Follow The Love Cow of Perfidy, Not The Gourd

So my very first post on the topic of Devin Nunes extremely stupid suit against Twitter and 3 of its users was not actually on this blog. It was actually a comment over on Wonkette. Forgive me, but knowing Wonkette’s obsession with its own Love Cow joke, I thought first of them as soon as I read the news.

In that comment I began with something I didn’t include here. For completeness I reproduce my introductory remarks here:

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Devin Nunes and the Love Cow of Perfidy

So, if you aren’t aware – as you are probably not – there is an in-joke at Wonkette about Devin Nunes, the incompetent House Intel ranking member (and former committee chair) who lied about the state of the Russia investigation in order to defend Trump. The joke doesn’t really have much of a basis. There’s no “there” there. But years ago Nunes opposed a real estate deal, which if I understand correctly was a land swap of an on-campus parcel on the side of his college closest to neighborhoods for more land on the side of campus farther away. The point of the land swap from the school’s perspective was to get more land, with the immediate purpose of expanding or improving their Ag program and for long term flexibility in building facilities as needed. His opposition appeared to be based on his appreciation for the ag program as it then existed and included laudatory comments about the current ag facilities, which happened to include cows. On top of this, his family owned a dairy farm and he frequently refers to himself and his connection to dairy farming and loving his cows and loving the land of his farm in his campaigns. He did not stop when his family sold the dairy farm & moved to Iowa. This seemed to indicate some serious attachment to the mooers. And, finally, the degree he got in between episodes of protest against the forced relocation of cows was “Animal Husbandry”.

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Must. Not. Reference. Princess. Bride.

Oh, holy heck Mike Pence: you would leave me no choice except for the fact that you’re so damn obvious about it that I don’t have to write the (now tired and old) joke myself. From the Washington Post, when Pence was asked if Trump might not be telling the actual literal truth about that migrant caravan:

Well, it’s inconceivable that there are not people of Middle Eastern descent in a crowd of more than 7,000 people advancing toward our border

He went on to give folks an important lesson in geography, at least according to the more extensive RawStory reporting of his remarks:

“There are statistics on this,” Pence insisted. “In the last fiscal year we apprehended 10 terrorists or suspected terrorists per day at our southern border — from countries that are referred to as ‘other than Mexico,’” the vice president said. “That means from the Middle East region.”

Ah, yes. The administration that struggles to define sex and gender now struggles to define Mexico – that country which includes, apparently, every land on earth that is not the United States or the Middle East.

fFs: I can haz kompuhtent leedr nao?

That Dude Comes Out And Says It

So, a few years back I was wearing my Shirt That Changed The World. My particular version was, of course, the very best version. The logo read, “Transsexual Menace” like all the others, but being from Oregon, the tagline below read, “The Beaver State”. Really, there’s no other Transsexual Menace chapter that could possibly compete, unless there’s a chapter at a university somewhere that uses “Fighting Cocks” as its mascot (no, USC does not count, though being “game” is worth something, sure).

On the particular night I’m discussing, I was walking through Washington D.C. after a hard day’s fighting against violence and for civil rights at a national conference. I can’t even remember which one for certain – and anti-DV conference? An LGBT conference? Let’s let it go. In any case, I walked past the White House & had just crossed 17th, at which point Pennsylvania Avenue politely angled itself to point my ass to the building Trump now occupies. Right there, not two full blocks from the most elite bit of housing in the country, there were maybe twenty people camped out with sleeping bags on the sidewalk. One using a propane stove to heat up a beverage or maybe some soup looked up and upon seeing my t-shirt exclaimed,

That dude’s transsexual!

To which a next-door neighbor replied,

So what? It don’t matter. Just leave it be.*1

Whereupon the first, concerned about being misinterpreted, added,

Yeah, I know, but that dude comes out and says it! *2

In addition to being a pleasant statement on the state of cissexism in at least some communities in the US capital and a validation of Dallas Denny’s thesis that the Transsexual Menace t-shirts were a major turning point in trans/cis interactions, it struck me how such a simple statement of my perspective on the world could have the power to shock, even when absent the statement my perspective would still have been obvious.

That moment came back to me today as I read something Trump said to one of his rallies today:

Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening

Yes, I know: Trump has never hid the fact that he disbelieves reality. Yes, I know that the famous line from Duck Soup has already been used to paraphrase Trump in the past. And yet, there was power to shock in reading that he’d said exactly these words.

Of course, he won’t lose supporters over them. He probably read his audience accurately when he decided that this line would be received positively by the Veterans of Foreign Wars crowd to whom he spoke. Even so, we shouldn’t use the commitment of his followers as an excuse to let the words stand. If one can convince a majority of people that what they see for themselves isn’t true, then that person has constructed an honest-to-goodness, no hyperbole Orwellian state. We aren’t there yet, but the size and intransigence of Trump’s base, even if still a minority today, should galvanize us to fight tooth and nail.


*1: From tone of voice and context, I always interpreted this as a respectful plea to leave the issue of my transsexuality. Neither in the moment nor later did it come across as using the pronoun “it” to describe me in a dehumanizing way. As for the use of the word “dude” to describe me throughout, in that first moment I disliked it, and was about to say something. But after the second person spoke up, I decided that the best thing I could do was simply allow time and space for the first to process the sight of my shirt without any interference from me.

*2: And yes, I do remember all this perfectly verbatim. The moment was quite significant for me as I’d recently been bashed and was startled by the first statement. I paid very close attention to what followed as a way of assessing any potential danger. Fortunately, none existed. Though obviously that’s primarily down to the non-violence and respect of the people I met on that sidewalk, I credit Jessica Xavier with some small part of that: she played a huge leadership role in pro-trans* activism and education in DC in the years leading up to and following my experience.

Republicans Really Don’t Know Their Own Brand

The Tampa Bay Times does periodic surveys of people whom they consider to be important political insiders in the Sunshine State. The responses are published without names attached but with political affiliations. The responses from Republicans to the question, “how [has] President Trump … influenced the Republican Party in Florida” included some particularly interesting bits:

Anonymous Republican: For the absolute worst. As a Republican, I can say we used to be a Party of true principles. Lower taxes, less government, more personal responsibility. It was a unifying and motivating force. Trump has, nationally and sadly increasingly on the state level, made the GOP a cult of personality. There is no guiding philosophy beyond are you for or against Trump, and that is overwhelmingly sad and disgusting.

Anonymous Republican: People don’t care about facts anymore;

Anonymous Republican: He has created a mindless mass of lemmings who are willing to support anyone he deems worthy of leading the cult.

Anonymous Republican: For the worse. Much more crass and angry. Only concern is staying in power.;

Anonymous Republican: The Republican Party is now a populist, protectionist party more motivated by emotionalism, anger and fake news than logic, reason and common sense.;

and, last but most interestingly these two:

Anonymous Republican: It is not just in Florida, it is nationwide of course. His reign of terror over the GOP will be short lived hopefully as a one term President, if it is longer, the GOP as a party may never recover. Never has our party and nation been in more desperate need of bold leaders who stand for the good of the people, right now we have the opposite of that in Trump, a truly sad chapter in the history of our country.;

Anonymous Republican: It is unrecognizable from the GOP of 4 years ago. There is a coarseness and meanness that has taken over with the grassroots/base. There is a willingness to disregard policy, truth, science, experience, and nuance when it comes to policy. Current “leaders” act anything but preferring to embrace the form of a spineless coward. The current party is driving away young voters at a record pace and long term it is on a unsustainable path. BUT we always have the Democrats propensity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. (However, relying on the other side to screw up is poor strategy);

Is there anything more pathetic than political party insiders hiding behind anonymity while insisting that their party is in “desperate need of bold leaders”?

But this is not the only area in which Florida’s political elites demonstrate their utter lack of self-awareness. This is the party who has taken money to fight Surgeon General’s warnings on cigarettes and want the public to believe it’s more likely that the founders wanted a Howitzer in every back yard than that human caused atmospheric carbon dioxide increases affect the radiative energy balance of the planet. This party is suddenly “more motivated by emotionalism, anger and fake news than logic, reason and common sense”.

Sorry, Republicans, you made the choice to embrace emotionalism, anger & fake news and forsake logic, reason & common sense ages ago. Trump didn’t change your values. Trump simply doesn’t have the skill or desire to convincingly deny that tribalism, lies and anger are, in fact, the most salient Republican values of at least the last 25 years.

NO KUDOS FOR TRUMP

Every reporter, anchor or commentator who uses any media platform to suggest Trump should be celebrated for signing this executive order promising, “I’m going to cut way back on the torture of children,” must face serious criticism.

You can start with Dana Bash for offering “Kudos to Trump”. Feel free to send reasonably-worded reactions to CNN.


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Don’t Learn About Jasmine Saavedra’s Victim

So some folks in my off-line life have asked me if I’ve watched Jasmine Saavedra’s BRAVE HERO video. I have not. And I’m asking you not to watch it either.

If you’re not aware of this, Saavedra was at a Denny’s, just eating it seems, when someone she decided was trans needed to use the WC. RawStory picks things up from there:

she walked up to the bathroom and claimed that she couldn’t use the ladies room because it was occupied.

“So, that guy is violating my right to use the ladies room here, and he’s saying he’s a lady! Stupid guy,” she said.

Entering the bathroom and filming the scene with her cell phone using a selfie-stick, Saavedra screamed at the woman occupying a stall with the door closed, telling her, “You’re invading my privacy.”

This is terrible behavior. But worse is yet to come:

As the transgender woman walked out the bathroom Saavedra pointed the camera in her face. “Next time use the men’s rooms or nobody rooms,” Saavedra said.

Is that terrible? Yes it is. You know what’s worse? Posting that video on the internet to humiliate an innocent trans person who happens to metabolize food and excrete various biological waste products.

But it gets WORSE.

Saavedra is a primary candidate for the Republican nomination for the US House of Representatives, and this video is intended to humiliate a trans person in order to show off the Brave Heroism of Saavedra to get fucking votes. That’s right, this trans person is being unwillingly used as a campaign prop by Saavedra.

I am all for exposing this completely shitty behavior by Saavedra, but this STILL gets worse. RawStory, who one might think would know better as they tend to lean left, titled their story on this:

WATCH: California GOP candidate stalks and harasses trans woman attempting to use Denny’s ladies’ room

and then included the full video embedded at the bottom of their story.

NO. If a non-public figure is being humiliated publicly by a video, the one thing you don’t do is share the video further. You’re a journalist and have to watch the video in order to do your job writing an accurate story, maybe. Just maybe. Do you really trust yourself to represent that humiliated trans person well? Does the trans community trust you? If the answer to either is no, then writing this story isn’t your job, and don’t bother watching the video. But there will be a few for whom it really is required. I get that. This isn’t directed at you.

For everyone else, including RawStory, when someone doesn’t want to be a public spectacle and someone else selfishly tries to turn that person into one, the barest minimum you can do is NOT WATCH THE FUCKING VIDEO. My friends can’t unwatch the video, but maybe some of you can stop yourselves, and think twice about watching anything similar.

You know what’s ruining this country? Talking about racism.

Maxine Waters has been getting praise the last couple of days for her actions in standing against a bill designed to erode consumer protections. The protections in question are designed to make it harder for auto-loan companies to discriminate against people of color in lending terms.

The auto-loan business is unlike, say, the mortgage business where it’s relatively rare for the seller of a home to negotiate the terms of a mortgage taken out by the buyer. In the car business, negotiating the terms of a potential loan is part of the wheeling and dealing that goes into the process of selling the car. It turns out that there’s a lot of data that discrimination in loan terms has been happening even very recently. (This, unfortunately, is actually quite like mortgages where we know from the information that came out after the 2008 housing crash that people of color had been systematically pressed into taking unfavorable loan terms.) Because of this, these regulations have a direct impact on car dealerships themselves who are implicated in creating unfair terms – indeed the closely-connected, but frequently legally-separate loan companies don’t always know anything about the race of the buyer, but the car seller interacting with a buyer face-to-face certainly does. And it’s that seller negotiating the terms. So, of course, car sellers were a primary target of the regulations.

This has not gone down well with car sellers who take great exception to the idea that people of color being routinely charged more interest than white folks should in any way reflect badly on them … or justify intrusive government regulations. Trump, of course, is here to help out those beleaguered racists who desperately want the freedom to change people different interest rates based on race. Thus entered Maxine Waters and her praiseworthy defense of reasonable regulations on the floor of the House.

Not everyone found Waters’ defense praiseworthy, however. Mike Kelly, coincidentally the owner of several car dealerships, did not like Waters’ floor speech one bit. Not that he wanted to disagree with her, of course. He hated being put in a position where he was forced to disagree with her. The truly terrible thing about repealing anti-discrimination protections is that when repealing law whose entire purpose is to prevent discrimination based on race, the repeal’s opponents mention race at all!

“We have seen the economy take off,” Kelly, who also owns three auto dealerships, exclaimed. “I just think that if you come to the floor and there are 60 minutes to debate. 30 minutes on each side. But as I was sitting there, I had 30 minutes of Democrats coming down and talking about how bad automobile people are because they discriminate against nonwhite buyers. I said that’s not America. We don’t talk about those things.”

There’s so much to address. I’d love to leave the Jordan Peterson post up longer. I need to follow up on what happened in Gaza, Jerusalem, and the West Bank yesterday. And yet, here I am quoting some asshat white man who thinks the biggest tragedy in repealing a requirement that we not discriminate based on race is that we violate the sacred dictum that in REAL AMERIKKKA we shouldn’t ever talk about race.

Fuck Trump’s America.

 

Might I Remind You of a Couple Things?

In light of the attacks on Syria, I thought it might be good to remind the community of a couple things.

The first is one you’re less likely to remember, though it is important: Two years ago, during the campaign, Trump was asked by Mika Brzezinski on the MSNBC show Morning Joe about the source of his foreign policy advice, given that there were so many difficult issues active in 2016.

He replied:

I listen to myself and speaking with myself, number one, because I have very good brain and have said a lot of things, so I would listen to myself. … My primary consultant is Myself.”

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