I bet you can all name a lot of “launderers”

That’s a concept from Talia Levin’s new book, Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy, which she expounds on in this interview.

Most people don’t start out waving swastikas. They are being led to this place by “launderers,” people who seem reasonable and who introduce racist ideas subtly, and give people permission to engage in hate that is more socially acceptable. The launderers can be YouTubers and right-wing influencers. They may start out saying there are too many women in Star Wars movies, or that lady Ghostbusters have ruined their childhood. It soon becomes easier and easier for them to say that feminism is harmful garbage that has caused them to be unhappy. From there it’s not a long journey. The slope is greased by people with high production values and a lot of money behind them.

They are not weird toothless masturbators living in their mothers’ basements. Every member of the organized racist movement that I surveilled, spoke to, and catfished was a person — a human being with complexity and dimensionality who has made amoral choices. Their humanity is an integral part of the portrait but it does not absolve them. They make the choice to disseminate evil. It makes them more worthy of condemnation. They have chosen to spread hate and fear. They have chosen to follow an ideology that makes them feel like heroes for hurting people who are already hurt.

Think about it. It’s easy to name a lot of these launderers. They range from talentless goofballs like PewDiePie to nasty lying culture warriors like Ben Shapiro to millionaire establishment spokespeople like Tucker Carlson to corrupt gangsters like Donald Trump. I bet you all can rattle off a long list yourself. All of them deny their racism and white nationalism with varying degrees of believability, and none of them ever face any consequences.

Scientists crying about cancellation, again

This “cancel culture” nonsense has gone on far too long — it’s nothing but an imaginary assault on the power and privilege of conservatives. It’s a label, nothing more, that idiots hang on any attempt to criticize them. You’re canceling me! How dare you! <swoon>. It’s all really tiresome.

Unsurprisingly, Jerry Coyne falls for the BS. He races to defend the notion of racist Noah Carl in the racist online rag the Genetic Literacy Project that Darwin might be next to be canceled.

Given the scientific and political luminaries who have fallen under the axe, it’s not beyond possibility that Charles Darwin himself may undergo a “reevaluation,” with people discovering what we already knew: Darwin, like many people of the mid-19th century, had some bigoted views of whites (i.e., Brits) as a superior race. Yet Darwin never did anything but write a bit about it in The Voyage of the Beagle and The Descent of Man, and was, to boot, an ardent abolitionist along with his wife’s family, the Wedgewoods. Josiah Wedgewood, Darwin’s grandfather (and also his wife Emma’s), designed this ceramic medallion that was popular among abolitionists as early as 1787. That may be enough to save Charles but, as we know, one misstep can cancel you for keeps. And Darwin made more than one—according to today’s lights.

I already posted about this nonsense from Carl, and like all his reactionary predecessors before him, Coyne fails to explain what it would mean to “cancel” Darwin. He’d lose his Twitter account? People would block him on Facebook? PragerU would make a video approving of him? Somebody would tear down a monument to Darwin? Big whoop. Don’t care. Charles Darwin, in particular, doesn’t give a damn — he’s dead.

Coyne continues:

It’s thus possible that Darwin could meet the fate of other scientists who unfortunately didn’t foresee the change in morality in the last century and a half, and his statues and other honorifics could come down.

That’s it? That’s all? A dead man might lose a few statues and honorifics? If you think Darwin’s legacy is in marble busts and buildings named after him, rather than his work and ideas, you are a very confused biologist. Evolution is secure. Darwin could be revealed to have been Jack the Ripper (couldn’t happen, since Darwin died before the ripper murders), and it wouldn’t affect the science.

As for this common, stupid argument that these poor canceled heroes “didn’t foresee the change in morality” — nonsense. Darwin wrote enough on the right side of morality that we should know that he had an intellectual understanding of the common humanity of all races and sexes, yet somehow at the same time he also wrote passages that are distinctly racist and misogynist. Recognizing that Darwin had flawed attitudes and cultural biases is, I guess, canceling him. Likewise, these unnamed scientists who met an unspecified doleful fate lived in an era when we could be conscious of the equality of races and and sexes, yet they chose to accept an immoral status quo. Darwin and Frederick Douglass were contemporaries, there is no excuse for thinking black people were inferiors in the 19th century. Darwin loved and respected his wife Emma, yet somehow he could hold with a Victorian view of women as lesser.

Acknowledging the flaws in famous people, though, is now “canceling” them. I call that “historical accuracy”, instead.

Coyne just has to chew on his foot some more:

In a piece before the one I’m mentioning today, sociologist Noah Carl (who’s had a bit of tumultuous history, having been canceled himself)…

“tumultuous history”? Are you fucking kidding me? He was sacked by Cambridge for unethical work and affiliation with outrageously flaming racists! “Tumultuous”. Yeah. And the KKK is sometimes a bit “rowdy”, and the Proud Boys are a bit “mischievous”. Here’s what the Cambridge review panel said about Carl.

The panel found that Dr Carl had put a body of work into the public domain that did not comply with established criteria for research ethics and integrity. In any event, it considered that the poor scholarship of this problematic body of Dr Carl’s work, among other things, meant that it fell outside any protection that might otherwise be claimed for academic freedom of speech.

Furthermore, the panel found that, in the course of pursuing this problematic work, Dr Carl had collaborated with a number of individuals who were known to hold extremist views. There was a serious risk that Dr Carl’s appointment could lead, directly or indirectly, to the College being used as a platform to promote views that could incite racial or religious hatred, and bring the College into disrepute. In addition, the panel also noted that the way in which Dr Carl has conducted himself with regard to his publications and the ideas he has expressed have had a detrimental effect on the atmosphere within the College with feelings of hurt, betrayal, anger and disbelief that the College could be associated with such views.

If you knew how cautious and mannered academic review comittees were, you’d know that was a university’s version of backing away in horror and vomiting in outrage.

Coyne, unfortunately, is capable of both downplaying the racism of Noah Carl while simultaneously exaggerating the significance of “cancellation”, whatever that is.

Carl concludes that if there’s a valid case for dethroning people like Hume, Galton, Fisher, and Linnaeus for their “retrograde” views on race and white superiority, then you can make an equally compelling case against Darwin.

Just yesterday, I lectured my cell biology class on the structure of DNA, and I also told them that Jim Watson was an asshole with a history of embarrassing racist and sexist statements. Yet I still talked about his work. That’s not going to change. We’ll be discussing Crick & Watson’s discovery for the next century or more. I’ve known that Galton and Fisher were racist jerks and supporters of eugenics for as long as I’ve been teaching, but their names are still in my genetics textbooks and I still bring up their work in my genetics classes…but I also don’t shy away from discussing their bad ideas.

Is that what canceling is? Then we should fully support more canceling. Even if regressive senior scientists are aghast that we dare to deplore racism and sexism in old dead white guys.

*You can anticipate the usual whines that SJWs call anyone racist at the drop of a hat. Alas for them, Noah Carl was fired for his racist views and the shoddy pseudoscience he used to defend them. The Genetic Literacy Project is a website set up by journalist Jon Entine with money from Monsanto to defend GMOs, a cause I’m sympathetic to, but you might want to read the Wikipedia article on Entine.

Entine has written three books on genetics and two on chemicals. Let Them Eat Precaution: How Politics is Undermining the Genetic Revolution examines the controversy over genetic modification in agriculture.[23]

Entine’s first book, Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It was inspired by the documentary on black athletes written with Brokaw in 1989. It received reviews ranging from mostly positive to highly negative in The New York Times. Physical anthropologist Jonathan Marks characterized the book as “make-believe genetics applied to naively conceptualized groups of people.”

In 2007, Entine published Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People which examined the shared ancestry of Jews, Christians and Muslims, and addressed the question “Who is a Jew?” as seen through the prism of DNA. In a review of this book, geneticist Harry Ostrer wrote that Entine’s “understanding of the genetics is limited and uncritical, but his broad, well-documented sweep of Jewish history will inform even the most knowledgeable of readers.”

Toss in the GLP’s tagline of “Science not Ideology” and I’m going to have to fire up a big signal flare on that outfit. The claim that they are ideology-free is one of the most common lies of the Right.

Well all right then, Pennsylvania

I lived in Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, for a number of years, and while there were some things I loved about the place, there were others that I thought less than savory. One was that the city boasted about being a “city of neighborhoods”, where there were distinct divisions with distinct ethnic character — this place was Italian, that one is Dominican, that one over there is black, etc. The suburb where I lived was predominantly Ukrainian. Character is good, diversity is great, but I always felt like it was bragging about being segregated, and it also meant that some neighborhoods were terribly poor and dilapidated, next to others that were very tony and posh, and it was like there was a wall between them that you could not cross.

So I’m not surprised that when the wife of the lieutenant governor of the state (a Democrat) made a quick trip to the grocery store without a security escort, she was verbally assaulted and harassed.

Not everyone in Pennsylvania is like that woman, but one of the things I most disliked about the place is that it enabled residents to be perfectly comfortable with all kinds of hatreds. Now our president is working hard to make the entire country comfortable with casual racism. That harasser showed no shame about using racist slurs, and that’s where we’re headed now.

Should I regret missing the VP debate?

I’m done for the day at the university — I’ve still got hours of grading to do — and I’m recuperating at home. My voice is gone! I’m hungry, but I have to do dishes first. Then grading.

I finally caught up on last night’s debate. I didn’t watch it, so I’m getting second-hand impressions. Mainly what I’m hearing is that Kamala Harris was the clear winner, but that she was also somewhat restrained and didn’t disembowel Pence on stage like I’d hoped she would. I also heard there were sound political reasons why she was cautious…in particular, that a black woman would never be able to get away with that kind of assertiveness. I would like to point out, though, that no matter how meek and demure she might have been, the Right was going to accuse her of being mean and unladylike.

Also, in a surprising twist of an argument, she isn’t even black. You can trust Dave Rubin, he assures us he isn’t racist at all before springing that on us. She is apparently Indian and Jamaican, which some people say isn’t really black.

Wow. I am so looking forward to Trump using that line of defense.

Also, Harris was “unlikable”, says the smarmiest, sleaziest, dumbest pundit on YouTube.

They really hate Ilhan Omar

I’m not in her district, so I can’t vote for her, but if I were I would. James O’Keefe, professional slimeball, is targeting her yet again with pseudo-exposes of what he claims is illegal behavior.

Project Veritas has claimed Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar is engaging in illegal ballot harvesting and a cash-for-ballots scheme in her district in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The group, which has targeted mainly liberal groups with “sting” operations, posted a video late on Sunday showing what it claims is evidence of an illegal effort to harvest absentee ballots.

The group’s founder, James O’Keefe, alleged on Twitter that Omar’s team may have bribed voters in Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, which she has represented since 2019.

A few problems here: he has no evidence of voters being bribed (which would be peculiar, since the population of her district are eager to support her, and you’re not going to bribe local bigots to vote for her anyway), so that accusation is basically libelous. A second problem is that assisting others in delivering ballots (“harvesting” ballots) isn’t illegal in Minnesota. The practice has even stood up in the state Supreme Court. The Republicans hate it, because how dare you help the elderly and shut-ins and the overworked practice their rights?

Also, this smear campaign has nothing to do with Omar. The ballots they’re complaining about were collected by campaigners for Jamal Osman, for a city council seat. But hey, he’s Muslim, they’re all the same, right?

None of that matters. Project Veritas is a sleazy operation that’s desperate to distract voters from the spectacle of Republican corruption, so they ginned up some weak sauce to splatter Democrats with. Mediocre.

When is violence acceptable in a civil society?

The murderers of Breonna Taylor have basically been acquitted — one cop is facing charges of endangering white people, because when he tried to gun down the black woman sleeping in her bed he missed, and bullets went into adjacent apartments. This was a decision that gave carte blanche to the cops to use violence against civilians and then claim it was justified.

The public has responded. Yesterday, two cops were shot in Lexington — the motivations have not been given, but the implication is that the protesters are escalating their tactics to shooting the police, although it’s not the case that protest organizers have been calling for such actions. I would not endorse lethal violence against cops, but I do think it’s far more warranted than the lethal violence currently being used against citizens.

It’s the reaction of Homeland Security that annoyed me more.

Acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf condemned the shootings of police Wednesday night.

“Violence against law enforcement is NEVER acceptable in a civil society,” he tweeted, saying he was praying for the injured.

Oh. The police are inviolable, but violence against citizens is ALWAYS acceptable in a civil society? Someday I’d like to see the authorities insist on the principle of opposing violence against all people by their heavily armed police forces.

Of course, the two injured cops are out of the ordinary. The more typical news after these unjust court decisions is this: “Protesters take to the street in downtown Lexington, organizer emphasizes peaceful demonstration.”

Confirming that the Nazis have taken over

You should have already figured that out, but Trump had another rally in Minnesota yesterday and hammered the point home.

People are not racehorses that have been bred for a single defining suite of traits, and he wouldn’t understand the genetics if we had. That’s just a racist klaxon he’s sounding to call all the white nationalists to his yard.

He must go.

Nazis. Nazi, nazi, nazi.

When I put up that last post about shameful moments in American science policy, I felt like Science had forgotten one that I personally consider our most lethal mistake…but it’s so deeply ingrained in American culture that maybe it’s taken for granted. It’s always there, and so it’s easy to overlook. I think the greatest science lie ever has to be our history of racism which led to the enslavement and genocide of other human beings that our society judged inferior.

That crime has never gone away, and we’re currently compounding it. An ICE detention center is performing mass hysterectomies on immigrants.

On Monday, a nurse at a private immigration detention center in Georgia came forward about a range of dangerous medical practices at a U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility. According to her, the center has not only ignored COVID-19 protocols, but is actively performing mass hysterectomies on detained people.

The whistleblower, Dawn Wooten, worked at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) — which is operated by LaSalle Corrections — where she allegedly witnessed the company’s refusal to test detainees for COVID-19 as well as spoke to several people who each had their uterus removed as part of an unwarranted hysterectomy procedure. According to the official complaint lodged with the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security, Wooten said that the facility was performing hysterectomies on people who reported having heavy menstrual cycles or other more serious pain, but that “everybody’s uterus cannot be that bad.”

“I’ve had several inmates tell me that they’ve been to see the doctor and they’ve had hysterectomies and they don’t know why they went or why they’re going,” Wooten said in the report. She also noted how ICDC consistently uses one out-of-facility doctor, who is responsible for the hysterectomies in addition to accidentally removing the wrong ovary in one patient. “He’s the uterus collector.”

It’s possible this nurse is a disgruntled employee, and that she’s misinterpreting an excess of zeal in treating sick patients as a pattern of mass sterilization, but isn’t it odd how ICE, which has never been particularly good at managing the health and safety of the inmates in their concentration camps, is suddenly so solicitous and thorough in treating the reproductive health of the prisoners?

It’s also in line with historical practice.

This isn’t the first time the United States has forced people — especially people of color — into unwanted sterilization, which is a human rights violation and a form of eugenics, according to the World Health Organization. For more than 70 years, California led the country in sterilizations; during that time about 20,000 people were sterilized against their will in state institutions. In the South, Black women were treated as “practice” for incoming medical students and had been sterilized unknowingly during C-sections. Other times, they were coerced in order to retain welfare benefits. Sterilization was so wide-spread in North Carolina that a bill was passed in 2015 to give victims financial compensation.

Of course, when it comes to undocumented immigrants, who are regularly referred to as “unwanted” “aliens” by the current president, it’s not so surprising that these practices went unreported for so long. One immigrant in the complaint put it best: “This place is not equipped for humans.”

ICE and Homeland Security were established under George W. Bush after the post-9/11 freakout. Can we stop trying to resuscitate the reputation of that horrible mass-murderer and criminal, and can we start condemning the Republicans who created the fascist Homeland Security Act, every Democrat who voted for it, and all the presidents since who have allowed ICE to continue existing? Shut it down, and fire our version of Dr Mengele, “the uterus collector”.