Notes and Comment Blog

Why are you smiling?

Jan 22nd, 2019 4:14 pm | By

This has been doing the rounds:

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text

Note the ND after the first one. (I missed it at first.) The N is for naturopathic. NOT A REAL DOCTOR.

By the way there’s a measles outbreak here in Washington state, mostly via unvaccinated kids.

But we DID that

Jan 22nd, 2019 3:34 pm | By

This again. Farking birtherism.

Attempting to shift huge weighty blocks of patriarchy all by herself

Jan 22nd, 2019 11:42 am | By

Helen Saxby takes a look at the idea of Gender Dysphoria:

There is an argument around the meaning and relevance of the term gender dysphoria since it has replaced ‘gender identity disorder’ in the medical literature. On the one hand there is a push to remove gender dysphoria from the list of necessary conditions to being assessed as transgender in law, but on the other hand the diagnosis is being jealously guarded by trans activists and allies. In summary the attitude seems to be ‘We may not need gender dysphoria anymore but you sure as hell aren’t going to have it either’. This plays out in the outrage shown towards two main groups of women: those who were tomboys as children and who therefore can see the dangers of extreme trans ideology in schools; and those who have teenage daughters who have suddenly become trans-identified with no warning, and who therefore can see the dangers of an ideology which is subject to social contagion.

So who is qualified or entitled to make a diagnosis of gender dysphoria? Gender dysphoria is defined on the NHS website as being ‘…a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity’.

Yes it is, and it’s been nagging at me ever since I posted it the other day. It’s been nagging at me because since when is “discomfort or distress” at some part of reality seen as a medical condition? That is what the NHS is calling it, remember: the definition is in an entry under Conditions. People who want to be athletes or ballet dancers can feel massive distress at not having the right body type for what they want to do, but that’s not seen as a medical Condition. Why is just this one thing being conceptualized this way?

So who is qualified or entitled to make a diagnosis of gender dysphoria? Gender dysphoria is defined on the NHS website as being ‘…a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity’. This is sufficiently open to interpretation for many people to take a view on it. On Twitter recently, trans ally Dr Adrian Harrop admonished a woman for calling her early childhood experience ‘gender dysphoria’:

harrop tweet 2

I saw that at the time – Gia’s tweet first, and later Harrop’s magisterial dismissal – and gaped in astonishment. How in hell does Adrian Harrop think he can possibly know that? How can he possibly know that what Gia describes is radically different from what Authentic trans people describe even though the wording is identical?

Helen tells a similar story in much more detail.

Trans activists seem to be very angry at the notion that any old tomboy back in the day might have identified as trans given half a chance. This is especially odd considering the current push for self-ID, a notion that the only criteria for a trans identification should be self-declaration. Alongside the claim that a diagnosis of gender dysphoria should no longer be a pre-requisite for trans status, it is strange to see trans activists gatekeeping so furiously. But still, if a doctor can tell a woman she is wrong about her own self-diagnosis on the basis of a couple of tweets, self-ID is obviously not for everyone.

I often see trans activists and allies dismissing the views of women because they are not trans: saying that women who are mothers or lesbians or who used to be tomboys, can have no insight into what the trans experience feels like. But if experiential knowledge is so revered, then my area of expertise tells me a lot about the pitfalls of growing up female in a male-centred world: about body dysmorphia, eating disorders, risk-taking, addiction, self-harming, depression. Teenage coping strategies such as these are being dismissed and minimised if a confusion with gender identity is also present, and it is the trans lobby groups that have successfully pushed for this. My problems as a teenage girl and young adult would have all been swept up as one under gender ideology, much like consolidating a loan. Neat and tidy. One problem instead of six. I would have loved that. It is often said that you can’t make a child trans, as if the concept of being born in the wrong body is a benign idea with no potential to influence or inform. I disagree: I think you can make a child believe they are trans, and that it’s quite simple to do: just make sure all the adults in a child’s world are singing from the same hymn sheet, and ensure there is no access to a different viewpoint. Again, the trans lobby groups have been quite successful at this.

But I did not suffer from gender dysphoria as a child. (Am I allowed to say that?)

What I believe I did suffer from was the confusion that comes from heavily proscribed gender roles and an inability to escape them. Without any consciousness of the larger patterns at work, I was attempting, like many girls, to shift huge weighty blocks of patriarchy all by myself, without any tools. Forcing a way around one block would only ensure another one would heave into view. A good example is culture: it wasn’t much use to me to reject the messages of the popular culture of the time and run full-tilt from Benny Hill, only to find myself slap bang in the middle of the literary clutches of Henry Miller. When gendered expectations are shored up and policed by both individual men and wider institutions, they become nearly impossible to escape. I didn’t know this when I was young. I just thought I was a bit shit.

There’s a lot more. Read the whole thing.

The press is so RUDE

Jan 22nd, 2019 10:59 am | By


Why “podium” of all things?

Is it because he’s never typed the word before and had to ask someone how to spell it?

Is it because he thinks it’s a silly word?

Because he’s dimly aware that “going to the podium” is shorthand for answering press questions, and thinks that kind of shorthand has to be signaled with scare quotes?

Because he has no clue and just sticks in capital letters and quotation marks at random?

Because most of his brain has gone dark?

Trademarks for wedding dresses, sunglasses and child care centers

Jan 22nd, 2019 9:53 am | By

Disgusting as ever: Princess Ivanka is still corrupt.

vanka Trump has been granted five trademarks from China for her currently defunct company as her father’s administration continues negotiating with Beijing over trade.

Trademarks for wedding dresses, sunglasses and child care centers were approved on Sunday, the Associated Press reported. An additional trademark regarding brokerage, charitable fundraising and art valuation services was approved earlier this month.

Although the applications were filed in 2016 and 2017, the process for the trademarks has moved forward this month as trade talks between White House negotiators and China have appeared to progress. As long as there are no objections, the trademarks will now be finalized within the next three months, according to the AP. Ethics experts have previously raised concerns about the Trump family’s business dealings and how they could appear to benefit from the administration’s foreign policy.

It’s not simply a matter of appearing to benefit from the administration’s foreign policy, it’s actually benefiting from the administration’s foreign policy.

Ivanka Trump announced last summer that she would shut down her company to focus on her role in the White House, where she serves as a close adviser to her father, The Hill reported. But with her trademarks moving forward in China, it appears that she may intend to reopen her business at a later time. Considering the first daughter also regularly meets with foreign leaders, her international business dealings have raised concerns from ethics experts in the past.

They are grifters, enriching themselves while they push the country as a whole into a deep sewer.

Let’s redefine “woman”

Jan 22nd, 2019 9:37 am | By

And then there’s Alex Sharpe writing at Diva:

Are some feminists asking the wrong question about who counts as a “lesbian”?

Why are there scare quotes on the word “lesbian”? Are we treating that as some sort of “problematic” or tendentious or confusing or reactionary word now? Are we holding it out with tongs because lesbians say no to penis?

Kathleen Stock, a Professor of Philosophy at Sussex University, and enfant terrible of gender critical feminism, has recently asked: “can a biological male be a lesbian?” Of course, framing the question in this way tends to suggest a particular conclusion, one Stock wants us to draw, which is that trans women cannot be lesbians.

And framing the question as “Are some feminists asking the wrong question about who counts as a ‘lesbian’?” also tends to suggest a particular conclusion.

Yet, this conclusion only follows if we accept the proposition that “woman” must be defined by reference to reproductive biology alone (Stock does not insist on “reproductive capacity” for obvious reasons), so that “lesbian” desire becomes the desire of two women who share reproductive body parts…

But we know better, right? We know it’s all in the feelings, it’s all in how we “identify,” it’s all in the Lived Experience (of feeling like a woman in our heads). We know that if a man pretends he’s a woman hard enough for a long enough time (a week? two weeks?) then he is a woman, and gets to call himself a lesbian from that time forth. We also know that mere in-the-body women don’t get to resist this, and mere in-the-body lesbian women don’t get to say no to dick, and mere in-the-body lesbian women don’t get to say who counts as lesbian. They have to be Inclusive of superior in-the-head women, on pain of shunning and non-stop threats of violence. Ah brave new world, that hath such creatures in it.

[A] more inclusive definition is open to us and we should embrace it. Not because of scientific or metaphysical “truths”, but because the question of who counts as a “woman” is, as feminist philosophers Lorna Finlayson, Katharine Jenkins and Rosie Worsdale rightly note, “a political or ethical question”.

One that should be decided by men superior in-the-head women.

Before turning to a more inclusive definition of “woman”, let us be clear about what is at stake in the “woman” question and for whom.

Can someone point me to the literature on more inclusive definitions of “man”? I can’t seem to find anything. Surely it can’t be only “woman” that needs a more inclusive definition…can it? Wouldn’t that seem kind of sexist? One rule for the boys and an opposite rule for the not-boys?

Or another gender

Jan 22nd, 2019 8:37 am | By

Judith Butler explains that being a woman is optional.

In the last few years, protests in Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere have objected to an “ideology of gender”. Elections in France, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Brazil have pivoted on a candidate’s account of gender roles. In the US, both Catholics and evangelicals have opposed a host of political positions linked elsewhere with “gender theory” or “gender ideology”: the rights of trans people in the military, the rights to abortion, lesbian, gay and trans rights, gay marriage, feminism, and other movements in favor of gender equality and sexual freedom.

That’s a lot of disparate concepts thrown into the blender and served up as “gender equality.” It also puts feminism last, which is odd when you remember that women are half (or slightly more than half) of all people, except in places where selective abortion has slashed their numbers. I don’t consider feminism a minor part of a grab bag movement for gender equality and sexual freedom; I consider feminism a stand alone movement for an end to the patriarchal subordination of women.

Arguably, this backlash against “gender ideology” took shape in 2004 when the Pontifical Council on the Family wrote a letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church signaling the potential of “gender” to destroy feminine values important to the Church; to foster conflict between the sexes; and to contest the natural, hierarchical distinction between male and female upon which family values and social life are based.

What, because until 2004 the Catholic church was all for feminism? Don’t be ridiculous. Popes and their councils have been cranking out blather about the proper role of women since forever.

In The Second Sex (1949), the existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir famously wrote: “One is not born a woman but becomes one.” This claim created space for the idea that sex is not the same as gender. And in the simplest formulation of this notion, sex is seen as a biological given, gender the cultural interpretation of sex. One may be born as female in the biological sense, but then one has to navigate a series of social norms and figure out how to live as a woman – or another gender – in one’s cultural situation.

So gently she slips that “or another gender” in there, between two dashes as if it were just an aside. Relax, honey, it will only hurt for a second. But it’s not just an aside, it’s a fucking reversal. Living “as a” woman while resisting the rules for women is feminism; living as “another gender” i.e. a man is the opposite of feminism, it’s a god damn cop out. People can see this with no trouble when it comes to race, but somehow now with “gender” it’s the hip thing to do. Imagine the reaction to “One may be born as black in the biological sense, but then one has to navigate a series of social norms and figure out how to live as a black – or another race – in one’s cultural situation.” What does “or another race” mean in that sentence? That one perfectly legit and healthy way to escape the “social norms” of living as black, to wit racism, is to transfer to the privileged aka dominant race. What does that say? It says a viable alternative to combating racism is just to stop being the despised race you are and become the race of the despisers. That leaves racism untouched but simply pretends it’s voluntary, because people can always simply announce that they are white and bam, they are freed from racist oppression.

It’s obviously both ludicrous and insulting, not to mention regressive, but it’s what Butler is saying to and about women.

An inclusion too many

Jan 21st, 2019 5:34 pm | By

Women’s March London…

“A fully inclusive intersectional feminist movement”…meaning, they include people who aren’t women, and they avoid the word “women.” You can’t have feminism while treating the word “women” as if it has political cooties, and you can’t have feminism while trying to bully women into being “inclusive” of people who aren’t women. Just like other people, women are allowed to organize around the concerns of women; they are under no obligation to be “inclusive” of people who have different concerns. Feminism is allowed to be about women – and if it isn’t about women it isn’t feminism.

Trans issues are separate from feminism; non-binary issues are separate from feminism; feminism has enough to deal with, it shouldn’t be pushed and pressed and bullied into being about trans and non-binary issues along with (and more and more instead of) women’s issues. Go make your own movement. Feminism is about women, and that’s that. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.


Jan 21st, 2019 4:57 pm | By


Image may contain: one or more people and text

H/t Katrina

Guest post: On MLK Day

Jan 21st, 2019 4:55 pm | By

Originally a comment by TheDudeDiogenes on Capitalism thrives on the exploitation of the poor.

Since the USA has a holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr, it is good to notice how sanitized and sentimentalized our cultural memory of this great man has become.

Although he no doubt believed “that no matter what the color of our skin or the place of our birth, we are all created equal by God”, that is ultimately a de-fanging and banal understanding of what he was truly about.

This year, remember that what MLK had to tell us should not make us feel comfortable. We ought to be distinctly uncomfortable that we have so greatly failed to achieve what he believed that our country could truly accomplish!

Shortly before he was murdered, Dr. King proclaimed: “We have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifice. The fact is that capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor — both black and white, here and abroad.” (Emphasis mine)

“He went on to boldly declare that, ‘The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and racism. The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.’” (Source)

King also said: “Many white Americans of goodwill have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation. They have deplored prejudice but tolerated or ignored economic injustice. But these two evils have a malignant kinship.”

You certainly won’t often hear quotations of King like this from most of our elected officials, or even from most of our mainstream media.

It is, therefore, all the more imperative to remember the depth and profundity of King’s critique of American society, which is, sadly, perhaps as relevant as when he delivered to us his magnificent oratory.

Audio of the “Three Evils of Society” speech:

Transcript of the speech

The dynamics of power and control

Jan 21st, 2019 2:47 pm | By

Of course they did.

Without fanfare or even notice, the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women made significant changes to its definition of domestic violence in April. The Obama-era definition was expansive, vetted by experts including the National Center for Victims of Crime and the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The Trump administration’s definition is substantially more limited and less informed, effectively denying the experiences of victims of abuse by attempting to cast domestic violence as an exclusively criminal concern.

The previous definition included critical components of the phenomenon that experts recognize as domestic abuse—a pattern of deliberate behavior, the dynamics of power and control, and behaviors that encompass physical or sexual violence as well as forms of emotional, economic, or psychological abuse. But in the Trump Justice Department, only harms that constitute a felony or misdemeanor crime may be called domestic violence. So, for example, a woman whose partner isolates her from her family and friends, monitors her every move, belittles and berates her, or denies her access to money to support herself and her children is not a victim of domestic violence in the eyes of Trump’s Department of Justice. This makes no sense for an office charged with funding and implementing solutions to the problem of domestic violence rather than merely prosecuting individual abusers.

But it makes a lot of sense for an administration that has contempt for women.

A domestic violence relationship rarely begins with physical violence, much less violence that rises to the level of a crime. If you were punched on a first date, odds are there wouldn’t be a second. Intimate partner abuse is insidious: Emotional and psychological abuse escalates to physical violence as an abuser’s need and/or ability to exert power and control increases. In the United States today, more than half of female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. If we do not acknowledge the “small” things—yelling or screaming, name-calling, and controlling or monitoring communication and social media—victims may not realize they are in danger until it is too late.

It is too early to assess the full impact of the Trump administration’s definitional change. The Office on Violence Against Women engages in a broad array of activities in its implementation of the Violence Against Women Act. Perhaps grants that support community efforts to combat domestic and sexual abuse will be restricted to agencies serving victims of crime, leaving survivors without critical resources. If OVW’s training, education, and technical assistance curriculum is revised to adhere to the new definition, those experiencing “mere” emotional, economic, or psychological harms may no longer be considered victims. (It is further noteworthy that OVW simultaneously altered the definition of sexual assault, with the new definition containing a similar criminal justice focus.) What is clear is that these seemingly semantic changes, even if not yet embodied in official law or policy, are part of a broader trend toward the devaluation of women by this administration and this president.

Only those crazy libbruls value women.

Mister Wall goes visiting

Jan 21st, 2019 12:06 pm | By

Very brief. How brief?

Two minutes.

About the time it took for Pence to make that wildly obnoxious claim.

Most of us don’t think King considered a massive wall built to keep brown people out of White Man’s Country anything to do with the promises of democracy, to put it mildly.

A Catholic hierarchy that did little to protect them

Jan 21st, 2019 11:16 am | By

Priests will be priests:

Across India, the nuns talk of priests who pushed into their bedrooms and of priests who pressured them to turn close friendships into sex. They talk about being groped and kissed, of hands pressed against them by men they were raised to believe were representatives of Jesus Christ.

“He was drunk,” said one nun, beginning her story. “You don’t know how to say no,” said another.

At its most grim, the nuns speak of repeated rapes, and of a Catholic hierarchy that did little to protect them.

Well it’s a male hierarchy, isn’t it, organized around a male god and another male god and a bird-thing representing a male Spirit. It’s all about the males. Women are a mistake, and a sex implement.

The Vatican has long been aware of nuns sexually abused by priests and bishops in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa, but it has done very little to stop it, The Associated Press reported last year.

Because it’s only women. From Covington Catholic High to Georgetown Prep to the Vatican, women are trivial, secondary creatures who owe men sexual access.

Capitalism thrives on the exploitation of the poor

Jan 21st, 2019 10:56 am | By

Let’s observe Martin Luther King day via a piece by Tavis Smiley in December 2017:

On Aug. 31, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech entitled “The Three Evils of Society” at the National Conference of New Politics.

Since it’s not the “I Have A Dream” speech, most of my fellow citizens are unacquainted with the text of this particular address, delivered just eight months before his assassination in Memphis, April 4, 1968. And, even if we were familiar with it, it’s not exactly the kind of speech that the corporate media would be quoting with enthusiasm.

Consider what King had to say that day:

“We have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifice,” said King. “The fact is that capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor — both black and white, here and abroad.”

Let’s hear Mike Pence tell us again that Trump is like King. Let’s hear Trump tell us again that “we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for standing up for the self-evident truth Americans hold so dear, that no matter what the color of our skin or the place of our birth, we are all created equal by God.”

He went on to boldly declare that, “The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and racism. The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.”

See what I mean? Who really wants to wrestle with that? Anyone? Anyone?

A radical redistribution of political and economic power.

By the time King gave this speech, he was no longer on the list of most admired Americans. The radical King was now being ridiculed by fervent foes and former friends. The truth he was telling was too hot to handle.

He was getting too close to the money. They’ll give up even the racism before they’ll give up the money.

Even as a bullet with his name on it chased him all around America in his final year, King kept reminding us that the inseparable twin of racial injustice is economic injustice.

“Many white Americans of goodwill have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation. They have deplored prejudice but tolerated or ignored economic injustice. But these two evils have a malignant kinship.”

As they bear witness to the increasing racial unrest in our nation, and some even denounce white supremacy, our national leaders in Washington still haven’t made the connection, the “malignant kinship” between poverty and race.

And they’re not going to, because the poverty is too precious to them. The divine right to pay workers as little as you can possibly get away with is sacred.

A word from Mister Wall

Jan 21st, 2019 8:47 am | By

No, I don’t think so.

Guest post: It’s a maze of twisty little passages, all alike

Jan 20th, 2019 5:33 pm | By

Originally a comment by latsot on A fate worse than.

It’s a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. We shouldn’t be altogether surprised when a Grue turns up.

I have tremendous sympathy for people who feel alone, unloved and unrepresented. We have systematically failed those people for as long as we’ve been people and we don’t appear to have learned much along the way. People are feeling desperate about gender identity? I sympathise. Heaven fucking forbid that we try to fix societal expectations, though. It’s obviously far better to reinforce that gender bullshit by mutilating children and.. well… what then?

Seriously. Many of the things I do for a living require that I keep really quite complex and usually inconsistent models in my mind and then reason about them. I’m quite good at it. I’ve written papers about it in fancy journals and everything. But I cannot keep track of this shit. I can not follow any path of reasoning through this mess, regardless of any conceits, fudge-factors or straight up dimwitted logic blindness. There is just no way to render this position in a tractable number of dimensions.

I know we know this and my frustration is kind of abstract. But there are children who are being THE OPPOSITE OF HELPED. I don’t know what to do about it because every attempt is scooted into the TERF bin before anyone has bothered thinking about it.

We didn’t have this problem when we were complaining about religion or homeopathy, did we? There was always a bloc of people who couldn’t be turned, a bunch of (as we leaned, mostly obnoxious) people on our side, a few fence-sitters who could occasionally be turned and a lot of places to feel smug about our skepticism.

We knew where we were in those days. We skeptics turned out to be proper arseholes for the most part but we could probably do with a bit more old-skool randi-ish skepticism about the place. Only without the misogyny. And the bullying.

Ah fuck it, I have no idea what to do. But I hate it that children are becoming weapons in a battleground absolutely nobody understands.

A rival account

Jan 20th, 2019 5:21 pm | By

The smiling kid in the video has given a statement about what happened, one which I gather is corroborated by other, longer videos.

I am the student in the video who was confronted by the Native American protestor. I arrived at the Lincoln Memorial at 4:30 p.m. I was told to be there by 5:30 p.m., when our busses were due to leave Washington for the trip back to Kentucky. We had been attending the March for Life rally, and then had split up into small groups to do sightseeing.

When we arrived, we noticed four African American protestors who were also on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I am not sure what they were protesting, and I did not interact with them. I did hear them direct derogatory insults at our school group.

They are apparently part of a group well known to people in DC, kind of the way Hari Krishna people used to be well known, only less benign.

The protestors said hateful things. They called us “racists,” “bigots,” “white crackers,” “faggots,” and “incest kids.” They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would “harvest his organs.” I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear.

Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group. The chants are commonly used at sporting events.

Ok – but a lot of them were wearing the god damn MAGA caps. Those things stand for something, and it’s not a benign something. School spirit chants in MAGA caps give off a different vibe from school spirit chants not in MAGA caps. That probably has a lot to do with why his smile looked provocative. But, yes, gullibility probably also has something to do with it.

At no time did I hear any student chant anything other than the school spirit chants. I did not witness or hear any students chant “build that wall” or anything hateful or racist at any time. Assertions to the contrary are simply false. Our chants were loud because we wanted to drown out the hateful comments that were being shouted at us by the protestors.

After a few minutes of chanting, the Native American protestors, who I hadn’t previously noticed, approached our group. The Native American protestors had drums and were accompanied by at least one person with a camera.

The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

I never interacted with this protestor. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me. We had already been yelled at by another group of protestors, and when the second group approached I was worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers.

I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.

Fair enough, but it’s also true that he and his (all male) classmates were there to advocate for taking away women’s right to make decisions about their own bodies. They’re not all that benevolent. I realize they’ve been trained into it, but still, that’s what they were there for.

I cannot speak for everyone, only for myself. But I can tell you my experience with Covington Catholic is that students are respectful of all races and cultures. We also support everyone’s right to free speech.

But they don’t respect women’s rights over their own bodies.

On the other hand if he’s telling the truth then Nathan Phillips lied when he (NP) said the kid blocked his escape. Not cool.

Can’t agree with you there, Mike

Jan 20th, 2019 4:53 pm | By

Oh go put your head under a truck wheel, Pence.

In a Sunday interview with CBS News, Vice President Mike Pence likened President Donald Trump to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sure, don’t you remember how King clamored for a Wall? A Wall keeping black kids out of white schools? A Wall keeping black people from sitting at the Woolworth’s lunch counter? A Wall keeping black people out of white neighborhoods? A Wall keeping all the good jobs for white people and the ones that promise hard labor at low pay for black people? Wasn’t that a time.

“And honestly,” he opined, “the hearts and minds of the American people are thinking a lot today about [this] being the weekend we remember the life and work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

“One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King was, ‘Now is the time to make real the promises of Democracy,’” Pence continued. “You think of how he changed America, he inspired us to change through the legislative process, to become a more perfect union. That’s exactly what President Trump is calling on the Congress to do, come to the table in a spirit of good faith.”

And agree to build a giant Wall to keep brown people out of White Man’s Country.

A condition

Jan 20th, 2019 4:34 pm | By

This seems strange. It’s an entry on the NHS website, under the subhead Conditions, for Gender Dysphoria. Most of the conditions under that subhead are quite medical – you know, sciencey. The GD one isn’t so much.

Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity. It’s sometimes known as gender incongruence.

Biological sex is assigned at birth, depending on the appearance of the genitals. Gender identity is the gender that a person “identifies” with or feels themselves to be.

That, for instance. Notice the scare quotes on “identifies” – yes quite, so why use it? Identifying with something isn’t a medical term. What it means to identify with a gender is hotly contested and not a settled scientific or technical description.

This mismatch between sex and gender identity can lead to distressing and uncomfortable feelings that are called gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is a recognised medical condition, for which treatment is sometimes appropriate. It’s not a mental illness.

Recognised by whom? Medical condition in what sense? How can it be confirmed or falsified? How is it not a mental illness? How is “identifying as” anything but mental?

It’s just…weird, seeing all this politicized, contentious, dubious stuff on a governmental information site.

The first signs of gender dysphoria can appear at a very young age. For example, a child may refuse to wear typical boys’ or girls’ clothes, or dislike taking part in typical boys’ or girls’ games and activities.

Well there you go then. Little Sally likes to climb trees and hates dresses, therefore she has a medical condition called Gender Dysphoria. They’re from the government and they’re here to help.

Look over there

Jan 20th, 2019 1:06 pm | By

Lawyers and tv explainers Joyce Vance and Mimi Rocah explain what Rudy Giuliani is up to. (Spoiler: it’s not lawyering.)

During an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night, Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, seemed to acknowledge that there was collusion between one or more people involved in the Trump campaign and Russia — but just not involving his client, President Trump. Giuliani, who, along with Trump, has spent the last year telling the public that there has been no collusion, suddenly shifted gears and claimed he “never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign” only that there was “no collusion” on the part of “the president of the United States.”

Now why would he do that. Hmm. Oh, I know! If there is about to be news that there was collusion.

Let’s be clear, Giuliani’s conversation with Cuomo does not represent a subtle, nuanced shift in position. This is an admission by the president’s lawyer that when the president said “no collusion” and when he himself claimed there was no collusion by anyone, let alone “the top four or five people in the campaign,” they were not telling the truth.

Of course, if the position had always been that maybe there was collusion, but Trump wasn’t involved, the response to the special counsel’s investigation would have been to fully cooperate. Any rational leader in this position would want to know who the bad actors were in his or her campaign. But that was not the response, because that has not been the position — until now.

Which seems surprising in a former prosecutor, but Giuliani isn’t wearing his lawyer hat these days.

Giuliani is technically Trump’s lawyer. But the strategy he has been running since he joined the team in April 2018 is a political one, not a legal one. None of what he does is meant to convince a judge or a jury. It is meant to confuse the issues, to inoculate people against shocking news before it arrives, and to retain the president’s good standing with his base.

He’s not doing law, he’s doing PR, using his lawyer hat to make it more convincing. Nothing sleazy there at all.

Giuliani’s “defense strategy” for Trump has morphed over time, in response to evidence he and Trump’s other legal advisors could not refute, from 1) there were no contacts with Russians during the campaign, to 2) there were no election-related contacts with the Russians, to 3) there may have been contacts but it wasn’t collusion, to 4) collusion isn’t a crime, to 5) even if there was collusion and even if it was a crime, Trump himself didn’t participate or know anything about it.

Which would be sort of funny, if Trump weren’t…you know.