Multiple incriminating remarks

May 12th, 2023 11:11 am | By

One good thing about Trump’s campaigning: he keeps incriminating himself.

During a town hall event on CNN Wednesday night, former President Donald Trump made multiple incriminating remarks about his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Trump’s responses will further hurt his case should Special Counsel Jack Smith charge the former president in connection with his role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol and other attempts to hold onto power unlawfully. Trump’s statements were also valuable to Fulton County DA Fani Willis in her investigation and possible prosecution.

Consider what Trump had to say about former Vice President Pence. CNN’s Kaitlan Collins pointed out that Pence has blamed Trump for endangering his life. Trump interjected with a lie. “I don’t think he was in any danger,” Trump claimed.

That is clearly false. Some of Trump’s followers erected a hangman’s gallows outside of the Capitol. And the mob chanted, “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Pence!” Shortly after the Capitol was breached, Secret Service agents had to whisk Pence away to safety (which Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Al) told Trump as it happened). Even so, the rioters came within 40 feet of the vice president.

The main reason the rioters focused their anger at Pence was because Trump repeatedly told them that the vice president had the power to alter the outcome of the election. That is where Trump’s statements Wednesday night were important from a legal perspective.

Trump stated: Pence “did something wrong. He should have put the votes back to the state legislatures. I think we would have had a different outcome, I really do.” The reason that puts the former president in legal jeopardy is because Trump’s own legal adviser (John Eastman) admitted during an Oval Office meeting that the Electoral Count Act would not allow Pence to take such action. Trump’s remarks on CNN provide additional evidence that he does not and did not care about the scope of Pence’s actual legal authority.

Trump is dumb as a stump, so he can say he didn’t know about pretty much anything, but Eisen et al. are saying that legally speaking he can’t. There’s a limit to how much you can just throw up your hands and say you had no idea.

Trump acknowledged during the Jan. 4, 2021 meeting that the vice president didn’t have the legal authority to return electoral votes back to the states. Yet, Trump still demanded that he do so (and defended that unlawful option again on CNN).

Now, Trump is Trump, and it seems more than possible that he can acknowledge that Pence doesn’t have the authority to do X and. immediately after acknowledging, order him to do X without really noticing that he’s telling Pence to commit a crime, because he really is that thick. But legally speaking that doesn’t get him off the hook…unless of course it does, because the people deciding about the hook are trumpies.

Following the attack on the Capitol, Trump wanted to say he would issue a blanket pardon of the rioters, but White House lawyers strongly objected, and no such statement was made. Suffice it to say, Trump’s remarks on CNN exceeded what any reasonable defense lawyer would advise him.

Well that was…you know…more than two years ago. Might as well be two hundred. You can’t expect Trump to keep something in mind for more than two years.

Nor does the legal harm Trump did himself stop there. He also reaffirmed that he would make the damning Jan. 2, 2021 call to Brad Raffensperger again, despite the fact that it may lead to criminal charges by Fulton County DA Fani Willis this summer (and possibly by the Justice Department as well). That is important because it shows he is unrepentant, which is an added incentive for the DA to seek accountability (not as if she needed one).

And not as if Trump is ever anything but unrepentant. He’s incapable of even pretending to be repentant.

Unfair and unlawful

May 12th, 2023 9:50 am | By

The BBC reports:

The comedy club which cancelled a Fringe show by SNP MP Joanna Cherry has reinstated the event.

The Stand had cancelled the show after staff said they were not comfortable with her views on transgender issues.

But the venue has now said the decision was “unfair and constituted unlawful discrimination against Ms Cherry”.

Ms Cherry said it was a “very welcome move by The Stand” and confirmed she will take part in August’s event as originally planned.

She did.

A win

May 12th, 2023 9:30 am | By


Now nobody do this EVER AGAIN.

Meeting with a passionate advocate

May 12th, 2023 7:16 am | By

Bev Jackson tells us about a meeting.

Who is responsible for undermining the rights of lesbians and gays at the United Nations? Why, that would be Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN’s Independent Expert for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI). “What’s that?” you say. Shouldn’t he be protecting the rights of people who are attracted to others of the same sex? Ah, but SOGI is a way of getting round that. Having an advocate for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity is a bit like having one for Veganism and Chicken Farming. It doesn’t work.

Why? Because the GI bit insists that the SO bit has to buy into the ideology of the GI bit, which means lesbians have to pretend men can be lesbians and gay men have to pretend women can be gay men. Funnily enough, that’s not always a popular mandate.

Victor is a passionate advocate of gender self-ID. He has an impressive ability to claim over and over again, with a straight face, things that are untrue…One of Victor’s favourite untruths is that international human rights law requires the introduction of gender self-ID. This completely false notion relies on a little-known document — the Yogyakarta Principles or YP — which identifies as “best practice” when it is simply an activist manifesto. 

Which also describes trans ideology. It identifies as factual when it is simply an extended fantasy.

Victor maintains there is no conflict between the rights of LGB people and those claimed under the banner of “trans rights”. Whatever definition of “trans” you choose (and there are as many as there are scandals in the SNP), this is obviously untrue. Either people born male belong on a lesbian dating site, or they don’t. Either persons born female can be in a gay men’s sauna — without revealing their little secret — or they don’t belong there. Either it is fine to say you’re only attracted to people of the same sex, or it isn’t — because saying so out loud is hurtful and makes you a transphobe or a “sexual racist”, as Nancy Kelley (somehow still CEO of Stonewall) has been known to say. In this conflict you can jump one way or the other, but you can’t say no jumping is required.

Emphasis added. Brilliant summing up.

Victor also insists — and this is his favourite mantra — that self-ID has not caused any problems in any country in the world. He has been sent pages of evidence to the contrary: abuses in prisons in countries from Ireland to Canada, explanations that data is becoming impossible to collect, abuses in women’s and girls’ sport, the self-exclusion of women of faith from vital services.

But, it seems, he’s ignored all of it. Every bit. Bev goes through a long list and he claims to be ignorant of every single item.

At this stage there was little point in being conciliatory. Years of polite requests had produced no result. So we bluntly repeated all the things we have been telling him for years. Funnily enough, he professed ignorance of all of it. “Cotton ceiling” (the difficulty trans-identifying males experience getting into lesbians’ pants)? Never heard of it. Homosexual detransitioners — surely part of his mandate in the interests of “inclusion”? Hmmm … please send details of such persons. Keira Bell, Sonia Appleby? Never heard of them. Quote from Dr Hilary Cass on lesbians who had felt pressured to transition? Silence. Had he met with Dr Cass? Didn’t want to say. GIDS clinic due to close because an NHS review found it to be unsafe? Oh, hadn’t heard. David Bell? Who’s that?

And so on. It’s maddening.

The crowd expressed no dissent

May 12th, 2023 6:37 am | By

The Times does a quick rundown of Trump’s horrors on CNN.

In little over an hour, Donald J. Trump suggested the United States should default on its debts for the first time in history, injected doubt over the country’s commitment to defending Ukraine from Russia’s invasion, dangled pardons for most of the Capitol rioters convicted of crimes, and refused to say he would abide by the results of the next presidential election.

In New Hampshire, the audience of Republicans lapped up Mr. Trump’s one-liners and slew of insults — to Ms. Collins (a “nasty person,” he jeered, echoing his old attack on Hillary Clinton), to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to E. Jean Carroll, the woman whom a jury this week found Mr. Trump liable of sexually abusing and defaming. And the crowd expressed no dissent as he again tried to rewrite the history of Jan. 6, 2021, when his supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn his election loss.

“It was a beautiful day,” Mr. Trump said.

If he becomes president again, he said, he would “most likely” pardon “a large portion” of his supporters who were convicted over their actions on Jan. 6. “They were there with love in their heart,” he said of the crowd, which he beamed had been the “largest” of his career.

We’re doomed.

More liability

May 12th, 2023 6:04 am | By

It’s interesting that Trump was found liable for defaming Jean Carroll and the next day defamed her all over again on a major news network.

Writer E Jean Carroll is considering suing Donald Trump for defamation again after the former US president made disparaging remarks about her during a televised CNN town hall just a day after he was found liable in a civil case for sexually assaulting her.

But during the Wednesday night CNN event in New Hampshire – which attracted widespread condemnation of the US broadcaster – Trump repeatedly insulted and demeaned Carroll and her experiences.

Trump said her account of a sexual assault was “fake” and a “made-up story” and referred to it as “hanky-panky”.

Meteor. Send the meteor.

He can’t see a way back for the naughty woman

May 12th, 2023 5:49 am | By

Why the Australian Liberal Party expelled Moira Deeming:

The Victorian Liberal leader, John Pesutto, says he can’t see a way back into the party for controversial MP Moira Deeming, after her colleagues voted to expel her from their party room.

Liberal MPs voted 19 to 11 to expel Deeming during a two-hour party room meeting on Friday morning, meaning she will have to serve the remaining three-and-a-half years of her term on the crossbench of the upper house of the Victorian parliament.

Her ally, upper house MP Renee Heath, who accused Pesutto of bullying last week, was also stripped of her party secretary position in a separate motion.

No bullying here, no siree!

The expulsion motion was put forward by five MPs – Roma Britnell, Wayne Farnham, Matthew Guy, Cindy McLeish and James Newbury – who alleged Deeming was “bringing discredit” on the parliamentary team by threatening legal action against Pesutto.

But Pesutto is not bringing discredit on the parliamentary team by bullying Deeming? They’re confident about that are they?

Deeming had survived an earlier expulsion push six weeks ago, put forward by Pesutto, after she spoke at an anti-trans rally that was gatecrashed by neo-Nazis, who performed the Sieg Heil salute on the front steps of parliament.

But “anti-trans” is a dishonest and malicious label for the rally and the concerns that motivated the rally. Letting women speak is “anti-trans” only if the cheerleaders for trans ideology are trying to prevent women from speaking. The rally was not an “anti-trans” rally, it was a LET WOMEN SPEAK rally. Calling it “anti-trans” is a sneaky way of nudging people to think the gender resistance wants to persecute trans people. We don’t want to persecute trans people, we want to defend and retain our own god damn rights.

No pasaran

May 12th, 2023 5:29 am | By

Of course you know this means war. [B. Bunny]

Guest post: What’s inside this toxic little nugget

May 11th, 2023 5:37 pm | By

Originally a comment by Your Name’s not Bruce? on Samantha left her keys.

This one sentence is some carefully crafted, chock-full-of DARVO, primo emotional blackmailing bullshit.:

When someone refers to another person using the wrong pronouns, especially on purpose, that can lead to that person feeling disrespected and can lead to dysphoria, exclusion and alienation.

Tough. Not my problem, really.

It’s like a trans-activist Gish Gallop that takes a lot longer to unpack and refute than it takes to utter. Still, sometimes it’s worth the effort, because it helps to lay bare the underlying ethos and assumptions of the speaker, and clarifies the role that is being thrust upon the listener. It gives you the chance to ask if this is a role you feel comfortable being saddled with? My answer is Hell no!

So let’s have a look to see exactly what’s inside this toxic little nugget.

First of all, those pronouns aren’t yours. And they aren’t “wrong.” I’m the one who gets to choose the pronouns I use to refer to you, and I will decide which ones I deem appropriate based on my perceptions of the world. I will choose the right pronouns. On purpose. If my selection displeases you, well that’s too bad. Deal. As for “disrespect,” the shoe is on the other foot. It’s disrespectful to make such demands on anyone, let alone strangers. “Hi there; I want you to lie for me. Or else I’ll accuse you of plotting trans genocide.” Now there’s a strategy guarenteed to win heartsand minds.

If your “dysphoria” is so easily triggered, then maybe you’ve got bigger problems than just my use of language, and you should seek help before dictating how others speak. Wear earplugs if you have to.

Correctly sexing you via usage of appropriate pronouns does not “exclude” you from anything you’re not already entitled to do or participate in. There’s no thought here of the “alienation” of the people who are expected for some reason to accede to your demand for this extraordinary, reality-denying behaviour, mislabelled as “respect” and “courtesy.” You might not have the crown, scepter, and orb, but you’re demanding to be treated as royalty. I will not bow down; I will not kiss the ring. I will call you what I choose. I am not your subject, and you are not mine. You are perfectly free to make your claims; I should be equally free to ignore or dispute them. My failure to comply is not subjugating you. It is not violence. Neither is questioning or criticizing your demands, which I believe to be rude and unreasonable.

If you’re male, I’ll refer to you as “he.” There is nothing wrong about doing that. There is nothing wrong with being male and being referred to as such. In fact, using the incorrect ones might lead you to believe you’re entitled to spaces from which you would normally be barred, that I am agreeing to, and colluding with you in any attempt you make to enter female-only spaces. But the prohibition against your entry to any such space based on sex has nothing to do with my language use or anyone else’s; the use of the incorrect pronouns does not magically render you a member of the sex that you are not. Someone calling you “she” does not make you a woman. It cannot confer that status upon you; you cannot confer that status on yourself. Napoleon famously crowned himself Emperor. But you cannot crown yourself “woman.” Neither can anyone else. If you’re not one already, nothing and nobody can make you a woman. It’s delusional to believe otherwise. That’s a fact. It’s not a TERF plot, it’s not evil or wicked, it’s just the way the world is. The sooner you understand this, the better for you and all who interact with you, the sooner you can stop being a narcissistic, entitled asshole trying to make everyone around you believe the impossible. I mean think. Really, how rude is that?

Painting the accurate sexing of someone through correct pronoun use as rude or offensive is at best disingenuous, and at worst manipulative and bullying. It is an attempt to mask the utter rudeness and inappropriateness of the demand to comply (see above); it is also camouflage for obtaining access to female only spaces, on the strength of a gender “identity” that runs against the evidence of material reality. It is assuming a false identity as someone who should be considered harmless. “I’m perfectly safe! It’s those cis men you have to worry about! I’m not one of them, I’m one of you sister!” Pronouns are Rohypnol*. It’s like some kind of strange moebius-strip Trojan horse inside a trojan horse. Both the lie (“I’m not a man”) and its supposed candy coating (“My pronouns are she/her”) are equally poisonous. You shouldn’t be swallowing either. This kind of gaslighting and its attendant bullying is an immediate red flag that calls for even greater vigilance rather than its demanded surrender. The “request” itself is cause for suspicion and watchfulness. Someone has just identified himself as a potential threat by claiming not to be one, and thinks he’s being victimized by “an act of violence” when anyone doubts him. You can’t make this shit up.

*If you have not read this essay, do so now.


You’re welcome.

Chu has a very distorted idea of what being a woman is

May 11th, 2023 3:51 pm | By

Joan Smith on horrible Chu and his horrible prize:

Pornography drips with misogyny. Teenage boys can easily find scenes of rape and sexual torture on their phones, changing the very idea of what constitutes “normal” sexual practices…

All a porn enthusiast has to do is link their habit with the magic word “transgender” and it is instantly transformed into something radical and progressive. It’s a form of cultural blindness so widespread that an author and academic who claims that violent porn persuaded him to “change” his sex has this week been awarded a Pulitzer Prize for literary criticism. “Sissy porn did make me trans,” Andrea Long Chu, formerly Andrew, once wrote.

Chu clearly has a very distorted idea of what being a woman is, conflating the idea with being passive and victimised in language so extreme that it’s distasteful to quote. The writer describes being a “sad, pretentious boy, furious about rape, hopelessly addicted to pornography”, which he would look at for hours in the bathroom while his girlfriend was asleep. Apologies to sensitive readers, but what Chu learned from this experience is that “getting fucked makes you female because fucked is what a female is”. 

Porn is a huge commercial operation that makes money by defining and controlling women’s bodies. It offers not just arousal but an ideology which integrates violence into sex, so much so that young women increasingly report demands for so-called “rough sex”, including strangulation.

It’s a perfect fit for the most extreme excesses of gender ideology, whose philosophy, like that of porn, is based on the idea of womanhood as performance. What they have in common is the idea that being female involves high heels, lipstick — and passivity.

High heels are an enforcer of passivity, just as bound feet were. You can’t run properly in them, in fact you can’t do anything physically demanding in them. They’re a hobble. They slow women down, keep them close to home, make sure they can’t run or fight back.

He tied a bow on it

May 11th, 2023 12:20 pm | By

Trump came right out and said he expected Raffensperger to give him some votes so that he could win.

Former President Donald Trump said Wednesday he had no regrets about his demand that Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “find” enough votes to reverse his election defeat, a recorded conversation that is at the center of an ongoing Fulton County criminal probe.

Pressed about the call at a CNN town hall by moderator Kaitlan Collins, Trump said Raffensperger “owed me votes because the election was rigged” and repeated false conspiracy theories about his defeat in 2020 by Joe Biden.

“Owed” him votes. That’s so interesting.

Legal experts said Trump’s remarks could bolster [Fulton County District Attorney Fani] Willis’ case as she nears an announcement, expected as early as July, whether she’ll seek criminal charges against Trump and key members of his inner circle.

“Subjects of criminal investigation aren’t usually reckless enough to go on national television and admit their corrupt intent, but Donald Trump just handed Fani Willis a new piece of evidence and tied a bow on it,” said Antony Kreis, a Georgia State University constitutional law professor.

“Trump stated in relatively plain terms that he felt entitled to votes as a matter of personal right, regardless of the evidence laid before him that he did not win Georgia, and that vote tallies and recounts be damned he is going to pressure Brad Raffensperger,” Kreis added.

Guest post: We live in a world of finite resources

May 11th, 2023 12:09 pm | By

Originally a comment by Screechy Monkey on Exploiting what looked like a principle of free speech.

We live in a world of finite resources, including credibility. Every time you give someone a platform, you are spending some of those resources, whether it’s the physical space, the staff time, the speaker budget, the attention span of your community, and/or your credibility as an institution.

There are thousands of crackpots out there churning out emails to physicists explaining how they have figured out that Einstein Was Wrong, that their pet Time Cube Theory or whatever explains life, the universe, and everything, etc. etc. And free speech demands that they are allowed to operate their badly-designed web sites without being shut down by the Grand Council of Physicists or whoever. But that doesn’t mean that they deserve broader exposure. All of them would be delighted to be invited to give a seminar at Prestigious University’s Department of Physics, and would forever brag about it afterward, and naive third parties would think “well, this guy was invited to speak at P.U., he can’t be a crackpot!”

There are multiple considerations at work aside from just the merits of the proposed speaker’s views, of course. Sometimes a ridiculous view is so popular that there is a real need to expose it to rigorous criticism — the value in having current believers hear the criticism outweighs the cost of potentially exposing more people to the nonsense. Creationism arguably falls into this category, though I think it’s very case-specific: the balance would be different for a small college in the Bible Belt than a prestigious research institution.

In a just world, Donald Trump would have so little support that Joe Biden could safely ignore him and cruise to a general election victory. That’s not the world we live in, so (assuming they are the respective nominees), Biden will have to at least be willing to debate him (though I would not be shocked if no debate occurs because they can’t agree on the rules/format). But that doesn’t mean that Biden should elevate RFK, Jr. or Marianne Williamson by debating them. (And in fact, I’m not aware of any incumbent president debating a primary challenger.)

The nonstop nitwit

May 11th, 2023 11:24 am | By

Make it stop make it stop make it stop

Hopes dashed

May 11th, 2023 10:35 am | By

Blah blah blah sob sob sob blah blah poor nice lady sob sob why won’t they let her compete sob sob

Halba Diouf “dreamed of” running in competition with women, which would give him a huge advantage. The problem with that is that it’s unfair to the women, so keep your sobs and sympathy to yourselves.

He hoped to cheat; he can’t; end of dramatic story.

You’re a safe space

May 11th, 2023 10:20 am | By

The person (or identity) who wrote this ridiculous “pronouns” “resource” for the University of Colorado is barely literate as well as dim.

They/zir provides a whole table of how to use pronouns as if students age 17 and above don’t already know how to speak their own language. They/zir then give a lot of absurd patronizing laughable advice.

Try to introduce yourself with your own pronouns so that everyone you meet knows that you’re a safe space and that you won’t assume a person’s pronouns. It also prompts them to provide pronouns without it being awkward. (Ex. “Hello, my name is Alex and I use they/them/theirs pronouns.”)

What if you don’t want everyone you meet to know you’re a safe space? Also if I’m a safe space does that mean the zirs can huddle around me when they’re feeling fragile? How do I opt out of this plan?

You can ask that person, as long as you do so politely (i.e. “Hey, what are your pronouns?”)

That’s politely? I’m not seeing it. Compare: “Hey, what are you doing here?” I get that it depends on the tone and facial expression and so on, but that’s why it’s a really bad example of asking politely. What you want in an example of that is wording that is polite independent of tone and facial expression. “Hey” is definitely a word that can go either way.

There are many terms that are offensive for people that identify as transgender or any other form of gender non-conforming. Some of these would be “it,” “he-she,” etc. Unless given explicit consent from everyone who will hear it, do not ever use any of these words when referring to anyone, as they are incredibly offensive.

You know what else is offensive? Men ordering women to refer to them as women.

Would calling a transgender person by the wrong pronoun (like referring to a trans woman as “he”) be offensive?

If you do it purposefully with malicious intent, absolutely.

If you do it on accident and you meant for the best, no way.

But, if you continue to do it on accident and make no effort to change, then yes, it is offensive.

Nooooooooooo! Not “on accident”!!! BY accident! This is what I’m saying – their resource is not fully literate.

Samantha left her keys

May 11th, 2023 9:47 am | By

The University of Colorado, you’ll be thrilled to know, has a Center for Inclusion and Social Change (or at least a website that calls itself a Center for etc). It has, of course, a pride office, and it offers, of course, lgbtq resources. You can tell that from the url of that office’s resources’ page on

drum roll

wait for it


Pronouns are how you refer to someone if you are not using their name. For example; “Samantha left her keys at my place last night.”

If someone tells you their pronouns, use those! If you don’t know someone’s pronouns, don’t assume gendered pronouns and use gender-neutral ones, like they or ze.

Bad writing; sounds as if they’re saying don’t use gender neutral ones, when of course we know that’s not what they’re saying. Adding “do” before “use” would solve the problem.

Also do college-age students really need to be told what pronouns are? How did they get into college without knowing already?

Whatever; at that point we soar away into the realms of whatthefuckisthis.

The importance of pronouns

Pronouns are one of the ways we portray our identities. When someone asks you to use their pronouns, they are asking for you to respect their identity.

Then they’re asking too much. Clearly this demand, or order, comes from a stranger, so the stranger is asking way too much. We’re not supposed to be “portraying our identities” all the time. We’re really not supposed to ask (or demand or insist or order) everyone we encounter to “respect our identity.” Nobody cares about your identity, or his or hers or mine or ours or theirs or anyone’s. TMI. That’s not how people interact, and it shouldn’t become how people interact.

When someone refers to another person using the wrong pronouns, especially on purpose, that can lead to that person feeling disrespected and can lead to dysphoria, exclusion and alienation.

When someone tries to force me to use a special bespoke counter-intuitive pronoun whenever I refer to her him them, that can and does lead me to avoid that someone like a bad smell. Don’t worry about the pronouns, just get out of my face and be a stranger to me from henceforth.

It is never safe to assume someone’s gender and living a life where people will naturally assume the correct pronouns for you is a privilege that not everyone experiences.

No it isn’t. Other way around. It’s thinking you get to dictate special annoying hard to remember language rules to refer to your special self that is a grotesquely privileged entitled spoiled rotten demand.

Choosing to ignore or disrespect someone’s pronouns is not only an act of oppression but can also be considered an act of violence.

Oh fuck off.

God being a student must be a nightmare.

Sir look up

May 11th, 2023 9:17 am | By

God I wish a meteorite would drop on him. I see in the news a meteorite just punched a hole in the roof of a house in Hopewell, New Jersey. I grew up a few miles from Hopewell. I feel a kinship with this meteorite. I urge it to send a message to its comrades to aim for Trump until they score.

He tells about 17 lies in that one clip, and gets about 50 things wrong.

Send. that. meteorite.

Guest post: Exploiting what looked like a principle of free speech

May 11th, 2023 9:00 am | By

Originally a comment by Artymorty on Weeds.

do they agree that wrong-think should be suppressed and never analysed?

Well, “our” opinion about one specific example of one specific view being presented in one specific context doesn’t extrapolate to whether “we” agree that all “wrongthink” should be suppressed and “never” analysed.

For example, most people agree that Holocaust denialism no longer merits the legitimacy of a platform at a respectable academic institution. This isn’t at all because Holocaust denialism is supposedly “wicked” and should be suppressed: it’s because such views have already been aired plenty, and analyzed to death, and there’s by now such broad, overwhelming evidence against them that the subject is done and buried. There’s nothing left to argue, and it’s reasonable to assume that anyone arguing so is not presenting a reasonable viewpoint in good faith. This is why, famously, the tobacco lobby deliberately kept offering up speakers to deny that cigarettes cause cancer, long after they knew otherwise. They were cynically exploiting what superficially looked like a principle of free speech to suppress years of medical research consensus, to the detriment of society’s public health, and the probable death of countless thousands.

I can see how some people might fancy themselves offering up a neat exercise in showing off their open-mindedness and evenhandedness by, say, inviting a Holocaust denier to speak on campus, but I think it could much better be argued that doing so just undermines the values that any respectable academic institution would presumably uphold.

How this overlays onto your AIDS denialist example depends on a few factors:

– how broad is the consensus that AIDS denialist theories have already received broad, thorough review and been properly rejected by overwhelming evidence, which has received overwhelming consensus in the field?

– what kind of institute was this person speaking at, and would him airing his views in that environment be seen to be undermining the insitute’s credibility and/or giving undue credibility to the speaker’s views?

To sum it up briefly: not all views are appropriate for all forums. I by no means believe that Holocaust denialism or flat-earthism or AIDS denialism should be suppressed on, say, the entire Internet. Because free speech, etc. But there’s plenty of room to evaluate the appropriateness of platforming certain topics within certain environments.

However, that threshold — the threshold where a topic should no longer merit being treated as an ongoing, open question, and therefore should not merit some platforms that would grant it that legitimacy — must be taken very seriously. We’ve seen students slip into believing that any views they find “wicked” should “be suppressed and never analysed,” to use your words. I obviously think that needs to be rolled way back.

Town abattoir

May 11th, 2023 3:25 am | By

Trump did a “Town Hall” thing last night, which is to say he did a campaign gig hosted by CNN. Why is CNN boosting Trump? I suppose because $$$.

He may have increased his legal jeopardy though.

The most heated exchange that Mr. Trump had with Ms. Collins was over the special counsel investigation into his possession of hundreds of presidential records, including more than 300 individual classified documents, at his private club, Mar-a-Lago, after he left office.

And it was the area in which he walked himself into the biggest problems.

“I was there and I took what I took and it gets declassified,” said Mr. Trump, who has maintained, despite contradictions from his own former officials, that he had a standing order automatically declassifying documents that left the Oval Office and went to the president’s residence.

“I had every right to do it, I didn’t make a secret of it. You know, the boxes were stationed outside the White House, people were taking pictures of it,” Mr. Trump said, intimating that people were somehow aware that presidential material and classified documents were in them (they were not).

In what will be of great interest to the special counsel, Jack Smith, Mr. Trump would not definitively rule out whether he showed classified material to people, something investigators have queried witnesses about, in particular in connection with a map with sensitive intelligence.

“Not really,” he hedged, adding, “I would have the right to.” At another point he declared, “I have the right to do whatever I want with them.”

All the mental prowess of an angry toddler.


May 10th, 2023 3:17 pm | By

Oxford students shun the Oxford Union because eeeeeeeeeeek a transphobe.

In its 200-year history as a prestigious debating chamber the Oxford Union has hosted world-famous speakers including Mother Theresa, Albert Einstein and Desmond Tutu. But now it is being ostracised by the University of Oxford’s student union, which has accused it of fostering a toxic environment that has led to bullying and sexual harassment.

The student union voted to sever fiscal ties with the OU, banning it from its freshers’ fair, which could put a strain on the debating organisation’s finances. It is the first time such action has been taken.

It comes as a number of Oxford university colleges voted to oppose the OU’s speaking invitation this month to Professor Kathleen Stock, despite the union defending its commitment to free speech and even offering welfare support to those attending.

“Welfare support”? Couldn’t they just stay away if they’re that fragile? In fact shouldn’t they go home altogether if they’re that fragile?

The student union has voted to review its relationship with the OU and to cease any commercial and financial relationships between the two organisations. The motion resolved to add the OU to the student union’s list of “prohibited external organisations”.

The OU’s latest accounts show it had an income of £1.53 million last year but an expenditure of almost £1.5 million.

Funny thing: the OU has even invited me to speak – more than once in fact. I think they thought I was in the UK; when I replied to tell them how far away (and thus expensive) I am, silence ensued.

A spokesman for the OU said: “The university’s compliance policy indicates that free speech is the lifeblood of a university, a principle that is upheld by the Oxford Union. It is unfortunate that many of the claims made on the motion are not factually accurate, and merely represent the views of a minority of the student body.”

And a very feeble tiresome Fotherington-Thomas sort of student body at that.