Time for a walk

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frost on windshield

Well, it’s a cold day, that’s for sure.

ice pellets on branches

Ice pellets everywhere! Evidently they didn’t turn into freezing rain last night—and a sheet of ice—as they did where we live.

ice pellets and frozen drops on branch

Quite lovely on the branches: pellets and frozen drops.

ice pellets on dead leaf

ice pellets on snow

Quite lovely everywhere, actually.

img_4299-cardhu

Nice crunchy trails in places.

ice on puddle

And the first puddle ice I’ve seen!

Really, one couldn’t ask for a prettier day for a walk.

trail with dog

From the world pool: December 2, 2016

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Socio-political commentary

Political correctness: how the right invented a phantom enemy 

If you go looking for the origins of the phrase, it becomes clear that there is no neat history of political correctness. There have only been campaigns againstsomething called “political correctness”. For 25 years, invoking this vague and ever-shifting enemy has been a favourite tactic of the right. Opposition to political correctness has proved itself a highly effective form of crypto-politics. It transforms the political landscape by acting as if it is not political at all. Trump is the deftest practitioner of this strategy yet. …

PC was a useful invention for the Republican right because it helped the movement to drive a wedge between working-class people and the Democrats who claimed to speak for them. “Political correctness” became a term used to drum into the public imagination the idea that there was a deep divide between the “ordinary people” and the “liberal elite”, who sought to control the speech and thoughts of regular folk. Opposition to political correctness also became a way to rebrand racism in ways that were politically acceptable in the post-civil-rights era.

No, identity politics is not to blame for the failures of the left

The truth is that social justice and economic justice are not mutually exclusive. Those who would sacrifice one for the other will end up with neither, which is of course what the unscrupulous narcissists manspreading at the gates of power are counting on. 

Stop Calling It Identity Politics — Its Civil Rights

US election

The American political system is broken

Donald Trump’s Cultural Terrorism

C.I.A. Chief Warns Donald Trump Against Tearing Up Iran Nuclear Deal

How to Deal With the Lies of Donald Trump: Guidelines for the Media

The news media are not built for someone like this.

Trump’s Tweet Wasn’t a Distraction. It Was the Start of a Precision Assault on Voting Rights.

Trump’s lies have a purpose. They are an assault on democracy.

It is tempting to suppose Trump built this phantasmagoria by accident — that it is the byproduct of an erratic, undisciplined, borderline pathological approach to dishonesty. But the president-elect should not be underestimated. His victories in both the Republican primary and the general election were stunning upsets, and he is now set to alter the course of world history. If he does not fully understand what he is doing, his advisers certainly do.

Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President

Major Advertising Technology Company Bars Breitbart News for Hate Speech

“We did a human audit of Breitbart and determined there were enough articles and headlines that cross that line, using either coded or overt language.”

Breitbart declares war on Kellogg’s after cereal brand pulls advertising from site  (And Kellog’s is just the tip of the iceberg.)

Hacks and Recounts

New Report Prompts Call For Democrats To Halt Transfer Of Power To Trump Before Dec. 13 Deadline

Americans keep looking away from the election’s most alarming story

How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes: With Russia already meddling in 2016, a ragtag group of obsessive tech experts is warning that stealing the ultimate prize—victory on Nov. 8—would be child’s play.

The NSA Chief Says Russia Hacked the 2016 Election. Congress Must Investigate.

The US, Russia, cyber warfare, and its role in the 2016 American presidential election: a reading list

U.S. election recounts halted by lawsuits in Wisconsin, Michigan  Well, well, what a surprise. We’ll see if the lawsuits are allowed…

Know your enemy

Frightened by Donald Trump? You don’t know the half of it

You cannot confront a power until you know what it is. Our first task in this struggle is to understand what we face. Only then can we work out what to do.

Accountability in the Era of Trump

From the hustle that’s typical of presidential transitions to the bustle of near-daily Twitter wars, there’s a lot of noise coming from Trump Tower. In the midst of such chaos, true accountability seems to have gotten lost.

But accountability has never been more important — because for far too many of us, our very livelihoods are at stake.

That’s why GLAAD today unveiled a resource for news makers and concerned citizens alike — the Trump Accountability Project.The project databases false facts, misleading information, and hateful rhetoric purveyed by Trump and those in his circle, using video, audio recordings, and other source material to track and hold the new administration accountable for its hateful words and actions that target LGBTQ people and other minority communities. 

What Gamergate should have taught us about the ‘alt-right’

Looking back, Gamergate really only made sense in one way: as an exemplar of what Umberto Eco called “eternal fascism”, a form of extremism he believed could flourish at any point in, in any place – a fascism that would extol traditional values, rally against diversity and cultural critics, believe in the value of action above thought and encourage a distrust of intellectuals or experts – a fascism built on frustration and machismo. The requirement of this formless fascism would – above all else – be to remain in an endless state of conflict, a fight against a foe who must always be portrayed as impossibly strong and laughably weak. This was the methodology of Gamergate, and it now forms the basis of the contemporary far-right movement.

Privacy

I sense a theme here.

Feminism

What Do We Really Mean When We Say Something Is ‘Flattering’?

i think the most egregious example of the manic pixie dream girl trope was this play

Environment

The strange case of Tennie White: Did the EPA Prosecute and Jail a Mississippi Lab Owner Because of Her Activism?

Inequality

GOODBYE, MIDDLE CLASS, Part 1: Our Growing Inequality. It’s Worse than You Think.

#NoDAPL

A #NoDAPL map

‘Bogus charges’: Standing Rock activists say they face campaign of legal bullying

North Dakota pipeline protest garners support from U.S. veterans  (I guess the CBC finally got a reporter to Standing Rock after Ed Ou was stopped at the US/Canada border.)

“I bled in Iraq and you’re going to threaten to shoot me on a bridge in North Dakota?”

From the Department of You Can’t Make This Shit Up: Looks like the veterans are really ramping the conflict up, as the Morton Police are careful to tell us: Protestors Harass Female Officers.

“We could see them huddling down like Lindsey had said, and um and you could see that they were taking more time to make the snowballs. They, at least two of them identified themselves as veterans and what’s disappointing to me as a law enforcement officer is we have veterans that are going out and doing stuff like that. That they say that they stand for our country and stand for our flag, but yet they are going out here, they are throwing snowballs, they are cursing vulgar things at female officers.”

The video ends with “Restraint in the Face of Protest.” Ah yes; great restraint has been shown by the police with their use of rubber bullets, concussion grenades, fire hoses in sub-zero temps, and mace. Snowballs are, after all, the great equalizer.

Racism  and Black Lives Matter

“That calling someone racist is not persuasive is mostly irrelevant to why you do it.”

A little history for those who don’t know about it. One person who says “no” can make a difference. Whistleblower Peter Buxtun and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study

Opportunities for White People in the Fight for Racial Justice

Finding Hope in a Loveless Place

My hopelessness is faith in things yet seen and works yet done. Hopelessness is necessary for the hard work of resisting tyranny and fascism. It is the precondition for sustained social movements because history isn’t a straight line. It is a spinning top that eventually moves forward but also always goes round and round as it does. Those erasers applied post-mortem confuse us to this, blind us to the defeats that will come and ill prepare us for the reality that most of what we believe in will not come to pass in our lifetimes. A transactional hope is anathema to social progress.

I knew this America could elect a President Trump. It is precisely because I always knew it, bone deep, that I worked so hard to stop it.

It’s why the work never stopped.

For some of us it never has.

Canadian politics

Time for Liberals to decide if they’re serious about electoral reform I am so angry about this backtracking that I am spitting.

On June 16, 2015, as he announced a broad agenda for political reform, Justin Trudeau declared that his Liberals were “committed to ensuring that the 2015 election will be the last federal election using first-past-the-post.”… A year and a half later, the four Liberal MPs assigned by Trudeau to participate in a study of electoral reform declared it would be a bad idea to keep the prime minister’s promise.

Trudeau’s Six Unanswered Questions on Kinder Morgan Expansion

Can Canada increase oil capacity and still meet its Paris commitments?

With the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline and other large oil and gas projects and a carbon tax regime still in its infancy, it appears it will be difficult for Canada to meet its Paris emissions targets. And without an unforseen government intervention to put us back on course, Canada’s Paris climate commitments could go up in smoke.

And just in case you thought Canada was waaayyy different from the US…

Non-peaceful pipeline protests will be met by police and military, federal minister tells Edmonton business leaders

 “If people choose for their own reasons not to be peaceful, then the government of Canada, through its defence forces, through its police forces, will ensure that people will be kept safe,” he said to applause from the room. “We have a history of peaceful dialogue and dissent in Canada. I’m certainly hopeful that that tradition will continue. If people determine for their own reasons that that’s not the path they want to follow, then we live under the rule of law.”

Of course, there’s always that pesky question of what “peaceful” means when someone’s doing something you don’t like. See “Protestors Harass Female Officers” under #NoDAPL, above.

“Elizabeth May has declared war on common sense and Canadian unity,” said Ric McIver, interim leader of the Alberta PC party, following Carr’s speech. “We can’t let the pipeline get held up by people that will never agree to any standard,” he added. “The law of the jungle cannot prevail.”

Resistance

Values for the Trump Era

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto (and a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen), this week proposed what she’s calling the Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct.

It is amazing that in this day and age and in a supposedly developed country it is even possible for a code of conduct to need to start with this:

  • I will not aid in the registering, rounding up or internment of students and colleagues on the basis of their religious beliefs.

5 Ways to be a Silent Trump Protestor  The details relate to the US, but the principles apply everywhere.

The Stop Trump Reading List

Though books can’t change the world on their own, Haymarket looked through it’s catalog to find books about systemic racism, hope in tumultuous times, and people who have changed the world. Here are 16 books to understand how Trump got elected, how we got to this point, and how we can organize for the future.

Barbara Kingsolver: Trump changed everything. Now everything counts

Why Some Protests Succeed While Others Fail

A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support

Media Literacy

Should you trust that news story you’re reading? Here’s how to check.

As much as it’s important to push back on what’s not true, it’s also important to focus on what is trustworthy and to explain why outlets and reporters who continually do a good job amidst this onslaught are worth trusting. After this disorienting election, I reached out to a wide range of friends from all points on the political spectrum to ask what outlets and which writers they had confidence in and to explain the reasons for that confidence.

You know, I think this is a real good time to evaluate the information we’re getting. So here are some more resources.

And if you’re not careful about paying attention…

Art + Design

What Designers Should Do Now

“We will enter economic instability, likely a recession; we will lose talents because no people with the right mind would want to study and work in this country that is dominated by xenophobic and racist ideologies, and many who are already living here, such as myself and the majority of my team, may choose to leave; we will possibly experience more hate crimes; and let’s not even start the whole terrorism paranoia.

“I don’t know what designers can do to move forward unless we, everyone, figure out what we can do as human beings. David Remnick’s article in the New Yorker captures this sentiment well: ‘Despair is no answer. To combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals—that is what is left to do. That is all there is to do.'”

—Natasha Jen, graphic designer and partner, Pentagram

Writing

A Holiday Gift: Ten Poems from Iman Mersal

Flyover Country

Just cool

Hints of tool use, culture seen in bumble bees

The secret libraries of history

Just for fun

Because we sure need it right now.

Cat Scales Rock Climbing Wall With Ease

Patty cake

A walk in the wet

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boots in water

It’s been raining quite a bit recently, which means that sometimes rubber boots are better for hiking than anything else, at least on some trails. And as we’d had some particularly heavy rain recently, yesterday I thought, ah yes, a perfect time to go off on a side track that I know leads into a low wet area! I won’t see a soul on it! (Not that it’s unusual to hike without seeing a soul, but yesterday I was feeling a tad misanthropic.)

big puddles on trail

And… yes, clearly rubber boots were a good plan. There aren’t usually big puddles on this part of the main trail.

overgrown trail and dog

Now the side trail. It’s not heavily used, so bits of it get a little overgrown.

drowned trail, dog

Golden retrievers don’t mind puddles. (And yes, this is the trail.) Which is fortunate, considering that the puddles extended on either side of the trail, so they weren’t really possible to avoid.

dog splashing through drowned trail

Golden retrievers looooovvvve puddles. Especially big ones filled with chewable old wood. (This is also trail.)

digging implement hanging from tree

This is not a puddle, but a surprise, hanging handily from a tree. What could a gardening implement be doing hanging by the side of a half-invisible singletrack mountain-bike trail through government lands?

drowned trail

And yes, that is the trail. Actually, at the arrow, it was changing from deep pool to stream. And I will just mention that at their deepest, the puddles came to within scant inches of the tops of my boots, requiring a sort of cautious gliding motion rather than exuberant splashing.

turkey-tail type fungus on a log

But water and mysterious trowels weren’t the only things we saw. There were some lovely funguses.

maple tree and mossy stump

There were even some relatively dry parts. And lots of dead leaves and moss.

Altogether, it was a lovely walk. Or splash. Whatever.

From the World Pool: November 25, 2016

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There’s nothing like a problematic election to generate an unending list of things to read. Can I just say that I’d really rather have the unproblematic election?

Socio-political commentary

Standing against bigotry

I’m not putting this under US politics, because (a) some of it isn’t and (b) some of it applies wherever you live.But then that applies to quite a bit under the US politics subhead too, so you should read that as well.

Don’t be divided by Trump and Brexit: minorities are part of the working class 

Jo Cox in her own words “Our priority now is to try and focus on Jo’s amazing life and not the manner of her death.”

How to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour.

20 steps for resisting fascism

A Time for Treason: A reading list created by a group of Black, Brown, Indigenous, Muslim, and Jewish people who are writers, organizers, teachers, anti-fascists, anti-capitalists, and radicals.

Where we go from here Warrior up! Begin with small actions. We’ll be updating this list of resources, so do check back, and please comment below with your own suggestions. 

Imagining Restorative Justice

US politics

Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say

The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.

Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.

Fake News Is Not the Only Problem. Bias, propaganda, and deliberately misleading information are much more prevalent and do more damage.

No. Clinton did not fund ISIS.

No. She does not have Parkinson’s or some bizarre neurological disorder.

But the web that we’ve built — the social web, search engines, and spaces governed by algorithmic systems attuned to social signals (clicks, shares, likes, comments) — makes it increasingly difficult to locate a definitive response to fabrications like Clinton funding ISIS.

Christiane Amanpour: 2016 Burton Benjamin Memorial Award Acceptance Speech. Transcript here.

Since when were American values elitist values?…And since when did neo-Nazism and anti-semitism stop being a crucial litmus test in the United States?

Blue Feed, Red Feed.

To demonstrate how reality may differ for different Facebook users, The Wall Street Journal created two feeds, one “blue” and the other “red.” If a source appears in the red feed, a majority of the articles shared from the source were classified as “very conservatively aligned” in a large 2015 Facebook study. For the blue feed, a majority of each source’s articles aligned “very liberal.” These aren’t intended to resemble actual individual news feeds. Instead, they are rare side-by-side looks at real conversations from different perspectives.

 The dark rigidity of fundamentalist rural America: a view from the inside

In deep-red white America, the white Christian God is king, figuratively and literally. Religious fundamentalism is what has shaped most of their belief systems. Systems built on a fundamentalist framework are not conducive to introspection, questioning, learning, change. When you have a belief system that is built on fundamentalism, it isn’t open to outside criticism, especially by anyone not a member of your tribe and in a position of power. The problem isn’t “coastal elites don’t understand rural Americans.” The problem is rural America doesn’t understand itself and will NEVER listen to anyone outside their bubble. It doesn’t matter how “understanding” you are, how well you listen, what language you use…if you are viewed as an outsider, your views are automatically discounted. I’ve had hundreds of discussions with rural white Americans and whenever I present them any information that contradicts their entrenched beliefs, no matter how sound, how unquestionable, how obvious, they WILL NOT even entertain the possibility it might be true. Their refusal is a result of the nature of their fundamentalist belief system and the fact I’m the enemy because I’m an educated liberal.

A Dark View From Flyover Country

Responding to our oral culture

I realized that the Trump campaign wasn’t talking to readers; it was delivering content to watchers. This meant Trump had identified an audience for himself different from that of any other candidate. He was the only candidate campaigning exclusively through television. All the other Republicans, despite appearing on television, were campaigning in text. They produced policy statements; they read written remarks. Even Marco Rubio, in delivering his concession speech, read from a text.

Trump appears to have understood that the U.S. is transitioning from a text-based to an oral culture. I don’t mean by this that a commitment to text will disappear, only that it has become a minority practice, once again a mark of membership in a social elite.

Hate and extremism:

Shattered: Hillary Clinton aimed at the highest glass ceiling. What broke instead was the coalition she thought would pierce it—and faith that it will happen.

We are in a period of tremendous national turmoil. What we are seeing is a backlash not just against Clinton’s candidacy but against the entire eight years of the Obama administration. It’s not just about who gets to be president. It’s about who gets to vote for the president, who gets to stay in America and make their families here and how those families get to be configured. It’s about who controls the culture, who makes the art, who makes the policies, whom those policies benefit and whom they harm.

ThinkProgress will no longer describe racists as ‘alt-right’

Calling them alt-right helps us fight them. I’m not sure I entirely agree with this, but it raises some interesting points and has information on the sub-variants.

Being Catfished by the “Alt Right” & the Importance of Escaping the White Liberal Echo Chamber.

Fixing a presidential election.

What It’s Like to Be Named to a Watch List of ‘Anti-American’ Professors

Attending a demonstration in Ferguson, Mo. Advocating against campus-carry gun laws. Writing about gun violence as a public-health issue.

Those are the types of actions that landed about 200 professors on a watch list started on Monday by Turning Point USA, a nonprofit group that aims to “to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.”

The group’s website, meanwhile, intends “to expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values, and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

The GOP’s Anti-LGBT, Anti-Women ‘Religious Freedom’ Law on Steroids

10 ways to tell if your president is a dictator.

The bottom line: I am by no means predicting the collapse of democracy in the United States under a President Donald J. Trump. What I am saying is that it is not impossible, and there are some clear warning signs to watch out for. Now, as always, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Or to use a more modern formulation: If you see something, say something.

Trump

For foreign diplomats, Trump hotel is place to be.

A scramble to assess the dangers of President-elect Donald Trump’s global business empire 

Trump has a plan for government workers. They’re not going to like it.

Donald Trump personally blasts the press 

“I have to tell you, I am emotionally fucking pissed,” another participant said. “How can this not influence coverage? I am being totally honest with you. Toward the end of the campaign, it got to a point where I thought that the coverage was all about [Trump’s] flaws and problems. And that’s legit. But, I thought, O.K., let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. After the meeting today, though—and I am being human with you here—I think, Fuck him! I know I am being emotional about it. And I know I will get over it in a couple of days after Thanksgiving. But I really am offended. This was unprecedented. Outrageous!”

Kellyanne Conway, who managed Trump’s campaign and who is now his senior adviser, said that the meeting had been “very cordial, candid, and honest.”

KING: The alt-right movement goes full Nazi as Steve Bannon prepares to enter the White House

On Hamilton, Pence, and “this is why Trump won”

Trump’s Kleptocracy Is So Astounding It Already Feels Like Old News

Trump’s Cabinet.

Work is a gift our kids can handle. This organization is said to have received thousands of dollars in donations from Betsy DeVos and her family.

Dykes to Watch Out For:

Ursula K. Le Guin: The Election, Lao Tzu, a Cup of Water

Racism and Black Lives Matter

Racism With No Racists: The President Trump Conundrum

Then I asked around and professional media people told me that there isn’t a style convention on this matter so much as an informal culture. The general rule, I was told, is to never call anything racist and certainly to never call anyone racist. At best, they might quote someone calling something or someone racist.

The implication is that there is no such thing as objectively racist. Racism, according to many mainstream media producers and gatekeepers, can only be subjective.

A thread for white people considering how to talk to their relatives

Building a House: Using Rhetorical Strategies to Persuade

No Asians, no black people. Why do gay people tolerate blatant racism?

First Nations

The Refuge

For hundreds of generations, the Gwich’in people of Alaska and northern Canada have depended on the caribou that migrate through the Arctic Refuge. With their traditional culture now threatened by oil extraction and climate change, two Gwich’in women are continuing a decades-long fight to protect their land and future.

From housing to health, Trudeau’s rhetoric on First Nations out of step with reality, critics say

#NoDAPL

Dakota Access pipeline protester ‘may lose her arm’ after police standoff

Dakota Access pipeline: 300 protestors injured after police use watercannons

I watched the livestream video of this about two or three hours after it happened. I watched the hose spray everywhere in the crowd. I watched a fire start where the police had been lobbing things, and protectors rush to put it out; the hose was nowhere to be seen for that fire. And then the next day I read the police statement that said that the fires had been lit by the protestors—exactly what the person making the video said they would say.

And later I watched the almost complete absence of coverage of this by American media. Shameful.

A Dakota Pipeline’s Last Stand. The historical context of the water protectors’ action.

Their confrontations with police — who have responded with water cannons, pepper spray and rubber bullets — have steered attention to the 1,170-mile-long oil pipeline project and its owner, Energy Transfer Partners. But the real source of Native Americans’ grievance stretches back more than a century, to the original government incursions on their tribal lands. And those earlier disputes over their rights to the land, like the one over the Dakota Access pipeline, pitted the tribes against a persistent force, the Army Corps of Engineers.

If you want to donate to Standing Rock:

 

Art + Design

Kinetic ‘Insecta’ Lamps by U-Ram Choe

British Columbia arts and culture research projects

Imagining Restorative Justice

 

Just cool

Technically as jewellry this falls into the “art” category, but… biostantsiya and scanic.

Hood River woman’s stunning galaxy ceiling paintings bring comfort to young boy

Just for fun

Food art. Food cookies? Whatever.

 

From the world pool: November 20, 2016

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Well, I suck at updating my blog, don’t I? I haven’t done a world pool collection since October 18th. And as I had a lot of stuff to post two weeks ago—and almost got to it but didn’t quite—I now have an enormously long list of links.

Much of it had to do with the American election. I’m still going to post some of it, if I think it’s relevant to the aftermath, though I must say that the aftermath on its own is generating an ever-growing cascade of things to read.

This is a VERY long blog post, so I’m going to put the actual links under the cut.  Continue reading