Notes and Comment Blog

Trump’s Navy

Jun 1st, 2019 6:04 pm | By

Jim Wright was disgusted.

According to the Wall Street Journal, in preparation for Trump’s visit to Japan, the White House wanted to ensure USS John McCain would not be visible to the so-called Commander-in-Chief during his visit to USS Wasp.

The McCain is undergoing repairs following its collision last year, a collision caused by gross incompetence of the ships officers and which killed seven Sailors. The White House was afraid Trump would be upset if he saw the ship’s name, because he hated John McCain, but since the ship is damaged and can’t be moved they had to come up with a way to make sure that didn’t happen. So, the Navy ordered a tarp hung over the ship’s transom to hide its designation. And the ship’s crew were ordered to remove any coverings from the ship that bore its name. Then they were given the day off, so they wouldn’t be around for Trump’s visit.

This is hands down, one of the most despicable and dishonorable acts I’ve ever witnessed from US Navy leadership, and I’ve seen some pretty shitty things from the senior ranks. Hell, I was on active duty during Tailhook and the USS Iowa Investigations and I wouldn’t have believed anything could be more dishonorable than those events.

I don’t know how any Sailor assigned to McCain could ever again set foot on her — knowing that their Commander-in-Chief despises them and their Admiral is so ashamed of them that he would hide them from the president’s visit. I can’t imagine how any commander could ever expect morale to be anything but a disaster and the ship to be anything but the bastard of the fleet. If I was her crew, I’d have to wonder if maybe the best thing that could have happened was she went down after the collision, buried at sea. I can’t imagine the command environment onboard that poor ship.

Any real Navy officer would have told the White House to go fuck itself. The admirals should have handed the phone to a Chief Warrant Officer if they didn’t have the balls to do it themselves.

Every flag officer who was involved in compliance with this cowardly decision should be stripped of rank and cashiered. They are unfit for command.

This isn’t my Navy.

I don’t know who these cowards are.

But we’ll always have Fox.

Enough about you

Jun 1st, 2019 4:39 pm | By

What happened here?

What caused The University of Iowa’s Women’s Studies Program to become the Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies Program?

They narrate the history, briefly, but they don’t explain the reason.

The Women’s Studies Program was established at The University of Iowa in 1974 and is one of the first programs in the United States. Our initial strength in joint appointments in the social sciences made the program unique within an interdisciplinary field most often drawn from the humanities. Our recent appointments give us strength in both social sciences and the humanities and enable us to continue to develop the breadth of interdisciplinary strength we believe to be the cornerstone of a strong gender, women’s and sexuality studies program. Certainly, the interdisciplinary nature of the program evokes strong support from faculty and students who consider themselves part of the Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies community even though their ties are informal and their rewards intrinsic.

In 2000, Women’s Studies gained departmental status, and in 2010, the Iowa State Board of Regents approved our proposal to unite with the existing Sexuality Studies Program and become the new Department of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies (GWSS).  We offer a major and minor in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies, and a graduate certificate that can be combined with a disciplinary graduate degree.  Our department has grown dramatically in the last 15 years. Starting with only one half-time faculty member, the Department now has sixteen faculty with joint appointments.

Ok, but why did Women’s Studies decide to unite with the existing Sexuality Studies Program and become the new Department of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies? Why can’t there just be departments and bookstore shelves and politics about women any more? Who decided women weren’t enough and had to be supplemented with “gender” and “sexuality studies”?

The latter is especially creepy because it seems to buy into that background idea that sex is about women and women are about sex, in other words, a male view of women and what women are for. In advertising men are there to look manly and strong and fond of fishing or driving or fixing the roof, while women are there to look fuck-ready. Why would universities mirror that kind of thinking?

The graduate program page may help us understand.

Historically, the fields of Women’s Studies and Sexuality Studies have consisted of scholars trained in one of the traditional disciplines who developed a specialization in the study of women, gender, or sexuality.  Our current faculty configuration reflects this history. In the last generation, however, Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies has matured as a discipline in its own right, with its own specialized graduate education, methodologies, theoretical frameworks, and “canon” of scholarly literature. The discipline now engages in deep study of intersectionality: that is, it takes as the center of its investigation the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and class.

In other words, they have embraced the common mistake of thinking that intersectionality means women aren’t allowed to focus on women’s issues while being well aware that gender, sexuality, race, and class also matter; that instead women have to talk about gender, sexuality, race, and class at all times, because women qua women just aren’t really oppressed enough.

Or am I wrong? Does the African American Studies Department say the same kind of thing? Let’s look.

African American Studies examines the shared experiences of African-descended people throughout the diaspora. Drawing on a rich tradition of scholarship, teaching, and civic engagement, the faculty introduce students to the foundations of African American Studies (AAS) and collaborates with them to develop projects and analyze information that leads to new intellectual perspectives. The African American Studies major involves three core areas of study:  history, religion, and the diaspora; literature and performing arts; and media, politics, and social institutions.

This interdisciplinary unit draws on faculty from many academic departments, including American Studies, Communication Studies, English, History, Journalism & Mass Communication, Religious Studies, Rhetoric, Sociology, Theatre Arts, and Women’s Studies.

No. No it doesn’t. Not a word about intersectionality, nor has its name been changed or its subject matter expanded.

Women are just never enough. Sad.

We’re not going back to coat hangers

Jun 1st, 2019 3:52 pm | By

Illinois is taking care of business.

A bill that establishes a “fundamental right” for women to get an abortion in Illinois cleared the state Senate late Friday night, sending the sweeping measure to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who already has signaled his support.

As the clock approached midnight Friday, the Senate voted 34-20 in favor of the abortion legislation, which comes amid an increased sense of urgency among advocates looking to protect abortion access as a series of states have passed laws essentially banning the practice.

Laws which the Supreme Court will uphold in part or in full, thus taking us back to the pre-Roe days when a few states allowed abortion but most did not. This is going to happen.

The bill establishes the “fundamental right” of a women to have an abortion and states that a “fertilized egg, embryo or fetus does not have independent rights.” It repeals the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, doing away with provisions for spousal consent, waiting periods, criminal penalties for physicians who perform abortions and other restrictions on facilities where abortions are performed.

“There is nothing more intrinsic to freedom than bodily autonomy,” said Democratic Sen. Toi Hutchinson of Olympia Fields.

Bush said she and other supporters of the measure have faced threats.

“We’re not going back,” Bush said. “We’re not going back to coat hangers, we’re not going back to dying. We’re not going back. And I am proud to say Illinois is a beacon. For women’s rights, for human rights.”

Other states not so much.


Jun 1st, 2019 12:53 pm | By

Play it.

It’s not subtext any more

Jun 1st, 2019 12:04 pm | By

Department of There Are Sick Fuckers Out There:

What is the “it” that leads to violence, medical mistreatment, and suicide? I guess it’s fanatical TERFitude that slows the progress of normalization of trans and nb people. So, women arguing that however marginalized trans people may be, it still doesn’t follow that men are literally in every sense women, and that women too are marginalized and abused and need to be able to continue to name that oppression – arguing that leads to violence, medical mistreatment, and suicide? Is that right? What is the chain of causation? Do the kind of people who are violent toward trans people spend a lot of time following feminist arguments? Is there any evidence that they do? Any at all?

But never mind, the hipster rebbe has bigger accusations to make.

So there it is spelled out, which is unusual. The hipster rebbe is saying that feminist women are “pursuing” trans people in order to kill them or do harm, and that therefore it is “permissible to stop them by any means necessary,” which of course includes murder. This hipster dude is saying it’s permissible to murder feminist women who argue that women need to be able to keep the word “women” to describe ourselves and the subordination we are subject to. He’s saying go ahead and kill us, because it’s “permissible.”

Judicial Branch? Wozzat?

Jun 1st, 2019 11:37 am | By

So now the Executive Branch is defying the Judicial Branch as well as Congress. That’s a dictatorship.

Federal prosecutors on Friday declined to make public transcripts of recorded conversations between Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador to the United States in December 2016, despite a judge’s order.

Prosecutors also failed to release an unredacted version of portions of the Mueller report related to Flynn that the judge had ordered be made public.

The government’s unusual response came after U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in Washington ordered earlier in May that the Justice Department make public various materials related to the case, including transcripts of any audio recordings of Flynn, such as his conversations with Russian officials.

An “unusual response” indeed. “Authoritarian” is a more specific descriptor.

Sullivan ordered the transcripts of Flynn’s conversations released two weeks ago after The Washington Post filed a motion seeking the release of redacted and sealed documents in the case. The Post argued that the public deserved to know more about the Trump adviser’s role in key events and the information he shared with investigators.

It’s not as if we’re just some prurient neighbors wanting to know all the gossip. We have to decide how to vote and whether or not to bombard Congress with messages. We’re not outsiders here.

Another nasty woman

Jun 1st, 2019 11:27 am | By

Trump is preparing for his unwelcome visit to the UK by saying words.

Donald Trump has backed Boris Johnson to be the next prime minister, in an interview with the Sun in which he also described Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, as “nasty”.

Johnson has yet to respond to Trump’s comments, but the frontrunner in the Tory leadership race has not always been complimentary of the US president.

In 2015, when Trump claimed there were “no-go areas” in London where police feared for their lives because of a threat posed by Muslims, Johnson said it showed “quite stupefying ignorance that makes him frankly unfit to hold the office of president of the United States”.

It does, yes, and yet there he is. We are rethinking many things.

During the state visit, the president, his wife, Melania, and his four adult children are expected to meet Prince Harry as well as Prince William and his wife, Kate. Meghan is expected to stay home with Archie.

Trump referred to the American-born Duchess of Sussex as “nasty” over comments she made in 2016 threatening to move to Canada if Trump won the presidency.

“I didn’t know that she was nasty,” he said when informed of her criticism.

Well, that will be pleasant for Harry when he has to meet the horrible toad.

On Johnson, Trump said: “I like him. I have always liked him. I don’t know that he is going to be chosen, but I think he is a very good guy, a very talented person. He has been very positive about me and our country.”

Another piece of evidence that he’s far too stupid to hold the office of president of the United States: this total failure to hide the fact that he evaluates people first of all on whether they flatter him or not. Boris is a very talented person because he flatters Trump, Trump says, to a reporter.

Blame Mexico

May 31st, 2019 4:32 pm | By

Trump has a weird new cunning plan.

President Trump is moving to impose escalating tariffs on Mexican imports to force that government to take a harder line to stem the flow of Central American migrants into the United States.

So, using tariffs to make the Mexican government keep its people prisoner as opposed to using tariffs in a trade dispute. Isn’t that kind of…nuts? Apart from the whole tariffs a really bad idea thing, I mean? Aren’t they supposed to be about trade and nothing else?

Trump has said he is imposing the tax to punish Mexico for not doing enough to stop illegal immigration. Tens of thousands of Central Americans, mostly from Guatemala and Honduras and usually traveling with smugglers, journey through Mexico each month. U.S. officials say Mexico is not doing enough to secure its southern border with Guatemala or to crack down on the private bus companies that ferry migrants through the country, usually accompanied by their smugglers.

But tariffs aren’t supposed to be a way to punish countries for just any old damn thing, are they? Did I skip school the day they taught that?

The White House has yet to explain exactly how driving up the cost of Mexican goods could stem the flow of migration. Many experts say they believe the tariffs could actually have the opposite effect: If the tariffs damage the Mexican economy, more people may try to cross the border in search of work in the United States.

I guess Trump just enjoys punishing.

Carthusian gladiators go to school

May 31st, 2019 3:29 pm | By

Steve Bannon meets Catholic reaction meets Danish bank meets fraudulent signature – and then Godzilla appeared! No but really:

The Italian government has delivered a potentially fatal blow to Steve Bannon’s plans to transform a medieval monastery near Rome into a training academy for the far-right.

It makes sense, doesn’t it. You want conservative? I’ll give you conservative: how about a medieval fucking monastery?! That’s right! I said medieval monastery!

But then it all fell apart.

Italy’s cultural heritage ministry announced on Friday (May 31) that it would revoke a lease granted to Bannon after reports of fraud in the competitive tender process. The former Breitbart chief and aide to US president Donald Trump was reportedly paying €100,000 ($110,000) per year to rent the 13th Century Carthusian monastery, but now will have to search for another spot.

The Italian state allowed the conservative Catholic organization Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI) to use the building early last year. Bannon happens to be a trustee of the institute, and planned to convert the space into a “gladiator school for cultural warriors,”where students would learn philosophy, theology, history, and economics, and receive political training from the former Trump aide himself.

Can’t you just see Bannon gladiating?

Related image

Yep, that’s Bannon all right.

But earlier this month, Italian newspaper Repubblica reported that a letter used to guarantee the lease was forged. The letter had the signature of an employee of Danish bank Jyske, but the bank said that employee hadn’t worked there for years, and called the letter fraudulent.

Oops. Oh well, he didn’t want to wear sandals anyway.

She stopped climbing trees

May 31st, 2019 11:43 am | By

Today’s TERF outrage is the NY Times itself, daring to hint ever so gently that binders might not be all that beneficial to the people who wear them.

Binders are not classified as medical devices, but some doctors and parents have concerns about their safety. (Common-sense binding guidelines include: Don’t use Ace bandages or duct tape, don’t bind at night, limit a binder to eight to 10 hours a day, don’t shower in it, don’t wear two, and don’t wear one that is too small.)

Hmm. Doesn’t all that, taken together, make it appear that wearing them at all isn’t a particularly good idea?

For transgender or gender-nonconforming teens who cannot afford binders, which start at around $30, there are free binder programs. FTM Essentials runs an application and lottery for those age 24 and under. Point of Pride, a transgender nonprofit based in Eugene, Ore., ships binders free to people of any age who express need and has sent over 4,000 nationally and internationally.

Does anybody ship Jimmy Choo shoes to people who express need?

A 17-year-old in Phoenix who binds daily and asked to be identified only by the initials J.M. said he started binding at 13. To maximize the compression, he bought a binder one size too small and wore it at night. “My arms and hands would feel numb and tingly off and on,” he emailed, “from how tight the material was around that area.” When he removed the binder, he found his skin “severely chafed and raw.”

He added: “The divots left behind from those times took months to heal. In all honesty, I couldn’t have cared less about the damage being created, just that my chest was flat.”

Healthy? Empowering? Liberating?

Though there have been no studies on binding and adolescent health, because of ethical concerns about research on minors, 2017 study by students at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Boston University School of Medicine, and the Boston University School of Public Health looked at 1,800 transmasculine adults with a median age of 23. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they had bound for over a year, over half bound an average of seven days a week, and 66.6 percent were interested in top surgery. An additional 13.1 percent had already had the surgery.

Participants reported a statistically significant improvement in mood after binding. They also reported decreased gender dysphoria, anxiety and depression. As for physical effects, 97.2 percent of the group that bound reported at least one negative physical symptom, such as back pain, overheating, chest pain and shortness of breath. Other symptoms included numbness, bad posture and lightheadedness.

I wonder if there’s any chance at all that a statistically significant improvement in mood could be achieved by explaining that breasts don’t determine personality.

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not have an official position on binding. But in a policy statement last year on care of transgender and gender-diverse children and adolescents, it advocated a “gender-affirmative care model,” where providers convey that “variations in gender identity and expression are normal aspects of human diversity.”

But some worry that parental efforts to affirm a young person’s identity by supporting binding may contribute to self-hate. Jane Wheeler, a co-founder of an organization called Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics, which examines standards of care for gender-variant children and youth, said binding “feeds into a normalization of body hatred, that some forms of body hatred are O.K.”

Like for instance the kind that interferes with breathing and physical activity.

Brie Jontry is the spokeswoman for 4thWaveNow, which describes itself as “a community of parents and others concerned about the medicalization of gender atypical youth.” Her daughter, now 15, told Ms. Jontry that she was trans at 11 and wanted a binder. Ms. Jontry bought her a running bra, but her daughter felt it was not constricting enough, refusing to leave the house until she got a binder.

The first one she tried, at age 12, was too tight, Ms. Jontry thought, so they returned it and ordered a larger one. Her daughter, who was home-schooled, bound at home and every time she went out. She stopped running, rock-climbing, backpacking and swimming.

“We would go for our evening walk and she would get winded and dizzy,” Ms. Jontry said. “She stopped climbing trees. She stopped doing things where any degree of upper-body flexibility was important.”

Just like all those Victorian women in the tight corsets! So very affirmative.

The merits and the substance

May 31st, 2019 10:42 am | By

My, that’s cynical.

Attorney General William P. Barr said in an interview broadcast Friday that he returned to the Justice Department to protect the institution during a period of “intense partisan feeling” and is not bothered by criticism from Democrats about how he’s handling the job.

To protect the institution? But…he’s not. He’s not doing that. That’s not what he’s doing. He’s protecting Trump. He’s protecting Trump who shits on the institution every chance he gets.

Barr, 69, who served in the George H.W. Bush administration, said he knew it would “only be a matter of time” before he was attacked for his actions, given he is serving during a “crazy, hyperpartisan period of time.”

“Nowadays, people don’t care about the merits and the substance,” he said. “Everything is gauged by politics. And . . . that’s antithetical to the way the department runs, and any attorney general in this period is going to end up losing a lot of political capital, and I realize that, and that’s one of the reasons that I ultimately was persuaded that I should take it on, because I think at my stage in life, it really doesn’t make any difference.”

But that’s nonsense. It gets everything backward. Trump is a hateful immoral bad man, who does harm to people and then brags about it. It’s only “politics” that prevents the Republicans from admitting that.

“I think one of the ironies today is that people are saying that it’s President Trump that’s shredding our institutions,” Barr said. “I really see no evidence of that. From my perspective, the idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him and you know, really changing the norms on the grounds that we have to stop this president, that is where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring.”

Well, one, he wasn’t “democratically elected.” He lost the “democratic” part. He won in the Electoral College, which is calculatedly not democratic. But two, and more to the point, we do have to stop this president, and he has provided countless more reasons to do so since he was inaugurated.

If Barr is so keen to protect the institutions, especially the Justice Department, then what about Trump’s constant libelous lies about Comey, the FBI, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Mueller, Sessions, Rosenstein? What about his and Tillerson’s gutting of the State Department? What about putting industry lobbyists in charge of the EPA? What about those merits and that substance?

Collecting stones

May 31st, 2019 9:13 am | By

That absurd “the TERFs have FORCED me to quit philosophy” piece is, somewhat to my surprise, getting a lot of attention today, especially (it seems) from philosophers. I was thinking yesterday it would be just another rant that few people would notice, if only because the quality is so dire. But Brian Leiter shares information that indicates otherwise:

A number of philosophers have written me about this noxious, and I suspect fraudulent, display, and I apologize that I can’t respond to everyone as I’m participating in an intellectual event, and so trying to avoid engaging with the usual social media grandstanding and narcissism as much as possible. But I will share one set of comments from a philosopher elsewhere, since it makes clear the absurdity of this essay:

In what amounts to an AI-driven performative contradiction of its thesis, I’ve seen numerous philosophers on my Facebook feed share the article as something with immense moral import, with exactly zero of my hundreds of philosopher Fb friends offering even the mildest criticism. (One friend of a friend tried to do so, and was promptly told to take it elsewhere.)

I’m staggered by that. The piece is not even credible as being written by a grad student in philosophy. It reads like a typical social media-style rant. It has no trace of argument. It shows no sign of any philosophy training at all.

It’s too invasion of the body snatchers for me. Have they all lost their minds? Have they all been replaced by pods?

The note to Brian continues:

All this praise is for an article that,

(i) Frames as a “hateful” and “phobic” practice of “debating my existence” any philosophical discussion of gender which “does not proceed from [the] initial assumption … that trans people are the gender they say they are” (though NB many gender-critical types insist that they are concerned with sex, not gender, and are happy to let people be what they say in the latter respect as long as this doesn’t mean that they can share prisons and rape shelters with people of the opposite sex) — including under this umbrella not only the infamous Kathleen Stock (and Becky Tuvel I think??), but also yourself and Justin Weinberg, i.e. he of “moral resisters” fame; and further

(ii) Calls for a total no-platforming of gender-critical philosophers and philosophical arguments in journals, at conferences, and on blogs and social media.

Striking, isn’t it. And philosophers themselves are cheering this on? What is wrong with them?

Philosophers sharing this article, which in my feed have included several who were on hiring committees for departments I interviewed at in the past, have made it quite clear to everyone in the audience that it is people like me who are not welcome in the profession — that my existence as a non-hateful or -phobic scholar who thinks that “gender identity” might be a pseudo-concept, or that biological sex isn’t a matter of inner feeling, is very much up for debate — and that even the mildest refusal to toe the party line on gender means being framed as the moral equivalent of a white supremacist.

One such philosopher, on Twitter as opposed to Facebook:

A “heartbreaking personal essay”? A self-obsessed hyperbolic attack on feminist philosophers by someone with no philosophical training is more like it. But Ichikawa isn’t some random woke bro, he teaches philosophy at UBC (BC=British Columbia).

And apparently there are many more like him, adding to the pile of stones to throw at Kathleen Stock.

What we will allow you to call yourselves under the new dispensation

May 31st, 2019 8:15 am | By

Well, that’s…modest.

ONLY because of TERFs

May 30th, 2019 5:50 pm | By

And then this pile of fetid dingo’s kidneys by “t philosopher”:

To the academic philosophy community:

I am a trans woman and a philosophy grad student, and I have decided to leave the discipline and seek a non-academic job because of transphobia in the academy.

t p has been at it a long time, t p has published research, t p has taught undergraduate classes, t p is the real deal.

I have not chosen to quit philosophy because I have fallen out of love with the work, or I want something else to do with my life. I am leaving academia ONLY because of TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) — so called “gender critical feminists” — and those who amplify their voices.

Blame the women. If you get a chance, burn them.

I am writing this letter because I want people to know that there are real, concrete, macro-level consequences to allowing hate speech to proliferate in philosophy under the guise of academic discussion. In sharing my pain and anger at being forced out of a career that I once loved, I hope to stir some of you to greater action.

Of course he does. He hopes to stir some of them to do even more shunning and bullying of women who don’t agree that men who say they are women are women. He hopes to stir them to banish those women from academic philosophy altogether. By the way, saying that men who say they are women are not women is not hate speech, it’s just stating obvious facts.

The past two years have taken a toll on my mental health because of the amount of hateful discourse regarding gender identity and “biological sex”, starting with the Hypatia/Tuvel affair, and most recently concerning the actions of Kathleen Stock and her co-conspirators, Brian Leiter, and to a lesser degree, Justin Weinberg.

Notice that “t philosopher” is anonymous, and that that doesn’t stop him naming other people in hopes of getting them shunned or expelled or both.

I think that transphobia is particularly pernicious and harmful to trans philosophers (as compared to trans folks in other non-academic careers) for a few reasons. Firstly, a significant amount of professional socialization occurs on social media among philosophers. There is an opportunity cost to professional philosophers who choose not to use social media. Philosophers who stay off Facebook and Twitter miss out on job openings, conference opportunities, and networking. However, social media is also where gender identity discourse about trans people happens. An article will appear on Medium or Daily Nous, professional philosophers will start sharing and talking about it, and then the article and related comments will appear in my feed, letting me know that once again my colleagues are debating my existence.

No they’re not. Saying a man is not a woman is not “debating his existence.” The man continues to exist despite not being a woman.

It goes on in the same vein. Stress, vulnerability, anger, pain, feeling unsafe. I wonder if he’s ever given a second’s thought to women who feel those things routinely because of the conditions of life for women.

I can easily imagine running into Kathleen Stock or some other transphobic philosopher at the APA or an invited talk. It is reasonable to consider the possibility of there being a transphobic talk at the APA or another professional event, in light of Stock’s recent invitation to the Aristotelian Society. How can I be expected to attend professional events where people deny and question such an integral part of my identity and act like that is tolerable or normal?

Won’t somebody please do something about Kathleen Stock so that this guy can have everything his own way?

How can I be expected to attend professional events and participate in a professional culture where others allow this to happen? As a trans person, I deal with oppression on a daily basis. It is not hyperbole to say that I am fighting for survival.

raises hand Yes it is! Hyperbole is exactly what it is! The whole piece is hyperbolic.

Finally, because of the very subject matter that constitutes philosophy, I am expected to tolerate constant public discourse about the nature of my gender identity, whether I “count” as a woman, and what rights I am due in virtue of my gender. I am expected to tolerate public discourse regarding the things that demonstrate other people’s respect for me as a human being. I am expected to tolerate questions about fundamental aspects of my being, questions about my legitimacy as a person.

My gender is not up for debate. I am a woman.

But if he’s telling the truth about being a trans woman (and who knows, since who knows who t philosopher is) then he’s not a woman. He doesn’t get to issue a unilateral order that his claimed “gender” is not up for debate. Even putting it in bold doesn’t make it true or binding on other people.

Then there’s a list of bolded instructions for all the ways everyone is to expel wrong-thinking women from academic philosophy.

I have strong doubts that t p is a philosophy graduate student at all.

H/t Lady Mondegreen

The sailors were turned away

May 30th, 2019 12:49 pm | By

Ahhhhh now that’s worse. The Trump people did more than just tell the Navy to hide the name McCain.

Although Navy officials insisted they did not hide the ship, the John S. McCain, they did give all of the sailors aboard the day off on Tuesday as Mr. Trump visited Yokosuka Naval Base.

Two Navy sailors, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said that the McCain sailors were not invited to hear Mr. Trump speak that day aboard the amphibious assault ship Wasp, while sailors from other American warships at the base were.

A Navy service member based on Yokosuka said that all of the American warships in the harbor were invited to send 60 to 70 sailors to hear Mr. Trump’s address, with the exception of the McCain. When several sailors from the McCain showed up anyway, wearing their uniforms with the ship’s insignia, they were turned away, the service member said.

That’s disgusting. It’s mean, and small, and taking a small petty bratty grudge out on underlings doing a hard job far from home. Big bloated greedy hateful Trump turning sailors away because they’re from a ship named after McCain ffs! He says it wasn’t his order but it was an order by people who know what a bloated greedy hateful turd of a human he is.

Joyce Vance said this earlier today and she’s not wrong. There is just so much.

Specify the rights then

May 30th, 2019 12:05 pm | By

This question about rights again…

That SNP Students tweet –

At SNP students, we have one simple belief. Trans rights are human rights. No ifs, no buts.

It’s a simple belief, yes, so simple that we don’t even know what it means.

What, exactly, are trans rights? Specifically trans rights? SNP Students says human rights, but if that really is what they mean there’s no issue. The controversy isn’t because trans people want the same rights everybody else has, because no one questions their right to that. The controversy is because trans people want new rights special to trans people, that in fact, however loudly they deny it, conflict with the existing rights of non-trans people, especially women.

What are we talking about when we talk about rights? In the most general terms? We’re talking about foundational principles like

  • Xs are not inferior to Ys
  • Xs should not be subordinated by Ys
  • Xs should not be persecuted or ostracized by Ys
  • Xs should not face systematic disadvantages because they are Xs

But what are trans rights? Judging by the current dogma, the core right is to be “validated” as the alter-sex and to be “included” as such by all members of the alter-sex.

Is that a right like the rights we’re used to? Can you get to that right via the foundational principles? Did I omit any relevant foundational principles?

How about the right not to be ostracized by the dominant group? Can we get there via that route?

I don’t think so, because the ostracism in question is broad. People have a right not to be ostracized from the public square and from public goods and a shared public life. People don’t have a right to be welcomed into every single category and grouping there is in all circumstances and with no questions asked. White people don’t have a right to be welcomed into black activist groups, for instance; some groups may welcome them and others may not and everybody’s rights remain intact.

Is there a right to be taken at face value? A right to be believed without question no matter what you claim? A right to be embraced no matter how abrasive and domineering your behavior is?

I don’t think so.

Define “right”

May 30th, 2019 11:21 am | By

Use loaded titles much?

Transgender women’s right to use Hampstead Heath ponds acknowledged

There definitely is a definite right for men who claim to be women to use the women’s pond at Hampstead Heath. Definitely.

They do it all over again in the subhead.

The rights of transgender women to use a women-only pond in north London have been acknowledged in a new policy.

What other “rights” are going to be “acknowledged” in this peremptory way? The rights of men to take over all women’s teams, win all women’s prizes, be 1-10 on all-women shortlists, be top officers of all women’s organizations, talk over women at every opportunity, require sexual access on demand, impregnate at will, walk away at will while refusing to pay child support?

Just wondering.

Not closed

May 30th, 2019 10:38 am | By

He’s both stupid and a lunatic.

He’s flailing at Mueller now.

President Trump on Thursday attacked Robert S. Mueller III as “totally conflicted” and “a true never-Trumper” and claimed that the special counsel would have brought charges against him if he had any evidence — a characterization directly at odds with what Mueller said in a public statement Wednesday.

Mueller said very very clearly on Wednesday that bringing charges against Trump was not an option – his words. It was not an option because of Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted. It’s becoming ever more horrifyingly clear that that policy is a disastrous mistake, but policy it is. Trump is lying when he says Mueller would have brought charges against him if he had any evidence.

Bill O’Reilly says Trump called him late last night to tell him the same stupid pack of lies.

Trump’s attacks came in morning tweets and later while speaking to reporters at the White House. In one of his tweets, he also seemingly acknowledged for the first time that Russia had helped him get elected in 2016 — but he strongly pushed back against that notion while talking to reporters as he prepared to leave Washington.

He can’t be held to it, because he’s too dense to know what he’s saying.

Trump returned to Twitter several hours later and continued opining on the Mueller investigation.

He said the Mueller had come to the Oval Office in 2017 with an interest of returning to his previous job as FBI director.

“I told him NO,” Trump wrote. “The next day he was named Special Counsel – A total Conflict of Interest. NICE!”

But that’s another lie. Mueller wasn’t trying to get the director job back.

A later tweet:

Oh, well, if you put it that way.

Make the woman crawl

May 30th, 2019 9:24 am | By

Another apology extorted:

The vice-provost for education at Imperial College London, Professor Simone Buitendijk, has apologised for sharing anti-trans content on social media.

Buitendijk first offered her apologies to the university’s student newspaper Felix last Friday (May 10) in response to a letter by 86 members of the university’s staff and student body raising concerns about her “engagement with transphobic material and social media accounts.”

The letter referred specifically to Buitendijk following and ‘liking’ content from Twitter accounts belonging to anti-trans groups such as Transgender Trend—who campaign against supporting young trans people in their transition—and individuals.

That’s tendentiously, aka unfairly, worded. An alternative wording would be: “who campaign for supporting children and adolescents in rejecting gender stereotypes without resort to surgery or hormones.” The point is not a refusal to support young people but a disagreement about what is the best way to deal with gender nonconformity and dysphoria.

Most of the vice-provost’s social media activity relates to promoting women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, opposition to sexism and misogyny[,] and support for LGBT rights and related events such as LGBT History Month.

But a closer look at the content she engaged with revealed a certain hostility to trans rights activism.

Maybe that’s because trans rights activism is so thoroughly and aggressively misogynist and often so antagonistic to LGB rights.

Joanna Wormald, deputy editor of the Felix newspaper, collected more than 50 screenshots, spanning at least six months, attesting to the vice-provost’s social media activity.

Thank god for the Joanna Wormalds of the world, yeah?

Among the content that the vice-provost has since deleted was a tweet dated October 30 in which she shared an article from TheGuardian article titled: “UK universities struggle to deal with ‘toxic’ trans row.”

In her tweet, she wrote: “As a feminist, M.D. and child health researcher, I find the notion of sex being fluid and gender being biological, engrained and dichotomous deeply troubling. That does not contradict that as VP Education I should protect trans students’ rights. We need respectful debate.”

And that’s forbidden, is it? So forbidden that she has to be forced to delete it and apologize, and Pink News needs to report breathlessly on it as if she were a mass murderer?

There are more examples of her thought crime which to not-crazy people look like thoughtful analysis.

Josef Willsher, a third year Physics student at Imperial College, first discovered Buitendijk’s apparent support for anti-trans views in April, by accident—Twitter suggested he followed certain accounts due to Buitendijk following them.

“I wasn’t the first to notice that but I was the first to consider writing a letter. I thought as a student it was my responsibility to bring this up,” he told PinkNews.

He approached the university’s Physics LGBT Allies Network, which he had joined soon after the group was formed last year, asking for advice on how to proceed. A few days after the group began drafting the letter and looked for backers, word of their effort reached the college management, who decided to meet with the network to discuss their concerns.

Buitendijk was present at two meetings, engaging in the discussion that, at times, became “quite heated,” in Willsher’s words.

“We appreciated the quick response from college and their willingness to meet with us. It was reassuring to see how they had taken it seriously and the discussions were productive,” he said.

The student also said Buitendijk got in touch via email over the Easter weekend—which fell in between the two meetings—to express how thankful she was that they came to her and how it was important they could raise the issue.

While they agreed to a resolution, Willsher felt it was important to bring the issue to the attention of the wider community. The letter was published in the student newspaper alongside statements from the university publicly acknowledging the issue, as well as Buitendijk’s apology.

It goes on and on and on. It’s all sickening.

Not a big fan

May 30th, 2019 8:50 am | By

One of Trump’s people told the Navy to hide a warship from Trump when he was in Japan, because…

…because it is named USS John S. McCain.

Not an Onion story. Repeat, not an Onion story.

President Trump on Thursday defended as “well-meaning” a White House official who directed the Navy to obscure the warship USS John S. McCain while Trump was visiting Japan, but he said he had no advance knowledge of the action.

“I don’t know what happened. I was not involved. I would not have done that,” Trump told reporters as he was leaving the White House for Colorado, where he is scheduled to address an Air Force Academy graduation ceremony.

He “would not have done that” because he would have pitched sixteen public fits about McCain instead.

Trump, however, suggested that his disdain for the late senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) is well-known and that it was understandable that someone would try to keep a warship originally named for McCain’s father and grandfather, both Navy admirals, from his view.

“I was not a big fan of John McCain in any shape or form,” Trump said. “Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn’t like him, okay? And they were well-meaning.”

Which is to say: “Yes, I am indeed a childish petty vengeful idiot with no concept of how to act like an adult when people are watching.”

A senior White House official confirmed Wednesday that the person who issued the directive did not want the warship with the McCain name seen in photographs during Trump’s visit. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said that the president was not involved in the planning, but that the request was made to keep Trump from becoming upset.

That is, the request was made to keep Trump from becoming upset and having a huge showy tantrum in public thus humiliating the entire country for the forty millionth time.

A senior Navy official confirmed Wednesday that he was aware that someone at the White House sent a message to service officials in the Pacific requesting that the USS John McCain be kept out of the picture while the president was there. That led to photographs taken Friday of a tarp obscuring the McCain name, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

When senior Navy officials grasped what was happening, they directed Navy personnel who were present to stop, the senior official said. The tarp was removed Saturday, before Trump’s visit, he added.

Did they pack plenty of pacifiers? Was there ice cream always at the ready? Was the officer of the blanky on duty around the clock?

Trump says it’s all good.