Notes and Comment Blog

Rules are rules

Sep 18th, 2019 4:42 pm | By Ophelia Benson

It’s like this.

The rules are:

1. People are whatever gender they say they are

2. Cis people are comfortable with their assigned gender

3. Cis people may not reject the word “cis” as describing them

4. Only genuine trans people can be trans, and only genuine non-binary people can be non-binary

5. Cis people who say they are non-binary are wrong

The question is how it’s possible to reconcile 1 with 5, or 5 with 1.

Not actually glad to help

Sep 18th, 2019 4:16 pm | By Ophelia Benson

Owen Jones a few days ago:

Massive kudos to @samsmith, who by coming out will help other non-binary people who have to confront the ignorance and bigotry of others.

The people who get angry at *pronouns* are exactly the same who call the left always offended/”triggered” snowflakes.

Janice Turner replied today:

Everyone is non-binary, Owen. I’m non-binary. Every feminist is non-binary, because we don’t adhere to sexist gender stereotypes. So are you going to congratulate us too?


No you’re not, glad to help!

Now just a god damn minute. If the rule is that people are what they say they are, where does he get off replying that way?

Furthermore, how does he think he knows that? What is it that he thinks he knows?

Also – does he know anything about feminism over the past half-century?

It’s almost as if they don’t even mean it about “non-binary,” they just mean “us and our friends, who are cooler than you.”

(Also, for full disclosure, his flippant sexist dismissal of a woman older and wiser and more thoughtful than he is makes me angry.)

His mark X

Sep 18th, 2019 4:03 pm | By Ophelia Benson

Trump is “autographing” The Wall.

With a Sharpie.

Jim Acosta:

Down at border, Trump just signed section of wall (fence) with sharpie. This, after an official minutes ago rejected the idea that the wall is a “vanity project.”



The prestige of the city

Sep 18th, 2019 12:10 pm | By Ophelia Benson

Apparently some people made the mistake of thinking that when Trump made noises about homeless people he was actually worrying about the homeless people. Pause for raucous mirth. Come on now – we all know better than that.

Maybe he‘d even realized that his own actions, like making immigrants fearful of accessing federal assistance or aiming to slash health care for low-income Americans or pushing for cuts to public housing, had contributed to the problem.

Stop, stop, it’s too much.

Curious to know more, reporters asked the president about his sudden interest in addressing homelessness on Tuesday in California, where he told them that…yeah, he just doesn‘t like the sight of homeless people or what they’re doing to the values of real estate properties—especially those owned by foreign investors.

“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco, and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening,” Trump said aboard Air Force One, adding that the homelessness crisis is causing residents of those cities to leave the country. “They can’t believe what’s happening. We have people living in our…best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings…where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes, where they went to those locations because of the prestige,” he said, probably internally shuddering at the idea of homeless people crowding the entrance of Trump Tower. “In many cases they came from other countries and they moved to Los Angeles or they moved to San Francisco because of the prestige of the city, and all of a sudden they have tents. Hundreds and hundreds of tents and people living at the entrance to their office building. And they want to leave. And the people of San Francisco are fed up, and the people of Los Angeles are fed up.”

Look. These are rich cities full of rich people and they’re not supposed to have to look at disgusting poor people. Their cleaners and gardeners are supposed to do their work out of sight of the rich people, and the peons who live in the city are supposed to live their nasty little lives out of sight. What good is it being rich if you have to look at dirty nasty poor people all day?

No obligation to be honest with the media

Sep 18th, 2019 11:41 am | By Ophelia Benson

Aaron Rupar on Corey Lewandowski’s in-your-face confirmation that he lied to the news media:

Lewandowski, dripping with disdain, all but admits he lied during media interviews, prompting the audience to gasp at his brazenness. Hard to believe this guy is considering a run for US Senate.

Russell Berman at the Atlantic tells the story:

If anyone really got to Lewandowski, it was Barry Berke, the attorney Democrats hired to consult on their investigation and the staff member they designated to question the witness after all the lawmakers were done. Republicans had objected to staff members having the opportunity to question Lewandowski, and judging by Berke’s effectiveness, it was clear why they would be concerned. Berke caught Lewandowski in a lie when he played a clip of the former campaign manager saying on MSNBC that he did not recall the president asking him to get involved with Sessions or the Department of Justice. “I have no obligation to be honest with the media, because they are just as dishonest as anybody else,” Lewandowski replied, drawing gasps in the hearing room.

Trump tells Lewandowski to tell Sessions to obstruct justice, and Lewandowski tells MSNBC host Ari Melber that he has no memory of doing that, and then tells a Congressional hearing that he “no obligation to be honest with the media.”

The shamelessness is record-breaking.

House Judiciary Dems tweets:

Lewandowski admitted that he lied to the media and the American people. Here it is in his own words.

There’s an interesting bit where he says he tells the truth when he’s under oath, with a “come at me bro” air, as if that answer obviously met all requirements.

Send more pollution

Sep 17th, 2019 4:48 pm | By Ophelia Benson

The job of the Environmental Protection Agency is, oddly enough, to protect the environment, but its next move is going to be telling California it can’t have stricter admission standards than the rest of the country. Must be dirtier! Is the law!

The Trump administration will announce as early as Wednesday it is revoking California’s authority to set its own greenhouse gas and vehicle fuel efficiency standards and barring all states from setting such rules, two auto industry officials said on Tuesday.

The move is sure to spark legal challenges over issues including states’ rights and climate change that administration officials say could ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump met with senior officials last Thursday and agreed to greenlight the plan to bar California from setting tailpipe emission standards or requiring zero emission vehicles, Reuters reported last week.

No cleaner air for you! Join the rest of us in the muck, it’s only fair!

The administration plans to issue separate rules rolling back Obama-era fuel economy requirements in the coming weeks. A formal announcement is tentatively set for Wednesday at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) headquarters and automakers and dealers have been invited to attend, industry officials said.

Must use more fuel instead of less! Must hasten climate change instead of trying to slow it.

California has vowed to challenge the Trump administration effort, arguing that the United States has an obligation to protect the environment for future generations. “We’ll see you in court if you stand in our way,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said.

Some senior administration officials believe provoking a court battle with California gives them a historic chance to displace the state from vehicle emissions oversight and could give the Supreme Court the chance to revisit a landmark 5-4 2007 decision that found the EPA has the legal authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles.

Always do the wrong thing. It’s what made America great.

A mark of social innovation

Sep 17th, 2019 4:24 pm | By Ophelia Benson

Montreal gets a new city pool. And guess what!

New Montreal City Pool Will Have Just One Changing Room & It Will Be Gender Neutral

There will only be one changeroom, and it will be for everyone.

Well, no it won’t be for everyone, because of the people who don’t want to change in front of people of the opposite sex.

  • The City of Montreal has announced new plans for the forthcoming Rosemont Aquatic Complex.
  • Most notabl[e] is the decision to opt for one, universal change room instead of two, gendered change rooms.
  • The hope is that the decision will increase accessibility and optimize space.

Why would the decision increase accessibility? What are they thinking? What people are kept out of municipal swimming pools by “gendered” change rooms?

Most notable, perhaps, is the city’s decision to opt for only one, universal change room, instead of the traditional dual changerooms that serve males and females, respectively.

According to TVA Nouvelles, this decision was, in part, championed by Nathalie Goulet, head of social inclusion for the executive committee of the City of Montreal.

Ahhh, social inclusion – social inclusion via forcing people to take their clothes off in the presence of people of the opposite sex. People who don’t want to do that are excluded, but I guess they don’t matter?

For Goulet, this decision is a mark of social innovation and a move toward social gains that she feels significantly outweigh the financial investments required.

Yes, it’s innovation, but how does that make it a good thing? What social gains is she expecting? What about the people who won’t want to use that pool, or won’t want to let their children use that pool, especially if their children are girls?

Apparently, the president of The Association of Aquatic Managers of Quebec, Lucie Roy, is also on board. Roy feels the decision promotes accessibility, optimizes space and still manages to preserve privacy.

I’m still not getting the “promotes accessibility” part (because they’re still not explaining it, just saying it). Female and male changing rooms are accessible – there’s nothing about being for one sex or the other that makes a changing room inaccessible. Or are they thinking this meets a need of “non-binary” people? But even if you think “non-binary” people have a real need for all-genders changing rooms, which I don’t, it’s still bizarre to put their needs ahead of the surely far more people who don’t want to take their pants off in public.

The universal change rooms will consist of:

  • 18 closed stalls that include a shower and a changing section
  • 6 closed stalls without a shower
  • 12 washroom stalls, which can serve as changerooms
  • 3 open showers with soap
  • 2 showers on the pool deck
  • several lockers, both full and half size
  • a storage room for school and other groups

The problem jumps out, doesn’t it – those three open showers. No thank you! Also how closed are the closed stalls? All the way closed? Or open enough so that those fun guys who like to sneak their phones under or over the partition can get their dirty movies? It makes a difference.

Patrons will be required to remain clothed unless in a closed change room, shower or bathroom stall. The open showers with soap are noted as “no nudity,” on the city’s website.

How lovely, and who’s going to monitor and enforce the rule in the three open showers?

Trump plans focus

Sep 17th, 2019 3:50 pm | By Ophelia Benson

Trump is in California to seek $$$ from rich people.

 Many details of his brief visit, accompanied by housing and urban development secretary Ben Carson have remained mysterious prior to his arrival, though Trump did make clear that he’d focus on the problem of homelessness in California.

By “focus on the problem of homelessness” of course he doesn’t mean provide public housing along with support for people with mental health problems or addictions or both, he means scraping up all the homeless people and driving them away, presumably to starve in a ditch somewhere cold and wet and miles from any millionaires.

Advocates across the Golden State, which has a growing homeless population and severe affordable housing shortage, have urged the US government not to further criminalize people living in poverty and instead increase funding for housing and other services, some of which Trump has cut in his budgets.

Naaaaaaaah we can’t do that, that would be Soshulizm, we have to punish them, drive them out, lock them up, maybe eat them – anything to make sure they don’t make a mess in front of one of Trump’s hotels.

Show us on the doll where he misgendered you

Sep 17th, 2019 3:13 pm | By Ophelia Benson

At least the important stuff is being attended to.

My father just sent me this horrific article which mis-genders Sam Smith SEVEN times in the opening paragraph. Douglas Murray, please fuck off.


Ermergerd! Seven whole times!

But what is “misgendering”?

It’s not anything. It’s a made-up crime. It’s an invented solecism that isn’t a solecism at all unless you believe that “gender” is a real and sacred thing that can be the very opposite of a person’s literal sex. If you decline to believe that, then there’s just calling people she when they’re he or vice versa, by mistake or to be camp or jokey or mean. It’s not in any of those circumstances “horrific” or worth making a fuss about on Twitter.

If only we would educate ourselves.


I have read some Judith Butler and I consider her a pretentious opportunist. I do not think she has the power to declare that men are women if they “identify as” such, not even if a Twitzealot tells me to in all-caps.



A ridiculous omnishambles

Sep 17th, 2019 11:33 am | By Ophelia Benson

The Guardian is live-reporting the Corey Lewandowski hearing.

“Anyone illegally attempting to impact the outcome of an election should spend the rest of their life in jail.” – Corey Lewandowski

He’s not talking about Trump’s repeated fake claims of voter fraud or Republican voter suppression efforts or even about Russian tampering in 2016, he’s talking about the right-wing conspiracy theory of alleged malfeasance inside the FBI as they investigated the Trump campaign.

Trump tweeted his gratitude from AirForceOne.


Nadler says Lewandowski is the subject of a “bogus claim of executive privilege” made by the White House.

Then he asks whether Lewandowski met alone with the president in the Oval Office in June 2016 as stated in the Mueller report.

Lewandowski says he doesn’t have the report with him and what follows is a ridiculous omnishambles of parliamentary procedure arguments and a fight between Republicans and the Democrats on the committee about stopping and starting the clock tracking how much time Nadler has to ask questions as Lewandowski stalls.

Lewandowski basically pretends not to be able to read, to not know what Nadler is talking about, to not be able to find the pertinent Mueller report passages. It’s somewhere between “the dog ate my homework” and “I lost my glasses” … and flipping the committee the bird.

All to protect Donald Trump.

What a shitshow.

Lewandowski, who never worked for Donald Trump while Trump was president, is invoking blanket executive privilege purportedly protecting conversations with the president.

Oversight! Republicans say Nadler’s time is up. They demand a roll call vote to declare time up, which as the minority they will lose but why not. Nadler calls on the clerk to call the vote. They can’t find the clerk.

Lewandowski again declines to answer a question from Rep Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, then Lewandowski kind of yells at her. Then they fight about whether he can see lines she’s referring to on a screen. This is getting kind of personal?

“You are obviously here to block any kind of inquiry into the truth,” Jackson Lee says.

Democratic Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia tells Lewandowski:

“You are like a fish being cleaned with a spoon. It’s very hard to get an answer out of you.”

I wish we could clean Trump with a spoon.

The bar ended up having a whip-round

Sep 17th, 2019 11:15 am | By Ophelia Benson

It turns out people are not shocked and horrified to learn that The Royal National Lifeboat Institution uses a small fraction of its funding to rescue people outside the UK, instead they are impressed and grateful and eager to send money to help.

Rather than being defensive about negative articles in the Times and Mail Online, the RNLI said it was glad of the publicity about its overseas work and hoped the coverage could help it secure a UN resolution on drowning prevention.

The charity’s website has had a month’s worth of traffic in a few days, with many people giving money for the first time.

Kate Eardley, the RNLI’s head of international advocacy, said: “We have been overwhelmed. For us any coverage is a chance to talk about the issue.”

So there.

Since the articles appeared, celebrities including Stephen Fry and Gary Lineker have shown their support for the charity. Eardley told how one of its workers was questioned by locals in a pub in the Lake District. At first they seemed against the overseas work, but the employee won them round and the bar ended up having a whip-round, which raised £79.

Take a look at yourselves, Times and Daily Mail.

Trump is systematically closing off that mechanism

Sep 17th, 2019 11:06 am | By Ophelia Benson

The trap.

The Justice Department (part of the Executive Branch) claims Trump cannot be indicted because he is The PreSiDent. Congress can’t impeach him or inquire effectively into his crimes because he blocks them at every turn.

The end.

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post:

Trump just cheered Corey Lewandowski’s stonewalling on his behalf.

It’s important to understand what we’re seeing now as a display of *Trump’s* profound corruption, one that builds the case for impeachment:


Running his mouth

Sep 17th, 2019 10:24 am | By Ophelia Benson

Speaking of John McWhorter, this is a good watch:

Trump continues to explain why he is more elite

Sep 17th, 2019 10:21 am | By Ophelia Benson

Daniel Dale fact-checks Trumps “we love our Hispanics” rally:

“We’re independent. We’re independent as we want. And we are now a net exporter of energy,” Trump says, none of which is true. (The Energy Information Administration predicts the US will become a net exporter next year.)

Trump repeats his usual highly inaccurate description of the Green New Deal, saying, among other baseless things, that people will be limited to one car and not allowed to drive more than 162 miles.

Sir Alert: Trump says foreign leaders always come in and say, “Sir, I’d like to congratulate you on what you’ve done with the economy…a model for the entire world. They all say it.”

The Sir thing makes me cringe every damn time. It’s SO infantile!

Trump says that he can’t say this under the Me Too movement, but everyone is looking much better than they did three years ago, “including the men.”

Trump, making a pitch to Hispanics, says that Hispanics “want the wall.” National polling of Hispanics shows strong-majority opposition to the wall.

Multi-Sir Sir Alert: Trump says his advisers told him not to help Dan Bishop, saying, “sir, don’t get involved in that race, sir. You can’t come back from 17 points, sir.” Bishop was not down 17.

There were at least six sirs in that story. Even one sir is a red flag. A multi-sir story has a negative-percent chance of being true.

A multi-sir story sucks truth out of adjacent stories.

Trump repeats his “$40 million” figure for the Mueller investigation. The final tab was $32 million, and the government is getting about $17 million from Paul Manafort as a result of his convictions.

“We got Choice for the vets. Choice. Everybody said it was impossible,” Trump says of the program created in a Bernie Sanders-John McCain bill signed into law by Barack Obama in 2014.

Trump is adding to his Sir story about Mattis, saying Mattis told him, “Sir, we have very little ammunition.” He says Mattis actually said it was “less” than “very little,” then claims that Mattis actually said “We have very little slash NO ammunition.”

Very little slash no, said no one EVER.

Trump on Steve Cortes: “He happens to be Hispanic, but I’ve never quite figured it out, because he looks more like a WASP than I do, so I haven’t figured that one out.”

Trump repeats his lie that China is having its worst economic year in 57 years, though he knows it’s 27 years. He has decided to keep adding additional years; he’s gone all the way up to 61 before pulling it back a bit.

“China is eating the tariffs…they’re eating the tariffs.” Americans are paying the tariffs.

Trump says he called Warren “Pocahontas” “too early,” but don’t worry, he’s bringing it back.

“Frankly, unions love it. Labor loves it,” Trump says of the USMCA, which is generally opposed by the labor movement in its current form.

“Frankly” is another tell. “Frankly, what I’m about to say is a lie.”

Trump tells his usual story about how “we” have better houses and make more money than the so-called Washington Elite. “Why are they elite,” he complains, saying “I’ve always taken offense…I’m more elite than them.” The crowd is pretty quiet for much of this.

Trump continues to explain why he is more elite than the elite, saying: “If we go by the old standards: better houses, better schools, made MUCH more money, lived better…”

Lived better? I think not. He means played more golf and ate more ice cream, but that’s not everyone’s idea of living better. The “better houses” are partly ruined with all the trashy gold plating. The better schools – as John McWhorter put it crisply in a cable news conversation, “and learned nothing from them.” Money isn’t all there is to being “elite.”

He looks more like a WASP

Sep 17th, 2019 9:27 am | By Ophelia Benson

Trump is wooing “the Hispanics.”

The president’s pitch to Hispanic voters seemed to silo them off from the rest of the electorate, including the rally crowd (“We love our Hispanics”).

Yes that’s clever. We – the normal people – love “our Hispanics” – those other weird people who are not part of the “we.” They’re ours, kind of like pets, or appliances.

It featured an assertion that they had a greater understanding of the source of the drug problem than other Americans. And it included a section in which Trump wondered how CNN contributor Steve Cortes could be Hispanic even though, the president said, he appeared to be of Northern European descent.

“He happens to be Hispanic, but I never quite figured it out because he looks more like a WASP than I do,” Trump said of Cortes, who was in the audience.

Who wouldn’t vote for a guy like that?

Trump later said Hispanics should support him and his efforts to build a border wall because they understand the roots of the drug problem better than other voters.

“And at the center of America’s drug crisis, this is where the Hispanics know it better than anybody, people said, ‘Oh, the Hispanics won’t like a wall.’ I said, ‘I think they are going to love it,'” Trump said. “You know why? Because you understand it better than other people, but at the whole center of this crisis is the drugs that are pouring in, and you understand that when other people don’t understand it.”

I wonder how much The Hispanics like listening to Trump calling them The Hispanics and telling them what they think.

Still shan’t

Sep 17th, 2019 8:39 am | By Ophelia Benson

The issue of the Acting Director of National Intelligence refusing to hand the whistleblower complaint over to the relevant Congressional committee is still an issue.

On Friday, House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) accused acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire of withholding a “credible” whistleblower complaint — made by someone within the intelligence community — from Congress.

It’s not usual to go public on this kind of thing – and it’s even less usual for a DNI to refuse to deal with the House Intelligence Committee.

Congress appears to have only learned of the whistleblower’s existence after Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson deemed the complaint of “urgent concern” and sent a letter to Congress informing it of the situation.

The allegation could suggest a breach of federal statutes, and Schiff’s decision to publicize the matter suggests the situation is an urgent one.

It seems quite grim – because it’s too much like a coup. Trump is having way too much success stonewalling Congress. He’s not a guy you can trust to do that for sound reasons.

According to Schiff’s letter, the whistleblower first sent a “disclosure intended for Congress” to the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General on Aug. 12.

That triggered a two-week deadline for Atkinson to review and assess the complaint.

At the period’s end — on Aug. 26 — Atkinson purportedly reached his conclusion, finding that the whistleblower had made a credible allegation that met a legal standard of “urgent concern.” He then submitted a copy of the disclosure and “accompanying materials” to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, beginning another seven-day countdown to the deadline for Maguire to forward the information to the congressional intelligence committees.

This is where things get hairy. Schiff alleges that Maguire’s office has withheld the complaint from Congress, disregarding the law.

In other words refusing to obey the law. Breaking the law. Committing a crime.

The intel community watchdog’s letter launched an escalating battle between Schiff and the DNI. One day later, on Sept. 10, House Intel demanded that Maguire produce a full copy of the whistleblower complaint, the inspector general’s evaluation of the complaint, and any communications about the complaint between the national intelligence director’s office and “other Executive Branch actors including the White House.”

Schiff writes that on Friday — Sept. 13 — Maguire replied, denying Schiff’s request. That evening, the Intelligence Committee chair blew open the situation with a public press release, and spent part of Sunday on CBS’s Face The Nation discussing the issue.

Read back. It wasn’t a request, it was a demand – Maguire doesn’t get to refuse.

The situation follows on a brazen strategy by the Trump administration to stonewall congressional subpoenas at virtually every turn, and is playing out as another whistleblower drama — involving potential misconduct in how the IRS is treating Trump’s taxes — unfolds in the shadows.

In other words it’s a slow-moving coup. Trump doesn’t get to “stonewall” congressional subpoenas. He’s carrying on like a dictator, and he has no legal right to do that. He’s succeeding because his allies in Congress are letting him.

In sensitive areas of day-to-day life

Sep 16th, 2019 5:52 pm | By Ophelia Benson

The Times (the London one) reports on guidelines on transgender pupils for primary and secondary schools from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC):

It seeks to protect not only those who meet the legal definition of gender reassignment but children “who are simply exploring their gender identity”. It applies to pupils of all ages, with or without medical intervention.

In sensitive areas of day-to-day life, where pupils have traditionally been separated by sex, schools will [be either] required or advised to open up to those identifying as the same gender.

So pupils who choose to identify as another gender should be allowed to use the changing rooms of that gender. Girls who are uncomfortable with the presence of a transgender girl are advised to use a private changing room.

That is, actual girls who are uncomfortable with the presence of a boy who calls himself a girl are told to fuck off and find their own private changing room. And it says “a transgender girl”; what if there are two or five or ten of them?

Trans girls should have personal, social and health education lessons, which include sex education, with girls. It would be “unlawful indirect discrimination because of gender reassignment” to place a trans girl with boys if the school divides the sexes for these classes.

It would be unlawful to place a boy with boys.

On school trips, schools can lawfully decide to place trans pupils in single-sex rooms if they identify with that gender. A policy that requires all pupils to use the facilities of the sex recorded for them at birth could amount to indirect discrimination against a trans pupil.

While forcing girls to share their facilities with a boy (or several boys) is perfectly fine.

Tanya Carter, of the campaign group the Safe Schools Alliance, which includes parents, doctors and teachers, said the group was “appalled” by the leaked draft, which “ignores the rights of girls”.

She highlighted the case of sex education classes for girls, which must now be opened up to trans girls. “What use is it to that pupil to learn about periods or breast development? No one is asking the girls whether they would feel happy with a trans pupil in that group. The EHRC has not listened to the voices of the concerned parents and teachers who would have to deal with the fallout if these policies are put into practice.”

Why hasn’t it? Why doesn’t it see at least the tension here?

Teachers are warned they would break the law if they failed to call transgender pupils by their new names and pronouns. The EHRC says pupils “do not have to follow a legal process to start using a new name at school”. Under-16s only need a court order or parental consent to change their name.

And there is no chance at all that any pupils will do this just to mess with everyone.

The watchdog’s decision to affirm a child’s self-identification worries Marcus Evans, who resigned this year as a governor of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, the only NHS gender identity service for children.

Evans, a psychoanalyst, said: “If John comes along to school and says ‘I no longer want to be John, I want to be Jane’ then if you immediately go along with the idea, you have made John cease to exist. But you can’t get rid of your psychological mind. We have all got to live for better or worse with ourselves.”

He criticised the policy of forcing other pupils to go along with a classmate’s decision to change gender identity. “Somebody they know as a boy they have got to think of as a girl. The confusion moves from the person to the rest of the class.”

And it’s tyrannical. It’s forcing them to say they believe a lie.

Will you drop by if I give you a medal?

Sep 16th, 2019 4:18 pm | By Ophelia Benson

Meanwhile Trump is handing out medals of freedom to sports stars, because they won’t go near him any other way.

The New England Patriots are reportedly too busy this fall for the Super Bowl champions’ traditional visit to the White House. The World Cup-winning U.S. women’s soccer team made clear this summer it was not interested in meeting President Trump.

But on Monday, Trump, whose tenure has marked a new high — or low — in the politicization of White House sports ceremonies, basked in the reflected glow of a sporting legend nonetheless. In a 20-minute ceremony in the East Room, Trump presented the presidential Medal of Freedom to Mariano Rivera, the Hall of Fame relief pitcher for Trump’s hometown team, the New York Yankees.

The medal is the highest civilian award — a companion to the better-known Medal of Honor for military valor — and Trump used the moment to lavish praise on Rivera, a Panamanian immigrant who rose to stardom in the Big Apple as, in the president’s words, “maybe the greatest pitcher of all time.”

In all, the ceremony was the kind of feel-good, controversy-free photo op that is rare in the Trump era, and it represented something of a new model for this president to deal with athletes at a time when many — especially those who are racial minorities — have publicly boycotted the Trump White House and denounced his policies and rhetoric.

Rivera was the third former professional athlete to be awarded the Medal of Freedom in the past month, joining former National Basketball Association stars Bob Cousy and Jerry West. In May, Trump bestowed the honor on golfer Tiger Woods, an occasional business partner of the president.

Since Trump awarded his first batch of civilian medals last November to a group that included former National Football League greats Roger Staubach and Alan Page, seven of the 12 people who have received the award under Trump have been athletic heroes.

It means he gets to hang out with them for a few minutes. He’s a needy guy.

Trump says we have to sit down with the Saudis

Sep 16th, 2019 3:49 pm | By Ophelia Benson

Trump wants to be Saudi Arabia’s besty. Even some of his buddies aren’t especially happy about that.

In a series of tweets this weekend, Trump indicated that Iran is behind the recent attack on Saudi oil facilities and that the United States will respond after hearing from the Saudi government “under what terms we would proceed.”

Saudi Arabia is telling us what to do now? When did we sign up for that?

His implication — that the royal family in Riyadh will dictate U.S. actions — prompted fury in Washington, where the Saudis have faced an increasingly hostile climate in recent years, especially in Congress and even among some of Trump’s fellow Republicans.

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican-turned-independent, noted that Congress is the body empowered to “commence war.” “We don’t take orders from foreign powers,” he tweeted.

We do if Trump says we do.

On Monday afternoon, Trump said that while it is “looking” like Iran was behind the attack, he noted that an investigation is ongoing. He also said he’d like to avoid war with Iran, but that the U.S. is ready for such a conflict.

Asked if he had pledged to protect the Saudis, Trump said: “No, I haven’t promised the Saudis that … We have to sit down with the Saudis and work something out.”

No we don’t. We don’t have to do that at all.

Saudi Arabia’s reputation in Washington is arguably worse now than it has been in nearly two decades — almost as politically charged as in the years immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when it was revealed that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis.

Under the de facto leadership of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Riyadh has pressed ahead with a four-year-old war against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, which has had catastrophic humanitarian consequences that have been sharply criticized on Capitol Hill. U.S. lawmakers backed a measure that would have ended U.S. support for that war, but Trump vetoed it.

The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi national who had been living in the U.S., also fueled a massive backlash against Riyadh, which was blamed for the murder by the U.S. intelligence community. Many U.S. lawmakers in both parties hold Bin Salman responsible for what happened to Khashoggi, who was assassinated inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Trump has effectively said he doesn’t care if the Saudi crown prince played a role because Saudi Arabia is an important ally, one that buys a lot of U.S. weapons and is a key global oil producer. “It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump said in one lengthy statement on the matter.

Spoken like a true professional.

Despite Iran’s hostility, critics argue that Iran’s latest alleged misbehavior is partly Trump’s fault because he quit the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed economic sanctions on Tehran.

“The administration’s response to a crisis it caused by walking away from the [Iran deal] has been completely incompetent,” Ilan Goldenberg, who served in the Obama administration, tweeted. “It has failed to build an [international] coalition, failed to make a credible public case, given Iran more flexibility to hit our partners & increased the risk of war.”

Other than that…

You cannot count how many genders there are

Sep 16th, 2019 2:59 pm | By Ophelia Benson

Second and last item from This Angry Inclusive Enby Lesbian aka Taiel: a list of his opinions on all the subjects:

There is no such thing as narcissistic abuse. Your abuse was and is real; but arm-chair diagnosing your abuser is not okay. Abuse comes from abusers, not mental illness. Your personal trauma is valid but it is never okay to stigmatise and demonise the cluster-B disorders such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Call it what it was – sophisticated abuse, emotional abuse, gaslighting, physical abuse or whichever it was. But there is no form of abuse perpetuated only by NPD folks or any other neurotype.

Yes well he would be very defensive of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, wouldn’t he.

There are more than two genders. There are more than three genders. Some people have more than one gender. You cannot count how many genders there are.

Gender is too tall for you to measure, too small for you to see, too infinite for you to count, too specific for you to generalize about, too sacred for you to profane, too profane for you to sanctify………….

Not all genders fall somewhere in between male and female. The gender binary is false, don’t force people into it.

Ok so what exactly is gender? What’s he talking about when he talks about gender? I have a feeling he couldn’t define it if you asked him.

Any and all folks on the asexual and/or aromantic spectra are inherently part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

And they can’t get out!

The only requirement for being trans is being a gender other than what was assigned to you at birth. Dysphoria is not required. Neither is a desire for HRT, surgery or other physical change. Our lives and identities are not defined by pain.

And gender is anything and everything, so…everybody is trans, so being trans is the same as being a living human, so we can all forget about it and go back to what we were doing before. That will be nice.

Butch and femme are not exclusive to lesbians and to claim such erases their history of usage by POC.

What? What did POC use them to mean if not lesbians?

Not all lesbians are mono-homosexual. Not all lesbians are women. Any nonman seen being or known to be sexually, romantically or otherwise nonplatonically affectionate with nonmen may have had the term lesbian or a related slur applied to them regardless of actual gender or spectrum of attractions. As such, nonmen who are also non-women and attracted to other nonmen can reclaim this term and related slurs. We are not erasing mono-homosexual lesbian women, you are valid. But this is our term too.

Good luck not losing the thread in that forest of nons.

Fascists don’t deserve safety. They should feel as frightened to spread their hate speech as they make black trans women feel just walking out of their homes. TERFs and SWERFs are fascists too. There can be no tolerance for the intolerant.

So we should be killed on sight, is that the idea?

The last item of all is probably the one he loves the most.

Feminism is for everyone, not just women. Feminists can be anyone, not just women. Feminist issues affect many folk, not just women.

Yeah. Stupid greedy women, trying to keep feminism all for themselves. Bitches.