• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    William on Critics review Trump’s latest…
    riverdaughter on Critics review Trump’s latest…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Critics review Trump’s latest…
    jmac on Critics review Trump’s latest…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Critics review Trump’s latest…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Critics review Trump’s latest…
    William on Critics review Trump’s latest…
    William on Critics review Trump’s latest…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on And another thing…
    William on And another thing…
    William on And another thing…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The next obstacles on the…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The next obstacles on the…
    Beata on The next obstacles on the…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The next obstacles on the…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    December 2020
    S M T W T F S
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    2728293031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • The Rise of the Guillotine
      There was a time when almost no one would have put forward anything like the below, today, guillotine references are routine. Today’s parents have forgotten that children’s play should teach them how to be responsible adults. pic.twitter.com/bGprm9rv09 — Will works for the working class (@ClassFirster) December 3, 2020 Back in the 2000s I spent a […]
  • Top Posts

Yes, Digby, he does know something

Digby asks why The Donald seems to be doubling down on the Woman Card with respect to Hillary Clinton.

Here’s my theory: Digby and her buddies have been playing up racism, ie the Race Card, for 8 long years now. If anyone wasn’t enchanted with Obama because they preferred the more experienced candidate, they were called racists.

Same with everything else.

Didn’t like the way the bankers got off? You’re a racist

Think the administration’s response to long term unemployment was inadequate? You’re a racist.

Think Obamacare is too expensive and the deductibles require too much skin in the game while the control on costs was laughably absent? You’re a racist.

Oooo, here’s a good one:

If you are a conservative who approves of the Republicans blocking Merrick Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court, you’re a racist who doesn’t like Obama as president. This last one went too far. The Republicans can legitmately deny that accusation because they approved Kagan and Sotomayor. The problem isn’t racism or Obama. The problem is Republicans want to retain their one seat advantage. They’d block any candidate who isn’t a strict, federalist conservative. It has nothing to do with Obama’s race. He could be red with yellow polka dots. The fact that he’s really a moderate conservative at heart is not good enough for McConnell et al. They can come up with dozens of silly and unconstitutional excuses to not approve Garland. They don’t need to be racists.

Frankly, Digby, the race card has been played wickedly well by Democrats and the media and voters are fed up with it. It has been used as a bludgeon to silence anyone who dares to criticize Obama and his policies.  I’m a liberal and I just voted for John Fetterman for Senate in PA. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not conservative or racist. But I have had to put up with 8 long years of this racism accusation shit and I’m tired of it. Obama has done a lot of things that aren’t even close to being liberal enough for me. If my head hadn’t dictated my choices, I could very easily see myself voting for Bernie. His supporters seem to be the only ones who are legitimately able to criticize Obama without being called racists.

Everyone knows he is not Jesus but we didn’t allow ourselves to apply any corrective action for eight long years.

Yeah, there are racists out there. But mostly, people are just pissed off that they can’t get heard and when they object to anything, they’re the equivalent of the KKK according to Digby and all the pro-Obama journalists (David Plotz admits they were totally in the tank for Obama).

So, here comes a legitimate, honest to god, hard working, well respected, smart, life-long public servant, who will be our nominee who is also a woman.  WE all know she’s good but she is also not Jesus.

This is Trump’s way of nipping it in the bud.

He is defanging us.

She may be historic but if you think his voters are going to let themselves get rolled again, you’re crazy.

Please, Digby, stop helping.

But Wait! There’s more!

Trump must have noticed how disgracefully Hillary was treated by her own party. Do I have to play the Bitch video again? In fact, it was Trump who said that Hillary had gotten “Schlonged”. Yeah, nice guy is our Donald.

I remember the Obots calling it very rough political hardball, as if that was supposed to make it better that women in general were treated to the dark archetypes of the male Democrats’ psyches. I can’t be the only one to notice that women in general lost some authority and respect after that primary. It was brutal.

In order to defend against Trump, Democrats and journalists are going to have to rally around Hillary. That means the Democrats who were the most vociferous assholes in 2008 are going to have to start walking it back. Not only walking it back but vigorously defending her. I won’t hold my breath.

As for journalists, they are magpies. They’re fascinated by Trump and his pink marble grotesques. And they hate Hillary. No, it’s not rational. For all we know, the feeling is mutual. They should never have gone rifling through her real estate deals, law firm billing records or cookie recipes. There’s a great deal of mutual animosity. Don’t expect them to come to her rescue. Expect them to watch this all play out like they would watch an approaching asteroid. It’s great for ratings, people will be thrilled to the very last minute, and there will be plenty to report when the Second Great Extinction happens.

Donald isn’t presidential. Not in the least. But he knows how to fight dirty and he will drag us all down into the gutter with him.

 

We are too focused on the white part of WASP

It’s been a little bit charming to see the GOP freaking out over Trump. I guess they realized too late that they had pushed the envelope way too hard lately and now they have a orange flavored, bombastic, likely racist, definitely sexist, torture loving, Mexican hating, asshole as their presidential frontrunner. They shouldn’t be surprised but for some reason, they really are. I’m gobsmacked. They act like never saw it coming. Republicans iz weird.

So, who do they roll out to talk reason with their base? A MORMON. That’s right, the religion that recently told its members that they were no longer going to perform baby blessings or baptize children who have at least one parent in a same sex relationship, and who are sweeping through their wards with gusto excommunicating gay people, feminists and people who just want to know whether Joseph Smith really “married” 14 year old girls behind his wife Emma’s back. This is the religion that said black people were not “white and delightsome” enough to receive the priesthood until 1978 and that their prophet translated invisible golden plates from Reformed Egyptian to English with a rock in a hat. This is the same church that sponsored Prop 8 in California.

Mitt Romney is going to tell the rest of the Republicans that Trump might be bad news.

But what is kinda getting on my last nerve is the constant emphasis on racism to the exclusion of everything else. It’s just as important to talk about Trump’s effect on women. Why do we ALWAYS forget that?? We’ve already have younger men in our own party conditioned to disrespect women on a daily basis. The 2008 Democratic primary was devastating to women. Oh yes, it was. Don’t kid yourself. Something definitely changed after that one. So, you know, it’s not just African Americans who are going to get schlonged (although if what they say about the size of one’s hands has any merit, maybe that won’t be possible with Trump).

I find it really annoying that I might have to climb to the top of the water tower with a can of paint to defend Megyn Kelly’s honor.

And then there are the hispanics and asian immigrants, and who knows who else he’ll pick on. I’m alarmed by what he said about Rosey O’Donnell. We specifically prohibit Bills of Attainder in the Constitution but a determined executive with a grudge could do a lot of damage. He seems to take personal insults a touch too personally.

Anyway, enough with the over emphasis on race. It’s not just a reaction to Obama. Trump supporters just don’t like modernity or having to come down from the top of the food chain to share with the rest of us. Kicking Liberals around in America might not be enough. They might have to declare war on Norway.

In the meantime, just let him run, give him the nomination. What exactly is it the Republicans fear? That the Koch brothers won’t know who to give all their money to? That Trump won’t have coattails, a thing divinely to be wished from our side? I’d say go for a brokered convention but I don’t think I could stand any more Republican “policy” proposals on national television.

What might be instructive though is having angry, motivated Trump supporters crashing Philadelphia like it’s a beer hall putsch and seeing it all play out on the TV. They’re not going to take it anymore and they probably have guns.

The Republicans should be more careful what they wish for next time.

Politically Correct Fundamentalists

This is a presentation by Dr. Mary Anne Franks, legal expert on cyber civil rights at a recent Skepticon conference. For those of you not familiar with Skepticon, it’s a conference for free thinkers and skeptics, and some of their presentations are more topical than others with respect to politics.

In this presentation, Franks lays out how current political discourse works. If you’re new to how the news is shaped, this might be disturbing and revealing. But she’s just telling it like it is.

 

Now, I don’t want to be the kind of person who says the left does it too but we do. It’s one of the reasons why we got so turned off by the 2008 elections. We are still living with the fallout of that election. And here’s how it typically plays out.

Take one middle class person who has a contract position and no benefits who is required to buy health insurance from the exchange only to find that the options are very expensive, he doesn’t get a subsidy, the deductible makes this policy almost worthless and a monthly drain on his wallet and substantially impacts his quality of life with little discernible benefit. The ACA was set up specifically to be painful, thanks to Republican demands that people have “skin in the game”. It’s also pretty clear that Obama did not ask for the world up front but came to the table and opened by giving the right almost everything it wanted. STARTED that way. We saw it. Don’t try to sugar coat this Paul Krugman. Fixing this is going to be very, very difficult and many people will spend much of their income on a limited ACA policy in the meantime to their detriments.

Here’s how the left deals with this. And when I say left, I mean my own side. I hate to keep saying that but I am closer to Bernie Sanders on this than Hillary Clinton at this point in time. In my humble opinion, we should scrap the whole thing except for the provisions for people with pre-existing conditions, children up to age 26 and mental illness and start over. We might still end up with private insurance but the way the ACA is currently structured, this is not working for anyone.

But here’s the way these conversations usually go. Let’s listen in:

Average Obamacare policy holder: “I don’t like Obamacare. It’s too expensive, too limited and I could go broke before I see any benefit from it.”

Average Lefty: “You’re a racist Tea Party person”

Well, that went well.

When Fox News loving Trump supporters complain about political correctness, there might be a soupçon of legitimacy about the complaint.

There’s more of course. At some point in time, we need to talk about women.

Lest you think I am exaggerating…

… about how dangerous undue influence can be, check out Confederate Pam’s twitter feed. When I first saw her tweets popping up at #freebree, I thought she must be a troll or something. Her stuff is so over the top it’s a wonder she hasn’t been banned by Twitter for hate speech. But it looks like she is the real thing. She hates African Americans, healthcare and gay people. And she’s got a special place in her, well, let’s not call it a heart, for liberals.

She could be one of my sister’s friends.

Oh, and she seems to watch an awful lot of Fox News. Hmmm…

I’m sure there’s no correlation. Butcha know, you are who you hang out with.

Just sayin’.

Who are they still fighting?

I saw this earlier today but am happy to make the video go viral.

Bree Newsome took down the Confederate battle flag at the South Carolina statehouse. Watch as she climbs the pole and quotes the good parts of the bible (you know, the parts that are about not being afraid):

I was wondering when someone would finally get around to doing this.

But my question is, if it’s not about race (call me skeptical), who do the confederate battle flag supporters think they are still fighting?

And I don’t completely buy it that it’s just Scots Irish rednecks. There’s something bigger and far more menacing behind it if they can keep that middle finger in flag form up for 150 years. That flag means the war is never going to end. It means that there are forces in this country who think they are entitled and are going to make it as difficult as humanly possible for the rest of us to move away from feudalism, aristocracy and privilege. They’re going to keep this battle up with the North for as long as it takes and we the rest of us are told over and over and over again to compromise and give in and respect their Southern pride.

The people who love that flag have no respect for the rest of us. They don’t care about your climate. They don’t like public schools because ignorance is a good way to keep the help in line. They feel it is their right to do what they want with their property and they are never going to get over having some of it emancipated away from them.

Bree is awesome and brave. Thank you, Bree.

But in light of what happened last week, it shouldn’t have to take a bill and six months of waiting for a legislative session to get that flag removed from the statehouse. It’s the very least that South Carolina legislators could do before the sun set on the Thursday after the shooting.

Update: The FreeBree IndieGoGo page started by Credo is up to more than $43000 and growing at a really fast clip! After they bail Bree out, maybe they can apply that money to other courageous non-violent acts.

Meta: Reflections on Race and Gender

If you haven’t read this post by Digby at Hullabaloo on the media gearing up to use the 2008 election campaign tactics as a way to crush women politicians in 2016, go read it now. I’ll wait.

In this one post, Digby comes so close to seeing the political landscape the way we did back in 2008. What she writes makes perfect sense but at the last moment, the thought-stopping conditioning springs into action and she calls anyone who draws the obvious conclusions racists.

I don’t have time to clear this up for her but I will say that we called the phenomenon that she is describing as “Penis Years” back in 2008. That is, no woman, no matter how much experience she has, regardless of her accomplishments, is as qualified as a man who simply wants the job. The presence of a penis adds eight to ten years of authority to his CV over any female that gets uppity enough to get in his way. This is hardly relegated to politics. It’s rampant in the private sector as well.

As for the racism aspect of all this, that’s in the mind of the beholder and that was the whole point of the 2008 campaign exercises. There are some Democrats who saw two potential interest group constituencies and through clever messaging, made sure that sexism was combined with the desire to finish the Civil Rights movement. It’s called marketing.

I think we can all agree after six long, painful years that Obama was not ready to be president, that his candidacy was rushed by some self-interested financial industry donors and that he has been the most conservative Democratic president of our lifetimes. He got the nomination using Penis Years reasoning and his campaign was ruthless in describing anyone who opposed him as a racist. The fact that some political scientists are making a bungling mess of pointing out this reality doesn’t make it less true. The legacy of the 2008 “Bros vs Hos” campaign is going to haunt the first woman nominee no matter who she is. We will be lead to wonder whether another inexperienced, less than competent in a time of economic crisis president is going to be shoved down our throats to satisfy some politically correct teachable moment.

You can pretend this is not true but when both Amanda Marcotte and Digby start writing posts about Penis Years in the lead up to 2016, they are actually acknowledging this fact.

I guess they are racists now.

Stupid and Irresponsible ZMapp Conspiracy Theories

I’ve written a couple of times about ZMapp, the monoclonal antibody treatment for ebola infection.  Short summary: ZMapp is a cocktail of three monoclonal antibodies, in other words, human proteins, that were genetically engineered to grow in tobacco plants.  Yes, it sounds like FrankenPharma but it’s perfectly normal to do it this way.  ZMapp is produced by company in San Diego.  In it’s PR blurb from January of this year, the company producing it, known as Mapp Biopharmaceuticals, indicated that they had tested ZMapp in 7 primates, 4 of which died.  If you are assuming that all primates will die of ebola, that’s not too bad but in the current outbreak, the lethality is about 60% so this result is nothing to write home about. (note that the in the Business Insider article linked below, the company claims to have improved their success rate in primates but there’s still no proof that it works in humans.)  In other words, the public is grasping at this very early research as if it were the holy grail and it’s not.  The best thing about ZMapp is that it draws attention to the fact that our research for infectious diseases is woefully underfunded.

In any case, Mapp is all out of ZMapp.  Business Insider has some info about what’s going on, which gems nicely with what I’ve been saying:

And scientists acknowledge that despite the new efforts, they may not be able to produce more than a few hundred treatment courses by early next spring. That will be far behind the international demand and will confront officials with life-and-death challenges of rationing and priorities.

“The biology just doesn’t allow you to do it tomorrow,” Alan Magill, a programme director at the Gates Foundation which is helping to organise ZMapp development, told The New York Times .

[…]

The doses with which the US aid workers were treated were manufactured from biologically-engineered tobacco leaves grown at a facility in Kentucky, but it only has extremely limited production capacity.

Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services are now in advanced talks with a Texas company that could produce the drug in millions of tobacco plants.

The New York Times also reported that the US government and two of the world’s biggest charities — the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust – are in talks to arrange for production of ZMapp in animal cells. That is a more conventional production method in the biotechnology industry and could allow for greater overall production, but the initial stages of development will take longer. “We’re going with multiple manufacturers,” a federal official said,

BusinessWeek has reported on the delays in federal bureaucracy that held up research of the drug for up to four years.

“That’s why we don’t have an Ebola countermeasure,” said Robert Kadlec, a consultant and public health physician who held high-level posts in biodefence in the Bush administration. “We failed to invest enough dollars to have it mature.”

Part of that failure to invest might have something to do with Republican assholes writing Op/Eds in the NYTimes claiming that you’re washed up as a scientist after the age of 36 , which is about 4 years after you finish your last starvation diet salaried post-doc.  After that age, you don’t deserve the limited funding from NIH grants as some young whippersnapper who has just started his career (and has about 4 years to make his name in the world before it’s all over).  Funny, I started feeling my mental cheerios about two years before I was laid off.  Whatever.  Ahhh, Republicans, always expecting to get some new major breakthrough from hard working intelligent people without spending any money at all.  Typical. I’m going to address that idiotic Op/Ed at a later time, once my blood pressure has returned to normal.

Like I said yesterday, if production of ZMapp is really that crucial, the government or the Gates Foundation can hire a couple thousand currently unemployed, laid off American pharma researchers who used to do protein production.  Or they can let us just sit on our asses while Rome burns.  Their choice.

In the meantime, I’ve read a post on another blog that suggests that there is a new conspiracy theory about the availability of Zmapp.  According to this theory, the Dallas ebola patient, Thomas Duncan, is not getting Zmapp not because Mapp ran out of supply.  No, he’s not getting it because he’s black.  In fact, there’s discrimination going on and that’s why black people won’t be getting it.

uh-huh

That’s ridiculous and stupid and anyone who thinks that or spreads that rumor has not been paying attention to the logistics of producing this cocktail of human proteins in tobacco plants.

To the contrary, I would go so far as to say that the only person in the United States who probably has a stash of ZMapp for his own personal use is a black man.   In fact, the White House physicians and Surgeon General wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t corner the market on whatever was left for the president’s exclusive use.  It only makes sense.  You don’t want your president dying on you from ebola.  (This possibility is extremely remote but he does shake a lot of hands)  It’s bad optics and it’s bad for the country, assuming he can actually get ahead of this crisis and be proactive on this one thing after six years of being constantly behind the curve, too cautious and deferential to the ultra wealthy on every other crisis.

So, you know there’s that.

In general though, Americans should continue to think of ebola as a disease without a cure.  If you get it, you will have to rely on your body’s own defenses to fight it off.  So, don’t get it.  Racism has nothing to do with it.  Racism *might* have something to do with poorer people having access to insurance or health care in Texas and several other states.  But when the ZMapp is gone, you can’t make tobacco plants grow any faster, no matter who you are or how much money you’ve got.

 

Twitter campaigns necessary but probably insufficient.

There’s a “Hands up/ Don’t shoot” Friday campaign going on over at Twitter. It’s a nice gesture, no pun intended. But I can’t help thinking about how much more powerful the message would be if we could get ordinary Americans, not just the social media savvy and political activist types, out on the sidewalks banging pots together.

I used to think that internet campaigns would be enough.  Not anymore.  Non-violent, but non-silent demonstrations are probably the way to go.

MLK Jr. would approve.

Update: My sisters-in-law were a little uncomfortable with me using the word “thug” to describe Michael Brown in a post the other day.  I see their point.  I based my assessment on the video that was released of his actions in the convenience store.  One of the things that struck me as I watched it was that I really couldn’t tell what was going on with him and the clerk behind the counter.  Reaching over the counter to get something doesn’t mean stealing, not that stealing something in a convenience store is justification for getting shot 6 times.  It’s not, by the way.  This is not 18th century Williamsburg where a servant could be hanged for stealing a silver spoon.  But I couldn’t tell with any certainty what was transpiring at the counter. Plus, the volume on the video was off so for all I know, he might have had a perfectly friendly interaction with the proprietor.  There just wasn’t sufficient data for me to determine what was going on there.  I would not be friendly to the prosecution on a jury if the charge was shoplifting or robbery based on that video.

No, what bothered me was when he left the store and roughed up the clerk on the way out.  The clerk clearly looks distraught and Brown’s actions looked aggressive and unnecessary.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with pointing that out.  But “thug” is a right wing word, apparently.  I’m not a cable news junky so I’m going to have to rely on the SILs here when they tell me to refrain from using it to avoid looking like a right wing nutcase.  Maybe “bully” would be more appropriate.  Still not a killing offense, though probably more prosecutable than we can feel comfortable with, considering what happened shortly afterwards.  It looked like a minor assault to me.  I guess it would have been up to the clerk as to whether it was worth pursuing.  For sure Brown needed a stern talking to, but, um, not 6 shots to the torso.

I’m troubled by this piece of footage for many reasons.  Matt Taibbi’s book, The Divide, describes so many instances of young black men being arrested and harassed just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, like on the sidewalk or the stoop in front of their apartment buildings.  And the trouble they face because of these arrests is unconscionable.  Really, it’s overkill and debilitating.  Then I see this video and I think, that kid definitely needed correction.  Maybe not jail, and not a mark on his permanent record and certainly not death, but something.  Like, maybe his grandmother should have been sent that tape so she could see he wasn’t a choirboy.  Shaming your grandmother might have been enough.

So, this one time, I’m correcting my language from the right wing “thug”, which I came to independently of cable news based on my first impressions, to “bully”, because that’s what Brown’s actions show.

We shouldn’t be afraid to tell it like it is though.  That kind of behavior is unacceptable.  Not worth dying for but certainly not good.  It doesn’t diminish the horrible and unnecessary impact of Brown’s death.  Or of Eric Garner’s death as he was chokeholded by police.  Or any of a number of tragic deaths at the hands of people who think black people are less than human.

So, to all you Fox News watchers out there, there is a reason why racism is not acceptable, in thought, word and deed.  If you are thinking it, it becomes OK to hurt people who are not like you.  You need to ask yourselves if it’s Ok to be an anti-semite in your head as well.  Of course it’s not OK.  What we are seeing in Ferguson is a variation of the dehumanization and malignant behavior described by Phillip Zimbardo based on his Stanford Prisoner Experiment and his investigation of Abu Graihb in his book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.

It starts in your head when you allow yourself to think other people are less than you are and it’s all downhill from there.

Don’t start down that road.

 

Confirmation bias and bias

Someone on the internet is wrong.  That someone is Melissa at Shakesville.

Earlier today, she tweeted about the case of the unfortunate mother who was jailed for leaving her 9 year old daughter to play at a local park while she was working.  You can read a commentary on this case at Reason by Lenore Skenazy of Freerangekids.com.  Melissa and I had a difference of opinion about this case.  She seems to think race was a factor in the mother’s arrest.  I do not.  Here’s why.

As Lenore has documented over the last several years, the arrest and detention of parents because their children were left unattended is ubiquitous.  There have been cases where a mother has been pursued by family services and taken to court for leaving her kids off at the mall with a 12 year old sibling.  There have been numerous cases of mothers arrested for leaving their kids in the car while they dash into the grocery store or post office for something.  There are many other cases of mothers getting fined and served and investigated for letting their children walk to school or ride their bikes by themselves. By the way, nowhere in Lenore’s commentary does she mention race as the reason for the arrest.  That’s because it’s not the common thread that holds these instances together.

I have two personal experiences with the rampant crackdown on mothers.  The first happened when Brook was in first grade when she innocently told a Lifeskills volunteer that I had forced her to drink wine.  When the principal called me to tell me he was calling DYFS on me, I had no idea what he was talking about.  Was the kid slurring her words?  Falling off her chair?  Asking for something to treat her hangover?  I don’t keep that much alcohol in my house.  What the hell was she talking about?  Then I remembered the Easter at my mom’s house when Brook had the zooms and was driving everyone crazy and I joked about giving her a swig of my chardonnay.  That was it.  That right there nearly got me a permanent record with the state of NJ and the potential lost custody of my daughter.

In the second experience, it was about 11 am on a Sunday in November when I got a knock on my door.  There were two policemen there.  They were responding to a report that there was a mentally disabled boy wearing an orange shirt, jeans and bare feet wandering around the neighborhood doing strange and suspicious things.  They asked me if I knew anything about it.  I had no idea what they were talking about.  Then they hinted darkly that they were on the alert for that kid and left.  Then I turned around and saw my 10 year old Brook with her short hair, orange shirt, jeans and bare feet standing in the doorway trembling.  What the heck were you doing, I asked?  She burst into tears.  She got up that morning and wanted to make an art project out of acorns.  So she went out to the back of our row of townhouses without her shoes on and was looking under the trees for them.  She was very upset and neither one of us could figure out which one of the neighbors was mean enough to report her for something like that.

Butcha know, people do it all the time.

As for the case that has hit the news, I have some problems with attributing this to a race problem.  First, we have no idea who reported the kid to the police.  Are we assuming that the conscientious citizen was white and was deliberately targeting an African American mother?  We have no evidence on this.  The report doesn’t say who did the snitching or what was the race of the arresting officers or even if such a thing would have mattered in the least.

Secondly, if this were a case of race, we would have to disregard the countless reports from women all over the world who have been put through the same process.  The perps come in all shapes, sizes, colors and socio-economic groups and the punishments are all pretty much the same.

But that doesn’t seem to stop people from assuming this is a race issue or that, yes, it is primarily directed at women but maybe it’s harder on African American women or some such nonsense.  If that’s what you want to see in this case, you would be a victim of confirmation bias.  You want to see a racial angle to this when it’s much more insidious than that.

If you had been a long time follower of Freerangekids, you would see that the problem emanates from “stranger danger”.  My bet is that the person who reported that kid neglected has been hearing a steady drumbeat of stories of violence against children ever since Fox and the local news channels figured out that their audiences loved to be terrified.  Like the anti-vaxxers, it is impossible to reason with these people, particularly older white women, that the rate of violent crime has actually done down in the past 30 years.  All they see are rapes and murders of little kids on TV 24/7.  Lenore points out that the chances that your kid will be snatched is infinitesimally small but people have a hard time reasoning when their logic boards have been short circuited by violent sexual imagery.  It’s emotional, not rational.  This is what I think has happened in this instance as well.  Little girl, left in park by herself for hours playing, something I would have done when I was her age, now looks like a sitting duck for any male who can walk by to prey upon her and satisfy his filthy secret lusts.  Where is her mother??

So, if it’s not race, what do these cases have in common?  They almost always involve mothers.  You rarely hear of a father getting this treatment.  These mothers are almost always in a hurry, alone, busy, sometimes single or divorced, or simply ignorant of the unlikely possibility that their kids are going to be snatched.  What they aren’t is sheltering their children 100% of the time with their bodies, protecting with a maternal force field 10 feet wide at all hours of the day and night.  I’ve even read on some blogs that new mothers are afraid to take a shower while their newborns are sleeping because “something might happen” while they’re shampooing their hair. How did homo erectus escape the savannah??

We might speculate why the current culture in America, England and Australia, in particular, are coming down so hard on mothers but since Fox and other cable news sources seem to be popular media features in each of these countries, we can’t discount the idea that the effect that so many child rape/murder stories have on the audience is intentional.  Couple this with the attack on women’s reproductive choices and it sure looks to me like someone(s) is trying to get women to embrace motherhood or else… That is the message they send anyway.  We come down on mothers like a hammer if they step even a teensy bit outside the rigid rules of acceptable behavior that are prescribed to them.  If women give up their careers to stay home, it shouldn’t be surprising that they find it too hard to be the bodyguards to their children and work too.  Socially, they need to project full engagement with their children even when those kids don’t need it or be tagged the “bad mother” on the block.  If you’re the kind of mother who doesn’t care what people think, you may change your tune when DYFS pays you a visit.

As for women vs race, I got a little annoyed with Melissa when it was suggested that somehow we need to spread the problem around to include race.  Aren’t African American women still women?  And don’t women have the right to demand attention to the tribulations they face without having to sweep up every fricking non-priviliged group in their train?  Doesn’t that dilute the issues that women have to deal with simply because they are women?  Isn’t it about time for the African American community, the LGBT community, the Native American community to give something back?  Isn’t it time women stopped apologizing and sacrificing their primary concerns as women in order to let some other group steal the microphone?  Isn’t it enough that the accused in these cases are just women?? I only ask.

Well, I guess this makes me a racist again because I see no reason to stop championing the cause of the majority of people in the world who neglect themselves for the sake of others. Nor am I going to give in to confirmation bias because that is what my tribe would expect of me.  That’s what NOW and NARAL have done in the past and where are they now?  Seriously, where ARE they?  Why aren’t they all over these arrests?  Or did they cede too much to others and neutralize themselves?

The instances of arrest for “bad” motherhood are not going to end until women start to recognize it as another threat to their autonomy.

*****************************************************

Only slightly off topic, this advertisement from Pantene struck a chord with me.  How many times a day do women apologize and what makes us do it?

 

Finally, please remember that the word racism is not to be taken lightly lest it lose it’s true and serious meaning.  Use of the word will result in automatic moderation until I can fish you out of the queue.  It’s a leftover from 2008 but still a useful one.

 

Neat Trick

Dashing off a few things before I dash:

1.) The Richard Cohen thing.  The lede kind of got buried in the Richard Cohen s^&*storm.  It’s not that the Tea Party people are racist, though some of them clearly are.  It’s that they consider their views to be “conventional”.  That’s the cover that the Fox News manipulators, Limbaughians and Glen Becksters have given them.  My hypothesis about how the right wing has been able to get away with so much is that it makes it Ok for some Americans to give in to their secret desires.  They want to feel superior to some  people and exert power over others.  That’s why they tend to take it out on people of color, women, gays and immigrants.  They’re f^*(ing cowards when it comes to taking on the real culprits who are making their lives an economic nightmare.  That’s why you’ll never see them at an Occupy rally, because that might actually make a difference but would also be potentially dangerous to their physical bodies. But they’re perfectly fine bashing people who have no political power.  And they allow this because they call themselves conventional.  I think Bob Altmeyer wrote a book about conventional people called The Authoritarians.

Richard Cohen, on the other hand, makes me despair for the future of employment.

2.) When you’ve lost Bill Clinton’s support, it’s bad.  The Clintons have stood behind the party that trashed Hillary and elected an untested, inexperienced, ruthless friend of Wall Street and Obama through thick and thin.  But it looks like The Big Dog draws the line with Obamacare.  I don’t think he is enjoying this bit of schadenfreude.  Some people take policy and politics seriously.

And some people just check that box on their CVs.

3.) Sylvie Guillem recently retired from the Paris Opera Ballet but oh, how wonderful it must have been to see her dance in person.  Here’s a very short clip of her rehearsing Dulcinea.  If only every day could be like this: