Sunday, September 23, 2018

A Conversation with Dr. Bandy Lee About How Donald Trump's Mental Health Continues to Worsen and the Nuclear Threat He Poses to the World

Bandy Lee is a professor at the Yale School of Medicine and one of the principle editors of the New York Times bestseller The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.

Dr. Lee and Chauncey discuss how Donald Trump's mental health continues to worsen, how insiders from the White House reached out to her last year--well before the recent New York Times anonymous op-ed--with concerns and fears about the president, and how authoritarianism is a type of collective mental illness. Dr. Lee continues to sound the alarm about how Donald Trump is a very dangerous person, who because of his mental health issues, may start a nuclear war.

And Dr. Lee explains how Trump and his followers are stuck in a relationship based upon collective narcissism--and how this shared pathology has led to violence--which will only continue to worsen.

During this week's podcast Chauncey highlights Brett Kavanaugh and toxic white (predatory) masculinity and how such behavior is encouraged among white elite men in America. Chauncey also explains the role of classism in the excuses being made for elite white men like Brett Kavanaugh by Republicans, conservatives, and his other defenders.

This episode with Dr. Bandy Lee can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

Monday, September 17, 2018

A Conversation with Professor Carl Hart About America's Failed "War on Drugs" and How Everything You Think You Know About Drugs is Wrong

Carl Hart is the Chair of the Department of Psychology at Columbia University. Professor Hart is also the Ziff Professor of Psychology in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry. Professor Hart has published numerous scientific and popular articles in the area of neuropsychopharmacology and is co-author of the textbook Drugs, Society and Human Behavior (with Charles Ksir). His most recent book, High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society.

On this week's show, Carl and Chauncey discuss the myths fueling the racist and classist "War on Drugs" in America, untruths about America's supposed "opiate addiction crisis" and Donald Trump's white "working class voters", why illegal drugs should be made legal, and basic questions of human agency and freedom.

Carl also shares how the 1980s crack baby myth came into existence and the way that movies such as New Jack City fueled the War on Drugs and its many lies about "urban crime.

Alasdair Stuart also stops by the virtual bar and salon this week as well. He tells a story about going to this year's Worldcon convention in San Jose and the right-wing wannabe "alt-right" Nazis he encountered there. Alasdair and Chauncey also talk about all manner of popular culture including Henry Cavill and Superman, the failures of The Walking Dead, Star Wars, and Patrick Stewart's return to Star Trek.

During this week's podcast Chauncey reflects on American dystopia, Donald Trump, and the alleged sex crimes of United States Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. And Chauncey also shares an email from a reader/listener about if America under Trump is becoming like Nazi Germany.

Spoiler alert! There is some bonus Predator themed content at the end of this week's show.

This episode with Carl Hart and Alasdair Stuart can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Donald Trump is right: Hurricane Maria was an incredible success — for disaster capitalism

Hurricane Florence is on a collision course with the southeastern United States and should reach landfall in the Carolinas sometime on Thursday. Meteorologists have warned that it could be one of the worst disasters in recent American history.

On Tuesday, during an Oval Office briefing on Hurricane Florence, Donald Trump said that he and his administration's response to Hurricane Maria --which devastated Puerto Rico last year -- was "an incredible, unsung success."

On Wednesday, Trump continued with his obsessive self-congratulation on Twitter:
We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan). We are ready for the big one that is coming!
For any human being who lives in the world as it actually exists -- as opposed to a fantasy world of their own creation -- and who possesses even a small amount of empathy and human decency, Trump's comments about Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria are anathema. As is so often the case with this president, these appear to be words and beliefs of someone with no moral compass and who may be mentally unwell.Ultimately, Trump's statement that his administration's response to Hurricane Maria was any kind of "success" is but one more example on an endless list of inexcusable behavior by a man who has shown himself unfit to be president. Trump is incapable of providing positive moral leadership and has showed disdain and contempt for the basic responsibilities of the office, which in a time of crisis is supposed to include protecting and attending to the common good and the general welfare.

It is estimated that as many as 5,000 people died in Puerto Rico because of Hurricane Maria and the Trump administration's near-total abandonment of the island.

Donald Trump's malignant narcissism prevents him from feeling any empathy or compassion for anyone but himself and perhaps the most immediate members of his family, along with those others who fawn over him and validate his delusions of greatness.

Donald Trump also sees no value in those people -- the American citizens of Puerto Rico included -- who are not white. Trump and his administration have put brown, black and Spanish-speaking immigrants and refugees in concentration camps along the southern border and in other parts of the country. In his own words, Trump has described Hispanics and Latinos as "vermin," "snakes" or "rapists" -- an "infestation" that is "breeding" out of control.

Trump's belief that Puerto Ricans are inherently lazy and did not do enough to help themselves recover from Hurricane Maria is an extension of a racist narrative in which nonwhites -- especially black people -- are viewed as being the undeserving poor who want to "cut ahead in line" and take resources away from "hard-working" and "deserving" (white) people. This stereotype was born during slavery and then Reconstruction and exists centuries later in post-civil rights America and the age of white backlash.

Trump and his administration have shown their contempt for the lives of black and brown people who have been harassed, abused, killed, and otherwise denied their basic human rights by America's police and other law enforcement officers. The president has also shown his contempt for nonwhites, Jews, Muslims, gays and lesbians and other marginalized groups when he said that neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members were "very fine people" after the latter ran amok in Charlottesville, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens.

There is still an ongoing debate about whether Donald Trump is "ideological" or possesses any political sophistication, one fact is undeniable: Trump's guiding life philosophy is cruelty.

But whatever Trump's intent or motivations were in his comment that the relief efforts in Puerto Rico were an "incredible, unsung success," he unintentionally revealed a different truth.

Hurricane Maria and the near-destruction of Puerto Rico (which is still recovering one year later) was in fact a great success for the disaster capitalists who, encouraged and empowered by Donald Trump, his administration and the Republican Party, made billions during the aftermath of the hurricane.

Puerto Rico's power grid is being privatized. This is worth billions of dollars.

Whitefish Energy Holdings, a small Montana-based company with no experience doing the type of work necessary to restore power to Puerto Rico, was awarded a contract worth almost $300 million, apparently because of the owner's financial connections with the Republican Party and Donald Trump. After public outrage this contract was eventually rescinded.

Industrialists, venture capitalists, cryptocurrency millionaires and billionaires and other members of the 1 percent are moving to Puerto Rico to profit from Hurricane Maria and the rebuilding efforts.

Puerto Rico's public lands, including beaches, roads, ports, water systems, ferries and even parks are also being threatened with "privatization," meaning they may be taken from the people of Puerto Rico and sold to private profit-seeking interests who will deny access to the public.

Writing at Truthout, Mark Karlin explains how disaster capitalists are preying on the people of Puerto Rico:
The Financial Oversight and Management Board was created by Congress in 2016 to oversee the reduction of more than $70 billion worth of debt in Puerto Rico. It consists of seven people with presidential appointments, but only one of them lives in Puerto Rico. The board has authority that supersedes the Puerto Rican State House, particularly on economic affairs and debt repayments. It has gained increased power to favor Wall Street, hedge funds and the super wealthy, and to impose austerity measures on the populace. ... 
[T]hose who live on the island do not have any representation in Congress and cannot vote for president unless they live on the mainland. The economic decisions are being made as they would be in a colonial relationship. 
Unlike a state, Puerto Rico cannot declare bankruptcy. Instead, Congress and the Financial Oversight and Management Board treat the island like an experiment in Ayn Randian economics. The wealthy and corporations get huge tax breaks, plus vulture capitalism and privatization opportunities. The 3.5 million people of Puerto Rico get austerity.
Disaster capitalism also reflects a right-wing ideology whose adherents such as the Koch brothers want to destroy the very idea of government as a force that can do good and that intervenes to solve problems too large for any one person or group to handle alone.

In the interests of advancing this agenda, government is hobbled and made to look incompetent and illegitimate in the eyes of the public, whose basic needs are not being met. But all along, the rneoliberals, libertarians, and other gangster capitalists have created the very disasters and problems they in turn use as a evidence of government's defects, and proof that it must be replaced by private capital.

There is another, even more sinister element to this ideology as well. As applied in Puerto Rico and other parts of the world, this right-wing ideology -- which in many ways has taken over the Republican Party and movement conservatism -- is a form of social Darwinism. The strong survive and the weak are left to fend for themselves and die.

Last weekend veteran journalist Bob Woodward warned the world about Donald Trump, saying, “You look at the operation of this White House and you have to say, ’Let’s hope to God we don’t have a crisis.'"

As shown by his behavior, intelligence and temperament Donald Trump is most certainly not capable of competently guiding the United States through a national or global crisis. But what if that is not his administration's goal? For Donald Trump and other gangster capitalists the real golden rule is "profits over people." If they can profit from human misery they will do it -- and if they must make more people miserable or put them in harm's way to maximize their profits, then Trump and his gangster capitalist allies will do that as well.

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Conversation with Safiya Noble About How Google and Other Algorithms Reinforce Racism and Other Types of Social Inequality

Safiya Noble is the guest on this week's edition of The Chauncey DeVega Show. She is a professor at the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School of Communication and the author of the new book Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism.

On this week's show, Safiya and Chauncey discuss how algorithms such as Google as well as "artificial intelligence" are actually making social inequality worse in America and around the world, the misplaced faith in such technologies, their threat to democracy, and why so many people use social media and other types of digital distractions to find meaning in their otherwise lonely and unfulfilled lives in an age of economic precarity.

During this week's podcast Chauncey reflects on the New York Times op-ed from an anonymous Trump senior staff member and how psychiatrist Bandy Lee shared with him, first, how she was contacted last year about Trump's apparently failing mental health. Chauncey is also upset that MSNBC did not mention his name, again, and also blurred out his name when talking about Dr. Lee's conversation with people at the White House regarding Donald Trump's mental health.

Dr. David Reiss, who is one of the contributors to the bestselling book The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, also stops by the virtual bar and salon this week to explain why Donald Trump is so mentally unwell that he would likely not qualify to be a police officer--never mind having the authority to order the destruction of the world with nuclear weapons.

At the end of this week's podcast, Chauncey shares a warning from history--this time from a Holocaust survivor who also fought the Nazis in the Warsaw ghetto--about the perils America and the world are experiencing because of the rise of Trumpism and other right-wing authoritarian movements around the world.

This episode with Safiya Noble and David Reiss can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Mad King: Psychiatrist Bandy Lee Tells Me That Officials in the Trump White House Told Her Last Year That He Was "Unraveling" and They Were "Scared"

It would seem that matters are far worse than even Donald Trump's fiercest critics have suggested. As the entire world has noticed, on Wednesday the New York Times published an op-ed that is without precedent in American history for what it suggests about a sitting president.

Assuming this is not part of a gaslighting campaign or an effort to uncover Trump's "enemies" in his inner circle — which is not out of the question — what the Times op-ed reveals is terrifying.

An anonymous "senior official" in the administration writes that "Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader. . . . The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations."

Many Trump appointees, including the writer, he or she reports, "have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office."
From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims. 
Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be 
There is also more evidence that Donald Trump's mental health is likely impaired:
Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.
Bandy Lee, the Yale University psychiatrist who edited the bestselling book "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President," explained to me in an email conversation that these "revelations" about Trump seem entirely predictable based on his public and other behavior.

According to Lee, the revelations about the Trump White House found in the New York Times article and Bob Woodward's forthcoming book "Fear" suggest "how deeply the troubles run and what effort is required to protect the nation from what are obviously psychological symptoms."
The senior official makes clear that the conflict is not ideology but the lack of "any discernible first principles that guide his decision making. ... [Trump's] impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back." And: "There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next." These are illustrations of emotional compulsion, impulsivity, poor concentration, narcissism, and recklessness that would normally require an evaluation, since they affect decision-making capacity and potential for violence. 
None of the behavior that came out in the Bob Woodward book — as in the Michael Wolff book ["Fire and Fury"] ... is a surprise, since it is all consistent with the psychological signs we observed and warned against 18 months ago. Mental health is a science-based field of serious conditions that have predictable patterns. We foresaw the course of this presidency, based on our knowledge and clinical experience, and were concerned enough to put our warnings into a book. We now warn that things will rapidly deteriorate and that the president should submit to an urgent, independent mental health evaluation by an appropriate specialist, as is warranted. We may be delayed, but it is still not too late. The 25th Amendment is a political decision, but it would set in motion the proper treatment of an individual showing his signs of instability: restraint, limit-setting, and removal from access to weapons.
Lee also told me that these worries about Donald Trump's mental health by staffers and those other people in the president's inner circle predate Wednesday's Times op-ed.
Two White House officials actually contacted me in late October, stating that Trump was “scaring” them, that he was “unraveling.” Not wishing to confuse the role I chose, as an educator of the public, and a potential treatment role, I referred them to the local emergency room without inquiring much further.
Psychiatrist David Reiss, another contributor to "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump," told me by email that the president likely would not qualify to be an Air Force officer entrusted with a nuclear weapon:
Every psychiatric Fitness-for-Duty evaluation involves assessing the problem-solving ability of the person, relevant to specific job duties; which includes gaining an understanding of the thought processes that are used in the process of problem-solving. 
Trump’s public statements have provided little, if any, transparency to his inner thought processes. Extremely frequently and most typically, Trump will begin with a statement regarding his perception of a situation (a perception that may or may not contain verifiably false information) and then proceed to providing a conclusion or an opinion regarding the “necessary” course of action, with little verbalization of the logical analysis or thought processes that led from “point A” to “point B.” 
Often, rather than providing any information as to alternatives that he considered and reasons for accepting or rejecting those alternatives, any “explanation” of Trump’s process of problem solving will be nothing more than a (frequently rambling) discourse regarding his feelings, his emotions and his (frequently grandiose) perceptions of his abilities. Thus, there is significant suggestion that Trump’s thought processes are inadequate to the position of being president of the United States.
If the implications of the New York Times op-ed are accurate, there would be strong evidence that Trump could not pass a psychiatric Fitness-for-Duty examination appropriate to his position.

Richard Painter, who served as chief White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, also agrees that Donald Trump should not have access to nuclear weapons. In a phone interview, Painter said, "Trump's mental health puts the country at risk," and suggested that if Trump were to order the unprovoked use of nuclear weapons, "the vice president could invoke the 25th Amendment and very quickly try to gain control of the situation, along with a majority of the Cabinet."

Psychologist John Gartner, who has been a leading voice about the perils of Trump's presidency and the dangers he poses to the United States and the world, described the New York Times op-ed, in an email, as an "extraordinary document by any standards."
Essentially, the White House staff have de facto informally invoked the 25th Amendment, recognizing among themselves that [Trump] is incapable of carrying out the duties of the office. Knowing that he is dangerously mentally unbalanced, they are seeking to provide ballast to keep him from capsizing the ship of state. This is a madness of King George situation. Or perhaps we should say the emperor's new clothes, where everyone can see the emperor has no sanity, even though no one is allowed to say it aloud.
The anonymous senior staff member who authored the New York Times article writes with the tone of someone who believes that he or she, along with others in Trump's White House, is a patriot acting in the country's interest. "Americans should know that there are adults in the room," this person writes. "We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t."

This is not just "cold comfort," as this anonymous author puts it, but no comfort at all. In reality these aides and others in Trump's orbit are enabling his regime and the harm he is causing. They are not heroes. Moreover, the anonymous Trump staffer and those other people who know how dangerous the president is but choose to stay on could actually be considered cowards. Like so many other Republicans and conservatives in the Age of Trump, they are putting party over patriotism and the well-being of the United States.

They bemoan Trump's authoritarian and fascist behavior, yet continue to support him and his policies. They wish that Trump would not lie so often and act with such gross contempt toward the truth, yet continue to support him and his policies. They may describe Trump's attacks on freedom of the press are "concerning" and "worrisome," but they continue to support him and his policies.

Ultimately, this anonymous senior staff member appears more concerned about the mark history will put next to their name for working with the Donald Trump than with saving the United States from a president who they know to be dangerously unqualified and perhaps unsound of mind.

The anonymous Trump official concludes his or her article by calling on "everyday citizens" to rise "above politics," reach "across the aisle" and "shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans." Times op-ed as follows:

If this person really believed that and was willing to put the welfare of the nation first, perhaps he or she and the other "adults in the room" within Trump's White House would resign as a group, hold a joint press conference and tell the world the grave threat posed by Donald Trump.

Of course that will not happen. Forcing a calamitous and destructive version of conservative policies onto the American people -- which most of them do not support -- is more important to this supposed whistleblower than protecting the country's democracy from its enemies. Even those in the Oval Office.

Monday, September 3, 2018

A Conversation with Tim Wise About Donald Trump's "White Genocide" Obsession and the Dangers of "White Identity Politics"

Anti-racism activist, author, and scholar Tim Wise is the guest on this week's edition of The Chauncey DeVega Show. Tim Wise is the author of numerous books including his most recent Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America.

On this week's show, Tim and Chauncey discuss Donald Trump's obsessions with "white genocide" in South Africa, the true meaning of "White Identity Politics" and its relationship to Whiteness, if racists and other bigots should be shamed in public via social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and white racial paranoia about the so-called "browning of America".  

During this week's podcast Chauncey reviews, how again, another white supremacist--this time one who is associated with some of the country and world's most prominent neo Nazis--has been discovered writing public policy in Trump's White House.

Chauncey also shares a story about the real power of love--in this case a 99-year-old man who walks 6 miles everyday to see his wife in the hospital. And during this week's Labor Day episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show our intrepid host is also very excited to go see Maceo Parker perform at the Chicago Jazz Festival.  

This episode with Tim Wise can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

Friday, August 31, 2018

"Monkey this up": Ron DeSantis' intent does not matter. His slur of Andrew Gillum has a long and ugly racist history and present

On Wednesday, Florida Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis, who is white, said during an appearance on Fox News "America's Newsroom" that his state could "monkey this up" by electing his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum, a black progressive who won a surprise primary victory over a "moderate" white Democrat. A Time report provides the full context, beginning with DeSantis' claim that Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, is "charismatic" but "too far to the left":
Gillum ran on several progressive policies, including gun reform, LGBTQ rights and universal healthcare. 
“The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state,” DeSantis said. “That’s not going to work, that’s not going to be good for Florida.” he added. 
DeSantis' use of the phrase "monkey this up" has been widely criticized as racist. Even Fox News, where white supremacist talking points are featured on an almost daily basis, backed away from DeSantis' apparent slur against Gillum. The close scrutiny this comment has received is especially striking given how much the Republican Party has embraced both overt and implicit racism under Donald Trump's presidency.

But let's assume for the moment that DeSantis, a congressman who represents a predominantly white suburban district on Florida's east coast, south of Jacksonville, is innocent of any racist intent. He simply went on the offensive against Gillum in the spirit of partisan combat. In fact, let's also assume the most generous and sympathetic reading of these events as viewed from a right-wing perspective: that DeSantis, not Gillum, is a victim of sorts who has been caught up in a net of hyper-vigilance targeting racial invective and white racism. He is collateral damage of "political correctness" and fell prey to "reverse racism." Let us also ignore DeSantis' apparent leadership role in a Tea Party-style conservative organization with overtones of racism. In fact, none of that is relevant.

DeSantis' "monkey" comment springs forth from a deep well of global racism and white supremacy under which black people have been stereotyped as monkeys and apes in order to legitimize slavery, colonialism, imperialism and violence. That legacy of continues in the present, having morphed and evolved over the centuries to fit new social and political norms in America and around the world. Individual intent and agency are of little importance here because institutional racism works through individuals, regardless of the latter's intent. In America, racism and white supremacy are everyday affairs. To associate Andrew Gillum (or any other black person) with apes and monkeys is a form of violence against black people as a group, intentional or otherwise. Social psychologists and other researchers hve shown that white Americans subconsciously connect black people to apes, monkeys, and gorillas. Those white Americans who possess such subconscious attitudes (a manifestation of what is known as "implicit bias") are also more likely than others to advocate for the death penalty for black defendants.

The dehumanization of black people as animal-like, bestial and therefore less deserving of equal rights, freedom and full citizenship encourages and makes legitimate police brutality and other forms of state-sponsored violence. This is one reason why unarmed black people are three times more likely to be killed by white police officers than are unarmed white people. It has been repeatedly shown that America's police are also more likely to escalate their use of violence against black people as compared to whites in the same scenarios.

If black people are seen as more like apes than human beings then it is no coincidence that police officers who have used lethal force against unarmed black citizens often deploy a type of racist logic in which the black victims were perceived as "giants" or understood to possess superhuman strength or to be impervious to bullets.

A cultural logic that dehumanizes nonwhites, especially black people, also helps to explain a panoply of negative outcomes along the color line in American society. This includes seemingly unrelated phenomena such as health disparities and environmental racism. Mass incarceration is also an outgrowth of the way the white racial frame tends to dehumanize black people.

This process of dehumanization helps to explain the horrific tragedy in Puerto Rico where it is estimated that 5,000 people -- most of them black or brown --died because of the feeble response to Hurricane Maria by Donald Trump and his administration.

These controversies and resulting national conversations about what constitutes racial invective and racism -- and in the case of Ron DeSantis, what was in the heart and mind of one white man -- can sometimes be useful and necessary. But arbitrating the conscious racial attitudes of one individual is a distraction from more important issues, such as institutional and systemic racism, or the ways white supremacy quite literally kills black and brown people.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

White Spaces and White Privilege: Negrophobia is Lethal

In a video recorded last Thursday, a doctor named Jeffrey Epstein, who is white, created a disturbance at Orlando International Airport because he felt he was being treated poorly by an airline.
According to a report by WESH 2 News, a local TV station, after American Airlines told Epstein he would not be allowed to fly because of his unruly behavior, he "took off his backpack, put his hands in the air and asked officers to arrest him." One of the officers ultimately used pepper spray to subdue him, and while en route to a hospital for medical treatment, Epstein reportedly told police that “he created a very big disturbance" and had done so "on purpose.”
After he was released from custody, Epstein spoke to a reporter for WESH 2 News, and that's where it gets interesting.
He said he was trying to make a point about police use of force. He said the disruption was done to "prove a point." 
"If you're going to do this to a white doctor, who's 59-years-old, for doing nothing, then why would black people trust you?," Epstein said. 
While speaking with WESH 2 News outside of the jail, Epstein began speaking about his political views. 
"I’m a conservative Republican, I’m a Trump guy. But until the police fix this problem, I don’t blame black people for being upset when they get arrested."
Reportedly, while the police were restraining Epstein at the airport he screamed, "They are treating me like a fucking black person."
This is such an open secret that even a middle-aged Republican doctor in Florida understands it: In the United States there is one standard of behavior and accountability for white people and a different one for everyone else.
This open secret also explains that even when white Americans may tell pollsters and other researchers that they believe police treat whites and African-Americans the same way, in reality white people know that claim is not true.
In many ways, the self-comforting myth of "colorblind" justice and a "post-racial" America is a way of perpetuating a long history of white privilege and a double standard of treatment, in which whites as a group presume and assume a latitude of action, freedom and entitlement that is not allowed to others.
Of course, if Epstein were in fact a black person he might have been seriously beaten by police, or even killed. The self-imposed racial myopia that is created by whiteness and white privilege blinded him to that fact. White entitlement also rests upon hypocrisy: By his own admission, Epstein is a Donald Trump supporter. He voted for a president who both personally and through his appointees and agents has encouraged police brutality against black and brown people.
Negrophobia, this unfortunate fact of American life, is not the "mere" humiliation of being harassed by the police for the "crime" of walking down the street, sleeping in public, taking a nap in the lounge of a college dorm where you are a student, eating, daring to complain to a store manager about poor service, jogging, shopping in a store, holding your baby, or driving in a neighborhood where the police stop you because "you don't belong."
Negrophobia is also more than the indignity wielded through white privilege, which empowers whites both as a group and as individuals to appoint themselves as rightful enforcers and protectors of the boundaries "protecting" white spaces from black and brown people. Negrophobia is mental, physical and emotional violence against black people. It is the direct opposite of the white entitlement and white privilege which presumes the inherently benign nature of whiteness and the dangerousness of black and brown people.

Monday, August 27, 2018

A Conversation With Bryan Edward Hill About Writing Batman, Black Lightning, Ash vs. Evil Dead, and How to Live One's Own Best Life Philosophy

Bryan Edward Hill is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show

He is the writer of such comic books as the Batman Detective Comics series and also Michael Cray. His newest project is American Carnage which is forthcoming from Vertigo. In addition to writing comic books Bryan is also a TV writer whose credits include Ash vs. The Evil Dead.  

On this week's show, Bryan and Chauncey discuss how being working class black folks impacted their life trajectories, questions of "representation" and opportunity in the business that is popular culture, and the art of storytelling.

Bryan also shares some great stories about being attacked by one of the Wu-Tang Clan's hangers-on, living one's best life philosophy and principles, traveling around the world, and combating self-sabotage and impostor syndrome.

And during this week's podcast Chauncey explains how Donald Trump's "white genocide" victimology narrative proves that he is, again, a white supremacist Santa Claus. Chauncey also refuses to offer a hagiography for the now late and departed Senator John McCain. Chauncey also ponders why the Catholic Church is not considered an ongoing criminal enterprise whose leaders should be in prison for protecting sick, monstrous, sexual predators who abuse children.
This episode with Bryan Edward Hill can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Donald Trump is a White Racist Santa Claus: His Newest Gift? "White Genocide" and South African Farmers

Does Donald Trump have a wish list of white supremacist dreams, hopes, desires and wishes that he is determined to fulfill? The answer would appear to be yes.

On Wednesday evening the president took to his preferred means of communication and made the following pronouncement:
I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews
Why did Trump address this so-called issue at this time? And where do such specious and dangerous claims come from?

Fear-mongering about the fate of white South African (and Zimbabwean) farmers, and how they are supposedly the victims of racist violence by "blacks," is a set of talking points Trump could have taken almost verbatim from white supremacist websites and similar sources.

Earlier in the day, Fox News' Tucker Carlson -- who repeats white supremacist talking points as a matter of routine -- had featured a segment on South Africa's white farmers and how they are allegedly being "victimized" by black people. This is another example of how Trump's tweets tend to parrot whatever he has recently seen on Fox News.

Are these claims true? They are not. Carlson's report, like the white supremacist sources from which it was drawn, lacks historical context.

As the Washington Post explains, this issue "stretches back to the early 20th century, when South Africa’s Natives Land Act of 1913 stripped black people of the right to own land outside specific plots set aside for them. The restriction tightened during the apartheid era, as the governing National Party created desolate 'homelands' for black people." Although a legal framework for land restitution emerged with the end of apartheid in 1994, the process has been "slow and riddled with bureaucratic uncertainty."

The South African government also condemned Trump's comments. It said, “South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past. South Africa will speed up the pace of land reform in a careful and inclusive manner that does not divide our nation.” Patrick Gaspard, the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa for the Obama administration, also rejected Trump's claims:""The President of the US needs political distractions to turn our gaze away from his criminal cabal, and so he's attacking South Africa with the disproven racial myth of 'large scale killings of farmers'."

There can be little doubt that Trump has heard arguments about the unfair treatment of white people in South Africa and around the world from advisers such as Stephen Miller, Michael Anton and Steve Bannon.