Monday 21 November 2016

Spreading awareness...

...of what's going on, all over the country since the election.

For two weeks running, iHypocrite (if you haven't subscribed to his channel, do so now. I'll wait until you get back) has focussed his "This week in social justice" series on the spate of hate crime hoaxes taking place across the US.

Granted, not every example he gives has been confirmed by authorities to be a hoax, but they all smell fake as fuck. Sources for his latest video can be found here. More hoaxes and other interesting links can be found at this handy subreddit.

Common themes running through these recent proven and likely hoaxes is that they're often made on social media, they involve white male perpetrators, MAGA hats and Trump shirts, and dialogue that is over the top ridiculous. And that the perpetrators of the hoaxes wanted to raise awareness of the hate crimes that have been rampant since Trump got elected.

Claims made on social media have in some cases led to police investigating and determining the entire thing was a sham, but that's small comfort when such posts are shared thousands or tens of thousands of times before they're revealed as having been fabricated.

Anyone familiar with the website Community of the Wrongly Accused will be familiar with this pattern. Pierce Harlan has written extensively on the use of false reports of rape and other sexual violence/harassment by feminist activists whose zeal to stamp out rape is frequently stymied by the unavailability of local rapes to stamp out.

And of course, the universe wouldn't be right without the SPLC getting involved and whipping up some good old fashioned hysteria.

Here's their "report hate" form.

A few things I noticed.

"These incidents, aside from news reports, are largely anecdotal."

Uh... an "incident" that is based on one person's word and is unsubstantiated is anecdotal, even if the news reported on it.

For instance, this one from iHypocrite's latest video:

Hasn't Rolling Stone Magazine taught us anything? Hasn't it taught us that unsubstantiated anecdotal claims do not suddenly become substantiated and factual just because a journalist publishes a story about them?

The SPLC's "report hate" form is every bit as easy to fill out as a Facebook post. To their credit, they indicated they've also received reports of anti-Trump harassment.

This is currently the top comment on the SPLC's post:

I've noticed a common theme in these hateful acts - the perpetrators usually run away before they can be confronted. Why? They are cowards who can't justify their own beliefs so they dump and run. Either that or they commit these acts undercover of darkness and are long gone by the time their message is received.
I am disgusted that there are Americans who behave like this.

Or, and I'm just playing devil's advocate here, the alleged perpetrators allegedly run away before they can be confronted because then the alleged victim doesn't have to provide any evidence. The evidence ran away.

Or, and again, just bear with me, the alleged perpetrators commit their acts undercover of darkness and are long gone by the time their message is received because, like with this story out of Williams College, the acts of vandalism and racist graffiti were committed not by Trump supporters, but by overzealous anti-Trump individuals who did it to "raise awareness" of how racist and hateful Trump's America is.

One thing "Madge" and I can agree on. I too am disgusted that there are Americans who behave like this.

Whether they are committing hate crimes and hate-inspired harassment, or whether they're perpetrating hate crime hoaxes, I'm disgusted by them.

I would strongly suggest that anyone who has genuinely felt harassed or has been assaulted (verbally or physically) because of their support for Trump, or even just for being associated with conservatism, or who has witnessed such an incident, please go fill out the SPLC's "report hate" form. Include links to news reports, video footage if available, and more importantly, police reports.

The SPLC may be biased as fuck, and doing it all wrong by detailing these reports and publishing them without substantiation, but they HAVE indicated they're willing to report incidents of anti-Trump harassment.

And frankly, I agree with iHypocrite when he says the Trump hate crime hoaxes are a form of politically motivated crime, and that they are perpetrated to engender public fear of a Trump presidency, public hatred of the people who supported him, and that they paint a worrying target on white men in particular.

In that sense, these hoaxes could be considered hate crimes in and of themselves.

Put the SPLC's feet to the fire. They're willing thus far to say they've received reports of incidents of anti-Trump harassment. And write to your local police and elected representatives if a verified hate crime hoax has been committed in your area. Demand that the perpetrator be charged and prosecuted.

Hate crime hoaxes, like all false accusations, are dangerous. Rolling Stone and Sabrina Rubin Erdely showed us that when the fraternity she irresponsibly libelled had bricks thrown through their windows.

But it's not just one fraternity on one campus who are being falsely accused and demonized by these hoaxes anymore.

It's white men and conservatives across America. And that's a recipe for political violence.

Saturday 19 November 2016

Trump's vision for American Greatness

My apologies. Every time I've gone into this goddamn blog post to fix a typo or add something, Blogger has completely fucked the formatting. I have TRIED REPEATEDLY TO FIX IT. I will try one more time, and if it doesn't work, I will consider switching to Wordpress.

How will Trump make America great again (whatever that means)?Apparently, according to all the hysterical, hyperventilating lefties I've talked to, that means pogroms, genocides, nuclear war with Russia, pushing disabled people into traffic for fun, "waterboarding the gay away", making grabbing women by the pussy not only legal but mandatory, and murdering undocumented immigrants from Mexico and thumbtacking their scalps onto a shiny, 80 foot high, gold-plated wall, emblazoned one end to the other with the single, repeated word "TRUMP", as a warning to any Mexican family who might consider setting foot in the US.

Oh, and he's going to officially rename the West Wing the Rape Wing. The East Wing will be henceforth known as the Sandwich Wing.

The Pentagon will be gutted and turned into a casino, and the Capitol Building will be demolished and replaced by a special prison for Native Americans who complain about contaminated water.

Mount Rushmore will be renamed Mount Trump, and the faces of the presidents will be refabricated into likenesses of His Greatness at various stages of his life. Lincoln will be replaced by Trump at age 14, and Roosevelt by Trump at age 30. He has yet to decide on the others.

Quotas will be introduced in police forces across the nation, dictating a minimum number of unarmed blacks shot per officer per year. Any officer who does not make quota will be investigated for racial bias.

All people describing themselves as journalists will be rounded up and summarily shot. This includes those who write for Breitbart--you gotta break some eggs when you're making an omelette, after all.

The Westboro Baptist Church will be declared the new official religion of the Theocratic States of America, and all school children will be required to recite the new Lord's Prayer at the start of every school day: "We love God, and god hates fags, and blacks, and women, and transfolk, and Muslims, and Mexicans, and Natives, and Asians, and Arabs, and anyone who does not glorify the cisheteronormative white supremacist capitalist patriarchy [repeat 5 times]."

After reciting the new Lord's Prayer, all school children will be required to sing the new national anthem, "In Trump We Trust".

When there's something wrong
in your great country
who you gonna call?

When it's time to end
your democracy
who you gonna call?

ain't scared of no gays!
I ain't scared of no chicks! 

When the Mexicans
are just too darn brown
who you gonna call?

When gay wedding cakes
are getting straight folks down
who you gonna call?

When the womenfolk
are getting uppity
who you gonna call?

When they need to be
grabbed by the pussy
who you gonna call?

(sung to the tune of "Ghostbusters")

A mandatory program of corporal punishment will be applied to any child who might wish to abstain from this daily prayer and singing of the new anthem. And by "corporal punishment" we really mean Gitmo, complete with waterboarding.

Women who maintain a body mass index of 23 or higher will be subjected to a "fat tax" of 18%. Women who maintain a cup size of C or lower will be subjected to a "flat tax" of 10%.

And finally, in his second term, all restaurants will be conglomerated under the corporation known as "Taco Bell".This will finally make America great again.

Edit: Someone emailed me after reading this blog post to suggest that I'm lumping all "lefties" into the "hysterical, hyperventilating" category, and politely informed me of several good reasons to object to Trump. They'd been intending to leave that as a comment, but Google was acting up, so they expanded on it and sent it directly to me (if they give me permission, I'll post it here or in the comments, but since they expanded on their original "intended for public consumption" commentary, I don't know if they want it made public). Anyway, it was not my intention with this post to lump everyone on the left, or everyone who dislikes or has serious concerns about a Trump presidency into one big basket of hysterics. However, I have just subjected myself to several videos and articles where allegedly intelligent people (professors, journalists, pundits, etc) have used words like "ethnic cleansing" to describe Trump's proposed immigration policy, who have Tweeted that whites should be murdered because they're to blame for electing Trump, and a billion other hysterical reactions.

One quote from a Medium blog post: "If you would have just swallowed your pride and given Hillary half of the love you gave Obama, then we might not have woken up on November 9th worrying about families being torn apart, marriage licenses being taken way, guns getting into the wrong hands and women having to stay pregnant after getting raped."

Fact 1) Trump clarified very soon after being elected that the approximately 3 million illegal immigrants who are engaged in crime on American soil will be targeted. Once they're either deported or incarcerated, and the border is secure, then the Administration will decide what should be done about the remaining 8 million or so otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants. It's entirely possible that the first two stages of this policy will not even be complete until the end of his first term. The idea that innocent families will be ripped apart starting on the 20th of January, and that America will be "ethnically cleansed" is ridiculous. Fact 2) Trump also clarified that he's not touching the Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage (not that he could). According to him, that's done, it's been decided. And frankly, he can't touch it anyway. The only way to undo a SCOTUS decision is through a constitutional amendment (never gonna happen), or for SCOTUS to change their own minds. That means someone has to file a federal case, convince SCOTUS to revisit the issue, and then convince them to change the ruling. While it's possible for that to happen, it's neither a quick process, nor guaranteed, even with a majority of conservative judges on the bench. Generally the quality of argument required to convince SCOTUS to undo one of its own decisions is extremely high.Fact 3) Trump's position on guns is essentially to maintain the status quo. So guess what? As far as guns go, you woke up on November 9th in the exact same America that you went to bed in on November 8th. As far as guns go, Trump's America looks the same as Obama's America. The horror.Fact 4) Please take a civics class. As with same sex marriage, abortion rights are protected by a SCOTUS decision, only with abortion that decision now has 40 years of reinforcing precedent to back it up. The burden required to overturn it is EXTREMELY high, and deeply pro-life judges have, in the past, voted to uphold Roe v. Wade based on the existing mountain of precedent, and on the higher burden regarding SCOTUS overturning its own decisions. Roe v. Wade is almost certainly not going anywhere, and any restrictions and limitations individual states place on abortion will have to comply with Roe v. Wade up until the unlikely day it is overturned (at which point Trump has said, it will become a matter of states' rights). My point being that there is a LOT of hand-wringing going on for no good reason. I wrote this blog post after watching lots of this type of hand-wringing, which culminated in a video uploaded by a transperson who said she was going to leave the US because she felt her life was now in jeopardy because of Trump.Anyway. An old man was waiting outside the grocery store with me just before they opened this morning (Nov. 20). We got chatting, and he asked me how I feel about Trump. I told him I was cautiously optimistic. When he looked startled, I said I work in the larger realm of politics, and I've done a fair bit of research on him beyond what the mass media has reported. I told him about Trump moderating his policy on illegal immigrants and "the wall" since he was elected, and what that entailed, and that he's stated he's happy to leave the same sex marriage question alone. The guy had no idea about any of that. I told him Trump had been pretty hyperbolic and bombastic during his campaign, but the negative media spin regarding Trump was kind of unprecedented compared to any other candidate in history. And there's also the fact that not even a president, even with a majority in the House and Senate, isn't going to be able to just do whatever he wants. He thanked me. Told me he feels a little less afraid. As in, he seemed to have been genuinely pretty terrified the US had elected another Hitler, and he hadn't heard any of what I'd told him reported anywhere in Canadian media. So. Are there genuine reasons to be concerned about a Trump presidency? Sure. Just as there are with any president. But we should be concerned about real things, not "Trump-led 'genocides' of North Dakota native communities" that started while Obama was in office (see my previous blog post), not innocent, law abiding families being ripped apart starting on Jan. 20 when that's not what's going to happen, not the fact that gun laws tomorrow will be the same as they were yesterday. 

P. S. Blogger, fix your editing software, ffs. Holy fuck, what did you do to my blog post!!????

Here is the comment the person sent me by email, which I now have permission to publish:

"Apparently, according to all the hysterical, hyperventilating lefties I've talked to,..."That makes it awfully tempting to reply, "According to all the good-natured if incurious people I've talked to, you'd think the only response on the left to Trump's election is hysterical hyperventilation..."How about, instead, we acknowledge that Trump’s appointments and his cabinet nominations to date, are legitimate cause for concern? That turning to a white nationalist as his closest advisor is telling indeed, and suspect. That Trump’s foreign policy advisor, Michael Flynn, called Islam “a cancer,” and that possible, even likely nominee to the position of Secretary of State John Bolton was someone so dangerously hawkish that he stepped down as George W. Bush’s interim appointment as UN ambassador because the Bush administration knew Bolton would be rejected by the Senate once his interim appointment expired. Bolton, so you know, believes that the U.S. should be aiming for regime change in if not outright war with Iran. In addition, Trump’s CIA pick believes Edward Snowden deserves execution (after trial, of course, so there's that). Trump can nominate whom he likes to his cabinet, of course, and select the advisors he likes, but as President he will enter office with only about 12% of the electorate having voted *for* him rather than not voting, or having voted for his major party opponent, or having cast a vote for him but primarily for the very understandable reason that they did not want Clinton in office more than they did not want Trump in office.Trump was not even able to secure more votes than Clinton and is only ascending to the presidency thanks to the quirk that is the Electoral College.  In short, Trump was liked even less than the most corrupt candidate to ever run for the presidency, a warmonger and Wall Street shill, yet his political instincts are such that he is burning rather than building bridges.Trump also has a... let’s call it a fractious relationship with his own party, and if he wants to choose the most divisive figures he possibly can, that indeed he can do, or try to do. In theory, though, the American presidency was not intended as a spoils system where all the goodies get turned over to the winner, and screw the loser. I say that as someone who is not especially fond of bipartisanship. But Trump is treating the presidency as a winner take all proposition. That’s worth our concern and our consideration. This behavior of his is especially dangerous given Trump’s inarguable lack of experience with foreign policy. He knows quite literally nothing. A few months back he did not only not know the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah, he did not know what they were beyond the familiar sound of those words. The problem with someone like Trump is, they don’t know enough to know what they don’t know. And that means they don’t know who to turn to for sensible counsel. That in turn means it’s never too soon to begin exercising what influence one has over politicians. In the case of lefties, the vast majority that are not hyperventilating and who can provide illuminated consideration of this new president, that influence will be over Trump primarily indirectly, through their Congressional representatives who vote on Trump’s cabinet and judiciary nominations. It is never error to stiffen the spine of a Democrat, here to at least resist any end to the ability to filibuster Supreme Court nominations. We’ve also seen the extraordinary damage done by Justice Antonin Scalia. Authentic progressives should be bombarding Obama’s office with demands that he seat Merrick Garland before leaving office. Garland is a corporatist and centrist, the perfect pick of a Wall Street, pro-choice Republican like Obama and not someone the left appreciates at all, but Garland is surely better than anyone Trump is going to select based on Trump’s campaign-induced list of his preferred Justices and the inflexible ideology Trump has paraded in the last ten days.  I must add that you’ve gotten lazy, my dear. I can recall that halycon time when you were a fierce inquirer into human affairs. Let me encourage you here to rediscover that vigor and rather than point to the small handful of noisiest, fatuous bloviators passing as left-wingers, to engage the left, the actual left, on the problem of Trump. And--I say this without hysteria--a problem Trump surely is. No one has come into the office of the presidency knowing less than Trump. This seems entirely inarguable. His few virtues include his hotelier’s distaste for physical destruction. He seems (at least until the nomination of execrable warmonger John Bolton, as bad as Clinton in this regard) averse to war. You can see the idea of it puzzles him. He’s a businessman. War breaks things into other things you cannot sell. Then there’s Trump’s inexplicable but useful infatuation with Vladimir Putin. In their third debate, Clinton all but promised war with Russia in Syria. Trump on the other hand has the neocons in D.C. abuzz and a-tizzy over his belief that Russia and Syria might prove valuable partners in the Middle East against ISIL. Lefties should be openly applauding Trump in this regard (Trump more than many is concerned with public opinion) and flooding John McCain’s office with angry letters telling him to stop attacking Trump on this issue. That a permanent war footing is not desirable. That a second Cold War is absurd and wasteful. The left should also be reaching out to those on other parts of the political spectrum who believe that the Project for a New American Century’s dream of a pax Americana is a blood-soaked path as we saw in Iraq then in Libya, and in Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and now Yemen. PNAC's imperial dreams compel us to ally with the house of Saud, to our enduring shame. We have allies on this on the right and in the center. There are even professional Republicans who have interest in ending Washington's preoccupation with global domination, and in ending its 800+ overseas military bases and dramatically cutting its 1.1 trillion dollar military budgetThe left caused Nixon to create OSHA and the EPA along with a dozen other important departments and initiatives. The left has called Nixon “our last liberal president” with good reason. We should be looking at Trump in this light, in how an authoritarian (I mean this as definitional, only) might be turned on occasion to pursue good purpose. In short, permit me to encourage you to engage the best of the left in all its varied colors and intellection, and not just as has become your custom take the hysterical few percent of ridiculous posturing feminists and SJWs for the multitude of intelligent, concerned lefties. I recall at least a couple of times in your videos that you referred to yourself as progressive. Surely you know, then, that the left is far more broad than its customary depiction in the lands of the men's human right movement. You’ll recall we’re the ones proposing a livable minimum wage, encouraging rapprochement with Russia and China, pushing for governmental transparency and an end to corporate welfare, and insisting that government promote worker cooperatives at least as much as it promotes car sales on behalf of ostensible private businesses.I suggest it serves no one well to routinely portray the left as all but synonymous with idiot feminists, nagging critical race theorists, and crybabies.   As for who you might engage, in the event you've fallen out of touch there are left-libertarians to whom American libertarianism is an odd, anachronistic figure of fun bolted together in far right think tanks. Then there is bulk of the European middle- and working-classes on the left (perhaps two hundred million of them) that are social democrats when they are not democratic socialists and simply socialists, and for whom a great many are capable of speaking ably. There are even small-government progressives like myself who understand the dangers of expansive government of the kind that Trump regularly proposes. I can offer a list of some hundred names of smart people on the left who do not identify as feminists and are not hysterical over Trump’s impending presidency, but rather treat it as a serious matter worth considered address and one that might be influenced in ways small and large. A veritable cornucopia of people and thought to choose from. Best Wishes,Blair Schirmer   

Friday 18 November 2016

On my way home from the bar tonight...

So after tonight's episode of HBR (and after the aftershow, and after the afteraftershow), my guy asked if I'd be interested in walking to the local bar, a few blocks away, to have a quick drink and just get out of the house.

We had our drink, watched the highlights of the day's hockey and basketball, and chatted with the barmaid.

On our way out the door, a guy asked us for a light. He was watching a video on his phone. As I hand him my lighter, he says, "holy shit, this stuff is scary. The new president is already committing a genocide!"

I was like... "uh... what?"

He showed me the video he was playing, which showed an impassioned Native protester speaking into a camera. He said, "it's this thing in Dakota. Trump is putting a pipeline under a river, and it's poisoning the Natives there. It's fucking scary."

So I'm standing there, flabbergasted.

I said, "Trump's not actually in office yet. Obama is still the president. And the conflict over that pipeline and concerns about the water supply for the reservation has been going on for months. And it's not a federal decision where the pipeline gets built, it's a state decision. And if the pipeline leaks, it won't just poison the water of the Native band who are protesting, but everyone for a hundred miles downriver no matter what color they are. And there are already pipelines under that river."

He was taken aback for about 3 seconds, then recovered. "Well, if this is how bad things are now, imagine how much worse they'll be when Trump DOES get in! It's fucking scary."

This is what we've come to, people.

Trump is being blamed for a "genocide" that started before he even won the presidency, because a US state approved a pipeline to be built where there are already pipelines that are older and shittier, but the new pipeline that is newer and better might leak one day and contaminate the drinking water for a Native reservation (and lots of whites, blacks and others who live downstream), and it's all Trump's fault. And even if it isn't, well, it's CERTAIN to be worse once he's inaugurated.

Now don't get me wrong. I have zero idea whether the Dakota pipeline protests are for valid reasons or not. Pipeline technology is WAY better now than it was even a decade or two ago. It's safer, and it has a much smaller carbon footprint than transporting by rail. Leak detection instruments and alarm software is so precise now that a pipeline "disaster" means some communities will need to drink bottled water for a month or two. An disaster with rail transport of oil leads to Lac Magantic.

I haven't seen the schematics or the environmental assessments. I can't say whether this pipeline is safe. And there are absolutely valid protests regarding the safety of energy projects where the objective is not to block the project, but to ensure that due diligence is followed regarding the safety of affected communities.

So I don't know, and I can't say, whether this pipeline the guy in the parking lot was talking about is safe or not, or whether the protests against it are justified or not.

All I know is it has NOTHING to do with a Trump-led genocide against Native Americans.

But this is where we are. This is seriously where we are.

Trump is officially the Babadook. Dook. Dook.

Thursday 17 November 2016

Why are the emails such a big hairy deal!!!?????

So. I was watching this video:

Please don't ask me why I was watching it. I already feel like I need a shower.

Anyway, his first point seems to be, "all these Trump supporters are angry about the emails, and when you ask them what was IN the emails, they can't even tell you! Those dumb Trump supporters! They're mad about something and they don't even know why! Hahaha!"

Anyway, this post is a slightly altered version of the comment I left on that video.

So, I'm going to try to explain this as thoroughly and politely as possible in the hope that some of it might just get through to people who think the emails are less of an issue than some of us believe. First off. It doesn't matter what was in the emails, other than from a logistical standpoint--the government had to make some determination that classified information had not found its way into the wrong hands, intentionally or otherwise. Here is why people were angry over the emails: 1) she was secretary of state. She's supposed to use a secure government server. This is so that

A) no potentially dangerous or classified information is accidentally leaked via hacking or other forms of subterfuge, and so that

B) the watchdogs in government have access to her entire email history in case she needs to be investigated for misconduct, dereliction of duty or some other infraction (coughBenghazicough). She was caught using a private email server.

This is a BIG no-no for the reasons listed above. She was a top government official with the highest security clearance and access to top secret information. She is not ALLOWED to argue "I have a right to privacy", or "they were just personal emails" here, any more than she could argue, "my sex life is my own business" if she were having a secret torrid affair with Vladimir Putin.

She violated official protocols that are in place for very good reason, protocols she and her staff would have been advised of, in extreme detail, when taking office as SoS. This leaves us with two glaringly disturbing possibilities:

a) she is incompetent, or

b) she believes she doesn't have to obey the rules.

Frankly, I'm not sure which is more disturbing:

i) despite decades of experience in political office, handling sensitive information, this person is incompetent and yet running for president, or that

ii) this person demonstrated while in office, one of the most powerful offices in the nation, that she just doesn't feel the rules apply to her, and yet she was running for president.

Which worries you more? I mean, we're not all just giggling about how she said "nucular" and laughing over how she got the "fool me once" idiom wrong. We're concerned about the possibility that the secretary of state and her staff were completely unaware of the most basic security protocols of the job, or completely functionally incapable of following them.

And we're not suggesting that she was intentionally passing classified information to foreign agents. We're concerned that if she and her staff were not completely and utterly incompetent, the only other explanation is that she felt the rules, rules that are in place to ensure national security and the integrity of state secrets, just didn't apply to her.

2) the FBI subpoenaed her, ordering her to hand over all the emails stored on her private server. This was so that they could determine whether

A) classified information had been sent via the private server, and if so, whether

B) that classified information had been sent to individuals who shouldn't have it.

This is HUGELY important in terms of national security. If she HAD sent classified information to Putin, or to the Saudis, or to Qatar, knowing what she sent and who she sent it to would be vitally important to the government in terms of protecting US interests, and even the lives of flesh and blood human beings. After receiving said subpoena, ordering her to hand over ALL the emails, she deleted 33,000 of them, using a program called "BleachBit", which is designed to remove all traces and any redundant copies of them.

She did this AFTER being ordered by the FBI via a subpoena to hand them over. That is obstruction of justice. As in, a crime. Destroying evidence that is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation after being ordered to hand it over IS A CRIME, young man. She also violated a federal subpoena, which is contempt of court. As in, a crime. These are two crimes that have absolutely diddly squat to do with whether there was anything incriminating in the emails themselves.

And of course, once those emails were criminally scrubbed, the FBI just had to take her word for it that the scrubbed emails were benign. That there was nothing in them that might have been in violation of her duty to the nation, and to her office. The emails could have been nothing but Payless Shoe Source, Hobby Lobby and Ikea e-flyers, and invitations to birthday parties and book club evenings. The contents of the erased emails is irrelevant. The relevant issue is that they existed on a private server in the first place, and that they were erased after she was ordered to hand them over to the FBI.

I have seen no argument from Hillary or her team that she did not have a private server, or that she or her staff did not erase those emails. None. Nothing.

She has not denied being in violation of security protocols, she has only argued that the security protocols shouldn't apply to her regarding her private server. She has not denied the emails were deleted. She has only argued that they were mundane personal emails the government wouldn't have any interest in anyway, so they don't matter.

Well, security protocols SHOULD apply to her, no exceptions. And I'm just not that prepared to trust the word of someone who's claiming that the very evidence they intentionally destroyed was destroyed because it wasn't evidence of wrongdoing.

By her actions, she (allegedly) obstructed justice and engaged in contempt of court. Relating to her activities and communications while in public office, occupying one of the most powerful positions in the nation.

The only defence against malfeasance is the defence of incompetence. Either way, this woman should not ever be president. 3) the FBI confirmed that a number of emails among those that had not been deleted were clearly marked as classified and were received and/or sent through the private email server. While they suggested that these emails were not sent to anyone who should not have had access to them, they commented on the extreme carelessness of dealing with this type of information on a private server. This goes back to point (1). She was handling sensitive, classified information on a private server that was not as well protected from possible hacking as the official government servers. She was doing the equivalent of leaving a "top secret" file in plain view on the front seat of her car while she went shopping, instead of in a locked briefcase in a secure location under armed guard. Attempts to hand-wave away her carelessness and incompetence are particularly hilarious given her assertions that the DNC email leaks were carried out by Russian hackers. The DNC was using regular email on regular servers, not secure government servers. That's how they were hacked. Yet Hillary exchanged classified information--CLASSIFIED INFORMATION, PEOPLE!--on a private server that was just as vulnerable to hacking as the ones that were hacked to get the dirt on the DNC.

Well, if the Russians hacked the DNC emails, who's to say they didn't hack Hillary's private server ages ago? Who's to say they don't have every single email somewhere in a database, including the ones she deleted? And if they did, why would they release it when it's in their interest to pretend they don't know what they know?

But we're supposed to worry about the Russians when it comes to the DNC leaks, but we're not supposed to be concerned about the fucking secretary of state discussing national secrets through a private email server every bit as vulnerable to being hacked by those dirty Russians? And of course, anyone pointing to this and saying, "um... this is actually not okay. This is actually criminal," is apparently making a big deal out of nothing because sexism.

I'm in an NSA dossier, yo. So are my kids. You heard me. I and my children are known to the National Security Agency of the US. We've been subjected to a routine background check.

You know why? Because my older stepson who is a US citizen flew drones in Afghanistan, and needed a security clearance, and that meant he had to hand over the names and basic information on every single person he's ever done more than say "hello" to.

To fly drones in Afghanistan.

Does that give you some idea about how seriously the US government takes national security?

Hillary has committed obstruction of justice and contempt of court regarding a matter of her possible violation of national security. She has denied neither allegation.

And yet she's not only not in prison, she was allowed to run for the highest office in the nation, the one with the highest security clearance possible. Now you might think that none of this matters. You might think that public officials operating within the highest echelons of power, privy to classified information vital to national security, should NOT be held to a higher standard of competence, honesty and integrity than the rest of us.

YOU might think the rules shouldn't apply to them the way they would apply to the rest of us.

YOU might think it's less of a crime to obstruct justice when you're a top government official than when you're just some guy who refuses to hand his financials over to his ex-wife. I don't. And whatever crimes people might assume Trump has committed, whether it's tax evasion, or serial "grabbing random women by the pussy", 1) he didn't commit them while holding public office, and 2) they have nothing to do with the duties of someone holding public office. Pussy grabbing might be a crime, but it's not a state secret, and it's not potentially treasonous. Well, unless the pussy he allegedly grabbed belongs to the Queen of England or something.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

A note on the gloating

Since Trump won the election, I've seen a pattern emerging among people unhappy with the result. 

People like Cenk Uygur, who posted a video entitled "Trump IMMEDIATELY backpedals on the wall and more..." and people like Thunderf00t, who seemed to be tickled pink that Trump has already gone back on the promises that got him elected. Similar commentary is all through the comments sections of these videos, as well.

It's like this bizarre pointing and laughing. "Ahahaha, you dumb hicks got conned! He isn't building a wall now! He's building a fence! BOOM!! And he said now he's not getting rid of everything in Obamacare! Boy, don't you feel like a dummy now?"

This seems incredibly bizarre to me, considering all the fear mongering coming from these same types of people leading up to the election regarding many of Trump's promises. The entire argument back then seemed to be, "what if he gets in? He's gonna do everything he says, and then we're all screwed!" You'd think these same people would be.... well, happy that he's tempering some of these promises now that he's in office. I know I am.

So here's one gloating comment in a thread over on Cenk's video:

Here's the "Red Pill"
1 Not even a week has passed and the Wall is now partially a fence 2 Mass deportation of ALL illegals is now just the criminals 3 Key parts of Obamacare will be kept, Pre-existing and Young adults living with their parents 4 Gay marriage is here to stay 5 Roe V Wade will be a State issue, not Federal 6 A ban of all Muslims entering the Country has literally disappeared off the Trump campaign website 7 Cannabis is now legal is several more states It will be entertaining to see how far down the rabbit hole Trump's red pill takes us cause one thing sure ain't happening anytime soon, the Tea Party wont be getting their country back, lol

Is this what people believe Trump supporters are like? That we're going to be throwing tantrums over this stuff because we're all a bunch of sexist, racist, bigoted, low-IQ, inbred dumbfucks?

The entire tone of comments like these is, "haha, you idiots are gonna be outraged by these 7 things! It's gonna be so sweet to see all your butthurt!"

Here's how they expected Trump supporters to react:

And the hilarious thing is, when you actually tell them you're not outraged, or even annoyed, by any of the above, they seem to find it completely impossible to believe.

So I'm going to recreate my response to the quoted comment above, and expand a little on it here.

1) The Wall:

If he promised us a shiny red wall, and some expert on birds said it would fuck with their migration patterns so he opted for a different color, I'm not going to start screaming, "He promised me a RED WALL! Not a GREEN WALL! That liar went back on his promise!"

If a system of fences can get the same job done, better, for less money, and be built quicker, why would anyone who voted for him complain? I would expect we'd be pleased that he's not only willing to be flexible in terms of prioritizing function over form, but that he values taxpayer dollars enough not to waste them on a vanity project.

There were always problems with the idea of a wall spanning the entire border, including but not limited to dealing with water ways and run-off from rainfall, and animal migration patterns.

Some have pointed out that Hillary's answer to the border problem was a fence, and now Trump's solution is probably going to look more like Hillary's fence than a "big beautiful wall." I will deal with that when addressing the second point. 2) The Illegals:

First off, some would argue that being in the country illegally makes you a criminal.

However, I'm sure that's not what he meant. But even if he only wants to "mass deport" illegals who commit crimes other than entering illegally, that's a good start. Shouldn't these types of illegals be the first priority?

It also doesn't mean other large scale deportations won't end up happening at some point, or that there won't be ongoing deportations of otherwise law-abiding illegals while the "mass deportations" of "criminal illegals" is being carried out.

A mass deportation would be a targeted program of finding and rounding people up, and then booting them.

Unless he's going to grant amnesty, "noncriminal" illegals not targeted can still be deported on an case by case basis as they are discovered, no special action required. "The police have instituted a special program of dedicated officers aimed at clamping down on street racing," does not translate to, "The police have stopped handing out speeding tickets to commuters on the freeway." Regardless, even if he allowed otherwise law-abiding illegals to stay and seek citizenship, so long as they weren't rushed to the front of the line ahead of the people doing it the proper way, I wouldn't be unhappy.

The main problem with illegals is that their status is illegal. The fact that they're illegal means they're easily exploited by employers who can pay them less than they'd have to pay citizens, which in turn drives all wages down. Illegal status leaves workers vulnerable to poor workplace health and safety standards, because they're unable to complain to authorities without fear of being deported. A large population of people with illegal status isn't good for anyone, including, in some ways especially, illegals themselves.

As for Hillary's fence, and now Trump's fence/wall, again, it's less about form and more about function. Trump has addressed the current policy of "catch and release" as inadequate. It's one of the reasons border guards supported him--they're sick of having to deal with the same people over and over, trying to get in. You catch them, kick them back out, and next week, you do it again, and then again. Until they get smart enough to not get caught just once, and then your border (wall or fence) has failed to perform its function.

I saw nothing from Hillary about changing "catch and release" to "catch and incarcerate". And I saw nothing in the 60 Minutes interview with Trump that indicated he'd changed his general stance on illegals. Just that the first order of business would be to get rid of the illegals who are engaged in crime on American soil. He clearly said that once that's done, and the border is secure, then he'd make a determination as to what to do about the otherwise law-abiding illegals living on American soil.

This seems entirely sensible to me. 3) Obamacare:

So basically, he's keeping the good parts of Obamacare, that are most likely to help working class Americans, the very people he claimed to champion throughout his campaign. The horror!

Why the criticism? Because he should have thrown the baby out with the bathwater, just like he said he would.

You do realize that most Republican objection to Obamacare isn't about mandating that insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions, but about the 20,000 pages of regulations that go along with the legislation, right? There are doctors who voted for Trump because the 20,000 pages of regulations that were not embodied in the bill itself but arrived in the mail a week later are insanely costly and onerous. Every goddamn clinic needs its own personal Rainman just to make sure the paperwork is filed correctly, ffs. Trump never said he would get rid of universal or affordable health care. He said he would get rid of Obamacare and replace it with a system that worked. It would be absolutely ridiculous to think that there isn't a single thing about Obamacare that isn't good or can't be made to work.

This is kind of like gloating, "Obamacare covered broken bones, and now Trump's health plan is also covering broken bones. He totally went back on his promise to get rid of Obamacare, because they both cover broken bones! Take that!"

Why would working class Americans be upset with this? Libertarians might, but libertarians aren't the only people who voted for Trump, either.

This point just smacks of an assumption that Trump was going to rip up Obamacare for no other reason than to stick it to the darkie president, and that this was the entire reason anyone supported Trump's promises of health care reform. 4) Same Sex Marriage:

Trump's primary objection to the SCOTUS same-sex marriage decision was always that he believed it was an issue for the individual states to decide. This was why he disagreed with the decision, but I've never heard him come out and promise that he'd try to overturn it.

And if he did ever manage to have that decision overturned or repealed, it would fall back to individual states to decide on the issue. It would not mean a blanket US ban on same-sex marriage. States would continue to adopt same-sex marriage, one at a time, as had already been happening, slowly but surely. Also, since 2000, he's supported legal unions that would grant same sex couples all the same rights and privileges of married couples (without the word "marriage"), and again in 2000 he supported including LGBTQ status in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, something that didn't happen until 2015. And again in 2000 he stated that if he ever made a run at the presidency, he'd have no problem appointing LGBT people to his cabinet. Also, in 2015, Pence pissed off a huge number of evangelicals in his state and elsewhere by taking guidance from business leaders and LGBTQ rights groups and changing the language in the Religious Freedom Reform Act he'd recently signed that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays. Pence lost a ton of his base support for acting to prevent legal discrimination against gays. Oh, and then there was that moment when Trump got a huge audience of Republicans listening to his RNC acceptance speech, to cheer and applaud him for pledging to support and protect the rights and the safety of LGBTQ Americans. I'm pretty sure some Trump supporters (evangelicals and similar) might be pissed about this, but I'm certainly not. Nor was I offended by Trump's suggestion that the same-sex marriage question really should have been an issue of states' rights. Arguably, it should have been.

Nothing I've seen from Trump indicates to me that he's a homophobe. And while Pence might be, he's demonstrated himself willing to put his duty as an elected representative (which means representing all your constituents, not just those who voted for you, and not just those who are most likely to give you money, and not just those with whom you most agree) ahead of his personal feelings. 5) Roe v Wade:

I don't know how this will be managed, given we're talking about a SCOTUS decision. Neither Congress nor the POTUS has the power to overturn a SCOTUS decision. There are only two ways to do it--through a Constitutional amendment, which requires the support of 3/4 of the state legislatures, or through SCOTUS overruling its prior decision. That requires an individual or group to bring a federal case, have that federal case accepted by the court, and then win it.

Previous attempts at overturning Roe v Wade have largely failed because of SCOTUS's heavy reliance on precedent. Deeply pro-life Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has twice voted against quashing Roe v Wade based on the bench's staunch adherence to precedent. Granted, Roe v Wade seems like a shaky decision, with not much substance and a lot of legal gymnastics to it. I actually think there are better and more substantive arguments in favor of abortion rights (bodily autonomy, bans on forcible servitude) that could be made before a court than the one (privacy) that formed the basis of Roe v Wade. Regardless, even with a majority of conservative judges, or even a majority of pro-life judges, on the bench, it's not guaranteed.

And it would take more than overturning Roe v Wade to make abortion illegal across the US. States that want it would keep it, states that don't wouldn't, and until an argument is made and affirmed by SCOTUS that abortion in and of itself is in violation of the Constitution, the worst that will happen is that a woman's right to abortion will be upheld in some states and vitiated in others. 6) Muslims:

Meh. You're talking to a horrible, awful, no good, really bad "Islam apologist" here. Despite this, Islamic terrorism is a worry for me, as it is for many of the moderate Muslims I know here in Canada. Perhaps tightening immigration rules (or even just enforcing the ones the US has already) would help more than a blanket ban.

Again, it will probably piss off some of the people who voted for him, but backpedalling on a blanket ban doesn't bother me, and I suspect it doesn't bother a lot of other people who supported Trump (including the Muslims who've told me they voted for him).

Is Trump backpedalling on his stance that the refugee targets set by Clinton are way too high? Not that I've seen. Has he suggested that he's no longer worried about ISIS's promises to sneak operatives into the west among legitimate refugees? Not that I've seen.

Were all the anti-Trump Muslim American citizens who were, with the help of their "white guilt" allies, whipping everyone into a frenzy of Chicken Littling prior to the election HAPPY with this turn of events? Relieved?

Hard to say, given how the response to this softening of his attitude is more about savoring the predicted outpouring of salt from all 59.6 million rabid, irredeemable Islamaphobes who voted Trump, an outpouring that has failed to substantially materialize as yet.

"U mad, bro?"

"Not particularly."

"Hahahahahaha! Your butthurt is so delicious! Your anus is so stretched right now! How does it feel to be betrayed by that bigot you voted for??!!!"

"Um.... well, firstly, I never thought he was a bigot. I wouldn't vote for someone I thought was a bigot. And second, I don't feel betrayed. It's not like he was calling for a perma-ban on Muslims entering the country during his campaign. He said, 'until we know what the hell is going on'. I really don't think he's stopped being concerned with Islamic terrorism. But I have Muslim friends who are decent people, and it's not like I wanted them deported, or whatever."

"OMG, the salt! THE SALT! You're great leader has gone back on his promises! All you Islamaphobes are so butthurt, it's glorious!"

"Dude, what are you even talking about?"

"Cry some more, Islamaphobe!"


These people are too busy gloating to even consider the possibility that Trump might not be an Islamaphobe, and neither are many of his supporters.

You'd think they'd be happy, but they can't seem to let go of their preconceptions of Trump and his supporters long enough to actually wonder if they might have been wrong about us.
 7) Cannabis:

And how is this a problem? Was a "war against cannabis" a big thing in Trump's campaign? If so, I must have missed it. Also, shouldn't that be appropriately considered a states' rights issue? 

Trump has consistently supported states's rights. You can see it in his primary objection to the SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage, which he thought should be an issue of states' rights. You can even see it in his objection to Roe v Wade, which he came out and said that if it was overturned, it would be a states' rights issue. 

Why would he see legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis as something that DOESN'T fall under the umbrella of states' rights?

The libertarians who supported Trump would support this, given most see individual rights as paramount, the war on drugs as a waste of taxpayer money that only consolidates power centrally, and mass incarceration for non-violent, victimless crimes to be in violation of their principles. 

I doubt Tea Partiers, even if they're anti-cannabis, care very much one way or the other. If it will shrink centralized government and lower taxes, even the most anti-drug faction of the Tea Party would probably be willing to hold its nose and focus instead on the silver lining. 

And half the "alt-right" internet "bigots and haters" who post dank Hitler memes and worship at the altar of Pepe when they aren't surfing 4chan are probably knee deep in reefer themselves. I'm sure they're outraged by the idea of one day being able to get a joint at the 7/11. They sell Mountain Dew and Doritos there too. One stop shopping, yo.

But yes, everyone who supported Trump is butthurt because some states put cannabis on the ballot, and now it's legal in more parts of the country than ever?

I mean, what the everloving? 

Are you people so obsessed with partisanship that you can't conceive that any person who would prefer Trump to Hillary might actually agree with you on anything? 

"HuffPo fucking TOLD you that Trump wanted to mass murder kittens! And you VOTED for him, which obviously means you wanted to see kittens die by the millions! And now he's backpedalled on his totally 100% accurately reported kitten murder campaign promise! U mad, bro? How does it feel to be betrayed by the monster you voted for, you kitten hating monster???!!!"

"Well... uh... when did Trump mention kittens? I must have missed that. Anyway, I feel pretty good about what he's said he's going to focus on since he got elected."

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Cry some more, bigot!!!!! Your great leader was less of a bigot than you thought he was, and now he's betraying you!!!!!!!!! Wait, I didn't mean that quite the way it came out. Your great leader was less of a bigot than I thoug... wait no, that's still not right... hmmm.... Your great leader is still a total bigot, but THE WALL!!!! Hahahahahaha! You're not getting your wall!!!!!! Oh, the butthurt! The SALT!!!! So tasty! You got screwed!!!!!!"

You know. For someone who apparently got screwed, the butthurt has never felt so good.

EDITED TO ADD: My apologies about the bizarre paragraph breaks and font changes. I have tried 5 times to repair the wonky formatting, and all blogger wants to do is replicate the blog post every time I try to correct, without implementing the corrections.