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Solly Mack

Solly Mack's Journal
Solly Mack's Journal
September 30, 2023

Michael Harriot's "Drapetomaniax: Unshackled History" (of black history)

Drapetomaniax: Unshackled History

A podcast with Michael Harriot.

Drapetomaniax: Unshackled History, is a Black history lesson unlike any other. Equal parts funny and informative, each episode mixes comprehensive research, Harriot’s unrivaled comedic wit and an assortment of celebrity guests, including Yvette Nicole Brown, MSNBC’s Joy Reid and Charlamagne tha God to help bring Black stories you’ve likely never heard to life.

Podcast schedule page for Drapetomaniax: Unshackled History Also contains link to open podcast on your computer.

Drapetomania was the term coined by the racist doctor Samuel A. Cartwright who claimed that slaves wanting to escape bondage must be mentally ill because slavery much improved the lives of black people bought and sold into slavery. He published a paper on his racist concept.

When people talk of slavery not being that bad, or of "good" masters, or slavery being beneficial to those enslaved, you can see the concept of drapetomania running through such thinking. ("Why are those people complaining, slavery wasn't that bad?" - the implication being something must be wrong with black people to think slavery was bad. The are plenty other examples out there.)

If you can, give a listen.


September 23, 2023

Panel finds 9/11 defendant unfit for trial after CIA torture made him psychotic

A military judge at Guantánamo Bay has ruled a 9/11 defendant incompetent to stand trial after a military medical panel found that the man’s sustained abuse in CIA custody years earlier had rendered him lastingly psychotic.

A military medical panel last month diagnosed al-Shibh as having post-traumatic stress disorder with secondary psychosis, and linked it to his torture and solitary confinement during four years in CIA custody after his 2002 arrest.

Defense attorneys and a UN-appointed investigator have argued that the five 9/11 co-defendants should be given physical and psychological care for the lasting effects of the torture they underwent while in CIA custody under the Bush administration.

The five 9/11 defendants were variously subjected to repeated waterboarding, beatings, violent repeated searches of their rectal cavities, sleep deprivation and other abuse while at so-called CIA black sites.
August 9, 2022

From February 7, 2022: Trump Presidential Records at Mar a Lago.

"In mid-January 2022, NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) arranged for the transport from the Trump Mar-a-Lago property in Florida to the National Archives of 15 boxes that contained Presidential records, following discussions with President Trump’s representatives in 2021," the National Archives said in a statement, confirming a report in The Washington Post.

“The Presidential Records Act mandates that all Presidential records must be properly preserved by each Administration so that a complete set of Presidential records is transferred to the National Archives at the end of the Administration,” Archivist David S. Ferriero said in the statement, adding that the National Archives “pursues the return of records whenever we learn that records have been improperly removed or have not been appropriately transferred to official accounts.”

The records agency said it believes Trump still has more records that need to be turned over and that "Trump’s representatives have informed NARA that they are continuing to search for additional Presidential records that belong to the National Archives."

The agency revealed last week that Trump had torn up numerous documents when he was president that were supposed to have been preserved.

February 9, 2022

The National Archives and Records Administration has asked the Justice Department to examine Donald Trump’s handling of White House records, sparking discussions among federal law enforcement officials about whether they should investigate the former president for a possible crime, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The referral from the National Archives came amid recent revelations that officials recovered 15 boxes of materials from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida that were not handed back in to the government as they should have been, and that Trump had turned over other White House records that had been torn up. Archives officials suspected Trump had possibly violated laws concerning the handling of government documents — including those that might be considered classified — and reached out to the Justice Department, the people familiar with the matter said.

February 10, 2022

Donald Trump's months-long withholding of presidential documents from the National Archives – he stored up to 15 boxes at his Mar-a-Lago estate for nearly a year – could spark yet another investigation of the ex-president.

The National Archives and Records Administration is being pushed to investigate whether Trump improperly took classified information with him when he moved out of the White House on Jan. 20, 2021. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform has requested information related to the probe.

February 12, 2022

One source familiar with the situation says the document turnover has “not been fully resolved” and says Trump is still in possession of documents the Archives wants. The Archives hinted at this in a statement earlier this week.

“Former President Trump’s representatives have informed NARA that they are continuing to search for additional Presidential records that belong to the National Archives,” the Archives said in a statement.

February 18, 2022

The US National Archives confirmed on Friday that officials found classified materials in boxes of documents Donald Trump improperly removed from the White House – and that they had alerted the Department of Justice (DoJ).

The disclosure is expected to escalate an investigation by the House oversight committee into whether Trump violated the Presidential Records Act of 1978 by removing and destroying White House documents.

In a letter to the committee, David Ferriero, of the National Archives and Records Administration (Nara), said it had “identified items marked as classified national security information in the boxes”.

“Because Nara identified classified information in the boxes,” he wrote, “Nara staff has been in communication with the Department of Justice.”

The National Archives said Friday that documents former President Donald Trump removed from the White House in early 2021 included classified national security information and that it has contacted the Department of Justice about the matter.

The agency "has identified items marked as classified national security information within the boxes" that Trump stored at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. Fla., the National Archives and Records Administration said in a letter to Rep, Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.

Then: August 8, 2022

FBI executes search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago in document investigation

Obviously, Trump did not turn over everything and the stalling was no longer tolerable. Hence, the search warrant being served and executed.

May 3, 2022

Abortion Funds: Donate/Volunteer/Hosts/Drivers. Links.

By State. An alphabetical list of Abortion Funds in each state that has one. You can donate to help women get the healthcare they need.

By Region, nationwide, and Indigenous. Also by State.


Call them.

Volunteer to be drivers and hosts. Drivers can travel the entire distance or switch off with other drivers. Hosts open up their homes to women who are traveling for healthcare, sometimes with their kids.

This isn't the first (or second, third, fourth, etc.) time I've posted this type of information. Fortunately, Esquire and GQ have made a fuller list of resources to share.

There are already networks within America to help women get needed healthcare. Have been for years.

Be a part of the solution.

Yes, voting for pro-choice (pro-LGBTQ rights, pro-civil rights, etc.) candidates is a must. But there are additional things people can do to help.

Help prevent a woman's death - Donate. Volunteer.

I do.

Thank you,

Solly Mack

January 5, 2022

The thing is, those differences mean, and have always meant, equality versus inequality. Freedom for

some but not for others. Constitutional rights for some but not for others. Privilege for some and restrictions for others. Advantages for some and disadvantages for others. Opportunities for some and roadblocks for others.

Those differences have meant the difference between life and death for the entirety of America's history.

Those differences matter.

Those differences spark conflict because they should spark conflict. Because no nation that prides itself on the slogan "beacon of light" unto the world should ever tolerate inequality or discrimination on any level. You don't get to claim with your mouth what your laws and practices don't reflect without sparking conflict.

You don't get to claim the aspiration while working to undermine it all at the same time.

Changes to the power dynamics, to the social paradigm, bring hope to those who have been denied the experience of full citizenship - and full citizenship includes feeling safe in your rights - merely pointed to a law on the books doesn't mean a person gets to experience the full meaning of the rights on those books. (You can vote - but pass this test first - or you have to travel 25 miles to the nearest poll, or you must jump through this hoop or that hoop. You can marry - but you can't marry here, or plan your wedding here, or buy your cake here. You can buy a house, but you can't live in this neighborhood. You can work, but you can't get a living wage, or a safe work environment. You can have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - but only if you look like us and think like us.)

Change also means the dominant cultural must stop manufacturing reasons for why they should be dominant to others. They must stop trying to oppress others in order to remain the dominant power. You're not losing any rights or being penalized. You're just no longer allowed to penalize others for not being you. No longer allowed to discriminate. You must accept that all Americans have the right and privileges of full citizenship - instead of chipping away at those rights.

We can't set aside a difference that means someone else will lose out on their rights. We have no right to bargain away the rights of others - and that's exactly what the Conservatives want. They don't want compromise - they want capitulation. They will only accept change that looks like change but still gives them the advantage - no real change at all. They see a gain by those not them as a loss to them - when it isn't.

That's a mighty significant difference.

You can't come to the table with those who only seek an advantage and expect to find common ground.

Someone intent on denying you your humanity will never agree that we share a common humanity.

We will never be treated as Americans by those who see us everything but American.

November 19, 2021

The Murder Of The Rev. James Reeb

The Rev. James Reeb was a white Unitarian Universalist minister who worked with poor people in Boston. Although he was married and had four young children, he answered the call of Dr. Martin Luther King for clergy to come to Selma, Alabama, to protest violence by state troopers against civil rights marchers.

On March 9, 1965, Reeb and two other UU ministers, Rev. Orloff Miller and Rev. Clark Olsen, were walking back after dinner to a meeting led by Dr. King when they were attacked by a group of white men. One hit Rev. Reeb in the head with a club. The blow was fatal; Rev. Reeb died March 11, 1965.

(January 1, 1927 — March 11, 1965). Reeb was an American white Unitarian Universalist minister from Boston, Massachusetts who, while marching for civil rights in Selma, Alabama, was beaten to death by segregationists [1]. He was 38 years old.

James Reeb was born in Wichita, Kansas. As a Unitarian Universalist minister, Reeb was active in the civil rights movement, and encouraged his parishioners to do the same. With his wife and four children, he lived in poor black neighborhoods where he felt he could do the most good. Until a few months before his death, he had been Assistant Minister at All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington, D.C.

A member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Reeb took part in the Selma to Montgomery protest march in 1965. While in Selma on March 9, Reeb was attacked by a white mob armed with clubs, which inflicted massive head injuries. He died in a Birmingham hospital two days later. His death resulted in a national outcry against the activities of white racists in the Deep South, although some expressed indignation that it took the death of a white man to incite such a national outcry. This is to be compared with the case of Jimmie Lee Jackson, who was shot by police in Selma two weeks earlier while protecting his mother from a beating; his case attracted much less national attention.

President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the events in Selma "an American tragedy," which, he said, should strengthen people's determination "to bring full and equal and exact justice to all of our people." Johnson's voting rights proposal reached Congress the Monday after Reeb's death.

In 1965, civil rights supporter James Reeb, a white Unitarian minister, was murdered in Selma, Ala. Three men were arrested, tried and acquitted. No one was ever held to account.

Elmer Cook, William Stanley Hoggle and Namon "Duck" Hoggle (from left to right) were charged with first-degree murder after James Reeb's death and later acquitted at trial.

4th Killer Identified years later

The murder of Boston minister James Reeb in 1965 drew national attention at the time and spurred passage of the Voting Rights Act, which outlawed the Jim Crow voting practices that had disenfranchised millions of black Americans.

The case remains officially unsolved. Three men charged in 1965 with attacking Reeb and two other ministers on a street corner in Selma, Ala., were acquitted by an all-white jury.

But a four-year NPR investigation, led by Alabama-based reporters Chip Brantley and Andrew Beck Grace, found an eyewitness to the attack who has never spoken publicly about what she saw. She said the three men acquitted in the case — Elmer Cook, William Stanley Hoggle and Namon O'Neal "Duck" Hoggle — were, in fact, the men who attacked Reeb.

That witness, Frances Bowden, also described the participation of another man, William Portwood. In an exclusive interview with NPR, Portwood confirmed his participation in the 1965 assault.

"All I did was kick one of them," Portwood said.

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, after the shooting of yet another black man by the police, protests against police brutality took place.

Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in the back by a white Kenosha police officer, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

During the demonstrations and unrest, Kyle Rittenhouse shot and murdered two people and wounded a third.

All the victims were white. True, none of the victims bore the title of Reverend.

You don't have to be a good person to be murdered and no one should be allowed to play judge, jury, and executioner - even if you think someone deserves to die.

Your personal opinion of someone's character or actions does not give you the right to murder them. Doesn't give anyone the right to murder them.

Kyle Rittenhouse knew nothing about his victims when he gunned them down. He just saw them as other - as BLM and "Antifa". Two boogeymen of the right-wing.

James Earl Ray and Byron De La Beckwith both thought they had the right to play judge, jury, and executioner. As did the Elmer Cook, William Stanley Hoggle, Namon "Duck" Hoggle and William Portwood, the four men who murdered James Reeb, as well as attacking two others.

As did the murderers of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.

As did every white person involved in a lynching - whether actively doing the lynching or happily cheering it on like it was a social event.

As did all the white people who verbally and physically assaulted every black student trying to get an education.

They all thought they had a right to attack, to kill. They all told themselves they were just trying to protect their children or their businesses, their town, or their "way of life".

They all felt justified.

To their warped thinking, it was self-defense.

White allies have died in the cause of Civil Rights - be it about the right the vote, segregation, or police brutality.

That means they died in the fight against racism.

To pretend race has nothing to do with a white ally, or even perceived white ally, dying at the hands of a racist shows a blindness to how racism works and how racists see everyone not them.

If you take the side of racial justice, you are their enemy.

It's not just a case of a white person killing other white people.

It's a case of a racist killing people they see as traitors to the race. Or their "way of life" - however they cloak their racism.

July 1, 2021

Distancing language.

Liars use it all the time.

Practiced liars can use it well enough to place them at the center of an event but still, somehow, miss the crucial moment of an event.

The dancing lie - one that weaves in, out and around the truth. Always leaving wiggle room for clarification and plausible deniability.

June 22, 2021


Exactly why when I hear a white person complain about "Identity politics", I roll my eyes.

White Identity politics created systemic/structural racism in America.

White Identity politics created the reservations.

White Identity politics ripped children from their homes and sent them off to schools to "Kill the Indian and save the man".

White Identity politics created those all-white towns, all-white schools, all-white churches, and all-white neighborhoods.

White Identity politics created the laws that made Black and Native peoples slaves in America.

White Identity politics created Black Codes and Jim Crow.

White Identity politics created redlining, segregation, the "one drop rule", "Colored" water fountains, Separate but equal, Sundown towns, laws against marriage between Black and White people. And the list goes on and on and on.

White Identity politics gave us job discrimination based on race.

White Identity politics prevented Black people from voting.

White Identity politics made it all about race.

Yet you hear Conservatives say stupid shit like, "Why do they make it all about race?" or "Why do they make it all about Identity politics?".


"They" didn't make it about race - white people did.

And standing up and being proud of who you are in the face of so much damage caused by White Identity politics isn't making it all about "Identity politics" - It's about demanding justice and equality and freedom FROM White Identity politics.

There is also Straight Identity politics that has caused systemic discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Laws made to discriminate and oppression to deny rights.

There is also Religious Identity politics that caused discrimination against Catholics for not being the "right" religion, as well bigotry against Jewish people and Muslim people. And this dates back to colonial America when laws were enacted against certain religions and followers of certain religions not considered the "right" religion (attacks on Quakers). Yes, it's gotten better but the bigotry still exist. Yes, I'm aware of the alliance of right leaning Catholics with Evangelicals - doesn't change the fact that bigots still call Catholics "papists". Doesn't stop them from being one of the three groups the Klan targeted (along with Black people and Jews).

There is also Male Identity politics (patriarchy) with its sexism/misogyny - the discrimination against women. Laws were made to oppress women. So-called (sexist) standards and (sexist) norms and (sexist) laws that denied women their rights and full opportunities.

The oppressors made it ALL about their identity as straight, white, male and the right kind of Protestant and made that the normative way and called it traditional values.

But let people stand up to racism and bigotry and, suddenly, it's the victims of oppression that are said to be the ones who don't want to be just plain Americans.

Always leaving out the parts where the dominant culture created laws based on their identity politics to prevent everyone else from being a true citizen of America, with full opportunities and rights.

May 11, 2021


The whole "history won't be kind to them" meaningless/bullshit foreboding admonishment gets a raised eyebrow from me too. Like they give a fuck about what history has to say about them. Once a deed is done, all history can do is write about it. How it is written about can be manipulated. Facts can either be left out or so grossly distorted as to make them meaningless. They can be completely changed. Myths and lies can pass as history. Sure, the truth is out there. But so is a lot of garbage.

A society reaches an agreed upon narrative, however that agreement came about, and the truth doesn't matter one whit as long as enough people are willing to support/overlook or comply with the lie.

Just look at how the line between fact and opinion has been erased in certain quarters. Look at the media will say, "These are the facts" and in their next breath say "Now here is so-and-so to give their opposing opinion of the facts".

A fact is a fact regardless of anyone's opinion. An opinion is not the equal to a fact. The truth remains the truth no matter who walks around in angry disbelief.

Unless the lies win. Unless the lies are allowed to stand. Society can be shaped by lies. Entire nations can be built around a lie. By agreed upon (false) narratives.

Relying on history to correct any of that is ludicrous. Thinking history will sort all that out is madness.

Every right-wing Dinesh, Sean, and Karl writes what some claim to be history.

The Texas Board of Education changes history with a vote - and if falsehoods are taught as history then it will be the falsehoods that become the history - and their (Texas Board of Education) reach extends far outside of Texas when it comes to history textbooks - millions of children nationwide get the conservative agreed upon narrative of history and not the actual facts.

History won't treat them well? If they're writing it, it will.

Thank you, Tom Tomorrow.

May 5, 2021

A governing body legislating against the teaching of systemic racism and sexism

is an example of systemic racism and sexism.

Denial of systemic bigotry as an opinion is one thing - regardless of how uninformed, egregious, and just plain wrong said opinion is.

For legislative bodies to create laws to decree systemic bigotry a non-issue or untrue IS part and parcel to systemic bigotry.

It is the same systems that imposed - through laws - a structure of racism, sexism, homophobia, and laws favoring one religion over another (as in colonial times - and it did happen, look it up - and still exists with every single insistence that America is a Christian nation) that is now creating laws imposing denial of that same systemic bigotry as a legal standard.

This point is driven home by this current Arkansas law -

legislation to become law...to prohibit state agencies from teaching employees, contractors or others to believe “divisive concepts.”

Removing from state governmental agencies (in this case) the ability to train against racism and sexism because they can't talk about the systemic nature of both - within the system of government - a government - either federal, state, or local - that imposed those systemic restrictions to begin with.

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Current location: Back of Beyond
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 90,704

About Solly Mack

Busy observing the group dynamics of dust bunnies.

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