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”.

The RNC is a racist, criminal organization, and the US is run by a mob family

I have enough rage in me right now that I’m more concerned with keeping my heart from exploding than I am in feeding the flames, but I still watched this episode of John Oliver on the RNC. I didn’t watch those smug fear-mongering Republican assholes while they were in full flower, and Oliver delivers just the right dose of their evil to keep me alert but not spasming in twitching, bleeding-from-the-ears fury.

More protests and riots, please. Tumbrels and guillotines, too. Écrasez l’infâme. Tear down the criminal regime and it’s lackeys.


I despair. There is no hope. The United States is too deeply broken, burdened with flawed ideas of justice, too hateful of equality. Even the most obvious, easy ethical principles are discarded by the people in power. Kenosha is just the latest example. There will be others tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Kenosha exposes the inexcusable nature of policing in this country. You would think that it would be apparent to anyone that a gun is not a universal solution to every problem, and that you don’t use deadly force in response to offenses that do not threaten others. Not to the cops! They responded to a “domestic incident”, witnessed an unarmed man, Jacob Blake, walking away, and shot him in the back. It ought to be a strongly enforced rule in the police that you do not react to a non-death penalty offense, one in which no one is under threat of harm, with an extrajudicial execution. If someone is rampaging with a long gun and murdering people, you can make a case for stopping them with a firearm; if someone is walking away from a disturbance, even if they were responsible for it, and doing nothing but getting into a car with their kids, you do not have cause to shoot them. It’s really that simple. Go ahead, let them drive away. You’ve got their license plate number, you’ve seen and can ID the individual, you have body cam photos of the guy. It’s OK. Getting into a car, even getting into a car while black, is not a crime, and is not a threat.

But our cops are trigger-happy, and think that disrespecting them by disobeying a shouted command is grounds for immediate execution. That has to stop. It is unconscionable. The entire squad of police who committed this atrocity need to be immediately fired and charged with a violent crime. Instead, the police are defending this attempted murder. As usual, they’re raking through Jacob Blake’s history to find anything that makes him less than a divine angel, smearing him to justify their actions.

More than defunding the police, we need to disarm the police, simply to short-circuit their knee-jerk tendency to solve every difficulty with a bullet. No more guns. Have a small force trained to use guns that are only deployed when the circumstances warrant…and 99% of the circumstances police deal with do not warrant firearms.

Kenosha adds another twist. I said that maybe the police could justify using firearms if someone is rampaging with a long gun and murdering people? They had exactly that situation. Two people are dead and another is maimed because a punk kid saw the protests as an excuse to gun down people in the street. The police aided him. They praised him for showing up at protest with a long gun, which is already insane — this is a situation that desperately requires de-escalation, and they encourage random civilians to intrude with a display of weaponry?

The cops are guilty, guilty, guilty of enabling and provoking the violence in Kenosha.

But further, the actual murderer is a product of a culture that rewards obsession with guns. That’s not changing. Right now I’m seeing people treating the murderer as a hero, while Jacob Blake deserved it. The rot is threaded throughout the core of American society. As usual in this country, it’s also an infection erupting around skin color.

The murderer has been arrested driving away from Kenosha — I don’t know how that happened, shouldn’t he have been shot in his car? — and has been charged with first-degree murder. Anyone want to take any bets on whether that charge sticks? I’m going to guess he’ll pull a George Zimmerman.

The protests are still going on in Minneapolis, by the way. This is a fire that is spreading, and it’s not going out as long as police- and gun-culture are not torn down.

If you don’t like being compared to the KKK, don’t act like the KKK

The Fraternal Order of the Police is very unhappy about this cartoon by David Wayne Fitzsimmons being used in an eighth grade school lesson.

That is an EXCELLENT cartoon. Gold star to the artist and to the teachers! Make sure it goes national!

Oh man but the cops are pissed off. They demanded that the school retract the cartoon and make an apology, which, of course, the craven administrators promptly did.

A police representative accepts their apology, but says, the damage is done.

“It’s completely abhorrent. It’s disturbing and it never should have been included in any kind of assignment,” FOP National Vice President Joe Gamaldi said.

The truth hurts, and it hurts bad. Fuck the cops, make them see the injustice until they cry.

Lovecraft as useful instruction in the ways of evil

Dinesh D’Souza consistently proves himself to be one of the dumbest political commentators on the planet. He’s gone on the attack against Kamala Harris. His weapon of choice is racism.

A shocking claim was made by American conservative author and commentator Dinesh D’Souza some days ago when he claimed, or, in his words, ‘revealed,’ that Kamala Harris, the Democratic Party’s nominee for the post of Vice President, is a descendant of one of Jamaica’s slave owners. This has, as expected, caused a storm, especially on social media.

I do have to wonder if the marriage of the white slaveowner to the black woman who was his slave was the social event of the season on Jamaica that year? Or if his black descendants are proud to trace their lineage back to a rapist? As the article points out, though, the relationship is a bit ambiguous, because tracing ancestry through the tangled lines of unacknowledged children of rape is no doubt tricky. Not to D’Souza, though!

Has anyone been watching Lovecraft Country? Phenomenal story, great acting, horrifying monsters, all the stuff we want from Prestige TV on HBO. It’s also centered on the relationship of a black family to a deeply racist community, HP Lovecraft and Lovecraft fans — oh wait, no, I accidentally slipped into the meta dimension there for a minute. The first episode has ended with three black characters, bold people who travel about writing travel guides for other black people, ending up at the door of a mysterious grand mansion deep in a small rural town after harrowing experiences a sundown town, a sadistic sheriff, and a swarm of many-eyed monsters. They are greeted by the whitest, most Aryan-looking dude at the door.

I’ve read the book, so I know what’s next, so I’m about to spill the most minor of spoilers.

[Read more…]

David Silverman and “Woke Math”

Here we go again. David Silverman is racing rightwards, and is considering voting for Trump, because he doesn’t like the idea of defunding the police or what the Right are calling “Woke Math”.

Nobody changed, Dave. If you’re seriously considering voting Republican now, you were never on the side of the Left, which we should have figured out from all the CPAC chasing you were doing. Biden & Harris are very much center left politicians, so all the caterwauling about how radically socialist they are is absurd — the people I know who are unhappy with the Democratic candidates are rejecting them because they aren’t Left enough, which is actually an honest position.

But what about this “Woke Math” nonsense, which is a Fox News talking point? All this crap about schools not teaching 2+2=4 is made up propaganda. It’s not true.

You can look it up for yourself. Go to the Seattle Public Schools K-12 Math Ethnic Studies Framework, and read it. It doesn’t say anywhere that 2+2=5.

Here’s what it actually says. I don’t know how anyone can disagree with it.

Origins, Identity and Agency, as defined by ethnic studies, is the ways in which we view ourselves as mathematicians and members of broader mathematical communities. Mathematical theory and application is rooted in the ancient histories of people and empires of color. All human endeavors include mathematical thinking; from humanities to the arts to the sciences.

It’s saying that mathematics is a universal, multicultural thing. Do you disagree?

Power and oppression, as defined by ethnic studies, are the ways in which individuals and groups define mathematical knowledge so as to see “Western” mathematics as the only legitimate expression of mathematical identity and intelligence. This definition of legitimacy is then used to disenfranchise people and communities of color. This erases the historical contributions of people and communities of color.

They are explaining that math has often been used to justify oppression, whether it’s that slaves only count as 3/5ths of a person, or that the people of African nations have an average IQ of 70. Do you disagree?

The history of resistance and liberation, as defined by ethnic studies, is the stories, places, and people who helped liberate people and communities of color using math, engineering, and technology. Access to mathematical knowledge itself is an act of liberation.

What a radical idea, that knowledge is power and that learning math can set you free! Do you disagree?

Any atheist that doesn’t think that science and knowledge are vastly important can just fuck right off, Dave.

Student action, as defined by ethnic studies, is fostering a sense of advocacy, empowerment, and action in the students that creates internal motivation to engage in and contribute to their identities as mathematicians. Students will be confident in their ability to construct & decode mathematical knowledge, truth, and beauty so they can contribute to their experiences and the experiences of people in their community.

That’s a beautiful goal to have in any classroom. Do you disagree?

Even more dangerously, they have a list of questions that are appropriate for the subject. Oh no! QUESTIONS!

Where does Power and Oppression show up in our math experiences?
● Who holds power in a mathematical classroom?
● Is there a place for power and authority in the math classroom?
● Who gets to say if an answer is right?
● What is the process for verifying the truth?
● Who is Smart? Who is not Smart?
● Can you recognize and name oppressive mathematical practices in your experience?
● Why/how does data-driven processes prevent liberation?

How is math manipulated to allow inequality and oppression to persist?
● Who is doing the oppressing?
● Who does the oppression protect? Who does this oppression harm?
● Where is there an opportunity to examine systemic oppression?
● How can math help us understand the impact of economic conditions and systems that contribute to poverty and slave labor?
● How does math contribute to how we value natural resources?

My god, this is a recipe for making students think about the broader context, and also emphasizes over and over again how important it is for the students to understand math.

No wonder Fox News hates it and invents false claims about it, like that it’s all about teaching kids that 2+2 is not equal to 4. The far right has an anti-education agenda, and that’s why they’re spreading these lies.

And David Silverman has gullibly swallowed it whole. And is using it as an excuse to vote for Trump.