Taking the Sting Out of A Slapp.


Dr. Richard Carrier is suing us for reporting  on his well-known allegations of misconduct. These allegations were widely reported on throughout the community, including by third-parties critical and sympathetic to him who are not themselves defendants.

This lawsuit has all the hallmarks of a SLAPP suit — a lawsuit filed to stifle legitimate criticism and commentary. The named defendants are Skepticon, The Orbit, and Freethought Blogs – as well as individuals Lauren Lane, the lead organizer of Skepticon; Stephanie Zvan, a blogger for The Orbit; PZ Myers, a blogger for Freethought Blogs; and Amy Frank-Skiba, who publicly posted her first-hand allegations against Carrier.

We need your help to keep our voices alive. All the defendants are represented by the same attorney, First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza. Randazza is providing his services at a significant discount, but we are not asking him to work for free. Plus, there are thousands of dollars in “costs” for the case that don’t include legal bills, and there is no way to discount those. In order to continue fighting this lawsuit, we, the defendants of this case, have put together this campaign to raise money to defray our costs, some of which is outstanding. Donations will be used only for this case. In the event that the funds raised exceed our legal bills, they will be donated to Planned Parenthood .

If you can help to defray these costs, please do. No amount is insignificant. If you’re unable to donate, please help to amplify the signal. Our thanks.

Defense against Carrier SLAPP Suit.

“But Nobody Told Him That.”

Three of the half-dozen octogenarian protesters who set up shop near the senior citizens’ residence where they live in downtown Washington, D.C., during Saturday’s Women’s March. CREDIT: Alan Pyke/ThinkProgress.

Three of the half-dozen octogenarian protesters who set up shop near the senior citizens’ residence where they live in downtown Washington, D.C., during Saturday’s Women’s March. CREDIT: Alan Pyke/ThinkProgress.

Nasty, Brave Women came out all over the world to march, and even those who were unable to march found a way.

…These women would love to be joining the march. But they had a hard enough time convincing their landlords to let them go even as far as this spot in Thomas Circle. They are in their 80s and 90s, veterans of many cycles of American political harmony and social discord. The management at their building were terrified these seniors might get hurt even walking three hundred feet to the circle.

That concern wasn’t going to stop 83-year-old Harriet Fulbright from demonstrating her dissent against Trumpism.

“Damnit, I feel strongly about making our views and feelings known,” Fulbright said. “I’m here because I’m very worried.”

Like her fellow senior sign-wavers, Fulbright remembers the mass upheaval of the Vietnam era and the paranoia which government surveillance and sabotage of dissenters inspired.

Something about today’s moment is scarier than the demagogues before, both losers like Barry Goldwater and winners like Richard Nixon.

“This is new. Nixon was not my favorite,” Fulbright said, with a wry grin, “but I’m more worried now.”

Mamie Chesslin, 83, nodded along with that comparison from her wheeled scooter. As a former Department of Justice attorney who spent her career enforcing environmental laws, Chesslin knows better than most just how much federal agencies influence the future — for brighter or dimmer.

“I honestly wonder how we’re going to survive it,” Chesslin said. “He’s pathological in a way we haven’t seen before. The world doesn’t stop because of Donald Trump, but nobody told him that.”

Ms. Chesslin is right on the money. She puts that sharp mind right on the big, huge problem: Trump thinks he can do anything he wants, and he’s surrounded himself with people who tell him that’s right. He’s also surrounded by people who have enough power to try and make that a reality.

“I’ve been astonished and delighted by the reactions from younger people today,” said Tina Hobson, 87, who helped rally the group to defy the well-intentioned concerns of the residence staff. “Instead of an intense, anxious day, it’s been a lot of fun.”


“When you get to this age you remember what life was like before Roe vs. Wade. You can tell the stories,” she said.

“None of us thought we’d be doing this again.”

At a mere 59 years of age, and the unwanted product of pre-Roe life, I never thought we’d be doing this again, either. Yet here we are. Stay strong, stand up, shout out. Resist.

Via Think Progress.

Isolationism: America First.

Trump claimed this photo showed him writing his inaugural speech. The Wall Street Journal reports his contributions were minimal at best. CREDIT: Twitter.

Trump claimed this photo showed him writing his inaugural speech. The Wall Street Journal reports his contributions were minimal at best. CREDIT: Twitter.

Let’s get this ridiculous idea that Trump wrote his own speech out of the way first. As to the photo he tweeted, supposedly of him busy writing, it was already torn apart prior to the speech. It’s rather obvious the pad of paper is blank; Trump isn’t know for using Sharpie markers, and he’s sitting at the reception concierge desk at Mar-A-Lago. Trump must really think that every person on the planet is an idiot. He doesn’t even make an effort, for fuck’s sake. The WSJ has also concluded that he had little to do with the speech. Not a difficult conclusion, the man can barely speak, who on earth would think he could put a comprehensive speech together?

The inaugural speech was noted to be dark and ominous (perhaps he wanted to continue in the whole dark Batman mode, given his theft of lines from Bane), painting The States as being in dire straits. That much serves Trump’s purpose, as those lies help to paint himself as an ersatz savior. There’s another reason for the speech’s tone though, and it’s a discomfiting one: it was authored by white nationalists.

“Much of the speech was written by Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, two of Mr. Trump’s top advisers,” the Journal reports, citing a White House official.

Politico reports that Miller, senior White House adviser for policy, wrote most of the prepared speeches Trump delivered last year, including his keynote address at the Republican National Convention. That speech, like the inaugural address, painted a dire picture of an America besieged by threats within and without, with Trump presenting himself as the only hope for salvation.


During his inaugural address, Trump said “America First” is the “new vision [that] will govern the land.” The phrase “America First” was popularized by a 1940s isolationist, anti-Semitic group that opposed America’s entry into World War II. Bannon’s ex-wife accused him of anti-Semitism.


Bannon praised the speech while speaking to the Wall Street Journal.

“I don’t think we’ve had a speech like that since Andrew Jackson came to the White House,” he said. “It’s got a deep, deep root of patriotism.”

Bannon added that the speech was “an unvarnished declaration of the basic principles of [Trump’s] populist and nationalist movement.”

Ah, citing Indian Killer Jackson. That’s a bad sign. White supremacist nazis adore Jackson. Obviously, Bannon is not concerned about being open about the nationalist administration now in power. It’s not a good thing he’s feeling so comfortable about this. People should be woke; they should be very concerned; they should be scared; and they should be resisting. I expect history will simply repeat itself once more, and most people won’t wake up until it’s too late.

Full story at Think Progress.

Thanks to commenter AndrewD, we have these:

Just the Alternative Facts, Ma’am.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks in the press briefing room at the White House, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks in the press briefing room at the White House, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon.

During his first appearance before the press as President Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer attacked the media for accurately reporting that Trump’s inauguration was attended by a relatively small crowd. […] In the latest sign that the Trump administration plans to wage war on reality, Spicer refused to accept that attendance for Trump’s inauguration was smaller than for President Obama’s in 2009.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration. Period,” Spicer said. “Both in person and around the globe.”

He blamed “floor coverings [that] were used to protect the grass on the mall” for making it look like there was lots of empty space. In fact, there was just lots of empty space.

“These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong,” Spicer said of the reporting.

It’s official – reality is shameful and wrong, oh my yes! I’m starting to think we’d be better off with Nixon’s head in a jar.

Neither Trump nor Spicer said a word about the fact that earlier Saturday, about 500,000 people were marching in the streets of D.C. in response to Trump’s inauguration, or about twice as many as turned out for Trump’s ceremony the day before .

I like reality. Reality is good. This slice of reality is excellent! It is shameful Pendejo Trump refuses to face it. As Spicer was close to a full tantrum over this, Stepford Kellyanne came to the rescue, with alternative facts:

During an interview on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd asked Conway why Spicer felt the need to berate the press over the weekend for accurately reporting that Trump’s crowd sizes were dwarfed by the attendance at President Barack Obama’s 2008 inauguration.

“Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck,” Conway scoffed. “They’re saying it’s a falsehood and our press secretary, Sean Spicer, gave alternative facts to that.”

I don’t think the people who prefer facts, truth, and reality are the ones being dramatic. Melodramatic is a good descriptor of Pendejo Trump, and his supporting soap opera.

“Wait a minute,” Todd interrupted. “Alternative facts! Four of the five facts that he uttered were just not true. Alternative facts are not facts, they’re falsehoods.”

Conway tried to deflect, but the host pressed on: “You sent the press secretary out there to utter a falsehood on the smallest, pettiest thing. And I don’t understand why you did it.”

“I don’t think you can prove those numbers one way or the other,” the Trump aide opined. “You can laugh at me all you want. You are, and I think it’s actually symbolic of the way we’re treated by the press. I’ll just ignore it. I’m bigger than that. I’m a kind and gracious person.”

Actually, you can estimate those numbers very well, and Pendejo Trump knows that all too well, which is why he shut down the people who do those estimates every year. This isn’t about proof or absolute numbers. It is very much about just how thin and tender Pendejo Trump’s skin is, and it doesn’t bode well.

Additionally, Spicer tried to claim that floor coverings and magnometers were to blame for the poor turn out:

“This was the first time in our nation’s history that floor coverings have been used to protect the grass on the [National] Mall,” Spicer said. “That had the effect of highlighting any areas where people were not standing, while in years past the grass eliminated this visual. This was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the Mall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past.”

This is not true, either, and so easily refuted. It was the U.S. Secret Service who put paid to the magnometer story, but I guess they are all liars too, you betcha!

Via Think Progress and Raw Story. Also see .

Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as “the truth” exists. … The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, “It never happened” – well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five – well, two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs. – George Orwell, 1943.

Sunday Facepalm.


All of life has become one gargantuan facepalm, ennit? Here are a few of them, adding to the whole:

Corey Lewandowski is now on record saying that no republicans ever questioned the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s presidency, no, not those holy rethugs. That’s just so baldfaced, it’s hard to say it qualifies only as a facepalm.

“You’ve seen that the Democrats are trying to say that he’s not a legitimate candidate,” he said. “Can you imagine just for a second if a Republican congressman would have gone out and said this about Barack Obama and continued that narrative? It would be an uproar in the mainstream media.”

Right, because there wasn’t round the clock, constant coverage of all the rethugs screaming for birth certificates and the like.

highlights-magazine-2Kevin Swanson, who is rabid in his hatred for all things queer, is now raging about…Highlights. It’s just as bad as ISIS, did you know? Oh yes, just as evil, and maybe more evil. What brought on this irrational tirade of abuse? Inclusivity, natch. Inclusiveness of any kind is always to be found right at the top of the most evil list the Religious Reich has in their pocket.

Highlights Magazine announced they will be featuring same sex parents in future editions. That’s nice, isn’t it? Well, it’s nice for people who aren’t terrified by inclusiveness, and think it’s a good thing for the children of same sex parents to see themselves and their families represented. That helps to establish healthy, stable children, and a healthy, stable society, things which Christian Republicans are fanatically against. None of that inclusive wholesomeness for them, oh no!

Swanson said that while ISIS is releasing videos showing young children killing prisoners, Highlights is just as evil because it will “encourage the support for the sin of homosexuality among kids.”

It will encourage acceptance, yes. That’s a good thing, at least if you’re a decent, ethical person. I guess we know where that places Mr. Swanson.

“So now, here’s Highlights magazine, an American kids’ magazine promoting homosexuality amongst kids,” Swanson fumed, “and now ISIS is teaching kids how to kill people. Now, I got to thinking: Which sin is worse? Homosexuality or murder? Which is worse? Are we really that much better than ISIS?”

No, Highlights is not promoting homosexuality, anymore than it promotes heterosexuality. It’s simply reflecting their readership, and society as a whole. As for which sin is worse, can we just count Christianity as one big evil stain of a sin? It would save time. There are times I wish the xian hell did exist, because some people definitely deserve an extended dip in it, like Mr. Swanson. Even I’m not nasty enough to think he deserves such for eternity though. I’m simply not evil enough to be a good christian.

Okay everyone, hang onto those hats…


Yeah. Are you impressed? I think we’re supposed to be impressed.

We reported earlier this week that a group of Trump-supporting dominionists has launched a POTUS Shield project to protect Trump and his presidency from his enemies. They’ve now posted video [warning: autoplay] from last week’s prayer gathering at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. In addition to prayers of gratitude for Trump’s “anointing” and his having “surrounded himself with evangelical people” and “magnified Christianity,” the group prayed individually for each member of the Trump family, as someone came forward to act as a sort of Hollywood-style stand-in for each of them.

Lance Wallnau, who had repeatedly declared that Trump was anointed by God, prayed for Donald Jr., declaring that God would give him a personal heads-up—“a word of knowledge ahead of time”—when the media is trying to trip up or embarrass the family.

Sure, why not get to the really important stuff right away? I’m sure there couldn’t possibly be anything more urgent than embarrassment, given that Trump is sort of the living embodiment of embarrassment.

Frank Amedia, who served the Trump campaign as a voluntary “liaison for Christian policy,” prayed for Eric, saying that he too has “an anointing on him” and that Eric’s “humility for you is already beyond natural.” Amedia prayed that God would “bless his seed and the seed of his seed.”

Eeeuuuw. Seriously, christians, just start fucking more, maybe it will take care of this constant need to shove your noses into crotches, and stop concerning yourself with people’s semen.  As for humility, Eric. Really. Guess they didn’t see those disgusting hunting photos.

Leigh Valentine, a beauty-industry entrepreneur associated with John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, thanked God for “the anointing” he had placed on Melania to walk alongside her husband. The “wisdom of God”, she said, will be upon Melania, who will “astound the women of her nation.”

What nation are we talking here? Astounded. By what? Her penchant for plagiarism? The fact that she was hawking her QVC crap on the whitehouse.gov site before someone hastily yanked it? Her standing silently by when her husband is busy drooling all over his daughter? Standing by her man when he talks about grabbing women by the pussy?

Mark Gonzalez prayed that young Barron would be given wisdom beyond his years and asked that God protect his heart when he sees “evil” being “launched at his family.”

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a blank looking kid. Either he’s so overwhelmed he’s close to paralysis, or he’s simply not affected by anything. I think he should be protected too, but that’s a tough call when he’s in the bosom of his family.

Clarence McClendon, a Los Angeles-based preacher who said in post-election Twitter messages to “the Prophetic Community” that the election was “supernatural” and a “Re-Set” for the country, prayed for Mike Pence has his wife, saying that God had told him Pence was “a covenant man.” Pence, he said, is “malleable and pliable” in God’s hand, and prayed that Pence would speak wisdom into Trump’s ears.

I wouldn’t describe Pence as malleable and pliable in the least. Rigid, cold, uncaring, devoid of empathy, and a willing toady, yes. There’s more at Right Wing Watch.


From rq. One of my favourite photo themes to do is the art of decay, because there is art in it, and beauty, and it’s a wonderful illustration of the circle of life. rq says: From northern Ontario, so no endemic European species. But still. I especially love the runic nature f the snail/slug/insect tracks on that rock. Like a code to be deciphered, a secret message from molluscans to you. Click for full size.









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