Under Pressure!

The New York Times, Robert Mueller, Paul Manafort, and Don McGahn clearly have Trump rattled to his core this weekend, and this is exacerbated by the fact that his attacks on John Brennan and laments about Alex Jones and overt White Supremacists being appropriately dealt with on social media aren’t serving as the media diversion he had hoped for.
Here is an annotated compilation of this weekend.
Saturday:
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People putting forth hate speech on social media aren’t being censored. Their first amendment rights are not being denied. The First Amendment protects you and your ability to speak from persecution, prosecution, incarceration, exile, and execution by the government. It protects your speech from no one and nothing else. You have no right to a microphone, camera, or mass distribution platform for your hate speech.
4
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Rest assured, Mueller is looking at Russia, and China, and Qatar, and Turkey, and Ukraine, and more because his mandate isn’t Russia, it’s foreign influence and obstruction of justice.
 5
Most notable about this video is how uncharacteristically subdued Trump is. The prospect of actually having to deal with the consequences of his actions are clearly taking a toll on the man. The second thing that stands out is just poor the president of the United States grasps the concept of how the entire economy works after you get down past the level of corporate CEO profit.
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Brennan no doubt made mistakes, serving the agency under the Bush administration and leading it under Obama’s administration. But he is well respected inside and outside the intelligence community by people all over the political spectrum. Once again Trump is projecting his own negative qualities (loudmouth, partisan, political hack who cannot be trusted with the secrets to our country) onto someone he views as an personal threat. This is a remarkably common ad hominem attack ploy for him.
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Rachel is a regular Fox News contributor, her husband is Wisconsin’s Republican U.S. Representative Sean Duffy. This is exactly the relationship and type of connection he is using to justify stripping the Justice Department’s Bruce Ohr of his security clearance. But it’s a “great job” if you’re a supportive Republican and a “dire national security risk” if you’re not.
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Here he reiterates how poorly the president of the United States grasps the concept of how the entire economy works after you get down past the level of corporate CEO profit. Just in case you missed it in his earlier video.
 9
Another one minute video defense of private meetings with Kim and Putin. In which he reminds us “Nothing bad can happen…especially when your president knows what he’s doing.”
Breaking norms for treasonous intent, getting played and manipulated at every turn, these are not signs of a president who knows what he is doing. And if he does, he knows he is doing it illegally and poorly.
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He’s surrendered Syria to Putin’s agenda.
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As we’ll see from Sunday’s posts, this is an indication that Trump didn’t understand the basic concept that the White House Council’s duty is the office of the president and the American people, not to the man holding the office. A concept you can actually see him become painfully aware throughout Sunday morning.
Sunday:
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An innocent person doesn’t even consider the possibility that someone close to him might be a “Rat” because there is nothing for them to “Rat” about. Only guilty people worry about having their crimes ratted out to authorities. And as mentioned, McGahn serves the people, not the president. He’s met for over 30 hours with Mueller’s team and he’s handed over significant evidence and testimony on the obstruction of justice charges. The New York times isn’t failing, it’s thriving, it’s subscription base increases every time the President complains about them. And the article in question is well sourced and detailed.
13
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Refusing to testify, attempting to discredit and fire the people investigating, attempting to eliminate the organizations that investigate governmental ethics violations, waging a propaganda war against the truth to the point that your lawyer is on TV saying “Truth isn’t Truth” while you scream about “Fake News” are not indicators of transparency.
Your persecution of the press, you’re attacks on individuals who speak out about you, your use of ICE to terrorize people of a specific ethnic background, and your security clearance hit list that doesn’t include Michael Flynn who has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing yet retains his clearance.
14
trump14
Collusion is not the crime. Collusion is the act of planning the crimes. Conspiracy to defraud the United States, international money laundering, tax fraud, campaign finance fraud, SEC and FEC felonies, witness tampering, jury tampering, these are the crimes for which Trump can and hopefully soon will be convicted.
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A complete repeat of the first twitter tantrum message of the day, with the same explanation. See number 12 above.
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Another repeat of 12 and 15 above just in case you missed them already.
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We close by circling back to number 13 above. Once again demonstrating a lack of understanding of what McCarthyism really is and how he is duplicating it, while also projecting his own worst qualities on the people he considers personal enemies.
And just for good measure, one final reference to the “Witch Hunt” that is devastating his coven with over 100 indictments of over 32 individuals and companies that has already accumulated over half a dozen convictions and guilty pleas and testimony bargains.

Resist, Protest, Persist.

Step 1:  Bust up the unions to eliminate collective bargaining ability.

Step 2:  Implement ironically named “Right to Work” laws that allow employers to fire any employee at any time for any reason without having to prove cause.

Step 3:  Eliminate requirements for vacation/sick leave benefits after allowing businesses to fire people for needing a day off.

Step 4:  Put as many people as possible into non-standard work schedules so they can’t predict from one week to the next when their shifts will be.

Step 5:  Tie health care to employment so people are afraid that if they lose they’re current job they’ll lose their family health care.

The order of the steps is irrelevant, once completed, not only have you made it difficult for many people to be able to get to an open voting center, but you’ve eliminated their ability to be able to coordinate protest and resist injustice without fear of completely losing their ability to provide care for their families.

People all over the world are asking why Americans are not in the street every day right now protesting what is happening in our Congressional Halls, White House, and Federal and Supreme Courts.

This is the answer.

In addition is the fact that far too many of us are allowing ourselves to have what protest efforts we can manage divided. Some people fight for Black Rights, others fight for Women’s Rights, others are fighting Immigration injustices, some fighting the attacks on the press, others fighting environmentally destructive policies, yet others are fighting against voter suppression efforts, and on and on…. that we’re not coming together to deal with the underlying causation of all of them.

No matter what issue is raised about this president it all boils down simply.

We need to remember that we are fighting against a small group of kleptocrats put in power by an adversarial government with the purposes of dismantling America’s democracy and its international influence, and they are using willful ignorance, racism, misogyny, religious bigotry, and divisive partisan politics to accomplish it.

When viewed in that light, every single thing he has done, and everything others are doing to defend him, makes perfect sense.

And THAT is what all of us need to be protesting.

As many of us as possible, every moment of every day.

We need to protest at the ballots.

We need to protest in the streets.

We need to protest online.

And we need to never give up.

It isn’t just your rights, freedoms, safety, and future you are fighting for. It’s everyone’s. It’s your kid’s. It’s your kid’s kid’s. Whether they understand it or not it is even that of those that voted for and still defend him after all that he’s already done.

Is There, Really, A Case For Impeachment?

The question keeps coming up about whether a president can be charged, or maybe even be investigated, while in office.

The Constitution has clear instructions on what to do if a president is removed based upon conviction of certain crimes, which could not happen without such an investigation being held and charges being filed.

Article II Section 4 of the Constitution of the United States reads:

 

Article 2 – The Executive Branch
Section 4 – Disqualification

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

 

Bribery and other high Crimes and Misdemeanor charges are no doubt already forthcoming from the Mueller staff based upon everything we have already seen, especially the developments from this last week.

Mueller is now up to 192 indictment charges, nearly thirty people and three companies are among those charged already and the indictments clearly indicate charges against more as yet unnamed conspirators coming soon.

Roger Stone openly admitted that not only was he likely the unnamed “U.S. Person” serving as the conduit between a Russian operative and the President’s campaign but that the only person on that campaign he had contact with during that time was Donald Trump.   Thus, openly confessing live on CNN not only his own guilt but that of President Trump.

 

According to the indictment: “The Conspirators, posting as Guccifer 2.0, also communicated with U.S. persons about the release of stolen documents. On or about August 15, 2016, the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, wrote to a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, “thank u for writing back…”

“In initially denying that this passage referred to him, Stone stepped in it, bigly. He told CNN (emphasis mine) that he didn’t think he was the unnamed person in the indictment because, ‘My contact with the campaign in 2016 was Donald Trump. I was not in regular contact with campaign officials.'”

And then, “I think I probably am the person referred to,” he said on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time.

 

The Mueller investigation has already documented quite a few different ways the Russians were funneling money to the Trump campaign, including through the NRA, so bribery has easily been established.

Each of these by itself is grounds for impeachment and conviction, which would then invalidate the placement of the entire administration under the Constitutional article referenced above.

Now, after the Helsinki Summit, we’re hearing talk of Treason.

Under Article III, Section 3, of the Constitution, any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them Aid and Comfort has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution. The term aid and comfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms, troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information. If a subversive act has any tendency to weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies, aid and comfort has been given.

However, the Treason Clause applies only to disloyal acts committed during times of war. Acts of dis-loyalty during peacetime are not considered treasonous under the Constitution. Nor do acts of Espionage committed on behalf of an ally constitute treason.

It is also important to note that under Article III a person can levy war against the United States without the use of arms, weapons, or military equipment.

In 2012, the Pentagon concluded that computer sabotage by another country could constitute an act of war.

 

The officials emphasize, however, that not every attack would lead to retaliation. Such a cyber attack would have to be so serious it would threaten American lives, commerce, infrastructure or worse, and there would have to be indisputable evidence leading to the nation state involved.

 

Saundra McDavid, Faculty Member of School of Business at American Military University, explains:

Actions that would qualify as acts of war are 1) the disruption or destruction of a nation’s financial institutions and nuclear command and control systems, and 2) computer-induced failures of power grids, transportation networks or financial systems that might result in physical damage or economic disruption of Department of Defense (DoD) operations. These events would rise to the level of cyber attacks that could prompt a declaration of war.

We have linked the cyber attack to Russia, both through social engineering, through hacking efforts against the DNC and Clinton campaign, through manipulation of our voting machines, and our voter registration databases.

We have established links for the funding of it through the NRA.

We have linked both the Russian operatives and the the NRA operatives to the Trump campaign and directly to the President through Roger Stone, at the very least.

The result of these actions is the destruction of American environmental protections by Trump appointed EPA chief Scott Pruitt.

The near complete undoing of Civil Rights by Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos in the Justice and Education departments respectively.

The stoking of racial and religious hate crimes by the President himself.

The threat of abandoning our allies in the United Nations along with the agreement to pull back from North Korea leaving all the former territories of the U.S.S. R. unprotected and ripe for re absorption by Putin’s Russia.

Starting trade wars that are detrimental to American farmers and businesses, and our allies, but beneficial to Russia who will fill the gap in product loss on the international markets caused by the tariff wars.

Trump is dismantling our government from the top of every organization downward.   He is destroying long standing economic alliances.   He is putting American jobs at risk while claiming the corporate profits are rising.  He is putting American lives at risk by removing environmental protections of them and stoking violent hate crimes.  His administration is committing crimes against humanity at our southern border, by actively abducting and trafficking in immigrant children while extorting their families for political purposes.

No matter what issue is raised about this president, and his administration, it all boils down simply.

 

We need to remember that we are fighting against a small group of kleptocrats put in power by an adversarial government with the purposes of dismantling America’s democracy and its international influence, and they are using willful ignorance, racism, misogyny, religious bigotry, and divisive partisan politics to accomplish it.

 

When viewed in that light, every single thing he has done, and everything others are doing to defend him, makes perfect sense.

The president of the United States accepted bribes from a hostile foreign government and conspired to assume power and put that government’s interests in advance of Americans to the determent of American lives.

The attack on our elections was an act of war directly resulting in the disruption or destruction of a nation’s financial institutions and nuclear command and control systems and financial systems that might result in physical damage or economic disruption of Department of Defense (DoD) operations.

It has threatened American lives, commerce, infrastructure and worse, and there is indisputable evidence leading to the nation state involved

This is treason.

This is every single issue the founders said could individually result in not only the removal of the President, but also his Vice President and every civil service member of his administration.    This should invalidate any appointments or laws executive orders issued by such a president as well.

Any member of congress who, knowing all of these things, continues to obstruct Mueller’s investigation is just as guilty as those already convicted of these acts.

There will be pressure, very soon, from Republicans on Trump to resign, as Nixon did, to prevent impeachment.  If this happens, and the investigation stalls as a result, the rest of the Trump administration and cabinet will be allowed to remain in place.

There is enough evidence already to impeach and remove them all.

Barring that, absolutely no further appointments should be confirmed until the investigation has completed, especially not life long judicial appointments.

Step Up. Step Forward. Step In.

I have, up to this point, refrained from saying much on this specific person, but now it is time to do so, but I’m not looking to have the same discussion everyone else is having regarding her and what she did.
Earlier this month, a white woman found herself filled with faux-fear of Black people gathering in the public space at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California for a barbecue.

As a result of this fake fear she called the police and reported the group for “suspicious behavior” for no reason other than to get the police to officially harass the family, most likely in the hope that someone would become belligerent about the unwarranted harassment and give the police an excuse to escalate the encounter.

We know for a fact her reported fear was a false fear because she spent the entire time waiting for the police verbally harassing the group, shouting at and berating them.

Thankfully, the police handled this situation correctly, and she was the one they ended up removing.

In the aftermath she has experienced her 15 minutes of Internet infamy, finding her image photoshopped into nearly every significant image of people of color gathering from Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech to “Soul Train,” to the “Sugar Shack,” to the “Last Supper.” In every image she is on her mobile phone reporting the suspicious gathering to the police.

We also now know that she is a Stanford educated Doctor of Philosophy with a focus on Chemical Engineering. Her name is Dr. Jennifer Schulte.

This means that intelligent or not, she is most definitely highly educated. We also know that a racist “Doctor of Philosophy with a focus in Chemical Engineering” is the closest social media will allow you to come to labeling yourself a “Doctor of Eugenics” whether on your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn profile.

What I want to talk about is bigger than her.
What I want to talk about is bigger than the increasing frequency of exposure of white people reporting people of color to the police in order to have them harassed for going about their normal daily activities. Activities such as meeting friends at a Starbucks, leaving an Airbnb property, napping in the college dorm, or just trying to do their job.

What I want to talk about is bigger than the racist bigots calling ICE on anyone with a Latinx/Hispanic appearance or who dares to speak Spanish in a public space. Especially if their targets happen to be working in a restaurant or other service industry business. They do this with no regard to the fact that many, if not most of them, may very well be natural citizens and legal immigrants, they just want to see them persecuted for daring to share the same space.
What I want to talk about is bigger than all of that.

I want to talk about us, and by “Us” I mean all the White people, just like me who consider ourselves to be “not a racist,” but live in a world that accepts all of this going on around us on a daily basis.

The racist argument is based entirely on the fact that an entire classification of people can be judged by the behaviors of their worst members, no matter how few of those worst examples there are.

As long as we allow this to continue unchecked, as long as there are not consequences for the worst of those of our own demographic, we cannot honestly blame anyone for grouping us in with our own worst element. And sadly, we have more than a few. We’ve empowered them into the highest levels of our government, economy, and social structure.

People with beliefs just like Dr. Jennifer Schulte are teachers, loan officers, police officers, politicians, firemen, ambulance technicians, doctors, plumbers, contractors, bus drivers, and more. And if this is the way they behave when they expect anonymity and/or preferential deference, you know that they’re unleashing far worse on their targets within their professional capacity to do so at every opportunity they believe they can get away with it.

We’ve allowed them to establish the laws, regulations, rules, policies, procedures, and algorithms that permit them to enforce their bigotry and hatred upon their victims.

We often even benefit from the systemic racism they’ve established, it’s become so entrenched that we may not even notice it. And when it is pointed out to us, we often become defensive. We say we didn’t make the rules. We say we don’t have the ability to change them. But, we don’t go out of our way to avoid the benefit of them either.

It is no longer enough, it really never has been enough, to be not-racist. We must all be aggressively anti-racist.

We must call it out whenever we see it.

Every instance.

Every time.

This is the pro-active strategy that we can implement:

Be alert and vigilant in public spaces. Look for a “suspicious” white person when a black person or a group of black people walk into the space.

Such a person will appear nervous, agitated, or angry. If they call the police:

1. Begin to record the scene.

2. Approach the black individual(s) and explain that you are an ally as a witness.

3. Call a friend or relative to let them know what you are doing and that you may get arrested.

4. Remain on site as a witness until the police arrive.

5. Once the police arrive, engage with the police if they detain or arrest the black individual(s). Get names and badges numbers.

6. If the black individuals are handcuffed and taken to the police station, DO NOT post your video on social media.

7. Instead, call local media.

8. Call the local bar association to get a pro bono attorney to follow up.

If you sense that the police may arrest you, immediately send your video footage to your cloud account or a friend.
If arrested, do not say a word while detained in lock-up.

You have privilege.

Don’t just talk about how bad things are, or worse, ignore overt and systemic racism as “Not my problem, not my responsibility.”

Use it to create equality for those that do not.

Until we take it upon ourselves to bring about the necessary change, nothing is going to change.

You have privilege.

Don’t just talk about how bad things are, or worse, ignore overt and systemic racism as “Not my problem, not my responsibility.”

Use it to create equality for those that do not.

Until we take it upon ourselves to bring about the necessary change, nothing is going to change.

Please Pay Attention

Immediately after Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw its military troops from Syria, another chemical attack occurred in within the country.

 

merlin_136558434_b3e7b6d1-ee85-470e-8b24-5fd119ffd9ca-master675
A picture said to show victims of the attack in a building in Douma. Credit Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, via Associated Press

 

In response, Israeli fighters used Lebanese airspace to launch missiles at an Iranian base in Russian and Turkish supported Syria, using the chemical attacks on Syrian citizens as their justification.

All while a blustering United States President –with no understanding of diplomacy or conflict resolution — refuses to stand against Russia or Syria in any substantive way because he hero worships the leaders of Russia and Turkey.

Meanwhile, that same United States President is engaged in a trade war with China undermining any incentive for them to help with North Korean negotiations.

At the same time he’s escalating a border conflict with Mexico.

Then there is the domestic front, where The United States President’s Administration is inciting racial and religious discord, sowing distrust in the free press, dismantling our educational systems as well as our environmental and civil rights protections for personal gain, using his office to attack a business rival (who wouldn’t be a rival if the President had properly divested from his businesses when elected), and tanking the stock market with ill-thought social media commentary.

All this happens as the president is facing impeachment, civil, and criminal legal issues ranging from violations of Federal Elections Commissions regulations during his campaign, to conspiracy against the United States in the election, to obstruction of justice and abuse of power, to sexual harassment, to witness tampering.

If you don’t see where all this combined international and domestic designed incompetence and conflict is headed, you really need to start paying better attention.

Pluralistic Ignorance – Overcoming #Culturalinertia Part 7.

A recurring theme on the blog, the corresponding Facebook page and Twitter feed, over the course of the year has been exposing #Culturalinertia and discussing how it affects us.  You can read those previous entries here:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.

Today, as the year nears its end, I’d like to put forth for specific consideration a slightly different type of message.

Instead of looking at specific examples of the phenomenon, let’s look at the major cause of it and the best tool available to us to over come it.

One of the major causes of Cultural Inertia is termed “Pluralistic Ignorance.”

 

Pluralistic ignorance occurs when people erroneously infer that they feel differently from their peers, even though they are behaving similarly.

 

This ignorance can be reinforced or overcome by properly applying the concepts of “Social Proof.”

 

Social proof is based on the idea of normative social influence, which states that people will conform in order to be liked by, [people] similar to [them] or accepted by the influencer (or society).

 

The combination of these concepts indicates that people, when unsure of how to behave, will look to those around them who are similiar to them, or people they respect, and mirror that behavior.

The need to conform to the social proof can even force a behavioral change in someone who knows the actions they are observing to be morally incorrect so as not to be seen as different and made an outcast.

Now, consider a Person of Color being verbally abused by a White racist, if nobody stops to intervene, the social proof for those walking by is that the behavior is acceptable enough that they are not supposed to do anything about it, even if they disagree with it.  Especially if they are physically similar in appearance to the attacker instead of the victim.

If there are mutliple attackers the social norm could drive enough pluralistic ignorance to compel those passing by to join in the attack instead of help the victim, even if they themselves would not normally initiate such an incident on their own.

However, if another similar looking White person stops to intervene, another will follow their lead instead of that of the attacker.   This proof of proper behavior will spur more to choose the role of protectors.

When it comes to this bigotry and racism, we need to change the social proof to indicate without question that such behavior is unacceptable.   We cannot allow the normal accepted response to such behavior to be apathetic indifference or a mob mentality attack.

Until we do so, we condemn ourselves to having to constantly wonder why this is still continuing, why we must keep having the same battles.   And worse, we condemn those victims of it to the choice of either remaining victims or aggressively reversing the situation on their own, and then we’ll complain about their methodology instead of helping them specifically because they violated the social norms of acceptable behavior themselves.

The social proof of pluralistic ignorance becomes even harder, but more vital, to overcome when those in positions of great power and authority are openly displaying and calling for behavior we know to be abhorrent and unacceptable.

When that happens admissions of sexual assault become “locker room talk,” and secretly conspiring with adversarial governments to undermine and overthrow our own becomes “partisan disagreement.”

If you want to break the momentum of this, or any, Cultural Inertia, you must be willing to be an agent of change.  You must step up and help provide the social proof that the behavior you want to see is behavior that others should mirror.

You need to be the shining light allowing those lost in the dark to see.

If you aren’t willing to do that, you have become one of those lost to the pluralistic ignorance, reinforced by the social proof you see around you, that has led you to believe that it is too late to do anything or that anything you do won’t be enough.

As long as enough people believe that, they’ll continue to be right.

It is time to change the norms.

We must, each of us, be willing to be the one that makes the change.

Is Accountability Really What You Want?

Remember that the Republicans devoted more than a two-year investigation, encompassing 33 hearings held in congressional investigations and four public hearings, at an estimated cost of $7 million and counting, to the involvement of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the events related to the attack on Benghazi.

 

Ultimately, while the conclusions drawn by the competing reports are in sharp contrast with each other, neither place blame directly on Clinton for her actions during the Benghazi attack. The Republicans’ report alleges that “the response to the attacks suffered from confusion and miscommunication circulating between agencies,” NBC News reports. The Democrats’ report concludes, “the U.S. military could not have done anything differently on the night of the attacks that would have saved the lives of the four brave Americans killed in Benghazi.” Both, undoubtedly, are correct to some degree. Perhaps now, after four years and eight separate investigations that all failed to find evidence of a cover-up, the G.O.P. can move on.

 

We can all rest assured that if the Republicans — who spent nearly three decades campaigning against the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency — had found a single actionable item with enough merit to convene a grand jury or allow them to bring charges they would have done so.  If for no other reason than to be able to say she was on trial during the 2016 campaign cycle.

 

But they didn’t, because their own investigations always led back to the same conclusions.   That the blame for the incident lied solely with Republican forced budget cuts to the State Department’s security funding, and that as a result, no support troops were in range to respond within a time frame to have prevented the outcome that occurred.

Recently the Republican President added the African nation of Chad last month to his most recent installment of travel restrictions, and everyone from the Pentagon to Chad’s leaders to the French government was perplexed. The U.S. has praised Chad’s cooperation on counterterrorism, especially its campaign against a vicious Boko Haram insurgency spilling over from Nigeria.

 

All because Chad had simply run out of passport paper to issue new passports.

 

Instead of allowing those with proper passports to enter, Trump decided to add everyone from the nation to his ban of all travelers to the U.S. 

 

At a crucial moment, the Trump administration has caused unnecessary friction with Chad, whose military is the strongest in the region.

 

As a result, Chad’s leadership withdrew their soldiers that were the primary fighting force against ISIS and Boko Haram in Niger from the region.

 

This allowed for an immediate resurgence of enemy forces that led to the deaths of four American Army special forces personnel who were on a mission in unarmored non-military vehicles with no planned air support.

 

The French military provided air support within 30 minutes of being called, but refused to open fire because they could not identify a specific target without the risk of hitting U.S. and Nigerian forces also.

 

The extraction of this team was farmed out to a French “contractor,” Berry Aviation., which failed to recover one of soldiers during the extraction effort.

 

The Republican president’s administration covered up the incident for several days until that last body could be recovered.

 

Then the president diverted attention from the actual incident by redirecting it to his mismanagement of the contact of family members and subsequent obvious lies about that.

 

He then had his Chief of Staff publicly attack the integrity of a Black Congresswoman with fabricated accusations to create more diversion from the original incident in retaliation of her exposure of the lies.

 

Anyone still screaming “Lock her up!”, or “But Benghazi!”, and not equally incensed about the details of the deaths in Niger, were clearly never interested in achieving accountability, in protecting or saving American lives, or in identifying the issues that led to these deaths and preventing them from happening again.   They are simply desperate to “Lock her up” on whatever Trumped up charge they can get to stick.

 

Shouldn’t this newest incident, and these four new deaths, warrant the same level of diligent investigation as the first?

 

If you think not; why not?

 

Please show your work.

The Reason So Many Are Saying “#MeToo”

Like me, I imagine you have seen far more women than you may have expected, maybe even if you are a woman, posting “Me too” as their social media status.

This #MeToo movement is intended to show the world just how prevalent sexual harassment and sexual assault truly is.

Because, whether they ever reported it or not, it has happened to them too.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a government agency responsible for processing the sexual harassment complaints that do get reported, says nearly one-third of the 90,000 complaints received in 2015 included a harassment allegation — but the agency notes that that number is far too low to reflect reality.

And this only includes those brave enough to risk losing their income, careers, personal relationships, and any remaining dignity by coming forward and going through the ordeal of proving their claim.

They also estimate that 75 percent of all workplace harassment incidents go unreported altogether.

Look at how society treats those who do speak up from shame, victim blaming, and threats, to open retaliation and it should be obvious why so few choose to step forward.

Statistically, I am fairly certain that at least half of all women are sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. And, far more have been sexually harassed.

Some men are also joining in with their own “Me too” announcements, because men and boys can be harassed and assaulted also. By men and women.

Based on my own social media feeds, and the available statistical data, it would seem that far more people have been victimized than not, especially among women.

Statistically, 1 in 6 boys will have been assaulted by the age of 18. The percentage drops in adulthood, but not enough to become insignificant.

This does not include sexual harassment claims by men or women in the workplace.

We must then consider that abused young men, who don’t receive help, often become abusers themselves later. If we can reasonably expect each to have mutliple victims over the course of their lives (because someone who does this, rarely limits themselves to one target), then the primary causation for the other numbers becomes to come clear.

Untreated young victims growing up believing the only way not to be a victim again is to be an abuser, being raised in a society that glorifies hyper-masculinity (even from females that don’t want to appear or be labeled “weak”) and stigmatizes sex while inundating everyone with sexuality, and finally attacks any victim, that dares to step forward, to further victimize them for daring to speak up.

 

This is the world we have built. It is up to us to fix it.

Dealing With Sexual Predators — Overcoming Cultural Inertia: Part 6

This is the sixth entry in an ongoing series exposing entrenched patterns in our societal culture that hinder our progress and what we can do to break free of them.   Previous entries are still available.   Part 1.   Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5.

Over the last few days, more and more information detailing a long history of workplace sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein has been surfacing.

People have been quick to jump all over this in order to further partisan political divides.

Even the President and many of his followers weighed in suggesting that any democrats that received money from Weinstein over the years should have to return it.

We have created a long standing and deeply entrenched rape culture based on toxic masculinity.   The pervasiveness of this extends far beyond any one political party or any one socioeconomic class.

This is a culture that routinely punishes school girls for being distractions to male students who are taught “boys will be boys” instead of how to become real men who don’t give in to their base impulses.

This is a culture that assumes a woman who gets raped must have not only deserved it but asked for it, by the way she dressed, the way she acted, the fact that she was drinking in public, or even because she’s actually had consensual sex at some point in her past.

This is a culture that would rather allow a court room to further destroy a young woman for daring to file a police report and press charges against her assailant, than properly sentence a sexual predator for fear that punishment might harm his future potential.  They don’t care at all about the future potential of his victim(s).

This is a culture that would not only force a young rape victim to carry a child she was impregnated with during her rape to term, but then give her rapist joint custody.

This is a culture that will ruin the career of a woman who steps forth with allegations of sexual assault in the workplace.

This is a culture that assumes any woman who achieves any level of business success must have achieved her position of power through sexual influence and “sleeping her way to the top.”

This is a culture that enables rapists while discouraging and punishing the victims for speaking out.

This is a result of a society based upon the key to success being toxic masculinity.

A few years back, Rachel Lu wrote an excellent article on the subject, in which she stated:

 

Feminists are now in love with the term “toxic masculinity,” but interestingly, it doesn’t seem to have originated with them. It was coined in the 90s by men’s advocates (such as the Mythopoetic Men’s Movement) who were looking to contrast a normal, healthy masculinity with more negative manifestations of manliness. As more and more boys grew up without fathers, and as their struggles were continually overlooked by a world anxious to promote the welfare of women, the stereotypical hyper-aggressive and sex-crazed man became more common and more feared.
This is the essence of “toxic masculinity.” It is emotionally stunted and obsessed with sex and violence. Toxic males seek the thrill of danger and shun responsibility and commitment. Since they lust after women but don’t want to marry or love them, their attitude towards the other sex tends to be offensively objectifying, and can easily turn misogynistic if (as often happens) they experience rejection. When a young man is unable to talk to girls, and vents his frustration by killing them instead, toxic ideals of manhood are clearly in play.

 

This has nothing at all to do with political alignment, and attempting to act like it does, allows us to argue about the wrong aspect of the problem and leads us down a path that will never reach valid resolutions.

Modern Americans are raised not understanding the difference between sexual and sensual.  They are raised not understanding personal responsibility when it comes to sex.  They are raised society with a marketing and entertainment culture that glorifies in using sex and sexuality as a tool, while also demonizing those who show interest in it at every turn.

If we want to put an end to sexual predators in our culture, we need to teach our children not be become them.  We need to properly punish those who do, in order to help send the appropriate messages to others.

We need to have the right discussions and give our children the right tools to make intelligent informed decisions as both young and grown adults.

We need to force our media to improve their reporting of such incidents.  As Leah Finnegan explains

:

The media is very bad when it comes to reporting stories of sexual misconduct against women.

 

And we need to understand, that you have no valid moral ground for political arguments judging sexual predators if you voted for, or supported in any way, the installation of the “Grab her by the Pussy” self-confessed sexual predator into the highest governmental office of our nation.

Improving Social Discourse, One Word At A Time.

Language has evolved throughout history and will continue to do so far into the future.

As part of that evolution words get repurposed.

When people originally began using the word “run,’ they had no way of knowing it would eventually be used to describe the functionality of an engine, motor, or electrical appliance.

Or, that the word “gay,” which originally described being happy or carefree, would become used to indicate a person’s sexual attraction to partners of the same gender.

Sometimes, words take on a newer derogatory meaning.

During the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s, “gay,” was repurposed again by many to describe something that was considered stupid, bad, or lame.

Sometimes, derogatory words are reclaimed to diminish their abusive usage.

This is seen with the incorporation of the word “gay” back into the mainstream acceptance of the LGBTQ community.   People often use “LGBTQ” or “LGBTQ+” to mean everyone included in the “LGBTTTQQIAA” community.  This includes Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgenders, Transsexuals, Two-Spirited people, Queers, Intersexuals, Asexuals, and Allies, as well as those who identify as Pansexual, Agender, Gender Queer, Bigender, Gender Variant, and Pangender.

Additionally, there are instances in which aspects of popular culture change the meaning of a word.  In the 1970s, the phrase “Bad ass” was used to describe something as exceptionally good or tough.   The 1980s shortened this further to “Bad,” redefining the way the word was used for years.

Finally, we will see conflation and/or redefinition of terms to push a political agenda.

During the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, the American government managed a massive, and remarkably successful campaign to conflate all of the widely varied definitions of Socialism and the definition of Communism into one great “Anti-American” enemy in order to pave the way for the unleashing of Corporatism on the socially democratic Capitalism that made the United States the greatest and strongest economy the world had ever seen at that point with the strongest middle class that had ever existed.  The success of this propaganda effort is still clear today as those fighting against progressive reform attempt to label those fighting for it as un-American, communists, or evil socialists!

After the Civil Rights movement successfully made overt racism unacceptable, this era also brought about a much more subtle and subversive form of racial oppression by those in power.  Some attempted to repackage the language of their racism behind false patriotism, while others held out Freedom of Religion as a shield for their hatred.   This ushered in an era of better veiled, but more extensive systemic racism in deceptive packaging.

These various forms of language evolution happen so regularly that each year the Oxford English Dictionary adds entries for approximately 1000 new words, along with roughly 4000 new definitions, to the compendium of our language.

Now, more than ever, due to the politicizing of many important words, it has become vital to ensure we use words that truly communicate the meaning we are attempting to convey.

The disconnect in the arguments presented against progress and understanding often come from an intentional deception behind the misuse of the words used to present those arguments.

We need to evaluate the more divisive words used in these discussions.

This requires differentiating between preferential bias, bigotry, racism, and racial oppression.

People may find themselves more attracted to a person of the same skin color or even a different color as sexual partners or friends.    This is preferential bias.   It does not necessarily mean they hate or dislike people that don’t match what they are naturally drawn to.

If, however, a person hates people of different color and treats them in a manner less respectful than other people because of their skin color, he is displaying overt bigotry.

When bigotry progresses to the use of derogatory language to dehumanize another, or an attempt to bring harm to another – physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, etc. — because of this arbitrary criterion, we have entered the realm of racism.

Combining racism with the power to create a more sweeping practice to dehumanize and/or harm entire communities creates institutionalized racial oppression and injustice.

Often those resisting the fight to reform institutionalized racial oppression and injustice will qualify their statements with some form of “I’m not racist, but…”

What they’re really saying is:

 

“I don’t call those people derogatory words, I don’t burn crosses in their yards, I don’t wear a hood to lynching parties, but I don’t want those people living in my neighborhood, or going to school with my kids, and if they’re being unconstitutionally beaten or killed by police it’s probably because they deserve it.”

 

Clearly, these people are racist, they have just learned not to be overt, by using coded language.

These same people like to toss around the word “Thug,” because the use of words such as the “N-word” make it impossible for their metaphorical white supremacy hood to mask their racist identity.

According to the Oxford English dictionary, the original definition of “thug” is:

 

“A member of an organization of robbers and assassins in India. Devotees of the goddess Kali, the Thugs waylaid and strangled their victims, usually travellers, in a ritually prescribed manner. They were suppressed by the British in the 1830s.”

 

The same source lists the correct current definition as:

 

“A violent person, especially a criminal.”

 

Yet, as John McWhorter, associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, explains; what people mean when they use it in context of talking about black people protesting injustice, or even Black people in general, is:

 

“A nominally polite way of using the N-word. Many people suspect it, and they are correct. When somebody talks about thugs ruining a place, it is almost impossible today that they are referring to somebody with blond hair. It is a sly way of saying there go those black people ruining things again.”

 

With this connotation, even community leaders and rich, successful businessmen become “disgusting, disrespectful thugs” if they dare to protest injustice, even peacefully.

Which brings us to “respect.”

Over the last year a passage has been traveling the internet that explains the misuse of this term quite well.

 

Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating someone like a person” and sometimes they use “respect” to mean “treating someone like an authority.”

And sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person.”

And they think they’re being fair but they aren’t, and it’s not okay.

 

Demanding respect while refusing to return it exposes the incredible sensitivity over the word privilege, especially regarding White Privilege.

Having privilege does not mean having a better life.   It means having less barriers to a decent life than others.   This privilege often manifests in ways that those benefiting don’t even realize is happening.

 

  •  A White person receives a job offer because the resume of a better qualified person of color was thrown in the trash because the hiring manager didn’t like the ethnic sounding name.
  • A White person makes an offer on a house in a great school district, because a family of color wasn’t shown the house the previous week by a realtor attempting to maintain the “racial integrity” of the neighborhood and school.
  • A White person gets stopped for running a stop sign and doesn’t have to immediately begin thinking about how they’re going to survive the next few minutes if their skin color is scary enough to make the officer “fear for their safety.”

 

Privilege is the absence of systemic obstacles created to provide a more difficult path to success for a specific group of people.   If those obstacles are designed properly, people who are not affected by them, never notice them.   We have spent centuries perfecting the design.

Look at how hard some states make it for specific communities to obtain the necessary ID to vote. Intentionally placing the offices which provide the necessary documentation to receive ID as far from each other and from the community as possible, making the hours of operation of such centers difficult for low income families with multiple jobs, and who rely on public transportation, to utilize.  They do all this, however; without creating a fee for the actual ID that can be identified as a poll tax.

Just before a push for voter registration began for the 2016 primaries, Alabama closed more than thirty of their Driver’s License locations in Democratic districts to make voter registration of new low income Democratic Voters more difficult.

Wisconsin pulled a similar trick by eliminating polling centers forcing voters to travel to much harder to reach locations, with limited hours of availability, and longer waiting lines designed to deter elderly, infirm voters, as well as those with small children and no financial resources for child care while voting.

Privilege is a “trigger-issue” for many White people because it forces them to admit that successful Blacks managed to become more successful despite having to overcome greater obstacles.

Black families have long taught their children it’s necessary to work twice as hard as a White person from the same neighborhood to achieve half as much.   While I am not sure the ratio still holds exactly true, the concept certainly has not been invalidated, yet.

This brings us to “equality.”

Those arguing against equality use an argument that defines equality as the same in all aspects.   They claim those fighting for equality want everyone to drive the same fancy cars and live in the same fancy houses.

This is not what anyone fighting for equality is attempting to achieve.

We are fighting for:

 

Equality of Opportunity

 

All people regardless of color, gender, religion, sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity, or any other arbitrary qualifier should have the same opportunity, the same obstacles or lack of them to their success.    Whether they achieve their own definition of success in life should be nothing more than a matter of individual drive, motivation, persistence and ability instead of systemic blocks to prevent them from becoming successful because those who have already obtained more power don’t approve of them.

 

Equality of Pay

 

The point isn’t that everyone should be paid the same amount of money despite their type of work, quality of work, or volume of work.   Only, that two people doing the same type of work, the same volume of work, the same quantity of work should not be paid less because of any of those arbitrary criteria.   Assuredly, those doing better work and/or more work, should not be paid less.

 

Equality of Justice

 

No one is saying that White people should be treated worse by police, or sentenced more harshly for the crimes they commit.   The argument is that People of Color should not be treated any worse than those White people that commit the same violations, nor should they be sentenced any more harshly.

 

The race for equality is not over when the first person or team crosses the finish line, it is only complete when the last does.
Those bringing up the rear could get there sooner if everyone would help push and pull each other forward along the way.
Our society would be far better off if those that had already reached the finish would grab a vehicle and go back to start giving rides.
Sadly though, far too many reach the end and forget all about those they left behind, even the ones that helped them along the way.
Even worse, a significant number are intentionally laying traps to hinder those behind them.   They don’t have to do it by tossing around dehumanizing slang.   What they’re doing is far more evil.

 

We must stop them.

 

When it comes to racism, institutional oppression, and injustice, there are no innocent bystanders.

You’re either guilty, an enabler, a victim, or you’re actively working to put an end to it to help the victims.

If you choose to fight against these things in our society and help us progress forward to a truly inclusive and cooperative society, don’t allow your opponents to redefine and reframe your message.

Finally, we must understand the vast difference between access and inclusion.

A retail business may become handicap accessible by putting a wheel chair ramp outside their front door and rails in the bathroom stall.  That doesn’t make the aisles inside wide enough or clear enough for a wheel chair to traverse, or the products reachable by someone confined to a wheelchair.

Telling People of Color they can use the bus, but they have to ride in specific seats because they’re not worthy of the better ones was similar.

This is what access without inclusion is telling people:

 

“You can use this service, we’ll let you inside, but everyone, especially you, should clearly understand you’re not really welcome here.”

 

I hope you’ll join me, and that this information helps, in the fight to build a more equal and inclusive society.

One where no one must give up their ethnic identity, religion, gender identity, sexuality, or find a way to “pass” just to be welcomed.  

One where we openly acknowledge our commonalities and celebrate, instead of requiring forced denial, of our differences.

A society in which the success of one person or group does not require the manufactured failure of another.