Saturday, June 17, 2017

"Every time Trump has broken a window, GOP leaders have obediently swept up the glass."

Some articles I found worth reading.

1.  From the LA Times:

"Every time Trump has broken a window, GOP leaders have obediently swept up the glass, if sometimes after some initial grumbling. Their deference could explain why Trump might imagine Republicans would ultimately defend him even if he fired special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, as he’s reportedly considered this week."
As I've said before, this is like watching a car racing toward the cliff in slow motion.  Slowly Republicans in Congress - at least in the Senate - are going to figure out that the short term benefits of having a so-called Republican in the White House do not outweigh the long term harm of having Trump in the White House.

2.  From the New York Times, a long article about Kris Kobach, a smart guy whose moral reasoning seems particularly warped.   His mission is to pass the most restrictive voter registration laws possible to keep non-whites from voting.  He did that as Kansas Secretary of State and now he's the "vice chairman of a new Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to be led by Vice President Mike Pence."  This guy uses up a lot of the ACLU's resources.

Raspail's The Camp of the Saints is also mentioned in the article.  Fits in well with the Bannon crowd.
"At the A.C.L.U. hearing, Kobach argued that his restrictive measures were justified by the high stakes. 'We are preventing noncitizens from voting in elections,' he said. “And when a few noncitizens vote, those can swing a close election.'”
And when a lot of citizens are prevented from voting, those can swing less close elections.

When I read about people like this my mind screams, "WHY????"   Why does his brain work this way?  Is there something about his brain chemistry that's different from most people?  Was he picked on as a kid?  Maybe that difference caused him to be picked on.  There are lots and lots of other possible explanations.  Figuring out these things - rather than just dismissing him as evil or whatever else - is what will move us along as a species.

3.  Mapping Police Violence

I'm not sure what you'll get since the link goes to the main page, which I assume changes.  But the website tracks blacks and whites killed by police.  The statistics are shocking and surprising.  It's all about graphics and data.  A number of different displays.  And there's a link to download their database.

There are lots of possible explanations for these seeming disparities, but the data aren't as easy to get. Is it simply more racist cops in some places?  Better police training in some places?  Different policing styles, like beat cops?  Age of the population or other factors that matter?  Stability of the population?  Lots to think about here.


  1. 'When I read about people like this my mind screams, "WHY????" Why does [Kobach's] brain work this way? ... Figuring out these things - rather than just dismissing him as evil or whatever else - is what will move us along as a species.'
    I know all about the screaming, but I can't say I take the high road, as you do. If I had to guess, I'd say religion (perhaps the old Puritan streak most of all) coupled with an undying strain of white supremacy moves many like Kobach. But that's just a hunch.

  2. Pico, but why do some folks with those influences go wildly extreme while most stay relatively 'normal'? If by the 'high road' you mean wanting to know 'why?' instead of just venting with a convenient prejudice, then I guess I'm guilty. I also want to know why about the guy from Belleville too. This brief summary of studies doesn't mention religion or racism for mass shooters. That doesn't mean they don't play a role in picking a target for one's anger. My guess is people like Kobach have always been outsiders to the point that being hated isn't a deterrent any more. And he's smart enough to find more effective ways than shootings to strike back. I don't know whether this is accurate for Kobach, but I think domestic violence, bullying, and ostracizing have a huge impact on people. Creating more safe spaces for kids in and out of school would go a long way in reducing anger and physical violence and Kobach's structural violence.

    1. By the "high road," I do mean pretty much how you define it. Venting seems to be the order of the day (and I've done my share too). The category of "mass shooters" in those studies apparently differs from politically or culturally motivated terrorist shootings, like Paris in 2015. Religion appears to play a big role in many such events. I have not looked at recent studies or compilations dealing w/ the temperament of the person who goes "wildly extreme." Those who crack and engage in a mass killing and then take their own lives (U. of Virginia and Newtown are good examples) do not appear to have any political motives, just outright hatred of everything human including themselves. The Tea Partiers and people like Kobach — I do wonder about the psychology that gives them their certitude and their rabid anti-liberal bias. I think this is one of the big questions right now. I'm old enough to recall when the consensus was New Deal, New Frontier, Great Society. That march of progress seemed like it had no other direction but forward. So much energy today, strengthened by virulent hatred, wants to stop that march. And your question "why?" is the pertinent one. ... (Sorry for a delayed response to you. ... Meanwhile I'll be mostly offline for a week or more in the event there's a further reply. I do think this is a vital question.)

    2. A week off line. Lucky you!!

      Back in the 'good old days' we had more harmony because the oppressed - blacks, women, gays, communists, Native Americans, etc. - had no voice. There was a lot 'virulent hatred' when blacks and their supporters marched in Selma.

      It's also interesting to compare people's attitudes toward terrorism laws and hate crime laws. I did post comparing hate crimes and terrorism. I was asking why people who strongly opposed hate crime laws (because they're 'thought crimes' which place higher value on some lives) strongly support anti-terrorism laws.
      After examining the laws for both, I found that both laws add an extra penalty because they target some victims over others. Here's a quote from Rep. Boehner:
      "'The Democrats' 'thought crimes' legislation, however, places a higher value on some lives than others. Republicans believe that all lives are created equal, and should be defended with equal vigilance." (No irony intended I'm sure.)
      I still think it's mostly people not getting treated decently - probably starting at home by abusive or very strict parents who also teach people not to think. And the anger that builds up gets fanned into violence by the likes of talk radio and Fox news. And now the hate corners of the internet.


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