Category Archives: Ethnicity

Trump trumps Trump for arrogant bombast

First this form David Horsey, editorial cartoonist of the Los Angeles Times:

BLOG Assinine

Just how sociopathic is Trump?

Well, consider his latest demonstration of his total lack of compassionate humanity.

That a self-absorbed narcissist could become the leading presidential candidate for the GOP is hardly surprising, given the inherent narcissistic character ofr the neoliberal corporatist agenda the party has adopted.

But that such a candidate could openly mock a journalist for the simple fact of being disabled is simply breathtaking.

From BBC News:

Republican presidential contender Donald Trump has been criticised for mocking a disabled New York Times reporter.

Mr Trump performed an impression of Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from a congenital joint condition, at a rally.

He has used a 2001 article by Mr Kovaleski to back up widely disputed claims that “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks.

More from the Washington Post, where Kovakleski worked at the time of the 9/11 attacks:

The gesture was all the more personal because Kovaleski covered Trump while reporting for the New York Daily News between 1987 and 1993, a tumultuous period for Trump in which he struggled through several financial setbacks.

“The sad part about it is, it didn’t in the slightest bit jar or surprise me that Donald Trump would do something this low-rent, given his track record,” Kovaleski said.

Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks declined to comment on the record about the incident. A campaign official speaking on background said Trump was “not aware of any condition and was not mocking his physical appearance in any way.”

A New York Daily News headline sums up:

Donald Trump’s marathon of meanness reaches new low, mocks reporter’s physical handicap during campaign rally

And now for the video of the event, from CNN:

Trump mocks reporter with disability

Program notes:

Donald Trump is under fire again, this time for mocking a New York Times reporter that suffers from a chronic condition. CNN’s John Berman reports.

As for the rumors of celebrating Muslims, here’s an excerpt of a story from the 23 September Newark Star-Ledger:

Hours after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, a story spread across the state: Palestinians in Paterson were celebrating in the streets.

Braced for a riot, the Paterson police rushed to South Main Street, the center of the city’s Middle Eastern community.

“When we got there,” Paterson Police Chief Lawrence Spagnola said, “They were all in prayer.”

In the ensuing days, the rumor went national, lighting up talk radio phone lines. In the end, it was nothing more than rapid-fire urban myth. But it spawned fear of a backlash against Middle Eastern residents that sent this vibrant strip of Turkish pastry shops and Palestinian groceries into virtual lockdown for days. And for Paterson, a downtrodden city struggling to remake itself, it was yet another black eye that is proving difficult to heal.

Ironically, five men were detained after a witness called police to report a group filming the burning towers, apparently celebrating, as ABC News reported:

Maria says she saw three young men kneeling on the roof of a white van in the parking lot of her apartment building. “They seemed to be taking a movie,” Maria said.

The men were taking video or photos of themselves with the World Trade Center burning in the background, she said. What struck Maria were the expressions on the men’s faces. “They were like happy, you know … They didn’t look shocked to me. I thought it was very strange,” she said.

She found the behavior so suspicious that she wrote down the license plate number of the van and called the police. Before long, the FBI was also on the scene, and a statewide bulletin was issued on the van.

The five were all Israeli citizens — three of them in the country illegally — and at one time were suspected of links to Mossad, the Israeli equivalent of the CIA. The intelligence links were never proven and the five were deported.

But Trump never mentioned them, needless to say.

They didn’t fit the narrative.

Native Americans, genocide, and U.S. culture

The latest edition of Empire Files, Abby Martin’s new series for Telesur English, looks at the ongoing clash between Native American culture and the shifting patterns of intolerance and sometimes acceptance in mainstream culture.

Two national holidays epitomize the conflict. First, on 12 October comes Columbus Day, a celebration of colonialism carrying the implicit assumption that the Americas lacked any significant culture before the arrival of European imperialists.

The second holiday, is, of course, Thanksgiving, a symbolic recreation of a feast made possible for starving British colonialists by the intercession of Native Americans who had helped the hapless Puritans adapt to the land.

The troubled legacy continues to flare in the painful exploitation of Native American history by sports teams and the military, and in the ongoing contestation of Native American rights to control their own land and lives.

This episode features an extended conversation with historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Professor Emerita of Ethnic Studies at California State University and an internationally scholar.

From Telesur English:

The Empire Files: Native American Genocide with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Program notes:

Each November, Americans celebrate a mythical version of U.S. history. Thanksgiving Day’s portrayal of the experience of Native Americans under the boot of settler-colonialism is one of the Empire’s most cherished falsehoods.

To hear about the true story of native peoples’ plight – from genocide to reeducation – Abby Martin interviews Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, renowned indigenous scholar and activist, about her most recent book “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.”

Fact of the day: Terrorism in the United States

From a report by Albert Samaha of BuzzFeed News on a 2011 lynching of an African American man in Mississippi:

In the United States, white supremacist terrorists have caused more deaths (31) than jihadis have since 9/11 (26), according to the nonpartisan New America Foundation.

A German scientist evokes past bigotry

An amazing story from Science:

Paper retracted after scientist bans use of his software in countries that welcome refugees

An 11-year-old research paper describing Treefinder, a computer program used by evolutionary biologists, has been retracted after the program’s developer banned its use in European countries he deemed too friendly to refugees.

In September, German scientist Gangolf Jobb announced on his website that researchers in eight European countries, including Germany and the United Kingdom, were no longer allowed to use Treefinder, which builds phylogenetic trees from sequence data. “I am no longer willing to support with my work the political system in Europe and Germany,” Jobb wrote. “In particular, I disagree with immigration policy. Immigration to my country harms me, it harms my family, it harms my people. Whoever invites or welcomes immigrants to Europe and Germany is my enemy.”

The move sparked outrage among some scientists, and now, BMC Evolutionary Biology has pulled the 2004 paper describing the software because the license change “breaches the journal’s editorial policy on software availability.” The retraction was first reported by the website Retraction Watch yesterday.

Where have we heard similar thoughts from Germany before?

Oh, yeah.

There was a 25-point program adopted by a small political party in Munich in 1920, and two points from that platform spring to mind:

7. We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.

8. Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans, who have immigrated to Germany since the 2 August 1914, be forced immediately to leave the Reich.

The author of that platform was himself an immigrant, albeit one who had immigrated a year before that cutoff date.

We presume you know his identity.

Chart of the day: Driving while black in Berkeley

Yep, if good ol’ “liberal” Berkeley, it’s still a crime to be driving while black, according to data released by the Berkeley Police Department following a California Public Records Act .

From the Daily Californian:


The paper reports:

The data released by BPD contained 2,199 previously unreleased cases of pedestrian and bicycle stops. Within that information, race was recorded for 1,652 individuals.

Of the pedestrian and bicycle stops made between Jan. 26 and Aug. 31 for which demographic data were recorded, approximately 50 percent were of white people, while approximately 32 percent were of black people. According to the city of Berkeley’s Existing Conditions Report, black people made up approximately 8 percent of the population in 2013, while white people made up about 56 percent.

According to George Lippman, a member of the city’s Police Review Commission, this demographic information should be a significant starting point in the conversation about Berkeley policing.

Kathleen Cleaver and the Black Panther Party

For a generation of Americans, Kathleen Cleaver was one of the most recognizable African American women in the United States. As spouse of Eldridge Cleaver, one of the founders and early leaders of the Black Panther Party, she was the feminine face of a radical movement with its roots in Oakland, California.

The marriage didn’t last, and Eldridge Cleaver subsequently renounced his radical views and became a conservative Mormon Republican [really] with multiple crack cocaine possession arrests [including two here in Berkeley], Kathleen Cleaver remains true to her early ideals.

In these two video segments, Cleaver discusses both the evolution of her own political experience and the history of the party itself.

From The Real News Network:

Evolution of A Black Panther — 1

From the transcript:

Long story short, by 1966 I was a student in college in New York City. And I was attending Barnard. This was the summer of ’66, and when Stokely Carmichael proclaimed black power as the new slogan of the movement. Freedom now was set aside, and black power was the new call. In a march in Mississippi, I knew, I had met Stokely. I had close friends who were, had worked in SNCC. Long story short, I knocked on the door at the SNCC office for a job interview two weeks after black power. It was very exciting. The movement, I had no idea, was in a state of not only transition but collapse. Moving from an integrated financial base to a black power orientation.

I was gung-ho with black power. I loved the movement, I loved everybody I met. It was my–oh, I could talk to, you know, James Forman, who I’d admired since I could read about him. And I could see Stokely Carmichael come into the office. And I was–I was just with these people who were amazing, extraordinary. I was asked to come down to Atlanta and work directly with the campus program, which was what I had wanted to do. I wanted to be an organizer of college students. And I became involved with planning events and coordinating with the concepts of black power, the notions of black liberation, sort of the political education of students to further this movement.

It was the most exciting and challenging and dramatic thing, and I never, ever worked so hard in my life. I think the first–seemed like the first time I moved to Atlanta I was at a meeting that lasted, it seemed like three days, with no sleep. I was just constantly taking notes with people. I was in the most exciting position to me, and being with people who I admired and I looked up to and I’d read about. And now here I was in this movement, having no idea when I first got there, it was about to explode.

It directly led to my connection to the Black Panther party. Very quickly. I got to SNCC in New York in June. Moved to Atlanta in January of ’67. And we were planning a conference for black students that was going to be held in Nashville, and it was called Liberation Will Come From A Black Thing. So I would say this was one of the very earliest black student conferences around the theme of black liberation. And the student organizations that affiliated or worked with SNCC or were focused on these issues were all coming, and people from Atlanta.

Evolution of A Black Panther — 2

From the transcript:

I used to respond to that question about the legacy of the Black Panther Party as it was too soon, because legacy is something that’s left after you’re dead, and the Black Panther Party, all the members haven’t died out. So we’re still in the form. However, that’s no longer true. Most of the members if not deceased are no longer active in that form. So you can say as an organization there is no more Black Panther Party. So let’s look at the legacy.

I still say that it’s too soon to tell because what the true activities and behavior and beliefs, practices within the Black Panther Party were is not what people know. I’m very stunned to realize that they have no clue as to the type of things we talked about, the type of things that we did, the programs that we initiated, the ideas we proposed, because of the distortions. Because of the manipulation. So when they read our own newspapers or see our own files or talk to us–no. They’re treated to garbage and lies. So first let’s get the true history, story, the true thoughts about the Black Panthers out.

We had a premise, and that was we want the power for our community to determine our own destiny. That’s point one. We’re still working on that. Point seven is the one we became identified with. Point seven which said we want an immediate end to police brutality and violence against black people. We also had some issues with imprisonment and military service, bad education. Really the political disabilities and the social disabilities of being what they like to call second-class citizens. We didn’t call it that. We called it a colonized people.

We had been deprived of our ability to determine our own destiny. The whole concept of black power was, in our case, power to the people. The people of our community. And so our legacy is to fight for the power to determine the destiny of our own community. To stand up, be counted, defend yourself, call for an end to police brutality and all other forms of racist injustice and tyranny. Which I think is being perpetuated as I speak by the new crowds of young people horrified, horrified at the level of violence and hostility that the police forces in this country see authorized to dispense in black communities.

In an interesting twist, it was for fear of the Panthers that then Gov. Ronald Reagan and the Caslifornia legislature passed the state’s first major gun control act, preventing the carrying of leaded weapons in public. The Mulford Act was aimed at destroying the Black Panther Police Patrols, the armed contingents of Panthers patrolling black neighborhoods to protect them from police misconduct.

On 2 March 1967, a contingent of Panthers, clad in leather jackets and black berets, entered the California State Capitol to protest the imminent passage of the legislation, sending lawmakers fleeing or ducking under their desks. After reading out a communique, the Panthers left peacefully.

Needless to say, the legislation passed.

Via the Visibility Project, here’s the sight that prompted Gov. Reagan to opt for the most basic form of gun control:

BLOG Panthers

Nextdoor: A panacea becomes a problem

Back in March, the New York Times offered a glowing report on the remarkable growth of, which had just pulled in $110 million in new venture capital for a company with an estimated worth of more than a billion dollars:

In short, it is all about community. Nextdoor has slowly built a network of more than 53,000 microcommunities across the United States, all based on local neighborhood boundaries. Nextdoor restricts communication to only those people who live close to one another; users are required to verify their identity and home address upon signing up.

Consider Nextdoor a modern, more attractive version of a community email list service or Yahoo Groups, the popular message board. Users can post neighborhood news, offer items for sale, ask for help finding lost pets or organize a block party.

Nextdoor also works with about 650 local government agencies that can send out citywide alerts on things like utility shutdowns in specific areas, crime alerts or emergency-preparedness tips.

But beneath the laudatory coverage, a darker side of the social medium was emerging, according to a report that same month from Fusion, headlined “Nextdoor, the social network for neighbors, is becoming a home for racial profiling.”

The report began with an incident in one neighborhood in Oakland, not so far from Casa esnl:

As Meredith Ahlberg ushered friends into her home in East Oakland’s Ivy Hill neighborhood for a party on a Saturday in early March, she noticed that her phone was lighting up with notifications. There were new messages from agitated neighbors on the localized social network Nextdoor, warning the neighborhood about “sketchy” men—one in a “white hoodie,” the other “a thin, youngish African American guy wearing a black beanie, white t-shirt with dark opened button down shirt over it, dark pants, tan shoes, gold chain.” These men, the poster wrote, were “lingering” and searching for a nonexistent address.

“Scary sketchy,” a poster commented. One neighbor suggested the situation warranted a call to the Oakland Police Department.

But Ahlberg, who is white, recognized the “suspicious” men: they were her friends, looking for her front door. By the time she saw the posts, her friends had found the correct address and Ahlberg was looking right at the ‘thin, young, black man’ with the gold chain. The co-owner of a clothing store in downtown Oakland, he looked “ridiculously handsome and stylish,” she said in an interview. She was horrified at her neighbors’ assumptions.

It was, in short, a case of asking questions while being black in a white neighborhood.

But the Oakland problem is even deeper, according to a report just published in the East Bay Express:, a website that bills itself as the “private social network for neighborhoods,” offers a free web platform on which members can blast a wide variety of messages to people who live in their immediate neighborhood. A San Francisco-based company founded in 2010, Nextdoor’s user-friendly site has exploded in popularity over the last two years in Oakland. As of this fall, a total of 176 Oakland neighborhoods have Nextdoor groups — and 20 percent of all households in the city use the site, according to the company.

On Nextdoor, people give away free furniture or fruit from their backyards. Users reunite lost dogs with their owners. Members organize community meetings and share tips about babysitters and plumbers. But under the “Crime and Safety” section of the site, the tone is much less neighborly. There, residents frequently post unsubstantiated “suspicious activity” warnings that result in calls to the police on Black citizens who have done nothing wrong. In recent months, people from across the city have shared with me Nextdoor posts labeling Black people as suspects simply for walking down the street, driving a car, or knocking on a door. Users have suggested that Black salesmen and mail carriers may be burglars. One Nextdoor member posted a photo of a young Black boy who failed to pick up dog poop and suggested that his neighbors call the police on him.

White residents have also used Nextdoor to complain and organize calls to police about Black residents being too noisy in public parks and bars — raising concerns that the site amplifies the harmful impacts of gentrification. On Nextdoor and other online neighborhood groups — including Facebook pages and Yahoo and Google listservs — residents have called Black and Latino men suspicious for being near bus stops, standing in “shadows,” making U-turns, and hanging around outside coffee shops. Residents frequently warn each other to be on the look out for suspects with little more description than “Black” and “wearing a hoodie.”

Accompanying the article on the alternative weekly’s website is a video we pass along:

Unwelcome at Home: Black Oaklanders on Racial Profiling

Once again, a medium heralded as a way to bring people together has become a conduit for the perpetuation of stereotypes [think “comments”]. But unlike many website comments, Nextdoor posters are identified and their messages seem much more temperate. Nonetheless, prejudices shape the context, assumptions about how a designated group is prone to act in specific situations.

And once again we are presented with proof that, contrary to claims of the Rabid Right, bigotry ain’t dead. And it helps tp recognize that each of us  own peculiarities of thought and action folks in other times and places might deem ignorant, even dangerously so.

But all that means little to those targeted by manifestly wrong-headed bias in a culture which can’t even fully acknowledge the collective and continuing trauma wrought by the institution of chattel slavery.

You’ll find that reality right Nextdoor.