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TomCADem's Journal
TomCADem's Journal
July 6, 2020

Martin Luther King Explains Why Trump's Biggest Victim Is Actually His Own Base

I know there is a lot of anger at the support that Trump continues to draw from a diminishing minority of the U.S. population. Although Tump's support has diminished due in large part to his clear incompetence, Trump continues to draw support from a rabid base that he caters to with increasingly racist appeals.

The question is why does this work? Even if a person is a racist, why would they support someone who has mishandled a pandemic and eagerly acts against U.S. interests in favor of his own?

The answer is that Trump appeals to what MLK would call a Trump supporter's drum major instinct, the desire "to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first." Trump is not offering health care. Trump is not offering economic security. What Trump is offering is the validation that his supporters are innately superior to everyone else of a different race or background. Even better, Trump offers a scapegoat that America's ills are caused by people who not-white whether they are Mexican immigrants, BLM protesters, educated professional women, or Asians who are accused of spreading COVID-19.

Of course, as Germany experience, if you continue to blame all your problems on other people. this ultimately leads to a "final solution" of genocide to eliminate other people. For example, the Nazis did not originally advocate for the genocide of Jews. Instead. the Nazis originally pushed for the resettlement and relocation of Jews out of Europe.

This is why we need to combat Trump and his message of hate and blame. We need to educate, including his own supporters, that Trump's message of hate not only oppresses the objects of the hate, but it serves to oppress his own supporters who are losing their jobs and losing their lives blinded by Trump's message that they are members of some super race and that they need to protect their way of life, which is built around systemic racism.


The drum major instinct can lead to exclusivism in one's thinking and can lead one to feel that because he has some training, he's a little better than that person who doesn't have it. Or because he has some economic security, that he's a little better than that person who doesn't have it. And that's the uncontrolled, perverted use of the drum major instinct.

Now the other thing is, that it leads to tragic—and we've seen it happen so often—tragic race prejudice. Many who have written about this problem—Lillian Smith used to say it beautifully in some of her books. And she would say it to the point of getting men and women to see the source of the problem. Do you know that a lot of the race problem grows out of the drum major instinct? A need that some people have to feel superior. A need that some people have to feel that they are first, and to feel that their white skin ordained them to be first. (Make it plain, today, ‘cause I’m against it, so help me God) And they have said over and over again in ways that we see with our own eyes. In fact, not too long ago, a man down in Mississippi said that God was a charter member of the White Citizens Council. And so God being the charter member means that everybody who's in that has a kind of divinity, a kind of superiority. And think of what has happened in history as a result of this perverted use of the drum major instinct. It has led to the most tragic prejudice, the most tragic expressions of man's inhumanity to man.

The other day I was saying, I always try to do a little converting when I'm in jail. And when we were in jail in Birmingham the other day, the white wardens and all enjoyed coming around the cell to talk about the race problem. And they were showing us where we were so wrong demonstrating. And they were showing us where segregation was so right. And they were showing us where intermarriage was so wrong. So I would get to preaching, and we would get to talking—calmly, because they wanted to talk about it. And then we got down one day to the point—that was the second or third day—to talk about where they lived, and how much they were earning. And when those brothers told me what they were earning, I said, "Now, you know what? You ought to be marching with us. [laughter] You're just as poor as Negroes." And I said, "You are put in the position of supporting your oppressor, because through prejudice and blindness, you fail to see that the same forces that oppress Negroes in American society oppress poor white people. (Yes) And all you are living on is the satisfaction of your skin being white, and the drum major instinct of thinking that you are somebody big because you are white. And you're so poor you can't send your children to school. You ought to be out here marching with every one of us every time we have a march."

Now that's a fact. That the poor white has been put into this position, where through blindness and prejudice, (Make it plain) he is forced to support his oppressors. And the only thing he has going for him is the false feeling that he’s superior because his skin is white—and can't hardly eat and make his ends meet week in and week out. (Amen)
June 7, 2020

'We just want to be safe': Hate crimes, harassment of Asian Americans rise amid coronavirus pandemic

If it is not Trump calling BLM protesters terrorists or scapegoating Latino Americans for taking jobs, it is inciting hate of Asian Americans for COVID-19.


In California’s Alameda County, a Chinese American man was screamed at while mowing his lawn. The local prosecutor said the man was told to get out of America.

In neighboring Santa Clara County, a Vietnamese couple was threatened while in a grocery store. Officials said the man turned his hand into the shape of a gun.

In New York City, people of Asian descent were assaulted, kicked, pushed and accosted on subway trains. The theme: This virus is your fault.

People of Asian descent have reported being shunned, verbally abused, name-called, coughed and spat on, even physically assaulted as the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend American life. As the political rhetoric blaming China for the pandemic escalates, law enforcement officials and human rights advocates have seen an increasing number of hate crimes and incidents of harassment and discrimination against Asian Americans.
June 7, 2020

Victims of anti-Latino hate crimes soar in U.S.: FBI report

I think the media is missing that a lot of people are not just protesting the death of George Floyd specifically, but that it is more broadly directed towards Trump's efforts to divide us. For example, Trump has repeatedly attacked latino immigrants, which has resulted in a significant rise in hate crimes directed toward latinos during his Presidency.


(Reuters) - The number of victims in anti-Latino or Hispanic hate crimes rose over 21% in 2018, the FBI reported on Tuesday, and attacks overall are increasingly targeting people instead of property.

The data coincides with an ongoing debate over U.S. President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies and follows the August mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, when the suspected gunman told police he was targeting Mexicans.

“We’re seeing the swapping of one derided group in the social-political arena for another,” said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. “Attacks against Muslims peaked around 2016 when terrorism was the concern. Now immigration is the No. 1 issue and Latinos are being targeted.”

There were 671 victims in anti-Latino or Hispanic incidents in 2018, compared with 552 the year before, the FBI said in its annual Hate Crime Statistics report.
May 31, 2020

Malcolm X's "The Ballot or the Bullet" Still Resonates in Today's Political Climate

The year's of Republican efforts aimed a voter suppression along with their celebration of police brutality brings to mind the words of Malcolm X. This is why Democrats need to make voter access a key issue in their platform, particularly as Republicans oppose efforts to ensure that voters can vote by mail in the midst of a pandemic.


Malcolm X, née Little, delivered this speech twice in 1964, first in Cleveland and then again days later in Detroit. One month earlier, he had left the Nation of Islam, which discouraged its members from working alongside civil-rights activists. America was being governed by Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson, who took office following the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy and was running for office touting the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which, along with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, would eventually give Black people unburdened access to the vote after a brutal, decades-long fight. Black Americans faced widespread political disenfranchisement and outright violence in their demand for voting rights. Just six months before Malcolm delivered his speech, four little Black girls were bombed to death in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

Black activists believed that the segregationist governor of Alabama, George Wallace, deserved some blame for the little girls’ deaths, as just one week before the bombing he told a New York Times reporter that the country needed “a few first-class funerals” suggesting that was the solution to stopping integration. At the time of Malcolm’s speech, George Wallace was running against Lyndon Johnson in the Democratic primary.

Malcolm’s speech conveyed the pain and rage the Black community was feeling, pairing it with an urgent warning that escalated the community's demand for enfranchisement. It wasn't just a request for justice; it was a call for revolution. “This is why I say it's the ballot or the bullet. It's liberty or it's death. It's freedom for everybody or freedom for nobody…. A revolution is bloody, but America is in a unique position. She's the only country in history in the position actually to become involved in a bloodless revolution…. All she's got to do is give the Black man in this country everything that's due him. Everything.”

In his speech, Malcolm continually stressed the importance of the 1964 election as the future of the Civil Rights Act hung in the balance between President Johnson, who eventually won the Democratic nomination, and Barry Goldwater, the Republican presidential candidate who opposed the legislation. For Black folks, the 2020 election is just as critical of a year as 1964 was, as preventing the reelection of Donald Trump and his continued dismantling of facets of that very same Civil Rights Act takes center stage.

May 5, 2020

Simulating an epidemic (The Underlying Math Behind The Models)

This video provides a nice visual explanation of the math behind the models and shows how data is used to estimate the spread of diseases, as well as how different preventative measures are factored into such models.

May 1, 2020

Should Republicans Be Sanctioned for Doubling Down on China's Failures?

There is a great deal of irony with Republicans threatening a series of sanctions against China based on its three week delay in identifying COVID-19 as a possible new disease on December 31st and declaring a widely publicized lockdown in Wuhan on January 23rd. Three weeks.


Based on this three week delay, you have Republicans clamoring for punishing China for this delay and minimizing the threat of COVID-19. Okay, lets go with this. Presumably by January 23rd at the latest, the Trump administration was aware that the entire Wuhan province had been placed in quarantine. Heck, on January 27th, Joe Biden saw the risk of a pandemic and wrote an editorial describing this risk:


The possibility of a pandemic is a challenge Donald Trump is unqualified to handle as president. I remember how Trump sought to stoke fear and stigma during the 2014 Ebola epidemic. He called President Barack Obama a “dope” and “incompetent” and railed against the evidence-based response our administration put in place — which quelled the crisis and saved hundreds of thousands of lives — in favor of reactionary travel bans that would only have made things worse. He advocated abandoning exposed and infected American citizens rather than bringing them home for treatment.

Trump’s demonstrated failures of judgment and his repeated rejection of science make him the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health challenge.

The outbreak of a new coronavirus, which has already infected more than 2,700 people and killed over 80 in China, will get worse before it gets better. Cases have been confirmed in a dozen countries, with at least five in the United States. There will likely be more.

Yet, aside from a few travel bans with broad exceptions for returning Americans, the Trump administration did nothing to prepare and minimized the threat with Trump saying that it would just go away. Indeed, it is not until March 13, three months after the emergence of COVID-19, that Trump declares a National Emergency nearly a week after Italy had to declare a nationwide lockdown.

Finally, even as other developed countries have been able to implement widespread testing, Republicans are now clamoring to re-open the U.S. even as death rates continue to escalate in parts of the country and the number of deaths grows past 60,000.

So, if China should get serious sanctions for three weeks, shouldn't Trump and Republicans get sanctions for three months of delays, denials and cover-ups?
May 1, 2020

TIME: Why You Still Can't Get a Vaccine for HIV

It is interesting that the Trump administration is loudly announcing that they will be manufacturing a yet to be developed COVID-19 vaccine in January 2021. Heck, while they are at it, why not announced a preventative vaccine for HIV in January 2021, as well?


Though scientists have been able to create vaccines for other viruses, developing a vaccine for HIV has been especially challenging. (In lieu of one, doctors mostly use preventative drugs like Truvada to help prevent contraction of the virus in uninfected people who are at high risk.)

But a vaccine could significantly taper infections worldwide. “Even a moderately effective vaccine would significantly decrease the burden of HIV disease over time,” said Fauci in a statement.

So why are HIV vaccines so elusive?

HIV behaves unlike most other viruses in some important ways. Usually, when a person is infected with a virus, their immune system creates antibodies that target the bug. That’s usually the starting point for researchers, who work to develop drugs that can imitate that process (but without causing the recipient to develop a full blown reaction to the virus). What’s tricky about HIV, however, is that when a person is infected with the virus, that same process of developing antibodies isn’t triggered.
April 3, 2020

Atlantic (2018) - The Next Plague Is Coming. Is America Ready? - Prescient

It is really interesting how this articles describes Trump's attacks on how President Obama responded to Ebola and other outbreaks, and how Trump dismantled the pandemic response infrastucture that was in place, and how the Trump administration actually responded to the outbreak consistent with Trump's early statements saying that we should just implement a travel ban. So, even back in 2018, Trump's anticipated response was pretty clear.


There surely will be, though. At some point, a new virus will emerge to test Trump’s mettle. What happens then? He has no background in science or health, and has surrounded himself with little such expertise. The President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, a group of leading scientists who consult on policy matters, is dormant. The Office of Science and Technology Policy, which has advised presidents on everything from epidemics to nuclear disasters since 1976, is diminished. The head of that office typically acts as the president’s chief scientific consigliere, but to date no one has been appointed.

Other parts of Trump’s administration that will prove crucial during an epidemic have operated like an Etch A Sketch. During the nine months I spent working on this story, Tom Price resigned as secretary of health and human services after using taxpayer money to fund charter flights (although his replacement, Alex Azar, is arguably better prepared, having dealt with anthrax, flu, and sars during the Bush years). Brenda Fitzgerald stepped down as CDC director after it became known that she had bought stock in tobacco companies; her replacement, Robert Redfield, has a long track record studying HIV, but relatively little public-health experience.

Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer, a veteran malaria fighter, was appointed to the National Security Council, in part to oversee the development of the White House’s forthcoming biosecurity strategy. When I met Ziemer at the White House in February, he hadn’t spoken with the president, but said pandemic preparedness was a priority for the administration. He left in May.

Organizing a federal response to an emerging pandemic is harder than one might think. The largely successful U.S. response to Ebola in 2014 benefited from the special appointment of an “Ebola czar”—Klain—to help coordinate the many agencies that face unclear responsibilities. In 2016, when Obama asked for $1.9 billion to fight Zika, Congress devolved into partisan squabbling. Republicans wanted to keep the funds away from clinics that worked with Planned Parenthood, and Democrats opposed the restriction. It took more than seven months to appropriate $1.1 billion; by then, the CDC and NIH had been forced to divert funds meant to deal with flu, HIV, and the next Ebola.
March 28, 2020

Daily Beast: Kremlin Media Still Like Bernie, 'Cause They Love Trump

Is Bernie repeatedly voting in support of Russia, because he is expecting continued support for his efforts to disrupt the Democratic primaries or is it because he truly supports Russia against American interests? Which is it? It is just amazing how consistent Bernie is in voting, or skipping, votes in order to benefit Russia.


In the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, Russian state media strongly backed both Sanders and Trump. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of the St. Petersburg troll farm, known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA) detailed how its operatives were instructed to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump—we support them).”

In 2018, Russian state media included Bernie Sanders in its line-up of “Russia’s friends,” alongside Dennis Kucinich, Dana Rohrabacher, Ron Paul, Rand Paul and Mike Flynn. Sanders made the list because in 2012 he voted against the Magnitsky Act, a piece of legislation seeking to impose sanctions for the Russian government’s extrajudicial killings, torture, or other human rights violations committed against individuals seeking to promote human rights or to expose illegal activity carried out by officials of the government of the Russian Federation.

In 2017, Senator Sanders voted against legislation that imposed sanctions against North Korea, Iran and Russia. The bill was passed by Congress in response to Russia's interference in the 2016 US election, as well as its human rights violations, annexation of Crimea, and military operations in eastern Ukraine.

In 2019, Bernie Sanders was the sole senator to miss the vote on a bill that would prevent the U.S. Treasury Department from rolling back sanctions on three companies owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Senator Sanders skipped the vote in order to meet with former staff members who conveyed their dismay over the alleged mistreatment of women during his 2016 campaign.

March 26, 2020

Bernie Sanders Is Receiving 7 Times As Much Positive Russian Media Coverage As Joe Biden

The analysis mainly focuses on official Russian news outlets like Sputnik and RT. This does not include Russian efforts to manipulate social media, including alleged supporters or concerns trolls.


Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders has received the most positive coverage of any contender from Russian state-backed new agencies, according to new research from a foreign policy think tank.

Russia is believed to be trying to boost Sanders' primary campaign while also helping President Donald Trump. New analysis from the Foreign Policy Research Institute revealed that Sanders received the most positive coverage of any candidate from Russia's Sputnik and RT news services.

Clint Watts, an FPRI fellow, told NPR Thursday that pro-Sanders Russian coverage has "really come on strong just in the last 30 to 45 days" and shows "very similar narratives that we saw in 2016 about Sanders."

The FPRI analysis took 3,897 stories and 5,082 mentions on Sputnik and RT from January 1, 2019 to March 2, 2020. It found that former Vice President Joe Biden was the most mentioned candidate (812 times), significantly ahead of Sanders (455 mentions). But 21 percent of Sanders' mentions were positive, compared to only 3 percent for Biden; seven times more positive mentions. Sixteen percent of Sanders' mentions were negative compared to 40 percent for the former vice president.

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