‘One is the subject of one’s genes’: Clip of Cummings’s father-in-law goes viral – The National

A CLIP of Dominic Cummingss father-in-law discussing the quality of peoples genes has been shared widely online.

The video, which was part of a 2012 documentary programme called The Guest Wing, shows the baronet saying one is the subject of one's genes.

Cummings, the Prime Ministers top adviser currently facing calls to resign over a 260-mile lockdown trip to Durham while sick with Covid-19, hired someone earlier this year who promptly resigned amid a row over race and eugenics.

READ MORE:Ridiculous quote from Dominic Cummings' father-in-law article goes viral

Super forecaster Andrew Sabisky was found to have advocated enforced contraception to stop teenage pregnancies and claimed giving children mental performance-enhancing drugs is worth a dead kid once a year.

He had also preached that black people are less intelligent than whites.

Now a clip of Humphry Wakefield, who owns Chillingworth Castle, has been retweeted thousands of times.

In the footage, he says: The quality is everything. In general, to be elitist, I think the quality climbs up the tree of life. And therefore in general high things in the tree of life have quality, have skills, they get wonderful degrees at university, and if they marry each other that gets even better.

Hes then asked by a guest at his wine tasting event: So you wouldnt have minded if one of your children had met someone from a lower socio-economic group who was intelligent and talented?

Wakefield replies: Intelligent and talented is lovely but I want parents and grandparents whove had hands-on success running their battles well and proving theyre wonderful. Because one is the subject of ones genes. And I like the idea of them being successful genes and winning through to successful puppies.

The guest challenges Wakefield, telling him: Some things havent been in genes though have they. There have been some outstanding people and geniuses who have been first-generation, the first of their family.

He replies: No there arent. There are very few first-generation geniuses.

Sam Knight, who originally unearthed the video, said: This is incredibly disturbing footage.

Sir Humphry Wakefield stands in his crypt, sipping red wine and discussing genetics.

The video appeared online after it emerged Cummingss father-in-law had named his horse Barack because it was half black and half white.

Byline Times editor Peter Jukes rejected claims that the baronets comments were not in the public interest. He said: This, and his father-in-law's interest in genetic determinism has been made a matter of acute public interest because the Cummings' have tried to use their personal life (see Speccie piece before current furore) to defend their public positions.

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'One is the subject of one's genes': Clip of Cummings's father-in-law goes viral - The National

Our Mission at St. Thomas Law Compels us to Tackle the Justice Gap – University of St. Thomas Newsroom

As I write this, we are several weeks into a pandemic-required transformation into a fully online law school. I am grateful for the technology that permits us to stay connected, but I miss the daily face-to-face interactions with students and colleagues. When I reflect on the magazines theme for this issue the justice gap I think back fondly to the hustle and bustle of a full atrium on the first day of orientation.

During orientation week at St. Thomas, the first case our students read is Buck v. Bell, the Supreme Courts 1927 ruling in which Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes proclaimed that three generations of imbeciles are enough in upholding forced sterilizations against women deemed mentally deficient. While students are alarmed by the state laws in force at the time the product of the eugenics movement they are also troubled to learn that the states evidence of three generations of imbeciles was flimsy at best, and readily available positive evidence of Carrie Bucks intelligence was never even presented to the courts. Indeed, no evidence was introduced on Bucks behalf, as her conflicted attorney made no meaningful attempt to advocate for her.

Buck v. Bell is a jarring example of the injustices that result when our legal system does not give a voice to those whose lives depend on it. Unfortunately, the voiceless are very much with us today. The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) reports that 86% of the civil legal problems experienced by low-income Americans receive inadequate or no legal help. According to the World Justice Projects survey data, the United States ranks dead last (36th out of 36) among high-income countries on the question of whether people can access and afford civil justice.

As a Catholic law school, what is our responsibility? Pope Francis has urged all of us to recognize our duty to hear the voice of the poor. As lawyers, we not only have the duty to hear the poor, we have the power to lift the voices of the poor, to ensure that they are heard by the legal systems decision-makers.

This recognition must shape who we are as a law school community, and who we aspire to be. In choosing Buck v. Bell as the first case our students read, we hope that they are jolted by injustice. But thats only the starting point on a career-long journey. We hope that our students and alumni will always view St. Thomas Law as a community that helped motivate and equip them to confront and challenge injustice. This issue of St. Thomas Lawyer explains how were working every day to make that hope a reality.

If you have ideas for how we can improve in this effort, please contact me at rkvischer@stthomas.edu or (651) 962-4838.


Our Mission at St. Thomas Law Compels us to Tackle the Justice Gap - University of St. Thomas Newsroom

The Readers’ Forum: Monday’s letters | Letters To The Editor – Winston-Salem Journal

Today, June 1, marks the 70th anniversary of a daring speech made on the floor of the U.S. Senate by Maine Republican Margaret Chase Smith, at a time when others avoided speaking out for fear of having their careers destroyed:

I speak as a Republican. I speak as a woman. I speak as a United States Senator. ... Surely it is clear that this nation will continue to suffer as long as it is governed by the present ineffective Democratic administration (the Truman administration).

Yet to displace it with a Republican regime embracing a philosophy that lacks political integrity or intellectual honesty would prove equally disastrous to this nation. The nation sorely needs a Republican victory. But I dont want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny: Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear.

Recently, the question has been asked if the state of North Carolinas phasing in of safe protocols for its citizens might be fast enough for Trump and the Republicans to hold their National Convention in Charlotte in August.

That is, will the COVID-19 phased guidelines of North Carolina Gov. Roy Coopers reopening plan be at the stage where the anticipated 50,000 Republican attendees will be allowed to gather in Charlottes NBA arena?

As a liberal Democrat, this writer dislikes seeing the name of North Carolina associated with anything of a Republican nature at such a national level. But thats just me.

However, its my nature to provide a solution when I bring up a problem, so here you go:

Move the Republican Convention to Russia.

Vladimir Putin could easily find a willing facility in Moscow to host the Republicans. And, instead of hiding his illegal support for Trump as was done in 2016, Putin could do it out in the open. And, instead of working through intermediaries to help write the Republican platform, Putin could be hands-on. And, the biggest benefit of all, would be that Trump and Putin could have their behind-the-curtain meetings at morning, noon and night.

While visiting the Ypsilanti, Mich., Ford plant on May 21, President Trump said, The company founded by a man named Henry Ford. Good blood lines, good blood lines. If you believe in that stuff, youve got good blood.

Thats actually what Ford would have said about himself; he was an anti-Semite and one of Americas staunchest proponents of eugenics.

During World War II, Fords company produced vehicles for the Nazi regime.

This is nothing esoteric; its pretty common knowledge.

Its hard to know what excuse would be more disturbing: That Trump had no clue what he was talking about because hes just that ignorant, or that Trump knew exactly what he was saying. We shouldnt have to hope our president is just too dumb to understand the words coming out of his mouth. And given his history of racist statements, its not like he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

The fact that Trump has a Jewish daughter and son-in-law which some people have used in his defense is irrelevant, the same way its irrelevant when a racist white person claims to have black friends.

Please, please, vote for Joe Biden in November. Its so embarrassing to our whole country to have Trump in the White House.

Please submit letters online, with full name, address and telephone number, to Letters@wsjournal.com or mail letters to: The Readers Forum, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101. Letters are subject to editing and are limited to 250 words. For more guidelines and advice on writing letters, go to journalnow.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/

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The Readers' Forum: Monday's letters | Letters To The Editor - Winston-Salem Journal

How Is Jeffrey Epstein Still So Elusive? – The Atlantic

Filthy Rich is the first of a wave of Epstein works headed for television. Brown, the Miami Herald reporter, is writing a book thats simultaneously being adapted into an HBO series; Lifetime and Sony also have Epstein shows in progress. Based in part on a 2017 book about Epstein co-written by the crime novelist James Patterson, and directed by Lisa Bryant, Filthy Rich is notable mostly because its airing on Netflix, which virtually assures it the kind of mass audience and exposure that might shake more information loose; on Thursday, it was No. 1 on Netflixs most-watched list in the United States. Over four episodes, theres almost nothing in the way of fresh information, other than a new eyewitness account implicating Prince Andrew, again, in sexual misbehavior facilitated by Epstein and his then-partner, Ghislaine Maxwell. (Prince Andrew has repeatedly denied Virginia Roberts Giuffres allegations that she was coerced into having sex with him when she was 17.) Instead, the documentary focuses on the women who say they survived abuse at Epsteins hands. Again and again, these women describe being lured into Epsteins circle and subjected to sexual assaults, some as adults, and some while they were still in middle school.

Theres indisputable value in giving voice to people who were rendered voiceless for most of their adult lives, and in letting them explain how the systems that were supposed to protect them repeatedly failed. But Filthy Rich also suffers from a lack of clarity, hovering over its primary subject rather than targeting its punches. The series is eminently watchable, and enraging. But it comes no closer to unraveling Epstein than any previous reportorial attempts have managed. This matters not because Epstein himself is so worthy of forensic analysis, but because so many figures in his circle continue to evade attention. The monsters are still out there, and theyre still abusing other people, Roberts Giuffre, one of Epsteins accusers, tells the camera at the end of the final episode. Why they have not been named or shamed yet is beyond me. Why indeed? And why not here, in a show that seems capable of doing so?

Presumably, the ongoing reason for tiptoeing around Epsteins co-conspirators is the same one that protected him for much of his life, which is the lopsided legal sway that the rich and powerful can claim over the unprivileged, and even over documentarians making series for massive entertainment platforms. Of all the allegations resurfaced by Filthy Rich, one I cant stop thinking about is how Florida prosecutors (led by the future secretary of labor Alex Acosta) responded when asked why theyd cut Epstein such a bafflingly generous deal. The sheer might of Epsteins army of legal superstars, Acosta implied in a 2011 letter defending the deal, was unconquerable. Epstein had amassed such influential lawyers, who were so intent on digging into their opponents, that any deal at all should be interpreted as a win. In other words, justice has no chance when its pitted against the unscrupulous force of big-name criminal defense attorneys.

Variations of this equation seemed to protect Epstein for much of his life, Filthy Rich suggests. Surround yourself with powerful enough people and make life difficult enough for anyone who threatens you, and you can insulate yourself from any consequences. The second episode dips into Epsteins origins in Coney Islandhow he briefly attended Cooper Union without graduating and, while teaching at the Dalton School, charmed his way into a job at Bear Stearns. By the time it was discovered that Epstein had lied on his rsum, he was dating his bosss daughter. Later, he went to work for Towers Financial Corporation, whose former CEO, Steven Hoffenberg, pops up in a comically honest interview. Epstein definitely appealed to us, Hoffenberg says, because we were running a Ponzi scheme and he could deliver results in this criminal enterprise. Epstein became Hoffenbergs literal partner in malfeasance, doing the crimes alongside me daily.

Originally posted here:

How Is Jeffrey Epstein Still So Elusive? - The Atlantic

New in Paperback: Sabrina & Corina and Save Me the Plums – The New York Times

SABRINA & CORINA: Stories, by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. (One World, 240 pp., $17.) The distinctive Latinx voice and vision of this debut collection, a finalist for the National Book Award, emanates from both the authors Philippine roots and the Indigenous cultures of the American West, where she was born. In its fierce and essential stories, our reviewer, May-Lan Tan, observed, history always resurfaces, and the landscape mirrors the cycles at play in the characters lives.

THE PORPOISE, by Mark Haddon. (Vintage, 320 pp., $16.95.) In this provocative novel, Haddon revisits the part of Shakespeares Pericles likely not penned by Shakespeare to grant a princess and her abusers poetic justice. In the words of our reviewer, Sarah Lyall, Haddons writing is beautiful, almost hallucinatory at times.

SAVE ME THE PLUMS: My Gourmet Memoir, by Ruth Reichl. (Random House, 304 pp., $18.) Juicier than a porterhouse steak is how our reviewer, Kate Betts, described the former New York Times restaurant critics poignant and hilarious look back at the 10 years when she was editor in chief of Gourmet magazine.

THE IMPEACHERS: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation, by Brenda Wineapple. (Random House, 592 pp., $20.) Our critic Jennifer Szalai called this analysis of the first impeachment of an American president incisive and illuminating. Wineapple concludes that the process worked, by demonstrating that Johnson was not a king, that actions have consequences and that our government, with its checks and balances, could maintain itself without waging war.

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New in Paperback: Sabrina & Corina and Save Me the Plums - The New York Times

BILL COTTERELL | How to assess candidates gaffes – St. Augustine Record

We can all agree that Joe Biden made a horrifying error probably his worst, hardly his first when he said any black voters who are undecided between himself and President Trump aint black.

The former vice president and soon-to-be Democratic presidential nominee quickly apologized. Biden said he didnt mean to take black votes for granted or suggest anyones political choices should be dictated by their ethnicity.

Major figures in his own party, black and white, rallied around him. The Trump campaign turned the gaffe to its advantage, accusing Biden and the Democrats of racism.

U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando, one of the black women among Bidens vice-presidential prospects, expressed surprise at the nerve and gall of Trump whipping out the ol race card on anyone. Theres a cliche in politics about being called ugly by a toad.

But as the campaign heats up in the summer, it would be good to consider what we call a gaffe as part of the political landscape. The media have to report them, although Trump will claim his two-fisted style is purposely twisted to sound offensive while the media downplay Biden blunders.

Whether in a presidential race or a little city commission contest, we ought to consider the source. Did the speaker make an unfortunate slip, an oafish attempt at humor, or to be casual and down-home with an audience? Or does an offensive remark fit well with a lifetime of insensitivity, political cynicism, or racial, sexist or religious bigotry.

When George Wallace promised segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever in 1963, it wasnt a gaffe. It was how he ran his campaign and wanted to govern. When Spiro Agnew showed his boorish insensitivity in 1968, he was showing who he really was.

But when Jimmy Carter used the term ethnic purity in 1976, he wasnt making some coded appeal to eugenics, he just made a really bad choice of words. In a debate that year, President Ford said there was no soviet domination of Eastern Europe; he meant to say the people of Poland dont accept Kremlin control, but in an instant a president put himself on the level of a former Georgia governor in foreign affairs.

Sometimes, a word choice thats not offensive that wouldnt mean anything for some other candidate might bite a candidate like Biden. During debates last year, he referred to parents honing childrens learning by, among other things, turning on the record player at home.

Record player? Harmless in itself, his word choice re-enforced questions that maybe the 77-year-old candidate is living in an episode of Happy Days.

More important for Biden, he referred to then-Sen. Barack Obama as clean and articulate in 2008. Thats not cool, but a review of Bidens 50-year record on social justice earns him some indulgence.

Thats what we should look at when candidates misspeak -- what theyve stood for throughout their careers. On the campaign trail, speaking casually or doing interviews, candidates cant gaffe things up too badly they just use a simple three-step process for deciding whether to say something flippant about race:

1.Consider how supporters will react.

2.Consider how opponents will react.

3.Then dont.

Bill Cotterell is a retired Tallahassee Democrat capitol reporter.

Excerpt from:

BILL COTTERELL | How to assess candidates gaffes - St. Augustine Record

‘They Have to Reinvent Her’: Margaret Sanger’s Fans Work to Clean Up Her Racist Past – CBN News

As the founder of the American Birth Control League which later became Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger was no doubt a controversial figure with disturbing views on eugenics, race, and population control.

Some argue she wanted to exterminate the black race, while others are trying to erase that part of her past.

"In the eyes of some, Margaret Sanger has been a heroine," news anchor Mike Wallace said in a 1969 interview with Sanger. "In the eyes of others, she's been a destructive force."

In her own words, Sanger strived for a society that limited births to those she deemed fit to have children.

"I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practical; delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things, just marked when they're born," Sanger told Wallace.

In 1916 Sanger opened the country's first birth-control clinic. And as a member of the American Eugenics Society, she advocated improving the 'genetic composition of humans through controlled reproduction of different races and classes.'

She often wrote about the issue in the journal she founded called The Birth Control Review.

Margaret Sanger's Beliefs About Race and Eugenics Exposed

In 1919 in an article called "Birth Control and Racial Betterment," she wrote, "I personally believe in the sterilization of the feeble-minded, the insane, and the syphilitic."

And in 1921 in a piece called, "The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda," she said, "The most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective."

Many point to a 1923 New York Times interview as proof of Sanger's racist and eugenic motives, in which she referred to some groups of people as "human weeds."

"Birth Control is not contraception indiscriminately and thoughtlessly practiced," she said in the article. "It means the release and cultivation of the better racial elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination, and eventual extirpation [destruction]of defective stocks - those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization."

Hayden Ludwig, an investigative researcher for the Capital Research Center, has extensively studied Sanger's life and writings.

"She talked about the need for race betterment through controlling these weeds, basically undesirable people," Ludwig told CBN News.

Singing Sanger's Praise While Ignoring Her History

In 1939, after opening another clinic in Harlem, the birth control activist launched the Negro Project, an initiative supported by black leaders such as civil rights activist W.E.B Dubois.

Critics claim the program used the pretense of better health and family planning for poor blacks in the South as an attempt to limit the black race.

Ludwig says some on the left grapple with Sanger's past and how to interpret her legacy.

"They know when she writes about weeds, they know it's repulsive," explained Ludwig. "They know it's disgusting. "The left will never abandon Margaret Sanger because she's the foundation of so many of their views," he continued.

Sanger once shared her vision for a preferred race at a women's branch of the Ku Klux Klan, writing in page 366 of her autobiography, "Always, to me, any aroused group was a good group."

Despite those views, liberals praise Sanger's work while ignoring her history.

Hillary Clinton: "I Am Really in Awe of Her"

In 2009, Hillary Clinton received Planned Parenthood's Margaret Sanger award. During an acceptance speech, she praised the group's founder.

"I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision," said Clinton. "I am really in awe of her," she continued.

Ryan Bomberger, the founder of the pro-life group Radiance Foundation, says abortion proponents are working to clean up Sanger's past and what she stood for.

"They have to reinvent her every time they talk about her in order to justify their celebration of her," explained Bomberger.

Abortion Industry Insiders "Trained" to Overlook Sanger's Racist Views

Former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson said those inside the abortion industry are trained to overlook Sanger's racist views.

"They gave you an answer like, 'Well, I mean yes Margaret Sanger was a racist but everybody was a racist back then.' "You accept it because she is your hero and she has to be your hero and you cannot question Planned Parenthood," said Johnson.

In 1997 Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute wrote about the push to repackage Margaret Sanger in an article in the Wall Street Journal.

"The reason I call it the repackaging of Margaret Sanger is because after the Nazi regime destroyed the legitimacy of eugenics forever, they then went back and said, 'Oh she was just an early feminist. She was just an early supporter of family planning,'" said Mosher.

He went on to say, "No, she wasn't. No, she was a supporter of giving IQ tests to people. She was in favor of using those IQ tests to determine who should be sterilized and who should have children."

In a response, titled "The Demonization of Margaret Sanger," Alexander Sanger, her grandson and president of Planned Parenthood at the time, called Mosher's editorial unfair. In the same piece, Esther Katz, director of NYU's Margaret Sanger Papers Project, claimed evidence revealing, "...Sanger did not rationalize her support for birth control on racist grounds, that she never advocated genocidal policies aimed at racial, ethnic or religious groups, and that she, in fact, believed access to birth control would benefit, not eliminate minority populations."

Dr. Katz turned down our request for an interview, writing, "Our goal hasalways been to offer complete, accurate, and accessible access to the full body of her writings I believe her words and deeds, accurately represented, speak for themselves."

In 1942, Margaret Sanger's American Birth Control League became Planned Parenthood, which has moved to fulfill its founder's goals, helped greatly by the US Supreme Court decision in Roe versus Wade.

"Under the veil of deceit and deception, 60 plus million babies have not been born because they were aborted legally since '73," said Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "One-third of that population belonged to the African American community."

It is a frightening and telling number given that blacks make up only 13 percent of the US population.

Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center says that Sanger's true mission remains alive and well throughout today's abortion industry.

"Just look at the maps, see where the abortion facilities are, they are near places where people are marginalized, people are poor, people are a minority and that's their target market," said Gainor.

Because of allies in the media and academia, Gainor also points out how speech from conservatives and others about Sanger's past, Planned Parenthood practices, and abortion is often classified as hate speech.

He said, "There is nothing as close to a sacrament in the media as abortion. It is a holy writ that abortion is protected. And anybody who comes out against it, any organization, any business, anybody, the media swarm."

And so does social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

"Facebook's new oversight board and this is really concerning, has four co-chairs," explained Gainor. "They're going to be the appeals board for content. One of the four oversight boards is on the board of a pro-abortion group. There are no pro-lifers."

Conservatives say it's also a problem that exists on college campuses across the country.

"I remember at Harvard, they laughed when I was talking about the history of eugenics and they said that doesn't matter," said Bomberger. "Planned Parenthood is not like it was in Margaret Sanger days."

Those who oppose her views say that is not true and are committed to exposing her past for future generations.

"Unfortunately, they've been very effective in recasting who Margaret Sanger is. But we keep on speaking the truth. That's why we're a thorn in their side," said Bomberger.

Excerpt from:

'They Have to Reinvent Her': Margaret Sanger's Fans Work to Clean Up Her Racist Past - CBN News

Confronting the History of a Southern Asylum: An Interview With Mab Segrest – Psychiatry Advisor

Race and racism have played a particularly significant role in the development of modern medicine, from the notorious Tuskegee syphilis experiments to the creation of the first immortal human cell line HeLa. In many ways, the influence of racism on American medicine has shaped approaches to bioethics and healthcare, continuing to inform the challenges patients and providers face today.

In Administrations of Lunacy: Racism and the Haunting of American Psychiatry at the Milledgeville Asylum, published in April 2020 by The New Press, Mab Segrest, PhD, uncovers the harrowing story of the Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum. Dr Segrest, Fuller-Maathai Professor Emeritus of Gender and Womens Studies at Connecticut College, New London, traces the history of this institution through the Civil War to the post-Jim Crow era, centering the narrative around the voices of its former patients.

For mental health professionals, Administrations of Lunacy offers a critical exploration of psychiatrys historic links to key moments in American history by focusing on an asylum that was the largest in the world in the mid-20th century. To learn more about this history, we spoke with the author about her book. The following interview has been edited for clarity and length.

What can mental health providers learn from the history outlined in your book?

Mental health providers can learn from Administrations of Lunacy the importance of history itselfthe overarching sweep of itthat informs the particular (micro) histories that patients or clients bring in the door to their practices. They can learn the dangers of applying a strictly biomedical model stripped of the sources of historical and local traumas.

My deep history of this Georgia hospital, at times the largest in the world and by the mid-20th century one of the worst, is intended to shape the way that historians and healthcare professionals think about psychiatric history in its relationship to larger historical trends. My book shows how the extraction of history from an understanding of symptoms happened in a state asylum. It also details what that extraction allowed in terms of what came to be eugenics, which was a weaponizing of the symptoms of suffering against the very people most vulnerable to histories of conquest and exploitation.

Finally, given that 90% of public psychiatric beds today are in jails and prisons, psychiatry as a profession has a responsibility for those patients beyond providing them medications. I would like to see major psychiatric professional organizations take a stand against mass incarceration on the basis of its mental and physical cruelties that eviscerate real treatment.

There has been a degree of nostalgia for the asylum era recently. Why do you think this nostalgia has arisen now, and in your opinion, what, if anything, did asylums have to offer?

First, its important to clarify: nostalgia for whom? None of the expatients of those public institutions have shown much of this nostalgia. Early in my research, I twice visited the Central State Hospital campus with Georgia Consumer Council membersusers and survivors of Georgias hospital system. Larry Fricks, who was the state liaison facilitating the meeting, explained to me that for many of these consumers coming back to the hospital was the equivalent of coming back to Auschwitz. No nostalgia there.

By the turn of the 20th century the idea of the hospital as asylum or a safe refuge had failed, largely from overcrowding. The original Enlightenment philosophy of moral therapy believed that providing the mad structure, listening doctors, natural beauty, nutrition, and a respite from family could be curative. But moral therapy was intended for an institution of 300 patients. The level of overcrowding made them custodial, if not carceral institutions. By the 1910s in Georgia, there was brutality by orderlies, use of seclusion, and pressures for patients to work. After World War II, journalists exposes revealed these hospitals with electroshock administered by orderlies, understaffing, and overcrowded wards as the shame of the states.2

Today, what accounts for the crises in the mental health system is not the absence of this asylum. The transit between psych wards, jails, homeless shelters, and the streets came from the failure to provide support for the community care that should have accompanied deinstitutionalization as envisioned by JFK. Instead of the 1500 clinics projected for local communities, the US got mass incarceration, or a growth in the prison population from 300,000 to 2.3 million from the 1980s to 2010, what Michelle Alexander called a New Jim Crow.3

Anyone today who advocates for the asylums return is advocating for the most retrograde of psychiatric policies and the most terrible examples of psychiatric treatment from United States history. The call for a return to the asylum signals for me a continued refusal to use sufficient public monies to meet public needs, including mental and physical health. Whether we need more places where people in crisis can get longer term care regardless of social class or race is another question entirely.

What is transinstitutionalization and how does it differ from deinstitutionalization?

These are terms from social geographers that help map out the historic periods of psychiatric institutions. The first phase is institutionalization: the use of the spaces where lunatics were confined as a healing place rather than as custodial or punitive. This was a program of the Enlightenment and its goal was called the moral therapy. Deinstitutionalization is what happened in the United States after 1960, when about half a million patients in state hospitals were gradually released from these abysmally failed institutions. Transinstitutionalization is what happened when there was insufficient community care back home, which coincided with mass incarceration.

What role did southern asylum psychiatry play on a national level?

Southern asylum psychiatry illustrates the paradoxical process by which the worst becomes the norm. Most psychiatric histories from the 18th or 19th centuries mainly see southern asylums as scientifically retrograde. But in the antebellum period, the science in these mostly northeastern institutions was not always up to snuff by todays standards. Generally, asylum superintendents across the United States held the same racist ideas as southern superintendents did about African Americans and Indigenous people as primitives and savages. The profession as a whole in The American Journal of Insanity avoided discussion of slavery and abolition as too exciting, preferring to speak about such issues through allusions.1

Asylum superintendents were the first psychiatrists, although they were not termed so then. After the restoration of southern white supremacy, professionals across the nation granted white southern asylum superintendents the authority of expertise on African Americans, given that 90% of African Americans lived in the South before 1900. Southern asylum superintendents officially confirmed that emancipation was prejudicial to the negro in 1895, a shocking assertion! This attitude carries over today. The legacy of this attitude is the false belief that negative health results for marginalized people do not come from structural racism and sexism, but the inherent nature of those people.

The fact that Georgias state hospital explains so much about national failures today illuminates the pull towards the bottom that this white supremacist model exerts on national policies. In the 1950s, the Georgia state hospital was the largest in the county, the state, and the nation. Today, the Baldwin County Jail is the largest mental institution in the county, with the Fulton County Jails being the largest in Georgia and the Cook County Jail the largest in the United States. How do we comprehend this shift?

At one point, the asylum spent 5 times more on farming compared to patients. What role did patient exploitation play in Milledgeville and how did the asylum resemble a plantation?

Patient exploitation at the Georgia Asylum took the form of occupational therapy that filled the gap from the absence of other resources or treatments for patients. A careful examination of Georgia Asylum annual reports in the last 2 decades of the 19th century showed how moral therapy gave way to occupational therapy, which involved a huge farming operation producing tons of vegetables, plus cows, chickens, and pigs. As far as I can tell, the patients were not getting much of this food.

Race and gender shaped work regimessewing for white women, laundry for Black women, gardening for white men, growing cotton and other cash crops for Black men. These work regimes were not as bad as those in the convict lease system, which consumed many more African American men than the asylum. This is not to say that patients did not leave the institution, some of them improved, but many died there.

This plantation and labor influence showed up in a 1950 annual report that described the hospitals abattoir. The possibility that mentally ill patients could be staffing any part of a slaughterhouse is perhaps the most nightmarish scenario in the whole book.

What are the dangers of therapeutic pessimism? How did they inform Kraepelinian psychiatry, and does this notion create problems for psychiatry now?

In the 19th century, therapeutic pessimism came from the realization that medicine had found no cure for the problems that showed up in asylums. Within this mindset, the curative environment became custodial in increasingly overcrowded state institutions.

The diagnostic system of Emil Kraepelin, developed in Germany, replaced the hope of treatment with the process of classifications based on the trajectory of the disease. In this diagnostic system, the principal mental illnesses were manic depression and dementia praecox, or schizophrenia. Georgia case histories from 1909 to 1924 recorded verbatim interviews with patients as ill equipped doctors struggled to apply these categories to mostly poor Georgians.

For decades, Freudian psychoanalysis replaced Kraepelins diagnostics. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-III heralded a return to biological psychiatry at a time when new technologies of brain imaging raised expectations of new miracle drugs. But by the time DSM-5 was published in 2013, there emerged a lack of biomarkers to substantiate DSM-5 categories. In 2013, the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIHM) Director Tom Insel, MD, explained that the NIMH would be reorienting research away from DSM categories.4 This collapse of the DSM could create a vacuum into which pessimistic therapies reemerge.

Alternatively, DSM-5 also led humanistic professionals to call for a descriptive and empirical approachunencumbered by previous deductive and theoretical models. These professionals eschewed its overdiagnoses, false epidemics, stigmatizing of vulnerable populations, and biomedical models absent any awareness of sociocultural variations.5 I found these issues of DSM-5 characteristic of state asylum psychiatry as a whole, and Administrations of Lunacy aligns itself with this call for rethinking.

How did the eugenics movement and race science relate to psychiatry?

Eugenics, or the science of better breeding, arose in Europe in the 19th century and arrived in the United States in the early 20th century. It was supported by some of the biggest family fortunes of the Robber Barron era, and its offices at Cold Spring Harbor provided a base from which eugenic ideas spread rapidly. Eugenic sterilization had long been a goal of US eugenicists, and the US Supreme Court decision Buck v Bell in 1928 opened the floodgates. In the 1930s, state sponsored eugenics came to Georgia, although the institution had been performing this operation of a certain class at the turn of the century.

The state hospitals and newer institutions for the feebleminded had by the 1930s gathered people whom eugenics had branded as unfit, and they were prime targets of sterilization. In Georgia, sterilization was most rampant under Superintendent Peacock in the 1950s, a man who served (surreally) as both Superintendent and Chair of the Georgia Eugenics Commission. Peacock would write letters to and from himself asking for and granting sterilizations for particular patients.

Milledgeville was the site of several major epidemics, including syphilis, pellagra, and tuberculosis (TB). How did these diseases affect the asylum, and how might the current COVID-19 pandemic affect psychiatric patients?

These epidemics of syphilis, pellagra, TB, or hookworms were not primarily psychiatric in nature. But TB, syphilis, and pellagra had neurological effects that landed people in state hospitals. Treatment of those underlying effects, for example nutritionally with niacin for pellagra or antibiotics for TB and syphilis, eventually took care of neurological symptoms.

I have not heard how COVID-19 might register in terms of psychiatric symptoms, but certainly the pandemic and our highly inadequate responses to it creates its own negative environments for us. In general, a strong public health system that puts out accurate information to the general public and a federal government willing to take the lead to coordinate our responses according to the latest information would be profoundly reassuring and stabilizing. Unfortunately, that is not what we have.


1. Segrest, Mab. Administrations of Lunacy: Racism and the Haunting of American Psychiatry at the Milledgeville Asylum. The New Press; 2020.

2. Deutsch, Albert. The Shame of the States. Harcourt, Brace; 1948.

3. Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New Press; 2010.

4. Insel, Thomas. Transforming Diagnosis. NIMH Directors Blog Posts from 2013. National Institute of Mental Health. Published online April 29, 2013. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2013/transforming-diagnosis.shtml

5. Kamens SR, Elkins DN, Robbins BD. Open Letter to the DSM-5. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. 2013;1-13. doi:10.1177/0022167817699261


Confronting the History of a Southern Asylum: An Interview With Mab Segrest - Psychiatry Advisor

Dominic Cummings: Five of the most controversial moments from Boris Johnsons senior adviser – The Independent

Ever since he rose to prominence as the campaign director for Vote Leave, Dominic Cummings political career has been defined by controversy.

Boris Johnsons senior adviser is seen by his supporters as an unconventional but highly effective strategist, while his opponents have labelled him arrogant and anti-democratic.

This weekend, Mr Cummings found himself in the most high-profile scandal of his career so far after reports claimed he broke lockdown rules twice by travelling from London to Durham.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

A strategist who has long claimed the elite in Westminster are out of touch with voters has now found himself on the wrong side of public opinion, according to a YouGov poll on Saturday which suggested 52 per cent of Britons thought he should resign.

As his position as one of the UKs most powerful political advisers is under threat, here is an overview of some of Mr Cummings most controversial moments.

As the campaign director for Vote Leave (the official pro-Brexit campaign), Mr Cummings was the man behind the widely-disputed campaign bus claim that the UK would give 350m a week to the NHS after leaving the EU.

The claim We send the EU 350m a week, lets fund our NHS instead was later proven to be untrue, but it is still considered to be one of key factors in helping the Leave side win the referendum.

In February 2017, Mr Cummings suggested the bus was one of the key reasons why the Leave campaign was successful.

Would we have won without immigration? No. Would we have won without 350m/NHS? All our research and the close result strongly suggests no, he said.

Would we have won by spending our time talking about trade and the single market? No way.

The latest news on Brexit, politics and beyond direct to your inbox

Following the fallout from the EU referendum, MPs called for Mr Cummings to appear before a parliamentary committee investigating fake news to answer questions about his work at Vote Leave.

When he failed to appear for questioning, he was found to be in contempt of parliament and accused of showing a total disregard for the authority of the committee by Damian Collins, then-chair of the digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) committee.

Mr Cummings claimed he was willing to speak to MPs but said he told Mr Collins to get lost after he was sent a summons.

My offer to give evidence to MPs remains open. As does my reasonable demand that ALL OF US ARE UNDER OATH TO TELL THE TRUTH. I hope they take it up but am not hopeful, he wrote on his blog.

In August last year, Mr Cummings fired Sonia Khan a special adviser to the Treasury without the permission or knowledge of then-chancellor Sajid Javid.

Ms Khan was escorted from Downing Street by a police officer after being accused of misleading Mr Cummings about contact with the former chancellor Phillip Hammond.

Dal Babu, former chief superintendent of the Metropolitan Police, called the incident a shocking abuse of armed officers and Ms Khan launched an unfair dismissal case this year.

In a meeting following the sacking, Mr Cummings is reported to have told a team of special advisers: If you dont like how I run things, theres the door.

In March, a government special adviser called Lynn Davidson was also sacked after she confronted Mr Cummings over his unkindness towards ministerial aides.

Last month, it was revealed that Mr Cummings had attended the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) an independent body which has been advising the government on its response to coronavirus.

The attendance raised concerns about Sages political independence and about whether Mr Cummings had been interfering in the meetings.

Downing Street said it was factually wrong and damaging to sensible public debate to suggest that scientific advice was affected by government advisers attending the group.

However, Sir David King, a former government scientific adviser, told The Guardian: If you are giving science advice, your advice should be free of any political bias. That is just so critically important.

Earlier this year, Mr Cummings also denied a report in The Sunday Times which claimed he had set out the governments strategy as herd immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad.

In January, Mr Cummings sent out a call for misfits and weirdos to apply for jobs in government to help shake up the system.

That call is understood to have led to the hiring of Andrew Sabisky, an aide whose past comments on eugenics, race and the enforced uptake of contraception sparked outrage.

Sky News found comments under Mr Sabiskys name in 2014 which suggested there could be genetic reasons for differences between races in intelligence and suggested this could be taken into account in immigration policy.

The aide eventually resigned from his post over the backlash, citing media hysteria over his old comments which he said had become a distraction.

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Dominic Cummings: Five of the most controversial moments from Boris Johnsons senior adviser - The Independent

Government sued over immigrant children not receiving COVID-19 checks | TheHill – The Hill

A group of U.S. citizens whose parents are undocumented immigrants are suing the government for being denied relief money from the coronavirus stimulus bill that was signed into law in March.

The group filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday, arguing that their exclusion from the relief package is unconstitutional.

"The refusal to distribute this benefit to U.S. citizen children undermines the CARES Acts goal of providing assistance to Americans in need, frustrates the Acts efforts to jumpstart the economy, and punishes citizen children for their parents status punishment that is particularly nonsensical given that undocumented immigrants, collectively, pay billions of dollars each year in taxes," their lawsuit reads.

The lawsuit was filed in Maryland's federal district court by the Georgetown University law school's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection on behalf of the group.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act pays out up to $1,200 to eligible adults and up to $500 for each of their children. But in order to receive the money, beneficiaries must have Social Security numbers, which undocumented immigrants lack, meaning their children can't obtain the stimulus checks even if they are American citizens.

The lawsuit argues that undocumented immigrants have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic's toll on the economy. They largely work in low-wage jobs and are ineligible for unemployment insurance, making the $500 relief payments crucial for families headed by undocumented parents, the class-action complaint argues.

One of the plaintiffs, identified only as Norma over security concerns, says that she lost her job in a restaurant that was shut down because of the pandemic and she has no way to get relief money for her son who was born in the U.S.

I have lost my job, and in my home three adults have the coronavirus; none of us are working, Norma said in a statement released through her lawyers. My son is an American citizen, and we need him to receive the CARES Act benefit to provide food and a roof over his head until this difficult moment passes.

The lawsuit alleges that the exclusion violates the equal protections in the Fifth Amendment and asked the court to rule that the group is eligible for relief payments.

A spokeswoman for the Treasury Department, which is named in the lawsuit as a defendant, did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

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Government sued over immigrant children not receiving COVID-19 checks | TheHill - The Hill

What is My Brother’s Life Worth? – tulsakids.com

Its a question I never dreamed I would even have to think about, but the Covid-19 health crisis has created a level of concern I didnt expect. Will my brother and others with disabilities be considered expendable lives in this war on Covid-19? My brother has intellectual disabilities, but does that make his life less valuable? Is the price of a life pro-rated according to IQ?

I made a last visit to see my brother right before the care facility where he lives went into lockdown mode. I seriously considered bringing him to live with me until the risk passed, but based on many factors, I decided he was better off at his home. He loves to visit me, but after a night at my house, he is always more than ready to go back to his home. Home is the key term here. He loves the home where he lives, and he needs the structure, routine, and familiarity it provides. The fact there is nursing care 247 is an essential issue also.

Despite knowing he is in the best place to ride out a pandemic, I have lost many hours of sleep worrying about him. People in care facilities and nursing homes are at high risk for the Covid-19. My brother is 57 and has been hospitalized twice for pneumonia, two factors that increase his risk. Ive worried about whether they would allow me into the hospital to be with him if he does become ill. He doesnt understand anything about the virus, and he has a limited ability to communicate. The thought of him being alone, sick, confused, and scared in an ICU unit has caused more than a few anxious, sleepless nights for me. Having the responsibility of making end of life decisions for him is a heavy responsibility. But never once in all these wild thoughts did it enter my mind my brother would not be given the same level of care as any other person.

Hitler euthanized at least 200,000 people with disabilities during WW2, an atrocity that shocked the world. The United States also has a shameful record of eugenics through forced sterilization. As recent as 1977, North Carolina had forcible sterilization for anyone with an IQ of 70 or below. I thought we had made progress in the way we viewed people with disabilities, but a pandemic tends to bring out peoples true colors, both good and bad. Unbelievably, it seems the inherent value of people with intellectual disabilities is once again a topic open for debate.

The Federal Americans with Disabilities Act prevents discrimination based on disabilities, but weve never tested it against a pandemic like Covid-19. Many advocacy groups are concerned the pandemic will push the medical system past its limits and the Americans With Disabilities Act will not be respected when it comes to rationing equipment. Already, more than 400 organizations have asked the U.S Department of Health and Human Services to specifically address how the federal anti-discriminatory laws will be enforced in case of rationing.

At this point, we are assured Oklahoma has plenty of hospital beds and ventilators to take care of everyone, but weve discovered uncertainties are the norm in these stressful times. What if medical personnel are forced to make choices? In Italy, doctors were in the horrifying position of choosing who would live and die based on the available supply of medical equipment. There were too many people dying and not enough equipment to save them all, so heartbreaking choices had to be made. Medical staff are stretched to their absolute physical and mental limits responding to the pandemic. Being asked to play God, choosing who will live and who will die, would be further traumatizing.

One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members. Every night I pray my brother will survive this crisis, and I also pray for each and every vulnerable member of our society. People with disabilities are valuable members of our society deserving of our respect, our care, and a ventilator.

Im hoping my brother has many more happy birthdays ahead of him!

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What is My Brother's Life Worth? - tulsakids.com

Pandemics and the survival of the fittest | TheHill – The Hill

When the influenza virus first struck down a soldier in March 1918 on a military base in Kansas, much of the country was mesmerized by The Black Stork, a silent film advocating the elimination of children born with severe illnesses or disabilities. The eugenics movement the effort to improve the human gene pool by isolating and sterilizing those considered unfit to reproduce was in full swing. Today, in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, the dominant theme is saving lives, regardless of the economic cost. Yet a century ago, medical and scientific authorities, egged on by religious leaders, supported a violent form of social Darwinism.

Soon after Charles Darwin published his evolutionary theory based on the survival of the fittest, anthropologists such as Francis Galton seized upon its social implications: Use the tools of science to improve the human species. What Nature does blindly, slowly, ruthlessly, man may do providently, quickly and kindly, Galton told a London society in 1909. Galton coined the term eugenics good birth to promote his social vision. It must be introduced into the national conscience, he said, like a new religion.

Eugenics advocates proceeded with missionary zeal. A year after Galtons speech, Charles Davenport, a professor of zoology at the University of Chicago, with grant money from the Carnegie Institution of Washington, created a national Eugenics Record Office. The aim: to gather scientific data to support the eugenics agenda. Beginning in 1912, a series of international conferences was held in London and New York, creating a global venue for a burgeoning class of eugenicists and their supporters. They built ties to institutions such as Harvard, Princeton and Columbia universities and New Yorks Museum of Natural History. What began as a fringe, pseudo-scientific idea became mainstream thinking in premier scientific and academic institutions.

The 1918 influenza pandemic, despite killing the young and healthy as easily as the old and sick, did nothing to curb enthusiasm for eugenics. In Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu and How It Changed the World, Laura Spinney writes that one of the big lessons of the catastrophe was that it was no longer reasonable to blame individuals for catching an infectious disease. Thats not exactly right: The lesson for many scientific authorities was that the racial stock was in grave danger of degeneration.

In fact, it appears that the devastating effects of the influenza virus killing at least 50 million people worldwide in a matter of months stirred an apocalyptic gloom in educated circles. Book titles in the 1920s tell the story: The End of the World; Social Decay and Degeneration; The Need for Eugenic Reform; Racial Decay; Sterilization of the Unfit; and The Twilight of the White Races. Population planning was promoted by psychiatrist Carlos Paton Blacker, longtime general secretary of the Eugenics Society, who warned in a 1926 book, Birth Control and the State, of a biological crisis unprecedented in the history of life.

To many religious leaders, the science of eugenics was a progressive solution to a raft of social, moral and spiritual ills. Writing in the journal Eugenics, Harry F. Ward, a professor of Christian ethics at Union Theological Seminary in 1919, explained that eugenics, like Christian morality, was aimed at removing the causes that produce the weak. In a 1928 winning entry for a national eugenics sermon contest, Rev. Kenneth MacArthur intoned: If we take seriously the Christian purpose of realizing on earth the ideal divine society, we shall welcome every help which science affords. The Rev. W.R. Inge, a professor of divinity at Cambridge University and one of the best-known clergymen of his day, was a devout believer in eugenics. In books, essays, and a weekly newspaper column, Inge complained about humanitarian legislation that assisted these degenerates, who possess no qualities that confer a survival value. They posed a mortal threat to Western civilization, he argued, and should be quarantined and eliminated.

The scientific community used its immense cultural authority to persuade democratic lawmakers to get on board. The American Eugenics Society founded in 1922 and supported by Nobel Prize-winning scientists hoped to sterilize a tenth of the U.S. population. California led the way, using its 1909 sterilization law to target the unfit and feebleminded, i.e., the poor, the infirm and the criminal class. Today, in battling the coronavirus, California has scrambled to acquire more hospital ventilators and even considered the mass release of its inmate population. But in the aftermath of the influenza outbreak, groups such as the Human Betterment Foundation lobbied for the involuntary sterilization of thousands of California residents in state hospitals and prisons. Thirty-two other states adopted similar eugenic policies.

What turned the tide of opinion against eugenics? The racist barbarism of Nazi Germany the cries of the victims of Auschwitz revealed to the world the appalling logic of eugenics. Yet there were other voices as well: the conservative and traditionalist Christians who never were taken in by the promises of a human biological paradise. In 1922, the influential Catholic thinker G.K. Chesterton published Eugenics and Other Evils, the only book of its time unabashedly opposed to the movements claims and objectives. Indeed, Chesterton anticipated the totalitarian direction of the eugenic agenda, which he derided as terrorism by tenth-rate professors.

William Jennings Bryan, an evangelical Christian often caricatured for his opposition to the teaching of evolution in public schools in the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial is also worth recalling. The textbook that Bryan denounced, A Civic Biology, openly promoted the ideology of eugenics. After reviewing case studies of families with significant numbers of feeble-minded and criminal persons, the books author rendered a judgment: They take from society, but they give nothing in return. They are true parasites. In his closing argument in the trial, Bryan insisted that he was not opposed to science, but to science without the restraints of religious belief.

Science is a magnificent force, but it is not a teacher of morals, he explained. If civilization is to be saved from the wreckage threatened by intelligence not consecrated by love, it must be saved by the moral code of the meek and lowly Nazarene.

Perhaps civilization has learned that lesson, at least partially. The heroic efforts to rescue as many people as possible from the current pandemic regardless of their age, identity or physical condition is evidence that the teachings of Jesus, the Nazarene, have not been fully forgotten.

Joseph Loconte is an associate professor of history at the Kings College in New York City and the author of A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War. The trailer for his forthcoming documentary film based on the book can be found at hobbitwardrobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JosephLoconte.

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Pandemics and the survival of the fittest | TheHill - The Hill

Trump’s Immigration Order Was Drafted by Officials With Ties to Hate Groups, According to Report – Southern Poverty Law Center

White House senior adviser Stephen Miller and Robert Law, chief of the Office of Policy and Strategy for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), played roles in drafting Trumps order, The New York Times noted on April 21. Both Miller and Law have close connections to anti-immigrant hate groups, helping underscore the influence racist think tanks have had in shaping U.S. policy during the Trump era. Trump signed the order into law on April 22, marking an unprecedented step for restricting immigration into the U.S. in the modern age.

Miller promoted material from the anti-immigrant hate group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)to conservative website Breitbart News in 2015, prior to becoming Trumps de facto immigration czar. He also shared a link from the white nationalist website VDARE to Breitbart around the same time, and pitched scores of racist stories to their editors, as Hatewatch previously reported. Law is a former lobbyist for the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform(FAIR), having served as their lobbying director and director of government relations from 2013 to 2017. He is a Trump-era appointee of USCIS and joined that agency in 2018.

President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing of the coronavirus task force at the White House on April 22 in Washington. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The late John Tanton, a notorious racist and eugenicist, founded FAIR and provided critical support in the creation of CIS. Both are non-profit groups that have gained significant access to influential policymakers during Trumps first term. Each group has also promoted the writing of white nationalists and far-right activists who traffic in debunked pseudoscience purporting to connect race to intelligence in humans. As an example of their often-overlapping worldviews, both CIS and FAIR have argued during the COVID-19 pandemic that immigrants trapped in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention should be kept there, despite threats to their lives and safety caused by the virus.

Trumps order, which is scheduled for 60 days but can be extended, is being executed under the auspices of protecting American workers during COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this claim, the order does not impact foreign-born guest workers entering the U.S., only those applying for green cards. The administration has also blocked asylum seekers during the pandemic. ProPublica reported on April 2that this is the first time asylum seekers have been denied an opportunity to make their case in court in 40 years.

Trump first announced he would be signing the order on the night of April 20 through his Twitter account, and white nationalists and neo-Nazis on that website immediately celebrated the news. Extremists have long trumpeted the notion of a moratorium on immigration as a crucial step towards building a country for white non-Jews only.

Trump should sign the immigration moratorium order at the Statue of Liberty, white nationalist pundit Scott Greer posted to Twitterin the immediate aftermath of Trumps announcement, mocking a favorite cultural target of the racist right.

Hatewatch reached out to the White House for comment about Miller and Laws connection to hate groups but did not immediately receive a response.

Hatewatch obtained more than 900 emails Miller sent to Breitbart News editor Katie McHugh during 2015 and 2016, when he was working as an aide to Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, and later, working as an adviser on Trumps presidential campaign. Miller demonstrated an interest in white nationalist and nativist literature in those emails, as well ramping up deportations of the undocumented, and stopping legal immigration into the U.S. outright.

Miller discussed the subject of stopping legal immigration on Aug. 4, 2015, in an email exchange with Garrett Murch, who also served as an aide to Sessions at that time.

Murch, Aug. 4, 2015, 6:22 p.m. ET: [Talk show host] Mark Levin just said there should be no immigration for several years. Not just cut the number down from the current 1 million green cards per year. For assimilation purposes.

Miller, Aug. 4, 2015, 6:23 p.m. ET: Like [Calvin] Coolidge did. Kellyanne Conway poll says that is exactly what most Americans want after 40 years of non-stop record arrivals.

Miller expressed admiration about President Coolidge in his emails to Breitbart News because he signed into law the 1924 Immigration Act. Based on eugenics, the act placed race-based restrictions on who could immigrate into the U.S. Adolf Hitler also praised the act for this reason in his book Mein Kampf.

Miller emailed to McHugh a link from VDARE, a white nationalist website that has long called for a complete halt to immigration into the U.S. Peter Brimelow, the groups founder, wrote a post on April 21 titled Trump Has Put an Immigration Moratorium In Play. Not Enough But Something, referring to the order. He noted in his commentary that halting immigration in 2012 would have played a role in preserving a white majority in the U.S., a central goal of white nationalists.

And whites known until the 1965 Immigration Act as Americans would have been 68% of the population, instead of 63%, Brimelow wrote, analyzing the imagined impact of what stopping immigration during the tenure of President Obama would have accomplished.

The 1965 Immigration Act, also known as Hart-Celler, put an end to the Coolidge-era racial quota laws that both Miller and Hitler praised. Miller derided Hart-Celler in his emails to Breitbart News and urged that publication to write articles criticizing it.

Prior to joining the Trump administration in 2017, Law served in multiple rolesat FAIR, including as the lobbying director and the director of government relations.

Robert Law of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (Photo via Western States Center)

FAIR founder John Tanton consistently promoted racist views about immigrants. In a Jan. 26, 1996, letter to Roy Beck of NumbersUSA about Californias immigrant population, Tanton questioned whether minorities could ever run an advanced society. He believed in eugenics, a pseudoscientific practice embraced by Nazi Germany, which purports to instill superior genes in humans through the process of selective breeding. In a letter to the late Robert K. Graham, a California-based multimillionaire and eugenicist, on Sept. 18, 1996, Tanton expressed his belief that less intelligent individuals should logically have fewer children.

From 1985 to 1994, FAIR received approximately $1.2 million in assistance from the Pioneer Fund, a eugenicist organization founded in 1937 for the purpose of pursuing race betterment by promoting the genetic blueprint of white persons who settled in the original thirteen states prior to the adoption of the constitution.

Dan Stein, FAIRs current president, articulated beliefs that mirror those expressed by Tanton. During an Oct. 2, 1997, Wall Street Journal interview with conservative journalist Tucker Carlson about The Intellectual Roots of Nativism, Stein asked, Should we be subsidizing people with low IQs to have as many children as possible and not subsidizing those with high ones?

While Law was employed with FAIR, working under Stein, he lambasted sanctuary cities in a 2017 FAIR legislative update, writing that they allow criminal aliens to be released back into communities, often to recommit crimes. He also harshly criticized the Obama administrations Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, an executive order implemented to protect from deportation undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

[DACA recipients] parents made the choice to bring them here and defy our immigrations laws and just because you have children doesnt mean that you have a human shield that exempts you from any form of enforcement, Law said in a FAIR podcast in 2017, Media Matters reported.

Law co-authored a FAIR report, Immigration Priorities for the 2017 Presidential Transition, in November 2016 that outlinedthe type of anti-immigrant legislative agenda the group wanted to see the Trump administration enact.

[The Trump administration] must lead the nation in formulating an immigration policy that sets and enforces limits on legal immigration; eliminates to the greatest extent possible illegal immigration; and protects American workers, taxpayers, and our most vulnerable citizens, the co-authored report stated.

The report argued for limiting legal immigration into the U.S., including measures targeting the number of immigrants admitted via Temporary Protected Status (TPS), the refugee and asylum programs. TPS is an immigration status given to foreign nationals present in the U.S. who cannot return to their country of origin due to events such as armed conflict or an environmental disaster. In early 2018, the Trump administration took steps to block residents of majority non-white countries from receiving TPS, specifically from Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Haiti is roughly 95% black, according to government statistics. Trump referred to these nations as shithole countries during a closed-door meeting with lawmakers, according to a report in The Washington Post.

In November 2019, Stein remarked on the Trump administrations employment of former FAIR staffers, saying, It certainly is delightful to see folks that weve worked with in the past advance and contribute to the various efforts of the administration, most of which we support.

Historian Carly Goodman wrote in The Washington Post on April 22 that the Trump administration was capitalizing on the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to enact an anti-immigrant agenda.

Why suggest an immigration ban? Goodman wrote in her analysis. Because times of crisis create opportunities for anti-immigration advocates to cast blame on outsiders and transform policy in ways they have long sought, to arrest what they perceive as demographic change and the loss of a white America. Trumps emergency measures therefore could outlive his presidency.

The Trump administration has enacted a flurry of policies targeting immigrants since the COVID-19 pandemic started to unfold, including: suspending all routine visa services at U.S. embassies and consulates on March 20, expelling all asylum seekers at the U.S. border with Mexico as of March 21, temporarily suspending refugee admissions as of March 19, banning undocumented college students from receiving emergency assistance as of April 21, and ordering a 60-day temporary ban of access to green cards for specific groups of people from abroad as of April 22.

Despite the ongoing public health crisis created by COVID-19, the Trump administration is also projectedto issue 340,500 deportation orders in the year ending Sept. 30, 2020, an increase from 215,535 in 2019, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a Syracuse University research group that tracks the impact of government policies.

As with Trumps initial announcement of an immigration order, these policies have been welcomed by far-right extremists.

Photo illustration by SPLC

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Trump's Immigration Order Was Drafted by Officials With Ties to Hate Groups, According to Report - Southern Poverty Law Center

Larry Summers Is a Dead Albatross Around Biden’s Neck – The Nation

Larry Summers watches Barack Obama and Joe Biden speak at the White House. (Brooks Kraft LLC / Corbis via Getty Images)

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In his bid to consolidate support within the Democratic coalition, Joe Biden keeps signaling that hell govern as a progressive. In an interview with Politico published on Saturday, Biden declared that the $2 trillion spent so far on stimulus needs to be a a hell of a lot bigger. According to Politicos Michael Grunwald, Biden sounded like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in calling for much stricter oversight of the Trump administration, much tougher conditions on business bailouts and long-term investments in infrastructure and climate that have so far been largely absent from congressional debates.Ad Policy

I think theres going to be a willingness to fix some of the institutional inequities that have existed for a long time, Biden told Grunwald. Milton Friedman isnt running the show anymore.

These are welcome words to anyone who believes recession-wracked America needs a massive injection of Keynesian spending, ideally structured around a Green New Deal to help tackle climate change. But can Biden be trusted to keep his word? After all, his own long record as a Wall Streetfriendly centrist makes it hard to credit his newfound economic populism.

Further, some of Bidens top advisers are anathema to progressives. As Grunwald notes, This week, Biden has taken flak from the left for including the corporate-friendly Democratic economist Lawrence Summers on internal calls.

Larry Summers, a Harvard economist who held senior posts under both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, has a record that is even more dismaying than Bidens. Going back decades, Summers has opposed big stimulus spending, regulation of Wall Street, and pushes for economic equality.

There are two main objections to Summers: his personality and his politics. He has a well-documented history of being an overbearing boss, a know-it-all with a habit of publicly humiliating his underlings and colleagues. Christina Romer, who served as chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration, complained that Summers treated her like a piece of meat.

Summerss stormy tenure as president of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006 was cut short by a faculty revolt, motivated by his browbeating of African American professors such as Cornel West, his claim that women werent doing well in the sciences because of innate cognitive inferiority in their math skills, and his support of a protg who had run roughshod over conflict-of-interest regulations while running an economic reform program in Russia. (In recent years, a fresh controversy has emerged from Summerss tenure as Harvard president involving donations from the notorious child molester Jeffrey Epstein).Current Issue

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As appalling as Summers might be on a personal level, his politics are even worse. Joe Biden might be ready to bid adieu to the era of Milton Friedman, the right-wing economist who was one of the major architects of neoliberalism, but Larry Summers most definitely is not.

In a 2006 New York Times opinion piece written on the occasion of Friedmans death, Summers wrote, I feel that I have lost a heroa man whose success demonstrates that great ideas convincingly advanced can change the lives of people around the world. Making a small demurral over Friedmans lack of concern for social justice, Summers aligned himself with the neoliberal thinkers worldview. Not so long ago, we were all Keynesians, Summers wrote. Equally, any honest Democrat will admit that we are now all Friedmanites.

Summers was not merely being polite out of respect for a recently departed eminence. Rather, he was being candid in describing himself as a Friedmanite Democrat, someone who belongs to a left-of-center party but constantly tugs it to the right.

Summerss Friedmanite politics can be seen in virtually everything hes done in public life. During the Clinton administration, he opposed the efforts of Asian countries to impose capital controls during the economic crisis of 1997. He also pushed for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, a deregulatory move that allowed commercial banks to run hog wild with risky investments, a major factor in the 2008 economic crash.

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As Michael Hirsh noted in National Journal in 2013:

As a government official, [Summers] helped author a series of ultimately disastrous or wrongheaded policies, from his big deregulatory moves as a Clinton administration apparatchik to his too-tepid response to the Great Recession as Obamas chief economic adviser. Summers pushed a stimulus that was too meek, and, along with his chief ally, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, he helped to ensure that millions of desperate mortgage-holders would stay underwater by failing to support a cramdown that would have allowed federal bankruptcy judges to have banks reduce mortgage balances, cut interest rates, and lengthen the terms of loans.

According to Robert Kuttner, co-editor of The American Prospect, Hirch paid a price for documenting Summerss history. Kuttner claims that after Summers personally complained to David Bradley, then the publisher of Atlantic Media, which owned National Journal, Hirsh was advised to seek other workhe ended up moving to Politico and then to Foreign Policy, though no errors were ever found in the Summers piece and no correction was ever issued.

Underlying all of Summerss actions is a firm belief in the fundamental rightness of the existing economic order and the enormous inequality it produces. During the early days of the Obama administration, Summers told a reporter, One of the reasons that inequality has probably gone up in our society is that people are being treated closer to the way that theyre supposed to be treated. Summers opposes a wealth tax. In October 2019, he made the strange argument that if the wealth tax had been in place a century ago, we would have had more anti-Semitism from Henry Ford and a smaller Ford Foundation today. In fact, Henry Ford spent lavishly on anti-Semitism. Nor did Fords philanthropy make up for his bigotry. The two sometimes went hand in hand, as with the Ford Foundations support of eugenics in the early 20th century.

When Barack Obama floated the idea of nominating Summers to be chairman of the Federal Reserve in 2013, the move was opposed not just by progressive senators like Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown but also by their moderate colleagues like Jon Tester and Heidi Heitkamp. Summers was simply too tainted.

If Joe Biden wants to prove his bona fides to progressives, hell have to cut his ties to Larry Summers.

Excerpt from:

Larry Summers Is a Dead Albatross Around Biden's Neck - The Nation

Letter to the editor: Donald Trump’s sinister ways – The Sun Chronicle

To the editor:

John Wades letter to the editor (Does the president want us to kill ourselves? Voice of the Public, April 28) hits the nail on the head.

Donald Trumps pattern of separating children from their families and keeping them warehoused inhumanely; making health insurance impossible for many to obtain; ignoring the advance of coronavirus and evidence that it affects older adults and people with disabilities disproportionately; inadequate funding for cities with a larger portion of minority populations; recommending the use of hydroxychloroquine with the side effect of deadly heart complications; and finally, his suggestion to ingest disinfectant is an ominous paradigm.

We know he praises white supremacist groups, adopts their language and calls them good people. Consistent with the goals of the eugenics and white supremacy movements, he implements policies to eliminate people of color, immigrants, poor, disabled, old, and sick. Its not exactly murder, but it is death-making.

Donald Trump is not ignorant or a buffoon; he has a purpose and it is sinister.

Bertha Young


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Letter to the editor: Donald Trump's sinister ways - The Sun Chronicle

Group Homes, Vulnerable During the Pandemic, Need Help – National Review

Home-care nurse Flora Ajayi is thanked by a clients daughter as she departs from a home during the coronavirus outbreak, New York City, April 22, 2020. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)Lets consider designating their developmentally disabled residents a legally protected class.

Last week the New York Times reported that 105 persons had died in group homes in the New York City metropolitan area. Now the number is over 200. People living in group homes are five times more likely to die where they reside than are those living in nursing homes. The situation has been addressed also in an opinion piece in the New York Daily News.

The history of how the developmentally disabled have been treated is reprehensible. One hundred years ago psychologist Robert Goddard, affiliated with the eugenics movement, used intelligence tests to determine those who should be sterilized. Many involuntary medical operations robbed people of the gift of bearing children, becoming a father, and creating a home for a family.

Horrible treatment continued into the latter half of the 20th century. Robert Kennedy, visiting a New York institution, called them snake pits. In 1972, Channel 7 in New York City aired Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace, hosted by Geraldo Rivera. One ward at Willowbrook housed 80 people, supervised by one nurse. The documentary showed people crouching on floors, naked or half-naked. But it was the smell that truly horrified Rivera, the smell of death and disease. Soon afterward, Governor Nelson Rockefeller implemented the Willowbrook Decree, which brought immediate money to state-run programs, mostly large institutions of up to 6,000 people, and smaller programs administered by charities. The decree gave special legal protection to anyone who continued to live at Willowbrook or was transferred to another placement. From 1972 until the beginning of the 20th century, there was continued improvement and increased financing by federal and state governments, in addition to Medicaid. In the past two decades, budget cuts in all of these sources have crippled the services, whose quality has increasingly diminished.

To reduce the disproportionate fatality rate in group homes, the federal government as well as state and local governments should give them immediate special funding to reduce the number of infections and deaths. At the same time, the homes need ongoing financial help at an increased level, during the pandemic and afterward. Where might that help come from?

The immediate emergency situation can be traced to several factors, and there can be interventions for each. Many of the group homes are small, and so their cubic air capacity is much less than in most nursing homes, making the air itself more virulent. The behavior of the developmentally disabled makes true social distancing nigh impossible. Many have repetitive behaviors such as scratching the face on their skin until it bleeds. They are prone to hug and also to roughhouse, which brings them into close contact with others. And how can they social-distance if they cant understand the reason for it?

Medical problems and the treatment they necessitate add to the spread of infection. Many residents, often owing to obesity or hypotonia (which restricts air intake), need to be on compressed-air machines. Their lungs do not work well, making the virus more deadly for them. The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines need to be thoroughly cleaned. It is a herculean task for the workers.

Meals are fertile breeding grounds for the virus. Many need close hand-over-hand physical guidance to bring food from their plate to their lips. This makes the job dangerous for staff. Owing to their muscle and bone structure, some residents have severe problems with eating and need the help of highly trained speech and language pathologists to do the feeding and to instruct others on how to do it. This never was a glamorous or sought-after job, and in the aftermath of the pandemic it will become even less so.

The travel of staff back and forth between the group homes and their own residences may be the worst source of the virus. A single infection brought into a group home can spread fast. The temperature checks and other tests are imperfect, and infected workers may pass them and enter the home. Once that happens, a medical crisis occurs quickly, followed by deaths.

A major question is how to keep the staff free of the virus so that the spread of infection in the homes can be stopped. Police and fire departments, certain businesses, and now meatpacking plants have developed procedures for employees to be transported to a hotel or safe living environment between shifts. At the meatpacking plants, employees can live safely on the premises, run on twelve-hour shifts, and stay quarantined.

A staffer for Senator Charles Schumer (D, N.Y.) is considering add-on legislation to a bill affecting nonprofit social-welfare organizations. The bill, which would supersede the CARES Act and its iterations, would be administered by FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and provide for federal grants that agencies could apply for. The funds received could be used for any procedures that will help keep the virus out of the group homes. Extra hazard pay for the staff would be included in the bill. Most importantly, the bill would ensure funding for transportation of staff between the group home and an uninfected site, such as a college dorm, that could be donated for use. There just isnt enough money to pay for hotel lodging (which some police and fire departments use), so other nonprofits, large county venues, or other workable places need to be found. Partnerships will emerge.

As someone who has worked as a clinical psychologist in this system for decades, and is father to a young man with Down syndrome, I think that the above federal grant would be lifesaving for many people. It would protect the lives of the staff as well.

What of the day-to-day work of the agencies? There will be much more to do throughout the period of flattening the curve as well as, perhaps, during any period of developing herd immunity and vaccine interventions, neither of which the scientists can guarantee will happen. Medicaid funding of the agencies has been reduced over the past ten years. Ratios of staff to clients are much lower than in earlier eras. In one state with over 150 agencies serving the developmentally disabled, it is well known that an orchestrated pattern of squeezing certain agencies financially is forcing some to close or merge.

A crucial need is for more funding for staff salaries. Whereas Public Law 94-142 and other, subsequent congressional acts have meant rather rich funding for those students with special needs up to age 21, their situation changes dramatically afterward. Neither agencies nor workers receive a level of funding that is anywhere comparable to the funding for services for special-needs students from birth to age 21. Sadly, the pay can be so low that many staff need to work second or even third jobs.

This may be an issue on which both major political parties can join together in bipartisan efforts. There are about 7 million people with developmental disabilities in the United States. When one includes parents and families and those who work with them, at least 25 million Americans, I would estimate, have a stake in these individuals, who are among the most vulnerable in our population, and who have suffered so much blatant abuse and neglect in the past. It might not be asking too much to consider designating group-home residents as a legally protected class of people. That would contribute to the protection of their rights and to their enhanced protection, now and in the future, throughout their lives.

Editors Note:This article has been updated to clarify that legislation to fund social-welfare organizations is being considered only by a staffer for Senator Schumer.

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Group Homes, Vulnerable During the Pandemic, Need Help - National Review

UI partners with autism research organization amid community concerns – UI The Daily Iowan

The University of Iowa recently began work with SPARK for Autism, a research organization of which the UI has been an extension site for three years, on a project that aims to map the heterogeneous medical complexities of autism, causing concern for some UI community members and student organizations.

SPARK representative for Iowa Jacob Michaelson said SPARKs endgame is to organize a pool of more than 50,000 individuals with autism, and their families in order to better understand autism across the spectrum and address medical issues that can be developed from having autism, such as eating and sleeping disorders, and not to find a cure.

However, some UI students are skeptical about the partnership between the university and SPARKs intentions, fearing that a wide database could be used for early identification of autism and preventing it.

UI senior Adrian Sandersfeld, a member of the autistic community, said in an email to The Daily Iowanthat their initial reaction to the partnership was one of alienation and anger.

I feel like the University of Iowa does not really care about autistic students at all, Sandersfeld said. This partnership between the UI and SPARK will only make us feel more alienated. Money that could be spent improving the academic environment for neurodiverse students is being wasted on [a] eugenics project. Answering questions for this article is the closest Ive ever come in having my voice heard on this matter by anyone in power at the University of Iowa.

Sandersfeld mentioned that UI students created the ABAL Therapeutics, a designing software to assist parents of children with autism by providing at-home ABA therapy.

Sandersfeld said they believe the partnership threatened not only autistic students, but UI Hospitals and Clinics patients as well. As both, Sandersfeld said, it makes them suspicious of their doctors and angry at university administrators.

Sandersfeld added that autism is a disability, not a disease.

Michaelson said SPARK has been met with some controversy as some believe the organization wishes to find ways to cure autism and develop methods to suppress it, but the research would lead to higher acceptance of those with autism throughout the community, which would in turn be essential to the fulfillment of SPARKs mission.

I think there are some people who are afraid of the unknown, Michaelson said. There are a lot of unknowns with autism. You cant have increased acceptance in the face of a total mystery. We are not looking for a cure for autism. The whole point here is fundamental science understanding at the personal, biological, and community level. Understanding is the best hope we have to improve the lives of those with autism and their families.

Michaelson said the established SPARK team at the university is now focusing on the medical issues that can be developed from having autism, such as eating and sleeping disorders. He said UIHC put out a call for 5,000 individuals or families of someone with autism that also had eating or sleeping disorders to participate in the study. Now, the group is offering saliva kits delivered to home as COVID-19 social-distancing recommendations are in place.

He said the UI autistic community has a seat at the table by having members on the advisory committee, so perspectives from stakeholders in the conducted research can be heard and the right questions can be asked.

RELATED: Iowa City Autism Community distributing Calm Kits to high-need elementary schools

Before the existence of SPARK, many smaller studies were conducted, made up of about 100 participants, to distinguish certain types of autism, he said. Researchers have failed to find a concrete answer.

[SPARK] will hopefully be a resource for researchers and scientists for the next 20 years, Michaelson said. Researchers can reach out to the community and ask for specific volunteers for their studies, since the spectrum for autism is [wide]. It can span inability to communicate to being high-functioning, where they can have a conversation and you would not know right away that they had autism.

UI masters student Andrea Courtney, treasurer for UI Students for Disability Advocacy and Awareness, said she had not heard of the UI partnership with SPARK before being contacted by the DI, but she said she was hesitant to believe the intentions of the autism study at UIHC were pure based on knowledge of other autism research groups.

I know people who have autistic siblings and I have worked with those who will probably receive a diagnosis in the future, Courtney said. There are ways to improve the quality of lives of those with autism without looking for a cure, like improving accessibility to education and the workforce.

She said hearing that the university had decided to collaborate with SPARK made her feel as though officials were making a choice about how autism should define individuals.

[This study] seems like its coming from a perspective that the person is the problem, she said. Not the environment or the barriers that society has created. Have they reached out to those on the opposing side? Its societys ableism that needs to be fixed.

Director of the University of California Davis MIND Institute Len Abbeduto said the neurodiversity movement is a reminder of the value of individuals and no one is more or less valuable to society. He said SPARKs work applies to understanding societal challenges that those with autism may have.

We focus on words such as disease and disorder so much that it can appear to have a negative connotation, Abbeduto said. In the case of autism, it is less about autism itself and more about the challenges that come from autism, such as limits to being independent and medical disorders.

He said the research the UI is conducting with SPARK, and autism research in general, is to understand the basis of medical challenges from autism and treat them, not about finding a cure.

Abbedutos work at the MIND Institute focuses on language and communication challenges for autistic individuals and providing therapy options for parents to use with their children.

[At the MIND Institute], we work to teach parents to create an opportunity to foster their childrens language skills, he said. We want to coach parents in their homes, so therapy is more accessible and more personal. They will be more active agents of change and it will reduce the burden of travel. They enjoy it and feel empowered when their children make progress.

Abbeduto said that while developing ways to defeat challenges created by autism is important, it is essential for the research community to recognize the conversations between those with autism and organizations such as SPARK.

[Researchers] are better off focusing on maximizing opportunities instead of looking too hard at the challenges, he said. Its about removing challenges, so everyone has the best chance of taking advantage of their communities and their choices. The disability community has been great with allowing families and individuals to have choices.

Michaelson said SPARK strives to assure autistic individuals that they are accepted not only in their community but in society as well. He said there are many outreach programs to connect the autistic community with SPARKs research opportunities, from information booths at the Iowa State Fair to hands-on experience.

We have undergraduate researchers in our lab and many of them have a loved one with autism or have autism themselves, Michaelson said. So, come and see. There might be an opportunity to investigate and learn what SPARK is doing to have a human connection with the research and the science.

Original post:

UI partners with autism research organization amid community concerns - UI The Daily Iowan

Future Tense Newsletter: Celebrity Designer Babies, Climate Change in the Pandemic, and More – Slate Magazine

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Future Tense Newsletter: Celebrity Designer Babies, Climate Change in the Pandemic, and More - Slate Magazine

Planet of the Humans Comes This Close to Actually Getting the Real Problem, Then Goes Full Ecofascism – Gizmodo

Image: Planet of the Humans

Michael Moore is a dude known for provocation. Every documentary he drops is designed to paint a world of sharp contrasts with clear bad guys. Theyre designed to get a reaction and get people talking, so in some ways, him dropping a documentary he executive produced trashing renewable energy on Earth Day makes total sense.

Planet of the Humans is directed and narrated by Jeff Gibbs, a self-proclaimed photographer, campaigner, adventurer, and storyteller who has co-produced some of Moores films. The documentary came out on Earth Day, positioning itself up as some tough, real talk not just about renewable energy but environmental groups. And by real talk, I mean it cast renewables as no better than fossil fuels and environmental groups as sleek corporate outfits in bed with billionaires helping kill the planet. As Emily Atkin put it in her HEATED newsletter on Thursday, [e]ntertaining good-faith arguments about how to stop climate change is my job, and I have no reason at present to believe Moore and director Jeff Gibbs argued in bad faith. Indeed. So I decided to listen to what they had to say.

Ill leave the film criticism to those wiser than me (though I will say I feel like I didnt watch three acts but three separate movies), but I will say this: The moviewhich is available for free on YouTube and is currently on the services trending list with 1 million views in 24 hoursis deeply flawed in both its premise, proposed solutions, and who gets to voice them.

The movies central thesis is that we are on the brink of extinction and have been sold a damaged bill of goods about all forms of renewable energy by environmental groups motivated by profit. Essentially, the argument is were all dirty and the stain will never come out no matter how hard we try.

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There are a few issues at play. One is that much of the issues the film takes with solar and wind are based on anachronistic viewpoints. PV Magazine, a solar trade publication,notes that its difficult to take the film seriously on any topic when it botches the solar portion so thoroughly. Although the film was released in 2020, the solar industry it examines, whether through incompetence or venality, is from somewhere back in 2009.

The film also goes through great lengths to throw solar and wind in the same boat as burning biomass for power. The latter relies on serious carbon accounting bullshittery to be carbon neutral. A critique of biomass is fair and something I would honestly have watched a whole film about. And ditto for the films critique of large environmental organizations, which rely on large funders that may provide money with strings attached (though Bill McKibben, one of the films targets and founder of 350.org, came out strongly critiquing how he and the organization were portrayed).

The film, for example, highlights the Sierra Clubs Beyond Coal campaign, which has helped shutter more than 300 coal plants around the U.S. The programs biggest donor is Mike Bloomberg, who sees natural gaswhich has replaced much of that coal capacityas a bridge fuel (which it is decidedly not).

And this is where the narrative Gibbs tells and the one we need to be telling diverges. Gibbs is happy to trash the unholy alliance between big green groups and big dollar funders who have, in some cases, made their fortunes on extractive industries and the system that relies on their existence. That can lead to conflictsreal or perceivedabout how green groups spend their time. And frankly, Im there with him.

Gibbs uses this situation to take the leap to population control as the only solution. Yes, renewables are bad and so are billionaires and the corporate-philanthropic industrial complex so, Gibbs concludes, we should probably get rid of some humans ASAP. Over the course of the movie, he interviews a cast of mostly white experts who are mostly men to make that case. Its got a bit more than a whiff of eugenics and ecofascism, which is a completely bonkers takeaway from everything presented. If renewables are so bad, then what does a few million less people on the planet going to do? Oh, and who are we going to knock off or control for? Who decides? How does population control even solve the problem of corporate influence on nonprofits and politics?

Those questions lead to a dark place. Weve already had a glimpse of what that ideology looks like in the hands of individuals. The alleged manifesto penned by last years El Paso shooting suspect sounds an awful lot like Gibbs movie, arguing that extractive companies are heading the destruction of our environment by shamelessly overharvesting resources and that we to get rid of enough people to get things back in balance. Which is a whole lot of nope.

I dont mean to say Gibbs is therefor an ecofascist. But to see an ostensibly serious environmental movie backed by an influential filmmaker peddle these ideas is genuinely disturbing, especially at a time when were seeing it pop up elsewhere in response to the coronavirus. Also side note that its also incredibly myopic that Gibbs goes after environmental nonprofits for taking corporate money while ignoring the Sierra Clubs and other early conservation groups history of support for racist ideas about population control he nods to as a solution (it should be noted some groups are trying to make up for past misdeeds today).

Whats most frustrating about Gibbs film is he walks right up to some serious issues and ignores clear solutions. The critique of the compromised corporate philanthropy model is legit. We should absolutely hold nonprofits to account when they dont live up to their missions. But the solution isnt to take the leap to population control. Its to tax the rich so they cant use philanthropic funding as cover for their misdeeds while simultaneously filling government coffers to implement democratic solutions.

Theres a reason that Breitbart and other conservative voices aligned with climate denial and fossil fuel companies have taken a shine to the film. Its because it ignores the solution of holding power to account and sounds like a racist dog whistle.

We also should absolutely interrogate the systems and supply chains of renewable energy. The lithium industrys violent toll on land and people in Latin American countries with vast reserves is real. Letting corporations run the show promises to lead to future violence, regardless of how many people live on Earth. The film doesnt interview any of the new wave of environmental leaders who see the fight against these injustices and the climate crisis as intrinsically linked. Its too bad since thats a message Gibbsand the rest of the worldneed to hear now more than ever.

Excerpt from:

Planet of the Humans Comes This Close to Actually Getting the Real Problem, Then Goes Full Ecofascism - Gizmodo

Here are the 2020 awards for the very worst people of coronavirus – The Guardian

The coronavirus epoch has offered some heartwarming stories among the viral horror and its shut-in, relentless-grey-regrowth-Zoom-meeting-apocalypse gloom.

The well-compensated stars of American professional basketball are subsidising the lost salaries of casual venue staff. In Scotland, cafes are making deliveries of free food packages to vulnerable and elderly people, while Melbourne restauranteurs are feeding frontline workers. The Italian tenor serenading his locked-down city of Florence singing Nessun Dorma and other opera classics from his balcony is glorious. So is the Spanish taxi driver taking coronavirus patients to the hospital for free.

But amid the kindness pandemic and determined acts of caring, the times have provoked a simultaneous infection of self-absorption, pettiness and dangerous-foolerism. Sure, ordinary folks can make bad decisions in extraordinary times. But there are those who should know better who dont do better, through sheer force of wilful shitheadedry. They should not be spared shaming. They should be given the recognition they richly deserve. So, without further ado:

The 2020 awards for the very worst people of coronavirus so far

WINNER, the Neville Chamberlain Award for Catastrophically Misreading the Situation: prime minister of the UK, Boris Johnson

On 3 March, British PM Boris Johnson bragged at his readiness to shake hands with local coronavirus patients. On 17 March, France locked down and he suggested instead that coronavirus sufferers stay indoors a week and elderly Britons cancel holiday cruises. This strategy was herd immunity ringfencing the most vulnerable of the population and allowing the disease to take its course. Without a vaccine, that means allowing masses of people to die. If you think that sounds like eugenics, your opinion is shared by the worlds leading specialists in infectious diseases.

Its since been revealed Johnson missed five critical meetings in February that may have made him more aware of the strategic risk to his country, and himself because by 27 March, Johnson himself had coronavirus, and British infections were following the tragic trajectory of Italy. As I write this, more than 18,000 people in the UK have died.

Im most relieved that Boris Johnson is not one of them. Had he perished, he would most earnestly deserved our sympathy. Now hes on the mend, he can rightfully be served our scorn.

WINNER, the Roger Stone Award for Thinking the Rules Dont Apply to You: New Zealand health minister, David Clark

Woeful behaviour is not entirely the preserve of one side of politics; health minister of New Zealand, Labours David Clark, broke his own governments strict coronavirus lockdown rules on its first weekend.

New Zealand Labour prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, moved quickly to a national shutdown early in the pandemics progression. Her strategy of virus elimination with rigorous stay-at-home regulation and widespread testing has been feted throughout the world; of today, 16 local coronavirus deaths are recorded.

This has been made possible because the New Zealand citizenry complied with the draconian rules rules Clark blithely ignored when he took his family on a car trip to the beach the first weekend of lockdown. He was separately photographed going for a lovely bike ride.

Ardern swiftly demoted the minister, who made a grovelling public apology. It says much about her leadership that she resisted temptation to make a bicycle seat from his skin.

WINNER, the Tiger Woods Award for Making Us Feel We Hardly Know You: Sweden

Think Sweden, think Scandinavian social democracy; cradle-to-grave welfare and generous social support systems. But Swedens response to the pandemic has not been universal self-sacrifice, New Zealand-style.

On the recommendation of an epidemiologist at the independent Public Health Agency, the Social Democrats/Greens coalition government have instead pursued a herd immunity strategy theyre calling a trust-based approach to the virus. Social distancing is voluntary. Schools for under-16s, gyms, restaurants, bars and Swedens borders remain open.

As a result, it now has one of the highest proportional death rates from the virus in the world nine times higher than next-door neighbour Finland, larger even than the United States.

Since half of the countrys aged care facilities found themselves struck by coronavirus, Sweden has quietly started moving towards greater gathering restrictions. Like any apology, it doesnt count for much when people have been left for dead.

WINNER, the Donald Trump Award for Billionaire Shamelessness: Richard Branson

This was a hotly contested category. As lockdowns, shutdowns and the illness itself have wiped out the economy-as-usual across the globe, individualist profiteers of the good times are suddenly collectivists in the misery.

The old story of those who live to privatise the profits and socialise the losses really deserves a Netflix reboot perhaps centred on a protagonist like Virgin billionaire Richard Branson. Hes holding thousands of ordinary peoples jobs hostage to demands that taxpayers refinance his failing business. In the reboot, lets rewrite this storys traditional ending to make sure taxpayers are repaid for their involuntary generosity with proportional ownership of these companies. Especially since Branson is demanding a bailout in his ostensible home of Britain, where he has avoided paying income tax for 14 years.

WINNER, the Abe Simpson Award for Yelling at Clouds: Sam Newman (and friends)

Whether there could be any social identity more pathetic than that of a D-list Australian conservative is an outright no. Desperation for relevancy inspired a recent Twitter campaign demanding the extermination of bats.

But the clear category winner was the faded sports personality who defied Australias (highly effective) lockdown, taking a one-man protest to the steps of the Victorian parliament, demanding his uninhibited human right to play golf.

A video provides so many things to enjoy. A MAGA-style hat! Eye-blinding trousers! Incomprehensible raving! Most of all, theres rapture in seeing the animation of a cliche about privileged white male narcissism that didnt a) require a cartoonist or b) involve someone getting hurt.

The cumulative effect of the protest was to convince observers like myself that even if golf is at the safer end of activity, the ban should be maintained just to extend this mans personal frustration.

WINNER, the Walking Dead Award for Reminding Human Beings Our Greatest Threat is One Another: anti-lockdown protestors in the US

From California to Michigan and yet, coincidentally always in districts Republicans are heavily campaigning anti-lockdown protests have bloomed across the US, drawing social-distance-defying crowds in the hundreds, sometimes even the tens.

Egged on by the US president in impassioned ALL CAPS tweets, extraordinary photographs have appeared of patriots hanging out of cars screaming at the public-serving healthworkers who counterprotest in full PPE. Joshua Bickels photo of howling Ohio protestors pressed against glass doors deserves its own separate, serious, grown-up award for warning the world that its all getting a bit Shaun of the Dead in the US-of-A; one of the yawping mouths belongs to a Republican state Senate candidate.

It would all be hilarious if states such as Michigan werent burying the coronavirus dead in their thousands. Supply shortages, the disaster of piecemeal, privatised healthcare and structural poverty have intersected with ill-prepared and incompetent presidential leadership, compounding the effects of coronavirus across America.

After the coronavirus protests, Kentucky saw its largest spike in cases.

GRAND WINNER: President of the United States, Donald Trump

Like Boris Johnson, he ignored international warnings about the coronavirus when meaningful action could have slowed its spread. He held public rallies even while experts begged for social distancing. Hes used press conferences to attack reporters, repeat lies and push treatments that some studies now suggest may be unproven cures at the same time hes demanded praise. Hes promoted people who dont know what theyre doing, allowed the demotion of others who desperately do, hes abused leaders whove taken responsibility for their citizens, and adamantly taken none himself. Hes talked about his TV ratings while Americans were buried in mass graves.

The only award in which hes not competitive is one for failing to meet expectations because nobody whos watched Trump for five consistent minutes is surprised by this disaster at all. America outstrips the world for coronavirus infection. There have been more than 842,000 cases there. More than 46,000 Americans are dead.

Donald, you blitzed this competition. Its your crowning achievement! Now, go put a glittering corona on your head!

Van Badham is a Guardian Australia columnist


Here are the 2020 awards for the very worst people of coronavirus - The Guardian