Trump’s behavior with women is utterly disgusting

Yes, yes, I know this is old news but we need to remind ourselves that Trump is not just your run-of-the-mill ordinary creep, he is a predator. On the excellent radio program This American Life this week, we hear another example of this. Writer E. Jean Carroll talked with an old friend of hers named Jessica Leeds about what the latter experienced at the hands (literally) of Donald Trump when she was a young woman. Leeds was one of the first women to accuse Trump of sexual assault in 2016.
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The interesting history of the Miss America pageant

I have of course heard of the Miss America and Miss USA pageants and recall having seen bits of either or both (it was hard for me to tell the difference) on TV many years ago. To me they seemed to be two sides of the same coin, an opportunity to parade attractive young women in swim suits before a large TV audience. But in the August 31, 2020 issue of The New Yorker magazine, Lauren Collins says there are differences between the two, in that the Miss America organization insists that its contest is about more than looks.
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The contradictions of anti-SJW atheists laid bare

The latest atheist scandal: Michael Sherlock, executive director of Atheist Alliance International, was a bit less than professional on Twitter. He called religion “retarded”, and when told that word has a lot of baggage, escalated the argument and ended up calling a woman a “cunt”. This has led to the organization suspending him without pay for one month, which seems like a reasonable rebuke to me, and the process leading to that punishment seems fair, as well. Atheist organizations have had a bit of trouble with poorly behaved leaders lately, so it’s a good idea to set standards and enforce them. If anything, the punishment was too light for an action that led to three board members announcing their resignation, and the Atheist Foundation of Australia severing their ties to AAI. I get the impression that Sherlock has been an antagonizing figure at AAI, especially given that they had recently appointed and then fired David Silverman.

Except…now Sherlock has become the newest cause célèbre for all those anti-SJW folks who are outraged at consequences — you know, what they’re calling “cancel culture”. Any effort to clean their room and tell the paid professionals who are supposed to be running the show to stand up straight is met with petulant whining from the spoiled children who otherwise adore people like Jordan Peterson. How dare you expect them to behave?

The funniest reaction comes from Atheists for Liberty, which claims that social justice is destroying atheist groups. To which I have to say, if they oppose social justice, let them be destroyed, along with the Catholic church and Islamic fundamentalism, two things they typically oppose for their lack of justice. Their rant is written by Justin Vacula, a terrible person with the same sensibilities as Sherlock, apparently, and he is mad about everything.

David Silverman was innocent, he suggests, his accuser was “screaming”, and the #metoo movement opposes due process. He takes a few swipes at me, too, calling me social justice warrior PZ Myers who remains out of favor (wait, what? I was “cancelled”, and he’s fine with that?), citing a pair of wankers, Michael Nugent and Hemant Mehta, to justify that. So apparently women and PZ Myers can be cancelled, but no, not his regressive little buddies.

But here’s the real meat of the complaint:

The intrusion of social justice and woke ideology into atheist circles continues. To name just one example of many, Alex DiBranco spoke at the Secular Student Alliance’s 2020 National Convention, where she argued for “a feminist humanist approach” to “contest white, male, and cisgendered supremacism” saying, “the organized secular/atheist movement has over-emphasized opposition to religion or the belief in a god for its own sake, rather than prioritizing the problem of harm posed to social justice from any direction.”

Atheists for Liberty stands against destructive social justice entryism and the overblown response to an atheist activist calling religion a “retarded relic.” Atheists for Liberty instead prioritizes the free exchange of ideas, individual liberties, religious freedom (including non-belief), Enlightenment values, and secular government.

I think I like this Alex DiBranco. Yes, any atheist movement should fully embrace feminism and humanism, and seek to expand their remit to embrace human social values. Anything less and you collapse into the black hole of conservative insularity and a mob of smug men patting themselves on the back for being enlightened. You get creatures like Trump and Boris Johnson, amoral exploiters and abusers. Any movement that seeks to make fundamental changes in society, like the removal of the influence of religion, is fundamentally not conservative, and to succeed and gather influence must adopt a progressive stance — these libertarian, right-wing atheists are doomed to implode in contradictions. Social justice is the only thing that can save atheism, while it’s people like those at Atheists for Liberty that are destroying it.

To quote Amanda Marcotte:

The moral is there is no leftism that can function coherently without anti-racism and feminism at its center. What is obvious now — anti-government sentiment was just opposition to government showing any interest in equality — was always obvious to “social justice warriors”.

You’re saying now that atheism is not leftism, but I’ll reply that it should be. In this era when western civilization is clearly sick and capitalism has exposed itself as a Ponzi scheme, no viable philosophy can afford to ignore reality and pretend that these right-wing sympathizers are anything but a poison pill for progress.

Weinstein “cancelled”, right

Tom Stiglich /

Harvey Weinstein was allowed to attend an event for young performers at the Downtime Bar in Manhattan by the event organizer, Alexandra Laliberte. He showed up with an entourage — disgraced rapists still get to have an entourage if they’re rich enough, I guess. Some women in the audience and on stage were horrified at the monster in their midst, and called him out.

One comedian, Kelly Bachman, called him out in her act onstage, referring to him as “the elephant in the room” and “Freddy Krueger.”

“I didn’t know we had to bring our own Mace and rape whistles to Actor’s Hour,” said Bachman in a video posted to Instagram.

Some audience members, ostensibly men, then started booing. “Shut up,” said one person.

“This kills at group therapy for rape survivors,” replied Bachman, who noted she herself was a rape survivor. Bachman said “fuck you” to Weinstein before continuing with her set.

She wasn’t alone.

“So many women have suffered so greatly because of their experiences with this man, and there were no repercussions,” they said. “And, in fact, he was being supported — and the community meant to uplift emerging actors and emerging artists was not only complicit but directly responsible for their silencing.”

Stuckless said they felt paralyzed by fear but knew they needed to say something because they “couldn’t imagine walking out of the room and him still feeling safe to go in and laugh with the community he was responsible for terrorizing for so many years.”

When intermission began, Stuckless decided to confront Weinstein.

“Tell me — what’s your name?” they asked Weinstein in a video obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Weinstein placed his elbows on the table while another man next to him was heard speaking to Stuckless. They said the man accompanying Weinstein told them it was none of their business and that they had no right to ask.

“Nobody is going to say anything?” screamed Stuckless in a video their friend filmed and later posted to Facebook. “Nobody is really going to say anything?,” they continued, pointing a finger toward Weinstein.

Stuckless was then asked to leave the venue.

“I’ll get out of here, that’s fine, I am happy to leave, but nobody is going to say anything?” they continued. “I’m going to stand four feet from a fucking rapist, and no one is going to say anything?”

And more!

Moments after Stuckless confronted Weinstein, so did Amber Rollo, a 31-year-old comedian who had attended the show to support her friend, Bachman.

“She’s right,” Rollo told Weinstein, she recalled. “You’re a fucking monster. What are you doing out here? Fuck you.”

Rollo said one of the men accompanying Weinstein called her a “cunt” in response, while another woman at Weinstein’s table guided her outside. Rollo said she was disappointed that Weinstein was welcomed at the event and that those who questioned his presence were booed or removed from the venue.

Those three women, Kelly Bachman, Zoe Stuckless, and Amber Rollo deserve praise for standing up and speaking out. Instead, though, two of them were thrown out, and Weinstein was allowed to squat there, toadlike, and be supported by his sycophants. I’m also disturbed by the majority of attendees who did not speak out. One little thing stands out to me.

“This guy was leading me out the stairs, just repeating ‘due process, due process’ to me,” said Stuckless, who asked the man if he worked at the bar. He did not respond.

This irrelevant bit of legalese has become a mantra among horrible people. You do not need “due process” to detest an exploiter and harasser. The state needs due process if it is going to deprive an individual of liberty or property, but neither of those were at issue here — these were women using their free speech (one of those rights that the Right loves so much, except when it is inconvenient to them) to express their assessment of the available evidence that Harvey Weinstein is a crude rapist thug, and that this issue has not been formally tried in a court of law doesn’t make it any less true. That the wealth and influence Weinstein used to do harm also shelters him from legal action does not protect him from the informed judgement of society, it just means he isn’t in jail where he belongs, stripped of his power. That would require “due process”. No one needs “due process” to shun a rapist.

Oh, and speaking of free speech…

Alexandra Laliberte, the organizer of Actor’s Hour, told BuzzFeed News it was the second time Weinstein had turned up to one of her events. Laliberte added that she doesn’t have a security team, and rather than turn Weinstein away, she thought the community could address him.

“I welcome all walks of life into my space,” she said.

When asked why she allowed Weinstein to attend an event specifically intended to support and encourage young actors when he has been accused of sexually assaulting and harassing dozens of them, Laliberte told BuzzFeed News: “I protect them by freedom of speech.”

“Comedians made fun of him,” said the 26-year-old actor. “This one lady stood up and screamed at him. People walked out, which was fantastic.”

Right. Except your version of “free speech” allows you to physically evict people exercising that right from your space if they criticize a media influencer you’re trying to flatter, while a man calling a woman a “cunt” was allowed to remain. This principle of free speech is a tough one to maintain, and in reality always requires compromises, but Laliberte just outright broke it.

By the way, I wouldn’t dignify “rapist abuser” and “predatory pariah” with the phrase “walks of life”.

The strange appeal of Eastern-styled cults

In an interesting and informative profile of Tulsi Gabbard, Kerry Howley looks at her very unusual childhood and family that are followers of a one-time white surfer-dude named Chris Butler who became a self-styled guru called Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa and founded a group called Science of Identity that has pretty weird beliefs and actions.

I had thought that Gabbard’s father was an Indian-American but it turns out that he is a socially conservative Samoan who grew up as a Catholic before becoming a devotee of the guru. Gabbard calls herself a Hindu though the guru’s sect does not identify itself as Hindu. The article says that “Butler taught vegetarianism, sexual conservatism, mind-body dualism, and disinterest in the material world. He taught a virulent homophobia, skepticism of science, and the dangers of public schools… Whenever Butler traveled, he’d have the homes he stayed in lined with tinfoil, to protect against electromagnetic radiation.” He also thinks the moon landing was a hoax.
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Louis CK is attempting a comeback

And he’s getting worse, taking a big fat dump on his former fans. He’s gone full on Dennis Miller, throwing out bullying conservative crap.

He bemoans how younger people will tell him, in relation to gender identification, that he has to use specific pronouns preferred by the person. They’re like royalty! he said. They tell you what to call them. ‘You should address me as they/them, because I identify as gender-neutral.’ Oh, OK. You should address me as ‘there’ because I identify as a location. And the location is your mother’s cunt.

I listened to a chunk of it, and seeing it written down does not communicate the full awfulness of it. He affects a stereotypical ‘effeminate’ gay voice when he’s stating what those terrible young people are saying. It’s cheesy, low humor that isn’t even creative — people have been making these same stupid pronoun jokes for decades.

The closest he comes to topicality is to complain about the Parkland shooting survivors. How dare they complain about getting shot at? They’re supposed to be in a basement fingering each other and doing jello shots like he did as a teenager.

They testify in front of Congress, these kids? What are they doing?, he said. You’re young, you should be crazy, you should be unhinged, not in a suit… you’re not interesting. Because you went to a high school where kids got shot? Why does that mean I have to listen to you?… You didn’t got shot, you pushed some fat kid in the way, and now I’ve gotta listen to you talking?

Fortunately, I don’t have to listen to Louis CK talking — he’s dead to me. Even if he were to reverse course on this ugly trajectory he’s taking, this trash won’t be forgotten. He’s a conniving opportunist looking for an ever uglier audience to give him money. If you do track down the recording of this set, be prepared to be appalled at the audience — they’re shrieking like happy hyenas at the cheap shots and bigotry.

He might actually succeed, in other words.

It’s sad, too. He had the choice of the hard, slow, slog towards earning redemption, or the fast, cheap, easy path of pandering to deplorables. It’s clear what he has chosen to do.

The truth is, and we’re self-aware enough to admit it, that in the conversation about the paths to a comeback we’re talking about with so many male celebrities, Louis C.K. may have had the easiest one. The work he has created, be it Louie or his stand-up, is so celebrated by liberal, progressive critics that there would likely have been an eager leap to forgiveness had he handled the aftermath with any sort of contrition, education, campaigning or awareness.

Instead, we’ve been greeted by smugness, pettiness, offensiveness, and frustration, the kind that signals nothing learned—when the base level for some of our forgiveness is anything learned—and a pandering to the kind of community that will cheer his ignorance and amplify his message.

He’s had the opportunity to champion a lesson that leads us forward in this conversation. It may not be an opportunity he volunteered for, but he’s now obligated to perform the community service. And he’s not just ditching it. He’s rejecting it completely.

Another harm he has done is that at least some comedians have worked hard to do the respectable work of afflicting the comfortable — of satire as a tool to put authoritarians in their place. He has joined the well-populated ranks of comedians who blame “PC culture” for killing their acts, rather than that punching down is cowardly. We live in an ugly oligarchy/kleptocracy where inequities are everywhere, where there’s no shortage of targets for good satire, where the wealthy are investing in anti-science demagoguery and race-baiting, and if you choose to avoid the obvious and take nothing but cheap shots against oppressed minorities and helpless kids, then you are bringing all of comedy into disrepute.

If you do listen to that Louis CK set, that’s what you’ll hear: he’s “getting paid to make a bunch of drunk people laugh”, like the guy in the audience who, when Louis CK says he’s going to mock the Parkland survivors, yells “FUCK THEM!”

If stand-up comedy is nothing but bigots shilling for homophobia, transphobia, and racism, well then…fuck them.

Racism in cricket

It is said that sports do not build character as much as reveal it. The cricket cheating scandal is a good example of that truism. Today, the Australian cricket authorities issued further summary punishments to captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft, issuing one year bans for Test and first class cricket on Smith and Warner and nine-months on Bancroft. Smith will not be eligible for consideration for captaincy for two years. The announcement singled Warner out as the ringleader of the plot and was not only stripped from his leadership role, he was banned for life from ever being considered for the captaincy. All three will also have to perform 100 hours of community service.
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Why this cricket cheating scandal generated such widespread outrage [UPDATED]

[UPDATE: According to this report, Australian cricket captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft have been ordered home immediately from South Africa by officials from Cricket Australia. Coach Darren Lehman was deemed to have no prior knowledge of the cheating plan and will remain in his position. But there will be a fuller investigation of the culture and behavior of the team and Lehmann’s role will undoubtedly be closely examined.]

The fallout from the ball tampering scandal by Australia continues with the cricket playing world expressing shock and even the Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull weighing in, saying that he and the nation were deeply disappointed and calling for the cricket authorities to take action. The intensity of the reaction is not because cricket is so pure that cheating does not happen at the highest levels but because what happened here was, to use a popular cliché, a perfect storm of events.
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Slogging through the sludge-pit of YouTube

I’ve been experimenting with making YouTube videos (I’ll put up another one this weekend!), in part because it’s a fun challenge, but also because I’m constantly horrified by how atheism is represented in that medium. I expect creationists to be nattering dinglebats, but when atheists come along and be raging assholes, it’s always disappointing. In the last few days, an unpleasant example has shown up in the comments to this video.

SwolllenGoat: why do you disable ratings like some creotard?

I ignored him for a bit — that “tard” construction is a pretty good indicator that he wasn’t worth engaging — but I’ll tell you why.

Ratings systems are evil. Old timers may recall I mentioned them as an option on blog comments some time back, and most of you were horrified at the idea. All it does is foster tribalism, and then the stupid little stars become a tool for factions to anonymously snipe at one another.

I’ve seen it on YouTube. The ratings on YouTube videos are often useless — they’re only used for virtue signaling by one group or another. When we did some FtB videos a while back, it was obvious, since we’d have these hour-long videos, and within minutes of putting them up, the anti-SJW kiddie campers were clicking madly to downrate them. So I don’t use them.

I didn’t feel like explaining that to this guy, so I gave him a short answer.

PZ Myers: Because of people like you.

You know he wasn’t going to be satisfied.

SwolllenGoat: what kind of person am i?

I ignored him.

I did look at his YouTube page, though, and the “related channels” for this guy include Atheism-Is-Unstoppable:

Devon Tracey, or Atheism-is-Unstoppable (channel name) is a moderately popular YouTube atheist. Most of his content consists of Anti-SJW/Regressive screeds common amongst YouTube atheists. Occasionally this manifests itself in extreme rhetoric, which can sometimes be argued to be mildly racist, and is occasionally too much even for TheAmazingAtheist. He is also notorious for blocking people who disagree with him and for doxxing a couple of those he didn’t like. Due to these antics, many YouTube atheists, even those who share his general views, have denounced him.

And Bearing:

Bearing, or Patrick Connolly, is an Australian anti-feminist who, after failing as a musician, actually thought it would be a good idea to quit his dayjob as a real estate agent in order to focus on his next scam on how to get money without working: a shit YouTube ‘career’. Which basically, in traditional Aussie fashion, consists of nothing more than calling people cunts while producing the anti-sjw community’s equivalent of low-effort clickbait.

Hard pass. Case in point why YouTube atheists have such a shitty reputation.

But he was persistent.

SwolllenGoat: C’mon PZ

What ‘kind of person am I?

Why so butthurt when I pointed out you’ve disabled ratings just like one of those sad creationist dipshits?

Maybe you should block me next?

Shut down the comments entirely?

You know whats funny?

Answers in Fucking Genesis does not disable ratings,and they are flat out retarded

YOU do disable em

How things change…………….

That a clear demonstration of exactly the kind of person I want to just fuck off. So I thanked him for being so obvious.

PZ Myers: Thank you for answering your own question so effectively.

Now the fun begins. He starts raging at me. Note: he posted this while thinking I had blocked him. I don’t quite understand why he’d bother if he thought he was blocked, or how he reconciled the fact that all of his comments appeared on the video with his martyr complex, but he did go scurrying off to use an alternative login to get past his imaginary ban.

SwolllenGoat’s AudioBook Archive: Bwaaaahaaaaahaaaa

You sad little man

You blocked me for daring to ask a question

C’mon PZ

Tell us

What ‘kind of person am I?

Why so butthurt when I pointed out you’ve disabled ratings just like one of those sad creationist dipshits?

Maybe you should shut down the comments entirely?

You know whats funny?

Answers in Fucking Genesis does not disable ratings,and they are flat out retarded

YOU do disable em

How things change…………….

He typed it twice in two accounts, to be sure!

SwolllenGoat: Im sure that made some sort of sense to you,inside yer head,before you typed it

Rest assured it makes no actual sense,eh?

So,come on,what kind of person am I?

The question asking kind?

The atheist kind?

The liberal kind?

You have ratings disabled like some garden variety creotard because of atheist liberals who ask questions?

I remember the good old days of YT…………back when we atheist types would mock creotards because they disabled ratings and closed comments sections,or blocked users and whatnot

LOOK at yourself PZ

You are them

How sad

I don’t know. I might end up disabling comments if this is the kind of irrational atheist dork who’s going to show up and posture like an ass. I’ll keep ’em open for at least the next few videos, though.

It’s unfortunate that these gomers are unable to LOOK at themselves.