September, 2017 archive
There has recently been much moaning about “freedom of speech” on college campuses amongst the right-wing puniditocracy. Upon a close reading, most of it falls into the “much ado about not much of anything” category and generally seems designed to use ad hominem arguments to discredit ideas, as in
- “Oh, look! Their clothing is unkempt! I shall fall upon my fainting couch clutching my pearls as I refuse to listen to a word they say!”
In other words, it’s a misdirection play.
Joe Patrice refuses to be misdirected.
He tells us of a flying visit by Attorney-General Jeff Sessions to Georgetown Law School. Some students were invited, then uninvited to the event, apparently because they might have had the temerity to disagree with the views of Sessions and his sponsors.
Patrice suggests that the sequence of events illustrates the right-wing selective perception on freedom of speech. The whole story is rather convoluted, so follow the link for the details, but here’s the lesson Patrice draws from it:
This whole affair reinforces how conservatives really feel about free speech. Just about every week, some right-wing provocateur descends on a college to deliver a “speech” about whatever crypto-fascist talking points will inspire the most pointed criticism on campus. Faced with actual free speech, they’ll whine up and down on the cable talk shows about how “crazy” college students aren’t letting them talk, in hopes that a well-meaning liberal authority figure will speak up to chill student speech in the name of freedom.
Paul Krugman explains lies have a way of catching up with liars, with the loathsome Graham-Cassidy bill being just one example. A nugget:
The answer is that Republicans have spent years routinely lying for the sake of political advantage. And now — not just on health care, but across the board — they are trapped by their own lies, forced into trying to enact policies they know won’t work.
Follow the link for the complete article.
The Register explains why, in the “social” media industry (and it is an industry, not a service), cluelessness is not a bug; it’s a feature. A snippet:
Of course not. Facebook, like its rival Google, thrives on the income of ignorance and contrition.
To prevent money laundering, financial institutions must comply with know-your-customer laws.
Facebook and Google know everything about their product – the people who use their free services – but as little as possible about everything else, because knowledge goes hand-in-hand with liability.
Jenee Osterholt points out what was obvious to anyone who paid attention. An excerpt:
He’s forcing the country to take the mask off, to confront its systemically oppressive ways, to deal with the fact that xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, able-ism, anti-Semitism, Islamaphobia and, yes, racism, are real. Say it with me: Racism is real.
Perhaps this is what happens when a rich reality TV star who gets off on debasing and firing people storms into the White House. Or maybe we’re watching the institutional racism that has been remixed and masked in mass incarceration, mortgage discrimination, redlining and more stack together like Voltron and become a president.
Self-politeness is the politest kind.
Bruce Montgomery, writing as Edmund Crispin:
Think of the nice birds, and the nice trees, and the nice bloody atom bombs, and all the things that make life worth living.
Crispin, Edmund, Swan Song (New York: Avon Books, 1918), p. 172
I suspect that Donald Trump’s decision to energize NFL players, teams, coaches, and owners to protest his petty potty mouth will not work out well for him as he tries to move downfield.
This does not mean that I cannot admire and respect individuals who participate in those endeavors.
In The Sacramento Bee, Hedrick Smith points out that the Republican con long predates the antics of Donald Trump. A snippet (emphasis added):
Riding a tide of tax cuts and rising profits over four decades, the captains of corporate America have shifted $1 trillion each year from the paychecks of middle class Americans into massive payoffs to Wall Street investors and to CEO and executive pay. And now they want you to believe, once again, that cutting corporate taxes will benefit average workers.
Matched against history, that’s a hollow claim bordering on economic fake news. Factually, it flies in the face of the performance over the past 40 years of American business, which has generated what Citibank called the greatest inequality of income in any major nation since 16th century Spain – that is, over the past 500 years.