Donald Trump is a symptom of a fatal disease afflicting the GOP

March 4, 2016

The Republican Party has a major problem and it is not Donald Trump. He is a symptom of the problem. His successful candidacy to date is telling. The problem is rampant racism and xenophobia. Trump has been demonizing Mexicans, Muslims and immigrants in his campaign speeches and favorably retweeting comments by neo-Nazis. Although he disavowed an endorsement last week by David Duke, a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Clan (KKK), he did not disavow an endorsement by the organization. Instead, he claimed that he did not know anything about it and would have to do some research before deciding what to do about the endorsement.

Trump’s derogatory comments elicit thundering cheers rather than boos. This feature of his campaign speeches reminds me of Adolph Hitler who rose to power in Germany in the early 1930s by demonizing Jews and minorities. The formula is simple. Blame the nation’s troubles on a minority group and promise to solve the problem by rooting out its cause. Hitler rounded up 6 million Jews, confined them in concentration camps, and externinated them in gas chambers. Trump has promised to round up 11 million illegal Mexican immigrants and deport them.

Encouraged by Richard Nixon in the early 1970s, the Republicans embraced southern racist democrats outraged by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights act of 1965 and the SCOTUS decision in Brown v. Board of Education to desegregate public schools. Over time the racists morphed into the Tea Party and took over the Republican Party. Then they commenced a great cleansing of the party by requiring Republican candidates to sign a loyalty oath adhering to Republican principles opposing abortion and same sex marriage.

Today’s Republican Party represents right wing extremist views and we see those views expressed enthusiastically at every Trump campaign appearance. This is frightening.

Mitt Romney spoke out against Trump yesterday afternoon urging Republicans not to support him. He warned Republicans to vote for other Republican candidates. Unfortunately, that suggestion would only treat the symptom, not the disease.


Ignorance and stupidity are killing America

June 23, 2015

I read a compelling article this morning in Psychology Today by David Niose, the legal director and former president of the American Humanist Association. The title is Anti-Intellectualism Is Killing America and I believe he is right. He says,

America is killing itself through its embrace and exaltation of ignorance, and the evidence is all around us. Dylann Roof, the Charleston shooter who used race as a basis for hate and mass murder, is just the latest horrific example. Many will correctly blame Roof’s actions on America’s culture of racism and gun violence, but it’s time to realize that such phenomena are directly tied to the nation’s culture of ignorance.

In a country where a sitting congressman told a crowd that evolution and the Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of hell,” where the chairman of a Senate environmental panel brought a snowball into the chamber as evidence that climate change is a hoax, where almost one in three citizens can’t name the vice president, it is beyond dispute that critical thinking has been abandoned as a cultural value. Our failure as a society to connect the dots, to see that such anti-intellectualism comes with a huge price, could eventually be our downfall.

Meanwhile, most Republican candidates for president flashed their ignorance and stupidity last week by refusing to admit that Dylann Roof’s slaughter of nine black people at a prayer meeting in the basement of the Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, SC was a racially motivated hate crime and he is a terrorist.

They also deny that humans are causing climate change and global warming that are driving the sixth major life extinction event in world history.

The worst offenders are the racist haters like Roof, who believe blacks are inferior to whites, and the religious fundies who believe they have the right to exploit everyone and everything on the planet because they are saved and God gave humans dominion and control over all living things in the biosphere. Apparently, they missed the part about the responsibility to care for them.

Perhaps, Pope Francis’s encyclical will change their minds, but I would not hold my breath since they hate Catholics along with everyone else who does not belong to their white cults of willful ignorance and stupidity.


Difficult Decisions

August 9, 2014

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Good morning again:

I write to recommend two important articles that offer considerable food for thought and discussion.

The first is an article in Slate titled, White People Are Fine With Laws That Harm Blacks. The author, Jamelle Bouie, discusses a new study

When I want to emphasize a point on criminal justice reform, I lead with the data. There are huge racial gaps in arrests, convictions, and sentences. I’m shocked by the statistics and assume that’s also true of readers.

But according to a new study from Stanford University psychologists Rebecca C. Hetey and Jennifer L. Eberhardt, the stats-first approach to issues of race and incarceration isn’t effective—in fact, it’s potentially counterproductive.

Yes, indeed, that’s what the researchers discovered. Their findings show that racial bias gets worse when whites see evidence of racism.

The second article is by Andrew Pollack in today’s New York Times: Ebola Drug Could Save a Few Lives. But Whose?

This article discusses the ethical issues involved in deciding who should receive dosages of new drugs developed to treat Ebola. Only a few dosages of two new drugs are available and the drugs have not been approved for use in treating Ebola. Whether they will prove to be effective is unknown. The two Americans recently transported to Emory University Hospital have received dosages and appear to be improving, which may or may not be due to the drug, and the decision to treat the Americans rather than Africans has been criticised.

Some of the difficult questions are:

Are the drugs safe to take?

Do they work?

Given the extremely limited supply, who should get the drugs”

Americans or Africans?

Health care providers or patients?

Newly infected or patients in advanced stages of the disease?

Young or old?

Warning: Due to a series of recent events we will be moving to a new community, which as yet is undetermined. We will continue to post articles as time permits, but we definitely will not be able to post daily. We will do the best we can, even if it’s only a drive-by to post an open thread.

Thank you for your patience.

Fred


US Attorney General Eric Holder dares to mention elephant in living room

July 14, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

Good morning:

The Washington Times, a conservative rag if ever there was one, reports that United States Attorney General, Eric Holder, dares to mention the elephant in living room.

Attorney General Eric Holder threw down the race card and said on national television that at least some of the political resistance that he and President Obama face is due to the color of their skin.

“There’s a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that’s directed at me [and] directed at the president,” Mr. Holder told ABC News. “You know, people talking about taking their country back. … There’s a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some, there’s a racial animus.”

The Washington Times is reporting this statement because it wants to show that Holder is a scandalous and unhinged race-baiter.

We can figure that out because the article is linked by video to a report that he was hospitalized Thursday for shortness of breath and feeling faint.

We know he is not unhinged, of course, because his statement is an understatement.

I say this because racism in this country is a raging infection consuming this nation. That should be readily apparent to anyone with eyes to see and we should be having a national dialogue about what we need to do to end it.

The right-wing-hate-machine, which specializes in denying reality and mocking the reality-based world, laughably claims that we live in a post-racial society and that is but one example of why they so disgust me.

Do not misunderstand. I am not a fan of Eric Holder. I disagree with his decisions not to prosecute the war criminals and the Wall Street banks. My opposition has nothing to do with race.

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Donald Sterling is a racist and unfit to own LA Clippers

April 28, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

Good afternoon:

Donald Sterling is a racist and unfit to own the LA Clippers. He should be banned from owning any sports franchise.

If you doubt that he is a racist, listen to what he has to say during this telephone conversation that he has with his girlfriend.

I would also ban him from attending any games.


Racism is an insane delusion about people of color

February 16, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Good morning:

Although I am pleased with the three guilty verdicts of attempted second degree murder and the guilty verdict for shooting into a car that will keep Michael Dunn locked up for the rest of his life, I am disappointed with the jury’s failure to reach a verdict on count 1, which charged him with first degree murder for the death of Jordan Davis.

Ironically, without the presence of the three boys in the Durango and the guilty verdicts to diminish our disappointment, we would be in a much different emotional state today.

I support Angela Corey’s decision to retry him, but she is going to have to change her strategy to obtain a different result.

I am going to focus on Jordan Davis today, which is his birthday, and explain what she must do to obtain justice for Jordan.

The time has come to stop white-washing racially motivated crimes. By that, I mean ignoring the elephant in the living room, racism.

Although motive is not an element of most crimes and therefore irrelevant, it may be relevant (i.e., probative) to prove intent.

The importance of introducing evidence of racial motivation comes into sharp focus when the victim, like Jordan, was black unarmed, and the defendant, like Dunn, is white and claims he saw a weapon or a portion of a weapon and killed the victim in self-defense.

Such a killing would be justifiable homicide in self-defense, if the defendant reasonably believed himself to be in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.

As our United States Supreme Court has often said, reasonableness depends on the “totality of the circumstances.”

We know from Dunn’s letters that he regarded the four boys as dangerous thugs and gangsters listening to “thug” music.

That is a racist assumption unsupported by any evidence.

Sometimes people see what they expect to see or want to see and that certainly applies to racists who are substantially more likely to assume that an unarmed black male teenager is an armed thug than an unprejudiced person.

Like it or not, that mindset is part of the totality of the circumstances that a jury should have a right to consider in deciding whether a defendant like Dunn gave a truthful account of his actions and acted reasonably.

Our legal system needs to acknowledge the existence of racism and call it what it is, an insane delusion.

A claim of self-defense must be evaluated according to whether a reasonable person in the same situation as the defendant would have believed himself to be in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury such that the use of deadly force in self-defense was reasonably necessary.

There is no such thing as a reasonable insane delusion and we do justice to no one by excusing a violent act committed by a person pursuant to an insane delusion and ignoring the consequences of that act.

I do not mean to suggest or imply that Dunn actually saw a weapon or believed that he did. I believe he lied about that to avoid arrest and prosecution.

Evidence of a racial motivation to kill makes comprehensible the otherwise incomprehensible crime.

For example, let’s assume that a defendant in a murder case, who shot and killed an unarmed teenage girl whom he did not know, testifies and says,

“Why would I have killed her unless I believed she had a gun and was going to rob and kill me?”

A racist is more likely to believe that she had a gun or lie about it than a person who is not racist.

White washing racist defendants by concealing or withholding evidence of their racial motivation from a jury will produce injustice, not justice.

It is not a coincidence that my hypothetical resembles the Renisha McBride case in Detroit, which is coming up for trial in June.

I do not know if Theodore Wafer is a racist, but I certainly would be looking for such evidence with the intent of introducing it at trial, if I were the prosecutor.

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Fred


Recent studies at Penn State trace light skin color to genetic mutation 10,000 years ago

January 7, 2014

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Good morning again:

From time to time, we have discussed the question, why racism?

My own view is that we are all basically the same and skin color, like hair color or eye color, is merely a cosmetic difference that has nothing to do with intelligence or anything of substance. I believe racists are stupid and willfully ignorant white people driven by hate who deserve to be publicly confronted and humiliated at every opportunity. I do not believe that racism has ceased to be a problem except for black people who complain about discrimination. In fact, I think that is one of the most idiotic accusations that I have ever heard. Racism has always been a major problem in this country and if anything it’s a bigger problem now than in the recent past because so many racists are so loud and proud about it.

Well, here is an interesting article in Penn State News that traces all light skinned people back to a genetic mutation in a single individual approximately 10,000 years ago.

All instances of a gene mutation that contributes to light skin color in Europeans came from the same chromosome of one person who most likely lived at least 10,000 years ago, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

While the genetics of skin color is largely unclear, past research using zebrafish by the College of Medicine’s Keith Cheng identified a key gene that contributes to lighter skin color in Europeans and differs from West Africans. In 2005, Cheng reported that one amino acid difference in the gene SLC24A5 is a key contributor to the skin color difference between Europeans and West Africans.

“The mutation in SLC24A5 changes just one building block in the protein, and contributes about a third of the visually striking differences in skin tone between peoples of African and European ancestry,” said Cheng, distinguished professor of pathology. Lighter skin color may have provided an advantage due to for the better creation of vitamin D in the lesser sunlight characteristic of northern latitudes.

In this current part of the project, Victor Canfield, assistant professor of pharmacology, together with Cheng, studied DNA sequence differences across the globe. They studied segments of genetic code that have a mutation and are located closely on the same chromosome and are often inherited together. This specific mutation in SLC24A5, called A111T, is found in virtually everyone of European ancestry.

Hopefully, Drs. Cheng and Canfield will soon bury theories of racial superiority based on skin color beneath an avalanche of scientific evidence.

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Writing articles and maintaining this blog involves a lot of time and effort. This is our 838th post in a little over two years. Please consider making a donation today, if you value what we do and would like us to continue producing articles for your information and enjoyment.

Thank you,

Fred


Florida grand jury refuses to charge police officer who executed a black man with his cruiser

September 22, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Good morning:

CAUTION: Disturbing Video

CNN reported yesterday:

The family of a Florida man has released video of his death, hoping to get criminal charges filed against the police officer who ran him over.

On May 8, Marlon Brown was being chased by DeLand police because they allegedly saw that he was not wearing a seatbelt. At a dead-end road, Brown stopped his car and started running.

One of the police cars hit and ran him over, its dashcam video recording the entire incident.

Last week, a grand jury decided not to indict officer James Harris on a criminal charge of vehicular manslaughter. That’s when the family decided to go public, and release the video.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy video to watch,” says Krystal Brown the ex-wife and mother of Brown’s children, “but in order to obtain justice, and that’s what we’re looking for, we knew it was something that we had to do.”

Although the DeLand Police Department fired the officer who executed Mr. Brown and the City of DeLand settled a wrongful death claim with the family for $550,000 (without admitting liability), the State Attorney for Florida’s 7th judicial district R.J. Larizza decided to present the evidence to the grand jury instead of filing charges, which he could have done as Angela Corey did with George Zimmerman.

The grand jury declined to charge the officer with a crime last week after two days of testimony.

Yet another disgusting example of racism in Florida.


Antoinette Tuff, Social Darwinism and Survival of the Fittest

August 24, 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Good afternoon:

Antoinette Tuff got me to thinking about social darwinism and white supremacy.

Scientists tell us that our human species (homo sapiens sapiens) began approximately 200,000 years ago in South Africa, and after declining to a near-extinction population of approximately 15,000 people, emerged out of Africa 60,000 to 70,000 years ago. The population decline to near extinction is referred to as a “bottleneck” and many scientists believe it was caused by climate change precipitated by the catastrophic supereruption of Mount Toba in Indonesia approximately 73,000 years ago.

The Toba eruption was the largest volcanic eruption in the past 200,000 years.

This eruption was the last of the three major eruptions of Toba in the last 1 million years. It had an estimated Volcanic Explosivity Index of 8 (described as “mega-colossal”), or magnitude ≥ M8; it made a sizable contribution to the 100X30 km caldera complex. Dense-rock equivalent (DRE) estimates of eruptive volume for the eruption vary between 2,000 km3 and 3,000 km3—the most common DRE estimate is 2,800 km3 (about 7×1015 kg) of erupted magma, of which 800 km3 was deposited as ash fall. Its erupted mass was 100 times greater than that of the largest volcanic eruption in recent history, the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia, which caused the 1816 “Year Without a Summer” in the northern hemisphere.

The Toba eruption took place in Indonesia and deposited an ash layer approximately 15 centimetres thick over the entirety of South Asia. A blanket of volcanic ash was also deposited over the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian and South China Sea. Deep-sea cores retrieved from the South China Sea have extended the known reach of the eruption, suggesting that the 2,800 km3 calculation of the erupted mass is a minimum value or an underestimate.

The vast amount of ash in the atmosphere blocked sunlight for many years resulting in a much colder and drier climate in the area of Africa inhabited by modern humans. In order to survive, they had to cooperate. Those who did not cooperate perished.

Modern humans spread throughout the world by land and sea relatively quickly as a lengthy period of global cooling commenced a new ice age. Modern humans survived that ice age. Neanderthals and Denisovans did not.

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution teaches us that genetic mutations occur at predictable rates. Some mutations cause changes that reduce an individual’s ability to survive and reproduce, eventually leading to the extinction of the line of individuals who inherit that mutation or trait. Other mutations cause changes that improve an individual’s ability to survive and reproduce. Some changes are neutral and do not affect survival and reproduction unless the environment changes in a manner that favors or disfavors the mutation.

Most right wing fanatics, including the Nazis and other white supremacists, believe in survival of the fittest, an intellectually impoverished and narcissistic doctrine called social darwinism that is based on Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Social darwinism was developed during the late 1800s to provide supposedly scientific support for a belief in the existence of a master race.

The intellectual flaw in social darwinism is that survival of the fittest is a prediction of the outcome of a fight to the death between two individuals. It is not an accurate description of genetic change over time in changing environments, which Darwin accurately described as the engine that runs evolution.

Modern humans adapted to and survived catastrophic climate change by cooperation and reliance on each other. They sympathized, empathized and sacrificed for each other. Sometimes they even gave up their lives so that others might live. These are the characteristics that define us as human beings and we would not be alive today, if our ancestors throughout the many thousands of years before we were born had not exhibited those characteristics.

Antoinette Tuff exhibited those characteristics as did the teachers who sacrificed their lives at Sandy Hook.

They did not have to do what they did and that is the quintessential characteristic that defines who and what we are.


SYG statutes violate the Fourteenth Amendment

July 30, 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Good afternoon to all of our friends.

In this article, I argue that the SYG statutes violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment because they are being used to justify and, in effect, license and encourage race-based murders of young black males.

The law of Self-defense

A person can use force, which would otherwise be unlawful, in order to prevent an aggressor from injuring them or someone else. However, they cannot use excessive force, which is defined as the use of force that exceeds the amount of force necessary to prevent being injured.

If a person uses excessive force against an aggressor, the aggressor can use force in self-defense, including deadly force, if necessary, but only if they first offer to quit the attack and withdraw or attempt to withdraw from the fight.

When can a person use deadly force in self-defense?

A person can use deadly force in self-defense or defense of another person, if they believe they are in danger of suffering imminent death or grievous bodily injury.

However, unless a person is inside their castle (i.e., their home), they have a duty to retreat or attempt to retreat before using deadly force. There is no duty to retreat before using deadly force, if a person is inside their castle.

Stand-your-ground (SYG) statutes eliminate the duty to retreat or attempt to retreat before using deadly force outside the castle. In effect, a person takes their castle with them when they leave the home.

As I have said before, this is not a new concept. The western states eliminated the duty to retreat from their laws when they became states and joined the union.

Subjective belief versus Objective reality

Notice that the word “reasonable” is missing from the set of rules that I have provided. I intentionally omitted that word to illustrate as dramatically as I can that (1) a person’s perception of a threat and (2) their decision to use force in self-defense, including deadly force must be objectively reasonable.

In other words, would a reasonable person (i.e., the objective prong of the test) in their situation, knowing what they know about the aggressor (i.e., the subjective prong of the test) believe the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent imminent death or grievous bodily harm?

If the answer to that question is “yes,” the use of deadly force is lawful.

If the answer to that question is “no,” the use of deadly force is unlawful.

The effect of Racism

Racism is not reasonable. A belief that all young black males are thugs or thug wannabees looking for an opportunity to become a thug is a racist belief, no matter who believes it.

It should be acknowledged for what it is; namely, an insane delusion.

When a defendant charged with murder or manslaughter and one or more jurors in that defendant’s case believe that the victim, for example a Trayvon Martin or a Jordan Davis, is a thug or thug wannabee looking for an opportunity to become a thug, no one should be surprised when that juror or those jurors vote “not guilty.”

After all, racists are unreasonable people who regard their prejudiced beliefs as reasonable. They are going to vote “not guilty” because they regard their beliefs as reasonable and they will not understand why other people disagree with them. Instead, they are likely to brand as racist everyone who disagrees with them.

Therefore, the problem with the SYG laws is not that they abolish the duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense, which has been the law out west since the western states joined the union, the problem is that racists are commandeering juries and imposing their racist beliefs to acquit racist defendants who unreasonably decided that it was necessary to use deadly force to prevent suffering imminent death or grievous bodily harm.

I have referred to Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis for illustrative purposes in this analysis. In both cases, however, I believe the defendants intentionally killed their victims and knowingly asserted false claims of self-defense hoping to get away with murder.

Summary

1. SYG statutes require more than a subjective belief by the killer that death or grievous bodily harm is imminent and the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent it from happening .

2. The additional requirement that people are ignoring is that the belief must be reasonable. In other words, would a reasonable person in the same situation perceive the same danger and respond the same way.

3. The reasonableness requirement is supposed to prevent a paranoid or otherwise delusional person, such as a racist, from getting away with murder.

4. The problem in Florida and many other parts of the country, particularly in the South, is that too many white people think it’s reasonable to believe that all young black males are dangerous thugs or thug wannabees looking for an opportunity to become thugs.

Conclusion

Statutes abolishing the duty to retreat before resorting to the use of deadly force in self-defense or defense of another person, are being used by racists to legitimize the murders of young black males.

Since these statutes are being used to justify and, in effect, license and encourage race-based murders of young black males, they violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Therefore, the SYG statutes are unconstitutional as applied and must be stricken.

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