From the world pool: February 3, 2017

Last week was unrelentingly grim. This week is equally awful, but I found I had to take some breaks for the sake of sanity. Still, there’s a lot of depressing stuff in this post, but I’ve tried to find more cheerful things to balance it.

Socio-political commentary

White supremacy

Okay, let’s call this what it is.

Quebec City mosque massacre:

Richard Spencer:

Canada

You absolute fuckers. Liberal fears of proportional representation and a referendum killed Trudeau’s reform promise

In the House, Trudeau said reform might produce “an augmentation of extremist voices in the House,” a potential result that is sometimes associated with proportional representation.

Well, I guess the election of Trump in a two-party system goes a long way to prove that the status quo protects us against extremism, doesn’t it?

Andrew Coyne: It’s not the Liberals’ fault for lying about electoral reform, it’s yours for believing them

Canadian Scientists Explain Exactly How Their Government Silenced Science

The effects of Harper’s policies went beyond politically charged fields like climate change. Basically everything government researchers did was censored from the media, according to Canadian scientists who worked during that time. Taken together, these policies led to “a culture of fear of talking about anything,” in Turner’s words.

“Especially in the latter half of the Harper administration, our access to the media was clamped down severely to the point where it was virtually impossible for the media to talk to me for even the most trivial of topics,” says Campana.

US politics

Sarah Kendzior: Trump’s America, where even park employees have become enemies of the state 

What Americans have learned is that our system of checks and balances is so weak that even parks employees can become enemies of the state. They are learning their rights as they lose them, grieving for what they once took for granted. 

Trump 101: The producer of his own epic film

President Trump doesn’t view life through the lens that most people do. In ways small and sweeping, he sees himself as The Producer, conducting The Trump show, on and off stage. 

Letter the the Editor: Ursula Le Guin on fiction vs. ‘alternative facts’

Trump Isn’t Crazy: I wrote the DSM critieria and he doesn’t meet them.

Dismissing Trump as simply mad paradoxically reduces our ability to deal with his actions.

Steve Bannon Is Making Sure There’s No White House Paper Trail, Says Intel Source

Inside and outside of government, there are also deep reservations about Bannon’s alignment with the far right and white nationalism, thanks to his previous leadership of Breitbart. One Bannon quote making the rounds this weekend: “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

Calling the Holocaust ‘sad’ is the first step towards denying it ever happened

At first, many assumed it had been an error; an oversight by a new team that has not exactly impressed with its competence. But at the weekend, Trump spokewoman Hope Hicks confirmed that the wording had been deliberate: “We are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,” she said. On Sunday, Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, stuck to that position, saying that the White House regarded “everyone’s suffering in the Holocaust” as “sad” and obviously that included “all of the Jewish people affected” – again implying that Jews were merely caught up in a generalised attack on all people, rather than targeted for annihilation.

Trump’s Pox Americana

The Information War Has Begun

Voice Of America Officially Converted To Trump TV?

Feminism

Online Harassment

The Pew study found the distribution of these experiences to be structured by gender and age. Young adults (18-29) as a whole are more likely to experience either category of harassment but young women (18-24) are overwhelmingly the targets of the more extreme behaviours.

Prisons

Is Another Attica on the Horizon?

One of the tragic outcomes of the Attica uprising was that the state of New York stood in front of the world and told a narrative of that uprising that was rife with lies. As a result of those lies told after Attica, the nation really sours on this idea that prisoners deserve good treatment behind bars. The long-term upshot of that was that this nation, every decade after Attica, becomes more and more punitive. Today, we have a very ironic situation: on the one hand, because of lies told after Attica we have horrendous prison conditions; also because of Attica, we have prisoners who believe that if they stand together and if they speak up they might still find some measure of justice in this system, that they will perhaps humanize the conditions where they’re locked up. In that sense, Attica has everything to do with why we are here again today.

LGBTQIA

Seniors Give Gay Advice

Resistance

6 Ways to Be an Ally to Immigrants and Refugees

Stay Involved (US centric, but a useful list nonetheless)

Twitter Activist Security

How the town of Whitefish defeated its neo-Nazi trolls — and became a national model of resistance

Art + Design + Photography

Kate MccGwire’s Writhing, Absorbing Feather Sculptures Remix the Natural World  (I was worried about where she got her feathers, but it seems that I don’t have to: “she first started picking them up herself before contacting racing pigeon clubs and their members, who send her the feathers from their moulting birds.”)

I Walked On Frozen Baikal, The Deepest And Oldest Lake On Earth To Capture Its Otherworldly Beauty

Askew: A Ruled Notebook Like No Other from Debbie Millman  Love it.

Writing

How Black Books Lit My Way Along The Appalachian Trail

Racial diversity matters uniquely on a trail that’s considered a great equalizer in most other respects. Individuals have no identity but one: hiker. For many, who you were or what you came from wasn’t important, because everyone was sharing the same stretches of bad weather and sore feet. It was the hiking community’s way of saying all were welcome, and from what I gathered over the six months of my hike, they were. Even me. Especially me. Here, all were purportedly safe. “Look at how we’ve grown.” The unintended consequence of colorblindness was benign erasure, a discomfort with looking at how we hadn’t.

There is no divorcing the lack of diversity in the outdoors from a history of violence against the black body, systemic racism, and income inequality. A thing I found myself repeatedly explaining to hikers who asked about my books and my experience wasn’t that I feared them, but that there was no such thing as freedom from vulnerability for me anywhere in this land. That I might be tolerated in trail towns that didn’t expect to see a black hiker, but I’d rarely if ever feel at ease.

Just cool

I had no idea.

Scientists edge closer to bringing back the aurochs, the fearsome cattle breed last seen in the 1600s

Female Samurai Warriors Immortalized in 19th Century Japanese Photos

Just for fun

Mercedes AA class

Initial meeting of the national parks revolutionary coordinating committee

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