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Donald Trump’s Callous Bullying Is What the Republican Party Is

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This is very Trumpian in its gratuitous cruelty, and yet President Pence, Rubio, or Cruz would be doing the same thing:

The Trump administration on Wednesday revoked federal guidelines specifying that transgender students have the right to use public school restrooms that match their gender identity, taking a stand on a contentious issue that has become the central battle over LGBT rights.

Officials with the federal Education and Justice departments notified the U.S. Supreme Court late Wednesday that the administration is ordering the nation’s schools to disregard memos the Obama administration issued during the past two years regarding transgender student rights. Those memos said that prohibiting transgender students from using facilities that align with their gender identity violates federal anti-discrimination laws.

Needless to say, Jeff Sessions is here to provide some neoconfederate analysis that lacks the the courage of its own repugnant convictions:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement that his department “has a duty to enforce the law” and criticized the Obama administration’s guidance as lacking sufficient legal basis. Sessions wrote that the Department of Justice remains committed to the “proper interpretation” of the anti-discrimination law known as Title IX but said deference should be given to lawmakers and localities.

“Congress, state legislatures, and local governments are in a position to adopt appropriate policies or laws addressing this issue,” Sessions said.

Whether or not transgendered people are human beings who merit the equal protection of the laws is a question of states’ rights. Or Congress. Whoever is most likely to answer “no.” For more of this particular Republican line of analysis, cf. “We must overrule Roe v. Wade to send the issue back to the states, and so Congress can pass national anti-aboriton regulations.”

I would conclude with a “not a dime’s worth of difference” joke, except that I think the play here from this faction of the “left” is to say that caring too much about the rights and physical security of transgender people is IDENTITY POLITICS about BATHROOMS, and Democrats will never be able to win statewide elections in states like North Carolina if they oppose cruel attacks on transgendered people too loudly.

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  • Bringing separate but not equal back to a school near you. Everything old is new again.

    And I’m sure rulings for gay marriage (and probably interracial marriage) are going to be fair game soon enough.

    • CrunchyFrog

      At this point if you haven’t realized that “conservative” = “bully” then you haven’t been paying attention. Of course they will. There is a certain personality that leads bullying on the school yard or in the work place but there are also a lot of personalities that happily go along with it, and under the right conditions will join in. Verbal bullying is the start of a spectrum that extends to violence, rape, lynching, and ultimately genocide. It is based around the notion of being part of a protected, “better” group of people and – the important part – deciding that it’s okay to have a different standard of treatment for the other groups.

    • petemack

      “Separate but equal” is the status quo when it comes to restrooms in any case: one for men, and one for women. Unless you are proposing unisex restrooms? I don’t find your argument convincing as it stands.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        “Separate but equal” is the status quo when it comes to restrooms in any case: one for men, and one for women.

        In the shitty interpretation of “equal” that assumes both groups have the same needs, yes.

        • petemack

          What other interpretation is there? This whole subthread started on the premise that ‘separate but equal’ restrooms are a bad idea. There are arguments that transgender folks should use the restroom of their chosen sex: e.g., people with breasts or beards don’t belong in the men’s or women’s rooms, respectively. But I truly don’t understand the ‘separate but equal’ theory as applied here.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            Go to a play. At intermission, go to where the restrooms (men and women) are. Try to tell me both groups have the same needs.

            • petemack

              But by this same argument, trans men should use the women’s bathroom and trans women the men’s, because the equipment matches the needs, so to speak. (Unless they’ve actually undergone surgery.)

              I still don’t understand ‘separate but equal’ as applied here.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                By this argument, women’s restrooms should have a lot more fucking stalls.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      And I’m sure rulings for gay marriage (and probably interracial marriage) are going to be fair game soon enough.

      Setting aside whether Gorsuch would even vote to overturn Obergefell (not a sure thing), the Obergefell majority itself will still be on the bench for the foreseeable future. And even if Gorsuch is willing to overrule Obergefell and Trump gets to replace a member of the Obergefell majority, it’s still not clear that there would be five votes to overturn Obergefell, since I would suspect Roberts would vote against overturning out of concern for the judicial system chaos that immediately annulling tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) marriages would have. And the longer SSM stays on the books, the harder a sell it will be to overturn it, period. (Even Thomas and Alito occasionally point out that, while they would not have made some original decision, they won’t vote to overturn either because of settled expectations.)

      As for overturning Loving, you need to be shooting up with meth dissolved in everclear to think that there’s any possibility of a 5-4 majority for that short of replacing five justices — it’s so well-settled that there aren’t even states trying to create hopeless test cases to challenge it, unlike Roe or Obergefell.

      • liberal

        Agreed. I also think the demographics of support for gay rights (young people being very much in favor) means that the risk to reproductive rights is greater than the risk to gay rights. (I could be wrong, but I don’t think such an age-related effect holds for reproductive rights.)

  • D.N. Nation

    Let’s hang this one on the wall for all eternity:

    (To paraphrase Bernie Sanders, America is sick and tired of hearing about liberals’ damn bathrooms.)

    Said it before, say it again: this level of self-absorbed apathy has real-life policy outcomes. And now we’re gonna see ’em.

    • Hercules Mulligan

      Still unclear why anyone would claim Mark Lilla is of “the left,” or ascribe any broader meaning to the fact that he cynically attempted to use a Sanders quote about emails (!) to justify beating up on trans kids other than “Mark Lilla is a hack fraud.”

      • Abbey Bartlet

        Because everyone knows that the best representatives of the modern, intersectional left are clearly Mark Lilla and Jonathan Chait.

      • ASV

        Also too, it turned out people weren’t tired of hearing about her damned e-mails.

    • McAllen

      The construction “liberals’ damn bathrooms” as opposed to “trans people’s damn bathrooms” is interesting. I think even Lilla realizes he’d sound like as asshole if he said the latter. Better to strip trans people of agency in this matter and pretend it’s a distraction pushed by coastal elites, rather than an issue of justice for a marginalized minority group.

      • Hercules Mulligan

        You hit the nail on the head. Very good way of wording it.

        But to be fair, pretending basic human rights are a liberal coastal elite obsession is basically the #1 job of the American press.

      • tsam

        Great point–it has as second assertion that seems to be taking liberals to task for wasting valuable time worrying about how trans people are treated. Gee, sorry man. Again, I take this Liberty and Justice for ALL thing seriously. But do stroke your mangy beard and write condescending bullshit that any standard bigot would approve.

      • I’ve said this before, but: this kind of “what liberals should do” debate is virtually always paternalistic. The idea is that “identity politics” is a sop that liberals throw to the downtrodden out of the goodness of their hearts. Lilla just manages to make the subtext particularly clear.

        They are of the same nature as aristocrats debating in their salons about What Is To Be Done. Always present but unstated is the assumption that it’s the right of white cis men to decide just how much of a focus the issues of non-whites, non-cis, non-men deserve. This helps explain why the anti-identitarian crowd gets so worked up about even moderate black liberals like Jamelle Bouie and Ta-Nehisi Coates — they’re interfering in a conversation that they’re implicitly not invited into.

        I am by no means a fire-breathing radical when it comes to political tactics. Some of my trans friends are and that’s OK. I think unisex bathrooms are a good idea, for instance, but I would be willing to accept that the Democratic platform in 2020 shouldn’t include language promoting them for tactical reasons. But there are some basic requirements I have.

        People of color, women, immigrants, LGBTQ, the disabled, the poor, etc. are all part of the left, not just its clients. You cannot say “the left should focus on X instead of social justice issues” without telling the people affected by those issues that they need to either shut up or get out of the left. And white cis men don’t own the left. They don’t get to define who’s a member. They don’t get to tell people to shut up or go away.

        • ΧΤΠΔ

          Long time no see. welcome back, & cosign this comment.

          • Thanks. Needed a break. Hoping to comment less frequently but more thoughtfully. We’ll see how it goes.

        • Abbey Bartlet

          People of color, women, immigrants, LGBTQ, the disabled, the poor, etc. are all part of the left, not just its clients. You cannot say “the left should focus on X instead of social justice issues” without telling the people affected by those issues that they need to either shut up or get out of the left. And white cis men don’t own the left. They don’t get to define who’s a member. They don’t get to tell people to shut up or go away.

          I want to make out with this paragraph.

          • I think the paragraph would be amenable to that.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              I should warn it I’ve just been accused on twitter of having “a myriad” of STDs.

        • I’m going to cosign everything you say here, but I’d also like to add that basically all political issues are class issues and literally all politics are identity politics. Queer people, racial minorities, women, etc. face economic hardships that their more privileged counterparts don’t, with the result that… they make less money. The idea that these somehow aren’t class issues is idiotic and dismissive of actual lived reality.

          Beyond that, welcome back.

          • I agree. The core of leftist politics, to me, is that the weak should be protected from exploitation by the strong. Sometimes this means breaking down concentrations of power by voluntary collective action (anarchism). Sometimes this means creating concentrations of power answerable to the people which are strong enough to destroy the exploiters (state socialism). A leftist opposes exploitation by the powerful, regardless of whether that power is derived from class, race, gender, or any combination. And all mechanisms of exploitation feed off each other and resemble each other.

            And thanks.

    • tsam

      self-absorbed apathy

      It feels more like antipathy for most of these fuckers.

  • bondgirl

    Sigh. An immigration lawyer friend of mine said to me right after the election that “best case scenario, there’s going to be a lot of arbitrary cruelty.” Her statement proved prophetic in lots more than the immigration context.

  • Abbey Bartlet

    Both parties are owned by corporate intere–*punching emoji*

    • libarbarian

      Both Brolitical Broties ARE totally owned by Broporate Interests.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      More seriously, this is the kind of thing I think would be a settled question if we’d had four or eight more years of it. And that’s a point I made to people who (said they) cared about LGBT rights but corporate interests/rigged primary/revolution/superpredators somehow overrode that caring.

      How do we convince them that both parties are not the same and that those difference matter?

      • Hogan

        After the workers’ revolution Once I’ve settled my scores with the neoliberals, all those problems will solve themselves.

        • Abbey Bartlet

          Sigh. I was afraid that might be the answer.

      • (((Malaclypse)))

        Surely, this will heighten the contradictions, thus driving trans youth to the forefront of the vanguard! Well, at least, those who don’t get killed in bathrooms.

      • humanoid.panda

        How do we convince them that both parties are not the same and that those difference matter?

        Nader got nearly 3 million votes in in 2000, less than half million in 2004. The people who did the 3rd party shtick in 2016 will learn their lesson. The question is how to prevent their younger sibling from pulling the same shit in 2028..

      • Abbey Bartlet

        Obviously once the bad things happen they come around (I’ve mentioned Nader’s 2000 and 2004 vote totals about eleventy five times here), but it just seems like surely there’s some way to convince them to not let the bad things happen in the first place.

      • Well, I can’t be certain about this but if the experience of Nader is anything to go by, a lot of them will now be fine with supporting Democrats…at least in opposition.

      • Chetsky

        Not joking. Seriously. It seems like, for almost any purity-pony’s argument/issue, this current debacle should have perfect ammo to convince them that next time, they just vote Dem, I would hope.

        I mean … Mnuchin? Srsly? Or Tillerson? Or the GS guy. Or … or … or ….

        Hopelessly optimistic, yeah I know.

      • efgoldman

        How do we convince them that both parties are not the same and that those difference matter?

        A ball peen hammer might work.

    • CP

      Both parties are owned by corporate intere

      Not only that, but there is reliable evidence to suggest that both parties have at times engaged in politics (pardon my French).

  • Jordan

    Hmm, maybe OT, but:

    I’m going to a town hall Saturday morning with a republican congressperson who 1) first won in ’08, despite Obama winning the district, and 2) won in 2016, despite Clinton winning the district. Despite all that, he won by 10 in 2008 and 11 in 2016. Again, in a district that the democrats won! Its a NJ seat and I can’t find any Norcross connection, so I am unsure what is going on exactly.

    Anyways, he should be vulnerable! So, any suggestions if I get a chance to ask anything? He’s proudly an asshole on immigrants, the environment, healthcare.

    • humanoid.panda

      Ask him how he intends to protect the Medicaid expansion, that now covers half million New Jerseyites, while saving the state shit-ton of money. Be specific, and cite fact, like the ones here:. Medicaid, according to all reports, is one of the weakest points in their plan of attack on the ACA, and they already have 2 senatorial defections- Murkowski and Collins.

    • efgoldman

      I am unsure what is going on exactly.

      Weak Dem candidates, maybe?

  • rewenzo

    Sessions: “The Obama Administration’s one size fits all interpretation of Title IX is too confusing. We must return the issue to the states and localities so there will be a gazillion different interpretations instead.”

  • tsam

    That part of the left that thinks class and race (or any other identity type politics) can’t exist in the same space or makes us losers that are doomed to lose forever is completely fucking psychotic.

    There’s no defensible argument for not standing up for the rights of everyone–it’s kinda what supposedly makes us liberals–taking the idea of Liberty and Justice for ALL seriously. Giving in to sneering from your dumb fucking redneck loser cousin on Facebook is…weak.

    • Steve LaBonne

      I think of myself as a social democrat (which is itself a somewhat beleaguered position in our day). But if I have to choose between being liberal and being that kind of “left”, I’ll take liberal 10 times out of 10.

      • tsam

        I have no idea what I am, other than a middle class, straight white guy who is surrounded by clueless bigots in my every day life. It’s my fucking job to face the reality of bigotry and do whatever I can to stop it. That means not doing wildly stupid shit like voting for 3rd party candidates, developing a fantasy view of politics where a unicorn gets to be president and suddenly everything is perfect, engaging in hero worship in politics, and being fucking hypocritical. I try to keep it simple–there’s no excuse for anyone to go hungry, or without a first class education, good health care, food, water and shelter, and everyone deserves liberty and justice, free and equal. Nothing here is complicated or some kind of utopian fantasy, it’s just realizing that I could easily end up on the business end of bad or bigoted policy, and I have an obligation to stand up for those who do now.

        • Hayden Arse

          I have no idea what I am, other than a middle class, straight white guy who is surrounded by clueless bigots in my every day life.

          You live in Indiana too?

          • tsam

            Spokane, WA. Might as well be Indiana, especially outside of the incorporated area.

            • postmodulator

              Oh, I didn’t know you were in Spokane. The most beautiful woman in North America used to live here in Columbus but moved out there. If you see her, say hi.

              • tsam

                I’m engaged to her. I’ll be sure to say hi, and she has some explaining to do about her past. She didn’t mention Columbus.

                • She didn’t mention Columbus.

                  Probably figured he was well before your time.

                • tsam

                  Hacking into her phone now–WE’LL SEE ABOUT THAT!!

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Probably figured he was well before your time.

                  Though not Karen’s.

                • tsam

                  Nah, I was around when all these damn kids were into this new fangled bronze shit.

                • witlesschum

                  Kids today with their hippity hop and their flint knapping….

                • tsam

                  And don’t even get me started on iron.

                • Hogan

                  Wattle and daub?! Animal hides were good enough for my mother and they’re good enough for you, young lady!

            • Bri2k

              Reminds me of Renton.

              • ExpatChad

                At least not Skyway!

              • tsam

                Saw a lot of that in North Bend too. Lots of NRA stickers on the trucks. It snows there too–just like my crummy little home town here.

    • DrDick

      Agree completely.

      • Slothrop2

        Actually, kind of dumb and also boring. Yes, what a fine distraction the politics of the personal supply the Democratic establishment’s neoliberal war against workers going on 35 years or so. And it took an Elmer Gantry-level charlatan to finally reveal the contradiction. The likes of Tsam, Lemieux< et al are evidently unlikely to catch up.

        • Rob in CT

          One thing some leftists apparently agree with Right wingers on: that anti-bigotry (racism, sexism, bigotry toward LGBT people, etc) is just a cynical act. A “card” to play so perfidious liberals can get what they REALLY want.

          And in all of this, the Right is given no agency (and thus no responsibility) whatsoever. Neoliberal things were done because of the feckless and/or evil Democratic Establishment, which abandoned workers (who also apparently had no agency, such that obviously when a bunch of them voted for Reagan it was the fault of Democrats).

          This is all my ass.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            They’re not leftists. They can fuck off with that crap.

          • Slothrop2

            Trump addressed white voter concerns about the state of the economy. Of course, nothing will change, unless after the Mexicans are gone aggrieved white voters will suddenly develop a keen interest in picking beans for a living.

            Meanwhile, the Democratic establishment played the politics of the personal while making sure that Goldman Sachs would continue to occupy the commanding heights of monetary and fiscal policies.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              Trump addressed white voter concerns about the state of the economy.

              Too many brown people participating in it.

            • @Slothrop: I feel like you haven’t been told to fuck off often enough in this thread, so I’m doing my part. I’d explain further, but honestly, given what I’ve said in my other comments here, I’d be repeating myself, and I have better things to do now.

        • tsam

          What in Davy Jones’ locker did ye just bark at me, ye scurvy bilgerat? I’ll have ye know I be the meanest cutthroat on the seven seas, and I’ve led numerous raids on fishing villages, and raped over 300 wenches. I be trained in hit-and-run pillaging and be the deadliest with a pistol of all the captains on the high seas. Ye be nothing to me but another source o’ swag. I’ll have yer guts for garters and keel haul ye like never been done before, hear me true. You think ye can hide behind your newfangled computing device? Think twice on that, scallywag. As we parley I be contacting my secret network o’ pirates across the sea and yer port is being tracked right now so ye better prepare for the typhoon, weevil. The kind o’ monsoon that’ll wipe ye off the map. You’re sharkbait, fool. I can sail anywhere, in any waters, and can kill ye in o’er seven hundred ways, and that be just with me hook and fist. Not only do I be top o’ the line with a cutlass, but I have an entire pirate fleet at my beck and call and I’ll damned sure use it all to wipe yer arse off o’ the world, ye dog. If only ye had had the foresight to know what devilish wrath your jibe was about to incur, ye might have belayed the comment. But ye couldn’t, ye didn’t, and now ye’ll pay the ultimate toll, you buffoon. I’ll shit fury all over ye and ye’ll drown in the depths o’ it. You’re fish food now.

          • efgoldman

            Two in a week!
            Hulkster/Snidely is back!!

            • tsam

              I got name checked–so the “what the fuck did you just say about me…” part was perfect. I really had no choice.

              • ExpatChad

                Spend a lot of time in Post Falls?

                • tsam

                  I actually lived there for a few years. My job takes me there pretty frequently.

        • DrDick

          Actually, kind of dumb and also boring.

          Yes, you are!

        • Shorter Slothrop: “trans rights are a globalist plot.”

          • Abbey Bartlet

            Can confirm; we discussed it at the last meeting of the Elders of Zion.

  • Crusty

    I realize that Trump’s supporters love him and all that he’s doing and buy every piece of crap that comes out of his mouth. That said, there’s a layer of slightly less enthusiastic support that needs to be chipped away at. And I wonder if this is one of those things that might allow such chipping away. Certain things have resonance regardless of their overall importance (and I’m not saying that this is important or unimportant either way). For example, when Kellyanne Conway touted Ivanka’s clothing line, that’s rather small potatoes in the overall Trump corruption stew, but I thought it had resonance as quite obviously wrong. The president and his administration don’t tout products. Most people get that. It is possible that this might have a similar effect- I know there are plenty who hate transgendered people or anyone different, but as this only pertains to schools, I think it might seem quite obvious at least to some, that this is just straight up being mean to kids who probably (certainly) have a hard enough time as it is.

    Separately, when will it become 100% obvious to all, even the people invoking it, that if you’re saying something is an issue best left to the states, or a question of states rights, you are on the side of evil?

    • BigHank53

      … when will it become 100% obvious to all, even the people invoking it, that if you’re saying something is an issue best left to the states, or a question of states rights, you are on the side of evil?

      Sorry, but the answer to that one is never. That 27% base really believes that poor people need to be punished for being poor, homosexuals and trans people are mentally ill deviants (or possessed by demons), and legal abortion is the equivalent of the Holocaust. No means are unethical if used to accomplish God’s ends.

      • DrDick

        There is a large segment of Trump supporters who would support themselves getting disemboweled if it hurt those people even more.

    • Separately, when will it become 100% obvious to all, even the people invoking it, that if you’re saying something is an issue best left to the states, or a question of states rights, you are on the side of evil?

      I think that is much easier to say when the policy is as obviously mean-spirited as most everything coming from Trump. But what about undocumented people? Does California have the state right to not round them up? Or what about the noxious bullshit that is likely to start coming out of the (non)EPA? Does California have the state right to tell the EPA to pack sand?

      • McAllen

        The problem is if you’re giving California the right to enact reasonable, humane policies, you’re giving Texas the right to enact stupid, monstrous policies.

      • DrDick

        Does California have the state right to not round them up?

        California has no legal obligation to round them up and I am not sure that they even have a legal right to do so on their own. This is a civil, not a criminal offense.

      • Chetsky

        I think we both know the answer to this question: “Federalism for me, but not for thee”. There’s the well-known case of states that tried to regulate their banks’ mortgage-issuing processes more strictly than the USG. The OCC came down hard on them, superseding and overruling the strict regs with weaker regs. Materially contributed to the housing crisis.

        Federalism for me, but not for thee. I fully expect Roberts to use Commerce Clause jurisprudence to smack blue states around, just for the lulz. Oh and my memory is, the only reason CA can tell the EPA to pound sand today, is that CA has a special exemption in the federal law.

    • rewenzo

      Separately, when will it become 100% obvious to all, even the people invoking it, that if you’re saying something is an issue best left to the states, or a question of states rights, you are on the side of evil?

      In recent history, this is how things have shaken out, but we now find ourselves in the unusual position of having to rely on states protecting liberalism. My preferred approach would be an actually responsible Congress (in the sense of its membership being strongly correlated with the wishes of voters) being able to override states but that isn’t currently in the cards.

      • Davis X. Machina

        It’s happened once before, with antebellum resistance to the Fugitive Slave Laws. State personal freedom laws, eg.

    • Pete

      “Separately, when will it become 100% obvious to all, even the people invoking it, that if you’re saying something is an issue best left to the states, or a question of states rights, you are on the side of evil?”

      I don’t think that’s even true Crusty. You’re probably speaking solely in the context of civil rights — as opposed to, say, land use — but even then your statement is not quite right.

      Leaving issues up to the states allows those more “liberal/left” states to enact policies desired by their citizens without being outvoted by those outside the state who disagree. That can lead to a better policy outcome over the long- or even the medium-term than a national dictate (the whole evolving standards of decency thing). For example, I seriously doubt we’d have a Supreme Court decision stating same-sex marriage is a civil right if that issue had not at first been left up to the states, and momentum developed.

      I do understand the impulse to try for the big win — nation-wide rulings based on whatever interpretation of the Constitution will get the job done — but those can have negative consequences too.

      • McAllen

        But even in those cases, it’s not as if we ought to support states’ rights in and of themselves as some kind of philosophical principle. We might like it when California gets ahead of the national government on some issue, but that’s because that’s the best we can get at that moment.

      • Crusty

        I’m just talking about the rhetoric. When a blue state does something smart that a red state wouldn’t do, it isn’t usually touted with the phrase “state’s rights.” The policy itself is touted or more likely, the politician that successfully attaches himself to the policy touts himself. I don’t know the last time I heard the phrase state’s rights come out of Andrew Cuomo or Jerry Brown’s mouth. But I have the feeling we’re going to be hearing it quite a bit from Jefferson Beauregard Sessions.

        • tsam

          Odd dichotomy. One day we’re justifying federal power because we want to get rid of slavery, reconstruction, Jim Crow and segregation–the next we’re fighting federal power in an attempt to get rid of slavery, reconstruction, Jim Crow and segregation*

          (*the legacy of those things, but it sounded cooler when I listed them again)

          • McAllen

            It is the policy itself that is right or wrong, not who is enacting it and who is opposing it.

            • tsam

              That’s what I was trying to say–and I think it matters, since we do have a set of values in the Constitution and some recognized by precedent that should make the question of federal defiance against ugly laws or orders an easy answer. I’m not too into the “slippery slope” arguments which posit that we have to be on one side or the other of federalism regardless of the intent.

      • liberal

        For good government/economics, I see absolutely zero evidence that there’s a Darwinistic process whereby good practices in some states slowly spread to other states.

        • Hogan

          Laboratories of Oligarchy.

        • Marriage equality, legal weed, etc. The former of these is obviously already nationwide and legal weed has been getting momentum it world never have gotten if we’d had to do it entirely at the federal level.

          I’m sympathetic to the argument that allowing states to vary policies means the worst states will be especially horrible, though. I’m just not prepared to dismiss the concept of states’ rights as inherently evil (even if most of the people who actually use the phrase are).

          Edit: oh, I must’ve missed the “good government/economics” part, though with Colorado’s tax revenues there’s a case to be made for pot as an economic issue.

  • Joe_JP

    Chris Geidner and Buzzfeed in general is often my go-to on things like this. He suggests there was a DeVos/Sessions clash & the net result was the old policy was “withdrawn,” not “replaced.” The new guidance letter included this statement that not too long ago would be more notable:

    “All schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment.” And, the Dept. of Education will continue to apply the law to help do this.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/dominicholden/trump-reversed-guidelines-protecting-transgender-students?utm_term=.hu85VB1DM#.atvBw0qKr

    To be cont.

    • “All schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment.” And, the Dept. of Education will continue to apply the law to help do this.”

      I’m not sure that a biological male who is transgender female is going to feel all that safe going into the boy’s bathroom to go pee. I could be wrong, but probably not.

      • Joe_JP

        Yes. I’m sure that line will be quoted by their supporters and lawyers while making the case current law and even the Administration’s own words requires using appropriate bathrooms pursuant to safety and other needs.

        The move here is bad but once the federal government still recognizes “t”rans students as a class of people warranting protection, you have a foot in the door.

      • Just a heads up: “biological male” is not the preferred nomenclature. In a case like this you can just say “trans girl” and there’s no ambiguity. If it’s necessary to specifically refer to the previously assigned gender, “assigned male at birth” is usually the phrase used.

        The reasoning here is that gender really is something that’s assigned to a baby. Most people have two X chromosomes or an X and a Y chromosome, but some don’t. And that’s actually not how they determine gender at birth. Most people have either a penis or a vagina at birth and are thus assigned male or female. But some don’t. “Biological male/female” papers over a lot of ambiguity.

        This is not in any ways an attack or even a criticism. Just trying to be helpful. Thanks for being on the side of goodness and decency, regardless.

    • humanoid.panda

      If there is a thin, dim, silver lining here, it’s that DeVos is going out of her way to signal she has nothing to do with this shit. This means that, bleatings by pundits who know exactly what REAL AMERICANS think, she knows this shit isn’t popular ,and is terrified of the backlash she created.

  • Buggy Ding Dong

    except that I think the play here from this faction of the “left” is to say that caring too much about the rights and physical security of transgendered people is IDENTITY POLITICS about BATHROOMS, and Democrats will never be able to win statewide elections in states like North Carolina if they oppose cruel attacks on transgendered people too loudly.

    For those Democrats, substitute “gay” or “black” or “communist” or “women” or just about anything for “transgendered” and you have an evergreen Democratic concern. All the GOP does is find a new one and then make the same argument. Gay doesn’t work anymore as a boogeyman, so it is now the T in LGBT. Once that fades, they’ll find another.

    And plenty of Democratic wimps will cry “don’t argue on this issue” then too.

    • DrDick

      There are plenty of Democratic wimps will cry “don’t argue on this issue” about anything that does not personally affect them.

    • tsam

      All the GOP does is find a new one and then make the same argument. Gay doesn’t work anymore as a boogeyman, so it is now the T in LGBT. Once that fades, they’ll find another.

      True, though all the old ones are making a raging comeback at the moment.

  • muddy

    For all their talk of scary bearded transgender men in the ladies room I think really what they are most worried about is not having the opportunity to assault/rape the transgender women in the men’s room. Hateful fucks.

    • FlipYrWhig

      I think they just don’t believe that transgender is a thing. They think it’s a hobby or a fetish.

      And here’s why: it’s obviously MORE LIKELY for a cis penis-haver to feel confused or uncomfortable in the bathroom if he finds himself standing alongside a trans penis-haver in a dress; if a cis penis-haver stands next to a trans non-penis-haver in a jacket and tie, he’ll never be any the wiser.

      This is so obvious that the only way I can explain the resistance is that they think people with penises should just stop wearing dresses because it’s just plain weird.

      • muddy

        Just the idea that a women used to be a man is so threatening to them – they can’t stand the notion that this person can live a normal life and not be given shit all the time.

        They should pay the price for how they were born! As usual with these people.

      • humanoid.panda

        As someone who can’t stop reading Dreher, it was fascinating to watch him start with “well sure trans people exist but must we overturn everything to accomodate them” to “men in dresses are icky.” Which is why they are going to lose this fight.

      • DrDick

        Exactly. I am actually dealing with this idiocy from a conservative Christian student in my anthropology of gender class. He refuses to accept that biological sex and gender are not the same thing. I do not think he is going to be happy with his grade if this keeps up.

        • Linnaeus

          An obvious victim of political correctness running rampant at American colleges and universities.

          • DrDick

            I look forward to being added to the professor watch list. I was pretty disappointed to learn that I was not already there.

        • tsam

          Oh great–and you’ll be the Satan loving professor that’s persecuting the poor servant of God.

          • DrDick

            I am pretty sure that I already have that reputation, since I make a point of shredding a lot of conservative idiocy (on marriage, markets, hierarchy, violence and conflict, etc.) in my classes.

      • DAS

        I’m not so sure that said cis penis-haver will be none the wiser. Remember the GOP includes Wide Stance Republicans. If one of them ends up getting involved with a trans non-penis haver, said Wide Stance Republican is gonna be really upset. If he wanted to get involved with a non-penis haver, he’d pester his wife for sex.

        Of course, what muddy said, as well.

      • They don’t want trans people to use the bathrooms of their assigned gender at birth, you’re right. They want trans people to die, or to lock themselves away in the closet, either literally or figuratively.

    • libarbarian

      Damn, your take is so HOT it’s smoking!

  • humanoid.panda

    I will have you know, that according to Rod Dreher, you are all shock troops in the trans war that is leading to the white genocide of Canton, OH.

    Seriously, this piece might be the perfect reductio ad absurdum of the REAL AMERICANS fetish: here we have a guy who spends his entire time worrying about the homo apocalypse, literally using the economically distressed (for real) residents of a dying town as ventriloquist dummies to argue that it’s the left that is obsessed with sexuality, citing Tucker Fucking Carslon’s concern that our elites our not emphatic enough!

    • DrDick

      I will have you know, that according to Rod Dreher, you are all shock troops in the trans war that is leading to the white genocide of Canton, OH.

      Well I certainly hope so!

    • pillsy

      Christ that argument is literally self-refuting. If the people of Canton, OH had such serious problems with their school system that anti-discrimination policies for trans students don’t matter… then they don’t matter, and it’s fucking dumb as fuck (so par for the course with Dreher) to argue they’re overreaching elitist culture warriors.

      Also, of course, using a pretense of virtue to avoid the need for empathy is all Rod Dreher to a motherfucking T.

    • Every time I hear the phrase “white genocide” used, particularly to describe something inane and on no level comparable to actual genocide, it makes a particularly bitter part of me wonder whether an actual white genocide might on some level be beneficial to the rest of humanity.

  • carolannie

    It is interesting to me that DeVos opposed this.

    • carolannie

      and the Trumoistas allowed that to be public

      • humanoid.panda

        Given how this maladmiinistration leaks like a sieve, not sure she asked permission of the Trumpistas before leaking it. Still, this is indication that, no matter what pundits say about what heartlanders think, she knows where the winds are blowing on this.

        • Little Chak

          I honestly think there is a decent chance that her being an elder at a church founded by Rob Bell could mean that she is out of the mainstream of evangelical thought on this issue.

          That doesn’t mean that I think she has the backbone to take a stand on this issue, though. I’ll believe that when I see it.

          And it doesn’t mean I’m willing to give her credit on any of the other pieces of her worldview.

          • Little Chak

            And, as it unsurprisingly turns out, when it comes to Betsy DeVos having any kind of spine, Love most definitely Doesn’t Win.

          • Huh. Didn’t know she’d been part of Rob Bell’s church. That association is definitely… odd.

    • Woodrowfan

      Not mean enough for her.

      • DrDick

        Given her religious beliefs, perhaps she thinks they should be stoned instead.

        • pseudalicious

          Just Googled Rob Bell based Little Chak’s comment — apparently he doesn’t preach homophobia? So that’s nice?

          • Yeah, for everything that’s wrong with Betsy DeVos she doesn’t seem to be personally bigoted against LGBT people. I want to note that Sessions, who is gung ho about the opportunity to kick trans kids in the teeth, had much less trouble being confirmed than DeVos.

          • Not only that, but he also is at least sympathetic to universalism (i.e., the argument that everyone, regardless of religious beliefs, can enter heaven). This caused a lot of controversy among the evangelical crowd a few years back. He seems to be overall on the more liberal side of Christianity, though I haven’t examined his beliefs/writings in depth.

  • Lost Left Coaster

    Thanks for covering this Scott. Just a minor quibble:

    Whether or not transgendered people are human beings who merit the equal protection of the laws is a question of states’ rights.

    Please note that it is preferable to say transgender people, not transgendered.

    • Pete

      Preferable to whom? And how do we know?

      • wjts

        Preferable to whom?

        To transgender folks.

        And how do we know?

        Because they’ve said so many times, including at the link LLC posted.

      • tsam

        It’s a small bit of respect that costs you nothing and goes a long way…

        • DrDick

          It is odd, but I do not think I have ever even heard anyone use “transgendered”, and I live in Montana. Of course I make a point not to talk with conservatives if possible and know several transgender people.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            I’ve heard it from:
            -People who don’t know it’s not preferred (but who of course change once they do).
            -Conservatives who don’t care (they might also not know, but it’s irrelevant because they aren’t changing anyway).
            -Some older trans people (language changes, and they identified that way for a long time and still do).
            -Some British trans people ( ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).

            • tsam

              Right–I hadn’t even thought it through and wouldn’t have known had someone not pointed it out to me. One of those things that never occurred to me but make perfect sense after a simple explanation.

            • DrDick

              Oh, I do not disagree with that and was actually expressing a bit of surprise on my part, since I would have expected to have heard it more. I know I have always used the accepted form myself, not sure why, but it may be because I study gender and that is what I have picked up from my readings.

      • McAllen

        You can also refer to the Transgender Law Center if further evidence is required.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      Thanks for pointing that out.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Fixed, and thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    • DAS

      I thought the latest preference was to call them E-people (rather than Z-people)

  • NewishLawyer

    I concur. The problem I am noticing is that a lot of people (including some anti-Trumpists but not Dems) don’t want to really look at the dark implications.

    Trump ran an openly racist and bigoted campaign. He attacked entire groups of people as being prone to violence, he openly mocked a disabled reporter in a way that reminded me of a 7th grade bully, etc., etc., etc. So you have lots of liberal memes pointing this out and saying “I don’t understand how anyone can vote for Trump after he did bullying thing X.”

    But you still have lots of people who are hellbent and convinced that HRC did not do enough to woo moderates and lite Republican leaners. It seems to me that she jumped up and down screaming about this but it wasn’t good enough. Enough people with reservations voted for Trump anyway.

    When do these people bear moral responsibility for their actions? When do they have to admit that the bullying did not phase them enough? It all seems to be “Yeah Trump is horrible but a college student said something snooty to a trucker at a diner once and that damns the Democrats for all time!!!!”

    • witlesschum

      I think it gets pushed by the elite media due to a heady brew of treating people outside their orbit, conservative or liberal, as stupid children and backing away, arms extended in a “Stop” gesture from the implications of someone like Trump being elected. Lots of comfortable assumptions about politics and society just got blown up.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      When do these people bear moral responsibility for their actions?

      Never, according to everyone’s favorite white savior concern troll.

  • pillsy

    This reminds me that an alarming number of folks on the left were trying to pick kernels of corn out of this steaming loaf that Tucker Carlson pinched off for McKay Coppins.

    Not all of them were complete fuckwits like Chris Arcade, either.

    • humanoid.panda

      I don’t if this is a deliberate pun, but I feel Chris “FRONT ROW KIDS” Arnade/Arcade doesn’t get enough mocking around these parts.

      • pillsy

        It was a serendipitous intervention by autocorrect. I couldn’t bring myself to fix it.

        Also, yeah, that guy is not my favorite, even among Trumpalo-whisperers, who are a pretty debased bunch to begin with.

    • witlesschum

      The idea that people might believe Tucker Carlson has insights worth hearing in 2017 is a bit of a puzzler. Do they know he’s Tucker Carlson?

  • DAS

    Does everyone who is so obsessed with “oh noes mens will be in women’s bathrooms” think this through? If you are forcing transgender people to go to the bathroom corresponding to their sex at birth, you are forcing (trans) men to use the women’s bathroom. Besides the Wide Stance Republicans I mentioned in my comment above, does the “oh noes mens will be in women’s bathrooms” brigade really WANT (trans) men to be forced to use women’s bathrooms? How is that keeping our wives and daughters safe?

    • Rob in CT

      The whole thing is a proxy for rejecting transexuality, full stop, I think.

      • pseudalicious

        Yep.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        I would suggest “rejecting transgender people” here.

        • This is correct. “Transsexual” and its derivatives are… not preferred. (Too lazy to look for a link like Lost Left Coaster’s above right now – I’m on my phone.)

      • AttorneyAtPaw

        SOP for the GOP: Find an identifiable group of people who differ in any way from an incredibly narrow construction of Rill Murikans, then use fear of said group to wedge the putative Rill Murikans into voting against their own economic interests.

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