need to be careful to say sex equality, but that’s a detail.)

We work to end violence against women through tackling the root cause of this violence – gender inequality. [sex equality]

We began in 1992 with a groundbreaking and radical Edinburgh-based poster campaign. The campaign successfully brought the issue of violence against women out from behind closed doors and into public consciousness by asserting that violence against women is never acceptable.

At Zero Tolerance our vision is clear: a world free of men’s violence against women.

Women need to be able to take power and access an equal share of our nation’s wealth. Men need to concede some of their money and power. We are not asking men to be nice; we are demanding full social, economic and political equality.

Our core belief is that men’s violence against women is preventable and should not be tolerated.

All sounds good.

But wait. What? What’s this?

But…trans women are men. Why would an organization set up to end men’s violence against women announce that it promotes “inclusion” of men and that it seeks to reflect that in everything it does? Why change the subject so thoroughly? Why can’t feminist organizations focus on women’s issues instead of on men’s?

Its position statement

It is our position that trans and non-binary rights are integral to, and contribute to, feminism. Scotland’s violence against women services provide trans inclusive services and trans inclusion plans have been in place since 2012.

Why? How? What do trans and non-binary rights have to do with feminism at all, let alone being integral to them?

There is no explanation, only the usual flat assertion.

This inclusive approach has not given rise to any concern or challenges. Rather, trans women have added to our movements through their support, voluntary work and as staff members.

Well that doesn’t tell us anything. It’s your experience that some men who identify as women make useful employees. All right, but that says nothing about why a feminist group says we must “include” men who identify as women in feminism.

Violence against women, homophobia and transphobia are all rooted in misogyny. We are committed to working with partner LGBTQI+ organisations to end this inequality, discrimination and violence.

It’s not that simple, to put it mildly, and even if it were, it wouldn’t follow that feminism has to “include” men and reflect that “inclusion” in everything it does.

The chosen hill

Nov 13th, 2020 4:58 pm | By

Another one of those “Just a reminder that bullshit bullshit bullshit” tweets.

Yeah. Nobody ever heard of it until the invention of trans.

Strangio was told her transness wasn’t real, and women are told the category “women” isn’t real. What about the toll on women? Women who don’t claim to be men and don’t believe that men can become women – what about the toll on them? On us? Why doesn’t that matter?

I can’t find the tweet that Singal shows us; maybe Strangio deleted it. It’s not all that appropriate for an ACLU spokes.


Nov 13th, 2020 3:47 pm | By

Oops. He almost accidentally conceded.

Time has already told.


Nov 13th, 2020 11:15 am | By

I think there’s a misunderstanding.

“My body, my choice” doesn’t mean you can for instance use your body to punch or kick or stab people. It doesn’t mean you can use your body to grab other people’s groceries or puppies or umbrellas. It doesn’t mean you can risk infecting other people during a lethal pandemic.

This nitwit shouldn’t have been “proud” to tell her colleagues that masks are oppressive. She should instead have thought about how oppressive a bad case of Covid is.

In Georgia, she claims, people don’t care if they infect others. That’s unfortunate at a time when the virus is roaring upwards.

The United States reported another record one-day spike in Covid-19 cases as the outbreak grows more severe and overwhelms some hospitals.

The country reported more than 153,400 new cases on Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That’s the third-straight record one-day spike and has pushed the seven-day average of new U.S. infections to over 131,400, up more than 32% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of Hopkins data.

That graph is NOT what we want to see.

Wear the god damn mask.

Cleavage and Cross

Nov 13th, 2020 11:03 am | By

The law and order party, let’s not forget.