Open Thread

Here is the basic idea of an open thread. This is where a comment, idea, link, or whatever can be posted when it doesn’t necessarily fit the subject matter of any available post. This also can be where people can lodge their complaints or make suggestions, including possibilities for future posts.

Plus, this would be a good place for rants, as I’ll be less discerning in my moderation of comments here. I encourage open discussion. But there are limits. If your comment creates a negative atmosphere or simply lessens my happiness, then it will not be approved. I will use my discretion. Make sure your comment is worthy of your time and my own.

3,257 thoughts on “Open Thread

    • It’s a strange article. The author admits that race is a meaningless category and that racism is bad. But then goes on to use race to frame his discussion. That is the power of ideological frames. Once they become the dominant paradigm in a society, most people are incapable of thinking outside of them.

    • Some people do love to pick on the social sciences. I find that amusing. Every aspect of our entire society is mired in ideological biases. But the social sciences would be the last thing to complain about. The only reason we know about the ideological biases in society is because social scientists have studied it. The real complaint is that the social scientists are pointing out uncomfortable truths.

    • Ideology + ignorance = irrelevance

      None of the data means much of anything, until we create equal conditions under which to test populations. But epigenetics can carry environmental effects across generations.

      So, to prove or disprove any theory about populations, all environmental conditions would have to be made exactly the same for at least multiple generations or maybe multiple centuries. On top of that, the genetic determinists would have to prove a direct genetic causation, something that has yet to be proven.

      What is the point? These people don’t actually care about data. And they certainly have no interest in promoting the search for high quality data. They like the low quality data because it can be easily manipulated toward ideological agendas.

    • Only someone who is an ignoramus or a liar could argue that non-whites are advantaged over whites in any aspect of our political system. If VDARE is against political problems, then I assume they’ve been involved in activism fighting closing of polling stations in poor minority neighborhoods, voter purges of people with minority-sounding names, ex-con disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, etc.

    • It is always amusing that people obsess over a few physical features while ignoring thousands of other physical features. What if we mapped the percentages of people with knobby knees, long index fingers, high foot arches, big ears, large numbers of nose hairs, dry skin, varicose veins, forehead wrinkles, etc?

    • That is because the Irish with higher rates of red hair were one of the last populations to be allowed to be whites. There are tons of recessive genes: square face, cleft chin, Straight hairline, slender eyebrow, joined eyebrow, short eyelashes, no dimples, attached earlobe, round eye shape, no freckles, etc.

      Many physical and mental health conditions are also related to recessive genes. There is sometimes a reason a gene is recessive and found in fewer people. If dominant genes were contrary to survival, those who carried it would die out and recessive genes would become more common.

      But often recessive genes mean nothing at all. They are simply recessive.

    • Nordics were also among the shortest Europeans. And now they are among the tallest. Also, before the Romanization of Europe, Scandinavians were a simple society of warring tribes. Besides building boats, they had little in the way of civilization with no written language, no mathematics, no scientific understanding, no large cities, no complex social order, etc.

    • You’d think at this point that these ignoramuses would have learned that correlation is not causation. Genes have to be proven, not assumed, as having direct causal link to specific effects. There are endless correlations that can be found.

      Sales of ice cream and sour cream are correlated to murders and motorbike accidents. Cost of potato chips are correlated to people falling out of wheelchairs. Organic food consumption is correlated to autism. Mexican lemon imports are correlated to lower highway deaths. And for non-food examples: Nicolas Cage movies are correlated to drownings in swimming pools. Shortage of Pirates is correlated to global warming. The increasing number of Facebook users is correlated to the Greek debt crisis.

      Also, did you know that historical legacies of colonialism, genocide, slavery, racism, segregation is correlated to higher rates of social and economic problems in the affected populations? And did you know that social and economic problems in affected populations are correlated to individuals living there having higher rates of toxicity, health problems, neurocognitive dysfunction, lower quality education, unemployment, incarceration, etc? And most shocking of all, did you know those people who have been isolated by systemic and institutional prejudices are correlated to having some common genetics?

      The human ability to see correlations in data is the same human ability that caused humans to see astrological patterns in the stars. So, considering the tendency to see patterns where none exist in reality and the rates of ignorant bigotry among many genetic determinists, are they causally or non-causally correlated and is it inheritability or inheritance?

      “Seemingly compelling correlations, say between given genes and schizophrenia or between a high fat diet and heart disease, may turn out to be based on very dubious methodology.”

      “How can factors be correlated but not causally related? One reason is pure chance: Fisher’s association between apple imports and the divorce rate was just a coincidence. Today it is easy to generate such spurious correlations. With the emergence of big data — enormous data sets collected automatically, combed for patterns by powerful computing systems — correlations can be mass-produced. The trouble is that many of them will be meaningless. This is known as the problem of “false discovery.” A small number of meaningful associations is easily drowned in a sea of chance findings. Statisticians have developed theories and tools to deal with the problem of chance findings. Perhaps best known is the p-value, which can be used to assess whether an observed association is consistent with chance, or conversely, as it is commonly put, that it is “statistically significant.” At times, the idea of statistical significance becomes the source of misconceptions, including the belief that correlation does not imply causation unless the correlation is statistically significant. The flaw in this belief is easily seen in the context of large data sets, where an observed association is virtually guaranteed to be statistically significant. Sheer volume of data does not warrant a claim about causation.

      “Another reason why two factors may be correlated even though there is no cause-and-effect relationship is that they have a common cause. Examples of such “confounding,” as it is known, are all too common in the scientific literature. For example, a 1999 study published in Nature showed that children under the age of two who slept with night lights were more likely to have myopia. Other researchers later showed that myopic parents were more likely to keep their lights on at night. It may be that the parents were a common cause of both the use of night lights and, by virtue of genetic inheritance, the myopia passed on to their children.”

      “No genes for intelligence can be found in the human genome. Instead, common environments, including maternal and rearing environments, along with epigenetic and cultural inheritance create substantial correlations between genetically unrelated individuals, while even ‘identical twins’ diverge genetically and epigenetically throughout life.

      “The fundamentally circular causation between genes and environment makes it futile to separate genetic from environmental contributions to development”

      “Genetic inheritance is often defined in terms of heritability, which is the portion of phenotypic variance in a population that is attributed to “genetic differences” among individuals in that population (Plomin et al. 2013). We place genetic differences in quotes because genomic variation is only implied and not directly examined. Generally speaking, a trait is heritable to the extent that it is transmitted through biological mechanisms from one generation to the next. This includes genomic mechanisms of inheritance as well as other biological mechanisms such as passage of epigenetic marks and transmission of nutrients or bacteria from maternal circulation (Meaney 2010). ”

      “Going back to height, I noted that in developed countries it is 80% heritable. What if I told you that the heritability was lower in non-developed countries? That probably wouldn’t surprise, consider the environmental stochasticity and the greater variation in nutrient intake; it makes logical sense environmental inputs would form a greater proportion of the variation. But please note that again we are speaking about population level variations in the trait! Consider the following assertion: height is more due to environment in Third World countries than in First World countries. This might seem natural when comparing 80% heritability in the First World in height to 60% in the Third World. But the reason that heritability is so high in the First World is that sufficient nutrition exists so that it is no longer a component of variation! In other words, the greater environmental inputs result in greater heritability! Lower or more erratic environmental inputs inputs (e.g., a famine during a critical developmental period) lead to lower heritability as genetic factors cede ground to environmental parameters. Obviously when thinking about it logically the length of one’s bones are contingent upon nutritional factors, so even if heritability is high it makes no sense to say that height is “mostly genetic.” The increased heritabilities of traits as individuals age are not due to them becoming “more genetic,” rather, the non-genetic components of variation seem to drop out or attenuate over time (perhaps this is the outcome of gene-environment correlation as particular genotypes “seek out” particular environments).”

      “In conclusion, we consider that the conceptual challenges we have proposed need to be clarified. If ‘preventive genomic medicine’—as defined by Francis Collins—is to become a reality, we have to be aware of its likely problems and limitations. In particular, common interpretations of data on heritability are questionable because they are based on two sources of misunderstanding: (i) confusion between variation and causation and (ii) confusion between heritability and genetic determination. Variation is not causation and heritability is not genetic determination. Therefore, heritability studies do not provide valid estimates of the proportion of disease cases that are attributable to genetic factors. Such estimates in turn cannot be used to estimate the proportion of cases that are due to environmental factors.

      “Heritability ≠ Inherited

      “Some writers have noted the common confusion between two different uses of the word “heritability.” The technical meaning of heritability refers to the proportion of individual differences in a population that can be attributed to genetic factors. In contrast, people commonly yet mistakenly use the word “heritable” to mean “inherited,” or “hereditary.” According to the late critical behavioral genetic researcher Jerry Hirsch, “heritability” and “heredity” are “two entirely different concepts that have been hopelessly conflated.” Because they sound alike, he wrote, “when we hear one of the two words, automatically we think the other.”28 As Hirsch repeatedly pointed out, a heritability estimate is not a “nature-nurture ratio” of the relative contributions of genes and environment. The author of The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture, Evelyn Fox Keller, found it unfortunate that “authors and readers alike routinely slide from one meaning [of heritability] to the other, wreaking havoc on the ways in which legitimate scientific measurements are interpreted.”29 Behavioral geneticist Douglas Wahlsten, a critic of heritability estimates, argued that “the only practical application of a heritability coefficient” is its original purpose of “predict[ing] the results of a program of selective breeding.”30

      “Variation ≠ Cause

      “Lewontin showed long ago that a “trait can have a heritability of 1.0 [100%] in a population at some time, yet could be completely altered in the future by a simple environmental change.”31 An example is phenylketonuria (PKU), a genetic disorder of metabolism that causes intellectual disability. Although PKU is a “highly heritable” single gene disorder, the administration of a low phenylalanine diet to the at-risk infant during a critical developmental period prevents PKU from causing intellectual disability.”

      “The problem of missing heritability, however, is a subtle one. Not only are the issues frequently misconstrued even by biologists (a fact often noted in the literature), but certain eminently deniable assumptions underlying the study of heritability — above all, the assumptions that “heritable” is equivalent to “genetic” and that evolutionarily significant inheritance must be the stable inheritance of things rather than integral capacities — are almost never even brought up for discussion within the mainstream literature. […]

      “Taken together, of course, these topics carry us beyond DNA as the single heritable substance of importance. But the real need is to step altogether outside the terms of the current debate and realize how secondary it is. To begin with, “heritability” in this debate is a technical term bearing little direct relation to common notions of inheritance. It is a statistical concept relating to the characterization of populations, not individuals, and does not consider what passes (with causal significance) from parents to offspring.

      “Causes, of course, can be difficult to identify based on mere correlations between genes and traits. It is this difficulty, according to evolutionary theorist Massimo Pigliucci, that “has led evolutionary quantitative geneticists to substitute statistical modeling for the more difficult, but much more valuable, job of teasing apart the many possible causes underlying the action of natural selection” (Pigliucci 2006*).

      “This avoidance is readily concealed by some peculiar word usage. When researchers pursuing their statistical analyses talk about the “effect size” of particular DNA variants, or conclude that a collection of variants “accounts for” or “explains” such-and-such a percentage of the heritability of a trait, they are not, despite the common meaning of their terms, actually referring to explanations or causal effects. This helps us to understand the remark above about the limited clinical usefulness of heritability studies as such2.”

      “The range of variation across “racial” groups (or other groups) in modern IQ data is very small compared to the change in IQ measured or estimated over decades of time through the 20th century within a single large and diverse population (Americans). If IQ is genetically determined and a stable feature of behavior, then there has been more evolution of these genes over less than 100 years of time in the US than we see across any two groups of modern humans. That is impossible. Again, IQ does not behave nicely as a genetic trait.

      “The discovery of a gene or set of genes that would underly IQ has not happened. In some recent studies, IQ is assumed to be very complex and the result of many different genes, and there is some statistical evidence for this. But, there is a big problem there too. Any trait can be linked to a set of genetic variants if the set of genes is large enough. That is a statistical effect and it is not really a link. More like a party trick, or a con game. (In fact this method is a con you may have heard of. I send 10,000 people an email predicting that a certain stock will go up, another 10,000 people an email predicting it will go down. One or the other happens. I then send 5,000 of the people who got the “correct” prediction another prediction, and 5,000 of them the opposite prediction. Now, 2,500 people have gotten two correct predictions from me. I keep doing that until I’ve got several dozen people convinced I am a stock market genius, and I take their money.)

      “Generally speaking, many behavioral traits have been explained, in part and sometimes in large part, by factors that are not genetic, while at the same time, the hunt for the presumed underlying genes have come up empty. There was great optimism up through the 1990s that genetic underpinning of human behavior … genetic variation corresponding to behavioral variation … would be found. But even as early as 1993 this was being questioned. […]

      “In sum, it is easier to find sociological, cultural, or environmental explanations for variation in human abilities, intelligence, or personality traits. The seeming inheritance by family of some of these traits may well be a combination of something genetic and something experiential or cultural, but when looking for the actual underlying causes, genetics has repeatedly come up wanting while environmental explanations do a good job of addressing a fairly large part of the variation we see. Models of race based differences are so poorly done, and are often highly politically motivated, that they should never be trusted. That scientific ship sailed a long time ago.

      “Maybe the blank slate theory isn’t so bad after all. It does not imply that just anything can happen when making a human being out of a sperm and an egg. After all, it is a blank slate and not a blank whatever. But it is probably not true that some people’s lived experiences are written on slate, while others on white boards, and still others on smart boards, even if there are some people who I’m sure assume that they were.”

  1. Just a side thought but I always wondered about more Latinos getting in touch with the amerididian parts of their heritage (native languages, customs, culture, religions, etc) instead of Spanish and Catholicism 😄

    • That is what makes it strange refer to these populations as either Hispanic or Latino. It ends having more to do with language than anything, although also with the former Spanish and Portuguese colonies. It would be like calling everyone English who speaks English as their primary language. Or like calling everyone British who lives in a former territory of the British Empire. And then there is the confusion of around 25% of “African-Americans” having less than half or zero detectable African genetics.

    • I’m sure there are many Trump voters already with buyer’s remorse. The reason for this is that many of them probably weren’t partisan Republicans. And so they have no loyalty to the party itself. These people actually were hoping for something to force change. It was a desperate hope but still it was a genuine hope.

      The problem with Clinton supporters is that they were largely partisan Democrats. They were the kind of people who in the end would vote Democratic no matter what. If Clinton’s support of the War on Terror that killed millions of innocent people and wasted trillions of dollars wouldn’t make them doubt, then nothing would. The same goes for her corporatist cronyism and her tough-on-crime policies, along with the combination of the two in privatized prisons.

      It’s sad. No harm can be too great for partisans. They will always forgive or rather simply forget.

  2. The Democrats retreated from implementing the reforms in education, employment, law, housing, police relations, media coverage, and other areas listed in the Kerner Report (1968). This report warned that if these reforms were not implemented the two fundamentally “unequal” Black and White societies the countries culture of White racism had created would soon reach a point where this unjust dynamic could not be reversed. Mainly because President Lyndon B Johnson had lost allot of political capital with the Vietnam War. He sacrificed the absolute need to implement the Kerner reforms to fund the escalating Vietnam war effort. Meanwhile, Nixon exploited the 128 urban “race rebellions” triggered by White police occupation and harassment of chocolate urban neighborhoods to grab power with the Southern Strategy rhetoric of “Law in Order.” Nixon then launched a full assault on the Black Panther Party and other formations, who were striving to solve many of the problems associated with the Black poverty “White racism” had created through the deliberate ghettoization of Black populations who had migrated from the South between 1920-1970. Mind you they left the South because government rendered them economically unable to support themselves and White terror was still a very real political force in their daily lives. The Black Panthers offered needed defense, free groceries, free breakfasts for children, free schools that stressed Afro-American history, and clinics dealing with the special healthcare needs of poor Black folk. Sabotage, co-option, assassinations, and vilification were all tactics used by the Nixon administration to destroy the Black Panther Party and neutralize a newly enfranchised Black voting community. Keep in mind 1968, was the first time in about 100 years that most Black adults were actually voting in America. After 100 years of struggling to get White government to enforce the law. As Trump did in 2016, Nixon race-baited his way to persuading White workers to give him executive power in 1968. Just 4 years after LBJ had won the biggest landslide victory in American history. This 360 degree shift of White voters moving from the Democratic to the Republican Party illuminates how White racism has continued to dictate the alignment of the two mega parties from then to the present. Most White workers who had for years voted for Democrats were now voting for Republicans. Not long after that they were attacking affirmative action and starting the racist drug war. Although White women were fastly becoming the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action programs. The real drug problem was in the White suburbs in the 1970s. Indeed, 10% of young White people were estimated to have had a weed or some other narcotic habit that would get them locked up for years if caught by police. So, these White suburbanites changed the laws to keep their kids out of prison and developed a narrative that their kid’s drug problems were the result of inner city Black drug dealers. This propaganda is still used by White politicians to villify Black people today, while they caste their drug dealing and using kids as having a public health problem (See the film Traffic). Reagan expanded on this Black drug pushing narrative with the crack baby myth to launch his maniacal new phase of the drug war enforced mainly in Black neighborhoods buttressed by mandatory minimums signed off by Democrats and Republicans. We also know Reagan’s Black operators dropped all that cocaine and guns into Black neighborhoods to fund his illegal war in South America, which made a bad situation there worse (see Dark Alliance) . The full recriminalization of the Black community was thus nearly complete by the end of the 1980s after 30 years of direct action civil rights legislative struggle. Even though drug use and crime numbers were in decline. More importantly this punishment based drug policy that hammered Black working families was a total reversal of the Kerner Report Reforms mentioned above. Indeed, one of the main reason marriage is in shambles in the Black working class community would be the drug war. Then Bill Clinton put the Drug war on steroids with his crime bill and labeling Black you as psychotic Super Predators. Black politicians tried to fight back with new economic centered civil rights legislation, but were “quota queened” into defeat. The defeat of the civil rights bills in the 1990s and Clinton’s Crime Bill signaled the political class divide in the Black community. Clinton never got as much of the Black vote as people think because of the open policy hostility he showed to the struggling Black working class. This is why his wife lost in November. About 93% of Black voters trusted Obama to make changes by coming out for him in 08 and 12, but the critical 5% of this Black (probably male) voting bloc stayed home. We’ll soon see if the Democrats got the message. At present, the Democrats’ road back to executive power runs through the Black community. If they do not deal with special issues designed to solve the unresolved problem of Black poverty detailed in in the Kerner Report, they may never see the White House again. This is where Irami Osei-Frimpong’s point of view represents a real solution for Democrats and the Black working and underclasses.

  3. That was a good article. Both that one and delgado article in huffpo.

    I am wondering how many people here are now thinking about the implications of all this.

    (By all this I mean the very minor conflict occurring here as people of color feel safe enough to talk about what their lives feel like to them, and how they [especially the younger generations] see the democratic party, and white liberals.)

    For people of color, especially those under the age of 50, and all the other denigrated classes of Americans, if the democratic party as a political organization, and white liberalism as a culture, uses the trump presidency as a shot in the arm to become stronger than ever before without otherwise changing, that would be a catastrophe.

    Let me repeat that in another way. For the underclasses, the democratic party as it was, was an ongoing disaster, a boot on the neck.

    It was worse than the republicans, because it said it was a protector of the interests of the underclasses. Said it was, but it built a police state, it ran a drug war, it poured money into corporate pockets, it let infrastructure rot, it trained the police to be paramilitary punishment squads, it was always “we have to think about this” when it came to anything that helped the underclasses, but “GUNG HO” when it came to doing anything to help big business or the enclaves of the privileged.

    If the democratic party does not reorganize in a way that lets it fight for the people as a whole, takes it out of the corrupted hands of big business, and that repudiates neoliberalism absolutely and forever, the underclasses would be better off on heir own.

    And so would I.

    Is anybody thinking about this?

    Everybody is focusing on trump.

    You should be focusing on taking back the democratic party, and fixing it.

    Because it lost the election. It is the problem. Trump is an opportunist taking advantage of the sickness in the democratic party.

    • Many people are thinking about this. But the people thinking about are those who have the least power to influence politics and the least opportunity to make themselves heard. If I had to guess, it is the majority of Americans who are thinking about this or at least starting to think in this direction.

      Not that it can make any difference. It’s not as if we have a functioning democracy, much less majoritarian rule. The masses can think all kinds of things and it won’t matter, not until they revolt against the status quo social order and threaten the ruling elite and the comfortable classes. That is the reality of the situation. It simply doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.

      All that matters is action, both the action of the powerful in oppressing the powerless and the action of the powerless in response to being disempowered. The only power is direct action, boot on the neck or pitchfork mob. It is the only thing that has ever mattered throughout history, sadly, and the powerful know it which is why they are acting so violently oppressive with endless wars, militarized police, mass incarceration, ghettoization, etc.

      It doesn’t even matter if you’re for violent direct action or pacifist civil disobedience, if you’re for revolution or reform. Eventually, it becomes a moot point, as it goes far beyond intellectual debate and ideological differences. Suffering and outrage can only be suppressed for so long before it erupts. And one it erupts, no one knows what will follow or how it will end. Then complaints about party politics will seem quaint.

    • “there is a “regression to the mean” effect as well as a certain degenerative exposure to American culture”

      That is funny. I’d say the same thing about ignorant bigots. Actually, one might argue that they are a regression far below the mean.

    • Racism is based on rationalization, not rationality. It’s like asking a fundamentalist Christian how he feels about the fact that there is no historical evidence of Jesus’ existence. Or asking a big oil CEO how he feels about the very experts who know the most about climatology strongly support that climate change is happening. Or asking a Holocaust denialist how he feels about old European Jews with identification number tatoos on their arms.

  4. You have never been under a dictatorial regime and wish you never have the displeasure of living in one.
    We all fantasise with that charismatic strong leader with an iron fist that will miraculously resolve a country’s issues with swift and relentless action.
    What we get instead is power grabs, corruption, persecution, poverty and a bunch of other funny things.

    • There are a lot of Americans who don’t seem understand the implications of the political system. It’s not just Trump. And not just the GOP.

      An authoritarian impulse has always existed in the US, as shown by slavery, genocide, and expansionism. But it went into full gear with Theodore Roosevelt who built up the military and navy. And with that grew militaristic corporatism and threat of full fascism, as General Smedley Butler warned about.

      Both Roosevelts challenged the emerging inverted authoritarianism where big biz controls big gov. But they replaced it with an alliance between big biz and big gov, not exactly an improvement. And now we are swinging back toward inverted authoritarianism again.

    • Most Americans aren’t ready for her to come out of the woods. We need some more time without regularly seeing her face in the news. The healing process is slow and shouldn’t be rushed. Maybe we will be ready for her to come out of the woods in a couple of decades.

    • I wonder if writers of articles like that sit around for weeks and have brainstorming meetings trying to figure out a way to make Clinton seem human. When they get the assignment to make her seem human, do they complain about why they couldn’t get an easy assignment like tracing dark money funneled through secret foreign accounts or investigating CIA covert operations?

  5. It’s a political theory term, Neoliberal institutionalist, better known as globalist and occasionally known as “internationalist.” Basically what you and I have known as mainstream political theory since the end of the Cold War. It’s based on the ideas that nationalism breeds conflict and xenophobia, free markets and global free trade will make everybody prosper and reduce the likelihood of conflict, and that technocrats should handle most of the duties of running the world.
    Trouble is, the technocrats have lost legitimacy after they led the economy into recession and failed to create any kind of substantive recovery for the lower middle classes, free trade has lead to long-term unemployment for the lower middle class, and nationalism was at the heart of the creation of liberal democracies from the American Revolution to Decolonization. (Now there are along list of counterarguments to that, many of which I agree with, but I’m making the argument from the side of the Nationalists to clarify the differences).

    • Neoliberalism seems to simply be plutocracy with all the trappings removed. The plutocrats don’t have loyalty to anything else, in terms of traditional politics and society — not: laws, commons, public good, public health, community, religion, social democracy, ethno-nationalism, patriotism, citizenship, colonial imperialism, good governance, noblesse oblige, future generations, ecosystems/biosphere, climate change, long term survival, human suffering, poverty, inequality, unemployment, homelessness, mass death, war, etc. As long as it doesn’t interfere with or help to promote their concentrated wealth and power, they don’t care about it.

    • “What happened to you is exactly why I don’t speak out. I’m terrified of having the same thing happen to me. Because if an ally like you can be attacked like that, what chance do I have?“

      That shouldn’t be tolerated. If there are people in these groups who are attacking others, they should be banned from the groups. Decades of this problematic behavior is doing immense harm to the movement, turning away probably millions of potential allies.

      Being an ally means being part of an alliance, a two way relationship. Those who attack rather than support others aren’t allies and have no right to demand others submit to their authoritarianism. Why are these groups so accepting of authoritarianism, just as long as it comes from someone within the group?

    • For anyone who knows history and has been paying attention, it wasn’t a hard prediction to make. In recent times, there have been at least hundreds of major figures who have vocally warned about the direction our country has been heading. It’s just the corporate media rarely gives them much of a platform or else carefully spins what they say.

      it’s not as if one could seriously look at the situation in recent decades and think it was going to end well, such as authoritarians (or rather even more dangerous and destructive authoritarians) coming to power. Authoritarianism in the US has been growing for more than a century now. Where else would this lead, if not to worsening authoritarianism with the rise of ideologues and demagogues?

      Even presidents like Eisenhower and Carter have warned about this kind of thing. This past decade, Carter has openly stated that the US is no longer a functioning democracy, maybe even referring to it as a banana republic. I’m sure those in power know full well it is a banana republic. This is simply stating the obvious.

      I suspect that even much of the ruling elite’s expressed shock and dismay about Trump is a charade. I doubt Clinton gives a fuck about Trump or about a functioning democracy. The only thing that bothers her is that her career ambitions were blocked and her political brand was damaged.

  6. Btw it’s possible you could have non European ancestors but didn’t inherit the DNA

    I’m curious about my paternal ancestry but since I lack Y chromosome not traceable. I’d have to ask my dad to do 23andme but it’s not free and he doesn’t care enough. I did 23andme for free as part of a professor at my schools project

    I have smatterings of ancestry from all over haha.

    • Yep. I could. But if so, it doesn’t show up. And also nothing comes up in genealogical research.

      Still, it wouldn’t surprise me if I had some non-European ancestors. Considering many of my family lines have been in America for centuries, some going back to the 1600s, it would be perfectly normal that some other ancestries got mixed in. In particular, I have some Southern ancestry such as on the frontier, where mixing often happened. A fair percentage of Southern whites have some African ancestry.

      It’s similar to the 5% of American blacks who have no detectable African genetics. Some of them probably do have African genetics. It’s just the markers for African genetics aren’t showing up in the tests. Still, some of those American blacks probably do get their genetics from somewhere else. There are other non-African populations that do have physical features similar to some African populations.

      • It reminds me of the massive numbers of babies and small children killed by the US in the War on Terror. More innocent children died by recent US military aggression than the entire number of Americans who ever died at the hands of terrorists in all of US history. One might say that creates terror. The militarized police are simply an extension of American aggression, just turned against US citizens.

  7. Throwing a grenade into a playpen with a baby in it, real tough. “Protect and serve?”hahahahahahahaha

  8. Ask yourself this: What does a budding dictatorship need in order to prevent the people from standing up against their rights being slowly stripped away? The answer is an enemy. This is really dictatorship 101. In the past it was incredibly easy to just fabricate an enemy using state media. Nowadays with social media, the internet, etc it’s a lot harder to fabricate a narrative out of nothing.

  9. My dad one time went on a rant about how because we’re being coddled (at that time, it was by the democrats), our kids are getting allergies more easily. He talked about how he didn’t know anyone growing up with a peanut allergy, and now…..every class has a kid with it. Apparently we were going eventually become so weak that we’d never survive a hard winter.
    Then my mom reminded him that kids with peanut allergies in 1950 frequently died at age 2, so that’s why he never knew anyone with a peanut allergy.

    • That is amusing. Many health conditions used to be less problematic in that people simply died from them at a young age. It sure decreases medical costs. Hunter-gatherers, if they survive through early childhood, live as long as modern Westerners. But a whole lot of hunter-gatherers die before reaching young adulthood.


    “”The newspaper industry is a shell of its former self. Many papers have been shut down and 10’s of thousands of employees are gone. The quality of the reporting is suspect due to financial constraints, political bias and the unrealistic expectation that much of anything can be researched or understood in 24 hour cycles. What is reported is often very shallow and full of bias to keep their paying customers loyal so they are also echo chambers not much different than social media. The assumption that newspapers are above the money game is totally wrong. They are barely hanging on now so they need to serve their loyal customers.

    The New York Times did their best to take down Bernie Sanders in the last Dem nomination cycle and then declared Hillary would win the election and had the statistics to prove it. Their credibility is shot but they are anti-Republican so no surprise that they were chosen for this class.

    Perhaps full disclosure to students what they are reading would be an honest approach. Perhaps recommend they read content from both the left and right to get a sense of the spin coming from both directions and then they can research and sort out the truth. Read the WSJ for a more conservative view. Read the comments on editorials to get a sense of how most of the readership leans and cheer-leads and then you know have a sense of which direction the echo chamber supports. For a third party view watch a foreign source of news like BBC or read The Economist.

    Finding truth needs input from a variety of sources and takes an effort.””

    • Research shows that the younger generation is far more widely read and well informed than the older generations at that age. It’s easy to forget how ignorant and clueless most people were in the good ol’ days when they had little access to info and even less access to higher education.

    • The coalition was absurd. That is because it wasn’t actually a coalition.

      Clinton’s politics were all about Wall Street, Saudi Arabian money, and other things much worse than either of those. Any talk about minorities, LGBT, etc was bullshit. Clinton, on a regular basis, gladly sacrificed the interests of Democratic voters to serve the interests of the big money that she serves.

      Sure, she wouldn’t have intentionally harmed blacks and queers, unless their was money to be gained from such harm. And sadly there is immense money to be gained from such harm (from the sexually oppressive Saudi Arabian money going to the Clinton Foundation to promoting mass incarceration to increase the profits of privatized prison corporations).

    • Something about that seem wrongheaded or inadequate. We Americans seem to lack the language and context to talk intelligently about social issues. We are so indoctrinated into hyper-individualism that we don’t even know what the social means in our lives.

    • If Democrats actually did something to solve the problems that intersectionality points out, there wouldn’t be so much fear, anger, and outrage in response to the mass moral and political failure of the ruling elite. When people feel silenced and powerless, they tend to lash out. The answer to this isn’t to suggest to silence and suppress them further.

  11. The hysteria over the actions of a minority of young people whose opinions will likely evolve is getting ridiculous. What’s missing in this piece is history. The same thing was said about student protesters in the 60’s and seventies whether is was Civil Rights, Vietnam, etc. Students turned their backs on those they were protesting, blocked routes shouted people down and at times were violent. Pundits back then said the same thing about student protesters. Compared to the protests in Berkeley in the 60’s these recent protests are a drop in the bucket. This is not some new terrifying phenomenon.

    Here is the actual definition “Intersectionality is a concept often used in critical theories to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another.”

    Here is Sullivan’s interpretation from some overzealous young adults “… posits a classic orthodoxy through which all of human experience is explained — and through which all speech must be filtered. Its version of original sin is the power of some identity groups over others.”

    How Sullivan arrived that using empirical analysis to show an Asian woman from a redlined community may face discrimination because of her gender, race, and class or how white men with high school educations are get locked out of advancing in the job market is not even remotely close to censorship. Legitimate scholars use empirical data and statistics to prove such arguments they don’t go around screaming “check your privilege” or squashing debate.

    There should be debates about intersectionality not fearmongering based upon false equivalencies and sounds no different than those brats Middlebury College.

    • What is always missing is historical context. The historical amnesia in the US is endlessly amazing. Everything seems to come out of nowhere with no larger cause or precedent. It’s the same way violent crime gets reported in the news, as if it is random and without motivation, just crazy people all around who can’t be predicted.

      This lack of context is purposely used by those in positions of power and privilege, such as the author. The liberal class always turns against the political left in defense of the political right. That is another thing that would be known by anyone who has studied history.

    • It’s amusing that the Muslim interviewer is more American than the white supremacist and ethno-nationalist.

      “I am Muslim. I am first-generation American. I was born in raised in Virginia. I still say “y’all” from time to time.

      “Taylor, born and raised in Japan until he was 16, argues that Muslims add nothing to American society. He claims immigrants are responsible for what he calls the “dispossession” of white Americans.”

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