The Evil God Challenge.

For centuries, many Western theologians and philosophers have answered the ‘problem of evil’ – how a benevolent god could allow for pain and suffering – with the argument that, in order for humans to perform good deeds, they must be free to choose between good and evil. In this animation from the Centre for Inquiry UK, the British philosopher Stephen Law considers the inverse scenario: if there were a fully evil, omnipotent god, could we possibly imagine he would allow for good deeds to be performed in the name of freedom to choose evil?

Via Aeon.

Maintenance of Living History.

abgunstes-muiza-7-48470535

abgunstes-muiza-19-48470585

As rq explains: The story is simple, the family bought a run-down manor estate and are renovating it with their own hands and their own finances and they will make it into an artists’ enclave, for artists to stay and work essentially free of charge. The place used to be a school, and they’re also offering the local school children in older grades opportunity to assist in some of the woodworking and other easier jobs (extra credit).

There’s a guy and his wife doing something similar out where husband’s family has their farmhouse. They’re making the local manor (they’re all over the place, we were basically a summer-home territory for German barons back in the day) into a regional museum, to bolster efforts in the preservation of the local Latgallian dialect (some argue it’s a language). What makes it more difficult is the search for ‘original’ details – specific not only to the time, but to the region. Bit by bit, though, it’s coming together.
I admire people like this, because they’re not only bringing these places up to modern standards (which on its own is expensive and difficult and extremely slow, if you want to avoid major loans from banks) but they’re also trying to recover as much of the historical appearance in the furniture (or at least contemporary to that time).
I admire this effort too, greatly so. There are a ton of photos at the site, and I enjoyed every one of them – wish I was there with my camera! Have a look.

Executive Order 9066.

FK

Today marks the birthday of Fred Korematsu, a man who never gave up his fight for justice, even though it was a fight he needed to pursue for decades. His bravery, his light, his dedication should light a fire in all of us, renewing our personal commitment to see justice done, and to protect, help, and fight for those being victimized. Too many Americans are more than content to let the ruinous and immoral past repeat itself, while remaining blissfully ignorant of history. Just a bit here, the full story is at Think Progress, and of course, at  http://www.korematsuinstitute.org/.

Here are six comments from Japanese Americans that have an important message for the Trump administration to learn from:

Fred Korematsu, 2004

No one should ever be locked away simply because they share the same race, ethnicity, or religion as a spy or terrorist. If that principle was not learned from the internment of Japanese Americans, then these are very dangerous times for our democracy.

George Takei, actor and civil rights leader, 2014

When I was a teenager, my father told me that our democracy is very fragile, but it is a true people’s democracy, both as strong and as great as the people can be, but it is also as fallible as people are. And that’s why good people have to be actively engaged in the process, sometimes holding democracy’s feet to the fire, in order to make it a better, truer democracy.

Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), former congressman, 2015

Even after we were released, I, along with other Japanese-Americans, faced anti-Japanese slurs and insults in a post-World War II America. We developed a sense that somehow we had done something wrong. It was my father who helped me realize that our “crime” was simply being of Japanese ancestry. In a post-Pearl Harbor craze, this lineage was sufficient for the federal government to pass orders to detain and imprison an entire segment of American society — we were guilty solely by association.

Dr. Satsuki Ina, Professor Emeritus, California State University, Sacramento, 2015

I was born behind barbed wire 70 years ago in the Tule Lake Segregation Center, a maximum-security prison camp for Japanese-Americans in Northern California. My parents’ only crime was having the face of the enemy. They were never charged or convicted of a crime; yet they were forced to raise me in a prison camp when President Franklin Roosevelt signed a wartime executive order ultimately authorizing the incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent. We were deemed a danger to the “national security” and incarcerated without due process of law.

Paul Ohtaki, businessman and journalist, 2008

People don’t believe this. If you go beyond — maybe a few states here — they don’t believe that the United States had a concentration camp! They don’t call it that. You can call it what you like, but they put people in who are entitled to every citizen right of anybody else. People don’t believe that!

Fumi Hayashi, Cutter Laboratories, 2006

When you see pictures of black men hanging from trees, and I don’t know how we can do things like that to each other. Sometimes I think if I were on the other side of the fence, would I go to Tanforan [a temporary incarceration camp to hold Japanese Americans] with a whole bunch of buckets and soap? Do I have that kind of something inside of me — that I would do something like that for other people? It’s a big question mark. I can’t say that I would, because I think it’s more comfortable to write a check or even worse, just do nothing.

Chizu Iiyama, activist, social worker and educator, 2009

I don’t have advice. I just say to learn from your own — to study and learn about your history; history of our government and history of all these things that happened. If you are a minority person, learn your history, so you’ll know again what happened in the past so you’ll be sure to deal with the present in a more enlightened way.

Iran Ban.

President Hassan Rouhani.

President Hassan Rouhani.

Iran said on Saturday it would stop U.S. citizens entering the country in retaliation to Washington’s visa ban against Tehran and six other majority-Muslim countries announced by new U.S. President Donald Trump.

“While respecting the American people and distinguishing between them and the hostile policies of the U.S. government, Iran will implement the principle of reciprocity until the offensive U.S. limitations against Iranian nationals are lifted,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

“The restrictions against travel by Muslims to America… are an open affront against the Muslim world and the Iranian nation in particular and will be known as a great gift to extremists,” said the statement, carried by state media.

Look, a president with brains! It’s nice that Iran has a president who can easily recognize that the current xenophobic excess of uStates will indeed be a gift to extremists of all stripes. It would be really nice if uStates had a president who could think. Alas.

Earlier on Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said it was no time to build walls between nations and criticised steps towards cancelling world trade agreements, without naming Trump. … “Today is not the time to erect walls between nations. They have forgotten that the Berlin wall fell years ago,” Rouhani said in a speech carried live on Iranian state television.

I think it’s past time for world leaders to start naming Trump, loudly and clearly. The fucking asshole is a clear and present danger to the whole world, and yes, I know people choose their words with care because Trump is also a maniac who might just decide to let missiles fly in a fit a pique, and sensible people don’t want that, but eternal tip-toeing isn’t going to work, either. The Berlin wall has been on my mind ever since Trump started hollering about walls. FFS, that wasn’t all that long ago, what in the hell is wrong with people?

“Today is not the time to erect walls between nations. They have forgotten that the Berlin wall fell years ago,” Rouhani said in a speech carried live on Iranian state television.

“To annul world trade accords does not help their economy and does not serve the development and blooming of the world economy,” Rouhani told a tourism conference in Tehran. “This is the day for the world to get closer through trade.”

I agree. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with the wannabe god emperor idiot.

Rouhani, a pragmatist elected in 2013, thawed Iran’s relations with world powers after years of confrontation and engineered its 2015 deal with them under which it curbed its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from sanctions.

Oh, how nice it would be to have a sane and sensible person in office.

Full story here.

NO DAPL Roundup.

Malia Obama (Pinterest)

Malia Obama (Pinterest)

Malia Obama has chosen to stand with Standing Rock.

A group of 100 people gathered in Park City to protest the revival of the project by new U.S. President Donald Trump. Despite freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall, Malia Obama joined the protester who were holding up signs that read: “Exist. Resist. Rise.” and “Impeach corporate control,” according to the Daily Mail.

Along with protesting the construction of the pipeline, which will disturb sacred grounds and introduce contaminants into the local water supply, the group was protesting the festival sponsorship by Chase Bank, which is invested in the pipeline. The rally was held in front of the Chase Sapphire on Main lounge.

Courtesy MSNBC via YouTube.

Courtesy MSNBC via YouTube.

Chairman Archambault on MSNBC: ‘President Is Circumventing Federal Law’.

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II was more surprised at the rapidity with which Donald Trump signed presidential memoranda purporting to speed up the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and reinstate the Keystone XL pipeline than he was by the act itself.

“We were prepared for President Trump take a run at everything we have accomplished in the last two years,” Archambault told Tamron Hall on MSNBC on Wednesday January 25, the day after Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum attempting to move DAPL along. “This nation better start bracing itself for what’s to come if in the first four days we’re witnessing him using an executive order to circumvent federal laws. It’s not right, and it’s something we better get ready for. I was disappointed that it came this soon, because we had worked so hard for the last two years.”

The tribe wants closer study of the pipeline’s potential effects on water supply, sacred sites and treaty rights, he said, and Trump is trying to do an end run around such statutes as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“The troubling thing is that this president is circumventing federal law,” Archambault said. “We have Treaty rights, we have water rights with our Winter’s Doctrine, we have NEPA.”

The Keystone XL Pipeline Will Create Just 35 Permanent Jobs. Don’t Believe the Lies.

For those who still insist fossil fuels are the future, the Trump administration represents a new day for some old ideas. In an early sign of things to come, the president showed his faith in big oil when he signed documents Tuesday pressuring federal agencies to support construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. Each of these projects faced enormous protests and was put on hold by the Obama administration because of legitimate environmental and due process concerns.

Congressional Republicans frequently howled at far less heavy-handed exercises of executive power under the previous administration. Today, they applaud Trump’s move on the mistaken premise that these pipelines are good investments. Not only will these projects not create long-lasting jobs – as CNBC, not exactly an anti-corporate mouthpiece, has noted: “Pipelines do not require much labor to operate in the long term” – they will further delay the inevitable transition to clean, renewable energy our economy needs and the American people demand.

Standing Rock Chairman Archambault Sends Strong Letter to Trump.

Editor’s note: Reaction was swift and strong when President Donald Trump signed a series of Presidential Memoranda and Executive Orders designed to move the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) forward and revive the Keystone XL pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe responded immediately, and on January 25 Standing Rock Chairman Archambault wrote a letter to Trump explaining the legal constraints, the support that the Environmental Impact Statement and the tribe have, and the need for a leader-to-leader meeting. The full text is below.

DAPL Profiteers Steal Marty Two Bulls Designs.

You’ve probably seen and shared at least one of the many brilliant political cartoons by Marty Two Bulls at some point in time. Marty Two Bulls—an artist from the Oglala Lakota Nation—has been drawing political cartoons with great success for many years. His work has long been a staple on the pages of ICTMN. He’s known for bringing clever humor and hilarious imagery to hot, controversial issues: most recently the anti-DAPL movement in Standing Rock.

But now, you might see his work in places it shouldn’t be: dozens of t-shirt sellers who are hoping to make a buck from the #NoDAPL campaigns have ripped off Marty Two Bulls designs and been using them to sell t-shirts of their own with no credit, profit, or acknowledgement offered to the artist. Now, Two Bulls has taken the matter into his own hands. In addition to filing dozens of reports to stop production of the rip-offs, he has decided to sell t-shirts of his own.

The design thieves are mostly from overseas with no connection to Native country.
“So far I caught over 20,” Two Bulls said, “I go online, I search terms like #NoDAPL and Water is Life on Facebook, and there they are.”

Marty is an amazingly talented artist, and one of the best political cartoonists in the world, he’s brilliant. Please, if you want to show support for Standing Rock, take the time to make sure your item is coming from the actual artist. Most artists aren’t rolling in money, and this theft hurts, one more than one level. Marty is trying to do something for his people, and if you want to help, and like his artwork, please buy from Marty Two Bulls.

A Different Kind of Alt.

CREDIT: Images via Twitter.

CREDIT: Images via Twitter.

There’s a good alt on the rise!

…If anyone should know that it is, as a practical matter, impossible to force a willful individual to stop tweeting, it’s President Donald J. Trump. So perhaps he was least shocked of all to see that, on Tuesday night, a new handle popped up on Twitter: @AltNatParkSer.

By way of introduction, the anonymous founders tweeted: “Hello, we are the Alternative National Park Service Twitter Account activated in time of war and censorship to ensure fact-based education.”

The account is less than a week old. It has issued over 300 tweets — on the Trump White House, on climate change, on the importance of peer-reviewed and factually-accurate science — and racked up 1.24 million followers in the process.

Within days, at least a dozen Twitters claiming to be the rogue employees of the government agencies for which they work appeared, describing themselves as the “unofficial resistance”: @RogueNASA, which already has 628,000 followers; @altUSEPA whose bio reads “Environmental conditions may vary from alternative facts” already has 184,000 followers; @RoguePOTUSStaff, allegedly tweeting from “inside the White House,” has a follower count of nearly 60,000. The National Weather Service, the State Department, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Education, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services,: all have alternative accounts with thousands of followers a pop.

The tone is tongue-in-cheek, but the messaging is clear: Climate change is real. Facts are facts. The public has the right to know the truth. Science should not be dictated by politics. Attempts to silence official means of communication will only spark alternative means of communication. It’s a fitting act of rebellion under a president so taken with Russia: Resistance to Trump, via samizdat-com.

There’s also something satisfying about seeing the word “alternative” used against Trump and not for him, seeing as it was recently adopted by Kellyanne Conway as a modifier for “facts” (her way of defending White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s blatant falsehoods about, of all things, the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration) and co-opted by neo-Nazis as half of their more media-friendly, less-obviously-fascist title of choice, “alt-right.” The alt-NPS Twitter teams give “alternative” back to the public, for its correct use.

[…]

Trump and his ilk, like Breitbart-alum-turned-chief-strategist Steve Bannon, stoke distrust in the mainstream media like an abusive boyfriend insisting that no one else in your life really wants what’s best for you like he does. When the president is a pathological liar who does everything within his power to prevent government agencies from arming the public with accurate information, something as simple as telling the truth becomes a radical act.

The Trump administration’s efforts to deny readily apparent truths is, as Masha Gessen writes, a means of “assert[ing] power over truth itself.” But these rogue Twitter accounts are a means of asserting truth over power itself. They are a way of announcing to the president — who is surely paying attention, considering how much time he spends on Twitter — that facts will not quietly be dethroned by fiction.

VIVE LA RESISTANCE!

Think Progress has the full story.

Indigenous Roundup: Avenger Missiles, No Clemency, Decampment.

Courtesy Gary Dorr.

Courtesy Gary Dorr.

Mobile Avenger Missile Launcher Appears at Standing Rock.

A first-hand account of the terrifying deployment of an anti-aircraft device pointed at people.

Later, a veteran buddy looked it up to be sure, matched it up with our pictures, and based on his experience noted:

“My suspicion is that the Avenger Missile Systems deployed to Standing Rock are a cost-effective alternative to having an Apache Helo flying overhead when they need it. The Avenger system has Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) Capabilities. The civilian plane and helicopter probably don’t have FLIR and that is when they need an Apache Helo to “monitor” situations under darkness and record for evaluation later. Instead of calling up the Apache, they can have Avengers on-site for instant intelligence day or night. The Avenger system also has video capabilities. It costs them far less to have an Avenger system on the ground 24 hrs a day than to deploy an Apache Helo occasionally. The security ground forces have Night Vision but the Avenger has FLIR and a laser rangefinder along with video capabilities. The FLIR will be at least a plate-sized round lense mounted on the weapon rail on the left side (driver side) if there is one. Just a suspicion. If I am correct, there should be more info to request in a FOIA. The sheriff’s Department can’t all have TS Sec clearances so if they brief them all using Avenger footage, it should be low hanging fruit that would be unclassified.”

[Read more…]

Sister Marches.

Wm

If you can’t make the women’s march on Washington, there are sister events! They are going on everywhere, not just here in uStates, but all over the world. Check out the sisters page, and see if you can find a march near you. (There are even three here in nDakota!)

World of Wonder has more details.

Tyrannophobia.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs.

If you’re a fan of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, or just an adventurous and generous person, here’s a scent to dissent and help with, Tyrranophobia.

Fear of Tyrants

This has jack all to do with Yule or winter, but it sure does apply to current events. Proceeds from Tyrannophobia benefit the ACLU, thereby helping stem the imminent assault on civil rights. Birch tar, tea leaf, and black raspberry strangled in an iron fist.

Tyrranophobia at BPAL. Yes, I ordered the Tyrranophobia, and the Cryophobia.

The Federal Heartbeat.

CREDIT: sebk/iStock.

CREDIT: sebk/iStock.

There’s an interesting article at Think Progress, demonstrating that the majority of Americans favour pro-choice.

Recent research from the Pew Research Center indicates that 69 percent of Americans — or 7 in 10 — say Roe v. Wade should not be completely overturned. This represents a 6-point increase in the number of individuals who expressed this sentiment just a few years ago.

It’s unfortunate, to say the least, that coinciding with this change is the illegal election which has placed every manner of fanatic into high office.

During the campaign, Trump promised to ban abortion, punish women who got abortions and doctors who perform them, and appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. What’s more, his cabinet picks read like the Who’s Who of anti-abortion zealots.

Our elected officials are now at complete odds with what the American public wants when it comes to abortion.

It’s fairly clear that what the majority of Americans want is not of import; it’s what the minority want which will rule the day. The attempt to de-fund Planned Parenthood is still on, and one of the very first things gutted from ACA was contraceptive coverage, because of course if you want to lessen the amount of terminations, eliminating access to contraception is the way to go. Fucking idiots.

Continuing in this vein, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading about an attempt to pass a federal heartbeat bill. Mostly, this story has been covered by Right Wing Watch. Not anymore! The lunatics are running the asylum, and the federal heartbeat bill is a reality. A vicious one.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) Thursday introduced a bill that would implement a nationwide abortion ban, modeling it after the “heartbeat bills” already found unconstitutional in federal court.

Under HR 490, an abortion provider who performs an abortion without “determining … whether the fetus has a detectable heartbeat,” “informing the mother of the results of that determination,: or “after determining … that the fetus has a detectable heartbeat,” will face fines and up to five years in federal prison.

In a press release, King called Roe v. Wade “unconstitutional,” arguing, “lives have been ended by the abortion industry, all with a rubber stamp by the federal government.”

“Human life, beginning at the moment of conception, is sacred in all of its forms and today, I introduced a bill that will protect the lives of voiceless innocents,” he said.

“America was founded on the concept that our rights come from God…” the press release continues. “I believe our most important responsibility that God has bestowed upon us is to protect innocent human life, and I will continue to dedicate my life to that responsibility.”

King worked with anti-choice activist Janet Porter on the bill.

This isn’t a war on women. It’s an obliteration. It’s a refusal to accept women as full human beings, who are capable of making their own decisions. Sort of an alternate version of The Handmaid’s Tale. This will, of course, impact just as hard on some transgender men. This is also an insistence on forcing a specific religious belief, which is against the constitution, but these so-called lovers of the constitution don’t give a flying fuck about that, oh no. They are finally in a position to drop the bomb of misogynistic control on our heads, and they can’t wait to do it. Who cares if women end up dead? Small price to pay as far as they are concerned.

“I gave him a packet and he has agreed to introduce a federal Heartbeat Bill, which would protect every baby whose heartbeat can be detected,” Porter told Rewire in an interview. “That will actually end abortion in nearly every case. Ninety to 95 percent of the abortions will be ended with that bill.”

And you don’t give one little shit about all the lives which would be negatively impacted, either. As long as you get to be smug about stomping all over other women.

Via Raw Story.

Uprise / Angry Women.

Laura Murray, ‘Plug It Up’.

UPRISE / ANGRY WOMEN Exhibit artwork, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York – Laura Murray – Plug It Up.

In the wake of Paul Ryan’s promise to defund Planned Parenthood, the current political climate is not promising for women. In response, The Untitled Space art gallery has assembled work by 80 contemporary female artists expressing anger and defiance through their art. Uprise/Angry Women gives women a chance to artistically express their fears and frustrations about the sexist and discriminatory rhetoric brought to light by the impending administration. The show’s curator Indira Cesarine writes, “Right now, more than ever, women need to unify and work together to ensure that our rights, which were fought for with blood and tears for many decades, are not only assured, but continue to progress.”

Cara Deangelis, ‘Donald Trump with a Crown of Roadkill’.

UPRISE / ANGRY WOMEN Exhibit artwork, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York – CARA DEANGELIS- Donald Trump with a Crown of Roadkill.

Lili-White, ‘Winning Personality Target’.

UPRISE / ANGRY WOMEN Exhibit artwork, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York – Lili White “Winning-Personality Target”.

Linda Friedman Schmidt, ‘Weeding’.

UPRISE / ANGRY WOMEN Exhibit artwork, The Untitled Space Gallery, New York – Linda Friedman Schmidt – Weeding.

You can read about this at The Creators Project. * UPRISE / ANGRY WOMEN.