Trump is Killing to Save Morality

You could just go read Wonkette who covers this well, but if you like, you can get a taste here:

Abortion is already illegal in Kenya, but Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK), the organization that had previously been providing low-cost contraception to these women, is supported by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which has refused to comply with Trump’s demands and stands to lose $100 million in funding as a result. Shockingly, no anti-choice organizations have stepped up to help provide that funding or those services.

Long story short, because these women are now unable to access contraception, they are getting pregnant with babies they cannot afford to have and are turning to illegal and dangerous abortion methods instead.

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Ireland’s Success and Catholicism’s Failure

Amendment 8 of the Irish constitution reads:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

The people of Ireland voted on its repeal yesterday. Ireland’s The Journal reports:

The Yes result was almost unanimous across the country: 39 of Ireland’s 40 constituencies voted Yes, with only Donegal voting No by a margin of 51.87% to 48.13%.

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The Threats to Free Speech are From Right Wingers, Not From Trans* Advocacy

Trans* advocates do not advocate any new type of restriction on speech. They do sometimes argue that restrictions that already exist on speech when that speech targets specific types of groups should also apply when such speech targets trans* folks. This is not in any way stretching what limitation on the rights of free expression the constitutions of Canada or the US (or any other country) will tolerate. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t serious threats to free expression in the US and Canada today.

I’ve written previously about how changing “loser pays” presumptions in defamation lawsuits can impact the related freedoms of the press and personal expression (though focussing primarily on the impacts on press freedoms). But compromises around such details as when the plaintiff has to pay a press outlet’s legal costs aren’t the only constitutionally permissible actions that the governments of the US or Canada might take that would have an impact on free speech, and there are even other, likely impermissible actions that the government might still try to take.

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Kevin Jackson Fails History

On Fox News yesterday, host Laura Ingraham brought on two Black guests to respond to Spike Lee’s strong statements attacking Trump as Racist. Media Matters has the video, and a transcript of a small slice of what was said. What they found remarkable was Kevin Jackson’s statement to Leo Terrell, Ingraham’s other guest, that

the Three-Fifths Compromise was essentially what this particular gentleman doesn’t understand was it was to give humanhood to black people. Spike Lee learned that and it was an embarassment to him.

It’s no surprise to any readers here that he’s wrong. But here’s the thing. Quite a number of people don’t understand the 3/5th compromise. Quite a number of you reading this, I’m sure, don’t understand the Three-Fifths Compromise, if by “number” we include “one or possibly two out of both my readers”. One and two are both numbers, right? Okay then. That out of the way, let’s take a look at why Jackson is wrong.

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Jeffress in Jerusalem: Hyperbole is Insufficient

So, let me start by saying that I am conflicted and don’t know where I want this post to go: I’m just going to write a bit and explore what comes up.

Robert Jeffress, a man of truly horrible behavior, is a right-wing pastor that does not believe in freedom of religion. Today he gave a christian prayer as the celebrated invocation at the opening of the new US embassy to Israel in Jerusalem. He has also repeatedly insisted that all faithful Jews are going to hell. Now while he’s also condemned just about everyone else to hell, I want to focus on his antipathy towards Judaism for a moment.

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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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Did Chinese Children Evolve To Take Tests After Breakfast?

My recent posts have focussed on IQ and the differences between a gap in IQ test results and a gap in general intelligence or g. The contemporary difference between white and Black racial mean IQ is about 10 points. For every IQ test subject, including all white subjects and all Black subjects, some portion of that IQ score represents a measurement of g. However, there are good reasons to think that the proportion of the IQ score that measures g will be different among white people from the proportion measuring g among Black people. While I don’t think that motivation is different enough between racial groups to explain the mean IQ score gap, it’s very interesting and relevant to note that placebo effects that are likely due entirely or almost entirely to motivation effects (primarily a combination of arousal effects and attention effects) can on their own generate a 10 point difference in mean IQ test scores. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (in this case, the “nation” is the USA) has the lowdown.

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FOR FREUD’S SAKE, YOU GET TO DISCRIMINATE!

Thirdmill – who is not an idiot, but is wrong in this instance – has repeated a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, fucked and wrong trope over on Pharyngula. This trope is repeated by idiots so much that eventually some reasonable people start to think that maybe they have a point, which is why the trope needs to get stomped on hard, though please don’t stomp on Thirdmill as a person, should you choose to comment.

The trope is this: when considering discrimination, we need to consider the genuinely held beliefs and permit room for people to adhere to their consciences when doing so does not directly harm another. This was in the context of a Pharyngula post about how in the 99 years after the civil war and before the federal government started butting in, the invisible hand of the free market had totally taken care of private sector segregation just fine, and that Title 7 thing was completely unnecessary and Heart of Atlanta is a load of crap. Because of course it was, this is Sam Harris’ opinion, remember?

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Does the Entire Media World Think John Kelly is Stupid and/or Racist? Spoiler: Yes!

It really is as if Kelly’s discourse on intercultural communication and compromise before the civil war has drawn the attention of every single person with a brain and access to a media outlet – and a few without brains as well. But let’s focus on the BRAAAAAIIIIIIIIINNNNNNZZZZZZ for a minute, as it is Halloween.

MSNBC’s talking head Roland Martin let Kelly have it:

I’m not going to allow four stars stuck on stupid to simply go on.

Snap!

Martin also had some substance to add:

First of all, historic fact number one. The Civil War was fought over slavery. 11 southern states left the United States in 1860 and 1861 in order to protect the institution of slavery following the election of President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was an avowed opponent of the expansion of slavery that said he would not interfere with it where it already existed.

It is not yet confirmed whether Martin continued:

Well, alright. Hey I was diggin’ on John Kelly for awhile
Sounds like he got a three on him though, to me.

Maybe I’m reporting on this entirely too much, but people have been getting away with this for so long that earlier this year I had to go absolutely off the deep end when Jack Kingston insisted that advocating slavery doesn’t mean a (white) man isn’t working for peace.

It is so good to see some piling-on take place. If the people who spread this malicious, racist disinformation routinely got trashed when they did so, we might see less disinformation out there. Honestly, when Kingston’s comment passed by without notice from the members of the panel with whom he was talking about Andrew Jackson, I thought I’d never ever live in a land where the war mongering, the racist statements, or the rape apology of the elite would ever be seriously challenged. But with Weinstein, #metoo, Spacey, and John Kelly, I’m starting to think I’m living in once upon a time called Now!

I like this new media environment: strongly against rape-apology, refusing to hear gayness equated with pedophilia, calling out racism. Great Calliope’s Capybara, Batman! This is how mass media should be: chocolate covered and freakin’ habit forming.

Ta-Nehisi Coates Knows More Than Me, John Kelly, So Watch Out

When things fall into my particular area of expertise, being a non-entity as far as the national (or even local) media is concerned can be crushingly disheartening. Watching people with next-to-no knowledge on a topic have their opinions broadcast to millions while your demonstrated mastery and expertise in a field make it plain to you that everyone involved in an important national conversation is missing out on some very, very important basics is horribly frustrating, as anyone who has ever studied any of the fields on which an Important Political Consultant pontificates can attest. Imagine if you will, that in the aftermath of some horrible tragedy involving vaccines produced by in vivo exposure of embryonic zebra fish to a virus Our Hero PZ Myers is forced to listen to David Brooks pontificate

Well, of course if you give this vaccine to farmed salmon you’re going to see a higher incidence of anadromous autism, the evolution of the zebra fish practically guarantees it. Then that autism is inevitably going to cause a collapse in fish stocks because if you’re autistic you won’t breed, and these sick farmed salmon are eventually going to pass that trait on to the wild salmon through genetic mixing of farmed and wild fish, which ends up hurting the livelihoods of fishermen in the Pacific NorthWest and leading directly to the tragedy we saw this week.

Well, I’ve felt something like that a time or two, as have many actual experts in their fields, I’m sure. What doesn’t typically happen, however, is having your idiocy immediately challenged by someone who is both an actual expert in the field and a writer of special magnificence. So even though John Kelly was clearly spouting idiocy (and evil) in the interview I’ve already critiqued, I did not realize what was coming: a thorough and complete trashing by someone with very practiced communication skills, strong connections throughout the national media, and legitimate expertise in the US Civil War. Oh, John Kelly, what have you done? You’re a general, you’re not supposed to be ignorant enough to walk blithely into a big gun’s field of fire. Pissing me off is one thing, but pissing off someone who actually knows the history of slavery? I hesitate to continue. It’s over, Kelly. Ta-Nehisi Coates has the high ground:

Yes. A few things. Go read Coates’ tweets, and prepare for what I expect will be a devastating long-form piece in the near future. In the meantime, it is, of course, worse for Kelly than just that. He’s actually walked into overlapping fields of fire, and I don’t think it’s going to help him much that his allies are going to say some of these blazing guns sound a bit shrill:

 

Yeah, I think racist is the least of the criticism Kelly has (deservedly) coming his way.