Hate & Fear & Populists  

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October 27, 1775 – King George addresses parliament calling for action to quell the beginnings of rebellion in America.

“many of these unhappy people may still retain their loyalty, and may be too wise not to see the fatal consequence of this usurpation, and wish to resist it, yet the torrent of violence has been strong enough to compel their acquiescence, till a sufficient force shall appear to support them.”

This is the same attitude we witness among today’s politicians who have us under “royal ” control, BAU, (business as usual), believing in & relying on “those who know best.”

Our founders designed a democratic republic to systemically thwart the chains of aristocracy they came here to escape.

Look at the entrenched power structure that rides the cumulative power and wealth of America.  Has the plight of the poor, the minorities, the weak, and the sick dramatically  improved in our lifetimes?  Have politicians convinced constituents of perpetual problems only government can overcome?

The pain of the financial recession has bared the truth.  The elite are just playing the rest of us.  They cannot fix anything.  They talk like saviors, then point fingers at bogeymen (special interests, lobbyists, extraterrestrials) .  They hate exposure; like vampires, they shun the light of transparency; they cannot stand the clear failure of government to solve the problems of individuals; they loathe the idea that citizens might discover that they must solve their own problems without government help.

I hear the ghost of George III reverberating through the words of living ex-presidents and other ivory-tower pundits damning those who do not subscribe to their tried but not true ways.

Can populism go wrong?  Of course it can, just as the elite back-room cabal can go wrong by doing nothing, or doing what favors the establishment.  We are missing the ideas our founding fathers cast into our governing framework:  knowledgeable citizens should decide who makes choices for them, when they cannot.

Julius Caesar was killed by senators  for planning to take power from the people, instead of doing what the Roman people wanted.

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What About the Other Slaves? – Before, During, & After Slavery

In 21st Century America, we have extinguished open slavery of the centuries past.

It seems that ISIS still has slavery as part of their culture.  For a discussion of modern and historical slavery, go to  https://goo.gl/e5bNUz  .

New covert forms of slavery have arisen, including sex trafficking, and domestic servant trafficking.  We have not found a way to conquer cruelty and greed.

But what about those past centuries?  What about the entire world history of slavery?  Slavery, in various forms, was common and accepted in the most primitive of pre-historic cultures.  Most slaves were captured from defeated communities.  One of the intentions of war, was to capture people for religious sacrifice, unpaid labor, and involuntary sex.

 Read more about the history of slavery for perspective.  https://goo.gl/emJoUk

African slave traders sold captives from all sources, including those they kidnapped themselves.  Africa made itself the source of slaves for the known world for centuries.

Sometimes our news implies that America was the only home of the not-free.  Sometimes the descendants of slaves point to the progeny of slave owners and to people who came later and had no connection to slavery whatsoever, and accuse them of the crimes of the past.  Racism groups people by categories and treats everyone in that category as if they were homogenous, related, cohorts of prescribed mind and body.  I reject racism, as I reject slavery.  But, some see racism as a perpetuation of slavery.  I will not debate these ideas, but I will shed the light of history on slavery; especially the African slaves sent to the Western Hemisphere, in “slavers,” under the cruelest conditions.

slaversSlave ships were inhumanly cruel.  It was common for more than 15% to die en route.
sourcese of african slavesAfricans captured slaves from the darkened areas, and marched them to the ports to be sold.

With the discovery of the New World, the invading countries needed vast amounts of labor, well beyond the available indigenous people.  The slave traders shifted to the west, as this map shows.

african slaves

Look at the numbers and proportions of slave buying nations.  North America received 4.4% of the 12 million African slaves, while the Spanish, British, French, Dutch and Brazilians of South America and the West Indies received 95%. I wonder what happened to them?

 

When Dementia Gets Personal – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Brought To You

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A friend for 30 years (I will use the name” Jason”) goes ballistic; Jason verbally attacks me, ranting and raving with scary yelling and gestures.  The trigger:  I have no opinions about the significance of the day after Halloween (All Saints’ Day).  The next day Jason calls like nothing happened; I remind him, he swears he does not remember; we have a normal, friendly talk, so,  I write the outburst off as several  “senior moments.”

The next week a group of mutual friends and I are at a weekly lunch meeting.  We are chatting about faux pas and embarrassing mistakes we have made.  One friend (let’s call him “Chad”) tells a humorous story about when he sent an email to his boss that was a passionate message to his wife.  We laugh and tease him, like guy friends always do.

Suddenly, Jason raises his voice and wags a finger at this “stupid screw-up.”  He rails and berates Chad until Chad gets up and walks out of the restaurant.  Then Jason follows Chad into the parking lot and beats on his window, still yelling.  Five minutes later, he comes back, smiles at everyone, and asks me if I can stay after lunch to talk about an idea he has for a photography business.  He was clear and pleasant the whole time; he was the friend I know again.

Jason’s problem becomes traumatically real to me.  Alzheimer’s, or bipolar, schizophrenia, mad cow disease, I am at a complete loss.  Does he have a brain tumor?  Has he taken some mood-altering drugs?  Is he still going to be the friend I have known all these years?  Is he some kind of hybrid being, who “identifies” differently some days, or hours?  Has old age stolen his mind?  I am confused, sad, and worried.  What should I do?

My nature is to research problems before I act.  I discover that his condition is probably medical.  Advancing age is fraught with declines, distortions, amplifications of who we are.  What people dread most, is not death; it is the loss of independence and identity.

My research yielded interesting, enlightening, conflicting, and vague ideas.  The mysteries of Alzheimer’s and Grumpy Old Man syndrome are beyond us now.  I am going to make the best suggestions I can to give Jason a chance to live independently, to retain his self-respect, and to let his friends know when he needs them.

Phase 1.  Find out what he can about what is happening to him.  Whatever it takes to know what he is dealing with.  Doctors, tests, interviews, and the lot of modern medicine.  Most likely, they will be semi-inconclusive.  Mood shifts, forgetting, risk taking, those are the symptoms.  Jason will have to choose a path, a theory, a diagnosis he can pursue.  He cannot do everything, but he can do some things.

Phase 2.  Implement the universal common denominators of healthy lifestyle.  All bids for health share wellness and mindfulness as crucial, non-pharmaceutical elements (although medication might be needed for some things).

  • Complete examination
  • Enough good:
    • Sleep
    • Hydration
    • Exercise
    • Nutrition
  • Stable daily routines
  • Thinking/learning/puzzles
  • Stress management/mindfulness
  • Social/spiritual support

Phase 3.  Comply with doctors’ orders.  Try everything long enough to be a fair trial.

  • Take all prescribed medications when and how the prescriptions direct.
  • Show up for appointments and tests
  • Give regular feedback on efficacy of treatments

Phase 4.  Accept your mortality.

  • We all exit this world, unexpectedly. Be gracious until then
  • We all get to choose our friends, revere who we love, and forgive our families
  • Acknowledge your family, friends, doctors
  • Add to that acknowledgement list
  • Do not hold back because you feel vulnerable or embarrassed

I do not think we can guess who will be our Jason, or to whom we will be a Jason.  Maybe these thoughts could help.

 

Not Quiet Enough – Eminem’s Storm

Hey Eminem,

Storm not quiet enough?
You still singin’ hate stuff?
All that bitter candy-ass fluff
That Nasty taste of losin’ It
Why can’t you just swallow It?
Why you gotta wallow in It?
Just because you didn’t win It?

Why you all too mad?
Is your life all so bad?
What’s ‘at really about?
Breakin’ bad & hidin’ out

Down in that bunker of a studio
You just hear what’s on the radio
You heard what you were told
You bought what you were sold
Asked no questions about It
Just sang curses about It

Uploadin sore-loser gripes
Trippin over stars & stripes
No one buys nice words no more
Poison pays it forward low score
Keepin’ the meter ru-runnin’
Stackin’ up those Benjamun-uns

Oh say can’t you see
America can dis -agree
It’s not white OR black
Can’t take what is done back
Asterisks are not heaven’s stars
Stripes are not our prison bars

Playin out borrowed words of-color
Grinnin’ on color magazine covers
How can you real-world real-life correlate?
With your mind & your mouth stuffed so full of hate?

 

Five Myths About Five Myths About Gun Violence

How interesting, an article in the Washington Post entitled “Five myths about gun violence.”

What makes it interesting to me are the interpretations of the various data involved.  The authors are from a prestigious university, John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy.”  Sometimes they conflate gun violence with violent crime, which is not helpful, because violent crime includes rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, which may or may not involve a gun.

You can read the article at:  goo.gl/XHLuPj

First, my “Cliff” summary:

Myth 1.  Gun violence in the United States is at an all-time high.

 Analysis: Yes, kind of.  Murders up 2014- 2016; but nothing like the good old days of 1993

Discount:  No allowance for the advances in medicine that keep many shooting victims alive, and hence not “murdered.”  That factor alone made Viet Nam casualties lower than earlier wars.  Now we have the wounded to attend/forget/neglect like it has been after every armed conflict, ever.

Discount: Nationwide statistics smudge the hot spots, especially Chicago.  If Black Lives Matter, spend your time and money on the black-on-black genocide on the south side.  Gangstus/Drugs/Lack of response time/Corrupt, Ineffectual Mayor of bankrupt major metro.

Discount:  Strict gun laws?  Look at how laws on paper mean nothing, if the police and courts cannot or will not enforce them.

Discount:  White police handle microscopic share of killings of unarmed, young black men.  One bad move in the neighborhood will get you some lead.

Myth 2.  Background checks save lives.

What do they check?  A database of 17 million names, of which, 5 million are adjudicated mental health cases.

Active Records in the NICS Indices

09/30/17

Rank Prohibited Category Description Total
1 Illegal/Unlawful Alien (42.5%)          7,232,600
2 Adjudicated Mental Health (29.7%)          5,056,124
3 Crime >1yr  Misdemeanor >2yrs  (19.4%)          3,301,783
4 State Prohibits  (5.9%)              998,979
5 Domestic Violence  (.9%)              152,066
6 Indicted  (.5%)                91,665
7 Restraining Order  (.4%)                69,830
8 Renounced US Citizenship  (.2%)                41,676
9 Drugs  (.15%)                25,572
10 Dishonorable Discharge  (.07%)                11,285
11 Fugitive  (.004%)                      675
 Total  (100%)        16,982,255

Analysis: Not so much.  The top three categories, 92% of the people on the list, know better than to try to buy a weapon from a licensed dealer.  Those thwarted by ICE, mental health hospital stays, heinous crimes on their records do not stop looking for what they want.

Accolade:  the author acknowledges the weakness of government records systems.  But does allow for limited “success” in denying legal sales of guns.

Discount:  Have you ever seen the decades old computer systems the feds use?  It is pitiful.  Some people bring their own laptops to work, because smartphones are more powerful than the equipment they are assigned.

Discount:  The definition of mental illness is very strict.  A person must be committed to a psychiatric hospital, or found incompetent by a court to be added to the NICS database.  Not all states record or report mental health problems.    https://goo.gl/vKdh5N  Only 10 million of the 323 million Americans are in the NICS database, and 7 million illegal aliens.

Myth 3.  Mental illness is behind most gun violence against others.

The article asserts that, “Only an estimated 4 percent of violence against others is caused by the symptoms of serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  Impulsivity, anger, traumatic life events such as job loss or divorce, and problematic alcohol use are all stronger risk factors for gun violence.”

Analysis:  40% of shootings involve people other than the shooter. 60+% of gun deaths are suicides. Gang and criminal shootings are the majority; family member shootings are a significant percentage too.

It may be true that most mentally ill people do not commit gun violence, but that is true of any large population or demographic, because gun-violence is rare: .8% of the general population, and 2.9% of the mentally ill.  That means that the mentally ill are 3 – 4 times more likely to commit gun violence.

The author cherry-picked the research, did not define mental illness broadly enough, and ignored the bigger picture.

Discount:  Most people would agree that murder-suicide is a mental health problem.

Discount:  The study cited was based on a study of Nordic and Australian people.  Americans are a bit different when it comes to guns.  https://goo.gl/KLV2wN

“Only one recent mass shooting — the 2011 attack at a Norwegian summer camp where 69 people died — was deadlier than the incident in Las Vegas.”

“New laws introduced after mass shootings in other countries addressed two main factors: gun types and mental health.  Comparing U.S. policy with similar rules in Germany, Australia and Britain illustrates the different approaches.”

Discount:  The same article cites a one-year study of people released from psychiatric hospitals after treatment for severe mental health issues and alcohol or drug abuse.  10%, committed violent acts.

Myth 4:  Right-to-carry laws decrease crime.

Analysis:  Statistical analysis tries to show that right-to-carry laws do not decrease crime using several statistical models that forecast what the crime rate would have been without the laws from 1978-2014.  They concluded that violent crime increased over their models in RTC states.

Discount: The Dept. of Justice figures show the following.  The US population increased 46.2%; violent crime decreased 26.6%.

Type of Violent Crime Change 1978-2014 Change per 100,000 pop
Rape -27.2% -4.6
Aggravated Assault +29.7% +29.6
Robbery -23.7% -94
Murder -27.3% -4.5
Total -26.6% -132.34
U.S. Population 46.2%

I cannot correlate RTC with the changes, but something is working, except in Chicago.

Myth 5.  Mass shootings are random.

Analysis:  This is a weird claim.  It is based on the definition of mass shootings used by the FBI:  4 or more people killed, other than the shooter.  This includes family murders (57%) and shootings in private residences (70%).

Public shootings often target specific groups, known to the shooter, like employers, professors, or classmates, at offices or schools.

Discount:  No one thinks mass shootings are all random in terms of targets.  Some might say that such shootings are random events in terms of predictability, but that is not a myth.

All-in-all, this Washington Post article does not fulfill its stated purpose.

 

The “Other” Domestic Violence – False Accusations “Kill” the Accused

As bad as domestic violence can be, false accusations are ruinous, and non-recourse punishment by our injustice system.

The law did not address domestic violence seriously, until recent decades.  Then state legislatures passed current domestic abuse laws in fits of passion without thinking of potential abuse by false accusation.  Now, vengeful women use these laws as weapons in child custody, and divorce cases, as well as for just plain spite.  There is no defense.

The police are required to come and arrest the accused and take him to jail, even if the accuser recants on the spot.  Then, the D.A. charges the accused, even if the accuser continues to recant, (the mean women pile on other wild accusations and get restraining orders.).

Meanwhile, the meter is running on legal bills, and in custody situations, the father cannot see his kids.

If he is found not guilty, he is still out thousands of dollars, may have lost his job, and his reputation.  On top of that, he has zero chance of filing charges against the accuser; they will not prosecute for fear that such charges”might discourage real victims from coming forth.”

My son-in-law is going through this right now.  The accuser claimed he bent her finger, hurt her ribs, and hit her.  She had no signs of damage, did not go to a doctor, and waited 10 days, until he was in back surgery, to call the police.  He was arrested, charged, and subject to a 90-day restraining order, which kept him from seeing his 18-month-old son.  His employer suspended him pending the trial (next February).  Legal fees are over $5,000 so far.

Then, she added more far-fetched accusations:  he tore her clothes off, chased her around the apartment, pulled out and administered a rape kit to test if she had cheated on him, then produced a polygraph machine and tested her for lying.  (She never mentioned the baby at all.)  Since then, she has thought up even more charges; and the D.A. just keeps on adding one ridiculous item after another.  Oh, did I mention she is crazy?

He is not alone, by a long shot.  Look online for stories of false accusation.  Sure, most of the time the charges have substance.  But in this case, I am sure this woman used these accusations to punish him and keep him from his son.

The only way to change this travesty, is to encourage/threaten your elected officials.  If there is clearly no obvious harm to the woman, AND she recants, and admits she did it out of spite/anger, the allegation should be investigated, not ruining the man’s life.

The accused should be treated as innocent until proven otherwise.  Until balance and due process are restored, men can always be guilty until proven innocent, and even then they lose.

CDC Declares Emergency for Epidemic of TDD – All Known Treatments Ineffective

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”—Aldous Huxley

Experts at the CDC are very concerned about the outbreak of Telepathy Delusion Disorder (TDD) across the nation.  Those affected by TDD believe they can perceive what others think, believe, and intend without asking them.  CDC noted small numbers of TDD victims prior to 2008, but the disorder has spread exponentially in recent years.

Efforts to stem the epidemic have been futile.  Those afflicted show 100% resistance/non-compliance when offered treatment.

TDD can affect:

  • Perception – Distrust, misinterpretation, ascribed motives, inferred intentions, ability to read the thoughts of others.
  • Thinking – miscomprehension, non-fact reasoning, conflation of concepts, objectifying others, certainty that their beliefs and opinions are facts
  • Language – Word choices, profanity, accusations, name-calling, generalizations, labeling, expression, and understanding
  • Emotion –  Angry attitude, personality changes, aggression, acting out, arrogance, and social inappropriateness
  • Judgement – Loss of logical function, rash conclusions, spontaneous attacks

Those with TDD can seem completely normal until the disorder is triggered by others, or events that disagree with their delusion.  Once triggered, no amount of information can dispel their beliefs.  They may vigorously proclaim and defend the world as they see it, despite facts to the contrary.  Because of this, they tend to congregate and socialize with others who share the same disorder.

What TDDs have in common is that they believe:

  • All the non-afflicted agree with them.
  • Their opinions and beliefs are absolute truth.
  • They can read minds
  • They objectify opponents
  • They can detect the intentions of large amorphous groups
  • They know what is best and the best ways to do it
  • They must thwart those with opposing ideas
  • They must be extreme in word and deed

Two opposite and intolerant variants of the disorder have arisen, based on core beliefs:  TDD-L(eft) and TDD-R(ight).  They attack, and reinforce each other; they intentionally try to infect others.

The CDC offers these suggestions to avoid being infected and to treat those afflicted who are willing.

  • Practice separating provable facts from opinions, beliefs, and assertions.
  • Practice asking what people they think, rather than “mind-reading.”
  • Avoid willful ignorance of facts that conflict with your beliefs
  • Investigate your important beliefs to better define and shape them.