Friday, February 24, 2017

Jamies Winston Gives An Inspiring Speech To Fifth-Grade Boys. To Fifth-Grade Girls? Not So Much.

Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston spoke to fifth graders at a Florida school last Wednesday.  His talk was to inspire the children, to give them hope and higher aspirations.

And this is how he inspired them:

That, my sweet readers, is how traditional gender roles are reproduced, only in a much louder voice than usual.

Winston explains his way of inspiring little girls to do great things by digging the hole deeper:

Imagine the calculation behind that!  To make one boy feel better, it's perfectly acceptable to make every girl in the room feel worse and less confident*.  That's some word choice mistake...

Jamies Winston is not only famous for his football skills but also for this:

On December 7, 2012, Erica Kinsman filed a complaint with the Tallahassee Police Department accusing Winston of “sexual battery, assault, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of forcible rape.” She was allegedly encouraged to stay quiet, and State Attorney Willie Meggs didn’t open the investigation in to the allegations until 11 months later. Weeks later, Meggs laughed his way through a press conference where he announced that Kinsman’s account of the night wasn’t credible and that no charges would be filed.
More recently, Meggs told reporters that while he didn’t have enough evidence to file charges, he does “think things that happened there that night were not good.”

* He clearly uses the subtractive model of masculinity, where what the boys are is NOT what the girls are.  Thus, to encourage the boys he must discourage the girls.

President Bannon at the CPAC: The Media Is The Opposition Party

He called the media the opposition party which is always wrong.  Here is a different view about the importance of a free press:

The retired admiral who designed and oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden says President Trump’s superheated charge that the mainstream news media is the “enemy of the American people” is not just wrong, but also could pose a dire threat to American democracy. Reporters, however, must get their facts right, cite reliable sources and be aware of their own biases and pride.
“The president said the news media is the enemy of the American people,” William McRaven said Tuesday. “This sentiment may be the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.
Bolds are mine.

We know by now democracy is not terribly high on president Bannon's to-do-list, though it does top his to-undo-list.

Comedy From The Trump Reich: Sebastian Gorka, CPAC and Alt-Right

Meet Sebastian Gorka, Trump's deputy assistant and a supposed expert on radical Islam.  Here is the most hilarious quote from the article:

But Gorka, who prior to Trump’s inauguration crowed to Fox News that “the alpha males are back” in charge, isn’t in the White House because of his CV; rather, the available evidence suggests he’s there because of his hard-line beliefs.

I love that image of alpha males*!  It's straight out of the manuals of pickup artists, of course, but I got the instant image of Mr. Gorka clad in a furry loincloth, carrying a club, and ululating while hammering at his chest.  Then he grabs Trump by the famous hair and drags him to some backroom.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

So How Is Our Dear Leader Faring? Deportations, Bathrooms and Sickness

Our Dear Leader is certainly keeping some of his promises. 

1.  While the Obama administration did deport (or try to deport) those undocumented immigrants who were charged with a serious crime, the Trump administration has truly expanded the definition of who may be deported:

“Under this executive order, ICE will not exempt classes or categories of removal aliens from potential enforcement,” a fact sheet released by the Department of Homeland Security said, using the acronym for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “All of those present in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention, and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”
That includes people convicted of fraud in any official matter before a governmental agency and people who “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits.”

Given that, it is to be expected that 15,000 extra customs and immigration officers are to be hired, more camps are to be built and so on.  This is interesting when we consider the simultaneous hiring freeze in the Federal government.

It is also to be expected that the kinds of sweeps which are taking place now create cases like this one.

All this is frightening for what it tells us about the priorities of those who hold the real power in the Trump administration and about the chaotic nature of many of its actions. 

Where are these immigrants going to be returned?  Some proposals suggest that our Dear Leader just plans to dump all of them in Mexico, including the ones who are not Mexican citizens.  I am pretty sure that Mexico won't be happy with that.

And what are the consequences of these mass deportations to American industries where many of the undocumented work?

Finally,  does it matter at all to the Trump people that net immigration from Mexico, say, appears to have turned negative by 2015?   Mexico is still the largest source country for immigrants, both documented and undocumented to the US.*

2.   Trump has rescinded the Obama administration's federal guidelines which allowed transgender students in schools to use the bathroom matching their gender identity.  Now it's up to the states to decide. It sounds like Trump's new Secretary of Education, Betsy deVos, wasn't too happy about that.

I would like to know who is behind this change.  It might let me predict what other rights will be left to the states to decide.

3.  Will the Affordable Care Act (ACA) be repealed and replaced, in the very near future, as our Dear Leader has promised? 

I watch the whole farce with some sinister satisfaction**, because it looks like the Republican Congress members are facing some tough questioning on this at their town halls and because I have an inkling about the enormous difficulties taking apart and rebuilding a complex system will create. 

Anything the Republicans might actually offer will leave poorer Americans without access to good quality care in the medically required amounts.  But as the real point of the repeal is to cut the taxes for the wealthy, some type of repeal we will see.

Or maybe not.

The Republicans in Congress are the dog who likes chasing cars but doesn't actually expect to catch up to one.  Well, now it did.

The mess any rapid and drastic changes might cause will kill people.  So will a return to the pre-ACA status quo, which is what the Republican planlets*** I've read would mean.


*  Depending on the method used,  China might now be the largest source country.  But the 2015 Pew survey suggests that Mexicans are, in any case,  the majority of undocumented immigrants in the US.

**  I'm obviously not satisfied when I think of the patients in the system or of the people who will now struggle. 

***  Little attempts at plans, without proper numbers etc.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Milos We Shall Always Have Among Us

That is from the Bible of Echidne, and the Milos refer to Milo Yiannopoulos*, but also to Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing performance artists.  Who knows what their real values are, whether conservative or not,  other than the desire to stand in the glaring limelight of politics and to own several beach properties?  But that type will always be among us, and Milo himself is not gone.

Yes, the CPAC dis-invited him as a keynote speaker,  because of his support for pederasty, even though he was initially invited because of his support of white heterosexual cis-male supremacy and because of his misogyny and open racism.  It's always interesting to find what the unacceptable might be, and pederasty support still qualifies.

Milo also lost his book deal with Simon&Schuster.  I always wondered why Simon&Schuster initially bothered defending the book deal by saying that the book would contain no hate speech.  It's the hate speech its potential market wanted to read, after all.  But never mind.  Once it looked bad for Simon&Schuster, the deal was off.  Probably not enough money now.

And Milo resigned from Breitbart.  But I very much doubt he is gone.  After all, he gets tremendous publicity right now, including from my scaly fingers.  Even if he is gone in this incarnation, another will pop up tomorrow.  Those people are just too much fun as the mouthpiece for festering hatreds, and punching downward is always much the safest form of humor in the society.

Indeed, it's actually the most politically correct form of humor, unlikely to lead to a political assassination with, say, a poisoned umbrella tip.

When I scanned the recent Yiannopoulos headlines I noticed that several of them called him "a provocateur."  That made me imagine what I would be called if I had an act like his but in reverse **.  Probably some much nastier things.  It's always salutary to learn which opinions are called "controversial" and which people are called "provocateurs."


*  I have discussed Milo, at least in part, in these three blog posts.  The last one links to some of his thoughts on feminism and women.

** Yes, I could easily create one if I was willing to use false generalizations, bad data and call people names and take small isolated incidents and argue that they prevail everywhere. 

Trump's Great Negotiating Skills And the US Trade Policies

High level international politics is like playing simultaneous chess games against dozens of opponents, while blindfolded and on sedatives.  Donald Trump thinks the game is tic-tac-toe, and even in that game he only thinks about his first move.  Hence the way his rallies told us that only he can fix everything, how his extremely simple solutions will fix everything, how he is the smartest yam in the whole wide world.

He cannot see the complexity of the game, or perhaps he doesn't care.  Its agony for all of us who do see that complexity, as we know what could happen after Trump's boisterous first moves.

To give you just one example, Trump's policies toward Mexico cause Mexicans to react:

Some lawmakers were alarmed by reports that Mexico is exploring a deal to buy corn from Brazil and Argentina instead of the United States to retaliate against Trump’s threats of tariffs on Mexican imports. 
“We’ve got plenty of history of when we do something some country doesn’t like then they retaliate against us,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a senior member of the Finance and Agriculture committees.

Imports from Mexico and exports to Mexico are not independent of each other.  Trump cannot yell at the president of Mexico and expect no negative consequences from that, and what he says to Mexico other countries will also hear.  This changes plans and policies everywhere, and I, for one, would like a president who understands that.