Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Open comment to Liana K

This is the text of a comment I left on Liana Kerzner's video response to me.

I have been informed that the comment is not visible, despite the url linking directly to my comment. Here is what it looks like to me (note the flair "highlighted comment"):

Here is what the exact same url looks like to other people:

Now, I don't know whether my comment, which contained two links, ended up in her spam filter, or whether I'm now blocked from commenting on her channel. But I will put the text of my comment here so everyone can see it:

EDIT: it has come to my attention that a different test comment I left is indeed visible to other people, so the following comment being invisible is almost certainly not due to any nefariousness on the part of Liana K. That being said, I still do want people to see this comment.

First thing: My dog recently died while I was overseas, a horrible situation in which my 14 year old son was mostly left with the burden of dealing with her sudden illness, even more sudden death and the necessity of dealing with her remains, without me here to help him with his grief. And well, she was my dog for 10 years, and I'm also still grieving. Also, two close friends of mine have been diagnosed with cancer in the last week, and one of them has been given a month to live. And despite my best efforts to try to revive my thyroid gland and get it working properly, I'm still finding myself with almost no appetite or energy and needing sleep in the afternoons. But please, don't anyone take this statement as me trying to engage your sympathies. :/ Liana, you did demand an apology from me, as a condition of coming on a radio show I almost certainly wouldn't have even been participating in. It was a requirement you put out, before you would even come to the table and talk with people who are NOT me. Below are some quotes from our exchange: "I was more than willing to talk to you as long as it seemed like you were approaching it in good faith. That was the purpose of the apology. I didn't get it, Allison told me I would not be getting it, and so I didn't think any ensuing conversation would be productive for obvious reasons." Yeah. So in order for you to be willing to talk to BRIAN on an HBR Fireside Chat in which I wouldn't even be present, you demanded an apology FROM ME over my comments about you, comments I made as myself and not as a representative of HBR. You essentially told HBR, "make her apologize, or I won't come on your show. It's either her or me." That's a demand. Not only this, as far as I know you didn't even tell them what I had said about you that required this apology. To my knowledge, THIS is the comment I made for which you were demanding an apology. http://imgur.com/a/b9lc4 Here is what I said about your statements on Lauren's show: "She and I were guests on Lauren Southern's Rebel Media show about a year ago to discuss the Jian Ghomeshi case as well, and her assertions and arguments there were... astoundingly inaccurate and betrayed a stunning ignorance of the criminal justice process and how it's supposed to function. She spoke with confidence and authority while making assertions that were entirely factually inaccurate (such as claiming that in the US, unlike in Canada, the prosecutor acts as a legal representative of the complainant. Uh, no. In the Canadian system, the prosecutor represents the Crown, in the US the prosecutor represents "the people", not the complainant or victim)." Here is what you said in response to that: "And since that Lauren Southern episode is still behind a paywall, people can't see it for themselves. They have to take your word regarding what I said, and you're hardly an impartial judge. You're somewhat misrepresenting the nuance and context of what I was saying, which was that demands by activists for additional advocacy for victims would be redundant. The Crown is pursuing charges on behalf of the accuser. The accuser should not need protection from the Crown. I don't understand why you're picking a fight here. I believe the right verdict was reached based on how the case was tried. There's no disagreement between us here, and yet you're making it sound like there is by throwing out a reference with very little context." Christ sake, even in your defence of what you said, claiming I misrepresented you, you get it wrong. The Crown (or the DA in the US) is pursuing charges on behalf of the people, not the accuser. "I still think you cross the line when you attack a person's characteristics which they cannot control," I apologized in my video for what I said about your voice. I apologized for how I worded the one comment that someone (not you) provided so that I would know what I was supposed to be apologizing for. I clarified that I was not apologizing for saying that half the stuff you say is BS. I uploaded my critique of your appearance on Standoff for two reasons: 1) as a justification for my refusal to apologize for saying half of what you say is BS. MORE than half of what you said in that interview was misinformed, bogus, inaccurate, etc. 2) to demonstrate to people that your suggestion that I was taking you out of context thinking I could get away with it because the video was behind a paywall and people can't check for themselves, was bogus. You made a false accusation (or, I suppose, more appropriately, false insinuation) about me, and I wasn't going to allow that to stand. "and you've said some other choice things about me that weren't just harsh." I won't consider apologizing for them until I know what they are. "They were assumptions about my motivations that you could not possibly know, and your "proof" of your assertions was essentially layman's psychoanalysis. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and your opinion is not evidence." I won't consider apologizing for them until I know what they are. Show me what I said and the context in which I said it, and I will consider it. I asked you in that thread, multiple times, for context regarding the one comment a third party had linked to. I wanted to know where I'd left that comment. What, specifically, was I commenting on. The person who'd made the video was finally kind enough to link it to me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJR2XCxs8Ls He'd made it unlisted because it contained more "pwnage" than he was going for with his channel overall, but has recently unlisted it because of this controversy. I would suggest people go give it a listen, and ask themselves whether my comments about your delivery were completely out of line in the context in which I was making them. Now you are perfectly entitled to be as satisfied or dissatisfied with my apology as you wish. And you're perfectly welcome to bring to my attention, in their full context, whatever else I've said about you that you believe is worthy of an apology. But I will not apologize for being right and pointing out how you are wrong. I will not apologize for defending myself against your insinuations regarding dishonesty on my part. I will not apologize for things I have not said (for instance, I won't apologize for calling YOU functionally retarded, because I didn't). And I will not apologize for not apologizing in the exact way you wanted me to apologize. Like it or don't. This is the best you're ever going to get out of me. If I would not demand an apology from someone if the situation were reversed, I will not give them the apology they demand.

Monday, 3 April 2017

To the management of the Plaza Theatre in Calgary

UPDATE: Success! The screening is back on. The Plaza changed its mind. Yay!


To the management of the Plaza Theatre,

My name is Karen Straughan. I’m a men’s advocate located in Edmonton, and am featured in the movie The Red Pill, which was to be screened at your theatre tomorrow evening. I am told that you’ve changed your mind, in part because of feedback such as this comment written by Felicity Hart on Facebook.

To The Plaza theatre;

As a fan and long time patron, I am concerned at the upcoming rental of your theatre to Father’s Rights Alberta for the screening of The Red Pill. The film claims to be supporting mens rights but is in fact created and promoted by Mens Rights Activist groups, which actively seek to get rid of equal rights for women and minorities, and are considered a hate group by the southern poverty law centre; an organization which tracks hate groups such as soldiers of odin, the kkk and nazi and fascist organizations in North America.

It is deeply concerning that your venue would care more about revenue than the safety of those attending your theatre, and of women in general in Calgary. Not only can I and my friends and family not in good conscience ever attend a venue which supports hate speech, but I know I and other women cannot feel safe in a venue that plays host to men who actively advocate for rape, brutalization, and violence against women (examples of this behaviour can be found on the southern poverty law centre website, or by googling mra abuse, or Paul Elam, who is the main subject of the film you are screening).

While I understand the group is obscure and the theatre may not have known, they are a hate group, and I doubt the theatre would host the KKK or a holocaust denier group.
I encourage you to cancel the screening instead of supporting hate and abuse against women, and look forward to being able to safely attend the theatre in the future if this is the case.


I’m writing to you to ask you to reconsider cancelling the screening. I am unsure whether people like Ms. Hart are intentionally lying, or simply repeating falsehoods they’ve read on blogs and elsewhere with the sincere belief that they are true. I must inform you that whatever the case, a great deal of what Ms. Hart says in her comment is simply untrue.

The Southern Poverty Law Center did indeed publish some articles pointing out examples of “misogynistic” content on several websites in what they described as the “manosphere”. However, they were forced to post a clarification after feminists and others took these articles as an official listing of these websites as “hate sites”, and the broader men’s rights community as a “hate group”. They have repeatedly indicated that 1) they made no such claim that these groups are hate groups, nor have they made any such claim in the interim; 2) that websites such as A Voice for Men, despite some objectionable content, highlight very serious issues of injustice and discrimination faced by men and boys. 

“It should be mentioned that the SPLC did not label MRAs as members of a hate movement; nor did our article claim that the grievances they air on their websites – false rape accusations, ruinous divorce settlements and the like – are all without merit. But we did call out specific examples of misogyny and the threat, overt or implicit, of violence.”


I have been involved in this movement since 2010, and have spoken at and attended many events hosted by various organizations and groups within the movement. Without exception, the individuals at these events are warm, kind, decent people with genuine concern for fairness and justice. 

During my tenure as a leading voice in the movement, I have seen the movement slandered in social media, on blogs and in the mainstream media, via false associations with mass murderers like Elliot Rodger or white nationalist groups. 

Rodger was described as being influenced by the men’s rights movement by a single, pseudonymous blogger/journalist at The Daily Kos, despite there being no evidence he was even aware of the movement. The rest of the mainstream media took the claim at face value and ran with it. Pretty soon, the claims being made all over social media were that Rodger was an active MRA. While this may be a case of the media being careless with fact-checking, the next example cannot be described as such. 


ABC’s 20/20, in advance of a planned in-depth expose on Paul Elam, published a “teaser article” in which a viciously misogynistic comment glorifying violence was quoted and described as “commonplace” on Elam’s website. The only problem is that the only place on Elam’s website where that comment existed at the time the article was written was in a post where Elam used it as an example of the types of comments that would not be tolerated, wherein he warned readers that any such talk on his site would get the culprit permanently banned. ABC was forced to print a clarification regarding the quoted comment. 

Please note, the only place the authors of the teaser article could have gotten that quote was from an article by Paul Elam describing it and similar comments as completely unacceptable and a bannable offence. That’s not a journalist too busy to fact-check. That’s a journalist engaging in obvious dishonesty. 

When Wild Rose on Campus attempted to hold a screening of The Red Pill in Calgary not long ago, the screening was cancelled amid a media furore over the phrase “feminism is cancer”. A Women’s Studies professor at UofC, Rebecca Sullivan, was invited onto a CBC Calgary news program to “inform” the public about what MRAs are really all about.

Some interesting quotes from her interview:

“[Describing MRAs] ‘If only we could just have sex with whoever and whatever we want, whenever we want, then maybe we wouldn't have to rape you’… They are banking on decent Canadians not understanding what they are saying and we need to understand what is being said.”

I certainly know that when I am arguing in favor of legally protecting boys from genital cutting the way we protect girls, or that we need to deal with the decline in educational attainment for boys, what I really mean is that I want any man who walks by to have the right to have sex with me, right then and there in the dairy section of my local Safeway if he wants to. I know when I’m arguing for shared custody following divorce, or for preserving due process in criminal courts, what I’m really saying is that any and all men deserve the right to sex with my daughter when she’s walking home from the bus stop. 

Professor Sullivan’s claims were so patently ridiculous, it would be jaw-dropping to me if I wasn’t so accustomed to it. And the fact that the interviewer never once challenged Sullivan on any of her outlandish and, frankly, slanderous assertions would have completely annihilated my trust in the mainstream media if I had a single shred of it left. That this woman is considered an “expert” on gender issues, employed by a university to teach this drivel to students is, in all honesty, horrifying to me.

I am a mother of three children, two of them grown and one in his teens. I would never support a movement interested in oppressing or marginalizing my daughter, let alone act as a leader within such a movement. I would never support a movement advocating to take away my own rights. 

You are in a difficult position here, I realize. The men’s rights movement is controversial, and this particular film is controversial because of that. 

But if you are going to cancel a screening of a movie that received three awards, including Best in Festival, at the Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema, a film produced and directed by a feminist woman, I want you to know exactly what you are basing your decision on: lies, ignorance and blatant fear mongering. 

Oh, and just for your information, here is the director/producer discussing the film. Just so you know exactly who has these boycotters in a state of terror:


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Update: Rumors of the Badgers' Defeat Have Been Wildly Exaggerated

First, the good news:

The Motion for Summary Dismissal brought by Calgary Expo and The Mary Sue was dismissed by a judge on Friday morning (January 13). This was the case for all four causes of action: injurious falsehood and incitement to breach of contract against The Mary Sue, and injurious falsehood and breach of contract against Calgary Expo.

This case will be going forward, under all four causes of action.

The bad news:

It took a essentially full day in court to hear arguments for and against a Summary Judgment to dismiss the case, which left insufficient time in the schedule to actually hold the trial.

The judge, after having read the Statement of claim, and reviewed the various affidavits (2 submitted by defence to support their Motion, 1 submitted by Alison in response), and having glanced over the Exhibits provided by all parties, understood this would be a complex case to hear in full. As such, he deemed it appropriate to set aside three full days for the trial itself (the trial that SHOULD have happened on the trial dates January 12 and 13). The first opening for a three-day trial is November 28, 29 and 30.

We certainly could have started the trial on the 13th, if we'd chosen to. If we had, we'd be stuck with this judge, and the next two consecutive days he had free were in December. It would have been worth it, for sure, if we were able to have the witnesses we'd flown in from Illinois, Ohio, California and the UK testify that day. However, because Alison is the plaintiff and has the right to be in the courtroom during all testimony, it's highly problematic to have her listen to her witnesses give evidence prior to giving her own.

Alison must be the first to take the stand if we want her testimony to be seen as untainted. Direct and cross examination (then redirect and response) of Alison may take a full day, perhaps longer. And possibly splitting up her testimony between January 13th and December 12th wasn't going to do us any good. At best it's a neutral, at worst, it will weaken the impact of her evidence. However things fell out, the trial wasn't going to be finished on January 13th.

So we opted to adjourn proceedings until November 28th, at which point the case will be heard by a different judge, on three consecutive days.

A new date of August 1 (if I recall correctly) has been set as a final deadline for exchange of documents (such as submitting affidavits, entering evidentiary exhibits, etc). We expect counsel for Calgary Expo and The Mary Sue will attempt to dig through every word any of us has published online to potentially use as evidence that we are, indeed, space lepers who deserved to be expelled from the Expo.

They also attempted to prejudice the court by requesting a publication ban on the contact information of the defendants and their witnesses by citing a risk of harassment of said individuals by HBB and fellow space lepers #GamerGate and AVoiceforMen.

Our legal dynamo, Harry Kopyto, objected to any such ban, arguing that people's names, addresses and phone numbers are a matter of public record and publication bans should be ordered with extreme caution. The judge agreed with Harry, telling defence counsel that they had not demonstrated any such risk exists. To my mind, this is significant, since the Mary Sue had alleged harassment by Alison at the panel discussion in their article and their affidavit, the affidavit filed in support of Calgary Expo repeated that allegation, and #GamerGate was described in both defence affidavits as being "notorious for harassing". Essentially, the judge said, "well, you keep telling me about all this harassment, but you haven't actually demonstrated it, yo. If and when you can show me some evidence of harassment of your clients and their agents, come talk to me and I'll change my mind."

For our part at HBB, we're not interested in disseminating anyone's contact information, nor in having it dug up and disseminated by someone else, nor in contacting any of the parties involved, nor in having any of our supporters do so.

As we did at Calgary Expo, we will continue to embrace an ethic of civility and non-aggression, and we hope to lead by our example. We did not harass anyone, and we will not engage in any behavior that could be regarded as harassment. We do not condone harassment, and will continue to promote calm and reasoned debate, polite disagreement, respecting the rights of others, and following the rules of a civilized society.

We are the people who politely state our case and allow others to approach us and engage in a discourse, not the ones who barge into other people's events, screaming profanities while they're trying to give a speech or pulling fire alarms to shut it down. This is who we are, and who we will continue to be.

I'm certain HBB will be giving more detailed updates on everything that happened the last few days, once we've all had a chance to collect our thoughts.

Thank you again to everyone who supported our fundraisers, and I only wish I could reveal a verdict. But again, while this court session was a victory for us, the final verdict will have to wait until November.

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.