From the world pool: September 9th, 2017

I’ve had some busy weeks, so I haven’t been online as much, and that means fewer links to post, and somehow I missed out on the “just for fun” category. Which is too bad, as so many of the stories linked are so thoroughly depressing.

But never fear! One of the essays referenced this video. And yeah, it made me feel better.

Socio-political commentary

US politics

Steve Bannon May Be A Bigger Asset To Trump Outside The White House Than In It

Lurid Trump allegations made by Louise Mensch and co-writer came from hoaxer  This explains so much.

Donald Trump Is Leading a ‘Cult of Toxic White Masculinity’ That May Destroy Our Institutions and Endanger Our Safety

Canadian politics

Acknowledging that Canada’s hate groups exist

Robyn Allan: The search for Trans Mountain’s mythical 15,000 construction jobs

Why would Kinder Morgan pay the Conference Board for an employment estimate derived from an expensive modelling approach and inappropriately turn it into a construction workforce estimate when it has its own, more reliable one of an average of 2,500 workers over two years?

Trans Mountain’s 15,000 construction workforce jobs are a scam. The more realistic figure is less than 20 per cent that size. 

Media

Tell Google: stop killing monopoly research.

The Open Markets team for the last eight years has led the way in shining a light on America’s monopoly problem, and in helping leaders in both parties learn how to fight dangerous concentrations of power. This past June, our team released a statement of support for a European antitrust ruling against Google.

Within days, Google flexed their financial power and got our entire team expelled from our think tank, the New America Foundation.

Yes, Google Uses Its Power to Quash Ideas It Doesn’t Like—I Know Because It Happened to Me

Data and Privacy

‘Data is the new oil’: Your personal information is now the world’s most valuable commodity

Huge amounts of data are controlled by just 5 global mega-corporations that are bigger than most governments

Facebook Figured Out My Family Secrets, And It Won’t Tell Me How

Rebecca Porter, we discovered, is my great aunt, by marriage. She is married to my biological grandfather’s brother; she met him 35 years ago, the year after I was born. Facebook knew my family tree better than I did

“I didn’t know about you,” she told me, when we talked by phone. “I don’t understand how Facebook made the connection.”

Feminist issues

The village where men are banned Only women are allowed to live in Umoja. Julie Bindel visits the Kenyan village that began as a refuge for survivors of sexual violence – and discovers its inhabitants are thriving in the single-sex community

Many of the women tell me they cannot imagine living with a man again after they have been living in Umoja. Towards the end of my visit I meet Mary, 34, who tells me she was sold to a man of 80 for a herd of cows when she was 16 years old. “I don’t want to ever leave this supportive community of women,” she says.

LGBTQIA issues

The Latest Example of Trans Baiting at the New York Times Is a Testament to How Far We Have to Go

Racism and Civil Rights

Soul Snatchers: How the NYPD’s 42nd Precinct, the Bronx DA’s Office, and the City of New York Conspired to Destroy Black and Brown Lives (2 parts still to come, but it’s worth starting your reading now)

“Stop and frisk has been banned, but police in the 42nd precinct are actually doing something far worse. They are setting quotas and goals for the number of people each officer must arrest. If you don’t meet or exceed the quotas, you feel the wrath of your supervisors. Instead of rejecting the quotas, some officers are embracing them and rounding up people, particularly teenage children, for crimes they know good and well they didn’t commit — locking them away sometimes for days, weeks, months, or even years at a time — then simply dismissing the charges. This isn’t just a few rogue cops, but an entire precinct is doing this and they are partnering with the Bronx District Attorney’s Office to make it happen. With threats, and even brute force, kids are being coerced to identify and testify against people they don’t even know. Officers are terrorizing families, snatching kids out of their beds, not a few times, but dozens of times per child, sometimes arresting them on false charges, sending them to Rikers, then releasing them months later. Cops think they can do anything they want and it appears they can. Pedro is being framed. They tried to frame him over and over again before this case. And other kids are being framed too. And the kids and families who’ve been victimized by this scandal are hollow shells of their former selves. The Police Commissioner, the Comptroller, and the Mayor all know about this and are doing nothing.”

White Feelings: 0–60 for Charlottesville

There Is No Middle Ground Between Racism and Justice

I’m going to say something about race that may seem to fly in the face of everything we’ve been taught about how to handle complicated and divisive adult issues—but, as unproductive as it may sound, it’s the truth: There is no compromise.

There is no compromise to be had, none whatsoever, when it comes to racial justice. There are no baby steps that are acceptable. There is no middle to meet in.

Everything short of racial justice is white supremacy. Everything.

Indigenous Issues

Activists in B.C. gear up for ‘the next Standing Rock’ with tiny house protest

Prisons

Fair Punishment Project

Too often in the U.S. justice system, sentences are too severe for the weight of the crime, or are handed down to individuals who suffer from crippling impairments that diminish their culpability. The Fair Punishment Project illuminates excessive punishments and the systemic problems that create them.

Poverty

Fran works six days a week in fast food, and yet she’s homeless: ‘It’s economic slavery’ 

When protesters came to Marion’s restaurant, she says most of the staff moved to the back of the restaurant to distance themselves from the activists while her corporate boss “smirked and laughed” as they read their demands and said what they needed. “I looked at him and I thought, ‘You don’t have these worries’,” she says. “How can you laugh at someone else’s pain? And I am going through the same thing. That’s when I joined the Fight for $15.”

Tenants’ Rights

Tenants Under Siege: Inside New York City’s Housing Crisis

An artist I know in South Williamsburg took flight after her landlord paid a homeless man to sleep outside her door, defecate in the hallway, invite friends in for drug-fueled parties, and taunt her as she entered and left the building. In East New York a mother tells of a landlord who, after claiming to smell gas in the hallway, gained entry to her apartment and then locked her out. In January, a couple with a three-month-old baby in Bushwick complained to the city because they had no heat. In response, the landlord threatened to alert the Administration for Children’s Services that they were living with a baby in an unheated apartment. Fearful of losing their child, they left, leaving the owner with what he wanted: a vacant unit.

Environment

The scheme to pump desert water to L.A. could destroy the Mojave. California’s Legislature needs to block it

The Uninhabitable Earth Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think

Disaster/Response

The Red Cross’ Secret Disaster

In 2012, two massive storms pounded the United States, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless, hungry or without power for days and weeks. Americans did what they so often do after disasters. They sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Red Cross, confident their money would ease the suffering left behind by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac. They believed the charity was up to the job. They were wrong.

I downloaded an app. And suddenly, was part of the Cajun Navy.  [BE WARNED: this is very hard reading.] 

I GOT a two-minute “training” session and a “good luck!” One of the key suggestions of the training session was that when I received a rescue request, I needed to try to call the person making the request if possible to get more details and to ensure that it was a legitimate request. Unfortunately, there had been reports of people calling in fake rescue requests and then robbing the volunteers when they arrived. Despicable.

After I received each request and had called the person making the request, I was to log their information on a designated website, let the requester know the ID number they’d been assigned and move on to the next call.

Within minutes, I was on the phone with Karen. Karen was in a house in Port Arthur, sitting on her kitchen cabinet with seven other adults, two teenagers and a newborn. The water was almost to the counter tops. I assured here we would get someone to her as soon as we could and told her to stay safe.

Resistance

The Globalized Jitters

We lost the ability to deal with the outside world somewhere outside the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Gathering our jangled wits, we made a tactical retreat to the corner of the store, sipped some chamomile tea, took some deep breaths and tried not to think about politics.

“What would Hunter Thompson do in this situation?” I wondered aloud when we finally made it back to the room. “Probably eat a cocktail of Valium and LSD and go on a bender down Sunset Boulevard to see how many cops he could antagonize before he got arrested.”

“That sounds awful,” said my friend, from her strategically recumbent position underneath a fuzzy blanket. “Let’s not do that.”

“Okay,” I said. “Do you want to watch the video where the little pig goes down the stairs?”

The Ultimate Cheatsheet for Critical Thinking

Art + Design + Writing

 

What’s Worth Preserving? Book of 50 Handwritten Letters This new book from the Chicago Design Museum (ChiDM) features 50 handwritten letters in response to a broad, philosophical question.

Ackroyd & Harvey  Wow.

Kumi Yamashita  More wow.

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