Reckoning with What is Owed — and What Can Never be Repaid — for Racial Privilege

Nietzsche’s “guilt”, whiteness, and what the real cost is to live in the land of another | Oh, and the difference between freedom and liberty

[I once feared buying a house because I didn’t want to be owned. I had saved money with no purpose in mind other than the freedom to do whatever I wanted. Now I’m bound to this house, though I’m still free to lose it if I choose. But that isn’t the version of freedom that interests me at the moment. I’m more compelled by a freedom that would allow me to deserve what I have. Call it liberation, maybe. If debt can be repaid incrementally, resulting eventually in ownership, perhaps so can guilt.

What is the condition of white life? We are moral debtors who act as material creditors. Our banks make bad loans. Our police, like Nietzsche’s creditors, act out their power on black bodies. And, as I see in my own language, we confuse whiteness with ownership.]

 

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Does Whom you Vote for Correlate with the Type of Driver you Are?

Which state has the deadliest, least-skilled motorists on the road? The Daily Beast crunches new crash data, ranking all 50—and discovers a huge gap between how Republicans and Democrats drive.

There were more than 30,000 fatal crashes in the U.S. last year, including more than 5,000 deaths just from “distracted driving,” such as cellphone use, according to data released last week. In trying to get some definitive answers, The Daily Beast used crash data—because accidents provide an objective way to define someone as a bad driver, or not—and focused on fatal crashes, using the most recent available data (2009) since those are uniformly reported state-by-state. From there, we specifically measured fatal crashes where driver mistake was a key factor: DUI, blowing through stop signs, careless or inattentive driving and the like.

Read the full story here | The Daily Beast

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Animal Rape and Animal Brothel

“The real objection in our view however is that animals are incapable of consenting to sexual acts. In addition, they are sentient beings whose physical and mental integrity should be respected and afforded protection from sexual violation by humans. “

[Despite the general revulsion that most people express when the topic is broached, and despite bestiality being considered a psychological disorder – in many countries around the world – sex with animals is not illegal – and perhaps surprisingly some of those countries are in the EU.  Even in some of the more highly developed EU countries, sex with animals has only very recently been made illegal (e.g. The German Animal Welfare Act 2013, s3(13)).

An article in the Digital Journal states that “sexual contact with animals has been legal in [Denmark] since 1933, and has apparently given birth to “barnyard brothels” in the country. Those establishments are reported to charge anywhere from $85 to $170 for an encounter with an animal! (A whole new meaning to a “petting” farm).

Understandably – this whole issue catalyses strong emotions and raises complex moral and ethical questions as well as animal welfare and human health concerns.

For example, according to one study, men who had sex with animals  were twice as likely to develop cancer of the penis as other men who did not. If this finding is corroborated, this may have serious implications for transferring animal viruses into the human population because people who have sex with animals do not restrict their sexual activity to animals and many will go on to have sex with human partners. Should this be the case, there is an argument that sex with animals should be made illegal in the wider public interest to protect the health of the population at large from contracting zoonotic diseases.

In a study of 300 children who sexually abused other children, 20% of them had a history of sexually abusing animals (Duffield et al., 1998). Whilst this research does not specifically suggest many or even any people who sexually abuse animals will go on to abuse children – the higher than average incidence of this correlation is a concern. Since sex with animals is a “sexual preference disorder” – this at least puts legislators on notice that there are troubling related issues.

Are there any other problems?

One piece of research reported “that professionals should be mindful of the potential level of dangerousness in individuals convicted of zoophilic offences” and that “individuals convicted of sexual offences involving animals were found to be the most deviant and indiscriminate of sex offenders.” (Reported in Wilcox et al. 2005)

Does the EU know about this issue?

A question was put to the Commission concerning this issue on 2/5/2012 by Tiziano Motti. Part of the question was as follows:

 “It would appear, in light of activity on the Internet and of various reports, that in some EU Member States, such as Sweden, Spain, Denmark and lately even Germany, there is a gap in national provisions that allows certain pets and stray animals to be sexually exploited, in exchange for money, within dedicated venues. Apparently, some pet owners are offering their animals for this type of commercial use, and these are not isolated incidents but form part of an organised trade at European level that has already become a source of ‘sex tourism’.” 

What reply was given?

Mr Dalli replied on behalf of the Commission on 27/6/2012 stating:

“The Commission is not aware of the type of abuses mentioned by the Honourable Memberand has not receive any evidence of possible health problems related to such practice in the EU.

According to Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (1), animal welfare is to be taken into consideration only in areas where the treatment of animals may interfere with some EU policies, like agriculture or the internal market. 

Therefore, this matter remains under the sole competence of the Member States.”

A second question was placed by Kay Swinburne (ECR) on 29/5/2012 as follows:

“It has been brought to my attention that bestiality is still legal in a number of EU Member States. It has been reported that a number of ‘bestiality brothels’ exist in Germany (1), despite the distribution of animal pornography being punishable by law.

Given that the EU has been very vocal on animal welfare issues, it would seem appropriate for the EU to intervene and introduce some common EU‐wide rules to illegalise bestiality and animal pornography and ensure that animals are adequately protected, as they are in my own Member State.”

Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission  (27 July 2012)

The Commission is not aware of the type of abuses mentioned by the Honourable Member of the European Parliament.

According to Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (2), animal welfare is taken into consideration only in areas where the treatment of animals may interfere with some EU policies (3), like agriculture or internal market.

Therefore, this matter remains under the sole competence of the Member States.” 

When the European Parliament was served with two petition on 27/3/13 – the EU changed tack by at least no longer denying the problem: In the Commission reply, on 27 March 2013 the EU simply washed its hands of the issue and stated:

“… certain topics of animal protection remain under the responsibility of the Member States (e.g… bestiality…).”

Given the distasteful nature of the topic – it is little wonder the issue is rarely debated publicly. In the absence of public scrutiny there are many examples of animals being severely injured (thus requiring veterinary attention), contracting sexually transmitted infectionsand even being killed during the course of the expression of this “sexual preference disorder”.

On the basis of these facts, is it right that this deviant behaviour should go unchallenged within several member states within the EU?

Whilst the EU is not and should not be a “sexual/moral policeman” – there is enough evidence available to indicate animal welfare is seriously compromised by this sexually deviant behaviour happening within its borders. In addition, zoophilia represents a potential threat to human health.]

Read the full story | OCCUPY ANIMALS

“Neutrality” as Collaboration | For Journalists (and not only) Covering Trump, a Murrow Moment

[AS EDWARD R. MURROW wrapped up his now-famous special report condemning Joseph McCarthy in 1954, he looked into the camera and said words that could apply today. “He didn’t create this situation of fear—he merely exploited it, and rather successfully,” Murrow said of McCarthy. Most of Murrow’s argument relied on McCarthy’s own words, but in the end Murrow shed his journalistic detachment to offer a prescription: “This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent—or for those who approve,” he said. “We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.”

We’ve reached a turning point, and the two criteria for journalists to abandon their objectivity have come to pass: Trump is widely criticized, even by his own party, giving journalists a lot of company in their criticism of him. When Trump suggested that Judge Curiel was incapable of trying a case because of his parents’ birthplace, even House Speaker Paul Ryan, a fellow Republican, called the comments “racist.”

And Trump’s views appear increasingly deviant. No respected journalist would seek a balancing quote from someone who held such a view about a judge or who suggested, as Trump did last month after the Orlando shootings, that a sitting president was in cahoots with a mass murderer.

Murrow felt compelled to end his broadcast by warning his audienceabout the dangers of staying neutral, as journalists too often do, when the stakes are high: “Cassius was right,” said Murrow. “‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.’” If a politician’s rhetoric is dangerous, Murrow implied, all of us, including journalists, are complicit if we don’t stand up and oppose it.]

Read the full article | Columbia Journalism Review

Generic Signifiers of Why Some Lives Still Don’t Matter That Much | King Leopold’s Soliloquy

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[Mark Twain wrote a satire about Leopold called “King Leopold’s Soliloquy; A Defense of His Congo Rule”, where he mocked the King’s defense of his reign of terror, largely through Leopold’s own words. It’s an easy read at 49 pages and Mark Twain is a popular author in American public schools. But like most political authors, we will often read some of their least political writings or read them without learning why the author wrote them in the first place. Orwell’s Animal Farm, for example, serves to reinforce American anti-socialist propaganda about how egalitarian societies are doomed to turn into their dystopian opposites. But Orwell was an anti-capitalist revolutionary of a different kind—a supporter of working class democracy from below—and that is never pointed out. We can read about Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, but “King Leopold’s Soliloquy” isn’t on the reading list. This isn’t by accident. Reading lists are created by boards of education in order to prepare students to follow orders and endure boredom. From the point of view of the Department of Education, Africans have no history.]

When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren’t Called ‘Hitler’

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Medicine, LGBT Community, and The Hippocratic Oath | The Curious Case of Mississippi, Tennessee and Maybe Florida

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A fragment of the Oath on the 3rd-century Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2547

In the first week of April, Mississippi passed a new law making it expressly legal for doctors, psychologists, and counselors to opt out of any procedure or choose not to take on any patient if doing so would compromise their conscience. The law is specifically designed to protect medical professionals who object to gay marriage and non-marital sex.Tennessee’s general assembly just passed a similar law, which would only apply to counselors, and a now-dead Florida bill would have protected religious health-care organizations from having to “administer, recommend, or deliver a medical treatment or procedure that would be contrary to the religious or moral convictions or policies of the facility.”

Medical exemptions, though, deserve to be considered in a category of their own. Doctors and therapists interact with people at their most vulnerable, and their training and expertise gives them incredible power over patients. The advice they provide—or refuse to provide—to an LGBT patient could influence the treatment that person seeks. It could make that person less likely to seek primary care or identify themselves as LGBT to other doctors, which can lead to the “failure to screen, diagnose, or treat important medical problems,” according to the American Medical Association. The medical community has a problem: What should hospitals, private practices, and medical associations do about doctors and therapists who say it’s against their beliefs to provide care to LGBT patients?

Read the full article here | When Doctors Refuse to Treat LGBT Patients (The Atlantic)

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The Hippocratic Oath (original -ancient Greek-), and modern version:

I swear by Apollo Physician, by Asclepius, by Health, by Panacea and by all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will carry out, according to my ability and judgment, this oath and this indenture. To hold my teacher in this art equal to my own parents; to make him partner in my livelihood; when he is in need of money to share mine with him; to consider his family as my own brothers, and to teach them this art, if they want to learn it, without fee or indenture; to impart precept, oral instruction, and all other instruction to my own sons, the sons of my teacher, and to indentured pupils who have taken the physician’s oath, but to nobody else. I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion. But I will keep pure and holy both my life and my art. I will not use the knife, not even, verily, on sufferers from stone, but I will give place to such as are craftsmen therein. Into whatsoever houses I enter, I will enter to help the sick, and I will abstain from all intentional wrong-doing and harm, especially from abusing the bodies of man or woman, bond or free. And whatsoever I shall see or hear in the course of my profession, as well as outside my profession in my intercourse with men, if it be what should not be published abroad, I will never divulge, holding such things to be holy secrets. Now if I carry out this oath, and break it not, may I gain for ever reputation among all men for my life and for my art; but if I transgress it and forswear myself, may the opposite befall me. [5]

Modern version

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:…

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

Because Memory is a Tricky Little Thing | Large Companies with Nazi Roots