AuthorTopic: The Surlynewz Channel  (Read 511797 times)

Offline Eddie

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3210 on: May 24, 2018, 01:33:50 PM »
Came across this little bio of Preston Brooks, the guy who attacked the Abolitionist Charles Sumner and grievously injured him. Sort of reminds me of a antebellum southern version of Trump, in a way.

Preston Smith Brooks
Congressman
 
Confederate
DATE OF BIRTH - DEATH
August 5, 1819 – January 27, 1857

Among the most polarizing figures individuals in the decade before the American Civil War, Congressman Preston Smith Brooks took it upon himself to defend the slaveholding south through word and action. Brooks was born into a prominent family in Edgefield, South Carolina on August 5, 1819. He attended South Carolina College, where he impressed the faculty with his work but displayed a tendency for undisciplined behavior. After passing all his exams and awaiting graduation, Brooks heard a rumor that his brother had been mistreated by police. Preston rushed to the jail with brandished pistols and threatened the officers. Police calmed the incident, but university officials expelled Brooks. This tendency to react to perceived mistreatment and dishonor with physical violence characterized Brooks’s legacy. In 1840, Louis T. Wigfall engaged in a dispute with Preston’s elderly father, Whitfield Brooks. Preston challenged Wigfall to a duel on his father’s behalf and was wounded in the showdown. His injuries forced him to walk with a cane for the rest of his life.

Though he had not graduated college, Brooks nevertheless opened a law office and served as a representative to the South Carolina legislature in 1844. He also assumed the responsibilities of aide-de-camp to the governor. At the beginning of the Mexican War, Brooks organized an infantry company to join the Palmetto Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers and served as its captain. He returned home and sought to settle down and operate the large plantation he inherited. For half a decade he quietly thrived managing slave labor.

Brooks re-emerged in the political spotlight in 1853, after he was elected to represent South Carolina as a Democrat in the House of Representatives. Once in Congress, Brooks vehemently defended the southern right to own slaves and expand the institution into the territories. He supported the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which he claimed, “simply establishes the principle that the people, in their condition of Sovereign States, should be permitted to decide for themselves upon all matters affecting their internal government.” He listed slavery as the principal right he sought to protect and championed its existence in the same speech to the House of Representatives: “The institution of slavery, which is so fashionable now to decry, has been the greatest of blessing to this entire country.”

Abolitionists strongly opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and two years later they attributed the outbreak of violence in Kansas to the bill. Senator Charles Sumner produced the most scathing remarks in a speech he delivered to Congress for two days on May 19-20, 1856. Sumner specifically targeted South Carolina and its senator, Andrew P. Butler, who had co-authored the bill. Brooks fumed at Sumner’s castigation of both his home state and Butler, a distant relative. Two days later he viciously assaulted the Massachusetts senator, beating him his wooden cane. Brooks was arrested but only sentenced to a $300 fine. Enthusiastic supporters in his home district in South Carolina immediately provided the funds. A vote in the House to expel Brooks failed, but he nevertheless resigned voluntarily. This was a calculated move to demonstrate his support in the south, as his home district unanimously reelected him back to the vacated position.

Brooks enjoyed his newfound fame the rest of the year, receiving more invitations to events in his honor than he could attend. He would not, however, live to see the Civil War, the product of the violent sectionalism he encouraged. On January 27, 1857, he died of a sudden infection of croup that inflamed his throat. His body was returned to Edgefield, South Carolina, where a large gathering attended its burial. A eulogist of Brooks noted, “Perhaps no public man, in his day, attracted a larger share of attention… The object of the bitterest denunciation on the one side, and of the highest admiration on the other.”

What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3211 on: May 24, 2018, 01:33:57 PM »
Another interesting bit of Civil War trivia is that the first battle of the Civil War was not Ft. Sumter, but was a battle fought by Rip Ford in South Texas. Yep, really. So he literally fought the war from start to finish.

Called the 2nd Cortina War, it happened some two weeks prior to Ft. Sumter, when some Mexican nationals crossed the border into Zapata County, with the purpose of preventing Texas from joining the Confederacy. Needless to say, they didn't succeed (and Texas did secede.)

Although he was a secessionist, I do not believe Rip Ford was a racist. His actions don't indicate it anyway. When he forced the Union forces to surrender at Palmito Ranch, among the POW's were a number of negro soldiers.

"Some of the Sixty-Second Colored Regiment were also taken. They had been led to believe that if captured they would either be shot or returned to slavery. They were agreeably surprised when they were paroled and permitted to depart with the white prisoners. Several of the prisoners were from Austin and vicinity. They were assured they would be treated as prisoners of war. There was no disposition to visit upon them a mean spirit of revenge."-Colonel John Salmon Ford, May 1865.[3]

When Colonel Ford surrendered his command following the battle at Palmito Ranch he urged his men to honor their paroles. He insisted that "the negro had a right to vote." [3]


(from Wiki)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Salmon_Ford

Jesus, you ought to do a book of Unknown Civil War History. Like you need a hobby...
This is really interesting.
Never heard of the 2nd Cortina War, or for the first, for that matter. God only knows what is locked away in attics or libraries. And hell, this is from Wiki, in plain sight.

Those pictures were poignant, as well as the grave marker story.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3212 on: May 24, 2018, 01:38:30 PM »
Came across this little bio of Preston Brooks, the guy who attacked the Abolitionist Charles Sumner and grievously injured him. Sort of reminds me of a antebellum southern version of Trump, in a way.

Preston Smith Brooks
Congressman
 
Confederate
DATE OF BIRTH - DEATH
August 5, 1819 – January 27, 1857

Among the most polarizing figures individuals in the decade before the American Civil War, Congressman Preston Smith Brooks took it upon himself to defend the slaveholding south through word and action. Brooks was born into a prominent family in Edgefield, South Carolina on August 5, 1819. He attended South Carolina College, where he impressed the faculty with his work but displayed a tendency for undisciplined behavior. After passing all his exams and awaiting graduation, Brooks heard a rumor that his brother had been mistreated by police. Preston rushed to the jail with brandished pistols and threatened the officers. Police calmed the incident, but university officials expelled Brooks. This tendency to react to perceived mistreatment and dishonor with physical violence characterized Brooks’s legacy. In 1840, Louis T. Wigfall engaged in a dispute with Preston’s elderly father, Whitfield Brooks. Preston challenged Wigfall to a duel on his father’s behalf and was wounded in the showdown. His injuries forced him to walk with a cane for the rest of his life.

Though he had not graduated college, Brooks nevertheless opened a law office and served as a representative to the South Carolina legislature in 1844. He also assumed the responsibilities of aide-de-camp to the governor. At the beginning of the Mexican War, Brooks organized an infantry company to join the Palmetto Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers and served as its captain. He returned home and sought to settle down and operate the large plantation he inherited. For half a decade he quietly thrived managing slave labor.

Brooks re-emerged in the political spotlight in 1853, after he was elected to represent South Carolina as a Democrat in the House of Representatives. Once in Congress, Brooks vehemently defended the southern right to own slaves and expand the institution into the territories. He supported the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which he claimed, “simply establishes the principle that the people, in their condition of Sovereign States, should be permitted to decide for themselves upon all matters affecting their internal government.” He listed slavery as the principal right he sought to protect and championed its existence in the same speech to the House of Representatives: “The institution of slavery, which is so fashionable now to decry, has been the greatest of blessing to this entire country.”

Abolitionists strongly opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and two years later they attributed the outbreak of violence in Kansas to the bill. Senator Charles Sumner produced the most scathing remarks in a speech he delivered to Congress for two days on May 19-20, 1856. Sumner specifically targeted South Carolina and its senator, Andrew P. Butler, who had co-authored the bill. Brooks fumed at Sumner’s castigation of both his home state and Butler, a distant relative. Two days later he viciously assaulted the Massachusetts senator, beating him his wooden cane. Brooks was arrested but only sentenced to a $300 fine. Enthusiastic supporters in his home district in South Carolina immediately provided the funds. A vote in the House to expel Brooks failed, but he nevertheless resigned voluntarily. This was a calculated move to demonstrate his support in the south, as his home district unanimously reelected him back to the vacated position.

Brooks enjoyed his newfound fame the rest of the year, receiving more invitations to events in his honor than he could attend. He would not, however, live to see the Civil War, the product of the violent sectionalism he encouraged. On January 27, 1857, he died of a sudden infection of croup that inflamed his throat. His body was returned to Edgefield, South Carolina, where a large gathering attended its burial. A eulogist of Brooks noted, “Perhaps no public man, in his day, attracted a larger share of attention… The object of the bitterest denunciation on the one side, and of the highest admiration on the other.”

Nice.

Trump would n't have the courage to cane another man.

He'd have his chief of security do it.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Eddie

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3213 on: May 24, 2018, 02:14:52 PM »
Juan Cortina was sort of a predecessor to Pancho Villa. He was known as Robin Hood of the Rio Grande. Yes he was. Not makin' it up. His followers were (of course) the Cortinistas.

The US was successful in their Mexican War land grab, but guys like Cortina weren't necessarily persuaded to cease all hostilities. That part of Texas (and Mexico)  is really wild. It's the part where Larry McMurtry set Lonesome Dove (the town of Lonesome Dove, which is where the novel of that name begins.)

There's a great movie there for somebody to make. I can taste the alkali dust just thinking about it.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 02:18:53 PM by Eddie »
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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3214 on: May 24, 2018, 04:44:21 PM »
Juan Cortina was sort of a predecessor to Pancho Villa. He was known as Robin Hood of the Rio Grande. Yes he was. Not makin' it up. His followers were (of course) the Cortinistas.

The US was successful in their Mexican War land grab, but guys like Cortina weren't necessarily persuaded to cease all hostilities. That part of Texas (and Mexico)  is really wild. It's the part where Larry McMurtry set Lonesome Dove (the town of Lonesome Dove, which is where the novel of that name begins.)

There's a great movie there for somebody to make. I can taste the alkali dust just thinking about it.

I had a similar thought. Imagine a movie of the Ford story.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Barbara Ehrenreich’s radical critique of wellness and self-improvement
« Reply #3215 on: May 24, 2018, 05:21:20 PM »
Mind Control
Barbara Ehrenreich’s radical critique of wellness and self-improvement


 

 

Barbara Ehrenreich cuts an unusual figure in American culture. A prominent radical who never became a liberal, a celebrity, or a reactionary, who built a successful career around socialist-feminist writing and activism, she embodies an opportunity that was lost when the New Left went down to defeat. Since the mid-1970s she has devoted her work to an unsparing examination of what she viewed as the self-involvement of her professional, middle-class peers: from their narcissism and superiority in Fear of Falling and Nickel and Dimed to their misplaced faith in positive thinking in Bright-Sided. Again and again, she has offered a critique of the world they were making and leaving behind them. She is, in other words, both a boomer and the opposite.

At first glance, her new book, Natural Causes, is a polemic against wellness culture and the institutions that sustain it. What makes the argument unusual is its embrace of that great humbler, the end of life. “You can think of death bitterly or with resignation ... and take every possible measure to postpone it,” she offers at the beginning of the book. “Or, more realistically, you can think of life as an interruption of an eternity of personal nonexistence, and seize it as a brief opportunity to observe and interact with the living, ever-surprising world around us.” With a winning shrug, she declares herself “old enough to die” and have her obituary simply list “natural causes.”

Ehrenreich contemplates with some satisfaction not just the approach of her own death but also the passing of her generation. As the boomers have aged, denial of death, she argues, has moved to the center of American culture, and a vast industrial ecosystem has bloomed to capitalize on it. Across twelve chapters, Ehrenreich surveys the health care system, the culture of old age, the world of “mindfulness,” and the interior workings of the body itself, and finds a fixation on controlling the body, encouraged by cynical and self-interested professionals in the name of “wellness.” Without opposing reasonable, routine maintenance, Ehrenreich observes that the care of the self has become a coercive and exploitative obligation: a string of endless medical tests, drugs, wellness practices, and exercise fads that threaten to become the point of life rather than its sustenance. Someone, obviously, is profiting from all this.

While innumerable think pieces have impugned millennials’ culture of “self-care”—and argued that the generation born in the 1980s and ’90s is fragile, consumerist, and distracted—Ehrenreich redirects such criticisms toward an older crowd. Her book sets out to refute the idea that it’s possible to control the course and shape of one’s own biological or emotional life, and dissects the desire to do so. “Agency is not concentrated in humans or their gods or favorite animals,” she writes. “It is dispersed throughout the universe, right down to the smallest imaginable scale.” We are not, that is, in charge of ourselves.

Ehrenreich has long been willing to question professional givers of advice. Born in 1941, she had her formative political and intellectual experiences in the Women’s Health Movement of the 1970s, in which women sought to create their own knowledge about and control over their bodies. In these efforts, they encountered endless patronizing hostility from male professionals. Doctors discouraged the Lamaze method of childbirth, which focuses on breathing and relaxation techniques, and instead favored anesthesia during labor and delivery. They were outraged at the movement for cervical self-examinations and they warned of the dangers of unsterilized speculums. (Ehrenreich cites feminist writer Ellen Frankfort’s cutting retort: “Yes, of course, anything that enters the vagina should first be boiled for at least ten minutes.”)

 In her own telling, Ehrenreich became a self-conscious feminist when, pregnant with her first child, she asked about her dilation, and her doctor replied, “Where did a nice girl like this learn to talk like that?” Decades before Silvia Federici examined the politics of early modern witch hunts in her now widely beloved Caliban and the Witch, Ehrenreich published with Deirdre English Witches, Midwives, and Nurses—a work that traced the tradition of women’s healing knowledge and the history of endless attacks on it from men, culminating in the power of the modern medical establishment. The book was an unexpected hit, and the two followed up with For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts’ Advice to Women. So you can tell she gets some pleasure from saying no to doctors.

Natural Causes opens with her decision to reject a series of medical interventions. Ehrenreich is in her seventies and has survived breast cancer but, “in the last few years,” she writes, she has “given up on the many medical measures—cancer screenings, annual exams, Pap smears, for example—expected of a responsible person with health insurance.” She describes making this choice after a series of troubling experiences: First, her primary care doctor talked her into a bone scan, then diagnosed her with osteopenia—thinning of the bones—“a condition that might have been alarming if I hadn’t found out that it is shared by nearly all women over the age of thirty-five.” Bone scans, though, have been heavily promoted by the manufacturer of the osteopenia drug, which itself turns out to cause bone thinning. Next, she got a false positive on a mammogram and decided never to get another.

Even though she showed no signs of sleep apnea, her dentist wanted her to get a test for it, “after which I could buy the treatment from her: a terrifying skull-shaped mask that would supposedly prevent sleep apnea and definitely extinguish any last possibility of sexual activity.” The risk of sudden death in her sleep, she decides, is tolerable. She turns down colonoscopies, certain that she’ll die of something else before colon cancer kills her anyway. She fires her doctor after he suspends his ordinary practice and offers “concierge care” instead—pricey, constant access and a heightened testing regime.

Ehrenreich, who has a Ph.D. in cell biology, isn’t opposed to scientific medicine. But she is alert to the power dynamics that characterize a patient-doctor relationship and the ways those dynamics can influence patients’ decisions: Some will seek or accept treatments that won’t help with their condition, simply because so much power is invested in the doctor. Ehrenreich quotes at length from a 1956 article titled “Body Rituals of the Nacirema” (“American” backwards), which describes an American hospital through an ethnographer’s eye:

 

Few supplicants [patients] in the temple are well enough to do anything but lie on their hard beds. The daily ceremonies, like the rites of the holy-mouth-men [dentists], involve discomfort and torture. With ritual precision, the vestals awaken their miserable charges each dawn and roll them about on their beds of pain while performing ablutions, in the formal movements of which the maidens are highly trained. At other times they insert magic wands in the supplicant’s mouth or force him to eat substances which are supposed to be healing. From time to time the medicine men come to their clients and jab magically treated needles into their flesh.

Stripped of the authority of Western medicine, the treatments the article describes sound like cruel rituals. “The fact that these temple ceremonies may not cure, and may even kill the neophyte,” the article goes on, “in no way decreases the people’s faith in the medicine men.”

A bit wryly, Ehrenreich points out that she’s not the anti-empirical one in this debate. Doctors have been quite resistant to so-called “evidence-based medicine”—the disbursement of treatment according to quantitative evidence rather than medical discretion. And, accustomed to the present system, many patients now worry that anything less than constant testing and maximal intervention would leave them at risk: “An internist in Burlington, North Carolina, reports that when he told a 72-year-old patient that she did not need many of the tests she was expecting in her annual physical, she wrote a letter to the local paper about him as an example of ‘socialized medicine.’ ” Doctors and hospitals use these expectations to drive up demand and prices, and patients, afraid and intimidated, submit.


The way Americans assent to such treatments fits more broadly into a culture of arduous self-improvement regimens. Here, Ehrenreich speaks as an inveterate gym rat, a participant in the astonishing rise of the workout since the 1970s. She sees the ascent of exercise culture in part as a continuation of women’s reclamation of their bodies in the 1970s, and in part as an example of the retreat from public concerns and move toward individualism that many of her peers made around the same time. “I may not be able to do much about grievous injustice in the world, at least not by myself or in very short order, but I can decide to increase the weight on the leg press machine by twenty pounds and achieve that within a few weeks,” she writes. “The gym, which once looked so alien and forbidding to me, became one of the few sites where I could reliably exert control.” What was a consolation, however, quickly evolved into a prize. Working out became a status symbol, a form of conspicuous consumption for a professional middle class bereft of purpose; and it became a disciplinary device, part of a culture that inflicts “steep penalties for being overweight.”

Once associated with play, exercise is now closer to a form of labor: measured, timed, and financially incentivized by employers and insurers. Like any kind of alienated labor, it assumes and intensifies the division between mind and body—indeed, it involves a kind of violence by the mind against the body. Ehrenreich is tired of being told to “crush your workout,” of being urged to develop “explosive strength” through a “warrior” routine. She cites the copy from an advertisement for a home fitness machine: “A moment of silence please, for my body has no idea what I’m about to put it through.” Exercise, for some reason, has become a struggle to the death. As Oscar Pistorius—the amputee and Olympic runner convicted of murder in 2015—has tattooed on his back, “I beat my body and make it my slave / I bring it under my complete subjection.”

Judi Missett, the founder of Jazzercise, teaching a class in Los Angeles in 1988 Ann Summa/Getty

 

While workout culture requires the strict ordering of the body, mindfulness culture has emerged to subject the brain to similarly stringent routines. Mindfulness gurus often begin from the assumption that our mental capacities have been warped and attenuated by the distractions of our age. We need re-centering. Mindfulness teaches that it is possible through discipline and practice to gain a sense of tranquility and focus. Such spiritual discipline, often taking the form of a faux-Buddhist meditation program, can of course be managed through an app on your phone, or, with increasing frequency, might be offered by your employer. Google, for example, keeps on staff a “chief motivator,” who specializes in “fitness for the mind,” while Adobe’s “Project Breathe” program allocates 15 minutes per day for employees to “recharge their batteries.” This fantastical hybrid of exertion and mysticism promises that with enough effort , you too can bend your mind back into shape.

“Whichever prevails in the mind-body duality, the hope, the goal—the cherished assumption,” Ehrenreich summarizes, “is that by working together, the mind and the body can act as a perfectly self-regulating machine.” In this vision, the self is a clockwork mechanism, ideally adapted by natural selection to its circumstances and needing upkeep only in the form of juice cleanses, meditation, CrossFit, and so on. Monitor your data forever and hope to live forever. Like workout culture, wellness is a form of conspicuous consumption. It is only the wealthy who have the resources to maintain the illusion of an integral and bounded self, capable of responsible self-care and thus worthy of social status. The same logic says that those who smoke (read: poor), or don’t eat right (poor again), or don’t exercise enough (also poor) have personally failed and somehow deserve their health problems and low life expectancy.


Of course, the body cannot really be mastered this way. For Ehrenreich, in fact, the body is not even a single thing, but rather a continuous, contradictory process. Immunology—her academic specialty—hinges on an essentially military metaphor of distinction between self and nonself: The immune system protects the homeland by destroying invaders. What, then, are we to make of routine episodes of intrabody conflict? There are obvious cases, such as cancer and autoimmune disorders. But Ehrenreich points out that even something as ordinary as menstruation appears to be the product of the adaptive struggle over resources between mother and fetus, an “arms race ... between the human endometrium and the human embryo/placental combination.” The body, like the body politic pictured on the frontispiece of Hobbes’s Leviathan, only gives the appearance of unity: It’s made of a “collection of tiny selves.” And for that matter, there’s not really a king to impose order.

In the intriguing, somewhat curious later chapters of Natural Causes, Ehrenreich explores the agency of cells and other “tiny minds.” Macrophages—immune cells that destroy pathogens—also abet the spread of cancer and instigate potentially catastrophic inflammatory diseases. They may even, Ehrenreich suggests, be responsible for aging itself. They seem to decide to do this, as it were, on their own. The “immune self,” a shadow entity that lives within the human body, sometimes cooperates and sometimes pursues its own agenda.

From there, it’s agency all the way down. “From cells to molecules and from molecules to atoms and subatomic particles—the level of spontaneity only increases until we reach the wild dance party that goes on at the quantum level.” Ehrenreich is not asserting that macrophages or particles have consciousness, but that they can initiate action unpredictably. Human consciousness can partly grasp but cannot fully master this spontaneity. Indeed, consciousness itself—the unitary Cartesian mind—is a megalomaniacal fantasy, misbegotten by the rise of bourgeois society. “The process of thinking involves conflict and alliances between different patterns of neuronal activity. Some patterns synchronize with and reinforce each other. Others tend to cancel each other, and not all of them contribute to our survival.”

Ehrenreich offers a vision of a nonmechanistic physical and biological world, one we’ve lost track of in the modern effort to measure, manage, and exploit nature. Her account of its working can at times feel bleak. Ehrenreich knows this and teases the reader for registering it with a dust-to-dust litany. “The muscles that have been so carefully sculpted and toned stiffen when calcium from the dead body leaks into them ... the organs we nurtured with supplements and superfoods abandon their appointed functions. The brain we have tamed with mindfulness exercises goes awry within minutes after the heart stops beating.” Soon, your brain liquefies and “just pours out the ears and bubbles out the mouth.” So much for the sovereign mind.

But Ehrenreich’s universe hums with life and activity. It’s warm, not cold. She wants to join it in her final years, not leave it behind by cloistering herself in the clinic, the gym, or the spa. For the elderly today, “the price of survival is endless toil” to keep fit, along with incessant trips to the doctor and avoiding all good food, right up till death. She’s not interested. She still works out, though less intensely than before, and she stretches every day—some of it even “might qualify as yoga.” “Other than that, I pretty much eat what I want and indulge my vices, from butter to wine. Life is too short to forgo these pleasures, and would be far too long without them.”


Ehrenreich’s political agenda goes largely unstated in Natural Causes, but is nonetheless central to her argument. Since at least the mid-1970s, she has been engaged in a frustrated dialogue with her peers about how they choose to live. In her view, the New Left failed to grasp that its own professional-class origins, status anxieties, and cultural pretensions were the reason that it had not bridged the gap with the working class in the 1960s and 1970s. It was this gap that presented the New Right with its own political opportunity, leading to the ascent of Ronald Reagan and fueling decades of spiraling inequality, resurgent racism, and the backlash against feminism.

The inability of her contemporaries to see themselves with enough distance—either historical distance or from the vantage of elsewhere in the class system—is the subject of some of her best books: Fear of Falling, a study of middle-class insecurity, and Nickel and Dimed, her best-selling undercover report on the difficulties of low-wage employment. At some level, it’s what all her work has been about. In the final pages of Natural Causes, Ehrenreich stages a version of this lifelong dialogue with her peers. She tries to convince them, in the last act, to finally concede that the world does not revolve around them. They can, she proposes, depart without Sturm und Drang.

Two years ago, I sat in a shady backyard around a table of friends, all over sixty, when the conversation turned to the age-appropriate subject of death. Most of those present averred that they were not afraid of death, only of any suffering that might be involved in dying. I did my best to assure them that this could be minimized or eliminated by insisting on a nonmedical death, without the torment of heroic interventions to prolong life by a few hours or days.

It’s a final, existential version of the same argument she’s made forever: for members of her generation and class to see themselves with a touch more perspective.

Despite Ehrenreich’s efforts, this radical message hasn’t resonated among them as widely as she hoped. She has, meanwhile, worked on building institutions that may foster a different outlook in the years to come. In 2012, she founded the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, an impressive, foundation-backed venture to support journalists reporting on inequality. Ever alert to the threat of social inequality and the responsibility of middle-class radicals, she served until just last year as honorary co-chair of Democratic Socialists of America—that renewed organ of radicalism for the millennial precariat. She is not giving up. “It’s one thing,” she writes, “to die into a dead world and, metaphorically speaking, leave one’s bones to bleach on a desert lit only by a dying star. It is another thing to die into the actual world, which seethes with life, with agency other than our own, and at the very least, with endless possibility.”

It takes a special kind of courage to maintain such humility and optimism across a whole lifetime of losing an argument and documenting the consequences. Barbara Ehrenreich doesn’t meditate. She doesn’t believe in the integral self, coherent consciousness, or the mastery of spirit over matter. She thinks everything is dissolving and reforming, all the time. But she’s not in flux—quite the opposite. She’s never changed her mind, lost her way, or, as far as I can tell, even gotten worn out. There’s the tacit lesson of Natural Causes, conveyed by the author’s biography as much as the book’s content: To sustain political commitment and to manifest social solidarity—fundamentally humble and collective ways of being in the world—is the best self-care.

<

Gabriel Winant is writing a book on care work and the Rust Belt.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Parents, children ensnared in 'zero-tolerance' border prosecutions
« Reply #3216 on: May 25, 2018, 11:42:24 AM »
Apropos of Karpatok's earlier observation, this country is sinking to new lows every day. remember the question you asked as kids, "Where were to "good Germans?"

A weeping mother has been forced to wear a yellow insignia (bracelet) as she is ripped away from her children indefinitely. In the United States. By policy. I might have thought we were better than this.  But I would be wrong.

What should be most sobering is not that louts at the top can make toxic policy, so much as louts in the ranks can enforce it so enthusiastically. A nation of Lynndie Englands.

Parents, children ensnared in 'zero-tolerance' border prosecutions

Updated 
    1 hr ago

The 36-year-old from Guatemala was led out of the federal courtroom without an answer to the question that brought her to tears: When would she see her boys again?

Jacinto wore a yellow bracelet on her left wrist, which defense lawyers said identifies parents who are arrested with their children and prosecuted in Operation Streamline, a fast-track program for illegal border crossers.

 

Moments earlier, her public defender asked the magistrate judge when Jacinto would be reunited with her sons, ages 8 and 11. There was no clear answer for Jacinto, who was sentenced to time served on an illegal-entry charge after crossing the border with her sons near Lukeville on May 14.

Parents who cross the border illegally with their children may face criminal charges as federal prosecutors in Tucson follow through on a recent directive from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to prosecute all valid cases, said U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Cosme Lopez.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection started referring families caught crossing illegally for prosecution several weeks ago, Lopez said. Those prosecutions unfold both in Streamline cases and through individual prosecutions.

On Thursday, Efrain Chun Carlos, also from Guatemala, received more information than Jacinto when he asked Magistrate Judge Lynnette C. Kimmins about his child during Streamline proceedings.

“I only wanted to ask about the whereabouts of my child in this country,” Chun said.

Kimmins responded she didn’t know where his child was and suggested he ask officials at the facility where he will be detained.

Christopher Lewis, the federal prosecutor at the hearing, told Kimmins that children from countries that are not contiguous to the United States will be placed in foster care with the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

“When they will be reunited, I cannot say because that’s an immigration matter,” Lewis said.

A spokesman for CBP did not provide information about the process for parents and children apprehended by Border Patrol and those presenting themselves at ports of entry.

It is still unclear what happens to the children of parents who are prosecuted, said Laura St. John, legal director with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project based in Arizona. Technically, once the child is separated from the parent they are deemed an unaccompanied minor and their cases should be processed separately.

If parents are deported, they can ask that their children go with them or ask that the child be reunited with another sponsor in the U.S., which gives the child a chance to fight an immigration case on his/her own as an unaccompanied child, consulate officials and attorneys said. If the parent decides to fight the case and is released from ICE custody, they can request to be reunited outside detention.

DETERRENT EFFECT

Lopez said he did not know how many prosecutions of parents with children had occurred so far. The Arizona Daily Star found nine Streamline cases last week in which defendants asked the judge about their minor children.

The parents in those cases were arrested by Border Patrol agents near Lukeville between May 12 and May 15. Eight of them were from Guatemala and one was from El Salvador. Seven were men and two were women.

In an April 6 memorandum to federal prosecutors, Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy for first-time illegal border crossers. On May 7, he said the Department of Homeland Security was referring 100 percent of illegal crossers for criminal prosecution in federal court.

“If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you,” Sessions said. “It’s that simple.”

He included parents who come with their children in his directive.

“If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child may be separated from you as required by law,” he said.

Criminal prosecutions of parents illegally crossing with their children have unfolded in Texas for several months, as have separations of families through civil immigration measures along much of the U.S.-Mexico border, according to media reports.

Border Patrol statistics show fewer apprehensions of families in sectors in Texas so far in fiscal 2018, which began last October, compared with the same period in fiscal 2017. Meanwhile, those apprehensions rose 103 percent in the Yuma Sector and 69 percent in the Tucson Sector.

In an interview with National Public Radio, White House Chief of Staff John Kellly said family separation could be a tough deterrent, “a much faster turnaround on asylum seekers.”

The children would be “put into foster care or whatever,” Kelly said in response to criticism that taking a mother from her child is cruel and heartless.

Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector apprehended 2,500 people crossing the border as families from October to the end of April, CBP records show. In the Yuma Sector, agents apprehended nearly 8,000. The borderwide total is nearly 50,000, down from 59,500 during the same period in fiscal 2017.

At Arizona’s ports of entry, about 5,500 people traveling as families were deemed inadmissible from October to April. The borderwide total was 30,000, up from about 21,000 during the same period in fiscal 2017.

CASA ALITAS HELPS SOME

The number of Salvadorans arriving at the border has increased about 40 percent compared to last year, said German Alvarez Oviedo, the consul in Tucson. He estimated the total is still in the dozens but didn’t have final numbers yet.

“There’s no policy of family separation as such,” he said, “but by declaring a zero-tolerance policy and prosecuting everyone who comes in, it results in family separation.”

If the parent gets sentenced to time served, which is common for first-time entrants, officials should consider keeping young children with their parents, he said.

 

“It’s not the same to be under the care of the mother than a shelter, especially when the child is 2,” Alvarez Oviedo said.

The government has struggled to handle the increase of families coming across the border — at ports of entry and between the ports — since the numbers first started to rise in 2014.

Initially, officials allowed parents with children to enter the country under humanitarian parole. They were dropped off at a bus station in Tucson with an appointment to meet with ICE at their final destination within two weeks.

Later, officials started to release them, but with an ankle bracelet to limit what critics called a catch-and-release policy, since not all parents kept their appointments. The government also increased detention space for families.

This past week, more than 100 parents and children — many of them Guatemalans — lined up at the port of entry in downtown Nogales to be processed for entry into the United States, some waiting more than a day.

In general, the parents waiting to cross at the port who have no prior immigration history are processed and released with their children in Tucson with an ankle monitor and an appointment to meet with immigration officials. In at least one case, the families said, a man with prior immigration violations was separated from his son to be prosecuted.

Some of the families the Star spoke with Monday on the Mexican side of the port of entry went to Casa Alitas, a house in Tucson opened by Catholic Community Services to avoid having families spend the night at bus stations. Families can bathe, get clean clothes and eat a warm meal while their relatives buy their bus or plane tickets.

In a written statement, ICE officials said the agency prioritizes placing families in residential centers. But if they are operating at capacity, “We can also look for temporary hotel space or consider alternatives to detention, such as supervised paroles or use of ankle placement for monitoring.”

The families said customs officials at the Nogales port of entry didn’t ask them many questions, besides their reasons for coming to the United States.

Extortion, domestic violence and extreme poverty were all reasons they were seeking a better future in the United States, they told the Star.

The lack of rain also was hurting their ability to survive. For coffee farmers, their fields weren’t producing enough and their crops were more susceptible to plagues they had no money to treat.

Katherine Smith, site and volunteer coordinator at Casa Alitas, said few families came last fall. Then it started to pick up around Christmas, with ICE trying to find placement for 100 people in one day.

It had slowed again until recently, when ICE started to ask Casa Alitas daily if it could take 40 to 60 parents and children the agency was releasing, Smith said.

Smith doesn’t know the reason for the increase, other than the normal rise in Southern Arizona right before the triple-digit heat of summer.

As of May 7, the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project had served 135 families separated by immigration authorities this year. At this rate, the group said, family separations are on pace to increase 75 percent from recent years.

Given recent announcements by federal officials, they believe the numbers will continue to rise, although it doesn’t mean that all of them were prosecuted, the group said.

“A number of these families appear to have a real fear of returning to their country of origin,” said St. John, the Florence Project’s legal director. “Fleeing or leaving a child behind to avoid being separated by the U.S. government is not a choice any parent should have to make.”


* * *

Comments and observations:
Let me get this straight: ICE separates children from their parents, then loses track of 1500 of them, who might be used in human trafficking, makes immigrants wear yellow bracelets, and shoots women in the head. Does any of this ring a bell? https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/26/us/politics/migrant-children-missing.html … #gestapo #ICE

Pope wears refugee ID bracelet in appeal for help for migrants
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope-visit-bologna/pope-wears-refugee-id-bracelet-in-appeal-for-help-for-migrants-idUSKCN1C61AR




"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: Parents, children ensnared in 'zero-tolerance' border prosecutions
« Reply #3217 on: May 25, 2018, 11:57:05 AM »
Apropos of Karpatok's earlier observation, this country is sinking to new lows every day. remember the question you asked as kids, "Where were to "good Germans?"

A weeping mother has been forced to wear a yellow insignia (bracelet) as she is ripped away from her children indefinitely. In the United States. By policy. I might have thought we were better than this.  But I would be wrong.

What should be most sobering is not that louts at the top can make toxic policy, so much as louts in the ranks can enforce it so enthusiastically. A nation of Lynndie Englands.

Parents, children ensnared in 'zero-tolerance' border prosecutions

The 36-year-old from Guatemala was led out of the federal courtroom without an answer to the question that brought her to tears: When would she see her boys again?

Jacinto wore a yellow bracelet on her left wrist, which defense lawyers said identifies parents who are arrested with their children and prosecuted in Operation Streamline, a fast-track program for illegal border crossers.

Moments earlier, her public defender asked the magistrate judge when Jacinto would be reunited with her sons, ages 8 and 11. There was no clear answer for Jacinto, who was sentenced to time served on an illegal-entry charge after crossing the border with her sons near Lukeville on May 14.

Parents who cross the border illegally with their children may face criminal charges as federal prosecutors in Tucson follow through on a recent directive from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to prosecute all valid cases, said U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Cosme Lopez.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection started referring families caught crossing illegally for prosecution several weeks ago, Lopez said. Those prosecutions unfold both in Streamline cases and through individual prosecutions.

On Thursday, Efrain Chun Carlos, also from Guatemala, received more information than Jacinto when he asked Magistrate Judge Lynnette C. Kimmins about his child during Streamline proceedings.

“I only wanted to ask about the whereabouts of my child in this country,” Chun said.

Kimmins responded she didn’t know where his child was and suggested he ask officials at the facility where he will be detained.

Christopher Lewis, the federal prosecutor at the hearing, told Kimmins that children from countries that are not contiguous to the United States will be placed in foster care with the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

“When they will be reunited, I cannot say because that’s an immigration matter,” Lewis said.

A spokesman for CBP did not provide information about the process for parents and children apprehended by Border Patrol and those presenting themselves at ports of entry.

It is still unclear what happens to the children of parents who are prosecuted, said Laura St. John, legal director with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project based in Arizona. Technically, once the child is separated from the parent they are deemed an unaccompanied minor and their cases should be processed separately.

If parents are deported, they can ask that their children go with them or ask that the child be reunited with another sponsor in the U.S., which gives the child a chance to fight an immigration case on his/her own as an unaccompanied child, consulate officials and attorneys said. If the parent decides to fight the case and is released from ICE custody, they can request to be reunited outside detention.

DETERRENT EFFECT

Lopez said he did not know how many prosecutions of parents with children had occurred so far. The Arizona Daily Star found nine Streamline cases last week in which defendants asked the judge about their minor children.

The parents in those cases were arrested by Border Patrol agents near Lukeville between May 12 and May 15. Eight of them were from Guatemala and one was from El Salvador. Seven were men and two were women.

In an April 6 memorandum to federal prosecutors, Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy for first-time illegal border crossers. On May 7, he said the Department of Homeland Security was referring 100 percent of illegal crossers for criminal prosecution in federal court.

“If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you,” Sessions said. “It’s that simple.”

He included parents who come with their children in his directive.

“If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child may be separated from you as required by law,” he said.

Criminal prosecutions of parents illegally crossing with their children have unfolded in Texas for several months, as have separations of families through civil immigration measures along much of the U.S.-Mexico border, according to media reports.

Border Patrol statistics show fewer apprehensions of families in sectors in Texas so far in fiscal 2018, which began last October, compared with the same period in fiscal 2017. Meanwhile, those apprehensions rose 103 percent in the Yuma Sector and 69 percent in the Tucson Sector.

In an interview with National Public Radio, White House Chief of Staff John Kellly said family separation could be a tough deterrent, “a much faster turnaround on asylum seekers.”

The children would be “put into foster care or whatever,” Kelly said in response to criticism that taking a mother from her child is cruel and heartless.

Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector apprehended 2,500 people crossing the border as families from October to the end of April, CBP records show. In the Yuma Sector, agents apprehended nearly 8,000. The borderwide total is nearly 50,000, down from 59,500 during the same period in fiscal 2017.

At Arizona’s ports of entry, about 5,500 people traveling as families were deemed inadmissible from October to April. The borderwide total was 30,000, up from about 21,000 during the same period in fiscal 2017.

CASA ALITAS HELPS SOME

The number of Salvadorans arriving at the border has increased about 40 percent compared to last year, said German Alvarez Oviedo, the consul in Tucson. He estimated the total is still in the dozens but didn’t have final numbers yet.

“There’s no policy of family separation as such,” he said, “but by declaring a zero-tolerance policy and prosecuting everyone who comes in, it results in family separation.”

If the parent gets sentenced to time served, which is common for first-time entrants, officials should consider keeping young children with their parents, he said.

“It’s not the same to be under the care of the mother than a shelter, especially when the child is 2,” Alvarez Oviedo said.

The government has struggled to handle the increase of families coming across the border — at ports of entry and between the ports — since the numbers first started to rise in 2014.

Initially, officials allowed parents with children to enter the country under humanitarian parole. They were dropped off at a bus station in Tucson with an appointment to meet with ICE at their final destination within two weeks.

Later, officials started to release them, but with an ankle bracelet to limit what critics called a catch-and-release policy, since not all parents kept their appointments. The government also increased detention space for families.

This past week, more than 100 parents and children — many of them Guatemalans — lined up at the port of entry in downtown Nogales to be processed for entry into the United States, some waiting more than a day.

In general, the parents waiting to cross at the port who have no prior immigration history are processed and released with their children in Tucson with an ankle monitor and an appointment to meet with immigration officials. In at least one case, the families said, a man with prior immigration violations was separated from his son to be prosecuted.

Some of the families the Star spoke with Monday on the Mexican side of the port of entry went to Casa Alitas, a house in Tucson opened by Catholic Community Services to avoid having families spend the night at bus stations. Families can bathe, get clean clothes and eat a warm meal while their relatives buy their bus or plane tickets.

In a written statement, ICE officials said the agency prioritizes placing families in residential centers. But if they are operating at capacity, “We can also look for temporary hotel space or consider alternatives to detention, such as supervised paroles or use of ankle placement for monitoring.”

The families said customs officials at the Nogales port of entry didn’t ask them many questions, besides their reasons for coming to the United States.

Extortion, domestic violence and extreme poverty were all reasons they were seeking a better future in the United States, they told the Star.

The lack of rain also was hurting their ability to survive. For coffee farmers, their fields weren’t producing enough and their crops were more susceptible to plagues they had no money to treat.

Katherine Smith, site and volunteer coordinator at Casa Alitas, said few families came last fall. Then it started to pick up around Christmas, with ICE trying to find placement for 100 people in one day.

It had slowed again until recently, when ICE started to ask Casa Alitas daily if it could take 40 to 60 parents and children the agency was releasing, Smith said.

Smith doesn’t know the reason for the increase, other than the normal rise in Southern Arizona right before the triple-digit heat of summer.

As of May 7, the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project had served 135 families separated by immigration authorities this year. At this rate, the group said, family separations are on pace to increase 75 percent from recent years.

Given recent announcements by federal officials, they believe the numbers will continue to rise, although it doesn’t mean that all of them were prosecuted, the group said.

“A number of these families appear to have a real fear of returning to their country of origin,” said St. John, the Florence Project’s legal director. “Fleeing or leaving a child behind to avoid being separated by the U.S. government is not a choice any parent should have to make.”


* * *

Comments and observations:
Let me get this straight: ICE separates children from their parents, then loses track of 1500 of them, who might be used in human trafficking, makes immigrants wear yellow bracelets, and shoots women in the head. Does any of this ring a bell? https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/26/us/politics/migrant-children-missing.html … #gestapo #ICE

Pope wears refugee ID bracelet in appeal for help for migrants
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope-visit-bologna/pope-wears-refugee-id-bracelet-in-appeal-for-help-for-migrants-idUSKCN1C61AR




My understanding is that this is intended specifically to be a deterrent. Seems a little over-the-top to me. As a parent I understand why someone would want to get their kids out of Guatemala or el Salvador. They are afraid they'll never make it to adulthood. Compared to your kid dying a violent death, foster care might still be preferable, no matter how hard it is on the family.

I wouldn't want my own kids to go into the foster child system here, which is a hit-or-miss deal. Some good, some very bad. I deal with kids in foster care all the time. We have some great foster parents, and some who just try to make a living warehousing other people's neglected kids.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

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New Yorkers Gave Rudy Giuliani the Reception He Deserves at a Yankee Game
« Reply #3218 on: May 29, 2018, 10:20:38 AM »
New Yorkers Gave Rudy Giuliani the Reception He Deserves at a Yankee Game This Weekend

Raucous boos rained down from the stands at the very mention of the former mayor's name.

Getty Images

New York has contributed its fair share of the various grifters, blowhards, and scoundrels who are now afflicting the national government. That includes the president, Donald Trump, whose hometown tried to warn the rest of the country about him by shoveling 79 percent of its vote towards Hillary Clinton. After all, to many locals, Trump was not the swashbuckling Artful Dealer of The Apprentice, but a skeevy, largely failed real estate and casino developer who had ripped off his lenders and subcontractors and humiliated the mother of his children by personally leaking details of his affairs to The New York Post.

But Trump is not alone—the same town has also given the country Rudy Giuliani. As it happens, New York is a city that keeps the receipts. Giuilani had his critics even before he launched himself into the hulking abyss of Trumpism, but the demands of his new gig as Donald Trump's TV Lawyer Who Just Says Things have dragged him very deep down indeed.

The artist formerly known as America's Mayor ventured to Yankee Stadium this Memorial Day weekend to celebrate his birthday. When the stadium announcer shouted him out, the 50,000 New Yorkers in attendance had a clear response.

 

 
Muck Savage@the_irishpsycho
 
 

@Yankees fans boo @RudyGiuliani on his birthday

 

Of course, this warm reception for the former mayor didn't come out of nowhere. Giuliani has repeatedly embarrassed himself and brought shame to the city he once helmed since taking his place on Trump's legal team for the Russia probe.

He shocked even Sean Hannity by joining his Fox News show to promptly declare Trump repaid Michael Cohen for the $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels—a direct admission that the president lied when he said he knew nothing about it. He melted down on CNN when shown a clip where he completely reversed himself on whether a president must comply with a subpoena to testify. And he has repeatedly and egregiously undermined the rule of law through attacks on the Justice Department that add up to little more than blatant propaganda.

Giuliani speaks at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Getty Images

Of course, the disgrace began well before Trump snatched Electoral College victory from the jaws of popular vote defeat in 2016. In March of that year, Giuliani suggested on Fox News that Hillary Clinton "could be a founding member of ISIS." The same month, he appeared to blame President Obama for the terror attacks in Brussels. He offered a deranged speech at the Republican National Convention, howling at the crowd about Benghazi and the prospect of the U.S. accepting Syrian refugees. "They're going to come here and kill us," he said. "We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past."

And of course, Giuliani was one of the few Trumpists willing to publicly defend the Republican nominee's talk in the Mobile Locker Room. Giuliani suggested that "he who hasn't sinned, throw the first stone here." Is it his contention that most people brag about grabbing women "by the pussy" without their consent? Do we all lack the moral standing to judge Trump for his disgusting misogyny? Or is Giuliani just willing to say anything to once again feel the adoration of the crowd—no matter what crowd that is?

Getty Images

The saddest part of Giuliani's self-debasement is that, while he had his detractors, his record once had features many New Yorkers could be proud of. As Jelani Cobb detailed in The New Yorker, Giuliani was staunchly pro-police—even in instances of blatant misconduct—but he also defended Muslim and Arab Americans who came under attack in the aftermath of 9/11. He backed gun control and gay rights, and he even offered a defense of undocumented immigrants:

“The anti-immigration issue that’s now sweeping the country in my view is no different than the movements that swept the country in the past ... You look back at the Chinese Exclusionary Act, or the Know-Nothing movement—these were movements that encouraged Americans to fear foreigners, to fear something that is different, and to stop immigration.”

The raucous boos you heard for Giuliani this weekend were a reflection not merely of his support for this president. There were also a testament to the disastrous moral failure that is the legacy of Rudy Giuliani's once promising public life. He was a former prosecutor who too often sided with police, sure. He was criticized for his crackdowns on the homeless. But he was a genuine leader in the wake of an apocalyptic tragedy for the city and the country of his birth.

And more than that, this child of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, once demonstrated a real appreciation for the story of the city of New York, the beating heart of a nation continually striving to live up to its own founding principles, and a place for anyone from anywhere in the world willing to work hard and adopt the values of this nation to come and test themselves in the great, churning cauldron of America. Now he is a modern-day Know-Nothing, working in service of a genuine monster of American history because, to Rudy Giuliani, there is no fate worse than irrelevance.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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After Charlottesville: how a slew of lawsuits pin down the far right
« Reply #3219 on: May 30, 2018, 03:50:25 AM »
After Charlottesville: how a slew of lawsuits pin down the far right

Far-right leaders are ‘under attack’ as lawsuits are filed over the death of Heather Heyer, Sandy Hook conspiracies and more

David Smith

in Charlottesville, Virginia

 

The Robert E Lee statue at the site of last year’s violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Robert E Lee statue at the site of last year’s violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

On a searingly hot day beneath a Confederate statue surrounded by six “no trespassing” signs, Susan Bro talks to a Swedish TV crew. Then she makes a short walk to a street named after her daughter.

“I think she was killed right around where those people are talking,” she says, pointing to a spot beside a redbrick wall on which fresh tributes are regularly chalked.

Heather Heyer, who would have celebrated her 33rd birthday on Tuesday, was mowed down by a car last summer while protesting against neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. Last week, at a courthouse a short distance away, lawyers sought to persuade a federal judge that organisers of the far-right rally should be held accountable.

The case, which could leave prominent white nationalists such as Richard Spencer facing ruin, exemplifies a broader legal offensive aimed at throwing sand into the gears of the “alt-right” movement. Nine months after the show of strength in Charlottesville, there are signs that the effort is working as hate groups haemorrhage cash, are banished from social media platforms and turn on each other in vicious turf wars.

“The legal strategy is to send them into disarray, send them scrambling and hold each one of them to account,” said David Dinielli, the deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), noting a groundswell among lawyers, victims and advocacy groups. “The bottom line is all of these traditional legal theories are tools to make people answer for their conduct, bring them out of the shadows, expose them for what they are and ultimately show they have less power than they think.”

The election of Donald Trump in November 2016 was seen as a catalyst for the empowerment of white nationalism. Days later, a few blocks from the White House, an exultant Spencer shouted “Hail Trump!” and led supporters in Nazi salutes. Steve Bannon, who previously boasted his Breitbart News website was “the platform for the alt-right”, was installed as White House chief strategist. Hardliner Stephen Miller also took a senior role.

White nationalists and white supremacists carrying torches march through the University of Virginia campus last August.
White nationalists and white supremacists carrying torches march through the University of Virginia campus last August. Photograph: The Washington Post/Getty Images
Then, last August, came Charlottesville. Hundreds of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members marched with tiki torches, chanted “Jews will not replace us!” and “Blood and soil!” and surrounded a group of students on a university campus. A day later, wielding shields, clubs and guns as well as swastikas and Confederate flags, they claimed to be protesting over the planned toppling of a 1924 statue of the Confederate general Robert E Lee. Violence erupted and a man drove his car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators, killing Heyer and injuring 19 others.

Donald Trump insisted there were “some very fine people on both sides”.

‘I’m under attack’

Now a civil lawsuit accuses 25 individuals and groups of conspiring to plan, promote and carry out violence in Charlottesville in violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. Last Thursday in the city, a judge heard arguments brought by 19 of them seeking to have the case dismissed, contending they never intended for the protest to spiral out of control and were merely exercising their first amendment right to free expression.

The action was brought by 10 Virginia residents who say they suffered severe physical and emotional injuries; funded by a new nonprofit group, Integrity First for America; and defended by Roberta Kaplan, a renowned lawyer who successfully argued a 2013 case before the supreme court that ultimately led to the legalisation of same-sex marriage. She was supported by Karen Dunn,a veteran of debate prep with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who is now at leading law firm Boies Schiller Flexner.

The three-hour hearing in a modern, airy courtroom featured podcaster Michael Peinovich, a burly white nationalist with cropped hair and closely trimmed beard, nervously shifting from one foot to the other as he spoke on his own behalf. Recalling a speech he gave expressing love for America, Europe and white people, Peinovich added as an aside: “Some people might find that offensive; I don’t know why.” A black US marshal, sitting nearby, remained expressionless.

Spencer was also expected to appear but instead drafted a lawyer at the last minute. He had previously released a video message in which he sought to portray himself as a victim of “lawfare”, stating: “I’m under attack. And I need your help. Some of the biggest, baddest law firms in the country are suing me ... We shouldn’t underestimate the challenge of this lawsuit and future ones like it. This is warfare by legal means, designed to be debilitating and consuming, regardless of the facts and regardless of the ultimate judgement.”

Pleading for donations to cover his legal costs, Spencer added: “Lawfare like this will not stop with Charlottesville. Our adversaries don’t just want to stop large public rallies; they will likely ultimately go after any expression of white identity, or really any expression that challenges hegemonic discourse.”

The far right has been caught in legal entanglements that sap time and threaten bankruptcy before. Perhaps the benchmark case was in 2000 when a jury awarded $6.3m to Victoria Keenan and her son, after they were attacked by guards outside the Idaho headquarters of the white supremacist group Aryan Nations. The judgment forced its leader Richard Butler to turn over the 20-acre compound to the Keenans, who in turn sold it to a philanthropist who later donated it to a local college.

Two decades on, with hate groups thriving online and disinhibited by Trump, their opponents are turning to the courts in part because they lack faith in the current justice department. Shock jock Alex Jones and his website Infowars, Jim Hoft of the site Gateway Pundit, and five others are being sued by Brennan Gilmore, a counter-protester in Charlottesville who quickly became the subject of conspiracy theories falsely claiming he was a CIA or “deep state” agent who helped coordinate the violence as part of a government operation.

Jones has also been hit by three defamation lawsuits from the families of eight victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, over his incredible claim that the massacre was an elaborate hoax orchestrated by gun control supporters. The SPLC, meanwhile, is backing a lawsuit against Andrew Anglin, founder of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website, for orchestrating an antisemitic harassment campaign to terrorise a Jewish woman and her family.

A demonstrator is seen holding a sign at a rally held in New York.
A demonstrator is seen holding a sign at a rally held in New York. Photograph: ddp USA/REX/Shutterstock
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Such figures have discovered there is a price to pay for courting publicity in the Trump era. Dan Cassino, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, said: “This is the downside of being an alt-right celebrity. Once you start writing books and getting speaking fees, you have attention and people can come after you. If you’re going to be a public Nazi, you’re going to have to face the consequences. These groups are operating as if they’re still in the shadows and they’re not.”

The offensive in the courts has benefits and risks, Cassino said. “It makes it easy to drain the resources of the biggest alt-right groups and celebrities and makes it difficult for them to do their jobs, ties them up for years and makes their lives miserable.

“But it also fragments their base: they will go back to 50 such groups and, the more groups you have, the harder it is to keep track of who’s doing what. When you have 50 groups marching in hoods, you don’t know who’s responsible for anything. We believe that fragmentation breeds extremism. Each group competes to be more extreme and that’s dangerous for all of us.”

The conceit of last August’s Unite the Right rally now lies in tatters. The movement has been disrupted, degraded and divided, its woes intensified by infighting, slow recruitment, money troubles, loss of some footholds on the internet and vigorous counter-protests. One of its biggest groups, the Traditionalist Worker Party, collapsed in March.

Jared Holt, research associate at Right Wing Watch, said: “What’s been called the alt-right has been splintering for a while. The lawsuits had the effect of isolating those figures and inspiring a lot of alt-right supporters to abandon them in favour of ones who are not jeopardised. Nothing I’ve seen in the alt-right fan base indicates strong loyalties.”

Holt added: “They’re definitely on their heels at the moment. They have had a very hard time engaging in this never-ending purity spiral in the movement, trying to decide who’s in and who’s out. It’s incredibly vulnerable right now.”

But like Cassino, he cautioned that the legal approach alone will not address the underlying causes. “You can’t sue an ideology. These views don’t go away when the person does. I think they’ll just find a new home: there’ll be new podcasts and new websites that come up. Someone will come in and fill the void.”

‘It’s not going to go away’

White supremacists acknowledge that they are feeling the pain but remain defiant. Eli Mosley, 26, one of the defendants in the Charlottesville lawsuit, said the court system was being used to “bog down” the far-right. “Obviously it’s an effective tactic: they have to use all this time and money to defend themselves.”

But Mosley, real name Elliot Kline, who now claims to have quit the far right, added: “It’s not going to go away. The same pressures that created the alt-right have got worse. When people hear President Trump call MS-13 ‘animals’, over half the country agrees with him and the rest can’t believe anyone would say that. The country is going to keep getting more and more divided.”

Jeff Schoep, leader of the National Socialist Movement, described by the SPLC as “one of the largest explicitly Hitlerite groups in America”, is also named in the Charlottesville action. “We consider it lawfare,” he said, “specifically designed to drain the organisations of finances and keep us caught up in frivolous court cases. It’s ridiculous. They don’t have a legal leg to stand on.”

The 43-year-old, based in Detroit, warned: “If they try to drive out certain leaders, you may have more irresponsible people stepping up. We’re trying to do things the legal way here. If the system takes that away from the white nationalist movement, I’m not saying it’s going drive people to become more radical but you can put two and two together. It’s an open question.”

As for Spencer, head of the far-right National Policy Institute, he was forced to cancel a speaking tour at university campuses in the face of fierce protests. He also complains that his PayPal and Stripe accounts have been suspended, curtailing his ability to do business online, and he has been kicked off Facebook.

“I became a household name, a kind of icon,” he said. “And then the establishment started to attack.”

Spencer, 40, who coined the term “alt-right” and advocates a whites only ethno-state, admitted that the movement has been rocked back on its heels since Charlottesville.

“I’ve been spending more time on the lawsuit than I have been writing so in a way, yes, that’s a victory. But this is round three of the heavyweight bout. The story isn’t over. The whole question is can we come through this and be stronger and have learned lessons and have built better institutions so on, so that’s really the challenge.”

‘Do not ignore them, do not take them lightly’

Susan Bro, who found Mother’s Day excruciatingly hard this year – “I cried” – offered a brisk dismissal of Spencer.

Susan Bro talks about her daughter, Heather Heyer, in September last year.

Susan Bro talks about her daughter, Heather Heyer, in September last year. Photograph: Julia Rendleman for the Guardian

“He likes to play the victim,” she said, as the sun beat down on the Lee statue in Emancipation Park. “He’s a manipulator. He’s a shyster and he very much seems to enjoy controlling other people and their opinions and getting people to dance the way he wants them to dance. I have no sympathy for him.”

She warned that, while lawsuits can stunt the growth of hate groups, they are no magic bullet.

“I think they’re just going underground temporarily to take the heat off and then they’re never really going away, they’re just gone into hiding. They have a well developed and well displayed tactic of looking like they’re retreating, looking like they are leaving an area and that’s when they attack. So I say do not ignore them, do not take them lightly.

Bro, 61, a former teacher who now campaigns for social justice and runs a foundation in her daughter’s name, added: “I think in the long run we have to openly talk about the issues. In order to change people’s hearts, not only do we have to have some legislation but we’ve got to have some real heart to heart discussions.”

Last Wednesday, Bro walked down the narrow 4th Street, a section of which has been renamed Honorary Heather Heyer Way. A memorial has grown organically at the spot where Heyer was killed. There are flowers, posters in windows and a box of chalk so that visitors can draw and write on the walls. Messages include: “Your magnificent heart”, “Love, not hate”, “May Heather be with us”, “All gave some, some gave all”, “Black lives matter” and “End white supremacy”.

The following day, Roberta Kaplan, the attorney, drove down 4th Street on her way to court. It was a beautiful morning and the juxtaposition was sharp.

“It feels kind of topsy turvy,” she said later in conference call. “On the one hand, life goes on and there’s sunshine and people eating ice cream cones and, on the other hand, we were heading to court to talk about a conspiracy that led to one person’s murder and the very severe injuries of our plaintiffs.

“I guess it’s part of human nature to kind of live with those inconsistencies.”

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Hottest, Fastest Lava Yet Prompts Further Evacuations in Hawaii
« Reply #3220 on: May 31, 2018, 08:31:30 AM »
Hottest, Fastest Lava Yet Prompts Further Evacuations in Hawaii

Hottest, Fastest Lava Yet Prompts Further Evacuations in Hawaii

Lava flow from fissure 8. The lava channel was estimated to be about 100 feet wide.Photo: USGS

Residents of two Big Island communities have been advised to evacuate, as fast-moving magma from the Kilauea volcano threatens the few remaining escape routes. “Heed evacuation orders,” warned Hawaii’s mayor, “or you’re on your own.”

For the residents of Hawaii’s Lower Puna community, Mount Kilauea is proving to be an unrelenting foe. Since the eruptions began on May 3, at least 22 fissures have opened up, spewing lava across 2,000 acres of land. Around 75 homes have been destroyed, including 20 over the last several days. Over 2,500 people have had to evacuate, and more than 300 people are currently staying in emergency shelters.

 

At the Pahoa Community Center, officials are now bracing for a new wave of volcano refugees. At 6:00 pm local time yesterday, Hawaii’s Civil Defense Agency issued the following advisory:

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that lava from several fissures continues to move through Leilani Estates, Lanipuna Gardens and towards the Kapoho area. Residents of Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland are advised to evacuate due to the possibility of lava cutting off access to Beach Road near Four Corners. One lava flow is approximately 2 ½ miles from Four Corners and a second is about a half-a-mile from Highway 137, north of Ahalanui County Park.

The mayor of Hawaii County, Harry Kim, chimed in, saying those who refuse to heed the evacuation warnings will be “on their own.” He also issued a second emergency proclamation in response to the ongoing eruption in the Lower Puna area.

Earlier, lava from Fissure 8 reached Highway 132, which leads from Pahoa’s commercial center to nearby communities and farmlands to the east. A fast-moving lava flow crossed the highway yesterday, and started to travel along it. For a while, a portion of Highway 132 transformed into a unholy river of molten rock. The unrelenting flows wrecked the electric utility’s equipment along the highway, knocking out power to Vacationland and Kapoho Beach Lots, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Lava that is currently pouring over the surface is now the hottest and most viscous yet. Incredibly, the lava was moving at a clip of 10 yards a minute. Or as USGS scientist Wendy Stovall explained, the lava was moving fast enough to cover six football fields in an hour.

“This is the hottest lava that we’ve seen in this eruption, even just a matter of 50 degrees centigrade makes a big difference in how quickly lava flows can move and how they behave once the magma exits the vent,” said Stovall, adding: “It can’t get hotter than where we are. We are pretty much tapping mantle temperatures right now.”

Fissure 8. Notice the homes at bottom left for scale.Photo: USGS

On Wednesday, Fissure 8 was seen spouting lava over 200 to 250 feet into the air. Lava pouring out from this fissure moved to the northeast and crossed Highway 132 on Thursday afternoon. The flow covered almost a half-mile in less than 90 minutes, but has since slowed down, as its wide channel now seems to be delaying lava from feeding the flow fronts, according to the USGS. Highway 132 is now closed, but another major passageway, Beach Road (just east of Highway 137), is also at risk of “possible lava inundation,” an event that would trap people in the area.

In addition to noxious volcanic gases, the fissures are also producing a phenomenon known as “Pele’s hair”—sharp, thin strands of volcanic glass fibers. Named after the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes, this substance is produced when lava spatter droplets cool rapidly in the air, and it can cause skin and eye irritation.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline agelbert

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Re:Hottest, Fastest Lava Yet Prompts Further Evacuations in Hawaii
« Reply #3221 on: May 31, 2018, 12:02:32 PM »
Hottest, Fastest Lava Yet Prompts Further Evacuations in Hawaii

   

Yep. I read about some very special clouds that only volcanoes or wildfires make yesterday. This volcano is making them.

Kilauea Is Making Its Own Weather

Brian Kahn

Tuesday 3:18pm Filed to: VOLCANO WEATHER SEASON IS UPON US

SNIPPET:
The U.S Geological Survey (USGS) reported that billowing pyrocumulus clouds are rising over Kilauea’s angry eruption at Fissure 8 in the Lower East Rift Zone on Monday.

Pyrocumulus clouds—also known as flammagenitus clouds—are most commonly caused by wildfires. They form when heat from the ground, whether from burning trees or scalding molten rock, causes the air around it to warm and rise, carrying water vapor with it. As that air reaches the cooler heights of the upper atmosphere, that water vapor condenses around tiny particles like ash to form clouds. Those clouds can become unstable and in turn cause thunderstorms.

Pyroculumus clouds over Fissure 8.
Photo: USGS

Your average wildfires burn at 800 degrees Celsius (1,472 degrees Fahrenheit). In comparison, lava at Kilauea measures 1,170 degrees Celsius (2,140 degrees Fahrenheit) so the heat part of the pyrocumulus equation is in place.

Full article:

https://earther.com/kilauea-made-its-own-weather-1826395615
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

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What Happens When an Airstrike Hits Your Street
« Reply #3222 on: June 02, 2018, 04:25:42 AM »
What Happens When an Airstrike Hits Your Street

EYES ON YEMEN

A View from the Rubble of Sana’a: What Happens When an Airstrike Hits Your Street

People inspect the rubble of homes destroyed by Saudi airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, Aug. 25, 2017. (AP/Hani Mohammed)

Ignored by the Western media and unseen by the rest of the world, the Saudis abide by few rules of war, in their attempt to ethnically cleanse this nation of 27 million people, and clear a path for Western powers to seize control of its mineral resources and its gateway ports.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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The real Venezuela is not what you think--
« Reply #3223 on: June 02, 2018, 04:35:10 AM »
The real Venezuela is not what you think--
The U.S. press doesn't tell you what Maduro has done for the poor.


Newly re-elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

DANIEL KOVALIK
MAY 25, 2018
12:00 AM

Daniel Kovalik teaches international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh Law School. His most recent book is “The Plot to Attack Iran.”

I just returned from observing my fourth election in Venezuela in less than a year. Jimmy Carter has called Venezuela’s electoral system “the best in the world,” and what I witnessed was an inspiring process that guarantees one person, one vote, and includes multiple auditing procedures to ensure a free and fair election. 

 I then came home to the United States to see the inevitable “news” coverage referring to Venezuela as a “dictatorship” and as a country in need of saving. This coverage not only ignores the reality of Venezuela, it ignores the fact that the U.S. is the greatest impediment to democracy in Venezuela, just as the U.S. has been an impediment to democracy throughout Latin America since the end of the 19th century.

Prior to the Venezuelan presidential election on May 20 — an election which included an opposition candidate, Henri Falcon, from the business community — the U.S. government announced that it would not recognize the outcome, no matter who won. The U.S. had gone so far as to threaten Mr. Falcon with sanctions if he even ran in the election. The U.S. also threatened further economic sanctions on Venezuela if incumbent leftist Nicolas Maduro won — sanctions that even Mr. Falcon’s economic adviser has said were leading to the collapse of the Venezuelan economy. President Donald Trump kept to his promise in this regard, announcing more onerous sanctions the day after the election, which will further immiserate the Venezuelan people.

Meanwhile, while members of the more radical, right-wing opposition had themselves been calling for presidential elections and had agreed to hold them in May, the U.S. leaned on them to back out of this deal before it was signed. Following this, the radical opposition, backed by the U.S., called for people to boycott the vote.

The result was that Mr. Maduro won in a landslide. But it was not only the boycott — observed mostly in wealthier communities, as I witnessed — that won the day for Mr. Maduro. There were other reasons you will never hear about in the U.S. press.

First, the true patriots of Venezuela, not surprisingly, resent the United States’ devastating economic sanctions as well its constant call for regime change. Some U.S. officials even talk of military intervention to overthrow Mr. Maduro. In part, the vote for Mr. Maduro was a vote against U.S. meddling in the affairs of Venezuela.

In addition, despite the real hardships in Venezuela — for which the U.S. is largely to blame — most of Venezuela’s poor are better off now than they were before the Bolivarian Revolution of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. For example, over the past 7 years, the government has built 2 million units of housing for low-income Venezuelans. In a country of only some 30 million people, these units are now home to a large proportion of the Venezuelan population. The current government also has provided free health care and subsidized food.

Before Chavez, the sprawling poor barrios which ring the cities were literally not on any government maps, and they had no utilities and no election centers. After Chavez, the existence of these barrios was recognized for the first time, and they were provided with utilities, health service, election stations and, most important, dignity. Chavez even started a world-class music program which has now provided 1 million underprivileged children with music education. One graduate of this program, Gustavo Dudamel, is now considered one of the greatest conductors in the world!

Grateful for a government on their side and flouting U.S. extortion, the poor came out to vote in large numbers for Mr. Maduro. These are the same poor, by the way, who came down from the mountains in 2002 to demand the return of Hugo Chavez to power after he was overthrown in a U.S.-backed coup and kidnapped.

But you never hear the voices of these poor people in the U.S. press. You never hear their side of the story, how they have benefitted from the Bolivarian Revolution and how desperately they do not want to go back to how things were before.

While they have been given a voice in Venezuela, it remains muzzled in this country, and by a press which passes off pro-intervention and pro-war propaganda as journalism. It is no wonder the United States continues to careen into one disastrous military adventure after another.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3224 on: June 02, 2018, 04:39:30 AM »
Why that's nothing but "Collateral Damage"

It's common and has to be expected. We do whatever we can to minimize it.

Yes, that's what the pricks have the balls to tell the Dim.

                                     

 

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