McCamy Taylor's Journal
Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 07:05 PM
Number of posts: 16,194
Number of posts: 16,194
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Someone asked me to repost this here. I am interested in the topic of HLA mediated autoimmune diseases being the result of the absence of parasitic infections to which our ancestors were routinely exposed. In the UK they are conducting trials using hookworm infections in patients with MS to see if the auto-antibodies can be distracted. The theory evolved because of observations that people who grew up in the old south rarely got MS while those who grow up in the new south are just as likely as those who grow up in the north to contract MS. In the old south, hookworm infections were common in childhood due to the habit of running around barefoot outdoors.
I recently speculated that Latent autoimmune diabetes of adults in which adults start out looking like Type 2 but eventually end up requiring insulin could also be an HLA mediated autoimmune condition brought on by the lack of a particular parasitic infection, because there are no cases of the disease in Papua, New Guinea but a fairly consistent rate of the disease in other countries. What if there is a parasite that is still common in New Guinea that has been eradicated in other countries? Here is the link to the original OP:
I am beginning to suspect that the culprit might be trichinella, the round worms that you get from poorly cooked pork but also from bear meat, wild game and crocodiles. Trichinella is extremely common in Papua, New Guinea.
Here is some general info on trichinella
Obviously, infection would be more common if you hunt wild game, especially if you eat freshly caught wild game before it has been properly cooked, the way that the hunters in Papua, New Guinea do. This raises the possibility that when hunter-gatherer groups like Plains Native Americans were forced onto reservations and switched to a diet low in freshly hunted game, perhaps they were inadvertently deprived of trichinella infections--- good thing, right? Unless the lack of a trichinella infection triggered some of them to then go on to develop LADA or the diabetes that plagues Native Americans.
Not saying we should eat raw bacon. But, maybe there is way to create a derivative of the proteins of round worms to see if it could prevent this type of diabetes.
Oh, and here is an interesting link about how worm "excretory products" successfully treated colitis in rats. Lots of links within the article to other articles about the hygiene hypothesis.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sun Jul 19, 2015, 12:40 AM (1 replies)
I admit it. I am a leftist. Always have been and always will be. No one in Congress is left leaning enough to suit me. No one. They all play the same game---beg for dollars, pander for votes. Some of them are lucky enough to have constituencies (Vermont) that demand that they act like liberals. Some of them were unfortunate enough to have constituencies (New York) that demanded that they protect them from any more terror acts. They did what they did, because it is part of the job of being an elected official in the US. None of them have halos. All of them have feet of clay. All of them. The perfect candidate is one who would never run for office, because he or she is too busy leading protests or running a soup kitchen or raising awareness about an important cause. Everyone who runs for office has something slightly wrong with them. Everyone.
I will vote for the candidate who has the best chance of prevailing in November and who is best able to get the job done. The job being to obstruct the New Federalists and the Tea Party and all the other crazies on the right and maybe even guilt the members of Congress into not acting like total assholes 24-7 . I do not expect a president to single handedly change the structure of our government. He or she will have to know how to use the current system.
I am not looking for Eugene McCarty. I am looking for a second term of LBJ---LBJ as in Voting Rights Act, Civil Rights Act, Medicare. LBJ as in gets the job done. Competent. Crafty. Able to work both sides of the aisle.
Come on candidates. Show me your inner LBJ.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Fri Jul 17, 2015, 01:42 AM (16 replies)
Payday lending company fined for fraud. When folks in need of money---working people who were feeling the pinch of the recession---logged onto a website that promised to match them with banks that would give them loans, their financial information was sold to the payday lenders. Without signing an agreement, the financially strapped citizens suddenly found themselves with $300 more in their accounts---and then, at regular intervals, $90 was deducted from their accounts, for "administrative" fees. And then, their "debts" were sold to debt collectors who hounded them. These folks who were too poor to pay their bills, much less afford an attorney. Can you imagine how it must have felt, especially when they were told that by doing the query, they were actually agreeing to a "loan" with usurious interest payments? Yes, it is great that a court finally slapped the wrists of the Americans who thought it was just fine to rip off their fellow Americans---
But where is the politician who can change the mindset which says 1) a sucker is born everyday and 2) everything is ok if it makes a profit? This double fallacy has deep roots in our country. Our puritan ancestors claimed that material wealth in this lifetime was proof that one was among the elect. And so, we worship at the altar of money---no matter how that money is made. Donald Trump becomes a realistic presidential candidate because he (sometimes) is rich.
Physician going to jail for giving folks (dangerous) chemotherapy that they did not need, because some of them had cancer that was too progressed to benefit, meaning that he probably shortened their lives and increased their suffering. Others did not even have cancer, and yet he exposed them to carcinogens. "First do no harm?" Nope, in this country, it's "Every man for himself." He was caught and charged---with defrauding Medicare. Yeah! A victory for the common man! But what about the little old man in the nursing home who could not get out of bed, his dementia was so bad, the little old man who got a bright and shiny new hip---and then promptly died from post operative complications? He was never going to walk again, and yet, some doctor saw a hip that could be replaced, and he jumped right in and did the surgery. And billed Medicare. What does it say about our country when the health care providers are always on the look out for a good financial investment---like a diseased joint that can be replaced---rather than the welfare of their patient?
We need economic justice---but we won't get it from the top down. If we cut off one of the hydra's heads, two more will grow back. Don't kid yourself that the evil lurks out there somewhere, on Wall Street. The "evil" is within us. It is the voice which tells us "I am me and a few other people are also me and everyone else can go die for all I care." It is the voice which tells us "First, my needs get taken care. Then, I'll start thinking about other folks." It is the blindness which cannot see that we are all connected, that every "dog starving at his master's gate, predicts the ruin of the state'" (Blake) and that every crying child is shedding our tears, tearing a great big hole in our heart.
We will never excise suffering from our lives, because suffering is part of our life. We will never eliminate all the risks, because life is risky. But we can change how we think. We can open our eyes, take a good, long look at the faces of children who are suffering----
And acknowledge that their suffering is our suffering. That revelation does not fill the empty bellies or take the gun from the hands of the child soldier. But if enough of us look and really see, then the change will come from within us---
And that is Real Change for a Change.
Now, some worry that protecting the human rights of the LGBT community is a luxury that only wealthy nations can afford. But in fact, in all countries, there are costs to not protecting these rights, in both gay and straight lives lost to disease and violence, and the silencing of voices and views that would strengthen communities, in ideas never pursued by entrepreneurs who happen to be gay. Costs are incurred whenever any group is treated as lesser or the other, whether they are women, racial, or religious minorities, or the LGBT. Former President Mogae of Botswana pointed out recently that for as long as LGBT people are kept in the shadows, there cannot be an effective public health program to tackle HIV and AIDS. Well, that holds true for other challenges as well.
Secretary of State Clinton speaking on International Human Rights Day, 2011, Video at link
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Wed Jul 8, 2015, 02:48 PM (0 replies)
I have seen disillusionment first hand. From JFK through Jimmy Carter all the way to Barack Obama, I have seen Democrats turn their presidents into Idols and then watched them despair as they realize that their "Idols" have feet of flesh and blood---they are human after all, with human weaknesses, human failings.
When I see words like "champion" applied to a presidential candidate, when I hear folks express the firm conviction that a single man or woman can change the entire system, I feel a little wistful, a little sad, because all of us are like this to start with. All of us imagine that our president will be the perfect father (or mother) who will make it all ok. We all want to believe. We all long to relinquish our duty to be eternally vigilant, to let some all-wise father (or mother) in the sky make all the hard choices. And, Judeo-Christian-Muslim or not, we all hope for the cleansing fires of Armageddon which will purge the earth and return us to paradise. The whole American immigrant scene is about casting off the old and embracing the new----
Maybe it is a necessary Rite of the Springtime of Youth. I once worshiped at the feet of George McGovern. I once nursed the hope that he could win and that our country would be restored, the war in Vietnam stopped, equality under the law become a reality rather than just lip service. I still have my McGovern buttons on the wall. I still remember him fondly as the president who might have been---
And then, I think about those who were not crushed by dirty tricks, those who managed to get elected, and how the office of the POTUS changed the men rather than vice versa, and I know that no single woman (or man) will ever be able to use the office of the President to enact the kind of change this country needs. The system does not allow for it. The president can declare war. Period. Everything else---the executive decrees, the cabinet appointments, the judicial appointments are all subject to the whim of Congress and the Courts and the corporate news media and Main Street and Wall Street.
If you put all your eggs in the presidential basket, you will be disappointed. Real change will only come when every one of us spends every waking moment working for it. In all aspects of our life. How we raise our children. How we shop. How we work----
Here's something to consider. Al Gore won in 2000. Do you think you would like and respect Al Gore even a fraction as much as you do now, if he had been sworn in as president?
The Oval Office is no place for heroes. The Oval Office is for work horses, people who slog through their days, getting the job done with little to no thanks once it is all over. People like Barack Obama. Barack Obama, who, not so long ago, was the mythic hero of the Democratic Party, the embodiment of Change. Had John McCain stolen the 2008 presidency the way that Bush stole it in 2000 and 2004, what would Barack Obama be to you, now? Would he be the perfect president who never got his chance? Would all the glamor of 2008 have survived intact? Would you love him, worship him still? Somewhere, deep in your heart, don't you regret that the myth, the dream had to wake up and face reality and become just a man with a job?
Wanted: a president of the united states. Must be able to work with others. Must be able to compromise. Must be able to plan ahead and see the big picture. Must be willing to accept reality and do what can be done, not waste his (or her) energy trying to accomplish the impossible. Must be thick of skin, because no one gets out of the White House with her (or his) popularity intact. Must be ever vigilant, because those who pretend to support you are always ready to stab you in the back. Must be a lot like Barack Obama---the president, not the candidate.
There is one thing to be said for being a political realist rather than an idealist. I have been pleasantly surprised by the Obama presidency. He has done much better than I imagined he would. Behind all the hype and hero worship, there was someone who was truly capable.
If you have a candidate to sell me, don't tell me that he is the champion or the hero or the savior of his nation. Tell me how hard he works. Tell me that he will keep smiling when the courts and Congress make it impossible for him to do all the things he planned to do. Tell me that he will be ever vigilant. Tell me how he can compromise and make deals. Like FDR. Like LBJ. Like Bill Clinton. Like Barack Obama. If you have another Jimmy Carter or Al Gore, save him. He will be better for his country as a private citizen than as president---
And here is a secret, something that I do not (usually) talk about, because I know that she is our best hope. She outscores all the GOP candidates by double digits. And yet, a part of me would love to see Hillary Clinton spurn the office of the president. I would much rather see her go on to become all that she can be as the universal champion of women and children and the disenfranchised and the oppressed. Hell, if the Dems come up with a candidate who can pull her kind of poll numbers, I would encourage her to drop out. Because, like Al Gore and Jimmy Carter, I suspect that she might be wasted in the office of the POTUS. I think Bill Clinton may have been right when he said that Gore and Hillary were the two most passionate idealistic people he had ever known, meaning that both of them are too good for the office of the president----
Scary thought. But then, hero worship has no place in presidential politics.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Wed Jul 8, 2015, 01:34 AM (65 replies)
The beauty of a politician new to the national scene---he or she can be anything you want them to be. A fresh slate is so welcome when the political climate is unfavorable to the status quo, as it is now. Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama proved that Democrats and then Americans will vote for change, without paying much attention to the details. When you hate your life, feel alienated from your country and are close to despair that you live in the new Roman Empire, change sounds good.
But there is a flip side to everything. When you nominate a new candidate, one who is not well defined in the eyes of the general public, you run the risk that your party's opposition---in this case, the RNC, will use its virtual control of the mainstream media to paint your candidate in an unflattering or even scary light.
Just look at what they did to poor old McGovern. Straight shooting, war hero McGovern. By election day, 1972, America knew that he was the candidate of Amnesty, Abortion and Acid, to paraphrase a quote by Bob Novak, which Novak probably invented himself, but then attributed to an unnamed Democrat (he later smeared Thomas Eagleton, who could not defend himself) in order to paint a picture of a man who was too extreme even for the Dems. And any man too extreme for the Dems must be-----a frigging communist. Or, at the very least, a socialist.
So, what was it that freaked out America over the phrase "Amnesty, Abortion and Acid"? What was so damned scary about letting the boys come home from Canada, giving women the right to choose and decriminalizing drugs? Nothing, if you were a left leaning Democrat. But to the proudly apolitical "independent" vote that wins elections in this country, "Amnesty" meant Privilege---as in "my son/neighbor/husband" was drafted and died and now you want to give some other mother's son a free pass? It also meant Fear, as in "Who will defend us from the violence that we see on TV and in the streets?" What about "Abortion"? Abortion meant run away mothers, women burning their bras in the street, a world in which men were being told that they were the "enemy" simply because they had a Y chromosome. And "Acid'? Acid was the Manson Family, an evil that could turn all-American boys and girls into monsters. Acid was bikers. Acid was your son or daughter hurling himself or herself from a roof. Acid was "chromosome damage" (a lie) that would bring the human race to a dead standstill if it ever caught on. Acid was the road to hell on earth. Even the name, "acid" was scary---acid does not heal, it destroys.
Nixon taught us a valuable lesson in 1972. He had the election in the bag, but his desire to (over)compensate for his narrow win in 1968 led him to pull out all the stops. Tactics which were more or less commonplace (attributing slurs against one Dem to another Dem, interfering in primary politics) were combined with some that were downright illegal (break ins) in a way that made usually apathetic Americans angry---because Americans do not like to be taken for fools, even if many of them vote foolishly.
What else do Americas dislike? Mean spirited politicians. Political dirty tricks----
By the way, has anyone else noticed the 800 pound gorilla in the room, the one that no one talks about? Why is no one talking about it? Let's make an educated guess based upon some recent history. Sen. Sanders has a political weakness, one that will be almost as tough to overcome as being Black was for our current president and being a woman will be for Clinton. Hint: what religion do 7 out of 10 Americans believe in according to the most recent Pew Polls?
So, here is my prediction for the Dirty Trick of Choice in the 2016 Democratic Primary. As much as the RNC would like to see a Jewish, Socialist Anti-American (because he makes no bones about thinking the Western European way is the better way and for most Americans New England is just a hop, skip and a jump from the real England) as the Democratic nominee so that they can have one of their paid media tools call him a Blank, Blank, Blank (and attribute the quote to a Democrat, preferably a Clinton supporter), it ain't gonna happen. Because Dems got burned in 1972, and our political memory is much longer than that of the so called Apolitical Independents. We will never forget "Amnesty, Abortion and Acid." No, we will nominate our first round draft choice, the one that beats all the Republicans by double digits---and then, in the middle of the primary, we will see a replay of the really dirty trick of the 2008 primary season, the one called the Race Memo. The one that almost certainly came from the RNC and was fed to a gullible Obama staffer. Except this time, it will be the Religion Memo. We will see media pundits tell us how the Evil Witch Hillary Clinton is using her opponent's religion to "crib death" his campaign. We will be told "She can't win fair and square so she is going to use poor, honest Bernie's Jewish heritage against him. That b-word!"
It is gonna happen. It is more or less inevitable. Unless we acknowledge the 800 pound gorilla in the room now. So, I propose that we have a frank discussion of religion in the primary. Yes, I know that Democrats do not give two flips about their candidates' religion. If we care at all, we prefer that they not be too religious. But if we are going to discuss gender (which Clinton has going for her in the primary and against her in the general) then we should also discuss religion (which Sanders has going for him in the primary and against him in the general). Not discussing it will not make the issue go away---it will just allow the RNC to frame the national debate in whatever way suits them best based upon the delegate count in January 2016. If Clinton is ahead, she will be the antisemitic she-demon who stole the election from an honest Democrat. If Sanders is ahead, he will be "out of touch with mainstream America" (that's how the mainstream media will put it, along with a nudge, nudge, wink wink.) And either way, Democrats get divided and conquered---and the Apolitical Independents say "Ooo. Dirty politics. This is why I don't vote." And you know which party does better with a low turnout.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sun Jul 5, 2015, 04:26 PM (4 replies)
New nonfiction at Amazon, the third in my series about sleep disorders. In "Life With CPAP" I discuss the tricky to diagnose and treat CENTRAL sleep apnea (as opposed to the more common but still massively underdiagnosed OBSTRUCTIVE sleep apnea). Sorry if I blinded you with my capitals. I also go over recent advances in treatments of both kinds of sleep apnea and give a critique of the state of medical education when it comes to sleep disorders in this country. Two word: piss poor. Why should you care? Because if you are an American over 40, there is an 8% chance that you have undiagnosed sleep apnea. Would a family physician with a Masters Public Health kid you about something like that?You have more chance of having an undiagnosed sleep disorders than you do of having HIV or diabetes---but I'll bet a lot of you get screened for both every year. If you or someone you love/sleep next to/resides in the next apartment and you can hear his snoring through the walls has 1) elevated blood pressure in the morning 2) unexplained excessive urination at night 3) restless sleep 4) always sleepy and tired 5) ache all over 6) have migraine headaches that never stop 7) can't remember things like you used to 8) have been told you are bipolar even though you have never had a manic episode in your life 9) have angina that wakes you from sleep 10) have mini strokes that wake you from sleep 11) have really freaky dreams about running in slow motion or smothering, 12) had a recent car wreck for no good reason that you can remember----go get a sleep study! All three books will be free at Amazon for Kindle from Friday to Sunday and, as usual, I will send a free word document of any or all three of the sleep apnea books to anyone who sends me an email at McCamyTaylor@earthlink.net. Spread the word! The life you save may be a family of four that does NOT die in a fiery road accident when someone with undiagnosed OSA falls asleep behind the wheel. Remember, people with untreated sleep apnea have the same accident rate as drunk drivers---meaning that 8% of adults over 40 drive as if they were drunk even when sober. If you aren't scared, you should be.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Wed Jul 1, 2015, 04:57 PM (14 replies)
Yes, it is like comparing apples and oranges. So let me get a little bit more specific. I am comparing small towns in west Texas with small towns in southern Colorado (the "poor" part of the state). Both are semi arid, flat terrained. The towns themselves appear to be about the same age. Their old downtowns have buidings from the same era. Both have economies that rely heaviy upon agriculture and the cattle industry.
After travelling through both in the space of a week, here is my conclusion:
Any state that does not legalize marijuana and accept the Medicaid expansion is loco. The legal weed is easy. Every town has a dispensary (or dispensaries). Every town is full of tourists who chose Colorado over a whole bunch of other western states, because of the legal weed. And by every town I mean cities as large as Denver all the way down to the tiniest little local market town. Eateries are full. People who smoke get the muchies. Hotels and motels are full. Small town store fronts are full. Compare this to the typical small town in Texas in which the old main street is boarded up, the only reliable businesses the Quickee Marts on the highways that cater to the folks driving through. The weed tourists are NOT all young kids with no money. Marijuana is a draw for Baby Boomers, middle aged couples who have lots of money to spend. Folks who know how to have a good time without raising (too much) hell.
And now an aside. Weed does nothing for me. However, legalized marijuana has attracted a crowd of tourists with whom I feel very comfortable. Everyone, native or visitor is so friendly, whether they are high or not. The people are more free spirited. They smile more easily. They do not go out of their way to cut your off in traffic. They hold the doors. The vibe is a lot like Amsterdam, one of the friendliest places I have ever visited.
Now, I realize that in a few years, Colorado will have to compete with other states to be the Amsterdam of the US. However, they are getting a head start on everyone else. Once you get the tourists used to visiting your state, they keep coming. Once you use tourism to finance more attractions for tourists---better restaurants, more parks, more public art----the tourists keep coming. And tourism is easy money that benefits the local economy without spoiling the local environment or creating an eyesore. On the contrary, in Denver, all the businesses are putting up public art. My favorite----the line of grates in the sidewalk along Curtis street across from Sam's 3. When you step on them, they make the sounds of cows, pigs, chickens, yodellers. Awesome, whether you are high or not (I was not). And fun for the whole family.
Now, about the Medicaid expansion. I saw bright, shiny new medical and dental clinics---in small towns! Remember that health care infrastructure spending is second only to education spending in the benefits it provides to the local economy. Health care spending pays for lots of jobs and it results in a healthier work force.
I did see a lot of disabled folks, especially in Denver, who may have been attracted to the state because they can get their medical marijuana without fear of harassment. But, since the state expanded Medicaid, these folks are insured. They can get all the health care they need, not just the THC. They are not a drain on the economy, because they are insured. When they get sick, the local hospital does not have to write off their care. The local homeowners do not have to pay more in taxes to keep up county hospitals so that the private hospitals will not go under. The small towns are not losing their hospitals...
Compare to Texas, which along with Georgia and other states, said "No" to the Medicaid expansion. Note that so called Red States never say "No" to free federal money. Had the cash been intended for a military base or more roads or even a bunch of bridges to nowhere, the Red State governors would have been holding out their hands saying "Gimme!" But because this was health care---Obama Care---most of them decided that their low income workers would rather die than be beholden to the federal government.
Small towns in Texas are losing their access to health care. Emergency rooms and hospitals are closing. Doctors do not move in. If a doc wants to work in a small town, he or she will go to one of the states that expanded Medicaid. That way the doc gets paid. A real no brainer. Texas is now training family doctors who are fleeing the state after they graduate from their residency programs. And lack of access to primary care is one of the major health problems facing the country right now.
What happens to Texas, when all its new trained FPs end up in Colorado or New Mexico? Its rural health care infrastructure falls apart. What business is going to relocate to a small town in Texas that has no doctors or hospitals? None. Even if the company does not care abnout its workers, its managers and executives want a place to get treated if they get sick.
So, if you are a small town in Texas, and you are sick of watching the cars speed through without stopping, maybe you should get on down to Austin and start lobbying. Legal weed and the Medicaid expansion can be your road to financial health, too. Even if you do not attract the tourists, your residents will be healthier (because they will have insurance and a place to use it) and you will cut down on the amount of tax money that goes to pay For Profit prisons to house low risk marijuana users.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Mon Jun 29, 2015, 01:05 PM (6 replies)
Before you say "Where's the proof" this is a thought piece, put together from some reading I did today and some recent advances about MS.
In a nutshell, MS is now thought to be due to HLA mediated immune factors that were intended to help early humans fight off chronic hookworm infections. Take away the hookworms and some people's immune systems start going after nerve tissue instead.
What I am about to discuss does not apply to all diabetics, just those with a subtype that does not match either type 1 or type 2. Called Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood, this types starts off like type 2 and then slowly progresses to type 1 insulin dependence over the course of years. It is associated with the GAD Ab.
While researching central sleep apnea for a new book, I got off on a tangent about GAD antibiodes which are associated with a type of diabetes. GAD Ab is also associated with some types of autoimmune thryoiditis and neurologic diseases such as Stiff Man Syndrome (look it up) now called Stiff Person Syndrome because researchers probably got tired of all the snickering.The reason I am beginning to suspect that the GAD Ab might have something to do with our inborn infectious disease immunity--a study revealed that 10% of European Diabetics are GAD Ab pos type, 16% diabetics from Congo and China are this type---and no one from Papau New Guinea in this study had the GAD Ab pos type. Nobody. As in what is so different about Papau, New Guinea?
Now, it is possible that no one in Papau New Guinea has bred with anyone from off the island ever and that therefore, no one on the island has this gene. But that is not very likely. It is much more likely that Papau still has an infection that has become relatively less common in other parts of the world.
Recall that multiple sclerosis used to never ever occur in anyone who grew up in the US South. All that changed a couple of decades again which led me to wonder "What did people in the old South do that people in the new South do not do?" Answer, get exposed to hookworms by running around outside barefoot all summer. And sure enough researchers in England have found that if you give MS sufferers low, controlled hookworm infections their MS gets better. Those HLA coded inbred antibodies that were supposed to fight hookworms stop attacking normal body tissue and start attacking hook worms again.
So, I suggest that someone keep track of which infectious diseases are highly prevelant in Papau, which are going down due to public health intervention as well as measuring the percentage of diabetics who are GAD Ab pos in Papau. I suspect that we will find that some parasite such as schistosomias is protective against GAD Ab autoimmune disease. I suspect a parasite, because worms, being closer in biology to humans than say a bacterium, are more likely to have tissues that are similar to ours. Meaning that an antibody that evolved over time to fight a common parasite could also recognize a human body tissue if the parasite is not around.
Again, this will not help all diabetics. But if even 10% could avoid the progression to insulin dependence through a carefully controlled probiotic infection, it would cut public health spending a bunch.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Sun Jun 28, 2015, 08:00 PM (3 replies)
A person can be prejudiced by omission. Meaning, if you don't speak out against official corruption or oppression, you are just as guilty as the ones actually wielding the stun guns and clubs.
If you think the brutal war being waged against young men of color does not affect you, and therefore, you decline to get involved, you are supporting the killings. Worse yet, you are benefitting from them. Because an important part of white privilege is appointing a scapegoat, a group that wil be blamed for all social ills--even their own murder when they get shot down in cold blood in a Church. "They should have been carrying weapons," says the NRA. As if a Black person who does not take extra steps to protect himself against violent extremists is somehow complicit in his own death, the way a woman in a short skirt is "just asking" for it. If the Blacks or Latinos are guilty of everything, then the white man is guilty of nothing. He will automatically be offered the job and the raise. If he makes a mistake--say he precipitates a mortgage crisis--he can blame it on the minority members who were forced into escalating payment mortgages even though they qualified for fixed rate mortgages. If he commits a crime, he can avoid jail time---it would not be fair to put an "innocent" white man who made a little "mistake" in with all those "guilty" minorities. If he asks for a loan, he will get it. His schools will receive extra funding and he will get the best education that public money can buy. If he is threatened, the police will be there for him. If he commits a crime against a member of a minority group, the criminal justice system will take his side.
If you think that the brutal wars being waged in western Africa do not affect you, and therefore, you decline to pay any attention to them, you are supporting the killings. Though western imperialism in Africa is officially dead, unofficially, we continue to send in money and arms in exchange for the continent's valuable resources. We are the reason that children are forced to become soldiers. Those blood diamonds are on our hands. We are rich, because so much of the world is kept poor. And yes, even those of us who do not feel "rich" compared to the 1% have it pretty good compared to the child bride in Africa who is about to be shot by another child, this one wielding a gun manufactured in America.
If you think that contraception is a "woman's" issue (unless you happen to get stuck with a child support suit) then you are enjoying male privilege. In this country, when young woman are denied access to birth control and abortions, they are forced into underage motherhood. Once they drop out of highschool to have a baby, they are doomed to a life of pink collar servitude forced to work for a fraction of what men earn, denied promotions, unable to quit because they absolutely have to put food on the table for the kids. The fact that so many women will work in so many crap jobs forever allows men to pick and choose the better jobs. They get promotions---because they never miss work taking to kids to the doctor. They can pay their (female) workers less and demand more of them.
Anyone who says "It's not my problem" is part of the problem. No one is allowed to sit on the fence. We are all political animals---and the ones of us who claim to be apolitical are simply the ones who like the boat the way it is and see no reason to rock it.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Wed Jun 24, 2015, 05:05 PM (0 replies)
Back in 2008, during the primary election, I wrote a little piece which I called "The Mother and Child Reunion" for DU, in which I predicted that once the food fight was over, Clinton and Obama would be BFFs at the Convention. A lot of DUers who had spent the primary calling Clinton the "enemy" (because she stood in the way of the Obama nomination) disagreed. I was correct. Oh, I got one minor point wrong. I thought she would be the VP nominee. In retrospect, asking for SOS was a much better career move. Everyone loves the SOS.
Eight years later, I see many of the We Love Obama and We Can't Stand Clinton folks attacking her once again--even though their man, Obama has all but anointed her his sucessor. Even though her poll numbers look great. Even though she has been the target of a right wing conspiracy since before some of them were born--and the right wing does not waste its conspiracies on corporatist candidates who cater to Wall Street and suck up to Big Oil.
I suspect that many who talked bad (sometimes even dirty) about Clinton in 2008 are reluctant to change their tones. Doing so would be to admit that they were wrong---or, at least, took a position for political gain (for their candidate Obama) rather than because it was a correct position. No, there is nothing wrong with saying one thing in the primary and another in the general, if it furthers the cause of your political party. That is how elections are won. But some folks like to present themselves as idealogic purists---
Even though the most pacifict of anti-gun pacifists would have no problem discharging a shotgun in the face of the criminal who is trying to kill their child. All things are relative. I will say that again. All things are relative. Except when they are black and white words printed on the page or on the Internet. Then, words have a habit of assuming a meaning way in excess of what the author intended.
If you really want to, you can twist and distort the words of anyone to make them mean anything that you want them to mean. And so, if you write "Hillary is a poo poo head" during the primary because she is standing in the way of Obama, eight years later you will have to deal with Google searches that reveal that you once called Hillary a "poo poo head." If you are an amateur like me, who makes no money from political posting, who does it for fun in her free time, because that is what our Founders would have done had they possessed the Internet, so what?
However, if you consider yourself a professional political pundit, you may have a hard time with your cache. You may feel compelled to defend your previously held and now indefensible opinion, for the simple reason that you once posted it above your byline.
Beware this impulse. It is the trap that leads to political obsolescence. Be more like the left's favorite, Robert Byrd, who was more than willing to change. Change is a good thing. You proclaimed that truth in 2008. Yes, you did. I remember the slogans. All the best political pundits have had many changes of heart over the years. Situations change. Economic forces change. People change.
And once the primary is over and Hillary Clinton is the nominee, your favorite candidate is going to be her BFF. Because your favorite candidate is a true Democrat, doing it for the constituency and not for personal gain.
Got that? We do this for the party, for the workers, for the women, the minorities, the immigrants, the GLBT, the Muslims, the Jewish folks, the men who don't want to act all macho 24-7----everyone that the right wing despises. We do not do this for ourselves. And if you catch yourself doing it for yourself, ask "Is my own career as a ____ more important than the lives of those who will die without health care, those who will die in anoter war for oil, those who will die from the damage to the economy that eight more years of GOP rule will bring?"
If you are like most people, your answer to the above with be a resounding "Yes!" Because we all want to be important. We are all the stars of our own lives. In which case, maybe you should give yourself an out, make a little wiggle room so that when Clinton is nominated, you do not have to pull a Chicago 1968 and throw your support behind a third party splitter in order to live with yourself.
Idealism works in a parliamentary system. If you want to be idealistic, get to work changing our current form of government into a parliamentart system. If you want to work withwhat we have now, be prepared to compromise. It is the only way that anything good ever gets done in this country. LBJ sent Humphrey out to wine and dine Congressional Republicans in order to get the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Acts passed. Be more like LBJ and Humphrey and less like Eugene McCarthy.
Speaking of Clean for Gene, the Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign will be one of my all time favorite campaigns, up there with McCarthy 1968, Jackson 1988, and the others who used the primary to get their message across. The Democratic presidential primary is one of the few times when the left wing of the party can make itself heard. Speak up. Force the nation to confront the problems it would rather ignore. Get the word out---
But don't paint yourself into a corner and never ever throw out the baby with the bathwater. We can't afford to lose any more babies.
Posted by McCamy Taylor | Tue Jun 23, 2015, 02:24 PM (87 replies)