February 4, 2017

sane

The authors are real. The articles are fake. Who is behind the sinister ‘CGS’ website? (Yahoo News)

“The CGS Monitor … has taken fake news to new depths with its use of fake opinions,” Mefford wrote in a posting this week on the Atlantic Council’s website. “How do we really know who said what? Academics, scholars, politicians, and writers must now vigilantly manage their brand as a core part of their work. Your opinion, it turns out, may no longer actually be yours.”


Even South Park “Can’t Keep Up” with Donald Trump

How do you do you “do” satire when the entire American scene seems like one giant episode of a satire movie?

Parker noted that the show’s most recent season, which coincided with the bitter final throes of the election season, tried at first to mock current events—before admitting that their efforts “couldn’t keep up” with the unfolding reality.

“You know, it was like what was actually happening was way funnier than anything we could come up with,” Parker continued. “You know what I mean? So. . .we decided to just kind of back off and let them do their comedy and we‘ll do ours.”


Along those lines…

How to Stay Sane as a Cartoonist in Trumpland

I know we’ll all “remain sane” somehow—we have to, so that we can be smart and energized and fight back. But with three years and fifty-odd weeks to go, there are definitely moments when I find myself in total sympathy with this comment someone recently added to his post of my cartoon on Twitter: “My desire to be well-informed makes me wish I could fall asleep and wake up on a different planet.”


Posting for its relevance to the climate debate generated by the Trump presidency…

The Snow Guardian of the Rockies

For over 40 years, a man named billy barr (he prefers his name to be spelled all lowercase) has lived alone in a small cabin in Gothic, Colorado. It’s one of the coldest and most isolated places in the United States. Bored and without anything to preoccupy himself, he began recording snow levels in 1973. “The main thing I interacted with was the weather and the animals, so I just started recording things just cause it was something to do,” he says in this short film, The Snow Guardian, by Day’s Edge Productions. “I had nothing to prove, no goals, no anything.” Climate researchers at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab discovered that barr’s detailed records showed compelling evidence of climate change, and the data has been vital in understanding the severe impending effects of global warming. For more information, visit www.endofsnow.com and read “The Hermit Who Inadvertently Shaped Climate-Change Science.


The Deep Denialism of Donald Trump

There are horrific lies of omission: last week, the White House released a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day that pointedly declined to refer to Jews, because others were killed, too. And there are denials of truth that are impossible to categorize: the President met with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an anti-vaccine zealot with a history of falsehoods, and talked to him about possibly forming a commission on vaccine safety. (After Kennedy said he’d actually been asked to lead such a commission, provoking dismay, the Trump team said that no decision had yet been made.) Then there are lies so ludicrous that it is hard (though essential) to take them seriously: according to Trump, the United States has just gone through the most devastating instance of voter fraud in the nation’s history. And, in his telling, every one of the millions of illegal votes happened to be cast for his opponent.


 

February 1, 2017

Muslim ban


Starting off with a few fun tweets…

rowling


Setting a dangerous precedent, the President has now refused to work with CNN:

White House ices out CNN (Politico)

The White House has refused to send its spokespeople or surrogates onto CNN shows, effectively icing out the network from on-air administration voices.

“We’re sending surrogates to places where we think it makes sense to promote our agenda,” said a White House official, acknowledging that CNN is not such a place, but adding that the ban is not permanent.

A CNN reporter, speaking on background, was more blunt: The White House is trying to punish the network and force down its ratings.

“They’re trying to cull CNN from the herd,” the reporter said.

Administration officials are still answering questions from CNN reporters. But administration officials including White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and senior counselor Kellyanne Conway haven’t appeared on the network’s programming in recent weeks.

Spicer, speaking at an event at the George Washington University on Monday, denied that CNN was being frozen out, pointing out that he’s answered CNN’s questions in the regular daily briefings.

But, he added “I’m not going to sit around and engage with people who have no desire to actually get something right.”

Calling something fake news because you don’t like the facts is completely in line with the post-truth presidency.


Steve Bannon’s own words show sharp break on security issues

Rhetoric like this is dangerous and quite insane.

Steve Bannon, who has ascended in just months from relative obscurity to become one of President Trump’s most influential advisors, has said that Islam is “the most radical” religion in the world and the U.S. is engaged in a civilizational struggle potentially leading to “a major shooting war in the Middle East again.”

This is eminently reassuring as well, given his new role on the NSC:

“We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years, aren’t we?” he said in March 2016. “There’s no doubt about that. They’re taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face — and you understand how important face is — and say it’s an ancient territorial sea.”

This man is unhinged:

“The way the media is presenting this, it’s almost like they’re conforming to blasphemy law,” he said. “They will not criticize Islam, the president of the United States will not criticize Islam. Mrs. Clinton will not criticize Islam. Do you get a sense that the media in the West — and I mean in London and in the United States — is almost working under the precepts of sharia law right now?”

Concern about brewing conflict, he said, was a fundamental concept behind Bannon’s media enterprise. “Our big belief, one of our central organizing principles at the site, is that we’re at war,” he said.

It’s war. It’s war. Every day, we put up: America’s at war, America’s at war. We’re at war,” he said in December 2015. “Note to self, beloved commander in chief: We’re at war.”


No ‘G’day, mate’: On call with Australian prime minister, Trump badgers and brags

“This is the worst deal ever,” Trump fumed as Turnbull attempted to confirm that the United States would honor its pledge to take in 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention center. Trump, who one day earlier had signed an executive order temporarily barring the admissions of refugees, complained that he was “going to get killed” politically and accused Australia of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers.”

U.S. officials said that Trump has behaved similarly in conversations with leaders of other countries, including Mexico. But his treatment of Turnbull was particularly striking because of the tight bond between the United States and Australia — countries that share intelligence, support one another diplomatically and have fought together in wars including in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Trump Executive Order Threatens Foreign Students. How Will Their Universities Respond?

“One of things we are advocating is that schools resist providing information about their students from the federal government,” says Shirin Vossoughi, an assistant professor at Northwestern University. “It’s possible that in the future the Trump administration may attempt to withhold funding from publicly funded schools if they refuse to share information, but it’s important for them to stand strong on this issue.”

The University of Alberta is actively recruiting students from the affected travel ban countries:
The U of A has waived application fees for citizens of the seven countries affected by the U.S. travel ban. Applicants from these affected countries with questions about study permits, or concerns about meeting application or document deadlines, should contact University of Alberta International at welcome@international.ualberta.ca for advice. The university will make efforts to accommodate, wherever possible.

Trump to focus counter-extremism program solely on Islam

The program, “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.


Leaked Draft of Trump’s Religious Freedom Order Reveals Sweeping Plans to Legalize Discrimination

The draft order seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it seeks to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act.

Language in the draft document specifically protects the tax-exempt status of any organization that “believes, speaks, or acts (or declines to act) in accordance with the belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, sexual relations are properly reserved for such a marriage, male and female and their equivalents refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy, physiology, or genetics at or before birth, and that human life begins at conception and merits protection at all stages of life.”


declutter


And I end today with a protest poem from 1914 by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Here it is read by Amanda Palmer.

PROTEST

To sin by silence, when we should protest,
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance, and lust,
The inquisition yet would serve the law,
And guillotines decide our least disputes.
The few who dare, must speak and speak again
To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
No vested power in this great day and land
Can gag or throttle. Press and voice may cry
Loud disapproval of existing ills;
May criticize oppression and condemn
The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
That let the children and childbearers toil
To purchase ease for idle millionaires.

Therefore I do protest against the boast
Of independence in this mighty land.
Call no chain strong, which holds one rusted link.
Call no land free, that holds one fettered slave.
Until the manacled slim wrists of babes
Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee,
Until the mother bears no burden, save
The precious one beneath her heart, until
God’s soil is rescued from the clutch of greed
And given back to labor, let no man
Call this the land of freedom.

Originally posted at Brainpickings.org.