Monday, April 23, 2018

Isn’t it “sexist” to be in “awe” that Southwest pilot did her job?

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt may be not only morally and ethically corrupt but also juvenile in his need to lie about things than can easily be refuted, but that is just the kind of person that Donald Trump apparently holds in the highest esteem—likely because it describes he himself so well. So, we are need in “heroes,” even if they need to be manufactured. For example, following the Southwest Airlines flight that was forced to land with one engine after the other exploded causing the death of  one person, Captain Tammie Jo Shults was given endless superlatives to describe her efforts to land the plane: “heroic,” “incredible,”  “calm,” “impressive,” even “we shouldn’t be surprised hero pilot is a woman.” Well, forgive me for being overly cynical, but I think everyone on that flight is happy that they didn’t have a pilot who didn’t crack-up; after all, why would anyone want to be 30,000 feet in the air on a commercial aircraft if they didn’t think the people who flew the thing were actually competent to do so?  It is also worth noting that aircraft with more than one engine are designed to be able to fly on just one engine in an emergency, and pilots receive extensive flight simulation training to do so. I also suspect that the presence of a co-pilot who was an Air Force veteran (rather than a Navy flight trainer for most of seven years in the service) helped her to be “calm,” “heroic” and “impressive.”

There seems to be a number of definitions of what a “hero” is, often political. In Chris Stuckman’s YouTube video essay “The Problem with Action Movies Today,” he notes that in the film Lucy, once Scarlett Johansson’s character “unlocked” her mind, there was “no one left alive to challenge her,” and she left a predictable number of people dead without blinking an eye, making her “action” scenes “tensionless.” How can you care about a “hero” who is invulnerable, a mere killing machine? Why would you even call someone like that a “hero”? The only people who can “identify” with such a person are those who like to see a lot of people die, especially if they are all males. Another problem is that for some people such juvenile revenge fantasies are “real.” Back in the day if there were such invulnerable characters, they were nearly always evil and a human “hero” was forced to use some inventive way to destroy them. If there were “humans” who could wipeout hoards of other humans, like Victor Mature’s Samson in the 1949 film, who supposedly kills 10,000 Philistine soldiers with the jaw bone of an Ass, we know that it is not the literal truth, but a symbol of the power of some higher being. 

But more to the point, a real “hero” is someone who risks his or her own life to save that of others. To her credit, Shults acknowledged that she had help from her co-pilot, Darren Ellisor, and they both stated that they were not “heroes,” but just doing their jobs. What can be said is that there was no “pilot error” in this case, unlike that of the US Airways flight made famous by the film Sully, in which “pilot error” can be said to be the reason why that plane's engines were damaged was because the pilots flew the plane through a flock of geese (much less excusable than a Horizon flight I saw that was forced to return to SeaTac Airport with a Peregrine falcon splattered on its cockpit window). We can also agree that not everyone can fly an airplane; that takes special skill and training. Hoorah. But if we needed “heroes” to fly them, then why would passengers ever feel “safe” during a flight? Some guy on was decrying the cynicism of people like me, but he still didn’t explain why Shults was more “heroic” than Ellisor or heroic at all. Juliette Kayyem of CNN praised her “nerves of steel,” not mentioning the co-pilot role; I also take that former Homeland Security official’s opinion with another touch of cynicism, because this is the same person who employed barely concealed racial code in her book Security Mom.

But is such cynicism deserved? Take two famous cases where white females received accolades for “heroic” action that was out of all proportion to the facts. Perhaps the most infamous example is that of Jessica Lynch, whose supply convoy in Iraq was ambushed and 11 soldiers killed in 2003. It was all over the media that Lynch had gone down fighting before being captured, and was repeatedly raped by her captors before being heroically rescued by American forces. She was later awarded a Bronze Star, which apparently has a different standard than when it did in, say, the Vietnam War. The truth, as Lynch herself confessed, was that she had been knocked unconscious and remembered nothing before she found herself in an Iraqi hospital. She had never fired her weapon, and she didn’t “remember” being sexually assaulted. 

Lynch also wasn’t the only soldier captured (there were five others, just not attractive white females) and one soldier, Lori Ann Piestewa (a Hopi Indian) was the first female soldier to die in the Iraq War. She was almost completely ignored by the media engaged in its Lynch propaganda machine. Lynch also received much more attention than Marine Sergeant Fernando Padilla-Ramirez, who was killed in another ambush a short time later, his body dragged through the streets of Ash Shatrah. His body was later hung in the town square; some town residents disturbed by what happened showed more respect for Padilla-Ramirez than the U.S. media, taking his body down and giving him a proper burial. 

Iraqi medical personnel did everything they could for the badly wounded Lynch, and even begged the U.S. military to take her off their hands. But U.S. officials were more interested in using Lynch for propaganda purposes, and the U.S. media was all in. It is interesting to note that U.S. forces did not attempt the rescue until after Iraqi security had left the area, thus the “rescue” was little more than a cakewalk. The Guardian offered this story from the Iraqi perspective:

The doctors in Nassiriya say they provided the best treatment they could for Lynch in the midst of war. She was assigned the only specialist bed in the hospital, and one of only two nurses on the floor. "I was like a mother to her and she was like a daughter,"says Khalida Shinah. 

"We gave her three bottles of blood, two of them from the medical staff because there was no blood at this time,"said Dr Harith al-Houssona, who looked after her throughout her ordeal. "I examined her, I saw she had a broken arm, a broken thigh and a dislocated ankle. Then I did another examination. There was no [sign of] shooting, no bullet inside her body, no stab wound - only RTA, road traffic accident," he recalled. "They want to distort the picture. I don't know why they think there is some benefit in saying she has a bullet injury." 

"We heard the noise of helicopters," says Dr Anmar Uday. He says that they must have known there would be no resistance. "We were surprised. Why do this? There was no military, there were no soldiers in the hospital. 

"It was like a Hollywood film. They cried, 'Go, go, go', with guns and blanks and the sound of explosions. They made a show - an action movie like Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan, with jumping and shouting, breaking down doors." All the time with the camera rolling. The Americans took no chances, restraining doctors and a patient who was handcuffed to a bed frame. 

There was one more twist. Two days before the snatch squad arrived, Al-Houssona had arranged to deliver Jessica to the Americans in an ambulance. "I told her I will try and help you escape to the American Army but I will do this very secretly because I could lose my life." He put her in an ambulance and instructed the driver to go to the American checkpoint. When he was approaching it, the Americans opened fire. They fled just in time back to the hospital. The Americans had almost killed their prize catch. 

A military cameraman had shot footage of the rescue. It was a race against time for the video to be edited. The video presentation was ready a few hours after the first brief announcement. When it was shown, General Vincent Brooks, the US spokesman in Doha, declared: "Some brave souls put their lives on the line to make this happen, loyal to a creed that they know that they'll never leave a fallen comrade." 

Dr Jamal Kadhim Shwail was the first doctor to examine Lynch when she was brought to Nassiriya's military hospital by Iraqi special police. 

Shwail said Lynch was lying in the crowded reception of the hospital, unconscious and in shock from blood loss. 

She was wearing her uniform including a flak jacket, military trousers and boots, none of her clothes had been unbuttoned or removed, as the book claims, he said. 

"We only had a few minutes to save her life, we found a vein in her neck to give her fluids and blood," Shwail told Reuters at his home in Nassiriya. 

A team of five doctors treated Lynch, who was given an anaesthetic to allow a 15-cm (six-inch) cut to her head to be stitched and her fractures realigned. 

No signs
He said her flak jacket was removed and her clothes were cut away to expose the injured sites. The anaesthetist cut away an area around her groin to insert a catheter to drain urine. 

Lynch, now 20, was the same age as his eldest daughter Noor, said Shwail. A copy of People magazine with the blonde soldier's smiling face on the cover lay on the couch beside him. 

"She was a woman, young and alone in a strange country," he said. "It was our duty to look after her and we did. Now people are saying she was raped... it pains us." 

Shwail said he saw no signs of rape but neither was he looking for them. 

"The thought did not cross my mind. Her injuries were consistent with severe trauma, a car crash, nothing else. Her clothes were not torn, her boots had not been removed. There is no way (she could have been raped)." 

Shortly afterwards Lynch was transferred to Saddam Hospital in Nassiriya, now renamed Nassiriya General. 

Body was broken
There, Dr Mahdi Khafazji operated on her fractured right femur when her condition had stabilised. He said he cleaned her body before surgery and found no signs of a sexual assault. 

"I examined her very carefully," he said at his private clinic in the centre of Nassiriya. "I cleaned her body including her genitalia. She had no sign of raping or sodomising." 

He said Lynch's injuries were so severe she would have died had she been sexually assaulted after she was wounded. 

"If she had been raped there is no way she could have survived it. She was fighting for her life, her body was broken. What sort of an animal would even think of that?" 

During the days Lynch was in hospital, Nassiriya was battered by fighting. 

Hundreds of civilian casualties poured into the hospital, but a senior medical team assigned to Lynch made sure she had the best care the hospital could provide, and a female nurse was constantly at her bedside, said Dr Khudair al-Hazbar, then deputy director of the Saddam hospital. 

"It was war, but we cared about her and we did everything we could for her," he said. "I spoke to her every day. She was frightened, but polite to us. I know she is grateful" 

On 1 April, after Iraqi forces had deserted the hospital, it was raided by US commandos. The event was filmed by the US military through a night-vision lens and Lynch was stretchered away. 

"They attacked the hospital at night. There were explosions outside which broke the windows. The patients were terrified," he said. "The Americans knew the Iraqi military had gone so why they didn't come for her quietly, I don't know." 

It seems that Lynch was actually in the “right” place in more ways than one; it also “helped” that she was an “attractive” blonde, blue-eyed white female. She even received money for a book deal which was entirely pointless, save for “clarifying” a few details that the media deliberately got wrong. Considering the way the media ignored the presence of a wounded black female soldier (Shoshana Johnson) who was also captured with Lynch, and the way the media later demonized and dehumanized a “white” Hispanic, George Zimmerman, who clearly acted in self-defense, the racial aspect cannot be ignored.

And then there was the case of the Fort Hood massacre perpetrated by Nidal Malik Hassan in 2009, who, we were breathlessly told by both the military and the media, was “felled” by a “heroic” military policewoman, Kimberly Munley. Or was he? According to an Associated Press story

One Fort Hood official described how a wounded Munley stayed on her feet in a raging gun battle with Hasan and ended his rampage with two well-placed bullets into his torso.

That account appears to be false.

Mark Todd, 42, said Thursday his bullets felled Hasan. Providing the most detailed account of the takedown, Todd said he and Munley arrived at the base processing center at the same time, but split up.

Munley encountered Hasan first and was shot three times in the ensuing gun battle. It's unclear if Hasan was hit.

Still on his feet, the blood-thirsty Army psychiatrist paused to load his handgun before Todd found him.

"I came around. I challenged him. I saw him turn toward me and I started taking fire again, and then I returned fire," Todd told NBC’s "Today" show. 

Todd said that his shots knocked Hasan off of his feet and he then he checked the gunman for other weapons.

"I thank God to this day that I wasn't hit," Todd added. "It was a miracle."

Note the term "blood-thirsty" being used as an "explanation" for Munley's failure. Although Munley exchanged fire with Hassan, she failed to hit him and was herself incapacitated by those three shots; Hassan apparently chose not to kill her, merely kicking her weapon away from where she lay. It was the civilian policeman, Todd (who is black), who eventually confronted Hassan and felled him after firing five shots. The interesting thing was that for a long time Todd’s role in the incident was a “mystery” to the media; Munley—who is of course white and “attractive”—was feted by the media, yet her role in the incident was in fact ineffectual. When the truth finally did surface, I recall how CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer displayed barely-disguised disgust that Todd would try to muscle-in on Munley’s “glory,” demeaning his own role.

Cynicism? Why not? I don’t think I’m being “sexist” here, either; women are no more or less human than men are. I think it is those who are “impressed” that a woman can act “calmly” and competently while doing the job they have been trained to do are the ones who are “sexist,” all things under consideration; it doesn’t “help” women’s credibility by lying about things they clearly did not do.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Mitch McConnell and wife have shady dealings to conceal, which explains the Senate majority leader's lack of "appetite" to cross Trump

If anyone is still wondering why Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell seems to be even more Donald Trump’s lapdog than Paul Ryan, then maybe they should do a little research, as the mainstream media has been failing to do. McConnell has repeatedly frustrated bi-partisan efforts to solve issues like immigration, DACA, healthcare reform and others by claiming that he won’t allow anything on the floor that Trump supposedly will not sign. The latest is the refusal to allow a vote on legislation to hamper Trump’s ability to fire Robert Mueller. Firing Mueller actually won’t help Trump as much as he thinks, since the investigation of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is being conducted by federal prosecutors in New York, not Mueller. But Trump, in his most recent mental breakdown, is blaming Mueller for that “crossing the line” into “forbidden” territory. Cohen has been under investigation by federal authorities for months, and as Adam Davidson of The New Yorker noted, Trump and his family have plenty of “business” to conceal from the prying eyes of financial crime investigators:

However, I am unaware of anybody who has taken a serious look at Trump’s business who doesn’t believe that there is a high likelihood of rampant criminality. In Azerbaijan, he did business with a likely money launderer for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. In the Republic of Georgia, he partnered with a group that was being investigated for a possible role in the largest known bank-fraud and money-laundering case in history. In Indonesia, his development partner is “knee-deep in dirty politics”; there are criminal investigations of his deals in Brazil; the F.B.I. is reportedly looking into his daughter Ivanka’s role in the Trump hotel in Vancouver, for which she worked with a Malaysian family that has admitted to financial fraud. Back home, Donald, Jr., and Ivanka were investigated for financial crimes associated with the Trump hotel in SoHo—an investigation that was halted suspiciously. His Taj Mahal casino received what was then the largest fine in history for money-laundering violations.

Davidson suggests that Trump’s wealth was built not on his business “acumen,” but on his willingness of deal with shady characters in illegal schemes. Moreover, in his opinion Trump will ultimately be seen for the small man that he actually is: “The narrative that will become widely understood is that Donald Trump did not sit atop a global empire. He was not an intuitive genius and tough guy who created billions of dollars of wealth through fearlessness. He had a small, sad operation, mostly run by his two oldest children and Michael Cohen, a lousy lawyer who barely keeps up the pretenses of lawyering and who now faces an avalanche of charges, from taxicab-backed bank fraud to money laundering and campaign-finance violations.”

So Trump has much to hide, and McConnell is doing what he can to protect him, even to provoke a constitutional crisis if Trump does what McConnell claims he will not do. The question is why. It is surprising that the mainstream media has not made more of a point that McConnell’s wife, Elain Chao, is Trump’s Transportation Secretary, and what exactly she does is not clear—particularly given the fact that Trump’s much ballyhooed “infrastructure plan” didn’t even get a tiny slice in the recently passed budget, the bloat of which has been made worse by the so-called tax reform bill. But that is hardly the beginning of the problem; as Peter Schweizer reveals in his new book, Secret Empires: How The American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, McConnell and Chao have plenty of reason to help Trump conceal his financial and business wrongdoing. As questionable as the  Clintons’ dealings have been—11 House Republicans are once more calling for a special prosecutor to investigate them and others—the McConnell clan’s secret dealings may actually have serious national security implications, even in the way that the Trump “defines” it.

Once more, we have to go “outside” the mainstream national media to find some semblance of the truth, this time from a story by Larry Getlin of the New York Post.  He informs us that according to Schweizer, the McConnells’ have seen a massive influx of wealth since 2004, rivalling that of the Clintons’. In 2008, they received “a gift from Chao’s father, James Chao, for somewhere between $5 million and $25 million. But this gift could be seen as more than just a gift. It may have been acquired, according to Schweizer, thanks to the couple’s fealty to China, the source of the Chao family fortune. And that fealty may have occurred at the expense of the nation they had pledged to serve.”

What? Our U.S. Senate majority leader’s personal financial interests come before the interests of his own country? Kind of like Trump, huh? And CNN or MSNBC do not find this of interest? Of course, those like McConnell are a little cleverer about how go about this business; “Rather than risk their careers taking bribes for potentially minuscule rewards, Schweizer points out how today’s politicians are savvier, engaging in what he calls ‘corruption by proxy’—such as by “establishing overseas connections that could land your children multi-million-dollar deals is harder to detect, and often legal.” As noted earlier, the Trump children are neck-deep in such corrupt dealings. 

How do such dealings harm U.S. interests for the sake personal financial gain? According to Schweizer, “Foreign governments and oligarchs like this form of corruption because it gives them private and unfettered gateways to the corridors of Washington power. Foreign entities cannot legally make campaign contributions, so using this approach creates an alternative way to curry favor and influence America’s political leaders. Simply camouflaging these transactions as business agreements provides another shield of plausible deniability.” Chao’s father—a native of China and the one who gave McConnell that tax-free “gift” of  up to $25 million—has “close ties” with Chinese leaders, which has allowed his shipping company—unlike most American businesses—to have “large volumes of business” in China. His company, Foremost, is closely tied to the China State Shipbuilding Corp. This entity operates fist in glove with the Chinese military, meaning that McConnell and Chao’s wealth is tied in a backhand way to the Chinese military—which is increasingly becoming the United States most dangerous military adversary, right on the heels of Russia (another one of Trump’s “friends’).  

Although Foremost is “technically” an American company, its ships are built in China and largely financed by the Chinese government, and its completed ships have crews that are mostly Chinese. Chao once claimed that it was of “vital national interest” that these ships be crewed by Americans, so the question is whose “vital national interest” she actually has in mind. Getlin notes that “it’s worth noting how both McConnell and Chao, in their roles as high-ranking US officials, have personally interacted with, and then gone considerably soft on, China since their 1993 wedding.” According the Schweizer in his book, “As the Chaos and the Chinese government went into business together, the Chaos-McConnells tied their economic fate to the good fortunes of Beijing. Were McConnell to critique Beijing aggressively or support policies damaging to Chinese interests, Beijing could severely damage the family’s economic fortunes.”

Again, why hasn’t this come under greater scrutiny by the media, and be seen as a likely reason for McConnell’s “surprising” obsequiousness to Trump, who certainly has even more questionable ties to questionable interests, many if not most inherently opposed to U.S. interests? Chao herself put herself squarely on the side of Chinese interests in opposition to U.S. national security interests in 2000 when, according to Schweizer, she was “critical of the report” detailing Chinese espionage in this country and “dismissed the idea that China could pose any threat to the United States.”

And we are supposed to trust someone like McConnell? Anyone who is not blind, deaf and dumb knows that Trump is itching to dump Mueller, and McConnell is his willing partner in crime. He needs to be exposed, now.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Seeing the world in "black and white" filters out the history others have faced in this country

There was a recent 60 Minutes segment hosted by Oprah Winfrey, discussing a new monument in Montgomery, Alabama in remembrance of the lynching of blacks (nearly all male) in the country, coming on the heels of a “landmark” study by the Equal Justice Initiative on the subject, although what it considers “equal” is matter of legitimate discussion. A graphic of all the locations where the lynchings occurred is provided, indicated with red dots; the vast majority of the “dots” were situated in the South. What is “surprising” is that the West and Southwest was fairly free of indications of lynching. Why is this “surprising”? Because it would be very red if that “other” part of history was given equal treatment. I am speaking of course, of the exclusion of other groups targeted because of their racial and ethnic characteristics; if they had been, these areas would certainly have been equally “red.” 

I am no more willing to grant blacks “exclusive” rights to “victimhood” than I am to white women, although their presence in the mainstream media is such that they are the ones who make that determination, and the excluded have no voice. As I’ve mentioned before, a few people have not ignored violence perpetrated on others, such in the book Forgotten Dead: Mob Violence against Mexicans in the United States, 1848-1928, written by William Carrigan and Clive Webb. In a New York Times op-ed in 2015, the authors noted that many other racial and ethnic minorities were targeted for violence—Native Americans in particular—but in sheer numbers, “Mexicans” were lynched in near “equal” terms to that of blacks. Carrigan and Webb noted that 

Americans are largely unaware that Mexicans were frequently the targets of lynch mobs, from the mid-19th century until well into the 20th century, second only to African-Americans in the scale and scope of the crimes. One case, largely overlooked or ignored by American journalists but not by the Mexican government, was that of seven Mexican shepherds hanged by white vigilantes near Corpus Christi, Tex., in late November 1873. The mob was probably trying to intimidate the shepherds’ employer into selling his land. None of the killers were arrested. 

From 1848 to 1928, mobs murdered thousands of Mexicans, though surviving records allowed us to clearly document only about 547 cases. These lynchings occurred not only in the southwestern states of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, but also in states far from the border, like Nebraska and Wyoming. 

Unlike blacks in the South, “Mexicans” were often “extra-legally” lynched with the collusion of law enforcement (the Texas Rangers were particularly infamous in this regard), and because these incidents often occurred in sparsely-settled areas, the local newspapers—even if they felt “morally” responsible to report them, and the reality was that they seldom did—were conveniently absent, so surviving records tend not to be specific on detail outside the 547 cases. But what is not in “doubt” is that the sheer scope of these extra-legal killings call into question why this country continues only sees the world literally through “black and white” eyes, to the exclusion of all others. 

And it isn’t just about the past, but in regard to police shootings today. It seems that every time a black individual is shot by police, it automatically is subject to scrutiny, and this scrutiny on occasion does reveals questionable and often unnecessary use of lethal force. But one mustn’t read too much into police shootings of blacks; according to federal crime statistics, they commit nearly half of all violent crimes in the country, yet according to The Guardian, of the 713 civilians killed by police in 2015, “only” 184 were black—just over 25 percent of the total. Native Americans are actually killed by police at much a higher rate than blacks, while whites were much more likely to be killed by police in raw numbers, just under 48 percent; Hispanics were just over 14 percent of these shootings, but many believe the numbers are open to question, since police often “mistakenly” identify Hispanic shooting victims as “white” in their reports in order to avoid accusations of racial-profiling (remember that the media referred to George Zimmerman as “white” for months before he became a “white” Hispanic). 

But if we takes those numbers as they are, and Hispanics are (slightly) less likely than blacks to be the subject of police in violent confrontations, this would tend to give the lie to Trump and Sessions’ claim that Hispanics (especially immigrants) are a “violent” demographic. Yet we still must hear the right-wing The National Review  hypocritically whining that it is now “racist” to talk about Hispanic gangs. No it is not; it is “racist” to talk about Hispanics as a “violent” group generally, which is what Trump, Sessions, Ann Coulter and most on the right seem to believe. This falls under the purview of what Indian Dinesh D’Souza defended as “rational discrimination,” meaning that a general attitude of prejudice toward a group was “justifiable” if it could be “rationally” determined that said particular group was more “prone” to what stereotypical paranoia dictates, thus to be "safe" one could act in accordance with their fears without being accused of being "racist."

The question of why Hispanic victims are ignored while white females and blacks are provided as much rope as they want has find answers far afield. Al Jazeera America (it always has to be some news organization outside the U.S. mainstream to tell us these things) informs us that even organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that focus on hate crimes is sometimes blind to the past civil rights struggles of Hispanics: “’Police violence on African Americans hits a deeper resonant note because of our history,’ said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPL Center. ‘The oppression of African Americans goes right at the core of our history.’” It is interesting to note that the reason why there are hundreds of cities and towns in the U.S.with Spanish names (and that of six states) doesn't seem to be of interest to most Americans, given that this is a "core" of our history no one wants to "explore."

Because of this tendency toward single-sightedness in racial matters, the story goes on to note that “The legacy of slavery and segregation fueled the civil rights movement and created a well-oiled organizing machine from national advocacy groups to black churches that continue to fight for the rights of African Americans.” Even Hispanic leaders seem blind to the long history of discrimination and violence against “Mexicans” in the past, allowing blacks almost exclusive “rights”:

“‘State-sanctioned murder of African Americans is an old powerful issue,’ said Roberto Suro, director of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at the University of Southern California. ‘It isn’t a matter of these incidents alone sparking this outrage. It’s more than that. It’s symbolic of lynchings and other killings that have been an instrument of suppression in the past. These incidents gain force because they speak to a whole range of other considerations.’” This apparently requires denying one’s own history. We have seen this kind of denial before—in Nazi Germany, when many Jews wishfully believed that once Germans were “satiated” with discrimination and violence, things would return to “normal” for them.

The problem is that Hispanics are supposedly more “focused” on immigration issues, and do not have a “galvanizing” figure like Al Sharpton to “mobilize protesters and attract inevitable media coverage in an instant.” Police shootings of Hispanics is a serious issue according to Angelo Falcón, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy, but no matter how often Hispanic leaders talk about it, “It seems to revert to black and white … How the hell do you break through that black-white way of looking at policy issues?” Good question—and the “answer” requires that the media allow more Hispanic commentators on the airwaves, and are allowed to speak their minds from their perspective, and not just pick out some token who is  safely  “conservative” and won’t upset the black-white “balance.” Despite what many people think, Hispanics are not “uneducated”; in  a Pew Research report, it was noted that high school drop-out rates had declined to a third the level since 2000, and 35 percent attend or attended college. A lower bachelor degree rate is largely due to the fact the fifty percent attended 2-year community colleges, higher than other groups. And to quote from War’s 1975 song “Why Can’t We Be Friends”—“Sometimes I don’t speak right, but yet I know what I’m talking about.”

In a story from Cosmopolitan (a women’s fashion magazine—I told you can only get relevant information in regard to this issue from “outside” sources) we are told that “Part of the reason cases involving Latinos don't receive the same attention, says Frances Negrón-Muntaner, director of Columbia University's Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, is because Latinos are never truly seen as Americans but always as foreigners. As a result, ‘If police kill a Latino, it's only a Latino that was killed. Latinos are not generally perceived to embody larger social problems like racism or institutional abuse of power,’ she said.” Yet both the Trump administration and many states under the control of Republicans behave as if Hispanics do “embody” something “bad” that must be wiped-out; only racism and the institutional abuse of power can explain this.

Last year a Colorado man who neighbors knew to harbor anti-Hispanic hatred, carrying a rifle about and making threats, walked into a Walmart, and shot three Hispanics dead. Police claimed it was just a “random” shooting, and media made no further comment on it. If the man had been making threatening comments to people who were black, and then walked into that Walmart and shot three black people dead, the police and media would with 100 percent certainty call this a “hate crime” and act accordingly. With 47 million Hispanics who are U.S. citizens treated like second class, if citizens at all—and not just from the Trump administration, far-right Republicans and the extremists in the right-wing media with their constant barrage of fear and hate—only a complete hypocrite or fool can believe that this is only about illegal immigrants. And the media is biggest hypocrite of all, by the way it distances itself from acknowledging or discussing something that also defines what this country is.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

"Violent" seasonal workers discombobulating unbalanced Trump and unhinged Sessions

With Fox News sounding the “alarm” and further discombobulating an already unbalanced Donald Trump, and the DHS reporting a “spike” in border crossings last month, Jeff Sessions of the Department of Injustice announced a “zero” tolerance policy, militarizing National Guard units insuring that no one escapes unharmed across the border. Ann Coulter has called for (knowing her, entirely seriously), shooting a border crosser “to send a message.” If she were talking about shooting blacks, the mainstream media would no longer treat her as someone with an opinion worthy of hearing, but it is “OK” to talk about “Mexicans” that way. Every one of them is a violent criminal, after all. After his wave of anti-Mexican tweets last weekend, he traveled to West Virginia to say “And yesterday it came out where this journey coming up, women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before. They don’t want to mention that.”

And as some have pointed out, this didn’t “come out” the “other day” except maybe from some far-right “news” source reporting “old” news, and there is no actual evidence to support this claim. The original report of this came from two white feminist “researchers” who conducted a “survey” among illegal immigrant women and was published by Fusion back in 2014. No doubt such incidents occurred, but let’s also take into consideration that these immigrants were likely asked leading questions that they felt they should answer affirmatively to gain more “sympathy” and aid them in staying in the country. The Los Angeles Times didn’t question the 80 percent figure quoted in the Fusion story—merely pointed to alternate perpetrators: “Robberies, rapes and assaults — perpetrated by smugglers, drug cartel members and Mexican immigration agents — are common. In one incident in 2010, 72 kidnapped migrants were killed by a cartel in northern Mexico.” Bill O’Reilly—formerly of Fox News—chided Trump for using the “rape” allegation again, but only because he felt that “Mr. Trump continues to personalize our problems with Mexico by mentioning rape etc. thereby fogging up the issue.”

What the media isn’t talking about is that these “spikes” in border crossings are the most obvious manifestation of this country’s illogical work visa program. While H-1B visas are handed out like candy year-round to so-called “high-skilled” South Asians, some who own companies here and use the program to bring in friends and family because white Americans are too “stupid” to do office drone work (see Infosys) and walk around as if no one is going to touch them even if they have overstayed their visas. However, they are apparently are not “smart” enough to do agricultural, forestry or construction work—which are mostly “seasonal” work and the reason why there is a “spike” in border crossings at this time of year. These people are not “criminals” bringing “violence” into the country. They are here because the country needs their labor. They are not living like millionaires in their home country like many of the South Asians, who come here because they don’t want to be surrounded by the poverty that the persisting caste system in their country has created, and they do not want to take responsibility for it. Why isn’t the media making this clear?

Because this is about race and racism that the media just ignores, because they are part of the problem. There are no Hispanic voices in the mainstream media (not even on “liberal” MSNBC) to counter the atmosphere of hate, which isn’t just about “illegal” immigrants, but Hispanics as a whole are “feared” because some believe that their so-called “alien culture” is “taking over” the country, which just may be an excuse to explain their racism period. People like Tennessee senatorial candidate Rep. Marsha Blackburn still expects this to be a “winning” strategy, hoping that a “Americans want their country back” platform will “resonate” with voters; we know who the only people who qualify as “Americans” to a far-right, self-styled “conservative feminist” are, don’t we? In one of his more lucid moments, Geraldo Rivera referred to this as “HisPanic,” and as a Fox News contributor he has on occasion taken some its “HisPanic” personally. 

Saturday Night Live the other day featured a Fox News parody in which the word “Mexicans” was the “news alert,” needing no further “explanation.” Isn’t that the truth?