Lazy Caturday Reads: Americans are Suffering from Trump AbusePosted: September 12, 2020 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Bob Woodward, coronavirus pandemic, cracked teeth, dental problems, neuroscience, PTSD, Seth Norrholm, Trump abuse, Trump stress 26 Comments
I slept late this morning for the first time in a couple of months. Since the beginning of the pandemic, my sleep patterns have been so disturbed. I began waking up very early even though I usually stay up at least till midnight. I also began drinking coffee again after years of mostly drinking tea, and my caffeine consumption has increased. I think it’s a combination of the stress of Trump and the changes that came with the virus.
Everything has changed. At first it was so surreal and now it feels like the new normal. But each time there is a new shock–mostly because of Trump–I experience sleep problems and other signs of stress. Since the revelations from the Woodward book, I think I’ve been grinding my teeth at night, because my jaw has been hurting. It’s better today. I don’t know why I finally relaxed enough to oversleep, but it feels good for now. Who knows what horrors Trump will visit on us today though? It’s always something.
Apparently, I’m not alone in my reactions to the national stress. Dentists are seeing strange tooth problems lately.
The New York Times: A Dentist Sees More Cracked Teeth. What’s Going On?
I closed my midtown Manhattan practice to all but dental emergencies in mid-March, in line with American Dental Association guidelines and state government mandate. Almost immediately, I noticed an uptick in phone calls: jaw pain, tooth sensitivity, achiness in the cheeks, migraines. Most of these patients I effectively treated via telemedicine.
But when I reopened my practice in early June, the fractures started coming in: at least one a day, every single day that I’ve been in the office. On average, I’m seeing three to four; the bad days are six-plus fractures.
What’s going on?
One obvious answer is stress. From Covid-induced nightmares to “doomsurfing” to “coronaphobia,” it’s no secret that pandemic-related anxiety is affecting our collective mental health. That stress, in turn, leads to clenching and grinding, which can damage the teeth.
But more specifically, the surge I’m seeing in tooth trauma may be a result of two additional factors.
First, an unprecedented number of Americans are suddenly working from home, often wherever they can cobble together a makeshift workstation: on the sofa, perched on a barstool, tucked into a corner of the kitchen counter. The awkward body positions that ensue can cause us to hunch our shoulders forward, curving the spine into something resembling a C-shape.
If you’re wondering why a dentist cares about ergonomics, the simple truth is that poor posture during the day can translate into a grinding problem at night.
Second, most of us aren’t getting the restorative sleep we need. Since the onset of the pandemic, I’ve listened to patient after patient describe sudden restlessness and insomnia. These are hallmarks of an overactive or dominant sympathetic nervous system, which drives the body’s “fight or flight” response. Think of a gladiator preparing for battle: balling his fists, clenching his jaw. Because of the stress of coronavirus, the body stays in a battle-ready state of arousal, instead of resting and recharging. All that tension goes straight to the teeth.
Read more at the NYT.
USA Today: Cracked teeth, gross gums: Dentists see surge of problems, and the pandemic is likely to blame.
Stress and isolation brought on by the pandemic are certainly bad for our mental health, but dentists say they’re seeing evidence our oral health is suffering too.
Reports of a huge spike in cracked teeth have received national media attention in recent days, but multiple dentists told USA TODAY that’s just the start of the problem.
“It’s like a perfect storm,” Dr. Michael Dickerson, an independent practice owner with Aspen Dental in Tarpon Springs, Florida, told USA TODAY. The patients he’s seeing now need “a ton of work,” as compared to the past, he said.
In the New York metropolitan area, it’s more of the same. Overall, patients’ mouths are “much dirtier than they were before … their gums are more inflamed,” Dr. Michael Fleischer told USA TODAY. Fleischer is a dentist and Senior Vice President of Clinical Affairs at Dental365.
And in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, endodontist Dr. Derek T. Peek said he treated twice as many broken teeth this August compared with last year, even though he’s treated less patients. Endodontists are dentists who specialize in patients with complex or painful teeth issues.
Read more at the link.
At Salon, Chauncey DeVega, who often writes about Trump’s pathology, interviewed an expert on the stress Trump is causing Americans: PTSD expert Seth Norrholm: Americans “are being psychologically abused by Donald Trump.”
Dr. Seth Norrholm is a translational neuroscientist and one of the world’s leading experts on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and fear. He is currently the scientific director at the Neuroscience Center for Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma (NeuroCAST) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.
In this conversation, Dr. Norrholm explains how Donald Trump’s behavior towards the American people resembles that of a domestic abuser. He also details how Donald Trump and his regime are causing the American people to experience symptoms and behaviors similar to PTSD — and that post-Trump PTSD will impact the country’s public health for many years into the future. Norrholm also offers advice on how the American people can handle the increase in stress and anxiety as Election Day 2020 approaches in the midst of a deadly pandemic and Trump’s escalating threats and violence….
What are Trump and his regime doing to the emotional health of the American people? The long-term impact is going to be great.
From 2015 forward, it is a constant timeline of one risk or threat or breaking of norms after another from the Trump administration. There has been no real respite.
Looking at this through social media, it is very much like an addiction where some people will log into Twitter in the morning and then you will see them log off at night and they will actually say, “See you in the morning, folks.” Twitter and other social media is almost like a running commentary of their day.
The Age of Trump is the story of authoritarianism and how it can damage the mental health of an entire society. Why has there been such reluctance by most of the mainstream American news media to discuss emotional life as connected to politics in this moment?
Part of the problem with emotions is vagueness. Therefore, the news media and analysts tend to shy away from discussing emotions. I also think that part of the challenge is that American society tends to be forgiving. For example, if the president were to go public and say that, “Look, I’ve battled an addiction to painkillers or alcohol,” or that he has early stage Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, the news media and public would accept it. Why? Because it is a hard diagnosis. It is something tangible. But because with Donald Trump we are talking about behavior which is open to interpretation and involves concepts from psychology that deal with emotions and personality, it is very difficult for the average person to understand. This is true of the news media as well. Therefore, emotions in general are much less discussed by the American news media.
This has meant that the American news media has for the most part covered Donald Trump using the existing heuristics which are, “Here is the president’s schedule. Here’s what he did today. Here’s what he said.” Donald Trump should not have been covered that way. The assumption that he is somehow “presidential” and acts in a normal way should have been discarded.
Then there is the other side, with Fox News and other right-wing news media which Trump’s followers listen to. That side is proceeding with, “This is how we have to defend our position.” That is when we see cult psychology, a shared psychosis where the members have to radically defend their positions because the alternative is admitting that they were wrong. It is as if American society has lost the ability to admit wrong and apologize where whole groups of partisans and Trumpists can’t simply say, “Look, I read the situation wrong and I made a mistake.”
Read the rest of the interview at the Salon link above.
At Raw Story, Heather Digby Parton writes about the aftermath of the Woodward revelations: The deep malevolence that drives Trump’s behavior has now been laid bare.
It figures that Bob Woodward, the man who helped to take down Richard Nixon 45 years ago, would follow up with a big book about Nixon’s natural heir to the presidency, Donald Trump. Just as Nixon was undone by tape recordings he foolishly made to document his own corruption, so too Trump foolishly allowed himself to be recorded by Woodward. That’s what sets Woodward’s book “Rage” apart from all the other Trump books that have come before: We can hear the quotes in Trump’s own voice, so he can’t get away with calling it fake news.
I think most of us who have been observing this surreal presidency for the past four years have wondered whether Trump is more ignorant than malevolent or vice versa. (Obviously, he’s both: It’s just a question of which is dominant.) It’s been especially hard to know during this pandemic catastrophe because the president has made so many ill-informed comments and odious decisions, from the inane hydroxychloroquine campaign to his decision not to implement a national testing program because most of the people dying in the early days were in blue states.
Listening to Trump blithely tell Woodward at the beginning of February that he knew the pandemic was going to kill a whole lot more people than the flu and that it was an airborne disease proves that he is malevolent first and foremost. You can hear it in his voice — so blandly detached and dispassionate as he talks about what he describes as “deadly stuff.” We know he’d been warned about the likelihood of the virus coming to America by this point. Woodward even reports that national security adviser Robert O’Brien had told Trump in January that the virus would be the “biggest national security threat you face in your presidency.”
It’s clear that Trump simply didn’t care about that. And he never changed. CNN reports this anecdote from the book that backs up that impression:
On March 19, as the coronavirus pandemic was exploding, Woodward asked Trump if he ever sat down alone with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to learn more about the virus.”Yes, I guess, but honestly there’s not a lot of time for that, Bob,” Trump said to Woodward. “This is a busy White House. We’ve got a lot of things happening. And then this came up.”
Woodward notes in the book that Trump had found the time to “carve out hours” to do interviews with him throughout the crisis.
Read the whole thing at Raw Story.
Hang in there Sky Dancers! Make sure to do something nice for yourselves today and be kind to others who are experiencing Trump stress reactions.
Tuesday ReadsPosted: September 18, 2018 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics, Women's Rights | Tags: "presidential alert", Amy Coney Barrett, Anita Hill, attempted rape, Brett Kavanaugh, democracy in crisis, Don McGahn, Donald Trump, FEMA, Hillary Clinton, Mario Kart, Mitch McConnell, PTSD, Roe v. Wade, Senate Judiciary Committee, triggered 40 Comments
I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but the whole Kavanaugh thing has really triggered my PSTD. I haven’t been able to sleep much at night, I wake up early, and then I fall asleep in the afternoon. I feel disgusted and depressed by the entire ugly episode. It was bad enough that Republicans were determined to confirm a political operative whose main goal in life seems to be to curtail the rights of women and hand corporations the power to rip off and poison Americans, but now we may get a reprise of the Anita Hill hearings.
I’m glad that Christine Blasey Ford has come forward with her story of being nearly raped by Trump’s SCOTUS pick, but at the same time I wish the whole horrible thing would just go away.
Actually, I’m convinced that there won’t be a hearing next Monday. I think Kavanaugh will be forced to withdraw. It seems that Trump isn’t really all that enthused about him, and he can always nominate another evil right wing nut. In fact, he could solve the whole sexual abuse/assault issue by appointing a conservative woman, Amy Coney Barrett. She probably didn’t try to rape anyone when she was in high school, and she would likely vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Here’s the latest tick tock from the WaPo White house reporters: With Trump muted, White House leans on Kavanaugh to defend himself.
White House aides said they persuaded the president to refrain from tweeting a defense of Kavanaugh in the accusation’s immediate aftermath and deliberately worked to keep him from meeting personally with the nominee, even though the two men spent most of the day in proximity.
Kavanaugh was hunkered down in the West Wing office of White House Counsel Donald McGahn, strategizing to save his nomination and calling senators to deny the claim against him….
One senior White House official said Trump thinks Kavanaugh can survive and told top advisers he thought the judge’s denial of wrongdoing was forceful. “The president’s thinking is, don’t get out there and defend him if he’s not defending himself,” this official said. “But he liked that he defended himself.”
But two Trump confidants Monday also underscored the president’s history of self-interested calculations amid political tumult. “He’s going to do what’s best for Trump,” said one of them, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment. “The president thinks it’s rough for Kavanaugh, and he’d decry the process as disgusting if he withdraws, but he’d nominate a carbon copy of Kavanaugh in a second if he goes down.”
Another reason why Kavanaugh might be thrown overboard, again from the WaPo: Republicans fear reversals in November due to accusation against Supreme Court nominee.
Republicans are bracing for political aftershocks from the sexual assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, with some expressing fear that the coming investigation will refocus the nation’s attention on an issue that could drive up the Democratic vote in the midterm elections.
The initial hope that the conservative Kavanaugh’s appointment would encourage turnout by grateful GOP voters this fall has been tempered by new fears that more voters, especially independent women, might head to the polls with fresh anger about Republican handling of sexual impropriety after a new round of public hearings.
“It’s not just about Kavanaugh but more about the midterms,” Rick Hohlt, a Republican lobbyist and veteran strategist, said of the party’s concerns. “With more women running for public office than ever before and the majority of them being Democrats, we could have a 1992 situation.”
That’s a reference to the elections in 1992, dubbed the “Year of the Woman” after the number of women elected to the House nearly doubled, to 47, and the number of women elected to the Senate tripled, to six. The election came one year after Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court despite allegations that he had sexually harassed a subordinate, Anita Hill, in the workplace.
Even before the accusation against Kavanaugh surfaced, polls showed women preferred Democrats more than men did and were more likely to disapprove of President Trump, who faced accusations of sexual misconduct by 19 women before his 2016 election. A Washington Post-ABC News poll in late August found 58 percent of female registered voters intended to cast a ballot for a Democrat for Congress, compared with 45 percent of men.
Remember Mitch McConnell never wanted Trump to appoint Kavanaugh. It’s a long time until next Monday’s scheduled hearing. A lot can happen in that time. My guess is the Republicans will cut Kavanaugh loose. Certainly, if another woman comes forward, he will be dead in the water.
Meanwhile, FEMA’s threatened presidential emergency alert system rollout has been postponed because of all the protests. NBC News:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which oversees the wireless emergency alert (WEA) system, announced that the test that had been scheduled for Thursday will be pushed back to Oct. 3, citing the “ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.”
The initial announcement was met with concerns from social media users who stated that a direct message from President Donald Trump to the nation could be used for political purposes, similar to how he uses his official Twitter page.
Many also went on to raise the issue of the alert being mandatory, with no way to opt of it. One user even messaged Verizon Wireless, one of the 100 wireless service companies that have agreed to provide the alert to their network, asking how she can avoid receiving it.
Some users even threatened to cancel their cellphone service, while others said they would protest the test by turning their phones off, creating the hashtag #GoDark920 in response to the original test date.
Stephen Cobb, a security researcher at ESET, a technology security company, tweeted via his verified account that the blowback against the test indicated the broader frustration with the president.
“This POTUS is so bad that folks are prepared to forgo the potential benefits of a national alert system – which already exists on radio and TV – because it is hard to believe Trump will not abuse it.”
As long as we’re talking about the sexual predator in the White House, I might as well include this creepy info from The Guardian on Stormy Daniels’s tell-all book:
Trump’s bodyguard invites Daniels to dinner, which turns out to be an invitation to Trump’s penthouse, she writes, in a description of alleged events that Daniels has disclosed previously but which in the book are rendered with new and lurid detail. She describes Trump’s penis as “smaller than average” but “not freakishly small.”
“He knows he has an unusual penis,” Daniels writes. “It has a huge mushroom head. Like a toadstool…
“I lay there, annoyed that I was getting fucked by a guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart…
“It may have been the least impressive sex I’d ever had, but clearly, he didn’t share that opinion.”
Ugh. Still, I’d love to be a fly on the wall when someone reads this to Trump.
Finally, if you haven’t already done so, you should read Hillary Clinton’s new essay at The Atlantic: American Democracy Is in Crisis.
It’s been nearly two years since Donald Trump won enough Electoral College votes to become president of the United States. On the day after, in my concession speech, I said, “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.” I hoped that my fears for our future were overblown.
They were not.
In the roughly 21 months since he took the oath of office, Trump has sunk far below the already-low bar he set for himself in his ugly campaign. Exhibit A is the unspeakable cruelty that his administration has inflicted on undocumented families arriving at the border, including separating children, some as young as eight months, from their parents. According to The New York Times, the administration continues to detain 12,800 children right now, despite all the outcry and court orders. Then there’s the president’s monstrous neglect of Puerto Rico: After Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, his administration barely responded. Some 3,000 Americans died. Now Trump flatly denies those deaths were caused by the storm. And, of course, despite the recent indictments of several Russian military intelligence officers for hacking the Democratic National Committee in 2016, he continues to dismiss a serious attack on our country by a foreign power as a “hoax.”
Trump and his cronies do so many despicable things that it can be hard to keep track. I think that may be the point—to confound us, so it’s harder to keep our eye on the ball. The ball, of course, is protecting American democracy. As citizens, that’s our most important charge. And right now, our democracy is in crisis.
I don’t use the word crisis lightly. There are no tanks in the streets. The administration’s malevolence may be constrained on some fronts—for now—by its incompetence. But our democratic institutions and traditions are under siege. We need to do everything we can to fight back. There’s not a moment to lose.
Read the rest at the Atlantic link.
Monday Reads: and the beat goes onPosted: July 18, 2016 Filed under: 2016 elections, Afternoon Reads, American Gun Fetish, Black Lives Matter, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Crime, Criminal Justice System, domestic military/police exercises, Rule of Law | Tags: A Clockwork Orange, Baton Rouge Police shootings, Connecting PTSD to violence, Donald Trump, Dystopian Fiction, Eight Amendment, Fifth Amendment, first amendment, fourth amendment, Mad Max, mass shootings, PTSD, second amendment, veterans connected to mass shootings, Water World 41 Comments
What can be said about the violence erupting around the country and around the world these days? Words can fail us. We’re losing hearts and minds along with lives. How did we get here? I hope we don’t have to wait on historians to deconstruct the causes because we’re careening towards a future that seems better imagined by George Miller and Byron Kennedy of Mad Max fame. Dystopian fiction should not actually portend reality. It should be a harbinger of possibilities we can avoid; not outcomes we bring on to ourselves.
Today will be another reminder that one of the two major parties has completely lost its ability to govern and is stuck some where we should not be. We have the Republicans about ready to nominate a dude that reminds me of the Dennis Hopper character in Water World. Trump sounds as crazy as that character. I’m waiting to hear his big convention floor speech and wondering if he’ll be waving a cigar and a bottle of Jack and be wearing an eye patch, frankly. We’re losing our sense of community and our sense of responsibility as members of community.
Our sense of alienation perhaps comes from a world where we are more likely to connect with technology than with a human being and where our jobs are continually dehumanizing us. This generally makes us susceptible to folks that play on our anger. We’ve had two very angry pseudo populists on the national stage who really represent privilege that have done a great job of stirring up resentment. They’ve also stirred up some insane reaction to that visible resentment. I personally am watching my neighborhood be torn apart by already rich people looking to make more money by dismantling everything and every one deemed unprofitable. I feel like I only exist to many of them as a possible source of monetization although I can tell I’ve outlived my usefulness for that as an aging woman of little means these days.
How did we get to a point where one of the two major parties is actually going to nominate a man whose speeches call for the dismantling of the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth amendments to our Constitution? Are we so far down the rabbit hole that we’ll actually sell out the rule of law for guns and anger?
Trump has from the start of his campaign sparked controversy with statements, actions, and proposals that disregard the First Amendment. He and his aides have created blacklists of journalists, and the candidate has expressed an interest inrewriting libel laws in order to intimidate, punish, and potentially silence critics of powerful individuals and interests. Trump has, as well, proposed schemes to discriminate against Muslims and to spy on mosques and neighborhoods where Muslims live—with steady disregard for the amendment’s guarantee of protection for America’s diverse religious communities.
But that’s just the beginning of Trump’s assaults on the Constitution. Trump has encouraged the use of torture and blatantly disregarded privacy protections that have been enshrined in the founding document since the 18th century. He has attacked the basic premises of a constitutionally defined separation of powers, with rhetorical assaults on individual jurists and the federal judiciary so extreme that House Speaker Paul Ryan described one such attack as “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” He has proposed instituting religious tests. He has shown open and consistent disregard for the promise that all Americans will receive equal protection under the law.
Many of us have long harbored the idea that today’s Republican Party only cares about the idea of a Second Amendment on steroids and the rest of our civil liberties and rights should be damned. The realities of what I used to believe were brief moments of paranoia are just on full display this week. Have you seen the pictures of the up-armored bicycle police in Cleveland? I mean, how Clockwork Orange is that? Don’t even get me started on the entire idea of letting folks with assault rifles into the protest pits to strut around like dildo-toting S&M bondage RPers who are likely trigger happy. We just had three police officers ambushed and killed in Baton Rouge and the response is to let more crazies out on the streets with guns? Really? Really?
Hours after the head of Cleveland’s police union pleaded with the governorto suspend Ohio’s open-carry laws during the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump’s spokesperson told ThinkProgress she is “not nervous at all” that people are walking around the city with assault weapons.
“I am recommending that people follow the law,” Katrina Pierson said Sunday when asked whether she believes people should arm themselves in the convention zone. Under Ohio law, residents over 21 years old who legally own a firearm can openly carry it in public.
In light of the shooting and death of three police officers in Baton Rouge on Sunday, the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association asked for an emergency suspension of the state’s open-carry law for the duration of the Republican National Convention.
“We are sending a letter to Gov. [John] Kasich requesting assistance from him,” union president Stephen Loomis told CNN. “He could very easily do some kind of executive order or something — I don’t care if it’s constitutional or not at this point.” Kasich denied the union’s request.
The violence in Louisiana on Sunday was only the latest in a series of deadly clashes between police and civilians over the past few weeks. When an angry, heavily-armed civilian began shooting at police during a Dallas Black Lives Matter protest earlier this month, the state’s open-carry law made it difficult for police to track down the assailant. Officers mistook at least one legally armed resident for a suspect, and the proliferation of guns made it more difficult for them to determine who posed a threat.
In the weeks leading up to the RNC, Cleveland officials expressed concern that Ohio’s law, like Texas’, would create a dangerous and hectic environment outside the convention.
I’m going to put up a few links about what’s been going down in my state but I really have gone past words at some level. I have a few scattered thoughts. First, the two most recent shooters–while being black men–remind me more of Timothy McVeigh than anything coming from BLM. These recent institutional shooters all have a military background and appear to have spent extensive time in theater over in the Middle East.
The Dallas police shooter was an army Vet and a “loner”. The Baton Rouge Shooter was a former Marine. Here’s a list of 22 serial killers with military backgrounds. Are we really doing a good job of identifying vets with problems and helping them before setting them loose on society again? Don’t we owe them and ourselves something at all? If we broke them, shouldn’t we fix them or at least help them in some way to cope with their experiences?
There’s a lot of studies and work that’s been done that show PTSD contributes to violence. Are we just beginning to see some more of the real costs of invading Iraq and Afghanistan and sustaining a brutal ground war?
At the end of their 15-month tour in Iraq, the Lethal Warriors returned to Fort Carson with an impressive battlefield record, having cleared one of the worst parts of Baghdad, in some cases digging up IEDs with little more than screwdrivers and tire irons. Unfortunately, the Lethal Warriors achieved a kind of notoriety that was less for their battlefield exploits than for the battalion’s connection to a string of murders. In December 2007 two soldiers from the unit, Robert James and Kevin Shields, were killed, and three fellow soldiers were charged with murder. The killings were part of a larger pattern of violence extending back to 2005, including 11 murders, in what was the largest killing spree involving a single army base in modern U.S. history.
The increased violence around Fort Carson began at the start of the Iraq war. A 126-page Army report known as an “Epidemiological Consultation” released in 2009 found that the murder rate around the Army’s third-largest post had doubled and that the number of rape arrests had tripled. As David Philipps wrote in Lethal Warriors, his 2010 book about the crime spree, “In the year after the battalion returned from Iraq, the per-capita murder rate for this small group of soldiers was a hundred times greater than the national average.” Tellingly, 2-12’s post-traumatic stress disorder rate was more than three times that of an equivalent unit that had served in a less violent part of Iraq. The EPICON summarized all this in classic bureaucratic language, noting dully that there was “a possible association between increasing levels of combat exposure and risk for negative behavioral outcomes.”
Put another way, war has a way of bringing out the dark side in people.
Our institutions seem to do be doing that to a lot of people. Combine that with easy access to military grade weapons and candidates whose stump speeches bring on anger and resentment and you’ve just got some kind of accelerant to death and violence imho anyway. Mother Jones has started to keep a database on mass shootings and the profiles of the perpetrators is really quite enlightening. This is from 2012 to get you situated. Here’s the list of the deadliest Mass shootings from 1984 to 2016. The US is resplendent with well-armed rampage killers. Many of them are trained and experienced killers, quite damaged, and have easy access to weapons.
This is a 2013 Wired article that shows that a lot of the killings at that time were associated with folks with no military experience at all. A lot of these killers have a fascination with military life styles but that is more along the lines of militias rather than the US military.
The basic pattern found by the New Jersey DHS fusion center, and obtained by Public Intelligence (.PDF), is one of a killer who lashes out at his co-workers. Thirteen out of the 29 observed cases “occurred at the workplace and were conducted by either a former employee or relative of an employee,” the November report finds. His “weapon of choice” is a semiautomatic handgun, rather than the rifles that garnered so much attention after Newtown. The infamous Columbine school slaying of 1999 is the only case in which killers worked in teams: they’re almost always solo acts — and one-off affairs. In every single one of them, the killer was male, between the age of 17 and 49.
They also don’t have military training. Veterans are justifiably angered by the Hollywood-driven meme of the unhinged vet who takes out his battlefield stress on his fellow Americans. (Thanks, Rambo.) In only four of the 29 cases did the shooter have any affiliation with the U.S. military, either active or prior at the time of the slaying, and the fusion center doesn’t mention any wartime experience of the killers. Yet the Army still feels the need to email reporters after each shooting to explain that the killer never served.
How will these recent, targeted shootings of police change our ideas of mass, rampage shooters? The Baton Rouge shooter has left a huge manifesto on various social media outlets that will likely be analyzed by crime profilers and psychologists for some time.
Long posted dozens of videos and podcasts on his webpage “Convos With Cosmo” in addition to regularly tweeting and posting on Twitter and Instagram under the pseudonym “Cosmo Setepenra.”
In a video titled “Convos With Cosmo on Protesting, Oppression, and how to deal with Bullies” that was posted a week before Sunday’s shooting, he rants about “fighting back” against “bullies” and discussed the killings of black men at the hands of the police, referencing the death of Sterling, who was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge earlier this month.
No matter what kinds of lessons we learn about motives or triggers to these kinds of horrible shootings, the one thing we do know is that we have scads of damaged men that have easy access to incredibly powerful weapons wrecking havoc on our communities. We also know that there is a hard core group of gun fetishists and profiteers that don’t give a damn about that. While ignoring the perpetual drip drip drip of lost rights from other amendments, the second amendment is being hyped, dosed, and morphed into something that it was never meant to be. The Republican party is complicit to each and every murder victim. Machine Guns are not protected by the Second Amendment.
A Texas man who sued the federal government because it wouldn’t approve his application to manufacture a machine gun doesn’t have a constitutional right to possess the automatic weapon, an appeals court ruled.
Jay Hollis sought permission to convert his AR-15, a popular semi-automatic firearm, into an M16 — an automatic firearm that is banned under federal law, except for official use or lawfully obtained pre-1986 models.
After he was rejected, Hollis mounted a constitutional challenge to the Gun Control Act of 1968 — which Congress amended in 1986 to make it illegal to possess or transfer newly manufactured machine guns. Among other things, he argued that an “M-16 is the quintessential militia-styled arm for the modern day.”
In a unanimous ruling issued Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit rejected Hollis’ arguments, categorically noting that “machine guns are not protected arms under the Second Amendment.”
The court explained that the leading Supreme Court precedent on the right to keep and bear arms, 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller, only protected individual handgun possession for “defense of hearth and home.”
“Today … ordinary military weaponry is far more advanced than the weapons typically found at home and used for (self)-defense,” the court said, adding that machine guns are “dangerous and unusual,” and nothing like what militias might have used at the founding of the republic.
“Heller rejected a functionalist interpretation of the Second Amendment premised on the effectiveness of militia service,” the court of appeals said.
Aided by a number of gun rights groups, Hollis had pressed a number of other arguments — that anything that is “ordinary military equipment” is protected, that the Second Amendment really exists to allow a rebellion against the government, and that machine guns aren’t really “dangerous and unusual.”
The 5th Circuit was largely unimpressed, calling the last argument “tantamount to asking us to overrule the Supreme Court.”
We’ve got some major dysfunction in this country that can’t be more clearly represented than by the toxic Trump/Pence ticket.The problem is that a huge portion of our citizenship feels so disenfranchised that they seem to be in search of the end times. Their viewpoints appear to be funded and shaped by the very folks that are making this happen. The one thing that’s discouraged me most is that leftists are playing into a similar narrative.
It seems unlikely that Trump will be president. I’d like to think that Hillary Clinton will be our shero. But, without a full functioning set of government institutions, how are we going to get beyond the Thunderdome? Why are we electing officials whose goal in life appear to be sabotaging our country? If most people reject Donald Trump, why do we have a Speaker Paul Fucking Ryan whose favorite dystopian fiction writer has an overwhelmingly negative impact our US Policy?
As the GOP convention gets underway in Cleveland today, three national polls released over the weekend showed Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump: A CNN poll putting Clinton up by 49-42; an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll putting her up by 46-41; and a Washington Post/ABC News poll putting her up by 47-43.
But buried beneath the toplines is evidence of another dynamic that gets at something important about the state of this race: While both Clinton and Trump are very unpopular, large majorities in two of these polls believe that only one of them is qualified for the presidency, and equally large majorities believe that the other one is not.
The new WaPo poll finds, for instance, that Americans say by 59-39 that Clinton is “qualified to serve as president,” but they also say by 60-37 that Trump is “not qualified to serve as president.”
Again, my hope is that Trump/Pence go down yugely and take the likes of Paul Ryan with them. You can’t have one set of them without the others who basically feel the same way but signal their intent with weasel words.
So, obviously, we down here in Louisiana are reeling from all the recent killings. I think some of the policy prescriptions are obvious otherwise it will be upward and onward with “a bit of the old ultraviolence.”
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Sunday Reads: PotpourriPosted: January 20, 2013 Filed under: Afghanistan, American Gun Fetish, Barack Obama, Congress, education, Environment, Environmental Protection, executive orders, Food, Foreign Affairs, Gun Control, House of Representatives, medicine, Mental Health, morning reads, nature, productivity, psychology, Russia, science, the GOP, toxic waste, Vagina, Violence against women | Tags: Adam Swartz, Afghanistan War, Bolshoi Ballet, Coke, Danny Kaye, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), Labiaplasty, NRA, Plastics, PTSD, seafood, Sidwell Friends School, Wikileaks, William Edward Cronenweth 32 Comments
Today’s post is bringing you a mixture of different links, a potpourri if you will…
But before we get to the bowl of fragrant, colorful, natural, synthetic, faded, smelly, moldy, dried, limp, withered reads, let us touch on something that I find hilariously ironic.
Look at this headline:
5 People Shot At 3 Different Gun Shows On Gun Appreciation Day
I don’t think there is anything else to say about that. Except maybe add this nugget of news from TPM:
It seems that the Obama kids are not protected by armed guards at the Sidwell Friends School.
I would not go so far as to say that the NRA are big liars, cough, but you decide.
Another headline for you:
Obama’s Plan May Put More Guns in Schools
Personally, I think that there should be mandatory full-time armed police person inside schools…and that they should be paid from a tax on ammunition. But I feel strongly, and passionately, that these armed individuals should not be volunteers, teachers, janitors and/or any vigilante obsessed gun-toting “concerned” citizens.
Okay then, moving right along, the links today are going to be in link dump fashion, since my head is killing me and this computer screen is burning my eyes.
The first couple of links I have for you are chilling and extremely disturbing. Be sure to read them in full.
Is PTSD Contagious? It’s rampant among returning vets—and now their spouses and kids are starting to show the same symptoms. Mac McClelland | Mother Jones
After reading Mac’s article, I think it is fair to say…yes, PTSD is contagious.
Coupled with these infographics that tell a sad story: Charts: Suicide, PTSD and the Psychological Toll on America’s Vets | Mother Jones
Another post that is related to traumatic experiences: Can Eye Movements Treat Trauma?: Scientific American
Studies are showing that moving your eyes back and forth like a ping-pong ball can help deal with PTSD. The technique is called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
This next article discusses Afghanistan: The 13-Year War- As we draw closer to the withdrawal in Afghanistan promised at the close of 2014, a look back at America’s longest war.
Emptywheel takes a look at the connection between Adam Swartz and the government’s investigation into Wikileaks. The Fishing Expedition into WikiLeaks
Here is an update on the ongoing hunt for pythons in Florida’s Everglades: Florida’s python update: 21 caught so far in Everglades hunt
And another update on the story we’ve followed about those possible Spitfires in Burma: No ‘lost Spitfires’ buried in Burma-Dig near Rangoon International Airport proves fruitless but Lincolnshire farmer insists search will continue elsewhere in the country
Want to see a list of Representatives who did not vote for Sandy aid? MAP: In These 22 States, Every House Republican Voted Against Sandy Aid
Take a look at this photo, it is still a messy situation.
Almost three months after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast, the GOP-controlled House approved a bill that provides $50.7 billion in disaster relief for the storm’s victims. While passage of the bill is being hailed as a bipartisan success by some (the vote was 241-180), a closer look at how the parties voted by state lines indicates otherwise. GOPers overwhelmingly voted against funding—unless, of course, their state was hard hit.
In 22 states, every last Republican representative voted against HR 152 or abstained on the bill, which includes $17 billion for immediate repair and an amendment introduced by a Republican, New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, that tacks on another $33.7 billion for long-term recovery and prevention. These included Maryland and the Carolinas (remember Hugo and Floyd?), states that are vulnerable to seasonal hurricanes but were largely spared by Sandy.
And…in the plastic yuk department: Plastics Suck Up Other Toxins: Double Whammy for Marine Life, Gross for Seafood
Combine that with the yuk from Coke’s sugary drinks: Coke: Wait, People Thought Vitaminwater Was Good for You?
Makes you think, what the hell are we doing to ourselves?
If it doesn’t make you question our self-destructive actions, this next link will…Labiaplasty: An investigation of the most popular trend in the field of ‘vaginal rejuvenation’ surgery.
Kirsten O’Regan: Labiaplasty, Part I – Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
Kirsten O’Regan: Labiaplasty, Part II – Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
You may need some eye bleach and a break from reading after that article. Ooof!
Why would any woman do that to herself? I mean, that is just fucked-up.
Couldn’t they just “think” about it and get the same benefit, if you could call it that. Check this out: AsapSCIENCE Demonstrates The Power Of Imagination- Thinking About Doing Something Is Pretty Much The Same As Doing It [Video] | Geekosystem
Ready for a strange and uncomfortable fact to start your Friday morning? Sure you are, and here it is, courtesy of the fine cartoonists and deep thinkers over at AsapSCIENCE: when you think deeply about a thing — seeing the letter ‘B,’ for example, or fixing a sandwich — the same parts of your brain involved in performing that action light up. Some studies even suggest that you can improve your piano skills just by thinking diligently about playing while not actually touching a piano. Check out AsapSCIENCE’s latest video below and learn more about how your brain is just weird sometimes.
Well, I guess all of us procrastinators will appreciate that video. (I won’t even begin to try and fix the f’d up grammar in that sentence.)
I’ve got another video for you: The deer that thinks it’s a sheep | Earth | EarthSky
You will love this video. The deer attached himself to the sheep in early December 2012. He shows no sign of leaving.
Have you all seen this bit of twisted news in the world of ballet?
Bolshoi artistic director Sergei Filin ‘blinded’ by acid attack that left him with chemical burns- The former ballet star had acid thrown in his face by a man – it is thought the attack is linked to his position
Bolshoi ballet director Sergei Filin severely injured in acid attack -Doctors fighting to save eyesight of former dancer after assailant threw acid in his face outside central Moscow home
Wow, this post is getting long, and I am very late in getting it posted. Quickly…here are the rest of the links I have saved to share with you today.
Today it is the 100th birthday of Danny Kaye. From MovieMorlocks.com – Happy 100th, Danny!
Also from Movie Morlocks, some wonderful photography: William Edward Cronenweth: A Legacy in Photos
More science links:
Scientists shed light on the ‘dark matter’ of DNA
Innovative approach results in improved writing skills at primary school
And finally, a travel piece: Swept away by a Sicilian symphony
Have a great day…and enjoy those links!