Sunday, October 14, 2018

Tweet to a Never-Trumper

You have advocated horrible things, long before Trump was ever elected. I want to see some signs of shame and repentance.

Or how can I trust you?

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Rapist Vote

The Kavanaugh confirmation hearings seem to have boosted Republican voter involvement – maybe – apparently by turning out the rapist vote.
Question is: how big is the rapist vote? Sexual assault is distressingly common in the USA. But how many perpetrators are there? My quick searching shows nothing, which means there is probably no widely publicized study of the matter. RAINN’s summary of perpetrator statistics shows that most are men, many repeat their offenses and that, of perpetrators reported to the authorities, many have criminal records.
Beyond the actual rapists, there are rape apologists. If the water was muddy before, here it opaque. Fantasies of sexual desire are a staple of our culture among both men and women – probably of every human culture – and distressingly many people don’t distinguish between the fantasies of desire and the realities of sexual assault.
Could the number of Republican voters influenced by the Kavanaugh hearings be as high as 30%?

Monday, October 8, 2018

Justice Kavanaugh's Handle

(No, not that. Get your mind out of the gutter.)

One striking thing about Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings is that at no point was there serious consideration of substituting another reliable conservative. Why? I think it is because Kavanaugh has a handle – something that can be used to flatter or pressure him into ruling in particular ways. We have a hint of it in the reports of his finances – is he perhaps a compulsive spender? Or still a harasser, possibly someone who has committed rapes more recently than in college? There are also hints of that: reportedly he selected clerks based on appearance.

Whatever the reason, I think Justice Kavanaugh is a man who can be controlled by someone, and who is going to be controlled by that someone.

Punishment and Not: Failures of Leadership

President Gerald Ford, pardoned Nixon after his near-impeachment. (Nixon resigned first. The pardon rendered impeachment and investigation moot.)

President George H. W. Bush pardoned six alleged traitors involved in “Iran-Contra” in the Reagan administration, smuggling weapons to Iran which was then an enemy of the USA, to secure the release of hostages and to illegally support a revolution in Nicaragua.

President William J. Clinton was impeached for concealing an affair. This became a continuing stain on the Democratic leadership.

In 2006 Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the “Impeachment [of George W. Bush] is off the table,” despite the Clinton precedent and the great crimes of W. Bush.

President Obama declined to prosecute any of the Bush administration criminals, despite strong cases against them. He also declined to prosecute all but one of the bankers who caused the crash of 2008.

These people who committed crimes were left free to rehabilitate their careers. Nixon’s advisor Roger Stone participated in Trump’s Presidential campaign. He is under investigation by Robert Mueller and is alleged to have been one of the Russian connections to the Trump campaign.

We let the scorpions sting, then we let them free to sting again.

I do not know when, if ever, the USA will return to a just legal system, but part of that return has to be trial and punishment of these criminals. Laxness in punishment lets them rehabilitate their careers and commit yet more crimes. Punishment, even for minor crimes, damages their careers.


Misogynistic Terrorism

The behavior of women in our society is, at least in part, the behavior of a terrorized social group.

All the arguments about nature and nurture, about what is "feminine" and what is "masculine" behavior – these cannot be answered by data collected within our society.


Saturday, October 6, 2018

Other Tweets

[What happens if the Democrats don't take the House.] Death camps. Repeal of the 14th Amendment. Women and PoC lose the right to vote. Revolution.

[To a disappointed conservative.] Tom, they never were conservatives. I think the entire Republican leadership has betrayed you.

[What will I do if Joseph Biden is is the candidate opposing Trump come 2020?] Vote for him. Bark! Bark! Says the yellow dog raven.

Remember: the management of CNN supports Trump. The publishers of the New York Times and Washington Post support Trump. NPR depends on Congress to continue to operate. Other media organizations follow the leads of these.

Feminist Tweets on Kavanaugh

Lord, they've turned out the rapist vote.

Are we to conclude, then, that much of the motivation of conservative men was not any of their claimed high ideals, but simple threatened masculinity? That the radical feminists have been right all along?

Will Kavanaugh work with any of the Court's women? I'm betting not.

I want to tattoo "The Party of Rape and Treason" to pale, pasty, flabby Republican butts.

Kavanaugh was radical before he was ever nominated. The man made his bones as a stalker and harasser working for Ken Starr. He's going to be just awful and we all know it.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Welcome to the Kingdom of Gilead

"Susan Collins Consents" – WSJ headline

(Screenshot, just in case the WSJ realizes what they've done and tries to rewrite history.)

I do not, in The Handmaid's Tale, recall this sheer viciousness of language.

I wonder, even, if women's right to vote is in danger. It would follow: some of the most committed opponents of the Republican Party are women, and after the likely (barring miracle or act of terrorism) confirmation of Kavanaugh they are going to be implacable opponents.

Beyond that, I think we can say that any women's rights case that comes to the Supreme Court will be decided against women. Not just Roe, but Griswold is in danger, not just Griswold, but decisions I don't even know the names of and new cases that aren't even named yet.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

What is it with these weak men?

What is it with these weak men, going on and on about the wonders of brutality? In any of the actual brutal places they so admire, they'd have been nothings. Beating up on women smaller than they are, who are trained to submission, because no woman who had her own strength and self-possession would have them! These teenage boys on stilts, who think they get to run the world despite having no qualification or ability to do so!

Goes for Donald Trump, too. In a just world, he'd be the big guy at the end of the bar with a violent temper and not much else.

(An exasperated Tweetstorm, transcribed for posterity.)

Monday, October 1, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh As Escalating Stalker

So here we have Judge Kavanaugh, who:
  1. In high school, by Dr. Ford's account, clumsily attempted rape, 
  2. In college, by Julie Swetnick's account, was an accomplished stalker and organizer of gang rapes, 
  3. Who, by David Brock's account stalked and harassed Vince Foster's family after his suicide, in what Paul Begala called "the most vicious, cruel, abuse of power I think I've ever seen in 30 years."
  4. Who stalked and harassed the President himself and his family.
  5. Did concealed and probably horrible things as a W. Bush administration official.
  6. And was, for his work, elevated to a judgeship on United States Court of Appeals
    for the District of Columbia Circuit.
There is escalation; he has both become more expert in stalking and harassing and over time has gained positions where he can stalk and harass more people.

I wonder if this is where police states come from.

(Revised extensively on 2018.10.02 due to further thoughts.)

Friday, September 28, 2018

Kavanaugh – Call your Senators

It is important to take a stand now, even if we do not win.

If your Senator is part of the Senate Democratic Leadership – Schumer, Durbin, Murray, Stabenow, Warren, Warner, Klobuchar, Sanders, Manchin, Baldwin, van Hollen, thank them for their opposition (or not, as appropriate – Manchin), encourage them to vote against Kavanaugh, and to whip the Senate Democrats to vote against Kavanaugh.

If your Senator is a Democrat not in the Leadership, thank them for their opposition (or not, as appropriate) and encourage them to vote against Kavanaugh.

If your Senator is a Republican, urge them to vote against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. Remind them that half of their constituents are women. If you can, and feel it is appropriate, give a personal story explaining why the confirmation of Kavanaugh would be an outrage.

Take a stand.

The Social Impact of the Kavanaugh Hearings -- First Thoughts

I do think many women are not going to stand for this. I suspect there are a lot of white suburban soccer moms, "good German" Trump voters, who are remembering their high school experiences and going "Fk the Republican fkers" – I'm voting Democratic this year.

And what do we tell young men? I mean, "Don't rape," sure. That's obvious, but it has been obvious for centuries. Do we say "Women are going to look at you and see the face of their oppressors. You are going to have to fight for the rest of your lives to overcome that?"

Taney Court II -- the Supreme Court of the Republic of Gilead?

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Gilead? Where rape is routine, and then women are required to bear the children of their rapists? Where reliable information about sexuality and reproductive biology is buried under hypocritical "Christian" blither? Where contraceptives are the new controlled substances?

Fk Republicans.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Careers: Dr. Ford and Mark Judge

The Washington Post has twin pieces on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Mark Judge. Out of the debauched culture of Georgetown Preparatory School, they both ended up reinventing themselves. Dr. Ford moved west, became a surfer, and, ultimately, a degreed expert in depression and trauma recovery, a well-respected clinician and teacher. Mark Judge got on the wagon, became a conservative Catholic, somehow blaming liberalism for all the problems of Georgetown Prep, that most conservative Roman Catholic school, and has gone on to a writing career of pious hypocrisy. His own brother, Michael Judge, once wrote, “Mark is a solipsist: spoiled as a child, gazing always inward, unable to recognize any pain but his own.” I would call that narcissism. Mark Judge went on to become a pious hypocrite, harassing Eric Ruyak, who reported his own molestation at Georgetown Prep.

Whyfor the difference? Dr. Ford became a healer, Mark Judge became hypocritically pious. Perhaps this is a matter of inborn character. Perhaps. But I wonder if seeking to steeping himself in the hypocritical pieties of the Roman Catholic Church led Judge to embrace his narcissism. The liberalism of California, I think, did far better by Dr. Ford.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. – Matthew 23

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Modern European History -- Apocalypse Then

The history of modern Western Europe can be viewed as a series of apocalypses. War after war after war, only at peace after nearly destroying itself. And that is the history of the modern world.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Cruelty of Kavanaugh

By reopening the investigation of Vince Foster's suicide Kavanaugh "tormented the Foster family in the most vicious, cruel, abuse of power I think I've ever seen in 30 years," says @PaulBegala: "If he would do something that horrible, I don't know what he was like in high school." – link, with video
It appears Kavanaugh is a compulsively cruel man.

I think I know what is in the Kavanaugh material the White House is withholding: evidence of his Kavanaugh's cruelty. And if he is seated on the Supreme Court he will have the opportunity to be cruel to the entire USA; the kind of cruelty we saw in Hitler's lieutenants.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, and Prof. Blasey

(A hypothesis originally tweeted.)

Problem is, the Republicans are trying to set up a hearing where one witness will be Prof. Blasey and all the rest will be favorable to Kavanaugh. Her lawyer and the Senate Democrats object.

Personally, I want to see Mark Judge under oath, on the stand. Based on his subsequent writings, I suspect that he put Kavanaugh up to it. There's no evidence that Kavanaugh is a compulsive rapist. There is only this one event. But Mark Judge, him I want to see questioned under oath. And then I want the Senate Judiciary committee to consider if a man so easily swayed to a criminal act ought to have a seat on the nation's highest court.

Stochastic Slavery

We all have to work to live. If one is alone one needs to seek water, gather food, find shelter, wash, and so forth. If we live with other people, we also have to make efforts to interact with them. But – as Karl Marx observed – in unfettered capitalism people work extra to enrich the capitalist class.

We have abolished chattel slavery – workers are no longer the property of their owners, with no rights, not even those of family. But labor markets still distribute the work. One is better off free, no question: one has at least one’s family and the right to go elsewhere. But if all the growth in wealth goes to business owners, as it has for the past generation, one is living in a kind of stochastic slavery; free as an individual, not free as a member of the working class.

Which why socialism is enjoying a renaissance. Young people – the more educated have seen the numbers, know what they mean. But it doesn't take much education to know that your life is harder than your parents's.

"You cannot lie to the working class, James, not even once. They will know, and they will never trust you again." – fictional Fredrich Engels, Steven Brust and Emma Bull, Freedom and Necessity

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Tweets to a Black Democratic Socialist, on the Erasure of Class from a Discussion of Racism and Wealth

Reinforcing identity is comforting. Economic reality cuts across our intuitions of identity, reminding us all that we are all in the end material beings, trapped in material reality. This is not at all comforting.

"All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, …" — Karl Marx

Original tweets

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Tweets to an Anti-Abortion politician

Will you force children to bear the children of incest, the way they do in Latin America? Or make them go before a male judge to get permission to terminate their pregnancy? Will you let women die or be severely injured to protect fetuses, the way the US Conference of Catholic Bishops mandates? Fetuses themselves doomed to die, non-viable fetuses, those are.

When women start dying, will you change your opinion? Because abortion is as common in places where it is illegal as it is where it is legal; outlawing it only makes it dangerous.

Will you protect rapists and child molesters by law?

You do not remember, you do not know.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Voters: Reflections on Race and Class

I would like to see a study asking white voters if they had a long period out of work or lost their homes, or had friends and families which did so and then cross-tabulations between those numbers and their support of Donald Trump and Bernard Sanders.

I would be very surprised if there was no correlation!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

What will come after?

If you wish for the downfall of the United States ask yourself: "What will come after?"

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

AMO: Unifying the Resistance?

Me, slightly over a year ago:
At this point, what it would take to unify the Resistance would be something like a younger female version of Sanders, and I don't see anyone like that on the national stage.
And now we have Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Intersectionality, Economic Anxiety, and Economic Pain

There's a whole strain of argument that economics had nothing to do with Trump's victory, that it was all racism. Certainly the racists are there. But also, the Obama administration had no jobs program, no relief for embattled homeowners, no prosecutions for mortgage fraud or servicing abuse. I do not think there is one of us who does not know someone who has lost their home, or spent years out of work. That's the sort of economic pain that people don't forget, and it affected the election.

I have a friend who is represented by Senator Patricia Murray (D-WA.) Senator Murray made the budget deal with Paul Ryan that cut off my friend’s unemployment benefits on my friend’s birthday. Now (says my friend) my friend voted for Senator Murray during the last election with difficulty. And yet my friend is an educated activist who will determinedly vote for the lesser evil. Someone who had lost their house or had years of unemployment and is not ideological? Why would they vote Democratic? Why would their family, friends, and neighbors? The amazing thing, perhaps, is that the Presidential election was as close as it was.

I'm not going to say that economics was the whole story of that election; many factors came together to bring the Republicans to power. Sexism was a part of it, racism was a part of it, and bad press was a part of it. So was treason. But those memories of long times out of work and losing homes were also part of it.

Jobs matter. Homes matter.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Proof Testing 3-D Printed Firearms

Would you like to be the person to proof test your shiny new 3-D printed gun?

Reputable firearms manufacturers proof test firearms – fire them with a round that is more powerful than usual – to ensure they will operate safely. This is a dangerous procedure. Reputable manufacturers have safety practices in place for it. Most of the 3-D printing processes produce rough parts; they need finishing. Do this wrong with your gun and you will have an explosion when you fire it. (And you may have one anyway, even if you do everything right.)

If you print your own gun you're the tester. It's your hand at risk.

In this bird's view, this whole thing is overblown. It's not hard to make firearms with modern machine tools; hasn't been since the late 19ᵗʰ century. A 3-D printer is just another way of doing that. The hard part is making safe, useful, good-quality firearms through a safe manufacturing process.

On the other hand, the censorship that is imposed on 3-D printed firearms is of concern. Really don't want random officials deciding what designs we can make.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Harm to the Law

(To someone defending the Chicago PD on Twitter, lightly edited.)

When you or I break the law, we do harm, but we do no harm to the law. When the police break the law, they do harm to the law. When prosecutors and judges accept this, and when elected officials do not act, they do harm to the law.

The Party of Treason: Nixon, Reagan, and Trump

On Twitter, someone asked if Nixon was quite that bad. It prompted these reflections.

Richard Nixon was a traitor, responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of US soldiers. His Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, still alive, still lauded, was perhaps equally culpable. Yes, he was that bad.

The Reagan administration also probably committed treason. At least, Reagan broke his oath of office and acted in a disloyal manner. Matters are a little more complex there, since Reagan was apparently demented at the time, so a number of officials (pardoned by his Republican successor, George H W Bush) and Reagan's wife, who was governing in his stead, were responsible. None of them were punished.

I am left thinking that the Republican Party has been disloyal for over 50 years. The foreign policies it advocates fail so desperately and shamefully, and are so unpopular, that they are left undertaking crimes to enable them and to conceal them.

And now we have Trump slamming US intelligence agencies in favor of the dictator of a third-rate power.