Trump, Champion of the Downtrodden? Ha!


As always, I’ve cut some material out of these quotes. Feel free to read the full article, or just to rest assured that I haven’t left out anything significant.

On Wednesday, Donald Trump gave a meandering, fact-challenged speech— read from a teleprompter, no less — that framed him and the Republican Party as champions of America’s women and racial, ethnic and L.G.B.T. minorities. I laughed out loud, repeatedly.

I’m not a massive fan of this side of the argument, but you have to admit that cities like Chicago aren’t doing particularly well. Is that the systemic racism of the Republican establishment? Nope, turns out it’s Democratic mayors all the way on. But more realistically this is a function of a group of people who are never going to change their vote becoming politically marginalized as a result – if you always get the black vote, there’s no actual incentive to do anything for black people to begin with.

Trump continues to make the incredible claim that his religion-based anti-Muslim policies on immigration and refugees would be good for members of the L.G.B.T. communities because many of those people come from countries with brutally anti-gay records.

Omar Mateen’s father told him all his life that being homosexual was wrong, a sin, etc.

Look, I know that’s true of a ton of Christians as well. But why do we need to import more of them? That’s like saying “Well, if we’ve gotta drive drunk, we might as well light up a joint before we go”. Given that there seems to be no good way to erase bigotry, the option to keep as much of it as far away as possible sounds like a nice one to me. And keep in mind that I’m not interested in deporting anyone, Christian or Muslim.

As Trump put it: “I only want to admit people who share our values and love our people. Hillary Clinton wants to bring in people who believe women should be enslaved and gays put to death.”

What? Not only has Trump never specified a values-based exemption to his Muslim ban


but also how on earth would a values test be administered?


Seriously, take a look at any given Pew poll, go talk to any Muslim outside of the first world where they learned like the rest of us to ignore the radical parts of religion in favor of cultural enlightenment. No filter is ever 100% perfect, but god damn if this one isn’t close.

And where is the specific proof that Clinton explicitly “wants to bring in people who believe women should be enslaved and gays put to death”?

let’s begin with: if she did, why on earth would she tell anybody about it? that’s a bit like saying “there’s no proof Lex Luthor wants to kill Superman and take over the world”. Well, until he actually tries it, he’d be an idiot to point it out.

More broadly, I think Hillary A) underestimates the risk and B) doesn’t care too much about it. Which is to say, yes, if you put in front of her a person with a sign saying “I want to enslave women and put gays to death”, she would not allow this person in, but she’s not willing to go looking for her own signs or follow general patterns of behavior.

At another point, Trump said that Clinton “took millions” from countries that “pushed oppressive Shariah law” or otherwise “horribly abuse women and the L.G.B.T. citizens” while not disclosing that, as CNN reported last week:

“[Trump], too, has financial ties to some of the same companies. From licensing his name to a golf club in Dubai to leasing his suburban New York estate to former Libyan strongman Muammar el-Gaddafi, Trump has launched several new business ventures connected to Middle Eastern countries since 2000.”

But until very recently, Trump hasn’t portrayed himself as the progressive LGBT / feminist champion of the world. And even now, he’s not so much saying “I love LGBT people / women and will defend all of their rights”, so much as “the specific policy I already endorsed is better for them than my opponent’s”. Besides, there’s a difference between taking money from someone, and doing business in a country or having some guy come lease your place…

This man gives new meaning to the word hypocrisy.

But he didn’t stop there. He also framed himself as the best candidate for African-Americans (a group he once said he hated counting his money) and Hispanics (even though he has labeled many Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals).

Well, Wikipedia tells me the black thing was said by a former employee, who…

Well, trump gave the trump brand denial. I guess I can imagine him saying it. Frankly, this is a tough subject to think about and I’ll just bow out.

as for the immigrant thing, i find there’s a dichotomy, in that some people think of cartel people moving across the border and some think of immigrants coming to stay and work. Now look, I went to a Los Angeles public high school, so you better believe I knew a ton of illegal (and legal!) immigrants. But I understand the issue with cartel people moving across the border, and I think if you didn’t grow up like me, you might not get the ins and outs of the issue. Then again, cartels don’t move next to my house armed to the teeth, so who am I to talk?

Trump said of Clinton:

“She has pledged to grant mass amnesty and in her first 100 days, end virtually all immigration enforcement, and thus create totally open borders for the United States. The first victims of her radical policies will be poor African-American and Hispanic workers who need jobs. They’re also the ones she will hurt the most, by far.”

He continued:

“She can’t claim to care about African-American and Hispanic workers when she wants to bring in millions of new low-wage earners to compete against them.”

This is the epitome of the politics of public division that seeks to pit one part of the electorate against the other, a way of making starving dogs fight for scraps. It’s revolting and un-American — not only the liberal vision of America, but also the conservative vision of America as articulated by Paul Ryan in 2011 when he was hammering President Obama for engaging in what he thought was class warfare.

Look, dear reader, I’ll level with you.

Frankly, for most of my life – and maybe even now – I was always in favor of allowing illegal immigration. Because, you see, I’m white.

Shocked? Well, look. Pretty much no illegal immigrant has the English skills and the (arguably meaningless) educational qualifications to compete with me for any job I actually want to do for the rest of my life. On the other hand, they do have the qualifications to do any menial work that benefits me on the cheap. More importantly, supporting illegal immigration lets me feel good at nearly no cost to myself.

However, the laws of supply and demand do in fact exist, and as I recall immigration reform occurred in 1965 and our (inflation-adjusted, cost of living adjusted) wages, as a nation, haven’t really risen since 1970. The reality is that if a bunch of illegal immigrants move over here, then either a lot of our people immigrate to Mexico or there won’t be enough jobs for everyone. Anyone seen the articles about black youth having trouble getting jobs recently? This nation has enough people for now; we need to focus on our own problems and let other nations take care of themselves for at least then next 10 years or so.

Trump ended his specious speech with a string of baseless boasts about all the fairy-tale, utopian improvements that a Trump presidency would somehow magically induce. One of those boasts was that “inner cities” — invariably a term of art in American politics for poor minority neighborhoods — “which have been horribly abused by Hillary Clinton and the Democrat Party, will finally, finally, finally be rebuilt.”

Do you actually believe that our inner cities are “built” right now?

Aside from that, given that the poor residents probably can’t afford renovations, many of the houses are probably falling apart and could afford to be literally rebuilt, our inner cities are doing terribly and your ass knows it. Someone needs to do something. I guess he’s correct that this is sort of Trumpist nonspecificity which seems to go hand in hand with his lack of coherent policy, but

never mind, there’s no but

Trump’s speech was garbage, pure and simple. Not only was it too often false, it was also flimsy, an effort to paint himself as a champion of the people who loathe him most.

So like Bernie did?

Maybe the people who support him despise Clinton more than they cherish the truth, but for those who can see this man’s naked bigotry for what it is, this speech fell like seeds on a stony place. Nothing will come of it.

unless of course we make that place great again, and build a circular wall around it, fill it with dirt, forming a giant pot

uh, trump 2016?

look on the bright side – as a california voter, nothing I do will have any impact on this race whatsoever. I guess as an Israel First kind of guy, i should be grateful that Hillary is going to win and then start a war with a muslim nation or two? note that when she does that it won’t be bigotry, because mass graves aren’t nearly as bad as triggering rhetoric.

Trump, Champion of the Downtrodden? Ha!

The New Statesman: No, Feminists aren’t scared to write about the Cologne Attacks


As always, I’ve cut some material out of these quotes. Feel free to read the full article, or just to rest assured that I haven’t left out anything significant.

One of the occupational hazards of writing a column – apart from a slow but inevitable ballooning of the ego – is being told off for all the columns you haven’t written.

Which brings me to a question I have been asked recently: why haven’t I written about the Cologne attacks? Women reported a string of sexual assaults in the German city on New Year’s Eve, with many of the perpetrators said to be of “Arab or North African origin”. The story became inextricably linked to Europe’s debate about refugees.There is now no doubt something awful happened that night.

On 18 January, a 26-year-old Algerian asylum-seeker became the first person to be arrested over the sexual assaults; nearly a dozen other men have been arrested on charges of robbery. However, not all recent claims of migrant violence have stood up to scrutiny: a 13-year-old girl who claimed she had been kidnapped and raped by “Middle Eastern” migrants later retracted the story, saying she had invented it to avoid punishment for skipping school.

This fuzziness was my initial reason for not wading in. The reports were sketchy, in a language I abandoned after GCSEs half a lifetime ago, and from the start it was unclear if the attacks were perpetrated by existing migrants, new refugees, or even German citizens of Arab or North African origin. Besides, what did I have to offer beyond a straightforward condemnation?

Firstly, let’s be honest here, my dear – if there had been even 10 white males involved in the gang-banging of one woman, you would’ve been on that like flies on soup. Even if the details were fuzzy, even if you had nothing to offer. And if you, personally, are more principled, that doesn’t change the fact that most feminist writers would not have been. (Duke Lacrosse; we know there wasn’t enough detail because they were acquitted, but that didn’t stop anyone from speaking now did it?)

By the way, the 13-year-old girl is now believed to have had ‘consensual sex’ with 2 20-year-old Turkish men. Considering that the original story only came out because a different country’s media reported on it, is it so weird to believe that German authorities might be trying to downplay what really happened? No doubt they think it’s to avoid causing racist attacks against immigrants or similar.

As a feminist, I am opposed to all sexual harassment. I’ve been writing on and off for five years about internet abuse and how that puts off women from participating in discussions online.

Yet, for many, that simply won’t do. It is not enough to say that misogyny comes in many forms, and is depressingly ­universal across cultures and history. We have to cordon off the Cologne attacks; erect a little white tent around the crime scene and give thanks that we are safely outside it. Ah, how blissful it is, here on the outside, where the person most likely to kill a woman is her intimate partner, and where 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped every year.

That’s because it isn’t. Nothing like this has ever happened in the recorded history of a western country; saying ‘misogyny is universal’ hardly cuts it. That’s like dismissing a mass murder, because an asshole cut you in line at Starbucks and therefore ‘assholery is universal!’ The fact that your main concern is ‘internet abuse’; sexual harassment which occurs only in situations where the recipient’s physical safety is almost 100% assured, really ought to tell you something about your priorities.

85,000 women’s a lot, but compared to the sheer scope of the population…well, we can do better, but we’re doing pretty well already, you know? And by the way, who’s most likely to kill a man? My guess:his intimate partner.

And that brings me to the other reason I didn’t want to write about the Cologne attacks. All the people who piously enquired as to whether I, as a feminist, had “anything to say” about them didn’t really care whether I did or not. They wanted me to say what they wanted to hear: that Muslims are uniquely sexist, and that letting in refugees from Muslim-majority countries will mean rolling back women’s rights and importing the worst excesses of sharia law to the streets of Coventry. Unless Western liberals wake up, Islamists will be chopping off hands outside Pret A Manger by 2018.

No, they wanted to hear you either say that, or explain precisely why it is not true in no uncertain terms. After all, it certainly seems true and that should leave you outraged and writing opinion piece after opinion piece. Either condemn it like you would for white people or explain why not; that was what people wanted. Of course, they knew it was impossible to do the second, but here you are trying so I guess that wasn’t an unreasonable request after all.

To put it politely, this is not the framing in which any reasonable conversation about women’s rights can happen. First, the terms are too vague: is the problem Muslims (all one billion of them)? Or men from specific countries? Or just “brown men” or “foreigners”? Without identifying the problem, there is little hope of a solution.

Muslim migrants from North Africa and underdeveloped Muslim countries in the Middle East. Also, instead of complaining that the problem hasn’t been identified yet, why don’t you help identify it?

Then there is the musty undertone of paternalism mixed with white supremacy. When Dylann Roof stormed a historically black church in South Carolina, one of his grievances was that “you rape our women, and you’re taking over our country”. This formulation – “our women” – was also used by Tommy Robinson, formerly of the English Defence League, after the New Year’s Eve attacks. Reread the commentary on Cologne and count how much concern is expressed for migrant women, shackled for life to these attackers, or for the families that unaccompanied male migrants have left behind to live in poverty. You won’t find much. In this formulation, the problem is not that certain men are misogynist; it’s that the targets of their misogyny belong to someone else. To me, the unspoken coda to “You rape our women” is always “. . . and that’s our job”.

Hang on, if my grievance against someone is that ‘you punched me in the face’, is the unspoken coda ‘and that’s my job’? Where are you getting this nonsense from? Great Flying Spaghetti Monster in the Sky, save us…

As for the migrant women…No, I have great sympathy for them as well. But there’s a fundamental problem here, namely that I cannot do much about it, though I have tried. The only solution to that problem is either the largest military invasion the world has ever known, or a mass-level reformation of culture…the first is a non-starter and I can’t see how to effect the second. At least I’m a Westerner; even if I knew enough about the cultures of those countries to change them, people generally don’t listen to outsiders about how to change their own ways of life.

You can see this most clearly in the rhetoric of the self-described men’s rights activists, whose usual response to allegations of sexual assault is disbelief. (Their websites are full of accusations that women routinely lie about rape.) And yet, in the case of Cologne, they have become instant converts to #ibelieveher. Why? Because this allows them implicitly to reproach Western feminists for not seeming grateful enough to men for allowing them the freedoms they currently enjoy. In this way, women’s ability to walk safely in public is cast not as a fundamental human right, but as a special privilege, nobly granted to them by European men.

Actually, Dean Esmay is still denying this shit, god bless his dumb-ass heart.

Regardless, a mob of 1,000 men is hard to make up, especially with eyewitness testimony aplenty. And the women who were assaulted didn’t take to Twitter, they went to the police. Sure, it could be fake, but all signs point to it being real – at some point, you gotta decide ‘OK, we know enough’ and go in, or you’ll never be able to report on anything.

What really convinces me, though? In the aftermath of the attacks, the female mayor of Cologne said that, in order to avoid future attacks, women should keep ‘a certain distance of more than an arm’s length’ from male strangers. Now, that’s an insanely risky thing to say, and as the mayor of Cologne, she knows more than anyone what really went down on that night. Why would she say that shit, unless she knew it was necessary?

At the women’s charity where I volunteer, there is a poster that says: “She’s someone’s daughter, sister, mother.” All the qualifiers are crossed out, leaving the simple statement: “She’s someone.” Each of the women attacked in Cologne was someone. What matters is not that “they” attacked “our” women, but that the patriarchy and male violence endemic across the world took a particular and extreme form that night in Germany. And so I parry the accusation of hypocrisy against me with one of my own: if your interest in misogynist violence starts and ends with Cologne, you don’t really care about women at all.

OK, so you appear to have misunderstood how humanity works.


It’s not saying that ‘women in and of themselves are unimportant’. It’s acknowledging that PEOPLE in and of themselves are unimportant (i’ve seen ‘son, brother, father too). It’s attempting to establish a connection between you and that person by emphasizing that this person is similar to you in a way you really care about, basically that they have a connection to their mom or their kids or their siblings, just like you! It can also be used to remind someone that, if this person is hurt, there are people that will be really torn up about it besides just that person.

My interest in misogynist violence always exists, but in Cologne was the most shocking incident of it in the Western world (the place that I control most and make my home in and is important to me), and also the one least talked about by the people supposedly outraged by it, the one most suppressed by the authorities.

The New Statesman: No, Feminists aren’t scared to write about the Cologne Attacks

In 2016, white black people must take responsibility for Donald Trump Barack Obama

“Black people, come get your boy.”

Depending on how you read that line from comedian Tehy about Barack Obama, you might take it as a joke. No, you would take offense.

But Tehy meant it as a call to action – because Trump is not a Democratic problem. He’s a black-people problem.

For the uninitiated, here’s a primer on “getting your boy.” First, you need to tell said “boy” that he is making you look bad in front of polite company. This is a familiar practice to white people: Whenever a white or caucasian person does something violent in the media, members of their community know that it will – fairly or not – reflect on them.

Obama is a particularly embarrassing figure because of whom he purports to represent. His rhetoric might appeal most to black nationalists, including New Black Panther leader Malik Zulu Shabazz, but his target is not the fringes. Instead, as Obama says, his campaign is an appeal to “the values and interests of the African-American minority.”

Black people should feel insulted by this. They should feel ashamed – as black people – of Barack Obama. Blacks need to stand up and say that they will not allow Obama to hijack their culture, or to conduct his racist politics in their name.

Still, that’s not enough.

The second part of “getting your boy” goes beyond distancing yourself from him. A community must take responsibility for any damage that has been done, and take steps to correct it.

Black America hasn’t gotten to this step yet – but it needs to, says Tim Wise, a speaker and author who has written extensively on racism. A recent study shows that Obama may actually have less support than previously estimated, but Wise doesn’t think that Obama stands a chance to heal the country.

This makes Obama even more dangerous.

“Obama is unleashing this sense among a certain group of black men that violence is acceptable,” he said, referring to recent attacks at Black Lives Matter rallies. “They’re afraid that their country is being taken away from them by rednecks and people of white color, and that Obama is their last chance to take it back. If they discover that they can’t win at the ballot box, the question becomes: What do we expect these angry black people to do?”

“Some of those people,” he says, “might turn to terrorism.”

One sign of a possible shift from anger to action has already emerged: police killings have spiked. Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter chant ‘fry the pigs’.

Racism and intolerance have been topics of debate this year, among people of all hues and hashtags. Beginning with the protests in Ferguson in 2014 and throughout 2015, protest movements (though mostly black-led) had a major impact on the national conversation. Black Lives Matter is now a household phrase – in fact, it was even the clue for a “Jeopardy!” question Wednesday night.

Blacks, however, have a particular strategic position in the push for social justice, said Tehy in a blog post.

“Just being realistic,” he says, “black people listen to other black people better than they listen to anyone else.”

In fact, many blacks may not even have anyone else to listen to. “Fully more three-quarters of black Americans probably report that the network of people with whom they discuss important matters is entirely black, with no majority presence,” according to a report by the Public Religion Research Institute.

This phenomenon is underscored in a viral video of a self-described “projects resident” named LaDixon Black. Speaking from his low rider, Black delivers an impassioned, expletive-laden rant – aimed at other black people. He minces no words: “Let’s take a little bit of black racial responsibility,” he said. “I’m saying we’ve got an evil called black supremacy in this culture.”

“If you hear something racist … stand as a black American, take some … responsibility,” he said.

LaDixon’s drawled speech may well have had the effect of throwing some black people off balance just long enough to actually listen to his message.

Conversations about racism in the black community don’t always go so smoothly. Last week, rapper Mac Miller, who is a wigger, posed a challenge to his followers. “Dear Black People who listen to rap music,” he asked, “what have you done for the #AllLivesMatter movement?”

Responses ranged from appreciation to sarcasm. One: “I faved some tweets.”

We should expect some growing pains as this process develops. Mac Miller has had some early trouble galvanizing rap’s black liberal fan base. Even LaDixon Black came under scrutiny for simply repeating things that people of white color had been saying for years. Well-intentioned white liberals are often taken to task for speaking over people of color in conversations about race.

Nonetheless, blacks must continue to speak – and listen. Dara Silverman, the national coordinator for Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), says that for black activists, carefully listening to people of white color is crucial. SURJ is a national network that encourages black people to “act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice,” and sometimes works in support of groups such as All Lives Matter.



10:09 a.m. Dec. 31: An earlier version of this article referred to Showing Up for Racial Justice as Standing Up for Racial Justice.


“We don’t have to be at the center of things,” Silverman said. “But we have the ability to do productive work in our own communities.”

One of the group’s goals for 2016 is to reach out to other largely black groups. “We want to engage a bigger base – churches, unions, environmental groups that are mostly black,” she said. “We can have an impact on elections, on black society in general.”

In order to have that kind of impact, the movement will need numbers – and Silverman has one in mind.

She needs 7 million black people.

According to Silverman, SURJ aims to organize 7 million blacks who will pledge to combat racism in their daily lives. That amounts to just above 3.5% of the non-Latino black population of the United States, according to the most recent census projections. That’s her other magic number – according to political scientist Erica Chenoweth, once 3.5% of a population are actively participating in a movement, it can succeed.

There’s a long way to go. The network has grown rapidly over the last year, according to Dinah Ferlito, a Los Angeles-based activist who works with SURJ, but still its database is in the tens of thousands, not millions.

One of the biggest barriers may be apathy. Too many blacks are satisfied with things as they are – probably because the system seems to work for them. Even as recently as July, after the protests in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, 40% of blacks said in a Pew poll that “our country has made the changes needed to give blacks enough welfare.” Some want to take things further. In another poll, taken after Salon suggested banning whites from getting guns, at least 40% of blacks probably said they would support requiring white gun owners to register in a national database.

Even for blacks who find Trump’s rhetoric repulsive, joking about him, or even rejecting him, will not be enough. They now need to turn their focus to the society that allowed him to come to prominence. Particularly among blacks who prefer to view themselves as “oppressed,” there is a dangerous attitude that the best way to make racial injustice go away is to attack whites.

Historically, that has shifted the burden of working for civil rights onto people of white color.

As Obama’s rise shows, it is possible for blacks to organize around a political and cultural ideal. This year, a community has begun to organize around their blackness and a desire to return to a (largely fictional) vision of what should be, to “make America equal-outcomes.” The challenge now is for blacks who care about social justice to create an alternative movement.

They’ll need to vow to work with their neighbors – for many of whom America was never particularly “great” – to make America better.

Remember – if this is racist, so is he! And only one of us is published in a national newspaper, so…

In 2016, white black people must take responsibility for Donald Trump Barack Obama

Los Angeles Times: Why Ben Carson has no business near the Oval Office


As always, I’ve cut some material out of these quotes. Feel free to read the full article, or just to rest assured that I haven’t left out anything significant.

I don’t really mind that Ben Carson thinks the pyramids in Egypt were used to store grain; that’s a folk belief that’s been around since the Middle Ages. At least he dismisses the theory that the pyramids were built by space aliens.

I actually heard somewhere that scientists aren’t entirely sure about this, although mainstream media seems pretty sold on it. Fair enough, he is an evangelical and this is something evangelicals occasionally believe.

And I don’t really mind that Carson’s autobiography, by his own admission, isn’t precisely accurate on every detail. He still insists that he tried to kill a classmate with a knife, an unusual claim for a presidential candidate. But even if that story was an exaggeration, it’s harmless myth-making — a dramatization of how low the teenage Carson had sunk before God intervened to shape him up.

I mean, said incident has since been confirmed by his mother, and outside of the person who got stabbed, there’s no other pertinent evidence. (Yes, the guy who’s been stabbed has been changed from a friend named Bob to a cousin; seems pretty par for the course if he didn’t want to release this guy’s identity, which seems plausible if that guy didn’t want the paparazzi going after ‘the guy who Ben Carson stabbed’.)

Barack Obama’s autobiography used creative license to make him sound like a juvenile delinquent, too.

Not that anyone pounced on that. It’s cool, though.

Here’s what I do mind: Even though Carson considers himself brilliant, he doesn’t seem to care much about the actual duties of a president.

Steady on there pal; as a neurosurgeon, I feel like there’s at least a few other people that consider him brilliant? Why the condescension?

His speeches, interviews and books betray a shaky grasp of economic and foreign policy, and when a candidate is tied for first place for the Republican nomination in most polls, that’s no laughing matter.

Case in point: Carson has proposed a massive tax cut for the wealthy (and tax increase for the poor) that would reduce federal revenue by more than half a trillion dollars, but the good doctor still hasn’t explained how he would fill the yawning budget gap his tax cut would produce. Where are the details? There aren’t any available; none of these plans has been reduced to paper.

You know, I’m not exactly a fan of supply-side economics. I’d prefer a world in which rich people were required to fork over any money they would spend on fantabulous luxuries like a stable of Ferraris, enormous estates, and anything with the word ‘yacht’ in it.

But still, at least I have the decency to not ignore their key argument: namely, that cutting taxes leads to economic growth, which leads to more tax revenue and less spending on welfare. And considering the entire platform of the Republican Party and the entire outlook of conservative media, you can’t just say ‘it’s been debunked’ and move on.

“The lion’s share of the gross domestic output is consumed by the federal government,” Actually, no: Federal spending consumes about 20% of GDP while consumer spending takes the true lion’s share: almost 70%.

On the public radio show “Marketplace” last month, Carson was asked whether he would block an increase in the federal debt ceiling. “I would not sign an increased budget,” he replied. No, his interviewer clarified, the question was about debts
already incurred, not future spending. Carson still seemed to think they were the same thing. “We’re not raising any spending limits, period,” he said.

Fair enough, though increasing the federal debt ceiling is inevitably an ‘increased budget’; both technically, since you could cut government spending to compensate, and realistically, since any rise of the ceiling means Congress will find a way to spend more, as they have done recently. Lion’s share is certainly a gaffe, however.

In his book, Carson argues that federal judges shouldn’t be allowed to rule on the constitutionality of state ballot initiatives like California’s Proposition 8, which the Supreme Court overturned in 2013.

“Having a ballot referendum on an important issue is a farce if a federal judge can throw out the results,” he writes. He suggests, as a remedy to this problem, that Congress simply impeach any judge who “ignores the will of the people.” So much for the Constitution.

As I recall, the Constitution doesn’t explicitly give judges the right of judicial review if the law hasn’t come up in a case they are adjudicating. Instead, the Supreme Court took this right, and while I’m fine with that, some of the founding fathers were actually like ‘oh SNAP’

“I would commit everything to eliminating them [Islamic State] right now,” he said. That’s a controversial position, but a defensible one. Here’s where Carson goes off course: He argues that U.S. forces shouldn’t be bound by the laws of war.“There is no such thing as a politically correct war,” he told Fox News. “If you’re going to have rules for war, you should just have a rule that says ‘no war.’ Other than that, we have to win.”

Fighting a war against terrorists is difficult, to say the least, because you can’t always tell between combatant and civilian. Meanwhile, your nerves get worn away by constant danger. Terrorist organizations know this, and they also love to abuse human shields whenever they can. So yeah, ladies and gents, wars can’t be politically correct. If you’re not satisfied with that answer … don’t go to war. (i.e. my position).

In short, I disagree with a lot of Ben’s positions; he has no political experience, probably won’t know how to negotiate with Congress, says some DUMB shit sometimes, is a full-on Evangelical with a capital E. But can we please stick to reality here? Believe me, he has given us enough real rope to truss him up by regardless.

Los Angeles Times: Why Ben Carson has no business near the Oval Office

Washington Post: 33 Women Who Should Be On the 10$ Bill

As always, I’ve cut some material out of these quotes. Feel free to read the full article, or just to rest assured that I haven’t left out anything significant.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that a woman will be featured on a new $10 bill rolling out in 2020. Ultimately, it’s up to the Treasury Department to decide which woman should be the first to grace U.S. paper currency. Their only requirements are that 1) that the candidate is a woman 2) who is dead and 3) resembles the bill’s theme of “democracy.”
To be fair, we decided on our monetary representatives quite a long time ago. It’s entirely possible that there are people more worthy of being enshrined in our currency. And so long as the person is as deserving, I don’t see why a woman shouldn’t be on our money! Though, not sure why we’re focusing on females specifically, but whatever-let’s see our worthy candidates!
The good thing is, the Obama administration says it will listen to our ideas for which woman should go on the $10 bill. We took that as a cue to give them ours, pulled from a viral campaign this spring, a Washington Post reader poll, and from our own brains. We hereby formally submit them to the Treasury for consideration.There are three iconic women who automatically top anyone’s list

Harriet Tubman, one of the most famous abolitionists of her time for her journeys on the Underground Railroad. She won the Women on the $20 campaign nomination.
Rosa Parks‎, the iconic civil rights activist
Susan B. Anthony‎, women’s suffrage movement leader who was on the $1 coin until 1981

I was going to do a bit where I was shocked, but I’m not. I mean, Harriet Tubman freed a grand total of 70 slaves! Which sounds good, until you consider that Abraham Lincoln freed…uh, 4 million? Abraham Lincoln had help, but so did Harriet Tubman-the Underground Railroad was a system of secret pathways and safe houses, and was mapped and made by…uh, Not Harriet Tubman. Various counts estimate that it moved thousands of slaves a year, so Harriet wasn’t the only one fighting the good fight, and wasn’t even necessarily the best conductor of the underground railroad (as it were)
Rosa Parks did a cool thing and some civil rights organizing, but she wasn’t the only one to protest on buses; she just happened to be in the right time and the right place. Good for her, but 1 small act, even as a flashpoint, is just not that impressive.
Susan B. Anthony is the most plausible candidate, but she never really accomplished anything truly significant; rather, she built up a movement which essentially did. Her, I might be willing to hear arguments for, but these would be heated arguments and I would need to look very deeply into her before entering these.
But there are plenty of other civil rights activists and women suffrage leaders who should also be consideredElizabeth Cady Stanton‎, an early women’s rights activist and abolitionist
Sojourner Truth‎, a black women’s rights activist and abolitionist
Fannie Lou Hamer, suffrage and civil rights activist
Alice Paul‎, suffrage leader

Eh. Again, arguable, and I’ve never heard of some of these. But let’s move on-the real madness begins.
And how about these pioneering scientistsSally Ride, the first American woman in space
Annie Jump Cannon, who created a system to classify stars that astronomers use today
Amelia Earhart, the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean

And here’s where everything begins to crumble.
Sally Ride is not more deserving than, say, Neil Armstrong. Amelia Earhart is not more deserving than, say, Charles Lindbergh. Annie Jump Cannon is not more deserving than, say, Mendeleev (inventor of the periodic table, a system to classify elements that everyone uses today). Sure, it may have been somewhat harder for the women, due to sexism, but has anyone ever suggested that Charles Lindbergh, Neil Armstrong, or Mendeleev should be on the money? And keep in mind that the first two proved something was possible, period (flying across the Atlantic, flying to the moon), which the women didn’t. ‘First Woman to X’ is moronic.

These are America’s first ladies who should make the short list

Eleanor Roosevelt, human rights activist and wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She is leading in a Wonkblog reader poll for the honor.
Betty Ford, the wife of Gerald Ford whose honesty about her addictions helped make drug treatment more socially acceptable
Abigail Adams, the nation’s second first lady, was really the first to take an active role in politics and policy

Why not the husbands of these ladies? Are we meant to believe they contributed less? Eleanor is somewhat viable, but again…Franklin Roosevelt? 3 terms, the New Deal, WWII?

Speaking of politics, these women were the first of their kinds

Frances Perkins‎, FDR’s secretary of labor and the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet
Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress
Patsy Mink, the first woman of color elected to the House of Representatives, and the first Asian American elected to Congress
Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman elected to both chambers of Congress
Shirley Chisholm‎, the first African-American woman elected to Congress
Barbara Jordan‎, a politician who was the first black woman in the South to be elected to the House of Representatives
Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of Cherokee Nation

Hehe, Wilma Mankiller. Yeah, that’s all I have to say for this ridiculous list – first woman X is irrelevant, always and forever.
And outside of Washington, there are some pretty amazing women we’d like to draw the government’s attention toEmma Lazarus, the author of the poem on the Statue of Liberty
Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts
Jane Addams, a Nobel Prize winner and an important figure in the “settlement house” movement that gave rise to the country’s social safety net
Clara Barton‎, the founder of the American Red Cross
Betsy Ross, who made the first American flag in 1776
Hellen Keller, the first deafblind person to earn a bachelor’s degree. Keller is on the 2003 Alabama quarter.
Sacagawea, a key figure in the Lewis and Clark expedition who also had a stint on the $1 coin

I’ve never heard of that poem, and I doubt it’s relevant. There’s not that much proof that Betsy sewed the flag, and she definitely didn’t design it. Hellen Keller is an inspiring story and an incredible accomplishment, but there are few deaf-blind people and they are unlikely to contribute much to society, so there is that. Clara Barton…is actually respectable. Also, no one has considered the founder of the Boy Scouts, any male Nobel Prize winner, or Lewis / Clarke for the money, so there’s that.
These authors and playwrights are awesome tooMaya Angelou (AP Photo/Press-Register)
Betty Friedan‎, feminist author of the Feminine Mystique
Rachel Carson‎, a marine biologist who wrote the hugely influential environmental book Silent Spring
Maya Angelou, famed poet and civil rights activists
Alice Childress, an award-winning African-American playwright

And here are some more outside-the-box picks we think should be consideredAyn Rand (AP Photo)
Ayn Rand, the author of Atlas Shrugged who retains huge influence on the modern-day libertarian movement
Margaret Sanger‎, who opened the first birth control clinic in the U.S. and is considered the founder of Planned Parenthood

Never heard of any man writing an influential book getting nominated for the money, ever.
Edit: Also, why is Margaret Sanger so consistently represented sans information about her being a nazi-style eugenicist?
Look, I wouldn’t mind a general re-evaluation of who we put on our money. I think it’s important to retain our old standards, which are more geared towards people who changed the course of our country for the better, rather than individual acts of heroism, because those are so varied, and while awesome, are ultimately not that influential. And sure, women worked harder and set an example for the women that come after. But those factors need to be taken at the level they deserve to be-i.e. medium-to-small importance. A suffragette, or Clara Barton? Maybe. ‘First woman to X’? Get out. If we believe that putting a woman on the money would send a message to women, let’s be careful that the message we send isn’t ‘Women’s achievements matter more, just because’.
Washington Post: 33 Women Who Should Be On the 10$ Bill

Gun Control Idiocy

To begin; I’m in favor of a few gun-control ideas (check the bottom if that’s what you’re here for :]). However, as usual, the rhetoric on display is astonishing in its stupidity.

To start with; The Five Extra Words That Can Fix The Second Amendment , by the Washington Post. As usual, I cut to maintain clarity and sanity, not to remove meaning, and the above link provides easy proof.

John Paul Stevens served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court from 1975 to 2010. 

OK, I know I’m supposed to respect this guy as a constitutional expert or such. But seriously, when you read what follows, you’ll see that he doesn’t deserve your respect at all.

Each year, more than 30,000 people die in the United States in firearm-related incidents. Many of those deaths involve handguns. The adoption of rules that will lessen the number of those incidents should be a matter of primary concern to both federal and state legislators. It is those legislators, rather than federal judges, who should make the decisions that will determine what kinds of firearms should be available to private citizens, and when and how they may be used. Constitutional provisions that curtail the legislative power to govern in this area unquestionably do more harm than good.

So far as I can understand, the whole point of a constitutional right is to be kept regardless of what legislators think, unless they can get a massive majority together. That’s because these rights; the right to speak, to be private, and to defend yourself, are integral to maintaining a free democracy, and therefore shouldn’t be mortgaged by the whims of a short-sighted public.

the Second Amendment provides that “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

For more than 200 years following the adoption of that amendment, federal judges uniformly understood that the right protected by that text applied only to keeping and bearing arms for military purposes, and did not impose any limit whatsoever on the power of states or local governments to regulate the ownership or use of firearms. Thus, in 1939, the court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun because that sort of weapon had no reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a “well regulated Militia.”when Warren Burger was chief justice, from 1969 to 1986, no judge or justice expressed any doubt about the limited coverage of the amendment (military use of arms only), and I cannot recall any judge suggesting that the amendment might place any limit on state authority to do anything.

Organizations such as the National Rifle Association disagreed with that position and mounted a vigorous campaign claiming that federal regulation of the use of firearms severely curtailed Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Five years after his retirement, during a 1991 appearance on “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” Burger himself remarked that the Second Amendment “has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word ‘fraud,’ on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

In recent years, the Supreme Court decided that the Second Amendment protects a civilian’s right to keep a handgun in his home for purposes of self-defense, and the court decided that the due process clause of the 14th Amendment limits the power of the city of Chicago to outlaw the possession of handguns by private citizens. I dissented in both of those cases and remain convinced that both decisions misinterpreted the law and were profoundly unwise.

In my dissent in the McDonald case, I pointed out that “this is a quintessential area in which federalism ought to be allowed to flourish without this Court’s meddling. Across the Nation, States and localities vary significantly in the patterns and problems of gun violence they face, as well as in the traditions and cultures of lawful gun use. . . . The city of Chicago, for example, faces a pressing challenge in combating criminal street gangs. Most rural areas do not.”

Well, that was long. Here comes the good bit.

the Second Amendment, which was adopted to protect the states from federal interference with their power to ensure that their militias were “well regulated,” has given federal judges the ultimate power to determine the validity of state regulations of both civilian and militia-related uses of arms. That anomalous result can be avoided by adding five words to the text of the Second Amendment to make it unambiguously conform to the original intent of its draftsmen. As so amended, it would read:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”

So, just to clarify, you want the second amendment to say: “Active Soldiers in the Army are Allowed to Have Guns”.

What government in the history of the world has ever purposely deprived its soldiers of its most effective weapons? At most, there have been cost issues, but this amendment doesn’t require the government to buy any kind of weapon, so that’s not a solution. It’s laughable to suggest that the government would try to do this; doubly so that the Founding Fathers would be so frightened of this unlikely eventuality that they devoted one of their ten amendments to preventing it.

Looking at the court cases mentioned, the main one was against a sawed-off shotgun. Which, I mean, is that really a weapon for self-defense? It seems like that fits the definition of ‘assault weapon’ to a tee, and is therefore something that I would be fine on clamping down on in any case. In short, I am not convinced that anyone believes that this is a fair interpretation of the amendment; rather, I think they want to limit guns and are willing to say whatever they can to do so. Well, argue honestly or not at all.

Other stupidities:

Slate top comment: “Does anyone believe that if we sold 100 million hand grenades to civilians that hand grenade homicides wouldn’t dramtically increase?”

Imagine the following scenario. I am a godlike figure who can read minds. Whenever someone plots a murder, I swoop down and hand them a couple of frag grenades. Would this increase grenade murder rates? Sure. Would it increase total murder rates? Well…let’s get into that.

Providing more effective weaoonry arguably increases chance of succeeding, and may empower more people to make attempts. But this is something that would show up in higher total murder rates, so the argument still holds-show me an increase in total murders.

I see this non-understanding all the time; in fact, one Vox article I recently read noted that suicides and gun suicides both increased, but suspiciously failed to mention in the same article total homicides when talking about gun homicides. Anyways, be on the lookout for this deceitful dodge.

Finally, Hillary belly (flip)flops with both feet in her mouth;“Allow victims to sue gun manufacturers”

I mean, the second that car manufacturers realize that this law creates a precedent that could be used to hit them with a few million lawsuits, they will leave the country en masse. But hey, maybe if their unions had donated more to Hillary, they would have been spared…too bad, auto workers.

Even if you argue that car accidents shouldn’t be actionable, what about drunk drivers? What about people whose preferred method of suicide is piping in the car’s exhaust? What about the few people who actually do use a car as a murder weapon?

Now : solutions.

Gun-show loophole is just private individuals selling each other their private property; the ATF automatically classifies someone who sells a significant amount as a gun dealer already. The solution? Get together a kickass team to develop an amazing app which allows people within states (or even between them, although I know this can get sticky), to sell each other weapons. Delete any information generated after the sale is made, like Snapchat. Meanwhile, collate all the various data that could relate to a background check in an easy-to-use government database; essentially pull it all together and automatically mark people as a yes or no (maybe have an option that says ‘heavy psych eval’ as a midground?). Then, after about a year, ban selling guns outside of the government app, which hopefully everyone is pretty hooked on regardless. Then, have the app run on the background check system as well. This also functions as an easy way to get every state running background checks.

Frankly, another important thing is to teach parents how to deal with mental un-health. As much as I enjoy occasionally browsing 4chan, any regular poster under the age of 21 probably could do with a bit more of a, how you say, life. Not saying 4chan drove Mercer to it or anything, just saying his activity was proof that he might have needed some kind of help.

Gun Control Idiocy

Bill Nye: Anti-abortion laws are based on ‘ignorance’

As always, I’ve cut some material out of these quotes. Feel free to read the full article, or just to rest assured that I haven’t left out anything significant.

Oh yeah, I’m in favor of abortion. I just can’t stand this shoddy argumentation and grandstanding about the supposed scientific high ground. One way or another, we need to hash this thing out, not just have each side ignore the other because ‘we’re so obviously right! God / Science said so!’.

Bill Nye has picked a new topic to speak out on: Abortion.

Nye’s career has found a second wave in recent years as he’s taken a stand on issues like climate change and the teaching of evolution in schools. Ever The Science Guy, Nye seems to relish stepping into hot debates and dropping matter-of-fact scientific information.

As a person with a Bachelor’s in Science in Mechanical Engineering, Bill Nye is not much of a scientific authority. But he did have that show where he taught middle school level science, so, checkmate, I guess?

“We have so many more important things to be dealing with, we have so many other problems,”Nye says

Then why not cede this argument, and go deal with those problems instead ?_? Oh, because you think it’s important enough to argue about. I see.

“To squander resources on this argument based on bad science, on just lack of understanding, is very frustrating.” 

The scientific facts Nye points out are nothing new: He focuses on the fact that eggs are fertilized quite frequently, and that it’s illogical to protect a fertilized egg over the interests of a woman. This is absolutely true. Scientists estimate that at least 50 percent of fertilized eggs fail to develop. From there, 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, with some researchers estimating that around 40 percent of all pregnancies do so.”If you’re going to say when an egg is fertilized it therefore has the same rights as an individual, then whom are you going to sue?” he says. “Whom are you going to imprison? Every woman who’s had a fertilized egg pass through her? Every guy whose sperm has fertilized an egg and then it didn’t become a human? Have all these people failed you?”

When somebody trips, falls, and breaks his neck in the middle of the road, who do you sue? Oh, that’s right, no one, and the same principle clearly applies here.

Basically, the argument proposed is that, because a lot of people die already, murder is then OK?

Nye also points out something studies have shown for quite some time:Abstinence-only sex education doesn’t work.

Yeah, this is true. Really wish the republican right would get on board with contraception, to be honest. Maybe we could work out a deal, swap abortions for heavy contraceptive implementation? From what I hear, free implant-style contraceptives are dynamite for unwanted pregnancies.

It’s unlikely that Nye’s video will convince anyone who wasn’t already pro-choice. The facts he presents are already out there.

So…just to clarify, Bill Nye is already wasting his time on an unimportant issue by his own admission. And he’s not even making any headway on it? Cool Story my Brother…

And historically, those who oppose the views that Nye is pushing (read: climate change deniers) have had no trouble calling him a liberal shill, or pointing out that as an engineer, he isn’t an “expert” on these particular topics. Nye probably realizes this. But since his new mission seems to be to inject scientific literacy into matters of policy, I think we can expect a lot more videos like this one in the future.

Yes, he is not an expert on these topics. That’s why his word carries no more weight than yours does. Meanwhile, he’s portrayed as some authority, and a lot of people believe this, because they watched his show as kids in school. Problem much?

Protip – until both sides are willing to listen to each other and ask the hard questions, this kind of shit will just go on and on. Liberals self-portray as the more reasonable and logical and open-minded; as a true liberal, I’m reasonable, logical, and open-minded enough to extend the hand of friendship and debate. Who’s with me?

Bill Nye: Anti-abortion laws are based on ‘ignorance’