July 8, 2020

Staten Island and The US Looses One of Its Fighters to COVID-19 {Jim Smith}



                          Staten Island NY Local News, Breaking News, Sports & Weather

 
Jim Smith helped organize Staten Island's first pride parade in 2005. He served as its grand marshal. 

In 2008, he helped establish the borough's Pride Center, and helped develop programming for the borough's LGBT youth. 

Smith was a Coast Guard veteran. His brother died in the Vietnam War and he helped create Staten Island's Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1988. 

by Spectrum
BY AMANDA FARINACCI STATEN ISLAND 

"Many people will view his legacy as an openly gay man; the godfather of gay pride, of gay rights on Staten Island, but that was just the tip of the iceberg," said Matt Titone, a longtime friend.

The oldest of 10 children, Smith was born and raised on Staten Island at a time when many people in the borough were not accepting of gays and lesbians. 

A devout Catholic, he struggled with his sexuality.

After returning from service in the Coast Guard, Smith befriended a small group of gay men and chose to make Staten Island his home.

"He could have very easily moved up and gotten out of Staten Island and moved to Manhattan where he would have been welcomed. And he could have lived his life in peace as an openly gay man in the 60s and 70s. But he didn't. He chose to stay on Staten Island and to educate and persevere," Titone said.

Smith was an addiction counselor, a profession he loved. 

He co-founded the Miss Staten Island pageant, and launched a local qualifying competition for the Miss America Pageant - seeing them as a way to mentor young women and help them earn college scholarships.

"He always believed in everyone more than they believed in themselves sometimes. He came to every rehearsal and he wanted us to be our best selves," said Miss Staten Island Outstanding Teen Angelica Mroczek.

Smith's was a force in the LGBT community.

He helped found the borough's first pride parade in 2005 and served as its Grand Marshal.

Three years later, he was instrumental in opening the island's first pride center.

He led a successful letter-writing campaign opposing parole for the killer of James Zappalorti, who was murdered because he was gay.

Smith fought to the end.

This spring, when organizers of the borough's St. Patrick's Day parade refused to let the local pride center march Smith wrote an op-ed in the Staten Island Advance, calling out the parade committee for "not recognizing the island's population for its diversity."

Weeks later, Smith fell with COVID-19. 

He died on June 29, the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising, the birth of the gay rights movement. 

Jim Smith was 79 years old. 

Trump and His Agencies Move To Minimize Gay Rights As The Courts Expand Them







The Trump administration’s ongoing push to limit LGBT rights in employment, health care, and education faces the threat of more litigation following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that extended job protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 
Several federal agencies, including Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education departments, have in recent years issued guidance and rulemaking that rolled back LGBT rights or bolstered religious liberties. Early indications show the high court’s June 15 decision could have broad reach on other statutes, attorneys and academics say. 
And agencies likely will have to continue defending in court efforts that civil rights advocates say could lead to discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
“Some of the law isn’t already established, but we expect to see a lot of cases challenging the rollback of gender identity protections,” said Christy Mallory, state policy & education initiatives director at the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute, which focuses on LGBT issues.
Just days after the decision, a lawsuit challenged a rule limiting transgender individuals’ access to health care. That came as the administration already was embroiled in litigation over a separate regulation that would have granted religious discrimination protections to doctors and other workers who object to performing or participating in a patient’s care, which can include gender-affirming surgeries.
The administration also is finalizing a regulation that would bolster religious defenses some government contractors can raise against workers’ LGBT discrimination claims. Agency guidance that conflicts with the high court’s ruling could play a role in lawsuits over transgender students using the bathroom or locker room of their choice and participating on sports teams. 
Amid the continuing tension surrounding LGBT rights, President Donald Trump has been reaching out to faith-based organizations on the campaign trail. Yet, he seemed to accept the Supreme Court’s ruling, calling it a “very powerful” decision. 
The White House referred questions about regulations that may clash with the ruling to the Justice Department, which didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The administration’s policies in the realm of school athletics and health care should be able to withstand legal attacks, said Ryan Anderson, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. Anderson said the policies take the “biological differences between males and females seriously.” 
“The administration should continue to protect the ability of doctors to practice good medicine, of athletes to compete in fair competitions, and everyone to have a safe and private place free from the opposite sex,” Anderson said. “The government should not impose a radically liberal orthodoxy on the nation. “

Government Clash

The divided Supreme Court held inBostock v. Clayton County, Ga.last month that sex discrimination prohibitions under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act include sexual orientation and gender identity. 
Federal courts and regulatory agencies had debated that question for years before the landmark ruling. The Obama administration issued guidance and rules at agencies to extend the scope of sex discrimination protections to cover LGBT individuals. 
The Trump administration reversed many of those interpretations, while also pushing for rules and guidance reinforcing religious protections.
“This decision typifies how there are a lot of different moving parts,” said Chris Wilkinson, a partner with Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe. “The government leaves alone the broader protection of the employment law but then chips away at it through religious exemption efforts.”
But if a federal agency previously indicated in a legal brief, policy guidance, or rule that they’re bound to follow Title VII, “You have to take the quote unquote good with the bad. It seems the Supreme Court spoke to that,” said Wilkinson, a former associate solicitor for Civil Rights and Labor-Management at the Labor Department. 

HHS’s Transgender Fight

HHS finalized a rule that will eliminate protections for LGBT individuals under the Affordable Care Act, which like Title VII, includes language that protects against sex discrimination. It also includes exemptions for doctors and health-care providers that have religious or moral objections to caring for certain patients.
Soon after the Bostock decision, several groups sued to stop enforcement of the HHS rule, which would erase the expansive view of sex under Section 1557 of the ACA that includes transgender individuals.
“Obviously, this administration has made it a goal of theirs to put the religious and moral objections of certain people above the civil rights and equality of others,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a senior attorney and health-care strategist at Lambda Legal, which is representing the groups suing over the rule.
Section 1557 was designed to draw together many civil rights laws to make sure they would apply to health care rather than to prevent them from applying to health care, said Nicole Huberfeld, a health law professor at Boston University School of Law and School of Public Health. 
The administration won’t back down because the ruling was in the employment space, and not a direct application to health care, Huberfeld said.
“I think the administration could say a court has to tell us we’re wrong,” she said.
The HHS argued in the rule that “the binary biological character of sex takes on special importance in the health care context,” and the Title VII ruling doesn’t fully address those concerns. The agency didn’t respond to a request for comment on the high court’s decision.
The HHS also is fighting in the Second and Ninth circuit courts of appeal to enforce a separate rule that would protect health workers and hospitals from religious discrimination if they object to performing or participating in a medical treatment based on their “conscience.” 
Critics of the rule said it impermissibly broadened and conflicted with religious accommodations that employers must grant to workers under Title VII. 

Liability Shield in Labor 

The DOL also proposed a rule that would grant broader discrimination liability shields based on religion for “closely held” federal contractors—where a small number of individuals own the majority of stock. Religious contractors already can make some employment decisions based on their faith without penalty under existing exemptions. 
That proposal drew ire from LGBT advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union, which said it would “license taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religion.” Some employer groups also warned the rule would be inconsistent with religious defenses under Title VII, which the agency follows. A DOL spokesperson said the agency “continues to work” on the proposal, which could be finalized by August.
At least one group advocating on behalf of religious liberties called for the rule’s “swift” finalization in light of Bostock
“Religious liberty is increasingly coming under attack in our nation, and rules like this help to ensure that all Americans are treated equally,” said Mary Beth Waddell, a senior legislative assistant with the Family Research Council.

Education Fights Loom

The high court’s Bostock ruling could also have implications for policies in K-12 schools involving transgender students’ access to bathrooms matching their identity and their ability to compete in women’s sports. Courts generally have looked to rulings in Title VII cases when interpreting Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. 
Trump’s Education Department has taken the stance that transgender protections aren’t covered under Title IX. The department in 2017 withdrew Obama-era guidance on accommodations for transgender students and the agency’s Office for Civil Rights said it would stop investigating complaints over school bathroom access for those students.
The Education Department is reviewing its guidance to schools after the Title VII decision, said Angela Morabito, an agency spokeswoman. 
The Eleventh and Fourth circuits already are weighing cases challenging school districts over policies barring transgender students room using bathroom facilities matching their gender identity. 
The administration also has intervened in Title IX lawsuits that raise questions over whether female transgender athletes should participate on girls’ sports teams. One such suit is pending in Connecticut
With assistance from Cheryl Bolen.
To contact the reporters on this story: Erin Mulvaney in Washington at emulvaney@bloomberglaw.comLydia Wheeler in Washington at lwheeler@bloomberglaw.comPaige Smith in Washington at psmith@bloomberglaw.comAndrew Kreighbaum in Washington at akreighbaum@bgov.com 

Racism Is Starting to Look to Educators and Psychiatrists as a Mental Illness



                              The Science of Your Racist Brain – Mother Jones

Shayla Love
on Vice

When I read about the correlation between mental disease or at least misperceptions based on ones ability to judge between wrong and right I was surprised at these conclusions. To tell you the honest truth I never connected those dots, I simply believed that racism came from ignorance and a sense entitlement which did not apply to people different that the racist. 

Now we need to be careful with these studies  and we need to be careful with the words we describe such situation. For example, I don't like all black people, I have had strong friends, both male and females blacks but I always tried not to live in black neighborhoods because of the crime, loss of real estate values. Some of these poor blacks and Latinos do not know the difference when is ok to play  music coming in from any electronic equipment and the lack of concern of how it affects others wether they are white, brown, black or any other color. The reason is usually goes like this, "This is my equipment and my house and or my car so I play the music as high on the volume as I want." Because of that and because attending my first school as a very young kid in Brooklyn, these black (which were a majority followed by Italians)kids of all sizes and heights will go looking for whites or Hispanic kids to beat them all during gym, lunch or anytime in which they we congregated including the hallways. 

Not for the white Italians that were connected to the gangs, those were not touched. I developed this hatred for black kids, not necessarily adults but kids up to the twenties. The same month I arrived in NYC, My sister who have spent more time in NYC than in Puerto Rico she was taking me to meet a half brother of mine. He was a son of my dad from his previous wife. My sister felt they had things in common with him, like Asthma an other things she felt if would be nice for me Manhattan in the lower east side or maybe it was up in the Spanish Harlem. Im walking with her in the sidewalk but Im just absorbing everything. I have never seen anything like this or people like this even if they were Latinos or Puerto Ricans. It was like being in a different planet. Well Guess what? I bumped into a 23-25 black male who got in front  of me and ask me how come I didn't say sorry but not in a nice way. to say sorry. I could not say anything I didn't know what he was saying. My sister turn back to him "how stupid nigger he was. My brother does not speaks English, what the hell  you want from him? This tall black male was not shy, he cursed out my sister and me and she went after him telling him what stupid uneducated nigger he was." Then thank goodness goodness a police car had stopped not far from us, I guess to have lunch. My sister told him she was going to the cops and haven't arrested. He walked off. I don't know what would have happened but I know he could have hurt my sister but at 12 I was going to jump him if he touched her, still I don't know what is exactly going on. We both and her other two girls would have been kicked out this mean black dude. 

Now if someone could tell me who was the racist one? My sister  did tell this black dude nicely but very firmly I just arrived from PR and did not speak English, which he didn't care. He told her why don't you F teach him.

There are blacks, Puerto Ricans and some others. Latinos I don't care to live next to them. I feel that every black man/ women the same for Hispanics deserves to be treated nicely by cops. Ive had asked how cops have treated them and the answer always is "They think they have life and death power over you even if you have done nothing" That's is how I felt. I am firmly with cops when stop because I don't want them to think I am a push over but every stopped from them except one cop in Rochester and a trooper while I was crossing the south driving back to NYC from Florida on a stormy night gave me two tickets but was very nice, decent to me.H e didn't take me in which he could untilI paid the ticked but e allowed me to pay them through the mail and I was guilty.


So Am I mentally bad, was the 20-25 young black man in NYC who wanted to hit me or just feel good by embarrassing me, what was he?
The young girl who took her mask off so her spit would hit me in the face, at least I was cover. She was hungry and wanted to go before me in an internet order which I just went to pick up. That's what you do give the name and is up to the staff to give it to you right away or ask you to wait a bit because they are not finished.  Why type of black woman was she (about 23-24) who wanted to kill another man because ehe seems whit? because she was hungry?

I wanted to write to you these extra experiences Ive had in my life and have you learn from it and decide after you read  the article below what is what. When you del with expressions of hatred among human beings is not easy direct them like a Pathologist would by cutting up a corpse and finding out how the person died.

Adam Gonzalez, is a writer and the Publisher of this blog, Adamfoxie.blogspot.com
International!



On The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1992, Jane Elliott, the educator known for teaching students about prejudice by biasing them against blue or brown eyes, came to an incisive conclusion about racism.
"What we're dealing with here is mental illness," she said. Members of the audience started clapping. "Racism is a mental illness. If you judge other people by the color of their skin, by the amount of a chemical in their skin, you have a mental problem. You are not dealing well with reality.” 
 This grainy television clip has been recirculating on social media due to the explosion of online advocacy from the current Black Lives Matter protests. Google searches for “racism is a mental illness” have spiked to a level unseen over the last 10 years, and on Twitter, many have declaratively shared the sentiment. The belief that someone isn't your equal because of the way they look must mean that person's brain isn't working correctly, these people are saying; they are ill.
But the comparison of racism to mental illness is a fraught one. Disability and mental health advocates push back strongly against the association, saying that racism is a choice, while mental disorders, like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are not. Calling racism a mental illness perpetuates the stigma around mental illnesses, and continues the practice of using mental health language in a derogatory way. (Think calling situations or people you don't like "crazy" or "insane.") The impulse to attribute racist acts and hate crimes to mental illness also conflates mental illness and violence, even though most mentally ill people do not engage in violent acts and are at most risk of harming themselves, not to others.

The push to define racism as a mental illness is decades old, though, and originally came from mental health providers. In 1969, a group of prominent Black psychiatrists petitioned the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to add extreme bigotry to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, the handbook of mental disorders, now in its 5th edition. Their petition was rejected.
The APA's reason for rejection reveals something about the underlying desire for racism to be designated as a sickness. For something to be considered a mental illness, it must deviate from typical thinking or behavior, and cause disruption and distress to a person's life. The APA said that racism was, in contrast, so widespread that it was a cultural issue, not a psychopathology. Racism is too common, in other words, to be an illness. 
Asking whether extreme racism is a mental illness often goes along with trying to understand extremely racist acts. How is anyone to make sense of white police officers tackling a 23-year-old Elijah McClain to the ground, putting him in a carotid hold, as he cried, vomited, said that he couldn't breathe, and pleaded to go to his home nearby? Or two white men in New Jersey, part of the All Lives Matter counter-movement to Black Lives Matter, re-enacting George Floyd's death with one pinning the other to the ground under his knee as Black Lives Matter protesters marched by? Or the nooses hung in trees and in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR, at the Talladega Superspeedway?
By not calling racism a mental illness, does that mean we accept these acts of racism as normal human behavior? If racism is not a sickness, why is it so hard to get extremely racist people to change their minds? Doesn't their refusal mean that their beliefs are not opinions, but delusions? 

These are complex questions. Racism exists on a spectrum, from extreme racist beliefs and hate crimes to the prejudices all white people have and need to reckon with. Delusions involving race can also be a symptom of other psychotic disorders; their placement in the DSM is not up for debate.
When asking whether racism should be considered a mental illness, it's worth asking another question: Would framing racism as such help us fight racism? One of the reasons we have diagnostic categories for mental illness is so that we can try to treat those illnesses. If racism was thought of as a mental illness, would it help efforts to make the world a less racist place, or make them harder?
In 1965, psychiatrist Alvin Poussaint went to Jackson, Mississippi to provide mental health treatment to civil rights workers and desegregate hospitals. While there, he said, he experienced the extreme racism that he would later try to have added to the DSM. "It was ever-present and it was a kind of state of terror," he said.
Even when talking to other doctors, trying to explain why hospitals should be desegregated, he encountered prejudice and bigotry. The white doctors would resist, saying they believed it was best if Black people remained segregated in the healthcare system and had separate facilities.
"I felt it was like a mental disturbance, because you couldn’t reason with people over it," Poussaint said. "I began to appreciate how deep it went, in terms of denying the humanity of Black people." 

To him, this was reminiscent of a delusion. "No matter what you tell a person who is delusional—that their belief system makes no sense and is irrational—they still feel that Black people are inferior no matter what you show them," he said. "That's a delusion. That's a fixed belief system." 
Puissant has always made a distinction between everyday racism and extreme racism, the latter of which he thinks should be classified as a mental disorder. “Extreme racism is when someone gets genocidal and wants to kill. That’s beyond being normal,” he said. “Some of the people who object to it being called a mental disorder say, ‘Well, it's just learned behavior.' It's a learned behavior to want to exterminate people because of their skin color? Not to my way of thinking.”
He thinks cases like 21-year-old Dylann Roof, who killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, are in this category.
Psychiatrist Carl Bell, who died in 2019, also viewed racism as a mental illness, but more akin to a personality disorder. He thought people with narcissistic personality disorder might be more predisposed to racism than others. In 2004, he wrote that people with paranoid disorders or had trauma inflicted upon them by other groups could also have racist thoughts or behaviors that are explained by those psychological disruptions. “These are all legitimate scientific questions that we as psychiatrists should be willing to test and answer,” he wrote.

"They still feel that Black people are inferior no matter what you show them. That's a delusion."

If racism is a mental illness, it pushes the problem onto white people, Poussaint said. It acknowledges there’s something wrong in the way they’rethinking and feeling, and relieves Black people of the feeling that if they could act differently, then white people would stop being racist against them.
“Early in my career, even in college, I felt that if I was a perfect person, I could cure white people of their racism, and that's not where it's at,” Poussaint said. “It's not rational. You can’t undo it by being a good person and being intelligent and dressing properly. That's such a psychological burden on black people. It's part of the notion that racism is curable in that way. You can drive yourself nuts doing that.” Although the APA never added racism to the DSM, people have continued giving racism clinical-sounding names, like prejudice personality, intolerant personality disorder, and pathological bias. And Poussaint has continued to advocate for thinking about racism as a mental illness since then, despite the APA's position.

“Right now, there is a normalcy to it," Poussaint said. "It's a disorder among many, many people indoctrinated with the culture of insanity of slavery and Jim Crow." He thinks classifying it as a mental illness would help to fix that. "Doing so says it's a disturbance that interferes with your well-being and is an impairment.”
Trying to understand racism as a mental illness goes back to the 1930s, when people tried to grapple with the extreme prejudices and behaviors of the Nazis, said James Thomas, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Mississippi and co-author of the book Are Racists Crazy? But a medical model of racism couldn't fully explain people's behaviors.
When covering the trials of the Nazis, Hannah Arendt wrote in The New Yorker about Adolf Eichmann, one of the top officials responsible for the concentration camps during the Holocaust. Arendt was unsettled to find that "half a dozen psychiatrists had certified Eichmann as ‘normal,’” she wrote. ‘“More normal, at any rate, than I am after having examined him,’ one of them was said to have exclaimed, while another had found that Eichmann’s whole psychological outlook, including his relationship with his wife and children, his mother and father, his brothers and sisters and friends, was ‘not only normal but most desirable.’” Sander Gilman, a professor of psychiatry at Emory University and the other co-author of Are Racists Crazy?, said that the urge to deem racism a mental illness comes from a wish to place it outside the scope of typical human behavior, when it is not.

“It’s a beautiful argument," he said. "I wish it were true, because what it says is that normal people like you and me should never kill people in Auschwitz. The reality is normal people regularly killed people in Auschwitz. They had so dehumanized the people they were killing that they weren’t human beings anymore. That was not mental illness, that was evil, because people could make choices. When we start to talk about ‘normal’ activity, that includes bad acts."
In other words, normal is not a synonym for “good" or "just." “I wish it were,” he said. "But it's just not." 

Gilman said that people who have serious mental illness sometimes incorporate racist tropes into their delusions because delusions can mirror or be similar to the societies that people live in. If a person with schizophrenia disorder is treated successfully, it can help get rid of paranoid delusions, including racist ones. To Gilman, that means that schizophrenia was the underlying condition, not racism.
The attempt to medicalize racism, Thomas said, can distract from the fact that racism is a systemic issue, not just an individual one. “It reflects a shift in thinking about racism as something that is interior to the self, compared to how we probably should think about racism as something that is structural and embedded.” 
He drew an analogy to police reform in a 2016 Washington Post article. There are proposals to try and improve individual officers' prejudices through implicit bias training, for example. But this focusing on “treating” individuals ignores the larger, systemic issues that allow the police to act in racist ways overall, like “the increasing militarization of police departments, lack of oversight by law enforcement senior officials, and an approach to policing that often rewards unprovoked harassment rather than building community trust."

He worries that focusing too much on the individual can ignore the context in which that person exists, which has a huge impact. When Lindsey Graham defended the choice to fly the confederate flag in South Carolina, saying "It works here," critics said that it perpetuated the extreme beliefs of white supremacists, like Roof. Graham waved this off. “It’s him,” he said, referring to Roof. “Not the flag.”
In July 2011, Anders Breivik killed 77 people in Norway by detonating a car bomb that killed eight and then shooting 69 others. When he stood for an insanity trial, psychiatrists disagreed about whether or not he had mental illness-related delusions. In a manifesto, he had written that he believed himself to be a “Knight Templar” whose mission was to cleanse Norway of immigrants. But he didn't have hallucinations or impaired cognition—symptoms of schizophrenia and related disorders. The Norwegian court decided that since his extremist beliefs were shared by other right-wing groups in Norway, they were not delusions, and they didn't let him plead insanity. 
This may be one way of understanding extreme racism, as both a psychological aberration, but not an official illness—as an “extreme overvalued belief.” This term is starting to be applied by some clinicians and forensic psychiatrists to extremist beliefs, like Breivik's, that are distinct from psychotic delusions or obsessions, and held by conspiracy theorists or religious cults.

According to the DSM-5, delusions are “fixed, false” beliefs, which are notshared with others. An overvalued idea is different because it is shared by others in someone's culture or subculture. Unlike obsessions, another form of delusional-seeming thoughts, people don’t resist or fight them off. They embrace them. 
These rigidly held, non-delusional beliefs "are the motive behind most acts of terrorism and mass shootings,” wrote Washington University in St. Louis forensic psychiatrist Tahir Rahman in a 2018 paper. They are "often relished, amplified, and defended by the possessor of the belief," Rahman and his colleagues wrote in a paper from this year. "Over time, the belief grows more dominant, more refined, and more resistant to challenge."
Rahman compared it to acquiring a taste for food over the course of one's life. "How do you get to liking rare steak versus well done steak or medium steak?" he said. "You don't just wake up one morning and decide. These beliefs and behaviors are shaped slowly through time and through your encounters with the environment."

Such beliefs can take root in anyone, not just people with mental illnesses.

“Overvalued ideas” were first described by German neurologist Carl Wernicke in 1892. But one significant change since then is the access to online information that can easily expose a person to extremist information that agrees with their belief. It’s much easier now for fringe ideas to find company online, wrote Joe Pierre, a psychiatrist at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.
Extreme overvalued ideas might be partially explained by cognitive distortions like “all-or-none thinking, overgeneralization, jumping to conclusions, magnification and minimization, and personalization,” Pierre wrote. Other cognitive biases like confirmation bias, where people only seek out information that confirms their beliefs, and the Dunning-Kruger effect, where people are overconfident in areas where they have the least expertise, can perpetuate and strengthen false, extreme beliefs. 
Rahman called for more research on the non-delusional beliefs seen in cults, mass suicides, terrorism, and online radicalization, given that violence can often stem from them and that we don't yet know the best way to intervene. What is clear is that such beliefs can take root in anyone, not just people with mental illnesses.

"What on the surface appears to be a mental disorder from schizophrenia to bipolar disorder may actually be a shared belief which, which anyone can develop," Rahman said. "And that is the scary part to me."
The DSM has been criticized for being a collection of observed symptoms, and not effective and delineating and understanding the underlying disorders that cause those symptoms. What is the use of having such a manual, in which mental illnesses are distinguished from one another? It's so we can try to help the people with those illnesses, as crude as our diagnoses may be.
Calling racism a mental illness, and thereby treating it like one, is licensed social worker April Harter's approach. Her private practice is called the Racism Recovery Center. She said she’s seen the same psychological defenses crop up in people who are racist, and thinks that treating racism as narcissism and trauma can help to eradicate it.
“When you have individuals that struggle with narcissism and then they create laws and policies and educate and are in charge of school boards and they create these policies,” she said, “that's what institutional racism actually is.” If people want to go to therapy for their racist attitudes, Thomas said, no one should stand in the way of them doing that. He thinks such therapy can help people think about what it means to be racist and live in a world where they benefit from privilege. “If we think that that is a policy intervention, that's where I have serious misgivings,” he said.  
Danielle Jackson, a general psychiatry and behavioral health resident at Yale University specializing in structural racism and health equity, feels the opposite. “I’m of the camp of feeling very strongly that it should not be added to the DSM,” she said. “That is based on looking at the history of racism, and the effects of systemic racism that have been basically ingrained into the fabric of America since the beginning of the establishment of chattel slavery.”
If racism was officially designated as a mental illness, there could be other consequences too. "Could someone claim to be disabled from work because of racism and only be allowed to work in certain settings?" said Damon Tweedy, an associate professor of psychiatry at Duke University. "I don't think the system could contain a diagnosis of 'racism' in the way that its advocates would hope."
Jackson said that if racism was added to the DSM, she would be concerned that people would try to use their diagnosis as a legal defense when charged with hate crimes. Already, because of racism, mental illness is more likely to be given as an explanation for violence by white people than people of color. This might mean we need to be extra careful about allowing mental illness as a defense. 

In 2015, researchers asked white Americans about two mass shootings: the Virginia Tech shooting, where the gunman was a South Korean immigrant, and Columbine, where the shooters were both white Americans. When asked about Columbine, the participants were more likely to attribute the shooting to mental illness. In contrast, when asked about Virginia Tech, people thought that the shooting was related to the shooter’s identity. 
A formalized connection between racism and mental illness when convenient is easily exploited, as famous cases of celebrities show. 
In 2006, the actor Michael Richards called hecklers “n------” while performing at a West Hollywood comedy club. His publicist said in a statement that Richards would seek “psychiatric help.” In June 2013, an NFL football player Riley Cooper, was caught on video saying “I will jump that fence and fight every n----- in here, bro!” Cooper's statement promised he would seek help from “a variety of professionals."
When Roseanne Barr tweeted a racist comment about Valerie Jarrett, an Obama administration advisor—leading ABC to cancel the reboot of her television show—Jimmy Kimmel also referred to Barr's mental health, writing in a tweet: "What [Roseanne] said is indefensible, but angrily attacking a woman who is obviously not well does no good for anyone. Please take a breath and remember that mental health issues are real. The Roseanne I know could probably use some compassion and help right now."
“I think that making racism a medical diagnosis would do nothing but provide a crutch to someone who had perpetrated a crime,” Jackson said. “So that people like the former officers who murdered George Floyd or the neighborhood vigilantes that murdered Ahmaud Arbery would then be able to look for something like that as part of their defense. And that to me is sickening.”
Extreme racist beliefs, while confusing, upsetting, and wrong, can't be understood only as mental illness. These beliefs come from a hodgepodge of societal influences, cultural reassurances, cognitive biases, and a strong motivational desire to keep things at the status quo.
There is one area, however, in which there is no debate on the relationship between racism and mental health—the detrimental health effects of racism on its victims. In a recent essay in Vogue, psychologist Samantha Rennalls wrote about how in light of the current protests, she has both been hopeful and also tired, reminded of the depth of the injustice she’s faced on a daily basis. "Racial trauma," she wrote, "takes its toll on the Black body and soul." 

If calling racism a mental illness was helpful, Jackson said, she would feel differently. Instead she thinks it’s actively harmful, and gets in the way of the anti-racism work on a societal level that needs to be done—the work that will actually benefit the people who suffer from racism.
“I don’t think [calling racism a mental illness] gives you access to any more tools to becoming an anti-racist,” she said. “The work of being a racist, embracing anti-racism, and embracing social justice and equity for everyone in this country is hard individual work that folks have to do. But you also have to be committed to learning about the system in order to learn how to help do the system.”
Even Jane Elliott might agree. Despite her stance on racism as a mental illness, she was an advocate for early-intervention education on race, and believed that racism was far from being "normal"—that it was, instead, taught to us throughout our lives.
On the same Oprah segment that's recently gone viral, moments before her claim about mental illness, Elliott said, “I heard somebody in the break room say that racism is inbred. No, it is not. Racism is not part of the human condition. Racism is a learned response you have to be taught to be a racist you are not born racist. You are born into a racist society. And like anything else, if you can learn it, you can unlearn it.”
Follow Shayla Love on Twitter .

Know These Names on The Supreme Court and a Decision NY Prosecutors are Expecting






Know These Names


1. Current Roster

Here are the current justices, their ages, the presidents who appointed them and when they joined the court. Five were appointed by Republicans and four by Democrats, and their ideologies tend to line up accordingly. 



  • Clarence Thomas, 72 (George H.W. Bush, 1991)
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87 (Bill Clinton, 1993)
  • Stephen Breyer, 81 (Bill Clinton, 1994)
  • Chief Justice John Roberts, 65 (George W. Bush, 2005)
  • Samuel Alito, 70 (George W. Bush, 2006)
  • Sonia Sotomayor, 66 (Barack Obama, 2009)
  • Elena Kagan, 60 (Barack Obama, 2010)
  • Neil Gorsuch, 52 (Donald Trump, 2017)
  • Brett Kavanaugh, 55 (Donald Trump, 2018)
  • 2. Retirement Plans?

    Retirements are usually announced around the end of the court’s term, and speculation this year focuses squarely on the two oldest conservative justices: Thomas and Alito. The thinking is that if they want to be replaced with a fellow conservative, the train might be leaving the station for at least four years, given Trump’s struggles in reelection polls. It would be a brutal political fight, but Mitch McConnell’s Republican Senate could well serve up a right-leaning replacement by Election Day.

    3. Electioneering

    Such a fight could boost Trump: Many credit the Supreme Court for galvanizing the religious right to his side in 2016. Trump released a list of possible SCOTUS picks that year as McConnell blocked Obama from filling a vacancy (pour one out for Merrick Garland). Both Trump and Biden plan to release their own short lists this year, with Biden vowing to appoint the first Black woman to the court. One problem? There are precious few Black women in the upper ranks of the federal judiciary, meaning Biden might have to look in unlikely places.

    4. From Mexico to First Street?

    Beyond Black women, a name to watch for possible Biden vacancies: Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, the Mexico-born California Supreme Court justice. A Swiss Army-knife intellectual, he’s spent his career exploring the intersection of legal arrangements and governing institutions across artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, criminal justice, public health and more. 

    5. She’s on Deck

    If Trump gets another appointment, the first name on everyone’s lips will be Amy Coney Barrett. Previously seen as the backup plan to an imperiled Kavanaugh nomination, Barrett is a devout Catholic Midwestern mother of seven who has a more “relaxed” view of court precedents. Hint: Roe v. Wade. Oh, and she’s only 48.
    First published on  OZY today.

    July 7, 2020

    The Government in Egypt Arresting Doctors and Critics Over The Virus Outbreak


    There is someone is Washington that would love those powers but thank goodness we have a different type of government and Constitution_Let's Keep It



                                     

      

    The Associated Press

    A doctor arrested after writing an article about Egypt’s fragile health system. A pharmacist picked up from work after posting online about a shortage of protective gear. An editor taken from his home after questioning official coronavirus figures. A pregnant doctor arrested after a colleague used her phone to report a suspected coronavirus case.

    As Egyptian authorities fight the swelling coronavirus outbreak, security agencies have tried to stifle criticism about the handling of the health crisis by the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

    At least 10 doctors and six journalists have been arrested since the virus first hit Egypt in February, according to rights groups. Other health workers say they have been warned by administrators to keep quiet or face punishment. One foreign correspondent has fled the country, fearing arrest, and another two have been summoned for reprimand over “professional violations.” 

    Coronavirus infections are surging in the country of 100 million, threatening to overwhelm hospitals. As of Monday, the Health Ministry had recorded 76,253 infections, including 3,343 deaths — the highest death toll in the Arab world.

    MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
    – The Latest: White House rejects national strategy on masks
    – Australia to shut state border as Melbourne infections surge
    – AP FACT CHECK: Trump falsely says 99% of virus cases benign
    “Every day I go to work, I sacrifice myself and my whole family,” said a front-line doctor in greater Cairo, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, like all doctors interviewed for this story. “Then they arrest my colleagues to send us a message. I see no light on the horizon.”

    In 2013, el-Sissi, as defense minister, led the military’s removal of Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, after his brief rule sparked nationwide protests. In years since, el-Sissi has stamped out dissent, jailing Islamist political opponents, secular activists, journalists, even belly dancers.

    Now the clampdown has extended to doctors who speak publicly about missing protective gear or question the official infection count.

    A government press officer did not respond to requests for comment on the arrests of doctors and journalists but did send The Associated Press a document entitled “Realities defeating evil falsehoods,” which details what it says are el-Sissi’s successes in improving the economy and fighting terrorism.

    El-Sissi has said the virus’s trajectory was “reassuring” and described critics as “enemies of the state.”

    In recent weeks, authorities have marshaled medical supplies to prepare for more patients. The military has set up field hospitals and isolation centers with 4,000 beds and delivered masks to citizens, free of charge, at metro stops, squares and other public places. 

    The government has scaled up testing within all general hospitals and ordered private companies to churn out face masks and gear for front-line health workers. El-Sissi has ordered bonuses for medical workers equivalent to $44-$76 a month.

    Full Coverage: Virus Outbreak

    But health personnel are sounding the alarm on social media. Doctors say shortages have forced them to purchase surgical masks with their meager salaries. Families plead for intensive care beds. Dentists and pharmacists complain of being forced to handle suspected virus patients with little training.

    The pandemic has pushed the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, a non-political group of professionals, into a striking new role as the country’s sole advocate for doctors’ rights.

    Last month, the union released a letter to the public prosecutor demanding the release of five doctors detained for expressing their views about the government virus response. More syndicate members have been arrested than reported, said one board member, but families have kept quiet.

    Doctors’ low morale sank further last week, following the arrest of board member and treasurer Mohamed el-Fawal, who demanded on Facebook that the prime minister apologize for comments that appeared to blame health workers for a spike in coronavirus deaths.

    In a televised briefing, Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly criticized doctors’ “negligence and mismanagement” for endangering citizens’ health.

    Incensed doctors hit back, saying they’re untrained, underpaid and under-resourced, struggling to save patients at crowded clinics. So far at least 117 doctors, 39 nurses and 32 pharmacists have died from COVID-19, according to syndicate members’ counts, and thousands have fallen ill.

    After Madbouly’s comments, the union scheduled a press conference in late June to raise awareness about doctors’ sacrifices and discuss staff and supply shortages. But before anyone could speak out, security forces surrounded the syndicate and sent members home, according to former leader Mona Mina. A communications officer who promoted the event was detained and interrogated by security agents for hours, said a board member, before being released.

    In its latest statement, the syndicate said the accelerating detentions have caused “widespread anxiety” among health workers.

    “These doctors have no history of activism, they were arrested because they offered criticism of their very specific professional circumstances,” said Amr Magdi of Human Rights Watch, which has confirmed the arrests of eight doctors and two pharmacists. Two have been released, he said, while the rest remain in pretrial detention.

    Last week, Dr. Ahmed Safwat, an intensive care doctor in the Cairo suburb of Nasr City and syndicate board member, disappeared, according to social media posts from fellow doctors. Because he had experienced virus symptoms, many assumed he was self-isolating at home until his family filed a complaint to the syndicate, saying they hadn’t heard from him in days. A lawyer representing several detained doctors confirmed that he had been taken by state security and accused of terrorism activities. His last Facebook post also criticized the prime minister’s comments, adding, “The government says that everything is fine and under control, but you enter hospitals and find the opposite.”

    In another case, security agents burst into the home of Hany Bakr, an ophthalmologist north of Cairo, according to his lawyer and Amnesty International, over his Facebook post that criticized the government for sending coronavirus aid to Italy and China while its own doctors were desperately short of protective equipment. He remains in detention on terrorism charges, his lawyer added.

    In March, public prosecutors accused 26-year-old Alaa Shaaban Hamida of “joining a terrorist group” and “misusing social media” after she allowed a colleague to call the Health Ministry’s coronavirus hotline from her phone instead of first reporting the case to her managers, according to Amnesty International. Three months pregnant, she remains in pretrial detention.

    Doctors in three different provinces say their administrators have threatened to report them to the National Security Agency if they expressed frustration over working conditions, walked off the job or called in sick.

    In one of several voice recordings obtained by The Associated Press, a health deputy in the Nile Delta province of Beheira can be heard telling workers, “Even if a doctor is dying, he must keep working … or be subjected to the most severe punishment.”

    In another message sent to staff, a hospital director in the same province describes those who fail to show up to work as “traitors,” adding, “this will be treated as a national security matter ... and you know how that goes in Egypt.”

    A doctor in Cairo shared WhatsApp messages with the AP from his manager, alerting staff that their attendance sheets were monitored by state security. He said two of his colleagues received a pay cut when administrators discovered their complaints on social media. In two other hospitals in the capital, workers retracted letters of collective resignation over working conditions for fear of reprisals.

    The suppression of criticism in Egypt is hardly unusual, analysts say, but the government has become even more jittery as the pandemic tests its capabilities and slows the economy.

    Although el-Sissi resisted a total lockdown because of the economic impact, schools, mosques, restaurants, malls and clubs were closed early in the outbreak and a nightly curfew imposed.

    With borders shut and cruise ships docked, Egypt’s critical tourism revenue has disappeared, among other sources of income. The country secured a badly needed $5.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund in June, on top of a previous $2.8 billion arrangement.

    Last week, fearing further economic fallout, the government reopened much of society and welcomed hundreds of international tourists back to resorts, even as daily reported deaths exceeded 80. Restaurants and cafes are reopening with some continued restrictions, and masks have been mandated in public.

    “Because of Egypt’s constant attention to its image as a place open for tourism, open for business, open for investment, authorities appear particularly sensitive to divergent perspectives during the pandemic,” said Amy Hawthorne, an Egypt expert at the Project on Middle East Democracy. “They want to project an image that everything is fine, they’re in control.”

    Those who spread “false news” online about the coronavirus could face up to five years imprisonment and steep fines, Egypt’s top prosecutor warned this spring.

    The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights voiced concern in late March that 15 individuals had been arrested for broadcasting alleged false news about the pandemic. Four Egyptian journalists who reported on the outbreak remain in prison, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which has labeled Egypt one of the world’s worst jailers of journalists, along with Turkey and China.

    Security forces have also taken aggressive action against foreign reporters. In March, Egypt expelled a reporter for The Guardian who cited a scientific report disputing the official virus count. Egypt’s state information body has summoned The Washington Post and New York Times correspondents over their critical coverage during the pandemic.

    Despite growing human rights abuses, the international community counts on Egypt as a bulwark against regional instability, said a Middle East-focused rights advocate at the U.N., speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss policy matters.

    “There is no appetite,” the advocate said, “to address what is going on in Egypt, let alone sanction them in any way for what the government is doing to their own people.”

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