14.09.2017

06.09.2017

San Diego Defends Dreamers (this photo from the San Diego Union-Tribune came out better than my photos did)

Sd-pg-rally-for-daca-support-in-san-diego-20170905

Yes, I think we can call it the Anthropocene (reposted from the Guardian)

Microplastic contamination has been found in tap water in countries around the world, leading to calls from scientists for urgent research on the implications for health.

Scores of tap water samples from more than a dozen nations were analysed by scientists for an investigation by Orb Media, who shared the findings with the Guardian. Overall, 83% of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibres.

The US had the highest contamination rate, at 94%, with plastic fibres found in tap water sampled at sites including Congress buildings, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, and Trump Tower in New York. Lebanon and India had the next highest rates.

European nations including the UK, Germany and France had the lowest contamination rate, but this was still 72%. The average number of fibres found in each 500ml sample ranged from 4.8 in the US to 1.9 in Europe.

The new analyses indicate the ubiquitous extent of microplastic contamination in the global environment. Previous work has been largely focused on plastic pollution in the oceans, which suggests people are eating microplastics via contaminated seafood.

“We have enough data from looking at wildlife, and the impacts that it’s having on wildlife, to be concerned,” said Dr Sherri Mason, a microplastic expert at the State University of New York in Fredonia, who supervised the analyses for Orb. “If it’s impacting [wildlife], then how do we think that it’s not going to somehow impact us?”

A magnified image of clothing microfibres from washing machine effluent.
Pinterest
 A magnified image of clothing microfibres from washing machine effluent. One study found that a fleece jacket can shed as many as 250,000 fibres per wash. Photograph: Courtesy of Rozalia Project

A separate small study in the Republic of Ireland released in June also found microplastic contamination in a handful of tap water and well samples. “We don’t know what the [health] impact is and for that reason we should follow the precautionary principle and put enough effort into it now, immediately, so we can find out what the real risks are,” said Dr Anne Marie Mahon at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, who conducted the research.

Microplastics can attract bacteria found in sewage, Mahon said: “Some studies have shown there are more harmful pathogens on microplastics downstream of wastewater treatment plants.”

Microplastics are also known to contain and absorb toxic chemicals and research on wild animals shows they are released in the body. Prof Richard Thompson, at Plymouth University, UK, told Orb: “It became clear very early on that the plastic would release those chemicals and that actually, the conditions in the gut would facilitate really quite rapid release.” His research has shown microplastics are found in a third of fish caught in the UK.

The scale of global microplastic contamination is only starting to become clear, with studies in Germany finding fibres and fragments in all of the 24 beer brandsthey tested, as well as in honey and sugar. In Paris in 2015, researchers discovered microplastic falling from the air, which they estimated deposits three to 10 tonnes of fibres on the city each year, and that it was also present in the air in people’s homes.

This research led Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College London, to tell a UK parliamentary inquiry in 2016: “If we breathe them in they could potentially deliver chemicals to the lower parts of our lungs and maybe even across into our circulation.” Having seen the Orb data, Kelly told the Guardian that research is urgently needed to determine whether ingesting plastic particles is a health risk.

The new research tested 159 samples using a standard technique to eliminate contamination from other sources and was performed at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. The samples came from across the world, including from Uganda, Ecuador and Indonesia.

“We really think that the lakes [and other water bodies] can be contaminated by cumulative atmospheric inputs,” said Johnny Gasperi, at the University Paris-Est Créteil, who did the Paris studies. “What we observed in Paris tends to demonstrate that a huge amount of fibres are present in atmospheric fallout.”

Plastic fibres may also be flushed into water systems, with a recent study finding that each cycle of a washing machine could release 700,000 fibres into the environment. Rains could also sweep up microplastic pollution, which could explain why the household wells used in Indonesia were found to be contaminated.

In Beirut, Lebanon, the water supply comes from natural springs but 94% of the samples were contaminated. “This research only scratches the surface, but it seems to be a very itchy one,” said Hussam Hawwa, at the environmental consultancy Difaf, which collected samples for Orb.

This planktonic arrow worm, Sagitta setosa, has eaten a blue plastic fibre about 3mm long.
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 This planktonic arrow worm, Sagitta setosa, has eaten a blue plastic fibre about 3mm long. Plankton support the entire marine food chain. Photograph: Richard Kirby/Courtesy of Orb Media

Current standard water treatment systems do not filter out all of the microplastics, Mahon said: “There is nowhere really where you can say these are being trapped 100%. In terms of fibres, the diameter is 10 microns across and it would be very unusual to find that level of filtration in our drinking water systems.”

Bottled water may not provide a microplastic-free alternative to tapwater, as the they were also found in a few samples of commercial bottled water tested in the US for Orb.

Capitalism in action

Yahoo Finance is reporting that airline customers looking to get out of the path of Hurricane Irma have been met with dramatic fare spikes for air travel tickets:

On Monday evening, John Lyons, a 53-year-old father from West Hartford, Connecticut, purchased a one-way American Airlines ticket from Miami to Hartford for $159.20 for his daughter to get out of Hurricane Irma’s path as the storm churns through the Caribbean.

On Tuesday, he was shocked at the spike in airfare prices.

‘I logged in and expected to see $160, and frankly if I had seen $260 I wouldn’t have reacted. And I logged in and saw, $1,020, and I about had a heart attack,’ Lyons told Yahoo Finance in a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon.

Lyons, who describes himself as an “amateur meteorologist,” likes to post weather reports on West Hartford’s Facebook page. Although Hurricane Irma poses no direct threat to where he lives, he has been following the storm’s developments.

‘I’m seeing the direct hit on Florida. My daughter is down at the University of Miami, so I called her and said, ‘I’m going to bring you home. If worst comes to worst, we waste money, and you don’t come home, and this thing misses you, and everything is fine.’ I logged in last night and saw $159.20 to be exact. I said you know what; this ticket is so cheap, I’m just going to buy it.’

The next day, he went back to look for a ticket for his daughter’s roommate, who is also a close family friend’s daughter. Shocked at the price increase, he said he even made sure that he didn’t click first class by accident and he also verified that the flight had pretty much the same number of seats available compared to when he checked last night.

‘American Airlines had the audacity to raise the rate $800. I’m sorry. I posted it. You know, I’m angry. I think it’s horrible what they are doing. I just think it’s horrible. I’ll leave it at that.’

Airlines have countered that they have not changed the algorithms that determine their pricing, and that the surges are a simple matter of supply and demand with scores of people trying to book last minute flight out of the storm’s path.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Shame on you @delta. Jacking from $547 to over $3200 for people trying to evacute responsibly? 

22.08.2017

White Suffering

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Ramiro Gomez, Las Meninas, Bel Air, 2013 (Artwork © Ramiro Gomez, photo © David Feldman/Abrams)

05.08.2017

Posted for reasons that should be obvious 1

An Open Letter to My Sister, Miss Angela Davis

James Baldwin

[from the NY Review of Books, where it was printed 7 Jan 1971.]

 

November 19, 1970

Dear Sister:

One might have hoped that, by this hour, the very sight of chains on black flesh, or the very sight of chains, would be so intolerable a sight for the American people, and so unbearable a memory, that they would themselves spontaneously rise up and strike off the manacles. But, no, they appear to glory in their chains; now, more than ever, they appear to measure their safety in chains and corpses. And so, Newsweek, civilized defender of the indefensible, attempts to drown you in a sea of crocodile tears (“it remained to be seen what sort of personal liberation she had achieved”) and puts you on its cover, chained.

You look exceedingly alone—as alone, say, as the Jewish housewife in the boxcar headed for Dachau, or as any one of our ancestors, chained together in the name of Jesus, headed for a Christian land.

Well. Since we live in an age in which silence is not only criminal but suicidal, I have been making as much noise as I can, here in Europe, on radio and television—in fact, have just returned from a land, Germany, which was made notorious by a silent majority not so very long ago. I was asked to speak on the case of Miss Angela Davis, and did so. Very probably an exercise in futility, but one must let no opportunity slide.

I am something like twenty years older than you, of that generation, therefore, of which George Jackson ventures that “there are no healthy brothers—none at all.” I am in no way equipped to dispute this speculation (not, anyway, without descending into what, at the moment, would be irrelevant subtleties) for I know too well what he means. My own state of health is certainly precarious enough. In considering you, and Huey, and George and (especially) Jonathan Jackson, I began to apprehend what you may have had in mind when you spoke of the uses to which we could put the experience of the slave. What has happened, it seems to me, and to put it far too simply, is that a whole new generation of people have assessed and absorbed their history, and, in that tremendous action, have freed themselves of it and will never be victims again. This may seem an odd, indefensibly impertinent and insensitive thing to say to a sister in prison, battling for her life—for all our lives. Yet, I dare to say, for I think that you will perhaps not misunderstand me, and I do not say it, after all, from the position of a spectator.

I am trying to suggest that you—for example—do not appear to be your father’s daughter in the same way that I am my father’s son. At bottom, my father’s expectations and mine were the same, the expectations of his generation and mine were the same; and neither the immense difference in our ages nor the move from the South to the North could alter these expectations or make our lives more viable. For, in fact, to use the brutal parlance of that hour, the interior language of that despair, he was just a nigger—a nigger laborer preacher, and so was I. I jumped the track but that’s of no more importance here, in itself, than the fact that some poor Spaniards become rich bull fighters, or that some poor black boys become rich—boxers, for example. That’s rarely, if ever, afforded the people more than a great emotional catharsis, though I don’t mean to be condescending about that, either. But when Cassius Clay became Muhammed Ali and refused to put on that uniform (and sacrificed all that money!) a very different impact was made on the people and a very different kind of instruction had begun.

The American triumph—in which the American tragedy has always been implicit—was to make black people despise themselves. When I was little I despised myself, I did not know any better. And this meant, albeit unconsciously, or against my will, or in great pain, that I also despised my father. And my mother. And my brothers. And my sisters. Black people were killing each other every Saturday night out on Lenox Avenue, when I was growing up; and no one explained to them, or to me, that it was intended that they should; that they were penned where they were, like animals, in order that they should consider themselves no better than animals. Everything supported this sense of reality, nothing denied it: and so one was ready, when it came time to go to work, to be treated as a slave. So one was ready, when human terrors came, to bow before a white God and beg Jesus for salvation—this same white God who was unable to raise a finger to do so little as to help you pay your rent, unable to be awakened in time to help you save your child!

There is always, of course, more to any picture than can speedily be perceived and in all of this—groaning and moaning, watching, calculating, clowning, surviving, and outwitting, some tremendous strength was nevertheless being forged, which is part of our legacy today. But that particular aspect of our journey now begins to be behind us. The secret is out: we are men!

But the blunt, open articulation of this secret has frightened the nation to death. I wish I could say, “to life,” but that is much to demand of a disparate collection of displaced people still cowering in their wagon trains and singing “Onward Christian Soldiers.” The nation, if America is a nation, is not in the least prepared for this day. It is a day which the Americans never expected or desired to see, however piously they may declare their belief in “progress and democracy.” These words, now, on American lips, have become a kind of universal obscenity: for this most unhappy people, strong believers in arithmetic, never expected to be confronted with the algebra of their history.

One way of gauging a nation’s health, or of discerning what it really considers to be its interests—or to what extent it can be considered as a nation as distinguished from a coalition of special interests—is to examine those people it elects to represent or protect it. One glance at the American leaders (or figure-heads) conveys that America is on the edge of absolute chaos, and also suggests the future to which American interests, if not the bulk of the American people, appear willing to consign the blacks. (Indeed, one look at our past conveys that.) It is clear that for the bulk of our (nominal) countrymen, we are all expendable. And Messrs. Nixon, Agnew, Mitchell, and Hoover, to say nothing, of course, of the Kings’ Row basket case, the winning Ronnie Reagan, will not hesitate for an instant to carry out what they insist is the will of the people.

But what, in America, is the will of the people? And who, for the above-named, arethe people? The people, whoever they may be, know as much about the forces which have placed the above-named gentlemen in power as they do about the forces responsible for the slaughter in Vietnam. The will of the people, in America, has always been at the mercy of an ignorance not merely phenomenal, but sacred, and sacredly cultivated: the better to be used by a carnivorous economy which democratically slaughters and victimizes whites and blacks alike. But most white Americans do not dare admit this (though they suspect it) and this fact contains mortal danger for the blacks and tragedy for the nation.

Or, to put it another way, as long as white Americans take refuge in their whiteness—for so long as they are unable to walk out of this most monstrous of traps—they will allow millions of people to be slaughtered in their name, and will be manipulated into and surrender themselves to what they will think of—and justify—as a racial war. They will never, so long as their whiteness puts so sinister a distance between themselves and their own experience and the experience of others, feel themselves sufficiently human, sufficiently worthwhile, to become responsible for themselves, their leaders, their country, their children, or their fate. They will perish (as we once put it in our black church) in their sins—that is, in their delusions. And this is happening, needless to say, already, all around us.

Only a handful of the millions of people in this vast place are aware that the fate intended for you, Sister Angela, and for George Jackson, and for the numberless prisoners in our concentration camps—for that is what they are—is a fate which is about to engulf them, too. White lives, for the forces which rule in this country, are no more sacred than black ones, as many and many a student is discovering, as the white American corpses in Vietnam prove. If the American people are unable to contend with their elected leaders for the redemption of their own honor and the lives of their own children, we, the blacks, the most rejected of the Western children, can expect very little help at their hands: which, after all, is nothing new. What the Americans do not realize is that a war between brothers, in the same cities, on the same soil, is not a racial war but a civil war. But the American delusion is not only that their brothers all are white but that the whites are all their brothers.

So be it. We cannot awaken this sleeper, and God knows we have tried. We must do what we can do, and fortify and save each other—we are not drowning in an apathetic self-contempt, we do feel ourselves sufficiently worthwhile to contend even with inexorable forces in order to change our fate and the fate of our children and the condition of the world! We know that a man is not a thing and is not to be placed at the mercy of things. We know that air and water belong to all mankind and not merely to industrialists. We know that a baby does not come into the world merely to be the instrument of someone else’s profit. We know that democracy does not mean the coercion of all into a deadly—and, finally, wicked—mediocrity but the liberty for all to aspire to the best that is in him, or that has ever been.

We know that we, the blacks, and not only we, the blacks, have been, and are, the victims of a system whose only fuel is greed, whose only god is profit. We know that the fruits of this system have been ignorance, despair, and death, and we know that the system is doomed because the world can no longer afford it—if, indeed, it ever could have. And we know that, for the perpetuation of this system, we have all been mercilessly brutalized, and have been told nothing but lies, lies about ourselves and our kinsmen and our past, and about love, life, and death, so that both soul and body have been bound in hell.

The enormous revolution in black consciousness which has occurred in your generation, my dear sister, means the beginning or the end of America. Some of us, white and black, know how great a price has already been paid to bring into existence a new consciousness, a new people, an unprecedented nation. If we know, and do nothing, we are worse than the murderers hired in our name.

If we know, then we must fight for your life as though it were our own—which it is—and render impassable with our bodies the corridor to the gas chamber. For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.

Therefore: peace.

Brother James

29.07.2017

Think of Trump and those who support him when you read this: reposted from the New Inquiry

The American Model

What appears to be still difficult, even as it gets told in ever finer detail, is the simple and immense situation that America and Nazi Germany are two instantiations of a single history of white supremacist rule.

JACK GROSS

AMIDST a string of pat introductory reflections to his recent book, Hitler’s American Model, which tracks the influence of American race law on the drafting of the Nazi Nuremberg Laws, James Q. Whitman makes one that is revealing. The crimes of the Nazis, he writes, are the “nefandum,” a Latin word that denotes the unsayable, by which he means unfathomably evil. According to Whitman, the function of this unsayability is the maintenance of a “dark star”—his image, not mine—against which modern liberal democracies orient their own actions and histories. The point of Hitler’s American Model, then, is to bring the very often spoken horrors of the Holocaust—in this case the legal apparatus that enabled a genocidal state—into contact with the also unsayable, and surely less said, international influence of United States race laws.


James Q. Whitman, Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law. Princeton University Press, 2017. 224 Pages.

Comparisons of things that aren’t fascist dictators to fascist dictators are made as commonly as they are condemned. When it comes to comparing people to Hitler, there is a rule of internet discourse that strongly discourages it. In liberal media outlets, with pseudo-earnest concern—Is Trump like Hitler?—the comparison is both energizing and reassuring: energizing because it denotes the clear radicality of Nazi evil, comforting because of the implicit anticipation of the triumph of liberal norms. The impulse to make the Nazi comparison is so common in part because it is understood almost invariably to be hyperbolic. (No, or at least not yet, is the most frequent response.) What is less common are claims to the messier truth of continuity, which fail to offer the sharp and spectacular relief that separates the horrors of the Nazi regime from the more common pace and texture of devastation by state violence. On one side of the comparison is generational immiseration, imprisonment, exile and death tempered by civility; on the other, the right-angled arm-band and the death camp.

Whitman’s history of influence contributes to a growing body of work that demonstrates links between America and Nazi ideology: most commonly cited are the prominent role of Americans in the global eugenics movement and Hitler’s admiration for the slaughter of indigenous people central to westward expansion. Before the Nazis had gripped complete control of Germany, America was receiving world-historical praise from German historians. Albrecht Writh, for example, understood the founding of the United States to be a key achievement in “the struggle of the Aryans for world domination”; in a volume titled The Supremacy of the White Race, Wahrhold Drascher wrote that, if not for America, “a conscious unity of the white race would have never emerged.”

In Mein Kampf, Hitler extended this praise to his present, pointing with admiration to American naturalization and immigration laws. As he railed against the loose strictures delimiting German citizenship, the United States appealed to Hitler as a state with a “better conception” of membership restrictions. His commentary was made in the wake of the Immigration Act of 1924, which, along with its legislative precursors in the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and the 1917 Asiatic Barred Zone, introduced sweeping “national origins” restrictions on immigration, excluding people from large swathes of Asia and the Middle East wholesale while placing severe quota restrictions on not-yet-white southern Europe. Hitler—correctly, it would seem—read such laws as confirmation that American legislators were acting against the image of the state as a “melting pot”—eliminating, as he put it, the “Völker-porridge” theory of the state by expelling “foreign bodies.”

By 1933, praise had become doctrine. The Nazi Handbook for Law and Legislation, a guiding Party document for lawmakers, fused the misty-eyed conception of America as a white supremacist zenith with its study of contemporaneous immigration policy, and concluded that, from America’s “fundamental recognition” of its white racial identity, it was only “a matter of logical thinking” to arrive at the political ideology of National Socialism.

Citizenship, depending on the context, is either a dog whistle or a foghorn. Inspired by America’s explicitly race-based immigration policy and the category of “non-citizen nationals”—created to class the subjects of Puerto Rico and the Philippines, territories seized by the newly imperial US—the first of the two Nuremberg Laws explicitly fused race and citizenship. Because the law defined a citizen as one with German or related blood, it stripped Jews of the protections of citizenship, leaving them with a legal status that could be broadly illustrated with the words used by the Supreme Court to describe colonial subjects of the US: “foreign … in a domestic sense.” A year after the passing of the Nuremberg Laws, a Nazi scholar noted the similarities between America’s tri-tiered citizenship schema and the hierarchy suggested by Hitler in Mein Kampf: citizen, national, alien.

The initial aim of the Nazi’s racist legal order, Whitman reminds us, was not the extermination of the Jews—formally decided upon in 1944—but the “emigration of the Jews out of Germany.” The Nazis recognized the use of American immigration law as a tool of ethnic cleansing and demographic protectionism, one that could be mobilized alongside the use of propaganda, permissible street violence, and the degradation of legal status. In Party newsletters, Nazi writers identified this diversity of tactics as comparable to the range of measures—legal and otherwise—that had been taken throughout the US to immiserate Black people. In a report on de facto segregation in New York City, for example, Black people were portrayed as a demographic threat to white society. In line with the frequent use of nonwhite children as both synecdochal manifestations of this threat and the threat itself, the magazine featured an image of two young boys in Harlem, captioned “The Negroes are multiplying significantly… Their constantly growing numbers are a source of great concern to American statesmen.” Hitler, in Mein Kampf, wrote with worried irritation that “any Jewish child, or Polish child, or African child, or Asian child” might become a citizen of Germany through naturalization.

In the same article, the authors posed a question: “What is lynch justice, if not the natural resistance of the Volk to an alien race that is attempting to gain the upper hand?” Alongside the pogrom-like violence being carried out against Jews in the streets of Germany, Nazi legal scholars and propagandists alike understood lynchings in the American South as part of a shared commitment to defending racial purity—the existential threat to which was often articulated along the sexually maintained border of whiteness. The second of the Nuremberg Laws—the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor—thus bound citizenship to sex, outlawing marriage and intercourse between Jews and Germans.

For this, there was ample American precedent. Whitman reproduces a transcript from the June 1934 meeting of the Commission on Criminal Law Reform, which features a lengthy and eerily dry debate over the criminalization of interracial marriage. The meeting was split between a traditional conservative camp, who argued that it was legally inconsistent to impose criminal consequences on the civil institution of marriage, and more radical Nazis, who countered them with a detailed report on anti-miscegenation statutes across thirty American states. These laws, which variously imposed punitive sentences for marriage between Black and white people, Black and indigenous people, white and indigenous people, and so on, provided a model for criminalizing marriage that could not be found outside the US.

The debate between the two camps is revealing. Traditionalists argued that the vast array of American statutes couldn’t be introduced into the German legal system because the Americans had failed to develop “clear and unambiguous” definitions of the races they were targeting. (The debate over how to legally define a “Jew” was fraught; many Nazis found the American one-drop rule “too harsh” for their program.) But this conceptual messiness appealed to the more extreme Party members: the wide variety of rigorless definitions of racial categories struck Roland Freisler, who would go on to a murderous tenure as president of the Nazi People’s Court, as “targeting a kind of race image.” The political aims superseded any putative commitment to the “scientific” racism that is famously understood to be at the core of Nazi ideology. Freisler argued, counter intuitively, that American race law was “even more explicit” than the Nazis’: the absence of a programmatic campaign with clearly defined racial categories left the unstated political aims of the American legislation—the maintenance of white supremacy—explicit.

If evidence of Nazi adoption of American racism—in the form of eugenics and westward expansion—has already been accepted into the historical canon, what about this regime-to-regime legal interest is surprising? Whitman asks the question himself, noting that the admiring picture the Nazis paint of the US is not “unrecognizable.” The details are both shocking and already-known.

For example, I was surprised, but should not have been, at a passage in Whitman’s book that felt important but was presented as marginal. Colonial administrators in German South West Africa, Whitman explains, had, like the Nazis that followed them, conducted extensive research on anti-miscegenation statutes in the American South. In accordance with their findings, they criminalized interracial marriage in the colony in 1905, ten years before the end of the First World War and the economic conditions of possibility for Nazi rule. Evidence like this—of the repetition and refraction of strategies of white supremacist domination across time and continents—seems to be the central truth haunting the background of Whitman’s book. But even armed with the plain facts of the traveling use of anti-miscegenation statutes from New World to African colony to Nazi Germany, framing that continuity as inherent to the governance of colony, fascist state, and “free white men’s democracy” seems to feel or sound too broad for reluctant audiences—as worthy of dismissal as conspiracy theories. (In his conclusion, Whitman clarifies for the reader that he is not an “extremist” who would claim “the United States is the source of all evil in the world.” OK.)

Part of the muted force of Whitman’s book—with its sparse and committedly liberal editorializing—ends up being that he himself appears as an unwilling audience to his own research. Several times the reader finds him repeating variations of the sentiment that his chosen subject matter is “hard to digest,” or “a bit too awful to contemplate.” There is shame in these moments—and what sounds like an anticipation of the charge of an anti-Americanism that would make a balanced equation between the United States and the Third Reich.

Whitman’s defensiveness betrays an awkward nationalism that reads Nazi appreciation for America’s racism as somehow worsening that racism, making it more difficult to digest. As if only through the destabilization of the singular “dark star” of racist state violence can the extremity of American racism be understood with the appropriately indigestible weight. The presentation of continuity disrupts the direction of the Nazi comparison—it goes both ways. The situation suggests that the continuity between horrors is more important and more difficult to see than the discontinuity produced by comparison. What appears to be still difficult, even as it gets told in ever finer detail, is the simple and immense situation that the book demonstrates, that America and Nazi Germany are two instantiations of a history of white supremacist rule—a principle of domination that has been carried by opposing, sometimes warring, regimes. What Whitman does allow, with a brief coda on the criminal justice system, is that what is “too awful to contemplate” is that this history is not yet over. As a Nazi race theorist wrote in 1934, again in the context of praise for America’s stringent immigration laws: “The American [still] knows very well who made his land great.”

21.07.2017

This isn't new, but it's another reason to remember to continue to despise/hate Donald Trump and all those who work for him and to really wonder about [translation: try not to hate] all those who support him

How Trump signed a global death warrant for women by Sarah Bosely (reposted from the Guardian, 21 Jul 017)

1994

Six months ago, one powerful white man in the White House, watched by seven more, signed a piece of paper that will prevent millions of women around the world from deciding what they can and can’t do with their own bodies.

In that moment, on his very first Monday morning in office, Donald Trump effectively signed the death warrants of thousands of women. He reversed global progress on contraception, family planning, unsustainable population growth and reproductive rights. His executive order even has implications for the battle against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

Rarely can the presidential pen have been flourished to such devastating effect. The policy it reintroduced will shut health clinics in Uganda and HIV programmes in Mozambique; it will compel women from Nepal to Namibia to seek out deadly back-street abortions.

“It is an unprecedented attack on women’s rights – it goes much deeper than abortion,” said Ulla Müller, president and CEO of EngenderHealth, a leading advocacy organisation.

“Girls are kicked out of school if they get pregnant. They are very often forced to marry the fathers. Very often they have to live in their in-laws’ house, where they have to do unpaid labour. It is a violation of women’s rights. We need to see this as a gender issue and very much as a power issue.”

Tewedros Melesse, director general of the the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), which stands to lose as much as $100m, said the US move “seeks to restrict the rights of millions of women. It asks us as a health provider, to stop providing services which are entirely legal in countries through our members – where some of the most poorest women, depend on them.

“The human cost of the gag rule will have a long and fatal legacy.”

Like so many far-reaching American policies, Trump’s executive order is enshrouded in complexity to the point where it seems almost designed to confuse.

The order reinstated the Mexico City policy (so called because it was first signed at the International Conference of Population in Mexico City, in 1984). Under this policy, any NGO outside the US seeking American funding for family planning has to pledge it will not carry out abortions anywhere in the world, even with its own money. Such organisations must agree not to talk to women about a termination, nor lobby governments to liberalise their policy on abortion. 

US aid has never been used to fund abortion services (it is forbidden, by law). This is a ban on speaking about abortion – a restriction on free speech which the First Amendment does not permit within the US. For this reason, the rule became known as the global gag.

Trump’s version of the policy has massively expanded its reach. It is no longer just international family planning organisations that must agree not to “perform or actively promote abortion”. Every global health organisation that accepts US funding now has to sign the same clause. Anyone working to fight HIV, get vaccines or vitamins to children, or prevent Zika or malaria is facing a stark and unprecedented choice: sign, or lose all funding from the biggest aid donor in the world.

18.05.2017

RIP Chris Cornell


You wired me awake
And hit me with a hand of broken nails
You tied my lead and pulled my chain
To watch my blood begin t boil

But I'm gonna break I'm gonna break my
I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run

Yeah I'm gonna break I'm gonna break my
I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run

Too cold to start a fire
I'm burning diesel burning dinosaur bones
I'll take the river down to still water and ride a pack of dogs

But I'm gonna break I'm gonna break my
I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run

Hit like a Phillips head into my brain
It's gonna be too dark to sleep again
Cutting my teeth on bars and rusty chains
I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run

When the forest burns along the road
Like God's eyes in my headlights
When the dogs are looking for their bones
And it's raining ice picks on your steel shore

I'm gonna break I'm gonna break my
I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run

I'm gonna break I'm gonna break my
I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run

[NOTE: This is from last fucking nite:

 

For Sam, with love]

25.04.2017

CO2 over 410 for the first time in human history (reposted from Climate and Capitalism) (and don't ask me whether I think the activities outlined below will change anything - I completely understand the desire to do **something**)

As Trump stops climate action and Trudeau promotes tar sands, atmospheric carbon dioxide reaches highest levels in millions of years. 

Keeling-410

by Lauren McCauley

The amount of carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere is now officially off the charts as the planet last week breached the 410 parts per million (ppm) milestone for the first time in human history.

“It’s a new atmosphere that humanity will have to contend with, one that’s trapping more heat and causing the climate to change at a quickening rate,” wrote Climate Central’s Brian Kahn. “Carbon dioxide hasn’t reached that height in millions of years.”

The milestone was recorded Tuesday at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii by the Keeling Curve, a program of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego. Since the planet reached the dangerous new normal of 400 ppm last year, scientists have warned that the accelerated rate at which concentrations of CO2 are rising means that humanity is marching further and further past the symbolic red line towards climate chaos.

What’s more, the recording was taken before carbon levels are expected to reach their annual peak, meaning they could soon notch even higher.

But despite the unprecedented threat, climate action has ground to a halt in the United States under the leadership of President Donald Trump and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, forcing campaigners and concerned citizens to take to the streets in droves to prompt the government to do something to address the threat of planetary devastation.

Saturday’s March for Science saw tens of thousands of people rally in Washington, D.C. and across the world to send a message to the Trump administration that governance should be based on research and facts—not ideology.

Speaking at the march in San Diego, Ralph Keeling, director of the CO2 program at Scripps whose father founded the Keeling Curve, gave an impassioned speech on why legislators need to abandon the partisan effort to stymie environmental legislation, declaring: “The climate change debate has been over for decades.”

Now, infused by the energy of the March for Science, campaigners are gearing up for next weekend’s Peoples Climate March with a week of action that centers on creating a just transition away from fossil fuels.

“The Peoples Climate March is the next step for the March for Science, a call to get more engaged in our political system, to confront power, and to demand solutions,” explained May Boeve, executive director of 350.org.

“The demands we will put forward—respect for Indigenous peoples, investments in communities on the front lines of the climate crisis, transitioning from fossil fuels to 100 percent clean energy economy that works for all, and more,” Boeve continued, “highlight the intersections between our different struggles, and the common solutions we can work for together.”

Dubbed “From Truth to Justice: Earth Day to May Day 2017,” the more than 50 events in the lead-up to Saturday will include strategy sessions, a massive youth convergence, the introduction of a 100 percent Clean Energy Bill in Congress, and non-violent direct actions.

On Friday, activists will form “Mother Earth’s red line” on the Capitol lawn to symbolize the multiple lines that must not be crossed by corporations and governments in the increasingly severe climate crisis, organizers said.

“This is about strength in unity; diverse groups of people are coming together like never before and are creating a red line of protection against capitalism, militarism, and racism,” said Kandi Mossett, Indigenous energy and climate campaign organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, one of the group’s organizing the direct action. “We are here to push for solutions like Indigenous rights, divestment, and renewable energy as we continue to fight for a just transition away from a fossil fuel based economy.”