They strip prisoners to disempower them

Nov 11th, 2020 10:32 am | By

That Statue continues to rile the pesky women. This is a point I hadn’t thought of:

Livia Gershon at Smithsonian Magazine:

Hambling, for her part, tells the Evening Standard’s Robert Dex that the nude figure is not meant to depict Wollstonecraft, but women of all eras.

Really. If the naked figure is meant to depict women of all eras, why is it so extremely young, thin, fit, muscular, Aryan, tiny-breasted, and deformed in the genital region? Why is it a Hitleresque flawless specimen with a basketball where the crotch should be?

But also…why in hell would an artist commissioned to honor Mary Wollstonecraft decide to leave Mary Wollstonecraft out of it? It’s so…how we still think of women if we’re unwary. “Women must not seek the limelight, women must not stand out, women must serve everyone else, women must Be Kind, a good woman never appears in public.” Even when it’s a statue to honor a particular woman!

“She’s [an] everywoman and clothes would have restricted her,” the artist says. “Statues in historic costume look like they belong to history because of their clothes.”

Sure, and that’s why there are all these statues of naked Lincoln, naked Churchill, naked Einstein, naked Marx.

Regarding the slim, muscular body of the woman depicted in the statue, Hambling says, “As far as I know, she’s more or less the shape we’d all like to be.”

Well we wouldn’t all like to have a fat protruding blob between our legs instead of the normal pubic hair. (It occurred to me to wonder if waxing has become so universal that Hambling has never actually seen a woman with pubic hair. There’s some deep misogyny right there, I tell you what.)

“Mary Wollstonecraft was a rebel and a pioneer, and she deserves a pioneering work of art,” Mary on the Green campaign chair Bee Rowlatt tells BBC News. “This work is an attempt to celebrate her contribution to society with something that goes beyond the Victorian traditions of putting people on pedestals.”

In an interview with the Guardian, Rowlatt adds, “We could have done something really, really boring and ordinary, and, and very Victorian and old fashioned. And, you know, I would be having a slightly easier day today.”

Oh please. Fine, don’t put her on a pedestal; put her at a desk, or in a chair, or on a bridge over the Thames. Portray her in action, doing her work, by all means. But don’t ignore her altogether and swap in a tiny naked athlete with deformed genitalia.

Many people on social media pointed to the contrast between the Wollstonecraft statue and those honoring significant male historical figures.

“Imagine if there was a statue of a hot young naked guy ‘in tribute’ to eg Churchill,” wrote columnist and author Caitlin Moran on Twitter. “It would look mad. This, also, looks mad.”

Well you see it’s like this: men are real people, and stand for themselves. Women are general peopleish types, and they can all be swapped for each other, and summed up by One Perfect Hotty (with bizarro pubic hair).



The Pompeo smirk

Nov 10th, 2020 5:43 pm | By

Astonishing.



Stop counting!!

Nov 10th, 2020 5:27 pm | By

Trump is suing Michigan.

The campaign of President Donald Trump said Tuesday  it is suing Michigan in federal court in an effort to prevent final certification of the state’s election results, as Trump continues to refuse to concede to Joe Biden or accept the outcome of the race for the presidency. 

He’s suing Michigan for not voting for him. That’s totally a thing you can do.

Attorneys for the Trump campaign said late afternoon the new lawsuit would be filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Although the bulk of the allegations appear to focus on Detroit, located on the other side of the state, the seat of state government in Lansing is located in the Western District. 

Ahhhh yes Detroit. We all know about Detroit, don’t we. Motown. It has too many [whispers] black people. Trump is suing Michigan for counting votes from not-white people.

Trump trails Biden by more than 146,000 votes in Michigan, according to unofficial vote totals. There is no evidence or proof of widespread election fraud, and campaign leaders have not outlined any strategy that would result in a change in the outcome of the race, either in Michigan or nationally.

That has not stopped Trump from lying about election proceedings in Michigan, going so far as to recently claim on national television that he won the state. 

146 thousand votes. That’s kind of a lot.

It’s ok though, this is his way of assuring onlookers that he’ll be an awesome business partner once this is all over.



No you stop

Nov 10th, 2020 4:54 pm | By

Lying liars working hard to force Trump on us:

Facebook has taken down a network of pages linked to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

The seven pages were spreading false claims and conspiracy theories about voter fraud. They collectively had amassed more than 2.45 million followers, according to the activist group Avaaz, which alerted Facebook to the network on Friday.

One group was called “Stop the Steal” (and then “Gay Communists for Socialism”).

“Stop the steal” has become a rallying cry for supporters of President Donald Trump who baselessly allege cheating in the election and the vote-counting process. Last week, Facebook removed a large group called “Stop the Steal” that had gained more than 360,000 followers within a day of being created. The Washington Post was the first to report the latest removals of the Bannon-linked pages.

Social media is a gift to professional liars.



Not so much evidence as a big story

Nov 10th, 2020 4:33 pm | By

Oh whaddya know.

A Pennsylvania postal worker whose claims have been cited by top Republicans as potential evidence of widespread voting irregularities admitted to U.S. Postal Service investigators that he fabricated the allegations, according to three officials briefed on the investigation and a statement from a House congressional committee.

Richard Hopkins’s claim that a postmaster in Erie, Pa., instructed postal workers to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day was cited by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) in a letter to the Justice Department calling for a federal investigation. Attorney General William P. Barr subsequently authorized federal prosecutors to open probes into credible allegations of voting irregularities and fraud, a reversal of long-standing Justice Department policy.

But on Monday, Hopkins, 32, told investigators from the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General that the allegations were not true, and he signed an affidavit recanting his claims…

Hopkins didn’t feel like chatting to the Washington Post.

The reversal comes as Trump has refused to concede to President-elect Joe Biden (D), citing unproven allegations about widespread voter fraud in an attempt to swing the results in his favor. Republicans held up Hopkins’s claims as among the most credible because he signed an affidavit swearing that he overheard a supervisor instructing colleagues to backdate ballots mailed after Nov. 3.

So much for that.

Hopkins’s allegations, without his name, were first aired last week by Project Veritas, an organization that uses deceptive tactics to expose what it says is bias and corruption in the mainstream media. Hopkins agreed to attach his name to the allegations late last week. He was instantly celebrated by Trump supporters.

Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe on Saturday hailed Hopkins as “an American hero” on Twitter. A GoFundMe page created under Hopkins’s name had raised more than $136,000 by Tuesday evening, with donors praising him as a patriot and whistleblower.

I’m so tired of these people.



Alternatives

Nov 10th, 2020 4:00 pm | By

Via KBPlayer – some other statues of women:



Where’s our naked Churchill?

Nov 10th, 2020 11:58 am | By

About this Mary Wollstonecraft statue…not a statue of her, mind, a statue for her, whatever that means. Anyway, it’s been unveiled. Entirely unveiled. It’s not universally popular.

See, the statue is buck naked, and along with that, it’s…weird.

A Sculpture for Mary Wollstonecraft stands in Newington Green, near where she lived and worked.

It reminds me of seeing naked classical statues in museums as child; for quite a long time I thought those leaf-things were what men actually had. (Yes, I must have been very dim.) I thought they looked deeply weird. It’s the same with this. It’s as if the statue has half a coconut shell pasted over her crotch. Pubic hair doesn’t look like that. (Anyway women aren’t allowed to have pubic hair any more. Shouldn’t the statue have the naked labia of an infant? Since it’s Everywoman and all.)



We caaaaaaaan’t

Nov 10th, 2020 10:55 am | By

What do you mean “cannot”?

Sen. Chris Coons has been on CNN this morning, suggesting that in private Republican senators are asking him to convey best wishes to president-elect Joe Biden while stating that they cannot yet say that in public because of Trump’s insistence on not conceding defeat.

I’m not seeing the insurmountable obstacle.

Of course they can say that in public despite Trump’s grotesque rude authoritarian disruptive refusal to concede – they can and they absolutely should, in order to shine a harsher light on Trump’s authoritarian flouting of the norms. What they mean is that they don’t want to, and that’s contemptible.

Coons also said “This is an uncertain time these next 71 days. I think it is past time for Republican leaders to stand up and say we should accept the results of this election.”

I’ll say. Way past time.



The propriety and wisdom

Nov 10th, 2020 9:15 am | By

Trump’s lawyers are starting to sweat.

Jones Day is the most prominent firm representing President Trump and the Republican Party as they prepare to wage a legal war challenging the results of the election. The work is intensifying concerns inside the firm about the propriety and wisdom of working for Mr. Trump, according to lawyers at the firm.

Doing business with Mr. Trump — with his history of inflammatory rhetoric, meritless lawsuits and refusal to pay what he owes — has long induced heartburn among lawyers, contractors, suppliers and lenders. But the concerns are taking on new urgency as the president seeks to raise doubts about the election results.

Aka “do we really want to be the lawyers who enable this crook to stage a successful coup?”

Some senior lawyers at Jones Day, one of the country’s largest law firms, are worried that it is advancing arguments that lack evidence and may be helping Mr. Trump and his allies undermine the integrity of American elections, according to interviews with nine partners and associates, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect their jobs.

There’s another big firm in Ohio that’s doing the same thing and having the same issues.

Already, the two firms have filed at least four lawsuits challenging aspects of the election in Pennsylvania. The cases are pending.

The latest salvo came on Monday evening, when the Trump campaign filed a suit in federal court in Pennsylvania against the Pennsylvania secretary of state and a number of county election boards. The suit — filed by lawyers at Porter Wright — alleged that there were “irregularities” in voting across the state.

The allegations are based on nothing much, and the law firms know it; the target is public opinion. Trump is doing everything he can to poison the well.

A lawyer in Jones Day’s Washington office felt that the firm risked hurting itself by taking on work that undermined the rule of law. “To me, it seems extremely shortsighted,” the lawyer said.

Of course, lawyers and law firms work for people who defy the rule of law all the time. In an adversarial legal system everyone is entitled to a defense. But…when it’s the capo di tutti capi, who is trying to kneecap the rule of law itself, in his own self-interest…you can see the difficulty.



In the middle of a pandemic

Nov 10th, 2020 8:45 am | By

From Democracy Now:

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, 10 seconds, Laurie. Today, the Supreme Court takes up the Affordable Care Act. Tens of millions of people, if they vote to eviscerate it, to take it down, could lose their healthcare in the midst of this pandemic. Your comment?

LAURIE GARRETT: Well, obviously, that would be dreadful, horrible, awful. And none of those people would have the financial wherewithal to turn to another source to get healthcare. This has implications not just for them, the individuals and their families, but for everybody they have contact with. And so, in a way, we’re committing mass suicide. This is an incredibly self-destructive thing for American people to do, to deny healthcare to millions of Americans in the middle of a pandemic and leave them on their own to potentially carry disease forward into the community, into their workplaces, and so on, without any treatment, any help, any assistance. That’s just insane.

Insane R Us.



DoJ prohibited from interfering

Nov 9th, 2020 4:58 pm | By

Barr is helping Trump violate all the norms, as usual.

Ellen Weintraub, the Federal Election Commissioner told CNN on Saturday that “there really has been no evidence of fraud” this election. “Very few substantiated complaints, let me put it that way. There is no evidence of any kind of voter fraud,” she said. “There is no evidence of illegal votes being cast.”

But in Barr’s memo, the attorney general tells prosecutors that, “although the States have the primary responsibility to conduct and supervise elections under our constitution and the laws enacted by Congress, the United States Department of Justice has an obligation to ensure that federal elections are conducted in such a way that the American people can have full confidence in their electoral process and their government.”

That would require shoving a towel in Donald Trump’s mouth and duct-taping his hands behind his back.

The memo primarily functions to erode norms and policies that typically prohibit the Justice Department from intervening before the election results are confirmed by the electoral college, and serve to sow confusion and distrust in the elections system.

The Justice Department has to intervene this time, because Trump lost. This cannot be allowed.



At odds on many issues

Nov 9th, 2020 4:17 pm | By

Why Loser Don fired Mark Esper:

Esper had been at odds with Trump on a number of issues, most importantly his insistence at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer that there were no legal grounds to deploy active-service troops on the streets of US cities.

He was also working with Congress on legislation to rename US army bases named after Confederate generals. In a final interview Esper predicted that he would be followed by a “yes man”, adding “And then God help us.”

We can all hold our breath until January 20, right?

In the face of Trump’s widely reported fury of his intransigence, Esper stopped giving press briefings in the Pentagon in July. He is reported to have written his resignation letter before the election, and Trump may have moved abruptly to prevent his defence secretary from taking the initiative.

In other words “You can’t quit, I’m firing you!” Petty piece of crap.

“The abrupt firing of Secretary Esper is disturbing evidence that President Trump is intent on using his final days in office to sow chaos in our American democracy and around the world,” the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said.

As if anyone thought he wouldn’t.

“This is purely an act of retaliation by a president thinking more about his petty grievances than about the good of the country,” said Lawrence Korb, a former assistant secretary of defence and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. “It will make the transition to a new administration even more difficult. The message it sends around the world is that Trump is going to continue his disruptive policies for the rest of his time in office.”

As if anyone thought he wouldn’t.



Greatest

Nov 9th, 2020 3:50 pm | By

I guess beheadings are the hot new thing.

More than 50 people have been beheaded in northern Mozambique by militant Islamists, state media report. The militants turned a football pitch in a village into an “execution ground”, where they decapitated and chopped bodies, other reports said.

Several people were also beheaded in another village, state media reported.The beheadings are the latest in a series of gruesome attacks that the militants have carried out in gas-rich Cabo Delgado province since 2017.

Not a very nice religion then.

The BBC’s Jose Tembe reports from the capital, Maputo, that the latest attack was probably the worst carried out by the militants. Many people are shocked, and they are calling for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, he adds.

The gunmen chanted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”, in English), fired shots, and set homes alight when they raided Nanjaba village on Friday night, the state-owned Mozambique News Agency quoted survivors as saying. Two people were beheaded in the village and several women abducted, the news agency added.

Not so much a religion as a pretext for mass murder.

A separate group of militants carried out another brutal attack on Muatide village, where they beheaded more than 50 people, the news agency reported.

Villagers who tried to flee were caught, and taken to the local football pitch where they were beheaded and chopped to pieces in an atrocity carried out from Friday night to Sunday, privately-run Pinnancle News reported.

I think their theology is a little shaky.



Shan’t!

Nov 9th, 2020 12:16 pm | By

The Trump people are putting sugar in the gas tanks, because they can.

The Center for Presidential Transition, a nonpartisan advisory board, urged the Trump administration on Sunday to begin the handoff to staff supporting Joe Biden, whose victory continued to grow in magnitude as states completed their ballot counts.

A Trump appointee named Emily Murphy, who is administrator of the General Services Administration, has refused to sign a letter allowing the Biden team to formally begin its work, the Washington Post first reported. The paperwork would release millions of dollars for use in the transition process and give Biden’s team access to government officials and office space and equipment.

Make America Dysfunctional Again!

Members of Trump’s White House staff and even his campaign staff realise that he has lost, and top advisers including chief of staff Mark Meadows have urged Trump to consider a concession, CNN and the New York Times have reported.

But Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and others have urged him to hold rallies to challenge the election result, CNN reported. Giuliani and others have laid out an expanded legal challenge to the election that would include previously debunked claims such as voting by dead people, Axios reported.

What for? Oh, just for the hell of it. Just to be disruptive. Just to throw bricks into the machinery. Just to go out as they came in, being petulant childish brats.

Trump’s legal strategy has gained zero traction so far, with judges throwing cases out of court for lack of evidence, and there was no indication that any new strategy would fare any differently. The Trump campaign has set up a “voter fraud hotline”, but instead of hot tips, aides taking phonecalls and emails have been subjected to a barrage of pranks from “lefty teenagers” and received “disturbing unsolicited adult images,” Axios said.

Party’s over, kids. Go home. Sober up. Do something useful for a change.



Manners

Nov 9th, 2020 11:41 am | By

Ulster peer finds new way to insult Kamala Harris:

A former deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist party and member of the House of Lords has been called on to apologise after referring to the US vice-president-elect as “the Indian” in a tweet.

He…what???

The 82-year-old peer was widely criticised after tweeting: “What happens if Biden moves on and the Indian becomes President. Who then becomes Vice President?”

He’s saying he didn’t know her name, that’s all. That’s all! What’s the big deal?! It’s totally normal to refer to her as “the Indian” if you don’t know her name. The fact that it would take two seconds to find out her name via Google is neither here nor there.

When challenged Lord Kilclooney, who sits as a crossbench peer, claimed he had not “known her name yet” and denied it was racist.

“Whilst Biden is proud to be Irish and Harris is rightly proud of her Indian background I certainly withdraw my reference to her as an Indian as it seems to have upset some people,” he tweeted. “I did not know her name and identified her with the term Indian. Most people understood. Racist NO.”

He told the Press Association: “I’m very fond of India myself, I’m a member of the British India all-party group, I have two Indians (tenants) in my flats here in London and there’s nothing racist in it whatsoever.”

Oh cut it out. One doesn’t refer to people as “the [nationality]” that way, especially not immediately after referring to the other party by name. It sounds rude and dismissive at best. If you’re having friends over you don’t say you invited Joe and the German. Multiply that by 100 for “Biden and the Indian.”



Terminated

Nov 9th, 2020 11:02 am | By

Trump graceful and judicious as ever:

Soon (but not soon enough) the firings-by-tweet will be a thing of the past.



The new Test Acts

Nov 8th, 2020 5:27 pm | By

Trevor Phillips on wokeism:

It is two centuries since this country abolished the Test Acts under which people were required to make a pledge of religious observance to qualify for public office or the civil service. But once again employees are being required to sign up to statements of belief or face denunciation, demotion and dismissal. Arcane arguments about white privilege and Pythonesque disputes about whether men can be women are no longer confined to warring left-wing sects or social media; they are eating away at the heart of leading institutions, corporations and government itself.

“Say that men can be women or you’re fired.”

Much of this turmoil began with the best of intentions: a long overdue focus on ethical behaviour in corporate and public life. In 2018 more corporate chief executives lost their jobs for misconduct than were fired for poor performance; the #MeToo movement has left its mark. But the drive for decency is steadily being hijacked by extremists, bringing a dark edge of censoriousness to the quest for better workplace behaviour. JK Rowling, infamously, has been threatened with “cancellation” for sardonically pointing out that there is such a thing as a woman. Kevin Price, a Labour councillor, resigned from Cambridge city council and faced pressure to leave his post as a porter at the university because he refused to sign a statement that “trans women are women”.

See also: fish are not chairs, tomatoes are not buses, owls are not bars of soap, planets are not cigarettes.

The intolerant aspect of wokeism has become plainer than ever. Its strictures against “offensive” language brought some of its adherents close to apologising for the massacre at Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, suggesting that the journalists bore some responsibility for the Islamist attack by declining to censor themselves.

Remember the long exhausting war over that? I sure do. All those woke novelists trying to get PEN to decide not to honor Charlie Hebdo after all…when the bodies were barely cold.

Serious people on both sides of the Atlantic are drinking deep at the well of racial self-abasement. A much-lauded course at the prestigious Duke University in the US teaches that there are 15 characteristics to white supremacy culture, including perfectionism, a sense of urgency, worship of the written word and, amazingly, objectivity, all of which, it is argued, need to be jettisoned.

Yes let’s throw out the written word and objectivity, that would usher in utopia in a heartbeat.

The greatest tragedy in all of this is that the gurus of wokedom have persuaded thousands of idealistic young people who rightly want to change the world into supporting what is actually a deeply reactionary movement. The trans activists can only realise their aim of being able to enter spaces reserved for women by erasing the female sex. Critical race theory remains credible only so long as black and brown people continue to fail. In the end, the woke movement is turning into an echo of the very oppressors it claims to be combating. After all the statues come down, and women’s prisons are opened to all and sundry, the celebrities and social media warriors will move on to the next fashionable cause — and minorities will still be less likely to win the top jobs, and women will still be the victims of violence. The only thing that will have changed is the bitterness of a generation whose idealism was betrayed.

He’s not wrong.



Guest post: Easier to sidestep the minefield altogether

Nov 8th, 2020 5:05 pm | By

Originally a comment by As The Smoke Rises Upward on Very precise indeed.

I take all the sanctimonious defenses of the (uncontested) personhood of trans people as a kind of tacit admission. Atwood can’t engage with actual gender-critical arguments because then she would have to respond with the party-sanctioned genderist dogma, and she can’t do that without making some readers wonder if maybe the terves do have a point after all.

“Lesbians are morally deficient if they don’t want to sexually engage with male genitals.” Well, that’ll go over just fine with cultural conservatives, but it might raise an a few eyebrows among the liberals who still believe that “trans” simply means “super mega gay” and imagine the LGBT as one big happy family.

“Anything uniquely pertaining to the health or reproductive rights of vagina people/ cervix people/ uterus people/ ovary people/ breast people must never be spoken of as a women’s issue. After all, not all women have vaginas/ cervixes/ uteruses/ ovaries/ breasts, and not all people with vaginas/ cervixes/ uteruses/ ovaries/ breasts are women. In fact, we’d prefer not to fully acknowledge that the people with vaginas are also the people with cervixes, uteruses, et cetera. If we zoom out and look at the bigger biological picture instead of playing ad-libs with an anatomy textbook, we might be forced to use the f-word. No, not that f-word—the other one, the one that rhymes with email.” Another tough sell. Hard not to trigger at least a few red flags.

“It is good and right and just to sterilize children and teens who aren’t even old enough to consent to sex in the nane of affirming their gender identity. It is wicked and evil and hateful to ask why the number of children and teens supposedly requiring this treatment has increased by several thousand percent over the past decade. It’s also rank bigotry to raise any concerns about the long-term health effects of what is basically a medical experiment.” Oof, good luck spinning that so everyone will swallow it—it’s going to stick in a craw or two.

And so on and so forth. Atwood’s a gifted writer and her name alone carries a great deal of leftist cachet, so she could make the case for all of these points as effectively as anyone. But inevitably, no matter how painstakingly she rhetoricized, she would still be stuck arguing positions that not all of her fellow liberals would continue to accept once they understood what it was they were really supposed to be accepting. Easier to sidestep the minefield altogether: you never have to say anything you don’t want to when you’re debating a strawwoman.



Miscellaneous

Nov 8th, 2020 3:57 pm | By



Guest post: That path must be blocked

Nov 8th, 2020 3:12 pm | By

Originally a comment by Your Name’s not Bruce? on All he’s got now is breaking stuff.

But there is some poetic justice here because he has been cheating for months. Now his tactics are coming back to bite him. He told Republicans not to vote by mail and they didn’t, but the result is he has been experiencing this slow drip-drip of disaster over the past few days.

I know it wouldn’t be a good look for the Biden Administration to go after Trump, (though it looks like there are plenty of other entities lined up to have a go at him for quite some time), however much he desrves it, but I do hope they investigate his interference with the Post Office. It sure looks like it was a plot to take advantage of people’s reluctance to vote in person during the pandemic and to delay, block and dismiss the millions of mail in votes, which were guaranteed to be heavily Democrat. The combination of Trump months-long delegitimizing voting by mail (essentially a command or warning to his supporters not to use this avenue to vote), and putting one of his own stooges in charge of gumming up the works at the post office sure looks like a put-up job. If there was any “stealing” of the election going on, that was where it was happening.

I also hope that those involved were stupid enough to commit their thoughts to writing, and these records will be discoverable and acted upon. This is much bigger than the financial corruption, self-dealing and venality that Trump flaunted, which was itself bad enough. The election interference goes to the heart of American democracy itself. This has to be pursued, as Trump has laid down a path that others may try to follow, learning from his mistakes. That path must be blocked, securely and permanently. America’s next would-be dictator may not be as flagrantly interested in gross, obvious financial gain, and may not be such a complete fucking moron.