Notes and Comment Blog


She hasn’t read the agenda

Jun 26th, 2018 4:44 pm | By

Hannah Gadsby.



In ways that are specific to incipient tyrannies

Jun 26th, 2018 11:56 am | By

Adam Gopnik on commensality and the culture of eating together and eating together-but-apart and how central to our lives it all is.

On the issue of Sanders being expelled from a restaurant, mixed emotions are the only ones a rational person can have. On the one hand, one of the ritual functions of restaurants is to make a common place for commonplace civilization to proceed. They build social capital from their openness to all kinds. Think of how much the civilization of American cities depends on our being able to grab not just bite but a bit of anonymity—we eat alongside others without the others looking down too sharply upon us. It’s a fundamental liberal value, worth protecting in all partisan instances and on all partisan sides. And, no, we don’t want to set a precedent in which politics are so personalized that even simple common coexistence becomes impossible. As a moral duty, we should share the pleasures and conversation of the table with as many people of as many views as we can—and, even when we can’t, we shouldn’t grumble too nastily under our breath at our kids when someone at a nearby table takes up the case for the Donald. (A self-directed moral rule, this.)

On the other hand, the Trump Administration is not a normal Presidential Administration. This is the essential and easily fudged fact of our historical moment. The Trump Administration is—in ways that are specific to incipient tyrannies—all about an assault on civility. To the degree that Trump has any ideology at all, it’s a hatred of civility—a belief that the normal decencies painfully evolved over centuries are signs of weakness which occlude the natural order of domination and submission.

Yes. That. That. That’s why I keep obsessing over his constant insults, his scowls, his contemptuous nicknames, his belligerence – it’s his hatred of all those customs we have that prompt us to treat each other decently.

It’s why Trump admires dictators. Theirs are his values; that’s his feast. And, to end the normal discourse of democracy, the Trump Administration must make lies respectable—lying not tactically but all the time about everything, in a way that does not just degrade but destroys exactly the common table of democratic debate.

That’s Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s chosen role in life—to further those lies, treat lies as truth, and make lies acceptable. This is not just a question of protesting a particular policy; in the end there are no policies, only the infantile impulses of a man veering from one urge to another. The great threat to American democracy isn’t “policy” but the pretense of normalcy. That’s the danger, for with the lies come the appeasement of tyranny, the admiration of tyranny, and, as now seems increasingly likely, the secret alliance with tyranny. That’s what makes the Trump Administration intolerable, and, inasmuch as it is intolerable, public shaming and shunning of those who take part in it seems just. Never before in American politics has there been so plausible a reason for exclusion from the common meal as the act of working for Donald Trump.

As I keep pointing out, this isn’t “partisan.” Trump is a bad human being. Sanders speaks for him. She could leave at any time but she doesn’t. She puts a pious (albeit scowling) face on the hatred of civility.



These things take time

Jun 26th, 2018 11:27 am | By

Why this is stupid:

Kumail Nanjiani:

I know there are a bunch of people upset at the Nazi comparisons, but the highlighting-crimes-by-immigrants move is literally what the Nazis did, with Jews instead of immigrants. A sure fire way to stop being compared to Nazis is to stop acting like them.

Dave Rubin:

Hi Kumail, Nazis exterminated 6 million Jews in a mass genocide. I lost family on both sides in the holocaust. The more you guys compare everyone to Nazis the more you’ll be blind when the real ones show up…

It’s stupid because the Nazis didn’t go from being a normal democratic rights-respecting government to exterminating 6 million Jews in a mass genocide in one jump. That’s why. It’s stupid because there was a process, with steps, that took years. Pointing out that some things Trump is doing are strikingly similar to things the Nazis did during the process that led to the exterminations is, it seems to me, necessary in order to point out the seriousness and danger of those things that Trump is doing.

Hitler didn’t come with a label REAL NAZI and neither will any other potential Nazi. Dave Rubin doesn’t know that the real ones have not already shown up; he doesn’t know they’re not on the path to full real genuine authentic 100% guaranteed Real Nazism. Germans in 1933 and 1936 didn’t know that Hitler was going to exterminate as many Jews as he could, either.

Another little detail: Hitler didn’t have nuclear weapons at his disposal. Trump does.

We have stronger institutions than Weimar Germany did. They may be able to prevent Trump from going all the way. But is there anything in Trump that would prevent him from going full exterminate? No. It doesn’t take visible horror-movie demonic evil; the ordinary everyday kind is perfectly up to the task.



The precious right to defraud

Jun 26th, 2018 10:59 am | By

And this ruling sucks too: no truth in advertising for you.

The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed a lower court decision upholding a California law requiring anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers to more fully disclose what they are.

The case pitted the right to know against the right of free speech. On one side are self-identified “crisis pregnancy centers” that seek to prevent abortions and on the other side is the state of California, which enacted a 2015 law to ensure that these centers do not intentionally or unintentionally mislead the women who walk through their doors.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court said the centers are likely to succeed in their claim that the law violates the First Amendment. That overturns an earlier decision by the Ninth Circuit upholding the law and sends the case back for further consideration.

In other words it’s “free speech” for anti-abortion centers to pretend to be “crisis pregnancy centers” in order to lure women in and talk them out of having abortions.

Supporters of the California law called the state’s effort nothing more than seeking “truth in advertising.” But anti-abortion pregnancy centers saw the law as unconstitutional, compelling speech that turns them into mouthpieces for a government message they disagree with.

The case began in 2015 when California passed a law known as the Reproductive FACT Act. (It stands for Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency.)

The impetus was twofold — first, allegations that pregnancy centers opposed to abortion were using deceptive practices; and second, concern that lower-income women, in particular, weren’t aware of the free pregnancy-related services California provides, from prenatal and delivery care to birth control and abortion.

The FACT Act requires unlicensed crisis pregnancy centers to post a sign or otherwise disclose to their clients in writing that the center is not a licensed medical facility and has no licensed medical provider who supervises the provision of services. The disclosure requirement extends to advertising, which anti-abortion pregnancy centers objected to as an attempt to “drown out” their message.

They want to be free to trick and deceive.

In recent years, the number of pregnancy centers that counsel against abortion has dramatically increased. There are about 2,700 of them across the country, more than three times the number of clinics that provide abortions.

And just as some states provide taxpayer funds for abortions, 14 states directly fund anti-abortion pregnancy centers. From 2001 to 2006, the centers received an estimated $30 million in federal funding.

There is no data on how many of the 2,700 anti-abortion pregnancy centers are unlicensed. But unlicensed clinics offer pregnancy tests and limited ultrasounds, and, to an unskeptical eye, they can look very much like a licensed medical facility.

The personnel wear surgical scrubs or white coats and ask clients to fill out medical history questionnaires. Indeed, many clinics locate next to or across the street from a full-service women’s reproductive health center and some use similar-sounding names.

In order to trick and deceive.



Playing dumb

Jun 26th, 2018 10:19 am | By

CFI on the Reactionary 5’s grotesque ruling:

Ruling on the case of Trump v. Hawaii, in a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court declared that the president has the authority to prohibit travelers from select countries to enter the U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, asserted that the travel ban did not unconstitutionally discriminate against Muslims because “the text says nothing about religion.”

“This ban is about religious discrimination, and to claim otherwise is completely absurd,” said Nick Little, CFI’s Vice President and General Counsel. “As far back as 2015, Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to see Muslims banned from the United States, and promised to carry out this ban once in office. He followed through, and the Supreme Court, unconscionably, is letting him get away with it.”

“Chief Justice Roberts is a brilliant man who is playing dumb,” added Little. “He knows very well that this is not about other countries’ vetting processes or the scope of presidential authority. This is about fomenting fear of Muslims.”

Fear and also hatred. Trump is all about the hatred.



Steeper slope

Jun 26th, 2018 9:50 am | By

The Supremes (the five reactionary ones) say sure go ahead ban Muslims from the country, we’re good with that.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld President Trump’s ban on travel from mostly-Muslim nations, delivering a robust endorsement of Mr. Trump’s power to control the flow of immigration into America at a time of political upheaval about the treatment of migrants at the Mexican border.

In a 5-to-4 vote, the court’s conservatives said the president’s statutory power over immigration was not undermined by his history of incendiary statements about the dangers he said Muslims pose to Americans.

Great. Flaming hate-mongering racist shit shouts his hate-mongering shit for a year and a half and the 5 Supremes say that’s a perfectly cromulent reason for him to issue orders banning entire populations from the country.

In a passionate and searing dissent from the bench, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the decision was no better than Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 decision that endorsed the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

And no better than Plessy v Ferguson or Dred Scott.

What a shithole country this has become.



He has ruled exclusively for his vengeful supporters

Jun 26th, 2018 9:27 am | By

Michelle Goldberg points out in her Times column that what we have here is not a crisis of civility but a crisis of democracy.

[T]here’s a moral and psychic cost to participating in the fiction that people who work for Trump are in any sense public servants. I don’t blame staff members at the Virginia restaurant, the Red Hen, for not wanting to help Sanders unwind after a hard week of lying to the public about mass child abuse. Particularly when Sanders’s own administration is fighting to let private businesses discriminate against gay people, who, unlike mendacious press secretaries, are a protected class under many civil rights laws.

That “not wanting to help Sanders unwind” is good.

Whether or not you think public shaming should be happening, it’s important to understand why it’s happening. It’s less a result of a breakdown in civility than a breakdown of democracy. Though it’s tiresome to repeat it, Donald Trump eked out his minority victory with help from a hostile foreign power. He has ruled exclusively for his vengeful supporters, who love the way he terrifies, outrages and humiliates their fellow citizens. Trump installed the right-wing Neil Gorsuch in the Supreme Court seat that Republicans stole from Barack Obama. Gorsuch, in turn, has been the fifth vote in decisions on voter roll purges and, on Monday, racial gerrymandering that will further entrench minority rule.

Minority, white, reactionary rule. Gorsuch is the crucial 5th vote that makes it possible for Republicans to steal elections – to continue to win despite losing the popular vote – far into the future.

[M]illions and millions of Americans watch helplessly as the president cages children, dehumanizes immigrants, spurns other democracies, guts health care protections, uses his office to enrich himself and turns public life into a deranged phantasmagoria with his incontinent flood of lies. The civility police might point out that many conservatives hated Obama just as much, but that only demonstrates the limits of content-neutral analysis. The right’s revulsion against a black president targeted by birther conspiracy theories is not the same as the left’s revulsion against a racist president who spread birther conspiracy theories.

Faced with the unceasing cruelty and degradation of the Trump presidency, liberals have not taken to marching around in public with assault weapons and threatening civil war. I know of no left-wing publication that has followed the example of the right-wing Federalist and run quasi-pornographic fantasies about murdering political enemies. (“Close your eyes and imagine holding someone’s scalp in your hands,” began a recent Federalist article.) Unlike Trump, no Democratic politician I’m aware of has urged his or her followers to beat up opposing demonstrators.

Instead, some progressive celebrities have said some bad words, and some people have treated administration officials with the sort of public opprobrium due members of any other white nationalist organization. Liberals are using their cultural power against the right because it’s the only power they have left, and people have a desperate need to say, and to hear others say, that what is happening in this country is intolerable.

It’s all we have. They’ve stolen or shut down the more official avenues of dissent and resistance, so unofficial is all there is.



No free cheese plates from Adams and Hancock

Jun 25th, 2018 5:04 pm | By

Charles Pierce burning up the page on the subject of “civility” and not being rude to those neatly-dressed people approaching us with whips and flaming torches.

By all accounts, the most civil action taken in L’affaire Poule Rouge was the way Stephanie Wilkinson handled her refusal to serve Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia.

She talked to her staff, she took a vote, she took Sanders aside, she asked her to leave with an explanation why, she comped Sanders and her party for their cheese plate.

She did not use an official government Twitter account to discuss the episode, as Sanders did later. She did not use the power of the Oval Office to try and destroy someone’s business, as the president* found time to do later…

It would have remained a shiny object unworthy of pursuit had it not roiled up a good portion of official Washington, which seemed grateful to be discussing anything except hijacked migrant children. Suddenly, just as the issue of the hijacked children was beginning to bite the administration* severely in the ass, here was an event over which the elite political media could do one of its favorite traditional fan dances: the Question of Civility.

Right on cue, Fred Hiatt’s Washington Post editorial page, which has no compunction about publishing the words of torture-enthusiast Marc Thiessen, blurted out the most embarrassing single paragraph written about the events at the Red Hen. To wit:

We nonetheless would argue that Ms. Huckabee, and Ms. Nielsen and Mr. Miller, too, should be allowed to eat dinner in peace. Those who are insisting that we are in a special moment justifying incivility should think for a moment how many Americans might find their own special moment. How hard is it to imagine, for example, people who strongly believe that abortion is murder deciding that judges or other officials who protect abortion rights should not be able to live peaceably with their families?

Er. Pierce becomes rather vehement at that point, and you can see why. It’s not hard to imagine because it happens constantly, including MURDER. Imana guess it was all men who put their heads together on that editorial, because women are pretty likely to be aware of how dangerous it is to need an abortion in this country.

I’m old enough to remember the raucous town halls of 2010, when the AstroTurfed forces of the Tea Party shouted down members of Congress while men with automatic weapons strolled around the perimeter of arenas in which the President of the United States was speaking. I’m old enough to remember when N. Leroy Gingrich, Definer of Civilization’s Rules and Leader (Perhaps) of The Civilizing Forces, was working out his Universal Lexicography of Insult for the benefit of a party that ate it up with an entrenching tool. Newt also emerged on the electric Twitter machine over the weekend, leaping to SarahHuck’s defense, and that was nearly enough to make me give up English as a hobby.

You know who would’ve been baffled by this sudden debate over “civility”? Samuel Adams and John Hancock, that’s who. They were a helluva lot less civil to the crew of the Dartmouth than Stephanie Wilkinson was to the Sanders party, and the citizens of Boston did not comp Thomas Hutchinson to a cheese plate when they ran his sorry ass across the pond.

Yes but they didn’t have a Trump Tower to bow to.



We don’t

Jun 25th, 2018 4:45 pm | By

Fresh Air the other day featured a book about Trump’s family, and there was one part that jumped out at me rather.

GROSS: Each of the three women that have been married to Donald Trump, including the first lady, had some period of their life where they were models. And after Donald Trump met Melania, you say he wanted to, like, nudge forward her career, and he wanted her to pose for a photo shoot for British GQ, a special edition headlined “Naked Supermodel Special!” Tell us about that edition and Donald Trump’s role in having Melania pose for it.

FOX: He has always wanted his wives to be famous – same with his daughter. He wanted them to be famous, and he wanted them to be lusted after. This was true for Marla, as well. The – probably the best period in their relationship – between Donald and Marla – was when she had a part in a Broadway show. And he was intoxicated with the fact that people thought she was actually kind of OK, and that she was sort of a star, and people were paying attention to her and giving her buzz. And that was – of a very rocky courtship and relationship and sort of a toxic one, that was the high point of their relationship because he felt like she was being adored and sort of elevated him because of her own stardom. And that was certainly true with Melania, as well.

So this photo shoot was very much in line with that sort of mentality and mindset. That his new girlfriend would be pictured on the cover of a magazine in a very suggestive way meant something to him because he wanted people to lust after what he had, whether that was a building or a hotel or a girlfriend. It was important for him to be someone who people aspired to or thought was a man about town.

He wanted people to lust after what he had…including his daughter.

It’s so what he is, and so creepy.

He wants us to lust after his nauseating garish yellow-metal apartment. He wants us to lust after his beautiful chocolate cake, his second scoop of ice cream just for him, his hotty wives and daughters, his hotty bits on the side, his generals (until he gets sick of them), his gorgeous hair, his power.

Image result for room books



The unintended effect

Jun 25th, 2018 3:01 pm | By

Ah yes, making America great again.

Harley-Davidson, the American motorcycle manufacturer, said on Monday that it would shift some production of its iconic bikes overseas to avoid retaliatory tariffs imposed by the European Union in response to President Trump’s trade moves.

The decision, announced in a public filing, is the latest and most high-profile example of how Mr. Trump’s trade war is beginning to ripple through the United States economy as domestic companies begin struggling with a cascade of tariffs both here and abroad. While Mr. Trump says his trade policy is aimed at reviving domestic manufacturing, Harley-Davidson’s decision shows how the administration’s moves could have the unintended effect of reducing employment and economic growth in the United States.

Unintended, but certainly not unforeseeable; everyone told him that would happen.

Last week, the European Union hit back against Mr. Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs with penalties on $3.2 billion worth of American products, including bourbon, orange juice, playing cards and Harley-Davidsons. On Monday, the Wisconsin-based company said that European tariffs on its motorcycles had increased to 31 percent from 6 percent and estimated that would add about $2,200, on average, to every motorcycle exported from the United States to the bloc.

Rather than pass that cost along, the company said it would shift production to its overseas facilities to avoid the European Union tariffs.

And bang go the jobs of people who were making the motorcycles here.

Oops.



They were drawn with permissible racial bias

Jun 25th, 2018 1:59 pm | By

An item from January 25 2017 which I don’t recall seeing at the time:

While U.S. citizens could once claim to be part of the 9% of people in the world governed by a “full democracy,” they are now part of the near 45% who live in a “flawed democracy.”

That’s according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, which downgraded the U.S. in their 2016 Democracy Index published Wednesday. The move puts the U.S. in the same category as Poland, Mongolia, and Italy.

To arrive at this conclusion, the paper analyzed over 200 countries and considered factors like political culture and political participation.

“Popular trust in government, elected representatives and political parties has fallen to extremely low levels in the U.S.,” the paper’s authors wrote. “This has been a long-term trend and one that preceded the election of [Donald] Trump as U.S. president in November 2016.”

And as for voter participation…the Supreme Court just took another huge stride in the direction of suppressing that:

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a bitterly divided 5–4 decision upholding all but one of Texas’ gerrymandered districts, ruling they were not drawn with impermissible racial bias. Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion reverses a lower court’s conclusion that Texas gerrymandered both congressional and state legislative districts in order to curb the power of minority voters. The ruling is a brutal blow to civil rights advocates, who amassed a vast record of evidence that Texas mapmakers diluted the votes of Hispanic residents.

What may be most remarkable about Monday’s decision in Abbott v. Perez, however, is Justice Neil Gorsuch’s effort to position himself as a fierce opponent of the Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court already gutted a central provision of the VRA in 2013’s Shelby County v. Holder. Now, in Perez, Gorsuch has joined Justice Clarence Thomas’ crusade to hobble the law even further by holding that it does not prohibit racial gerrymandering. Were the court to adopt Gorsuch’s interpretation, the VRA could never again be used to stop racist mapmakers from diluting minority votes.

The VRA was designed to enforce the 15th Amendment’s bar on racial voter suppression in several ways. Its most effective tool allowed the federal government to block suspect voting laws in states with long histories of racial discrimination—but SCOTUS disabled this provision in Shelby County. Luckily, a different part of the VRA, Section 2, forbids any “standard, practice, or procedure” that “results in the denial or abridgement” of the right to vote “on account of race or color.”

For decades, the Supreme Court has held that Section 2 outlaws gerrymanders that dilute the votes of minority citizens.

Now thanks to Mitch McConnell and the electoral college (already a bit of “flawed democracy”), that’s over.



Threats now

Jun 25th, 2018 10:59 am | By

WILL YOU LOOK AT THAT



Swear you love us

Jun 25th, 2018 10:19 am | By

God, that’s a fiendish detail.

The children have been through hell. They are babies who were carried across rivers and toddlers who rode for hours in trucks and buses and older kids who were told that a better place was just beyond the horizon.

And now they live and wait in unfamiliar places: big American suburban houses where no one speaks their language; a locked shelter on a dusty road where they spend little time outside; a converted Walmart where each morning they are required to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, in English, to the country that holds them apart from their parents.

They are required to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance in English. What the hell is that??! The whole point is that they’re likely to be expelled from the country where their parents tried to find refuge, yet in their horrible prison they’re forced to stand and swear a loyalty oath to the place that’s treating them like criminals before throwing them out? Why not just make them kneel on the floor and kiss the boots of their captors? It would at least be less hypocritical.



Be more positivity

Jun 25th, 2018 9:04 am | By

Melania Trump says to be nice.

Melania Trump on Sunday urged students at a conference of a youth and safety organization to be a “positive force” in the lives of those around them and to treat their peers with respect.

“You have the power to be the positive force in so many people’s lives,” the first lady said at the Students Against Destructive Decisions gathering in Tysons Corner, Virginia. “Kindness, compassion, and positivity are very important traits in life.”

That’s true, but it’s abrasive mockery coming from her. She’s married to a relentlessly hateful, hate-fomenting, malevolent man who hate-mongered his way into the presidency. She joined her husband in pushing birther lies about Obama. She sued a disabled blogger for damaging her opportunities to make money from her new role as “First Lady.” She wore that jacket spelling out that she really doesn’t care, the classic statement of callous fuckyouism throughout history. She has no business saying a word about kindness and compassion while she’s giving cover to that man.

Her encouragement to students Sunday to “speak words of kindness” came after the president spent the weekend lambasting political opponents and others in public and on Twitter.

During an appearance in Nevada Saturday night, he called Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) “wacky” and referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as “Pocahontas.”

And she puts a pretty face on all that, when she’s not wearing a Fuck You jacket.



Homicidal ideation

Jun 25th, 2018 8:54 am | By

The squalor we are being dragged into:

Online calls for violence against immigrants have surfaced in recent weeks as the border crisis continues to dominate the national conversation. Last week, the Oregonian reported that an Oregon Department of Transportation employee was placed on leave pending an investigation after an outcry over a Facebook comment.

“I personally think they should shoot them all at the border and call it good,” the state worker, Lori McAllen, wrote online, according to the paper. “It’ll save us hard working AMERICAN’S billions of dollars on our taxes! ;)”

Winky winky.

Alabama-based musician Phillip McCain also became the target of a social media outcry after an image of a Facebook comment he made began circulating online, USA Today reported. In the post, McCain said he would “volunteer to shoot” immigrants as “they approach the border,” he wrote. “Problem solved.”

The Post article started with a private in the National Guard who commented in a Facebook group that “they’re lucky we don’t execute them.”



Not even

Jun 24th, 2018 5:36 pm | By



No judges, no hearings, no due process, no rule of law

Jun 24th, 2018 12:02 pm | By

Trump getting worse by the hour. Now he’s announcing that immigrants who cross the border illegally should have no due process.

He was saying it in Las Vegas yesterday:

While in Las Vegas on Saturday, Mr. Trump told supporters that he thought the immigration system needed fewer judges — putting him in conflict with a proposal by Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, to expand the number of judges in an effort to process cases more quickly. Mr. Trump also suggested last week that he opposed adding judges because many of them could be corrupt.

He has criticized immigration judges for weeks, saying they were not effective in stopping the flow of people coming into the country, sometimes using incorrect numbers to make his point.

That is, sometimes lying to make his point. He’s the president. He has a responsibility to get his facts right before he vomits out his hate-rants.



Do your housework cheerfully as unto the Lord

Jun 24th, 2018 11:23 am | By

A Good Christian Woman who goes by the name “The Transformed Wife” dispenses Good Christian Wisdom on Facebook (founded by Jesus shortly after he did the loaves and fishes trick). She dispenses it by writing it in writing in a little notebook and then taking a photo of the writing. So quaint yet tech-savvy at the same time! A couple of days ago she dispensed Ladies Serve Your Men Wisdom:

No automatic alt text available.

Do you “expect” your husband to help w/ household chores? If you do, you won’t have a happy marriage b/c expectations destroy relationships. If he helps, great + if not, do your housework cheerfully as unto the Lord. Remember, you didn’t marry your husband to help w/the household chores. You married him to be your protector + provider.

Well if she married him to be her protector and provider then that’s a set of expectations, surely.

Side issue: why do people abbreviate “because” and “with” and no other words (apart from “and” which has actual symbols)? Where did that come from? Does writing “w/” instead of “with” really save that much time? And why does poor useful logical “because” need to be shrunk? I don’t get it.



Symptomatic

Jun 24th, 2018 10:35 am | By

Trump loves shiny things. Really shiny. The shinier the better. Shiny shiny shiny.

Since Bill Clinton occupied the White House, the commemorative medallions known as challenge coins have been stately symbols of the presidency coveted by the military, law enforcement personnel and a small circle of collectors.

Then came Donald J. Trump.

His presidency has yielded more — and more elaborate — coins that are shinier, flashier and even bigger, setting off a boom for coin manufacturers, counterfeiters and collectors, with one official Trump challenge coin recently fetching $1,000 on eBay.

Among those produced in recent months by members of a White House military unit is a coin featuring Mr. Trump’s private Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, on the front, and the presidential seal, the White House and Air Force One on the back. Another has Pope Francis on one side and the president’s face set against the White House on the other.

Shiny. So shiny.

Image result for trump challenge coin mar a lago

The car is a nice touch.

Outside ethics watchdogs say the “Make America Great Again” coins shouldn’t be distributed to military personnel — a traditional use of presidential challenge coins — since the military is supposed to be walled off from politics.

And those watchdogs warn that coins featuring Mr. Trump’s properties, such as Mar-a-Lago, should not be produced using government resources — including funds, work hours or even phone calls and emails — since federal ethics laws prohibit the use of public resources to promote private businesses.

The Mar-a-Lago coins are akin to “a metallic tourist brochure,” said Norman L. Eisen, a former ethics lawyer in President Barack Obama’s White House and the chairman of a watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Killjoy.

After The New York Times inquired about the coins, agency personnel abruptly canceled plans for a coin featuring the president’s signature Trump Tower in Manhattan and his golf course in Bedminster, N.J.

Sad. They would have made such lovely metallic tourist brochures.

People who have traveled with Mr. Trump say he has become enthralled by challenge coins, attributing his interest to his appreciation for military traditions and might, as well as his attraction to gaudy displays of gilded excess. That fascination grew during the presidential campaign, when he would receive coins from law enforcement and military personnel whom he encountered at stops.

Shiny. Shiny, mama. Shiny shiny shiny shiny shiny shiny shiny shiny shiny.



Ew lady dirt

Jun 24th, 2018 9:56 am | By

Another showy public display of women-loathing delays another El Al flight out of New York.

Last week, a scheduled El Al flight from New York’s JFK Airport to Israel sat on the runway for more than an hour after four ultra-Orthodox men refused to take their ticketed seats next to women.

It was not the first time this has happened at El Al, which was hit by a court ruling last year barring the airline from asking passengers to move based on gender.

Throw them off the damn plane, says I. No refund, no rescheduling.

El Al flight attendants struggled to resolve the fracas as the four men refused to speak to any of the stewardesses.

Put them off the plane. They can’t refuse to sit down next to black people or refuse to speak to black flight attendants so why the fuck should they be allowed to do it to women?

Eventually the flight attendants did ask people to move and two women did agree to move and the plane left 75 minutes late.

The two women who were asked to move on last week’s flight can file a lawsuit, according to Karen Saar, a spokeswoman for the Israeli Religious Action Center, which is linked to the Reform movement.

The gesture by El Al goes against an Israeli court ruling issued in June 2017 that awarded Holocaust survivor Renee Rabinowitz damages after an El Al flight attendant asked her to switch seats because an ultra-Orthodox man wouldn’t sit next to her.

The judge also requested that El Al train their crew members to prevent such occurrences.

“Women are being asked to move, and that’s illegal,” said Saar. “It was done after El Al, almost to the day a year ago, agreed that all of their employees would be trained so it wouldn’t happen again.”

Just say no. Tell the men to get off if they don’t like it. Escort them non-violently off if they refuse to go voluntarily.

El Al apologized for the incident but said the plane was not held up as long as reported.

“The flight left 18 minutes late and not as claimed in the uploaded [Facebook] post,” said Anat Friedman, a spokeswoman for El Al.

El Al added in a statement, “Any discrimination by passengers is strictly prohibited. El Al crew members are doing everything that they can to provide good and courteous service to a wide range of passengers, and to try to assist them. This is in order to take off on time and to bring passengers to their destination with the utmost security and comfort.”

But El Al ignore the court ruling and carried out the religious fanatics’ discriminatory misogynist demands.

If the men are that damn Orthodox then they can walk back to Israel.