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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.

 

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