Later On

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Archive for October 2nd, 2017

The White Privilege of the “Lone Wolf” Shooter

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Shaun King writes in The Intercept:

LAST NIGHT, THE United States experienced the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. At least 58 people are dead and over 500 more wounded. No, that’s not a typo: More than 500 were injured in one, single incident.

As tens of thousands enjoyed a music festival on the streets of Las Vegas, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, of Mesquite, Nevada, was perched 32 floors above them in his Mandalay Bay hotel room. Paddock had 19 rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammo — supplies that are plentiful in a nation that has more guns than people. A few minutes after 10 p.m., Paddock opened fire on the unsuspecting crowd. They were sitting ducks.

No expensive wall along the Mexican border would’ve prevented this. No Muslim ban stopping immigrants and refugees from a few randomly selected countries from reaching our shores would’ve slowed this down.

Paddock, like the majority of mass shooters in this country, was a white American. And that simple fact changes absolutely everything about the way this horrible moment gets discussed in the media and the national discourse: Whiteness, somehow, protects men from being labeled terrorists.

The privilege here is that the ultimate conclusion about shootings committed by people from commonly nonwhite groups often leads to determinations about the corrosive or destructive nature of the group itself. When an individual claiming to be a Muslim commits a horrible act, many on the right will tell us Islam itself is the problem. For centuries, when an act of violence has been committed by an African-American, racist tropes follow — and eventually, the criminalization and dehumanization of an entire ethnic group.

PRIVILEGE ALWAYS STANDS in contrast to how others are treated, and it’s true in this case, too: White men who resort to mass violence are consistently characterized primarily as isolated “lone wolves” — in no way connected to one another — while the most problematic aspects of being white in America are given a pass that nobody else receives.

Stephen Paddock’s whiteness has already afforded him many outrageous protections in the media.

While the blood was still congealing on the streets of Las Vegas, USA Today declared in a headline that Paddock was a “lone wolf.” And yet an investigation into his motivations and background had only just started. Police were only beginning to move to search his home and computers. His travel history had not yet been evaluated. No one had yet thoroughly scrutinized his family, friends, and social networks.

Stephen Paddock was declared a “lone wolf” before analysts even started their day, not because an exhaustive investigation produced such a conclusion, but because it is the only available conclusion for a white man in America who commits a mass shooting.

“Lone wolf” is how Americans designate many white suspects in mass shootings. James Holmes was called a “lone wolf” when he shot and killed 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. And Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who walked into a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and shot and killed the pastor and eight other parishioners, was quickly declared a “lone wolf.”

For people of color, and especially for Muslims, the treatment is often different. Muslims often get labeled as “terrorists” before all the facts have come out.

Just consider President Donald Trump. This morning, Trump tweeted, “My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” That’s fine, but Trump doesn’t even seem angry. It’s peculiar that he didn’t call the shooter a “son of a bitch,” like he did the NFL players who took a knee during the anthem. He didn’t create an insulting nickname for Paddock, or make an immediate push for a policy proposal.

Compare that to how Trump treats incidents where he believes the assailants are Muslims. After a bomb exploded in the London subway, Trump tweeted that the attackers were “loser terrorists” — before British authorities had even named a suspect. He went on to immediately use the attack to push his Muslim ban.

We must ask ourselves: Why do certain acts of violence absolutely incense Trump and his base while others only illicit warm thoughts and prayers? This is the deadliest mass shooting in American history! Where is the outrage? Where are the policy proposals?

What we are witnessing is the blatant fact that white privilege protects even Stephen Paddock, an alleged mass murderer, not just from being called a terrorist, but from the anger, rage, hellfire, and fury that would surely rain down if he were almost anyone other than a white man. His skin protects him. It also prevents our nation from having an honest conversation about why so many white men do what he did, and why this nation seems absolutely determined to do next to nothing about it.

I spoke to two people this morning, one black and the other Muslim. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 October 2017 at 7:02 pm

Posted in Daily life

Dishonesty is a problem: Trump’s Treasury Department Deleted Research That Contradicts Republicans on Tax Reform

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Hannah Levintova writes for Kevin Drum’s blog:

In an interview on Fox News last month, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made a sales pitch for the GOP’s tax reform plan—specifically, its plan to cut corporate taxes. “Most economists believe that over 70 percent of corporate taxes are paid for by the workers,” he said. His implication, in laymen’s terms: Regular workers would get 70 percent of the benefit of corporate tax cuts.

Five years ago, the Obama-era Treasury department found the exact opposite. A research paper on the topic concluded that corporate tax cuts would overwhelmingly benefit owners of capital, rather than workers. Those findings have been removed from the Treasury Department’s website, reported the Wall Street Journal late last week. Dozens of working papers on other topics, some dating back to 1974, are still available on the agency’s website.

The 2012 paper by the Office of Tax Analysis concluded that workers pay for only 18 percent of corporate taxes, meaning that they’d only get about 18 percent of the benefit of a tax cut. Owners of capital, on the other hand, pay for 82 percent, the paper found—meaning they would get the vast majority of the benefit from the GOP tax reform plan’s proposed corporate tax cuts. Under the current plan, the corporate tax rate would decrease from 35 percent to 20 percent.

A Treasury spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal that “the paper was a dated staff analysis from the previous administration. It does not represent our current thinking and analysis.”

In 2012, the Congressional Budget Office came to a similar conclusion about corporate tax cuts. The CBO found that about 75 percent of the burden of corporate taxes are borne by owners, and only 25 percent by workers. In 2013, the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation performed it own analysis, and came to the exact same conclusion as the CBO.

Back in August, . . .

Continue reading.

Of course, Trump supporters will never know this since Fox News will never report it.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 October 2017 at 6:48 pm

A tough day with accomplishments and a Manhattan with Lot No. 40 Canadian Rye

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Many errands accomplished with a certain amount of traffic confusion, but home again with a spatchcocked chicken with Portuguese seasoning (whatever that is; the label promises “spicy,” which means I may get all the skin) in the 375ºF oven for 1 hour and beside me a Lot No. 40 Canadian rye Manhattan made with Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth (from 1786, the year that the Marriage of Figaro premiered) and with Angostura bitters and a twist of lemon.

I feel better already.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 October 2017 at 6:16 pm

Posted in Drinks, Food, Low carb

Second Amendment supporter changes his mind

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Matthew Strauss at Pitchfork has a report. From that report:

Caleb Keeter is a guitarist for Josh Abbott Band, one of the acts that performed at this past weekend’s Route 91 Harvest Festival—the Las Vegas country music event where over 58 people were killed in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. In a statement this morning, Keeter writes: . . .

I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was. We actually have members of our crew with CHL licenses, and legal firearms on the bus.

They were useless.

We couldn’t touch them for fear police might think we were part of the massacre and shoot us. A small group (or one man) laid waste to a city with dedicated, fearless police officers desperately trying to help, because of access to an insane amount of fire power.

Enough is enough.

Writing my parents and the love of my life as a goodbye last night and a living will because I felt like I wasn’t going to live through the night was enough for me to realize that this is completely and totally out of hand. These rounds were powerful enough that my crew guys just standing in a close proximity of a victim shot by this fucking coward received shrapnel wounds

We need gun control RIGHT. NOW.

My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it.

We are unbelievably fortunate to not be among the number of victims killed or seriously wounded by this maniac.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 October 2017 at 1:56 pm

Posted in Guns

Gun violence in America, explained in 17 maps and charts

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Excellent article in Vox by German Lopez. It’s worth the click to see the maps and charts. Here’s just one:

3) There have been more than 1,500 mass shootings since Sandy Hook

From the article:

Whenever a mass shooting occurs, supporters of gun rights often argue that it’s inappropriate to bring up political debates about gun control in the aftermath of a tragedy. For example, former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a strong supporter of gun rights, criticized former President Barack Obama for “trying to score cheap political points” when Obama mentioned gun control after a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

But if this argument is followed to its logical end, then it will never be the right time to discuss mass shootings, as Christopher Ingraham pointed out at the Washington Post. Under the broader definition of mass shootings, America has nearly one mass shooting a day. So if lawmakers are forced to wait for a time when there isn’t a mass shooting to talk gun control, they could find themselves waiting for a very long time.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 October 2017 at 1:51 pm

Posted in Daily life, Guns

Republicans Angry at Economists for Finding Their Tax Cuts Go to the Rich

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Jonathan Chait writes in New York magazine:

Friday, the Tax Policy Center published an analysis of the Republican tax-cut plan, finding that nearly 80 percent of its benefits would accrue to the highest-earning one percent of the public. Asked about these findings, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney called the center the “National Tax Center,” erroneously charged that a former economic adviser to Joe Biden works there, and used this imagined fact to discredit its calculations (“It’s not surprising that, you know, a former chief economic for a Democrat vice-president doesn’t like a Republican tax plan.”)

A slightly more coherent version of the argument comes from the The Wall Street Journal editorial page. The Journal dismisses the Tax Policy Center’s findings as “propaganda,” arguing that the Republican plan is not completely finished. That is true: The GOP framework omits key details, as the Tax Policy Center acknowledges (“Many aspects of the plan were unspecified or left to be determined by the tax writing committees in Congress. The Tax Policy Center (TPC) has completed a preliminary analysis of the proposals contained in the unified framework based on previous proposals such as the House Republican leadership’s ‘A Better Way’ blueprint and the Trump administration’s April outline,” read the third and fourth sentences of the report).

Republicans would prefer to use this ambiguity to prevent any analysis, so that there is no hard evidence available for a public debate. Instead, TPC filled in the details with the elements of the plan that House Republicans proposed. The Journal has repeatedly gushed about the House plan, so it would be very strange for the Journal to attack the TPC for assuming House Republicans will take up the ideas the Journal has urged them to take up. If House Republicans change the contours of their proposal, then the Tax Policy Center will publish a new analysis reflecting the changes.

The Journal editorial argues that . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 October 2017 at 1:14 pm

Las Vegas Official Sets Up Gofundme To Aid Shooting Victims — The Price Of No Universal Health Care

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Zaid Jilani reports in The Intercept:

Last night, a Las Vegas gunman killed over 50 people and injured hundreds in the worst mass shooting in American history.

The hundreds wounded are being tended to in Clark County’s network of hospitals in Nevada. But because this is a country that has never had guaranteed universal health care, they will soon be besieged by a second tragedy: enormous medical bills.

This morning, Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak, set up a GoFundMe, a private crowdfunding platform, to request charity for those injured in the massacre.

Sisolak, who is running for governor as a Democrat, pitched in $10,000 and explained that he is currently at the county’s level-one trauma center with victims:

I’m Steve Sisolak, Clark County Commission Chair from Las Vegas. We are raising funds to assist the victim’s of the tragic Las Vegas shooting. I am at Clark County’s only level-one trauma center with the victims and their families as we speak.

Funds will be used to provide relief and financial support to the victims and families of the horrific Las Vegas mass shooting?.

Nevada’s Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed legislation over the summer that would have allowed Nevadans to buy into the state’s Medicaid program.

Asking strangers for charitable donations to tackle medical bills is ubiquitous in the United States. A report by NerdWallet released in 2015 found that $930 million of the $2 billion raised by GoFundMe since its 2010 launch have been related to medical bills. Yet NerdWallet’s comprehensive survey of crowdfunding sites found that barely 1 in 10 medical campaigns raised the full amount they asked for.

Contrast this American experience with that of some of our allies. In June, dozens of people were injured and eight people were killed when London terrorists ran a van through a crowd and then proceeded to stab multiple people. It was the second major terror attack of the year, the first one being in March in Manchester.

In the United Kingdom, most health care is free. The National Health Service, erected in the ashes of World War II, provides comprehensive health care to all British citizens.

At the London attack, NHS staff were on the scene within  six minutes,aiding the injured. Last month, the NHS gave a special honor to the first responders, nurses, and doctors who aided the victims of the London terror attack. “They highlighted the resilience and the compassion of the NHS staff who time after time responded to victims, who had suffered unimaginable injuries – putting the needs of those people first. This is the NHS at its best,” Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer of the NHS, said. . .

Continue reading.

Of course, if Trump’s efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act work, millions of Americans who now do have healthcare insurance will lose it and join the ranks of the millions who currently have no healthcare insurance.

It strikes me that a nation has a vested interest in making sure its citizens are healthy and educated, since that would make the nation stronger.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 October 2017 at 11:27 am

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