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.

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Fred


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