What an unbelievable fucking idiot (yes, you do so know of whom I speak)

I have a new blog entry up, entitled, “Tragedy for sale, at an eye-poppingly low price.”


Updates

  1. January 27, 9:44 pm: Sometimes I’m so far behind that I forget how far behind I am. And so I remember to go to another spot I’ve put stories to archive. And then I remember to go to yet another spot. Which means sometimes these entries get published prematurely. This is one of those times. If you saw an earlier edition, you’re missing stuff, so look again.

James Comey

Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic, and Benjamin Wittes, “Trump’s Effort to Fire Mueller: Reactions to the New York Times Report,” Lawfare, January 25, 2018, https://www.lawfareblog.com/trumps-effort-fire-mueller-reactions-new-york-times-report

Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, “Trump Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to Quit,” New York Times, January 25, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/25/us/politics/trump-mueller-special-counsel-russia.html

James Hohmann, “Five takeaways from Trump’s thwarted effort to fire Mueller,” Washington Post, January 26, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2018/01/26/daily-202-five-takeaways-from-trump-s-thwarted-effort-to-fire-mueller/5a6aa8d130fb041c3c7d73cc/

Politico, “Trump Tried to Fire Mueller. So What?” January 26, 2018, https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/26/trump-tried-to-fire-mueller-so-what-216539

Adam Serwer, “How Trump Built an Obstruction of Justice Case Against Himself,” Atlantic, January 26, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/01/how-trump-built-an-obstruction-of-justice-case-against-himself/551588/


Doomsday Clock

No great surprise here.

Lindsey Bever, Sarah Kaplan, and Abby Ohlheiser, “The Doomsday Clock is now just 2 minutes to ‘midnight,’ the symbolic hour of the apocalypse,” Washington Post, January 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2018/01/25/after-a-missile-scare-and-insult-war-withth-korea-its-time-to-check-the-doomsday-clock/


Oprah Winfrey

Reuters, “Oprah says she’s not running for president but fans are undeterred,” January 25, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-politics-oprah/oprah-says-not-interested-in-2020-u-s-presidential-run-instyle-idUSKBN1FE1YZ


Catalonia

Al Jazeera, “Puigdemont, facing charges, to be Catalan president,” January 22, 2018, http://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2018/01/puigdemont-facing-charges-catalan-president-180122160519268.html


Covert wars

Nick Turse, “Donald Trump’s First Year Sets Record for U.S. Special Ops: Elite Commandos Deployed to 149 Countries in 2017,” TomDispatch, December 14, 2017, http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176363/


Trickle-down

Alana Semuels, “The Internet Is Enabling a New Kind of Poorly Paid Hell,” Atlantic, January 23, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/01/amazon-mechanical-turk/551192/


U.S. claims six Chinese ships violated sanctions on North Korea

North Korea

Michael R. Gordon and Chun Han Wong, “Six Chinese Ships Covertly Aided North Korea. The U.S. Was Watching,” Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/six-chinese-ships-covertly-aidedth-korea-the-u-s-was-watching-1516296799


Homelessness

Lancet, “A shared future for all: Let’s talk about homelessness,” January 20, 2018, doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)30086-2


What drugs is the White House physician on? And no, I don’t want any

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 18, 7:55 am.
  2. January 18, 5:13 pm:
    • Dana Milbank hits one out of the park. His opening line: “Examining the White House physician’s briefing on President Trump’s physical, I was alarmed — not about the president’s health, but the doctor’s.”[1] (Donald Trump)

Donald Trump

I have a new blog post up, entitled, “On the possibility of a President Pence.”

Dana Milbank captures a lot of the now-dubious doctor’s wording.[2] Read his column and ask yourself, when have you ever in your entire life heard a doctor speak like this? Milbank winds up pointing to sycophancy,[3] which would be at odds with the description we’ve been getting from a lot of places but most recently and perhaps most prominently from Stephen Bannon.[4] Milbank is, of course, correct to be alarmed[5] and I think it is possible for both Bannon and Milbank to be correct: They might be describing different people. Or at different times. Or a difference in what sycophants say to their masters and what they say behind their masters’ backs. Or all of the above. Or some combination of the above. Milbank points to a risk that White House workers might become sycophants,[6] but we are actually seeing it already, not only in the doctor’s words,[7] but as well as in the behavior of politicians and cabinet members.[8] These would be the same people who would be needed for a 25th amendment process of deposing Donald Trump.

Dana Milbank, “Is Trump’s doctor okay?” Washington Post, January 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-trumps-doctor-okay/2018/01/17/0d887f50-fbce-11e7-ad8c-ecbb62019393_story.html

Michael D. Shear and Gina Kolata, “Trump’s Physical Revealed Serious Heart Concerns, Outside Experts Say,” New York Times, January 17, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/us/politics/trump-physical-heart-health-cholesterol.html

Rhys Blakely, “Are Donald Trump’s test results fake news?” Times, January 18, 2018, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/times2/are-donald-trumps-test-results-fake-news-xxzgm6zxf


  1. [1]Dana Milbank, “Is Trump’s doctor okay?” Washington Post, January 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-trumps-doctor-okay/2018/01/17/0d887f50-fbce-11e7-ad8c-ecbb62019393_story.html
  2. [2]Dana Milbank, “Is Trump’s doctor okay?” Washington Post, January 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-trumps-doctor-okay/2018/01/17/0d887f50-fbce-11e7-ad8c-ecbb62019393_story.html
  3. [3]Dana Milbank, “Is Trump’s doctor okay?” Washington Post, January 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-trumps-doctor-okay/2018/01/17/0d887f50-fbce-11e7-ad8c-ecbb62019393_story.html
  4. [4]Alex Wayne and Jennifer Jacobs, “Trump Says Bannon ‘Lost His Mind’ After Leaving White House,” Bloomberg, January 3, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-03/trump-says-bannon-lost-his-mind-after-leaving-white-house
  5. [5]Dana Milbank, “Is Trump’s doctor okay?” Washington Post, January 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-trumps-doctor-okay/2018/01/17/0d887f50-fbce-11e7-ad8c-ecbb62019393_story.html
  6. [6]Dana Milbank, “Is Trump’s doctor okay?” Washington Post, January 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-trumps-doctor-okay/2018/01/17/0d887f50-fbce-11e7-ad8c-ecbb62019393_story.html
  7. [7]Rhys Blakely, “Are Donald Trump’s test results fake news?” Times, January 18, 2018, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/times2/are-donald-trumps-test-results-fake-news-xxzgm6zxf; Dana Milbank, “Is Trump’s doctor okay?” Washington Post, January 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-trumps-doctor-okay/2018/01/17/0d887f50-fbce-11e7-ad8c-ecbb62019393_story.html; Michael D. Shear and Gina Kolata, “Trump’s Physical Revealed Serious Heart Concerns, Outside Experts Say,” New York Times, January 17, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/us/politics/trump-physical-heart-health-cholesterol.html
  8. [8]Aaron Blake, “In Cabinet meeting, Pence praises Trump once every 12 seconds for three minutes straight,” Washington Post, December 20, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/12/20/in-cabinet-meeting-pence-praises-trump-once-every-12-seconds-for-3-minutes-straight/; Matthew Nussbaum, “Republicans shower Trump with praise at White House meeting,” Politico, January 4, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/04/trump-republicans-white-house-praise-324975; John Wagner, “Praise for the chief: Trump’s Cabinet tells him it’s an ‘honor’ and ‘blessing’ to serve,” Washington Post, June 12, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/praise-for-the-chief–trumps-cabinet-tells-him-its-an-honor-privilege-blessing-to-serve/2017/06/12/ddd3919e-4fa4-11e7-91eb-9611861a988f_story.html

#MeToo turns on Margaret Atwood for defending due process

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 16, 2:32 am.
  2. January 16, 4:13 pm:
    • The Washington Post has published an account of the meeting in which Donald Trump likely uttered the word “Shithole” or “shithouse” in reference to some countries he doesn’t think the U.S. should accept migrants from.[1]

#MeToo

Apparently Margaret Atwood spoke up after Steven Galloway, a professor at the University of British Columbia, was fired. Apparently, we don’t really know why he was fired but it apparently it had something to do with sexual harassment allegations[2]:

The university’s administration released few details on the case against Steven Galloway, the former chair of the creative writing program, saying only that he was facing “serious allegations”. After a months-long investigation he was fired, but the official findings were never released. The faculty association said in a statement that all but one of the allegations, including the most serious allegation, were not substantiated.

In her piece, Atwood pointed to the university’s lack of transparency around the allegations and noted that Galloway had been asked to sign a confidentiality agreement.

“The public – including me – was left with the impression that this man was a violent serial rapist, and everyone was free to attack him publicly, since under the agreement he had signed, he couldn’t say anything to defend himself,” she wrote. “A fair-minded person would now withhold judgment as to guilt until the report and the evidence are available for us to see.”

She likened the affair to the Salem witch trials, in that guilt was assumed of those who were accused.[3]

The difficulty here long predates #MeToo. For instance, we can righteously condemn Hillary Clinton for her tactics in her early legal career in defense of an accused rapist. She prevailed by, in essence, putting her client’s accuser on trial, a tactic that feminists have long condemned with good reason.[4] But in a system of due process, it is perfectly legitimate to put the victim, the accuser, on trial.

This becomes problematic for several reasons, including that a freed rapist may seek revenge against his accuser, and that given the stigmatization of sex in our society, women’s testimony can too easily be silenced or diminished. In these sorts of cases, a pure “due process” system weighs too heavily in favor of the defendant, perpetrating further violence against women. And this is precisely what Clinton exploited.[5]

The problem then, as it is now, is how to protect the rights of the accused while ensuring that victims have recourse. The real answer is a difficult one: It demands we abandon retribution as a goal. It demands we seek healing for all concerned. It demands we stop pitting people against each other and instead try to address causes. But to do so ultimately challenges our system of social organization itself, which legitimizes the domination of others.[6] So this will remain problematic.

Ashifa Kassam, “Margaret Atwood faces feminist backlash on social media over #MeToo,” Guardian, January 15, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jan/15/margaret-atwood-feminist-backlash-metoo


Shithole

Josh Dawsey, Robert Costa, and Ashley Parker, “Inside the tense, profane White House meeting on immigration,” Washington Post, January 15, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/inside-the-tense-profane-white-house-meeting-on-immigration/2018/01/15/13e79fa4-fa1e-11e7-8f66-2df0b94bb98a_story.html


  1. [1]Josh Dawsey, Robert Costa, and Ashley Parker, “Inside the tense, profane White House meeting on immigration,” Washington Post, January 15, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/inside-the-tense-profane-white-house-meeting-on-immigration/2018/01/15/13e79fa4-fa1e-11e7-8f66-2df0b94bb98a_story.html
  2. [2]Ashifa Kassam, “Margaret Atwood faces feminist backlash on social media over #MeToo,” Guardian, January 15, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jan/15/margaret-atwood-feminist-backlash-metoo
  3. [3]Ashifa Kassam, “Margaret Atwood faces feminist backlash on social media over #MeToo,” Guardian, January 15, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jan/15/margaret-atwood-feminist-backlash-metoo
  4. [4]Amy Chozick, “Clinton Defends Her Handling of a Rape Case in 1975,” New York Times, July 7, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/08/us/08clinton.html; Jim Geraghty, “Does Hillary Regret Her Actions in That 1975 Rape Case?,” National Review, June 16, 2014, http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/380468/does-hillary-regret-her-actions-1975-rape-case-jim-geraghty; Alana Goodman, “The Hillary Tapes,” Washington Free Beacon, June 15, 2014, http://freebeacon.com/politics/the-hillary-tapes/; Josh Rogin, “Exclusive: ‘Hillary Clinton Took Me Through Hell,’ Rape Victim Says,” Daily Beast, June 20, 2014, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/20/exclusive-hillary-clinton-took-me-through-hell-rape-victim-says.html; Jonathan S. Tobin, “Will Hillary’s Rape Victim Be Heard?” Commentary, June 22, 2014, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/06/22/will-hillarys-clinton-rape-victim-be-heard/; Jonathan S. Tobin, “Hillary’s Rape Case Answer Doesn’t Work,” Commentary, July 8, 2014, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/07/08/hillarys-clinton-rape-case-answer-doesnt-work-war-on-women/
  5. [5]Amy Chozick, “Clinton Defends Her Handling of a Rape Case in 1975,” New York Times, July 7, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/08/us/08clinton.html; Jim Geraghty, “Does Hillary Regret Her Actions in That 1975 Rape Case?,” National Review, June 16, 2014, http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/380468/does-hillary-regret-her-actions-1975-rape-case-jim-geraghty; Alana Goodman, “The Hillary Tapes,” Washington Free Beacon, June 15, 2014, http://freebeacon.com/politics/the-hillary-tapes/; Josh Rogin, “Exclusive: ‘Hillary Clinton Took Me Through Hell,’ Rape Victim Says,” Daily Beast, June 20, 2014, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/20/exclusive-hillary-clinton-took-me-through-hell-rape-victim-says.html; Jonathan S. Tobin, “Will Hillary’s Rape Victim Be Heard?” Commentary, June 22, 2014, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/06/22/will-hillarys-clinton-rape-victim-be-heard/; Jonathan S. Tobin, “Hillary’s Rape Case Answer Doesn’t Work,” Commentary, July 8, 2014, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/07/08/hillarys-clinton-rape-case-answer-doesnt-work-war-on-women/
  6. [6]Wanda D. McCaslin and Denise C. Breton, “Justice as Healing: Going Outside the Colonizers’ Cage,” in Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies, eds. Norman K. Denzin, Yvonna S. Lincoln, and Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2008), 511-529.

#NeverTrump paddles out, tries to catch a wave

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 14, 8:09 am.
  2. January 14, 12:47 pm:
    • Republicans are indeed worried about the midterm elections later this year.[1] (Donald Trump)
  3. January 14, 1:57 pm:
    • Erick Erickson tweeted a confirmation of Donald Trump’s Shithole remark.
  4. January 15, 11:53 am:
    • Josh Dawsey tweets that Donald Trump might have said ‘shithouse’ rather than ‘Shithole,’ giving those who wish to deny the remark room to deny he said ‘shithole.’
  5. January 15, 7:53 pm:
    • Mike Pence attended a Sunday service where the Pastor condemned Shithole remarks.[2] So here’s my question: Does a red face signify anger or embarrassment? I’m hoping for the latter.

Shithole

Let’s just say that he said it, okay? ‘Cause near as I can tell, the only ones denying it are the ones with a vested interest in doing so.

Jacqueline Thomsen, “Pastor condemned Trump’s ‘s—hole’ in service Pence attended: report,” Hill, January 15, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/369068-pastor-condemned-trumps-shithole-countries-comments-while-pence


Donald Trump

Bill Kristol, in particular, has been catching my attention lately for comments that do not seem neoconservative. For example,

Vox’s Jane Coaston interviewed him on the matter and he does say he’s doing some rethinking.[3] But what we’re seeing here, if you read these articles and following the links is that the division among evangelicals over the likes of Donald Trump and Roy Moore[4] extends well beyond social conservatism—and #NeverTrump is very much still alive.

So the question I’ve been watching is, at what point do Republicans realize that Trump carries too high a cost, that he poses too great a risk in the elections later this year,[5] that they could make better progress on their precious agenda with a President Mike Pence? We aren’t really seeing movement here in terms of tendencies of conservatism. The same tendencies that have always stridently supported Trump—authoritarian populists and paleoconservatives—still do but are increasingly on the defensive. (Local note here: In Sebastopol, the weekly protest held at noon on Fridays featured both the Left and an authoritarian populist counter-protest until recently. The latter has disappeared.) The only tendency—neoconservatism—that stridently and pretty consistently opposed Trump still does. Capitalist libertarians are liking deregulation and the tax cut; they’re edging toward Trump but are still fundamentally opposed to his “protectionist” and “crony capitalist” positions. But within the other tendencies that have been wishy-washy—social conservatism, functionalist conservatism, and traditionalist conservatism—voices opposing Trump are getting louder and more insistent. And Trump’s shit is hitting the fan with breathtaking speed, supporting his opposition, and weakening his support.

Jane Coaston, “Bill Kristol thinks ‘people are just too unhappy with the status quo,’” Vox, January 10, 2018, https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/policy-and-politics/2018/1/10/16865502/bill-kristol-trump-status-quo?__twitter_impression=true

Jonah Goldberg, “Authentic Asininity,” National Review, January 12, 2018, http://www.nationalreview.com/g-file/455420/trump-shithole-comments-authenticity-misunderstanding

Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey, and Sean Sullivan, “New alarm among Republicans that Democrats could win big this year,” Washington Post, January 14, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/new-alarm-among-republicans-that-democrats-could-win-big-this-year/2018/01/13/9be31acc-f8a8-11e7-beb6-c8d48830c54d_story.html


  1. [1]Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey, and Sean Sullivan, “New alarm among Republicans that Democrats could win big this year,” Washington Post, January 14, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/new-alarm-among-republicans-that-democrats-could-win-big-this-year/2018/01/13/9be31acc-f8a8-11e7-beb6-c8d48830c54d_story.html
  2. [2]Jacqueline Thomsen, “Pastor condemned Trump’s ‘s—hole’ in service Pence attended: report,” Hill, January 15, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/369068-pastor-condemned-trumps-shithole-countries-comments-while-pence
  3. [3]Jane Coaston, “Bill Kristol thinks ‘people are just too unhappy with the status quo,’” Vox, January 10, 2018, https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/policy-and-politics/2018/1/10/16865502/bill-kristol-trump-status-quo?__twitter_impression=true
  4. [4]Bill Berkowitz, “Are Right-Wing Evangelicals True Christians or Just Another White Identity Cult?” Truthout, March 4, 2016, http://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/are-evangelicals-true-christians-or-just-another-white-identity-cult; Rod Dreher, “An Evangelical Crack-Up?” American Conservative, December 15, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/an-evangelical-crack-up/; Mark Galli, “The Biggest Loser in the Alabama Election,” Christianity Today, December 12, 2017, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/december-web-only/roy-moore-doug-jones-alabama-editorial.html; David Goldstein, “Evangelicals have qualms with Trump, but see nowhere else to turn,” McClatchy, June 10, 2016, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article82901192.html?rh=1; Bethania Palma Markus, “Christian leader: Trump reveals that progressives were right about evangelicals all along,” Raw Story, March 1, 2016, http://www.rawstory.com/2016/03/christian-leader-trump-reveals-that-progressives-were-right-about-evangelicals-all-along/; Russell Moore, “Why this election makes me hate the word ‘evangelical,’” Washington Post, February 29, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/02/29/russell-moore-why-this-election-makes-me-hate-the-word-evangelical/; Napp Nazworth, “Conservative Evangelical Author Matt Lewis on Trump, Evangelicals and Stupid Republicans (Interview),” Christian Post, January 26, 2016, http://www.christianpost.com/news/conservative-evangelical-author-matt-lewis-donald-trump-evangelicals-stupid-republicans-155688/; Ray Nothstine, “Who Are the Evangelicals Supporting Donald Trump?” Christian Post, August 30, 2015, http://www.christianpost.com/news/who-are-the-evangelicals-supporting-donald-trump-143997/; Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Baile, “After Trump and Moore, some evangelicals are finding their own label too toxic to use,” Washington Post, December 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/after-trump-and-moore-some-evangelicals-are-finding-their-own-label-too-toxic-to-use/2017/12/14/b034034c-e020-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html
  5. [5]Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey, and Sean Sullivan, “New alarm among Republicans that Democrats could win big this year,” Washington Post, January 14, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/new-alarm-among-republicans-that-democrats-could-win-big-this-year/2018/01/13/9be31acc-f8a8-11e7-beb6-c8d48830c54d_story.html

Donald Trump looks unwelcome in Britain

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 12, 9:36 am.
  2. January 12, 2:38 pm:
    • The Guardian has the first analysis I’ve seen of Trump’s decision not to attend the opening of the new London embassy.[1]
    • Donald Trump created a shitstorm by allegedly (he now denies it, two Republican senators who were present apparently found the remarks unmemorable and say they don’t remember them, but Senator Richard Durbin, a Democrat who was also present, confirms them[2] and the reporter who broke the story,[3] which was apparently confirmed by several outlets, is standing by his work.[4]) using the word ‘shithole’ in reference to Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries.[5] (Shithole)
  3. January 12, 4:57 pm:
    • A piece of some sort in the Coos Bay World suggests that human beings have expiration dates and points employers to a workshop on terminating them.[6] (Expiration dates)
  4. January 12, 5:43 pm:
    • Added a spot-on tweet by Julian Sanchez under Shithole.
  5. January 12, 6:46 pm:
    • Among numerous other failings, the Washington Post story on Donald Trump deciding not to attend the opening of the new London embassy labeled the embassy’s Twitter account as its official web site.[7] I finally stumbled across the correct web site: uk.usembassy.gov. At this writing, the error remains uncorrected.
    • Since Donald Trump didn’t go to the opening of the new London embassy, Madame Tussauds sent along its wax figure of him.[8]
  6. January 13, 11:53 am:
    • Donald Trump likely took offense at criticism from British politicians in deciding not to attend the opening of the new embassy in London.[9]
  7. January 13, 3:57 pm:
    • Those of us on the mainland may fail to appreciate how much more visceral some threats are in Hawaii: Today (January 13) there was a false alarm of a ballistic missile headed towards the state; it took 40 minutes to withdraw the alert.[10] (North Korea)
  8. January 13, 4:58 pm:
    • Created a ‘miscellaneous’ section for a tweet I really like.
    • Politico begins assessing the fallout, both inside and outside the White House, from Donald Trump’s Shithole comment.[11]
  9. January 13, 6:45 pm:
    • Oh, look here! Here’s more blowback for Donald Trump’s Shithole remark.[12]

Miscellaneous


London embassy

The Washington Post story is pathetic; skip it and read the other stories instead. What emerges from all of these articles, however, is that many Britons, both politicians and, allegedly but probably, ordinary subjects, objected to Donald Trump’s visit. Official insistence that Trump remains welcome looks thin.[13] One of the Guardian stories carries a headline warning against reading too much into Trump’s ‘non-visit;’ the analysis itself is chock full of disagreements between the United Kingdom and the U.S. president but frames Trump as capricious,[14] which looks like an ever more increasingly discredited suspicion that there might actually be a method to his madness.

[H]owever much the UK insists the relationship has always been based on a respect for the office of the president, not the president himself, these are not the easiest times. [Theresa] May recently famously warned the Russian president, Vladimir Putin: “We know what you are doing.” She probably fervently wishes she could say the same about President Trump.[15]

The Times (of London) carries an analysis pointing to remarks from May and from London mayor Sadiq Khan but, towards the bottom of the article, points to delusions of grandeur:

David Frum, a former speechwriter to George W Bush and the author of Trumpocracy, said: “I think he feels slighted by the British nation. He had been looking forward to the rapturous crowds lining the streets on the way to Buckingham Palace. Something like Winston Churchill’s funeral, something like that was what he had in mind. I think the British government has been gently trying to communicate to him that while a visit from our great ally is always very welcome, Glasgow is actually quite nice at this time of the year, and the Hebrides even better.”[16]

My guess is that Frum has it right.

Also, all of the early reporting notes that Barack Obama, contrary to Trump’s animus, did not make the deal that moves the embassy; that, rather, was George W. Bush, as one move to tighten embassy security[17] in the wake of 9/11. The new embassy has some features of a fortress and the new location spares residents near the old location the fear that they might be caught up in an attack.[18]

That analysis aside, the possibility that Trump even might be unwelcome in Britain should come as a wake-up call to Republicans. The United Kingdom has been a stalwart ally in a number of dubious U.S. adventures, not only militarily, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, but economically, as in neoliberal policy and the so-called “Washington Consensus,” favoring austerity as some sort of magical cure-all (which doesn’t actually work, never has, and invariably leads to catastrophe[19]). But there have been a few of these wake-up calls now and we’re still waiting for them to do what I think they’ll do, probably by August, which is to some way, somehow, get the shithole out of the presidency.

Guy Faulconbridge and Costas Pitas, “Trump cancels Britain trip, blames Obama for ‘peanuts’ London embassy deal,” Reuters, January 11, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-britain/trump-cancels-britain-trip-blames-obama-for-peanuts-london-embassy-deal-idUSKBN1F10H6

Anne Gearan, “Trump ‘cancels’ London visit to dedicate new U.S. Embassy, citing ‘bad deal’ to sell and relocate building,” Washington Post, January 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2018/01/12/trump-cancels-london-visit-to-dedicate-new-u-s-embassy-citing-bad-deal-to-sell-and-relocate-building/

Rick Noack and Jennifer Hassan, “Trump canceled his trip to the U.S. Embassy in London, but his Madame Tussauds waxwork made it,” Washington Post, January 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/01/12/trump-canceled-his-trip-to-the-us-embassy-in-london-but-his-waxwork-made-it/

Heather Stewart and David Smith, “Donald Trump cancels London visit amid protest fears,” Guardian, January 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/donald-trump-visit-to-london-called-off-amid-fears-of-mass-protests

Patrick Wintour, “Why reading too much into Trump’s cancelled UK trip is unwise,” Guardian, January 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/why-reading-too-much-into-trumps-cancelled-uk-trip-is-unwise

Catherine Philp et al, “Donald Trump ‘took offence at slights from the British,’” Times, January 13, 2018, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/donald-trump-london-visit-row-president-took-offence-at-slights-from-the-british-qhgl2v80s


Shithole

Alas, Donald Trump’s middle initial is J, not S, because you know what I want to put there. Oh, and by the way, this tweet by Julian Sanchez gets it exactly right:

Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said on Twitter that Trump’s remarks “are further proof that his Make America Great Again Agenda is really a Make America White Again agenda.”

Some Republicans also raised objections. Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah), whose family is from Haiti, said in a statement that Trump’s remarks were “unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values. This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation.”

“My grandmother used to say, ‘Digame con quién caminas, y te diré quién eres.’ ‘Tell me who you walk with, and I’ll tell you who you are,’ ” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), who represents most of Harlem and is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. “If he’s walking around with white supremacists and supporting them, this kind of talk doesn’t surprise me.”[20]

Lisa Mascaro, “Trump complains about allowing immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries,” Los Angeles Times, January 11, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-congress-dreamers-20180111-story.html

Josh Dawsey, “Trump derides protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries,” Washington Post, January 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-attacks-protections-for-immigrants-from-shithole-countries-in-oval-office-meeting/2018/01/11/bfc0725c-f711-11e7-91af-31ac729add94_story.html

John Bowden, “Reporter who broke ’s—-hole’ story: ‘We stand by our reporting 100 percent,’” Hill, January 12, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/media/368684-reporter-who-broke-s-hole-story-we-stand-by-our-reporting-100-percent

Annie Karni and Ben White, “Demoralized Trump aides grapple with ‘shithole’-gate,” Politico, January 12, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/12/trump-shithole-comment-aides-react-337961

Niels Lesniewski, “Durbin Confirms Trump’s ‘Hate-Filled, Vile and Racist’ Talk,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, January 12, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/durbin-confirms-condemns-trumps-hate-filled-vile-racist-talk/

Becca Noy, “Trump denies ‘shithole’ comment: ‘This was not the language used,’” Jerusalem Online, January 12, 2018, http://www.jerusalemonline.com/news/world-news/around-the-globe/trump-denies-using-phrase-shithole-countries-33643

Deutsche Welle, “Donald Trump should apologize for remarks: African states,” January 13, 2018, http://www.dw.com/en/donald-trump-should-apologize-for-remarks-african-states/a-42134327


Unauthorized migration


Expiration dates

I’ve long noticed that employers absolutely revel in their ability to treat workers as disposable and infinitely replaceable. I guess some find that harder than others, so Jennifer Bouman-Steagall is in Coos Bay to help them become the properly merciless shitholes they have always aspired to be.[21]

Coos Bay World, “Learn how to terminate under performing employees at workshop,” January 11, 2018, http://theworldlink.com/news/local/business/learn-how-to-terminate-under-performing-employees-at-workshop/article_06a62783-2929-582c-a4ca-cf33577a1e61.html


North Korea

Preceding the Pearl Harbor attack, there was an oil embargo and a lot of hubris. On one side, the hubris led to a decision to attack. On the other, it led the military to ignore radar (a very new technology) warnings of approaching aircraft.

Today, there is an broad economic embargo, including on oil, and, I think probably it is safe to say, even more hubris, on both sides. So don’t bother wondering why Hawaiians panicked in response to a false alarm; they would have all of twelve minutes to seek shelter.[22] Get the shitholes who escalate rather than de-escalate crises away from control of nuclear weapons. Because while politicians in Washington, D.C., have access to underground shelters, there are a great many more people—who have little or no say in the matter—all around the country and all around the world who do not.

Max Greenwood, “Hawaii false alarm sparks panic, confusion,” Hill, January 13, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/368922-hawaii-false-alarm-sparks-panic-confusion


  1. [1]Patrick Wintour, “Why reading too much into Trump’s cancelled UK trip is unwise,” Guardian, January 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/why-reading-too-much-into-trumps-cancelled-uk-trip-is-unwise
  2. [2]Niels Lesniewski, “Durbin Confirms Trump’s ‘Hate-Filled, Vile and Racist’ Talk,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, January 12, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/durbin-confirms-condemns-trumps-hate-filled-vile-racist-talk/
  3. [3]Josh Dawsey, “Trump derides protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries,” Washington Post, January 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-attacks-protections-for-immigrants-from-shithole-countries-in-oval-office-meeting/2018/01/11/bfc0725c-f711-11e7-91af-31ac729add94_story.html
  4. [4]John Bowden, “Reporter who broke ’s—-hole’ story: ‘We stand by our reporting 100 percent,’” Hill, January 12, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/media/368684-reporter-who-broke-s-hole-story-we-stand-by-our-reporting-100-percent
  5. [5]Lisa Mascaro, “Trump complains about allowing immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries,” Los Angeles Times, January 11, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-congress-dreamers-20180111-story.html; Becca Noy, “Trump denies ‘shithole’ comment: ‘This was not the language used,’” Jerusalem Online, January 12, 2018, http://www.jerusalemonline.com/news/world-news/around-the-globe/trump-denies-using-phrase-shithole-countries-33643
  6. [6]Coos Bay World, “Learn how to terminate under performing employees at workshop,” January 11, 2018, http://theworldlink.com/news/local/business/learn-how-to-terminate-under-performing-employees-at-workshop/article_06a62783-2929-582c-a4ca-cf33577a1e61.html
  7. [7]Anne Gearan, “Trump ‘cancels’ London visit to dedicate new U.S. Embassy, citing ‘bad deal’ to sell and relocate building,” Washington Post, January 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2018/01/12/trump-cancels-london-visit-to-dedicate-new-u-s-embassy-citing-bad-deal-to-sell-and-relocate-building/
  8. [8]Rick Noack and Jennifer Hassan, “Trump canceled his trip to the U.S. Embassy in London, but his Madame Tussauds waxwork made it,” Washington Post, January 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/01/12/trump-canceled-his-trip-to-the-us-embassy-in-london-but-his-waxwork-made-it/
  9. [9]Catherine Philp et al, “Donald Trump ‘took offence at slights from the British,’” Times, January 13, 2018, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/donald-trump-london-visit-row-president-took-offence-at-slights-from-the-british-qhgl2v80s
  10. [10]Max Greenwood, “Hawaii false alarm sparks panic, confusion,” Hill, January 13, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/368922-hawaii-false-alarm-sparks-panic-confusion
  11. [11]Annie Karni and Ben White, “Demoralized Trump aides grapple with ‘shithole’-gate,” Politico, January 12, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/12/trump-shithole-comment-aides-react-337961
  12. [12]Deutsche Welle, “Donald Trump should apologize for remarks: African states,” January 13, 2018, http://www.dw.com/en/donald-trump-should-apologize-for-remarks-african-states/a-42134327
  13. [13]Guy Faulconbridge and Costas Pitas, “Trump cancels Britain trip, blames Obama for ‘peanuts’ London embassy deal,” Reuters, January 11, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-britain/trump-cancels-britain-trip-blames-obama-for-peanuts-london-embassy-deal-idUSKBN1F10H6; Anne Gearan, “Trump ‘cancels’ London visit to dedicate new U.S. Embassy, citing ‘bad deal’ to sell and relocate building,” Washington Post, January 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2018/01/12/trump-cancels-london-visit-to-dedicate-new-u-s-embassy-citing-bad-deal-to-sell-and-relocate-building/; Heather Stewart and David Smith, “Donald Trump cancels London visit amid protest fears,” Guardian, January 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/donald-trump-visit-to-london-called-off-amid-fears-of-mass-protests
  14. [14]Patrick Wintour, “Why reading too much into Trump’s cancelled UK trip is unwise,” Guardian, January 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/why-reading-too-much-into-trumps-cancelled-uk-trip-is-unwise
  15. [15]Patrick Wintour, “Why reading too much into Trump’s cancelled UK trip is unwise,” Guardian, January 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/why-reading-too-much-into-trumps-cancelled-uk-trip-is-unwise
  16. [16]Catherine Philp et al, “Donald Trump ‘took offence at slights from the British,’” Times, January 13, 2018, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/donald-trump-london-visit-row-president-took-offence-at-slights-from-the-british-qhgl2v80s
  17. [17]Guy Faulconbridge and Costas Pitas, “Trump cancels Britain trip, blames Obama for ‘peanuts’ London embassy deal,” Reuters, January 11, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-britain/trump-cancels-britain-trip-blames-obama-for-peanuts-london-embassy-deal-idUSKBN1F10H6; Anne Gearan, “Trump ‘cancels’ London visit to dedicate new U.S. Embassy, citing ‘bad deal’ to sell and relocate building,” Washington Post, January 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2018/01/12/trump-cancels-london-visit-to-dedicate-new-u-s-embassy-citing-bad-deal-to-sell-and-relocate-building/; Heather Stewart and David Smith, “Donald Trump cancels London visit amid protest fears,” Guardian, January 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/donald-trump-visit-to-london-called-off-amid-fears-of-mass-protests; Patrick Wintour, “Why reading too much into Trump’s cancelled UK trip is unwise,” Guardian, January 12, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/why-reading-too-much-into-trumps-cancelled-uk-trip-is-unwise
  18. [18]Guy Faulconbridge and Costas Pitas, “Trump cancels Britain trip, blames Obama for ‘peanuts’ London embassy deal,” Reuters, January 11, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-britain/trump-cancels-britain-trip-blames-obama-for-peanuts-london-embassy-deal-idUSKBN1F10H6
  19. [19]Mark Blyth, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford, UK: Oxford University, 2013).
  20. [20]Josh Dawsey, “Trump derides protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries,” Washington Post, January 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-attacks-protections-for-immigrants-from-shithole-countries-in-oval-office-meeting/2018/01/11/bfc0725c-f711-11e7-91af-31ac729add94_story.html
  21. [21]Coos Bay World, “Learn how to terminate under performing employees at workshop,” January 11, 2018, http://theworldlink.com/news/local/business/learn-how-to-terminate-under-performing-employees-at-workshop/article_06a62783-2929-582c-a4ca-cf33577a1e61.html
  22. [22]Max Greenwood, “Hawaii false alarm sparks panic, confusion,” Hill, January 13, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/368922-hawaii-false-alarm-sparks-panic-confusion

Academia is becoming, if it is not already, bullshit

Updates

  1. Originally published under the title, “Academia is becoming, if is not already, bullshit,” on January 11, 10:38 am.
  2. January 11, 4:51 pm:
    • The New Yorker has a sort of an odd piece in defense of #MeToo from a really odd piece that was apparently published in Le Monde criticizing it.[1]
    • Oh, my. I left a word out of the title. Revised to, “Academia is becoming, if it is not already, bullshit.”
  3. January 11, 5:33 pm:
    • Go ahead, groan. Get it out of your system. Bill Cosby and #MeToo.[2] Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
    • The comment I made on Rod Dreher’s article pointing to Christian Smith’s article[3] has been approved.

Academia

From my teaching philosophy page:

Unfortunately, under neoliberalism, higher education has largely gone the other way: We layer quantitative metrics on top of quantitative metrics in the name of “accountability;” we see the word “entrepreneurship,” a word that should never be used in the context of education, emblazoned across Ivy League university web sites as they promote their job training programs; academic departments retreat from funding cuts by reinforcing the high walls around their intellectual silos; positivism (or post-positivism, if you insist) ascends not on its own merit but in an emphasis on a naïve view of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); all while low-paid adjuncts enable ever richer university administrations. As Christian Smith puts it, “[t]he manure has piled up so deep in the hallways, classrooms, and administration buildings . . . that,” he writes, “I am not sure how much longer I can wade through it and retain my sanity and integrity.” Smith and I share an ideal of what the university is supposed to be. He laments “our crisis of faith in truth, reality, reason, evidence, argument, civility, and our common humanity.”[4] But given a choice he has and I seem not to, (I’m pretty sure he and) I would be nowhere else.[5]

Rod Dreher, in the American Conservative, points to this piece and adds little beyond a forum to discuss it. My comment:

I’m still thinking about this piece, which I found before you pointed to it. In general, I agree: Academia indeed suffers the maladies he claims and more (a list that’s surely too long to cite here). And I agree that the maladies are tangled.

I also share what I hope I correctly perceive as Christian Smith’s love for the university. He laments “our crisis of faith in truth, reality, reason, evidence, argument, civility, and our common humanity.” (I’ll not delve into problems of epistemology or, more bluntly, the question of “what is truth?” here.) Because when he points to that crisis, he points to a crisis of those very things that I most value in The University as an archetype that dates back thousands of years.

But he is baffled as to how to resurrect those values which are too often at odds with a neoliberal emphasis on “job training.”

He wonders “how much longer I can wade through it [the BS] and retain my sanity and integrity” and I think, sadly, that this might be the key. Academia is becoming, in far too many ways, all that it is supposed to despise. It is corrupt.

But there is no institution disposed to clearing out that corruption. So, it seems, academia, in its present form, must be abandoned.

But to abandon the form is not to abandon the virtue. I am beginning to wonder if it is possible to start again, to create a new academia that resurrects these values. How would it be supported? Who could (and how do we decide who should) attend)? How would they be supported in attending?

Christian Smith, “Higher Education Is Drowning in BS,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 9, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Higher-Education-Is-Drowning/242195


Unauthorized migrants

Heather Caygle and Seung Min Kim, “Democratic leaders face internal mutiny over Dreamers deal,” Politico, January 11, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/11/democrats-daca-dreamers-immigration-mutiny-334454


Golden Showers

Twitter has raised its post length limit to 280 characters, which is, I think, generally a good thing, but this also enables Donald Trump to pack more bullshit in each tweet. The Congressional Quarterly Roll Call article usefully rebuts the talking point that the dossier has in any way been refuted. It hasn’t,[6] and:

[W]hile he was not under oath, Patrick Davis, the deputy chief investigative counsel for panel Chairman Charles E. Grassley, informed [Glenn] Simpson at the start of the session that the U.S. Code “makes it a crime to make any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation in the course of a congressional investigation. That statute applies to your statements in this interview. Do you understand that?” Simpson replied: “Yes, I do.”[7]

Fusion GPS, a political intelligence firm,[8] was hired by people in both parties[9] who likely know the political landscape. We can reasonably assume that Simpson knows the landscape and could be relied upon. Calling the dossier that Christopher Steele, an ex-MI6 agent, produced under contract to Fusion GPS[10] “dodgy” is likely overstating the case. Republicans question it, and the Roll Call article thus allows that “it would be accurate to brand the Steele dossier as ‘questioned.’ But,” the article continues, “the document has not been ‘disproven’”[11] and, in releasing the transcript of Simpson’s testimony,[12] Dianne Feinstein and her fellow Democrats probably see it as credible. Jennifer Rubin notes that two Republican senators also supported the release,[13] at least after the fact:

Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.) said: “I think that’s a good idea. I’m glad that it was done.” He added, “I respect Chairman Grassley, and I don’t really understand how this happened, but I do think more transparency is important.” Likewise, Sen. John Kennedy (La.) said, “It doesn’t bother me to have the American people know the facts or at least the alleged facts.”[14]

The Roll Call article concludes that “Trump’s Thursday morning tweet was high on the defensive meter but registers pretty low on the accuracy scale,”[15] which is a way of saying he doth protest too much.

John T. Bennett, “Fact Check: Trump’s Dossier Tweet Full of Dubious Claims,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, January 11, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/fact-check-trumps-dossier-tweet-full-of-dubious-claims/


Jerusalem

Geoffrey Aronson, “How Trump Gave a Green Light to Israel’s ‘One State Solution,’” American Conservative, January 11, 2018, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-trump-gave-a-green-light-to-israels-one-state-solution/


#MeToo

I hadn’t thought about it [a sexual assault the author experienced] again until I saw, yesterday, that a hundred Frenchwomen, including the actress Catherine Deneuve and the writer Catherine Millet, had signed an opinion piece in Le Monde, defending “a freedom to bother, indispensable to sexual freedom.” . . .

There are reasonable criticisms to be made of the reckoning, as it’s come to be called, but Deneuve and Millet and their co-signers distort them. Bothering women in an unwanted way isn’t an expression of artistic temperament, without which the world would lose its magic. It’s often a by-product of a man’s (possibly very good) work making him think that he is invincible and owed. The hundred women’s admiration for a certain kind of man inhibits their empathy for his victims. Their stance is all the sadder in that it reveals a diminution of the same human quality that kindles the sexual energy they’re so keen not to see snuffed out. The failure to grasp that a woman—another woman with a different history, different values, a different set of likes and dislikes, attractions and repulsions—could grieve a trespass upon her body is really a failure of the imagination.[16]

My concern is that Lauren Collins does not share with us her “reasonable criticisms to be made of the reckoning, as it’s come to be called.”[17] What does she think, for example, of Cathy Young’s argument that #MeToo has gone too far?[18]

[T]he #MeToo movement, which tends to lump together a wide range of male wrongdoing from rape to “creepy” or boorish behavior, raises a basic question about human relations in the working world: Can work and sexuality or romance ever mix? For many supporters of this campaign, the answer seems to be no.

Concerns that the post-Weinstein climate may lead to witch hunts against any man who flirts with a female colleague have been met with angry comments along the lines of “flirting in the workplace IS HARASSMENT.” A tweet by singer/songwriter Marian Call that got more than 2,000 retweets and nearly 6,500 “likes” asked, “dudes are you aware how happy women would be if strangers & coworkers never ‘flirted’ with us again … this is the world we want.”

But is it? It’s certainly not the world I want: Except in college, nearly every man I have ever dated was either a co-worker or, once I switched entirely to free-lancing, someone I met through work. This is not unusual, even in the age of dating websites and apps. An informal 2015 survey for the online magazine Mic found that men and women under 35 were almost twice as likely to have met their current significant other through work (17.9%) as through online dating (9.4%). Similar findings have emerged from other such surveys.[19]

What does Collins think of my own sense that the pace of revelations, attended by downfalls of prominent men that were as stunning as they were swift, amounted to a sex panic?

I certainly don’t want to endorse a “a freedom to bother” (or as one woman put it to me personally, “let men be men,” because, she claimed, women can deal with it) as “indispensable to sexual freedom”[20] and indeed, given the notion of affirmative consent,[21] which surely at least one of those French women who signed the article that Collins responds to should have known about, I see no reason I should.

But I remain in the dark about a whole tangled mess of questions about women’s relationships with their bodies and the choices they make in presenting those bodies; the power that some of those bodies confer over men, while at the same time increasing their vulnerability to men; all in a context where sex is routinely used to advance consumerism; all in a context where sexual oppression seems intended to ensure not only that women bear children, even at the expense of any other aspirations they may have, but that they bear the right children (to the right men); all in a context where women seem to cling to their role as what I call “sexual gatekeepers” at the same time that this role functions to deprive women of agency. And if women refuse the agency that affirmative consent offers them, then how are men and women supposed to get together without reinforcing all the horrid double-binds (“jerk” versus “nice guy” and “slut” versus “frigid”) and rape myths that affirmative consent is meant to eliminate?[22] When Marian Call, quoted in Cathy Young’s article, tweets, “dudes are you aware how happy women would be if strangers & coworkers never ‘flirted’ with us again … this is the world we want,”[23] but women refuse the practice of affirmative consent, are they really saying they are opposed to any heterosexual sex ever again?

Lauren Collins, “Why Did Catherine Deneuve and Other Prominent Frenchwomen Denounce #MeToo?” New Yorker, January 10, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/why-did-catherine-deneuve-and-other-prominent-frenchwomen-denounce-metoo


Bill Cosby

Molly Redden, “Bill Cosby: ‘Please don’t put me on #MeToo,’” Guardian, January 11, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/11/bill-cosby-metoo-philadelphia


  1. [1]Lauren Collins, “Why Did Catherine Deneuve and Other Prominent Frenchwomen Denounce #MeToo?” New Yorker, January 10, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/why-did-catherine-deneuve-and-other-prominent-frenchwomen-denounce-metoo
  2. [2]Molly Redden, “Bill Cosby: ‘Please don’t put me on #MeToo,’” Guardian, January 11, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/11/bill-cosby-metoo-philadelphia
  3. [3]Christian Smith, “Higher Education Is Drowning in BS,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 9, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Higher-Education-Is-Drowning/242195
  4. [4]Christian Smith, “Higher Education Is Drowning in BS,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 9, 2018, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Higher-Education-Is-Drowning/242195
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Teaching Philosophy,” n.d., https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/content/teaching-philosophy
  6. [6]John T. Bennett, “Fact Check: Trump’s Dossier Tweet Full of Dubious Claims,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, January 11, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/fact-check-trumps-dossier-tweet-full-of-dubious-claims/
  7. [7]John T. Bennett, “Fact Check: Trump’s Dossier Tweet Full of Dubious Claims,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, January 11, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/fact-check-trumps-dossier-tweet-full-of-dubious-claims/
  8. [8]Rebecca Ballhaus, “Jared Kushner Details Russia Meetings, Denies Collusion,” Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/jared-kushner-releases-details-on-previously-undisclosed-meeting-with-russian-ambassador-1500890433
  9. [9]Philip Ewing, “How The Fusion GPS Founder’s Testimony Fits In The Russia Saga,” National Public Radio, January 10, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/01/10/576899194/how-the-fusion-gps-founders-testimony-fits-in-the-russia-saga; Chris Megerian, “Sen. Dianne Feinstein releases Fusion GPS transcript, escalating dispute with Republicans over Russia probe,” Los Angeles Times, January 9, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-sen-dianne-feinstein-releases-fusion-1515522979-htmlstory.html
  10. [10]John T. Bennett, “Fact Check: Trump’s Dossier Tweet Full of Dubious Claims,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, January 11, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/fact-check-trumps-dossier-tweet-full-of-dubious-claims/
  11. [11]John T. Bennett, “Fact Check: Trump’s Dossier Tweet Full of Dubious Claims,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, January 11, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/fact-check-trumps-dossier-tweet-full-of-dubious-claims/
  12. [12]“Feinstein: American People Deserve Opportunity to Read Glenn Simpson, Fusion GPS Transcript,” United States Senate, January 9, 2018, https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?id=B708D3CB-A945-4436-8FB8-9D85978C5EEF; Chris Megerian, “Sen. Dianne Feinstein releases Fusion GPS transcript, escalating dispute with Republicans over Russia probe,” Los Angeles Times, January 9, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-sen-dianne-feinstein-releases-fusion-1515522979-htmlstory.html; Jacqueline Thomsen, “Feinstein posts testimony of Fusion GPS co-founder,” Hill, January 9, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/368119-feinstein-posts-testimony-of-fusion-gps-co-founder
  13. [13]Jennifer Rubin, “Fusion GPS transcript undercuts GOP attack on Steele and FBI,” Washington Post, January 10, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/10/fusion-gps-transcript-undercuts-gop-attack-on-steele-and-fbi/
  14. [14]Jennifer Rubin, “Fusion GPS transcript undercuts GOP attack on Steele and FBI,” Washington Post, January 10, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/10/fusion-gps-transcript-undercuts-gop-attack-on-steele-and-fbi/
  15. [15]John T. Bennett, “Fact Check: Trump’s Dossier Tweet Full of Dubious Claims,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, January 11, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/fact-check-trumps-dossier-tweet-full-of-dubious-claims/
  16. [16]Lauren Collins, “Why Did Catherine Deneuve and Other Prominent Frenchwomen Denounce #MeToo?” New Yorker, January 10, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/why-did-catherine-deneuve-and-other-prominent-frenchwomen-denounce-metoo
  17. [17]Lauren Collins, “Why Did Catherine Deneuve and Other Prominent Frenchwomen Denounce #MeToo?” New Yorker, January 10, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/why-did-catherine-deneuve-and-other-prominent-frenchwomen-denounce-metoo
  18. [18]Cathy Young, “Is ‘Weinsteining’ getting out of hand?” Los Angeles Times, November 1, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-young-weinsteining-goes-too-far-20171101-story.html
  19. [19]Cathy Young, “Is ‘Weinsteining’ getting out of hand?” Los Angeles Times, November 1, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-young-weinsteining-goes-too-far-20171101-story.html
  20. [20]quoted in Lauren Collins, “Why Did Catherine Deneuve and Other Prominent Frenchwomen Denounce #MeToo?” New Yorker, January 10, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/why-did-catherine-deneuve-and-other-prominent-frenchwomen-denounce-metoo
  21. [21]Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti. eds., Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape (Berkeley, CA: Seal, 2008).
  22. [22]David Benfell, “The Great Feminist Smackdown: Rape Allegations against Julian Assange,” Not Housebroken, December 21, 2010, https://disunitedstates.org/2010/12/21/the-great-feminist-smackdown-rape-allegations-against-julian-assange/; David Benfell, “Salon’s ‘sensitive’ Arthur Chu needs to learn about ‘Yes means Yes,’” Not Housebroken, January 12, 2015, https://disunitedstates.org/2015/01/12/salons-sensitive-arthur-chu-needs-to-learn-about-yes-means-yes/; David Benfell, “Affirmative consent is still a better idea,” Not Housebroken, November 12, 2017, https://disunitedstates.org/2017/11/12/affirmative-consent-is-still-a-better-idea/
  23. [23]Marian Call, quoted in Cathy Young, “Is ‘Weinsteining’ getting out of hand?” Los Angeles Times, November 1, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-young-weinsteining-goes-too-far-20171101-story.html

Did Donald Trump participate in ‘golden showers’ and, if so, how? Or does he just like to watch?

Updates

  1. January 10, 10:47 am:
    • National Public Radio has an explainer of the Fusion GPS testimony fits into larger investigations of Russian involvement in the 2016 elections[1] that fills in some details—and omits some other details that I include below. (Golden showers)
    • The Washington Post’s allegedly (and probably functionalist) conservative columnist, Jennifer Rubin, blasts Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham for obstructing the Fusion GPS transcript and seeking to impugn the company and Christopher Steele.[2] (Golden showers)

Golden showers

In the testimony that Dianne Feinstein released yesterday,[3] Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson stridently defends Christopher Steele’s work[4] in a so-called “dodgy dossier”:

The salacious details included in the dossier have become a partisan flashpoint in the debate over whether Trump officials had improper contacts with Russia.

The dossiers’ supporters have pointed to confirmed details in the dossier — like a meeting that former Trump adviser Carter Page had in Moscow — to argue that it gives credibility to the document as a whole.

Republicans argue that dossier was funded by Democrats and includes wild accusations about sexual impropriety by [Donald] Trump. The core claims of collusion and corruption have not been borne out by the special investigation at this point, they say.[5]

First, it should be pointed out that Fusion GPS, a political intelligence firm,[6] was hired first by conservatives and then by Hillary Clinton’s campaign for opposition research,[7] but what, because “inquiring minds want to know,”[8] are these “wild accusations about sexual impropriety?” Apparently,

Russian intelligence services, acting on Trump’s well-known obsession with sex, had arranged an evening for him with a bevy of hookers, with hidden cameras and microphones recording all the action. The jaw-dropping detail that topped the story? Trump had somehow engaged in “golden showers,” sex acts involving urine.[9]

Hence a discussion of the Russian word, “kompromat,” describing a tactic in which Trump was presumably set up to be vulnerable to blackmail,[10] a possibility that, according to the transcript, so alarmed Steele that he went to the Federal Bureau of Investigation which apparently already had confirmed some details.[11]

But, allegedly, Fusion GPS stopped working with the FBI when a New York Times story suggested “that the Trump campaign was not under investigation. The former spy was concerned that ‘the FBI was being manipulated for political ends by the Trump people and that we didn’t really understand what was going on.’”[12]

Philip Ewing, “How The Fusion GPS Founder’s Testimony Fits In The Russia Saga,” National Public Radio, January 10, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/01/10/576899194/how-the-fusion-gps-founders-testimony-fits-in-the-russia-saga

Jennifer Rubin, “Fusion GPS transcript undercuts GOP attack on Steele and FBI,” Washington Post, January 10, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/10/fusion-gps-transcript-undercuts-gop-attack-on-steele-and-fbi/

Katie Bo Williams and Jonathan Easley, “Five takeaways from the Fusion GPS testimony,” Hill, January 10, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/368210-five-takeaways-from-the-fusion-gps-testimony


  1. [1]Philip Ewing, “How The Fusion GPS Founder’s Testimony Fits In The Russia Saga,” National Public Radio, January 10, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/01/10/576899194/how-the-fusion-gps-founders-testimony-fits-in-the-russia-saga
  2. [2]Jennifer Rubin, “Fusion GPS transcript undercuts GOP attack on Steele and FBI,” Washington Post, January 10, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/10/fusion-gps-transcript-undercuts-gop-attack-on-steele-and-fbi/
  3. [3]“Feinstein: American People Deserve Opportunity to Read Glenn Simpson, Fusion GPS Transcript,” United States Senate, January 9, 2018, https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?id=B708D3CB-A945-4436-8FB8-9D85978C5EEF
  4. [4]Katie Bo Williams and Jonathan Easley, “Five takeaways from the Fusion GPS testimony,” Hill, January 10, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/368210-five-takeaways-from-the-fusion-gps-testimony
  5. [5]Katie Bo Williams and Jonathan Easley, “Five takeaways from the Fusion GPS testimony,” Hill, January 10, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/368210-five-takeaways-from-the-fusion-gps-testimony
  6. [6]Rebecca Ballhaus, “Jared Kushner Details Russia Meetings, Denies Collusion,” Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/jared-kushner-releases-details-on-previously-undisclosed-meeting-with-russian-ambassador-1500890433
  7. [7]Philip Ewing, “How The Fusion GPS Founder’s Testimony Fits In The Russia Saga,” National Public Radio, January 10, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/01/10/576899194/how-the-fusion-gps-founders-testimony-fits-in-the-russia-saga; Chris Megerian, “Sen. Dianne Feinstein releases Fusion GPS transcript, escalating dispute with Republicans over Russia probe,” Los Angeles Times, January 9, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-sen-dianne-feinstein-releases-fusion-1515522979-htmlstory.html
  8. [8]This line was memorably used in advertising for the National Enquirer, a tabloid.
  9. [9]Jeff Stein, “Trump, Russian Spies and the Infamous ‘Golden Shower Memos,’” Newsweek, January 10, 2017, http://www.newsweek.com/trump-russian-spies-infamous-golden-shower-memos-541315
  10. [10]Greg Myre, “A Russian Word Americans Need To Know: ‘Kompromat,'” National Public Radio, January 11, 2017, http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/01/11/509305088/a-russian-word-americans-need-to-know-kompromat
  11. [11]Katie Bo Williams and Jonathan Easley, “Five takeaways from the Fusion GPS testimony,” Hill, January 10, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/368210-five-takeaways-from-the-fusion-gps-testimony
  12. [12]Katie Bo Williams and Jonathan Easley, “Five takeaways from the Fusion GPS testimony,” Hill, January 10, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/368210-five-takeaways-from-the-fusion-gps-testimony

Donald Trump’s ouster seems increasingly likely

Updates

    1. First published, January 5, 6:32 am under the title “Donald Trump backs words with a funding suspension for Pakistan.”
    2. January 5, 8:13 pm:
      • Place your bets: Does the 25th amendment or impeachment come first?
        1. The New York Times reports on a strengthening case alleging obstruction of justice against Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions.[1] The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, allegedly a conservative columnist, digests it. To give you a clue, Rubin’s first sentence is, “Michael S. Schmidt’s report in the New York Times contains so many blockbusters that it’s hard to know where to begin.”[2] Ummm, whoops. (James Comey)
        2. Meanwhile, questions about Donald Trump’s mental condition, and hence, fitness for office, which in turn (now) implies a potential invocation of the 25th amendment, are far from new,[3] but do seem to be getting louder (update, January 6, 5:25 pm, and January 7, 12:40 pm: See these articles[4]). James Hamblin, who doesn’t like remote diagnoses, nonetheless deploys evidence of Trump’s apparent degeneration to revisit Jimmy Carter’s over-two-decade-old call for “a system to detect this sort [like that of Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s Disease] of cognitive impairment earlier on.” Such a system would obviously find utility in the case of the unfortunate President Trump.[5] (Donald Trump)
      • Since Donald Trump ordered a cut to financial assistance,[6] the U.S. no longer has an alliance with Pakistan, according to the latter country’s foreign minister.[7]
      • These updates prompted a lot of additional commentary.
    3. January 5, 8:27 pm:
      • Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly cited a passage quoting Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif to the article by Cristiano Lima.[8] In fact, the passage comes from an article by Saeed Shah.[9] The citation has been corrected.
      • I have also tweaked wording in several instances.
    4. January 6, 8:39 am:
      • Twitter has responded to criticism that it should ban Donald Trump.[10] (Social networks)
      • Headline shortened to “Donald Trump suspends some aid to Pakistan,” but this isn’t actually the problem I’m having with publicizing this post on Twitter.
    5. January 6, 1:13 pm:
      I think I have fixed the problem I was having publicizing the Daily Bullshit on Twitter. It stems from a decision to shut down my old mail server. I failed to migrate the script that posts these updates and promptly found that a number of scripts, including the one I used before, available for doing this are now, in one way or another, broken. I found this, which requires you to set up your own front end, but which works, at least for now. (I did need to change the post length limit from 140 to 280.)
    6. January 6, 5:25 pm:
      • David Remnick summarizes the state of dysfunction at the White House.[11] (Donald Trump)
    7. January 7, 12:40 pm:
      • The chorus is growing louder that something must be done to remove Donald Trump from office.[12] The arguments appear functionalist conservative in nature.
      • I have broken the citations page for Donald Trump, which was growing too long to manage, into two pages: 1 2. Hopefully, all references here now point to the latter but connecting links appear at the top of each.
    8. January 8, 12:34 pm:
      • Title changed to “Donald Trump’s ouster seems increasingly likely.”
      • A sitting president has never before been interviewed in a criminal probe in his first year of office (this would be before January 20th). It could very well happen now and Donald Trump’s lawyers are negotiating the circumstances.[13] (James Comey)
      • Since her widely acclaimed Golden Globes speech, some are floating the possibility of Oprah Winfrey running for president in 2020. At Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, Mary Curtis highlights Winfrey’s positives,[14] but I recall her support for The Secret,[15] which I discussed in a 2006 blog post.[16]
      • It turns out my new solution for publicizing these posts on Twitter, the one I thought I had arrived at as of January 6, 1:13 pm, prohibits or at least limits duplicate posts. That’s okay. With Twitter’s new 280-character limit, I think I have space to make update information available.
    9. January 8, 4:04 pm:
      • The Bundys will not be retried following a mistrial in the Nevada case, thanks apparently to “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct.”[17] (White Supremacism)
    10. January 8, 6:57 pm:
      • It appears that The Secret is not the only form that Oprah Winfrey’s Magical Thinking, that is, an imagination that one can change one’s reality through positive thinking,[18] takes. Her doctrine excuses neoliberal oppression of workers through her rags-to-riches story with a colonial rationalization we’ve seen before: Anybody can succeed her way, that is, unless they can’t, in which case they can be blamed for failing to do it.[19]
    11. January 9, 7:09 am:
      • Titles of individual posts in the Daily Bullshit will no longer include the now redundant publication name and dates as the script I’ve been working on (mentioned in updates for January 6, 1:13 pm, and January 8, 12:34 pm) now figures these out and puts them in the tweet automatically.
    12. January 9, 12:22 pm:
      • If Donald Trump indeed testifies in Robert Mueller’s inquiry, he will put to rest the question of whether he’s crazy like a fox or, much more probably, just delusional and stupid.[20] (James Comey)
      • I guess it’s about time to dredge up the Golden Showers angle of the Russia investigation, as Dianne Feinstein released Fusion GPS’ co-founder’s testimony. Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele, who compiled the infamous dossier.[21]
    13. January 9, 4:05 pm:
      • Complicating a balance between free speech and hate speech, Germany now threatens Social networks with massive fines should they fail to remove any user-posted content that violates its laws within 24 hours.[22]
      • The American Conservative has a book review[23] that clearly departs from traditionalist conservatism in a way distinctly pointing to what the publication labels as ‘reform conservatism.’ I will be working on a research journal entry on this rather than adding content here.
    14. January 9, 7:09 pm:
      • The aforementioned (at January 9, 4:05 pm) promised research journal entry on Gene Callahan’s essay,[24] in which ‘reform’ conservatism appears to depart from traditionalist conservatism, is now complete, here.
    15. January 9, 9:10 pm:
      • I want to cheer, but I know I can’t, because I’m sure the Trump administration will appeal this judge’s ruling temporarily restraining it from rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals (DACA) program[25] until it wins. (Unauthorized migrants)
    16. January 9, 9:57 pm:
      • Cable News Network has a bit more detail on the court ruling temporarily blocking the Trump administration from rescinding DACA.[26] (Unauthorized migrants)
    17. January 9, 10:58 pm:
      • It’s getting a bit frustrating. Here’s the Wall Street Journal with just a bit more on the court ruling temporarily blocking the Trump administration from rescinding DACA.[27] I’m still not seeing the analysis I’d like to. (Unauthorized migrants)
      • It just gets worse and worse with Oprah Winfrey. I knew about The Secret.[28] I saw the article on her neoliberalism[29] on Twitter. But oh yes, it seems this supposed “anti-Trump” has been up to her neck in anti-intellectual hucksters all along.[30] I just hadn’t been paying enough attention. Not that I even remotely wanted to. (Magical Thinking)
    18. January 9, 11:55 pm:
      • I probably should have thought of this earlier, but Dianne Feinstein’s press release, pointing to the Fusion GPS co-founder’s testimony transcript,[31] finally hit my radar. It adds little to the coverage above, but is the more authoritative source for the transcript. (Golden Showers)


    Pakistan

    If Donald Trump was indeed a master negotiator, he might understand that Pakistan has alternatives to the U.S. and its fucking money,[32] which is to say that it probably has the greater leverage.

    “We do not have any alliance” with the U.S., [Pakistani Foreign Minister] Khawaja Muhammad Asif said in an interview Friday. “This is not how allies behave.”[33]

    Of course, I’d have said that from the beginning, when, allegedly, “the US threatened to bomb Pakistan ‘back to the stone age’ unless it joined the fight against al-Qaeda.”[34]

    For Washington, jettisoning support for a longtime nuclear-armed ally in a strategic location isn’t easy. For its part, Pakistan fears a full break could lead the U.S. to apply its leverage in international forums to hurt the country’s economy.

    A long-festering dispute lies at the heart of the conflict between the two countries: The U.S. accuses Pakistan of harboring jihadists who kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, while Islamabad says Washington doesn’t adequately acknowledge Pakistan’s role in decimating al Qaeda or its sacrifice of thousands of lives after joining America’s war on terror.

    Islamabad also sees the U.S. growing ever closer to its archenemy India, with the Trump administration even inviting New Delhi to take a bigger role in Afghanistan—a move experts say all but guaranteed Pakistan’s pullback from cooperating with the U.S. effort there. The cleavage could push Pakistan further into the arms of China and complicate America’s effort to end the Afghanistan war, its longest-running conflict. BMI Research, an economic-analysis firm based in London, said in a report Friday that the U.S. suspension of aid “will likely accelerate Pakistan’s geopolitical drift towards China.”[35]

    Cristiano Lima, “Trump administration to withhold aid to Pakistan,” Politico, January 4, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/04/trump-administration-pakistan-aid-325401

    Saeed Shah, “Pakistan Foreign Minister Says U.S. Has Undermined Countries’ Ties,” Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pakistan-says-alliance-with-u-s-is-over-1515155860


    Social networks

    The Occupy tweet points to a Daily Beast snippet[36] which summarizes a Twitter blog post.[37] My response:

    Olivia Solon, “Facebook declines to say why it deletes certain political accounts, but not others,” Guardian, January 4, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/04/facebook-chechnya-ramzan-kadyrov-political-censorship

    Daily Beast, “Twitter: We Can’t Ban Trump Because He’s a ‘World Leader,’” January 5, 2018, https://www.thedailybeast.com/twitter-we-cant-block-trump-because-hes-a-world-leader

    Twitter, “World Leaders on Twitter,” January 5, 2018, https://blog.twitter.com/official/en_us/topics/company/2017/world-leaders-and-twitter.html

    Public Radio International, “German social media companies could face big fines if they don’t remove hate speech,” January 9, 2018, https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-01-09/german-social-media-companies-could-face-big-fines-if-they-don-t-remove-hate



    Donald Trump

    James Comey

    Remember, Jennifer Rubin is supposed to be a conservative (my best guess right now is functionalist conservative) columnist:

    The walls are closing in on [Donald] Trump, at least with respect to an obstruction-of-justice claim. Literally everyone mentioned above [at least Reince Priebus, James B. Comey, Rod J. Rosenstein, Jeff Sessions, Uttam Dhillon, Jared Kushner, and Stephen Miller] may have evidence that incriminates the president. Some of these people will have personal liability and therefore may be ready to cut a deal with prosecutors. The White House is melting down.[38]

    “The risk is that Trump would either incriminate himself, commit perjury, or lie — unless he truly has committed no offense and has nothing to fear from telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” constitutional lawyer Laurence H. Tribe tells me. “I regard that ‘unless’ as extremely implausible.” He adds, “That said, I wouldn’t have have him plead the Fifth. That option isn’t realistically available to a sitting president, who simply can’t afford the steep political price that taking the Fifth would inevitably exact.” . . .

    For all of Trump’s boasting that he’s done everything right (100 percent!) and his lawyer’s ludicrous assertions that a president cannot commit obstruction of justice, the prospect for Trump to be interviewed under oath presents the greatest risk to his presidency yet. Look for a lot of political maneuvering, excuse-making and spin. In the end, however, Mueller has the power to compel Trump to testify; Trump might have a theoretical legal right to refuse, but as a practical matter, he in all likelihood will have to testify — and therefore put himself in grave legal and political peril.[39]

    Also see an article by her under Donald Trump.

    Michael S. Schmidt, “Obstruction Inquiry Shows Trump’s Struggle to Keep Grip on Russia Investigation,” New York Times, January 4, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/04/us/politics/trump-sessions-russia-mcgahn.html

    Jennifer Rubin, “Why Trump and Sessions are now in a heap of legal trouble,” Washington Post, January 5, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/05/a-heap-of-legal-trouble-for-trump-and-sessions/

    Carol D. Leonnig, “Mueller indicates he will likely seek interview with Trump,” Washington Post, January 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mueller-indicates-he-will-likely-seek-interview-with-trump/2018/01/08/86100bb2-f473-11e7-beb6-c8d48830c54d_story.html

    Kristen Welker, Carol E. Lee, Julia Ainsley, and Hallie Jackson, “Initial talks underway about Trump interview in Mueller Russia probe,” NBC News, January 8, 2018, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/amp/initial-talks-underway-about-trump-interview-mueller-russia-probe-n835506

    Jennifer Rubin, “Trump on the stand: The greatest political and legal peril he’s ever faced,” Washington Post, January 9, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/09/trump-on-the-stand-the-greatest-political-and-legal-peril-hes-ever-faced/


    Donald Trump

    After [Ronald] Reagan’s [Alzheimer’s] diagnosis, former President Jimmy Carter sounded an alarm over the lack of a system to detect this sort of cognitive impairment earlier on. “Many people have called to my attention the continuing danger to our nation from the possibility of a U.S. president becoming disabled, particularly by a neurologic illness,” Carter wrote in 1994 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “The great weakness of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment is its provision for determining disability in the event that the president is unable or unwilling to certify to impairment or disability.”[40]

    James Mann, “Damage Bigly,” New York Review of Books, December 21, 2017, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/01/18/donald-trump-damage-bigly/

    James Hamblin, “Is Something Neurologically Wrong With Donald Trump?” Atlantic, January 3, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/01/trump-cog-decline/548759/

    Jennifer Rubin, “The ‘stable genius’ isn’t even functioning as president,” Washington Post, January 6, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/06/the-stable-genius-isnt-even-functioning-as-president/

    David Remnick, “The Increasing Unfitness of Donald Trump,” New Yorker, January 15, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/15/the-increasing-unfitness-of-donald-trump


    Golden Showers

    Dianne Feinstein released a transcript of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee[41] despite Republican objections. The transcript itself may be found in the Hill story[42] or in Dianne Feinstein’s press release,[43] while the Los Angeles Times story offers a bit more background.[44]

    “Feinstein: American People Deserve Opportunity to Read Glenn Simpson, Fusion GPS Transcript,” United States Senate, January 9, 2018, https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?id=B708D3CB-A945-4436-8FB8-9D85978C5EEF

    Chris Megerian, “Sen. Dianne Feinstein releases Fusion GPS transcript, escalating dispute with Republicans over Russia probe,” Los Angeles Times, January 9, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-sen-dianne-feinstein-releases-fusion-1515522979-htmlstory.html

    Jacqueline Thomsen, “Feinstein posts testimony of Fusion GPS co-founder,” Hill, January 9, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/368119-feinstein-posts-testimony-of-fusion-gps-co-founder



    Oprah Winfrey

    Probably in part because 2020 and the nomination contest are still two years away. Of course Hillary Clinton’s coronation was assured about this far ahead of the 2016 election, too, when I’m sure I commented that it was way too soon to be making predictions.

    Mary C. Curtis, “Why Oprah in 2020 Is Both Blessing and Curse for Trump and the GOP,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, January 8, 2018, https://www.rollcall.com/news/opinion/opinion-oprah-2020-blessing-curse-trump-gop/


    Magical Thinking

    John Gravois, “Think Negative!” Slate, May 16, 2007, http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2007/05/think_negative.html

    Nicole Aschoff, “Oprah Winfrey: one of the world’s best neoliberal capitalist thinkers,” Guardian, December 19, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/may/09/oprah-winfrey-neoliberal-capitalist-thinkers

    Julia Belluz, “Oprah’s long history with junk science,” Vox, January 9, 2018, https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/1/9/16868216/oprah-winfrey-pseudoscience


    White Supremacism

    Valerie Richardson, “Judge throws out case against Bundys, bars retrial in devastating defeat for federal prosecutors,” Washington Times, January 8, 2018, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jan/8/judge-throws-out-case-against-bundys-bars-retrial/


    Unauthorized migrants

    Associated Press, “Federal judge in San Francisco temporarily blocks Trump’s decision to end DACA program,” Los Angeles Times, January 9, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-daca-federal-court-20180109-story.html

    Brett Samuels, “Judge blocks Trump plan to end DACA,” Hill, January 9, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/368246-judge-blocks-trump-admin-from-ending-daca-program

    Ariane de Vogue and Dan Berman, “Judge blocks Trump admin plan to roll back DACA,” Cable News Network, January 10, 2018, http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/09/politics/california-judge-daca-applications/index.html



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First, it was about hand size. Now, it’s about nuclear ‘button’ size: Daily Bullshit, January 3, 2018

Hillary Clinton

Some Republicans on the committee say the findings and revelations have left them more convinced than ever that FBI leadership rigged the outcome to clear Clinton.[1]

John Solomon, “Congressional investigators find irregularities in FBI’s handling of Clinton email case,” Hill, January 2, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/367141-congressional-investigators-find-irregularities-in-fbis-handling-of


North Korea

But before Trump, no US President has made such public and cavalier threats, apparently relishing the power he wields as the person who could, by himself, deploy America’s earth-shattering nuclear arsenal within a matter of minutes. . . .

“To call it juvenile would be an insult to children for what he did tonight,” retired Adm. John Kirby, a former State Department and Pentagon spokesman told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday.

“I do think in the halls of the Pentagon and the State Department, there has got to be a lot of concern over this, because he is the President of the United States. His tweets are going to be taken as official policy,” said Kirby, now a CNN analyst. “There is no question they are going to lead to miscalculation and confusion over there.”[2]

A psychologist I know says that Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are ‘triggers’ for each other. If he’s right, it isn’t hard to see how “dick size” becomes extraordinarily dangerous.

Kim has anchored his regime on the idea that the United States, the North’s enemy in the 1950-1953 Korean War is bent on destroying the communist regime in a nuclear strike. In that sense, Trump’s missive plays right into the hands of the reclusive regimes propaganda conceit, much as his threat to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea did last year.[3]

Stephen Collinson, “The nuclear war tweet heard ’round the world,” Cable News Network, January 3, 2018, http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/03/politics/donald-trump-nuclear-buttonth-korea/index.html


  1. [1]John Solomon, “Congressional investigators find irregularities in FBI’s handling of Clinton email case,” Hill, January 2, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/367141-congressional-investigators-find-irregularities-in-fbis-handling-of
  2. [2]Stephen Collinson, “The nuclear war tweet heard ’round the world,” Cable News Network, January 3, 2018, http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/03/politics/donald-trump-nuclear-buttonth-korea/index.html
  3. [3]Stephen Collinson, “The nuclear war tweet heard ’round the world,” Cable News Network, January 3, 2018, http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/03/politics/donald-trump-nuclear-buttonth-korea/index.html