Tag: Politics

Weekend Links: Good. Lord.

“You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.”
― Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary

Reading the news this week has been one long continuous headdesk. After claiming that Secretary Clinton couldn’t be trusted with classified information, President Trump…simply divulged classified information to an adversarial power. Once again he also threw his entire messaging team under the bus, after they’d gone out of their way to discredit the early claims of the leaked story, by not only confirming that this actually happened, but that he was perfectly within his rights to do so.

Let’s be clear. Of course the president CAN do and say a lot of things, but that doesn’t make it a good idea much less sound policy. I would like to politely posit that had 44 or alt-45 discussed classified information of any kind with a generally-deemed hostile government, some of you reading this would be foaming with fury right now. Add in any of the extracurricular details and I’d fear for some of your blood pressure levels. I’ve written before that I don’t believe many Americans understand how much of our government’s functionality is not codified in law so much as respected through precedent. This is a textbook example of this theory.

Editor’s note: I typed that above bit on Tuesday. By Thursday…look, I tried to summarize, but here:

Then this was Friday. I’m tired, kittens, here are your links. I’m sure we’ll check in with MORE breaking news again before the end of this weekend. Good bleeding lord.

This thread. It is life.

But, here. Have a palate cleanser before we continue.

Dinosaurs!

Interesting editorial on the difference between conservativism and what the author calls “anti-anti-Trumpism,” or the desire to see liberal positions mocked and trolled more than genuinely pushing for conservative political principles in action. I don’t agree with everything here, but I do see enough of this general attitude to take it as anecdotally true. And if we’re all more concerned with poking the “other” in the eye than actually arguing our own cause or beliefs, then we are well and truly ******.

Longbourne is for sale and it has a secret Nazi past.

This is a couple months old but the Attenbourough-inspired take on Fashion Week made me howl.

If the state of our government weren’t at stake, I could feel some sympathy for a seemingly lonely, narcissistic old fool. Unfortunately, he’s the supposed leader of the free world and I have expectations of him.

Fully intend to buy one of these at some point. Specifically this one. (Editors note: totally bought it.)

Let’s go shopping! (h/t Caitlin Kelly)

Damn it, I’ve missed out.

The Dutch king has a secret life, and it’s kind of great.

Album of the week: Compassion, by Forrest Swords

Weekend Links: Trumpster Fire

“Above all, I would teach him to tell the truth. Truth-telling, I have found, is the key to responsible citizenship. The thousands of criminals I have seen in 40 years of law enforcement have had one thing in common: Every single one was a liar.”
– J. Edgar Hoover

The news is shifting hourly at this point but at time of typing, the President of the United States fired the head of the FBI this week–ostensibly for his poor handling of the Clinton email saga but more probably because he refused to pledge personal loyalty to the president and was seeking to continue the investigation into the connections of then-candidate Trump’s election campaign to foreign nationals with an agenda of disrupting/influencing the election.

Cool.

People were hiding in–excuse me, among–bushes, Ms. Conway reappeared after being lost to the world for several weeks, the memes are writing themselves at this point.

Most recently, the president has tweeted (a phrase I am sick to the teeth of reading much less typing) veiled threats towards the now-former FBI head, sort-of-threatening to to reveal supposed recordings of conversations…that are unlikely to have taken place in the first instance–though watch this space. It it 2017, after all. Meanwhile his own statements of the timeline which lead to his decision to fire Mr. Comey have blatantly contradicted that of his supporting team. Meaning that he’s an idiot or a liar. Again.

Super cool.

Time for independent review and investigation. Like, now.

Here are you links, kittens. Let’s have a robust conversation in the comments, and share anything worth spreading below.

First and foremost, Melissa MacCarthy is hosting SNL tonight. She is READY and I am THRILLED.

I have never seen an episode of this show or any of its spinoffs, I buy none of their hawked products, I do not engage. But this piece on the Kardashians was an interesting read nonetheless.

The dissection of J. Crew’s slide continues, but I’m guilty of still reading the think pieces.

Hold the damn phone, Glossier is making sunscreen now! Behold!

Delightful.

PSA: there is a podcast called Medieval History for Fun and Profit, and its first episode is all about medieval sex. Go forth and enjoy, kittens!

Girl gangs forever.

Beloved childhood book characters, narrated by P.G. Wodehouse. They did everything but slap a “SDS Clickbait” banner across this thing.

This week in Mormon news, the LDS church announced it was ending a century-long partnership with Boy Scouts of America. A very interesting development since the scouting program has effectively functioned as the learning and development organization for boys in the church for years. Girls have their own achievement and goal-based organizations, which don’t have an equivalent level of parity or recognition outside of the church structure. It will be interesting to see what the Church puts in place for young men, another outside organization or an internally created one.

Album of the week: Blond, by Frank Ocean

Weekend Links: Live and Let Tutu

“In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.”
― Carl Sagan

This week, the president wondered aloud why we couldn’t have “worked things out” and avoided the American Civil War (slavery, dude. Other satellite issues, yes, but almost entirely slavery). Then Republicans, after years saying that Obamacare was passed too hastily and without proper review–passed a new health care bill in under an hour of debate, without hearings, without a CBO score, which most experts and professionals (including the vast majority of the medical field) don’t support. K. Bette Davis acts out my feelings for us.

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Here are your links, kittens, because good stuff happened and needs to be shouted out too.

The literal meaning behind the names of US states.

Get busy reading or get busy dying! h/t to the always superb and hilarious Planes, Trains, and Plantagenets 

Print is not dead, peeps.

This uptick started when I was working at a police department in the US myself and was being monitored as a threat. I find it terrifying and, in my opinion, baffling to see organizations like this effectively create what they purport to be defending against: rogue teams who pick and choose which laws they think should apply to them, act (or at least plot) wildly outside or against governments, and believe that violence is an acceptable way to achieve their political and social aims. We have a word for this: terrorists.

Humans of Wyoming, you beautiful bastards came through in spades! Props to the supporting humans of the internet. Toxic masculinity needs to go.

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Childbirth is still dangerous, but people are doing great things to make it less so.

Good lord. The scary part is I can completely recognize so many of the impulses and urges here (I’ve given in to myself more than once), and I can see where this trend and problem is coming from. Separately, I love it when Racked does longform.

The Oatmeal knocks it out of the park again.

Stand down, citizens.

The kids are alright.

Album of the week: What Now, by Sylvan Esso

 

Quick News Check In and a Brief Plea

Reporters asked [Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)] why, after Republicans held dozens of nearly-unanimous votes to repeal Obamacare under President Obama, they were getting cold feet now that they control the levers of power.

“Sometimes you’re playing Fantasy Football and sometimes you’re in the real game,” he said. “We knew the president, if we could get a repeal bill to his desk, would almost certainly veto it. This time we knew if it got to the president’s desk it would be signed.”
Talking Points Memo

The thing about the ACA news that’s pissing me off more than anything right now, are the handful of stories or mentions I’m seeing that the GOP are going to “move on” from health care now. Really. After nearly a decade of single minded antagonism. You voted on this issue over 60 times under President Obama (and grand total of 0 under President Trump). Now you’re ready to move on.

Almost as if…for the majority of the party at least…the actual bill itself was never the point…?

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On the other hand, one good thing I’m seeing seems to be some level of introspection of some members of the Republican party.

As the prospect of a loss became more real on Friday, the frustrations of GOP lawmakers loyal to the leadership began to boil over. “I’ve been in this job eight years, and I’m wracking my brain to think of one thing our party has done that’s been something positive, that’s been something other than stopping something else from happening,” Representative Tom Rooney of Florida said in an interview. “We need to start having victories as a party. And if we can’t, then it’s hard to justify why we should be back here.” – from The Atlantic

For nearly a decade, the GOP has defined itself by its perceived enemies and what they were against. They’ve been a protest party, but they are now in charge and a litany of complaints is not a plan, as yesterday and its attendant organizational mess proved. I am desperately hoping that liberals don’t fall into the all too easy trap of doing the same thing in response! Because if ever there was a moment for both sides to lay down rhetorical arms, retreat to their own camps to actually think on and firm up what it is the stand for and not just whom against, and return to the table armed for an intelligent debate about which ideologies our country should espouse and why, instead of scorched earth politics…this is it.

Let’s set aside the ridiculous man in the White House and his sensational, possibly scandal ridden cronies for a moment. Much has been made of the fact that Mr. Trump doesn’t owe Republicans much when it comes to policy making, especially given that most didn’t support him (at least enthusiastically) in the election. I’d suggest that the reverse is also more true than is given credit for. Mr. Trump ran as a Republican but far from sharing a majority of conservative principles, his statement record is all over the map. He doesn’t seem to operate from ideology so much as self-interest. He might have overrun the GOP but he doesn’t lead it. And, more importantly, within the US system it is congress not the executive branch is supposed to take the lead in practical governing anyway. A number of leading conservative and libertarian thinkers have been complaining for years that the executive branch has grown too powerful in the post WWII era. In fact, that was one of their primary complaints about the previous administration!

So, conservative leadership, get to it. Lead. Get your act together. Take the reins. Govern. Remember that you govern all of us, not just the guys who voted for you, and act accordingly. Govern well, else be voted out of office, that’s how this game works. Someone, anyone, step up to claim some sense of ownership and offer, in good faith, to work with liberals on constructive legislation moving forward that actually addresses the current needs of citizens, regardless of what the orange overlord tweets or the blowhards of talk radio spew. Say you want to draw a line under recent vitriol and start anew, and mean it.

I, Jane Taxpayer, solemnly swear to hold my own party accountable if they fail to take you up on your offer.

But at the moment, GOP, this president and the current state of political are largely your mess and, as you like to keep point out, you’re now in charge. Fix it. I’m genuinely rooting for you.

Weekend Links

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”
[Remarks on the 20th Anniversary of the Voice of America; Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, February 26, 1962]”
― John F. Kennedy

So. The news. By Wednesday of this week, this whole mess had gone down. Things haven’t gotten much clearer since. Then there was an attack on my beloved adopted hometown of London the same day, seemingly the actions of a lone wolf assailant.

As I put this list together, the American political system is arguing with itself (on a fundamental level) as to whether healthcare (or rather its watered down version of “access to healthcare”) is a right or not. There’s an actual and interesting ideological basis to this debate, but we long ago spun into vitriol and obstruction and I’m not sure that we’re any closer to finding our way out of either. Apparently the leadership is going to force a vote on it today, we will see what happens.

Thus far 2017 seems to be doing its darndest to up our collective rates of cardiac stress and fatigue. Here are your links this weekend, and they are designed to be a politics-lite batch for to give us all a bit of a break.

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The importance of understanding shifting language and context in our culturally ongoing discussions about sexuality and identity.

Relatedly! An interview at Man Repeller about the changing language and communication expectations of our current age.

Female writers on books that influenced them.

The great and good Margaret H. Willison (oft of Pop Culture Happy Hour fame) defends libraries!

Escaping the guardianship laws placed on Saudi women.

Speaking of Pop Culture Happy Hour, this post from NPR’s Monkey See about the podcast Missing Richard Simmons is an interesting exercise in pondering fame.

“Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her. And then the murders began.”

This article on how ISIS is changing and evolving is worth a read.

The latest trailer for The Handmaid’s Tale is chilling and gripping. I can’t wait for it and am simultaneously a bit chilled.

Why Jane Austen is Wrong for the Alt-Right. I may never have click on an article link this fast in my life.

Album of the week: Paradise by ANOHNI

From Russia, With Love

Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
– Winston Churchill

So, to confirm, it was necessary for the FBI to break protocol in October of last year and publicly divulge information about an ongoing investigation into former rep. Anthony Weiner as it hypothetically might have related to Secretary Clinton (turns out, it didn’t). But it was not necessary for the FBI to publicly divulge that then-candidate Trump’s team or campaign was being investigated since July of last year for potential collusion with or ties to a government with an avowed strategy of disrupting US elections in his favor.

Got it. Clear as mud.

God, I’m angry at the state of US politics.

Incendiary Monday: Nationalistic Purity is a (bad) Myth

“Nationalism is an infantile thing. It is the measles of mankind.”
― Albert Einstein

This tweet and whole story enraged me. When we are speaking of the human race, there is no such thing as “someone else’s babies.” This is shameful, racist nonsense.

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I fundamentally don’t understand the notion that some people seem to hold that there was once a time where every nation on earth (a concept in and of itself only a couple centuries old) had its own pure ethnic, nationalistic, and presumably racial identity. Nope. Lies in almost every case. We humans have been trading, travelling, mixing languages, creating and abolishing religions, warring, peacemaking, marrying, and swapping science globally for all of recorded history. The only things that have changed in the last thousand years is the rapidity with which we do it, the distances we are able to cross to do so, and the scale of our exchange.

But if I can point out evidence of Africans in Britain in the Roman period, the vast reach of the medieval Chinese navy and their explorations across the Pacific, Vikings in the Americas in the 10th century, a millennia of trade along the Silk Road, ancient African trade routes spanning the continent, and Pan-European Celtic road systems dating to before written language…you don’t get to be surprised that people of a different skin color or religion now live next door to you.

The last time we were a “pure” species was in coming out of Africa–and apparently we still  eventually managed to hook up with Neanderthals at some point. Notions of national purity, always an Us And Them narrative, have only ever served to divide and–in modern history–usually to attempt to conquer.