No-platforming: good or bad?

The threat to stop universities from no-platforming speakers shows how little people really understand about free speech

I must admit, I’ve found this entire argument hard to follow or understand, on either side. Apparently, people from the opposite side of a political divide are so obnoxious they must be banned from speaking, because their speech insults folk opposed to their opinions. And that’s ok, because we need to insulate ourselves from insults.

Speech is not just about the words. Nor is the issue anything to do with offence. Rather, as the last example makes clear, it is the statement you make by a dogged insistence on being heard in places where you are unwelcome. Few, if any, of those who have hit the headlines as “no platforming victims” have been present to advance great new intellectual arguments, or debate.

As the trans community has often pointed out, the presence of a speaker such as Germaine Greer seems to guarantee no more than a rehash of arguments made and answered decades back. Which makes one wonder, if debate really is so vital to the advancement of learning, why Greer has learnt so little from it.

Ooooh… the evil Germaine Greer. Frankly she isn’t rehashing argument any more than anyone else. One may get tired of it, but no-platforming?

There are a few sides to this issue, where no-platforming is extant. First, the trans side. It’s beyond argument that there are some men who identify as women, and some women who identify as men. Apparently they have brains of one gender born in the body of another. I don’t think its an issue we can really ignore. The problem is, what do we do about it? Do we accept their gender identification and take it from there.? Or do we squabble irrationally about it?

Second, what about the women who for various justifiable reasons, just don’t trust men? They’ve been abused, raped, mistreated, betrayed… they have good reason not to take men at their word. Now they are being asked to accept men who identify as women into their bosoms? As equal women? C’mon, don’t these women deserve a platform? They should trust a trans man to woman just because they say so?

There is a fair amount to say on either side of this … argument… debate … no-platforming discussion. One thing is clear. Neither side is listening to the other.

Trump is good for promoting Islamophobia

Islamophobia even worse under Trump than after 9/11 attacks, says top Muslim activist

Well, isn’t that a surprise.

Muslims in America are more vulnerable to bigotry and Islamophobia as a result of Donald Trump’s behaviour and actions than they were after the 9/11 attacks, according to a leading Muslim activist.

As the country approaches the anniversary of Mr Trump’s first year in office, Ibrahim Hooper said such was the level of anxiety and apprehension, many Muslims were fearful to public display signs of their faith. A number of Muslim women, for instance, were deciding not to to appear in public wearing the veil.

“It’s not just Americans Muslims [who feel anxious],” Mr Hooper, a founder of the Council On American-Islamic Relations, told The Independent. “We have have seen white supremacists emboldened under Trump.”

I don’t think it’s so much that Trump is himself a bigot. I think it’s because the only principle he believes in is his own success, welfare and aggrandisement, and he will do and say anything, stir any pot, that he thinks will help achieve that goal. And he picked the fascist pot to stir. That’s his base, and he feeds them bait and encourages the bigotry, because it’s what they like.

I’ve never really seen a moral vacuum, but Trump comes pretty damn close to what I imagine one would look like. There is absolutely nothing to respect or like about the guy. He’s a liar, cheat, carnival huckster, and intellectually, a total tosspot.

He’ll be tickled pink and orange by this:

Jerusalem latest: Donald Trump to have new Israeli train station near Western Wall named after him

*GAG* That will feed his ego.

More collusion between Trump and Putin!

Well, this wasn’t about election fixing, it’s about policy on a nuclear North Korea, where Trump is for some obscure reason siding with every other government. Usually, Trump considers what other leaders think, then goes off on as opposite a tangent as humanly possible. Think climate change.

North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power by US or Russia, say Rex Tillerson and Sergei Lavrov

Thank heavens for small mercies.

Labour should change Brexit policy

Labour councillors call on Jeremy Corbyn to change party’s stance on Brexit

These are London councillors representing boroughs that were among the large majority of Londoners voting to remain in the EU. Basically, they want Labour to change its mind and oppose Brexit, which anyone in their right minds would do.

They’re not calling for a second referendum specifically, but they do want a rethink.

Whether it’s a final parliamentary vote on whether we do exit Brexit, which seems to me to be the better option, or another referendum (and there are good arguments against, including the one that says the first referendum was a bad idea so a second one just makes it worse), we need a rethink, which is not something the Tories in charge are capable of.

There’s no mechanism built into the UK constitution for government by referendum, and good arguments why there shouldn’t. But there is also, therefore, no reason parliament should regard them as binding. They are just an expensive opinion poll sampling opinion on the day.

Oh god, the Tories just don’t get it.

There’s a reason someone invented the phrase, dumb as a Tory. Well, several reasons, possibly, but here’s one:

Conservative MPs brand blue passport critics ‘smug’ and ‘elitist’

A group of pro-Brexit Conservative MPs have branded critics of blue passports “elitist” people who think it is “wrong to be proud of our country”.

“What this reaction demonstrates is the contempt with which many of the Remain establishment hold the electorate,” Nadine Dorries told the Daily Mail.

The MP for Mid Bedfordshire added: “Sadly, some people seem to think it’s shameful and wrong to be proud of our country…  Why should we not take back control of our passports and return to the traditional navy blue?”

Aside from the fact that the current burgundy colour isn’t an EU mandate, our brave Brexiteers don’t seem to quite grasp the notion that it’s not the colour of the passport that gives a nation its identity and reputation. It’s how the people and government of that nation act. They could have changed the colour of the passport anytime with a lot less fuss and upheaval than Brexit is causing, if navy blue is so vital to the British patriotic spirit.

But it’s not really about that, of course. Passport colour is code for “non-Britishness”, the fear of the foreigner. That fear ranges from the outrightly racist hatred and bigotry of the neo-Nazi British right, the Farages who hobnob with Trump, through the milder disdain or contempt for foreign looks and habits, to discomfort with the unfamiliar.

Ironically, it was embrace of diversity that made Britain great, not Little Englanderism. Maybe embrace is too strong  a word, but Englanderism isn’t.  Which brings me to another point.

If it’s OK for Britain to secede from the European Union, “patriotic”, even, why not break the United Kingdom apart as well? Scots might well ask themselves if they wouldn’t be better off as part of the EU, rather than an appendage of an isolationist, xenophobic UK. Enough of the Northern Irish majority might change their minds about the value of a union with Ireland, or might even decide to go their own way entirely. Real negotiations about the Irish border haven’t even begun.

Anyways, I always did think that burgundy was a warmer colour than navy blue, but it won’t affect Britain’s reputation either way. It’s the clownish behaviour of the Tory misgovernment that is grinding that reputation into fine dust.

Who the fuck is Princess Michael and why does she have a man’s name?

Princess Michael of Kent wears ‘racist’ brooch to Queen’s Christmas lunch attended by Meghan Markle

Admittedly, the jewellery in question is pretty ugly, and whether it is a deliberate avowal of racism, I can’t tell. However, we do know we have lots of racists to contend with in these blessed isles. Whether the “princess” is one or not, I don’t care because I haven’t a clue who or why she is at all. Can’t even be bothered to google her.

I suppose the queen is entitled to invite whoever or whatever she wants to her exclusive lunches. Which brings me to the topic of monarchy. Why bother with it at all?

The main argument for is that it is traditional. It’s the way the British have done things for hundreds of years. Of course we also had colonialism for dozens of decades and gave that up as a bad job, but not the monarchy. It’s the one leftover of Henry VIII that lingers without end. Besides the Church of England, and why we still have that, I’ve no idea.

The argument against is that this is a publicly financed and growing family of privileged layabouts that do nothing for their upkeep besides opening things and waving royally at the public. True, some of the males do pubic service in the armed forces which are careful of their privileged status, and the females do laudable charitable work, which is more smiles than actual labour.

Despite the negatives, a potent argument against abolishing the monarchy is: what do we put in its place? President May? One shudders at the thought. At least May can be removed without a presidential election when she screws up. On the other hand, she hasn’t been removed when she screwed up.

Either way, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.

I have to admit I don’t know which is better. A monarchy that supports useless butterflies wearing blackamoor jewellery on the public purse, or a republic that can elect monsters like Donald Trump. Butterflies… monsters… hmmmmm.

I give up.

UN humiliates Trump over Jerusalem

General Assembly rules against US, declaring recognition of Israel capital ‘null and void’

Well, to be honest, it has no practical effect on reality. Trump will go his way and the rest of the world goes theirs. Couple of interesting points.

In a humiliating blow for Donald Trump on the world stage, the United Nations General Assembly has voted by 128 to nine to declare his controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “null and void”.

This overwhelming vote after the security council voted against the man 14-1, so he had to have his UN stooge veto it.

Thirty-five countries, many in Africa and Latin America, abstained from the vote. […] Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, Malawi, and several Caribbean and Pacific island nations all abstained. Canada, Poland, Australia, and Mexico also joined them in sitting out the vote, in perhaps a nod to other political pressures from the US.

It leaves Trump diplomatically isolated… this after Mike Pence’s sycophantic tribute to Trump’s non-existent achievements:

Mike Pence says Donald Trump has ‘fulfilled miracles’ in gushing two-minute eulogy, as President looks on

Vice President Mike Pence has paid tribute to Donald Trump in a gushing two-minute monologue, thanking him for “fulfilling miracles” and spurring historic ”optimism”.

Mr Pence told the US President he had “restored American credibility on the world stage” as the former real estate mogul looked on approvingly.

Enough lies to make anyone gag. But there were lots more, especially his praise of Trump’s cuts of his own taxes and those of the fabulously wealthy, and painting them as cuts for the working and middle classes. Shows that lying is a peculiar quality of evangelical Christians, who persist in claiming to see things that aren’t there.

Theresa May is an untrustworthy scumbag

Theresa May accused of trying to block ‘meaningful vote’ on Brexit deal won by MPs

Theresa May has been accused of planning to thwart the “meaningful vote” on the Brexit deal won by MPs last week, after repeatedly refusing to stand by the commitment.

The Prime Minister failed – five times – to guarantee the vote would be on a Bill, allowing it to be amended, or for her to be sent back to Brussels to seek better terms if her deal is rejected.

Instead, Ms May appeared to suggest it would remain what was dubbed a “take it or leave it” vote, allowing the Government to press head with Brexit – even if MPs object.

You cannot trust a single word this vile woman says. She is either too stupid to understand the question, or too dodgy to answer it honestly.

I don’t know which is worse… a stupid prime minister or one who wants absolute ministerial power.