How’s Your Second Wave Going? Covid and the Myth of Individual Responsibility

As about everybody with the expertise to do so predicted, Covid is back with a vengeance and Europe is in the firm grip of a second wave.

I absolutely have no clue what France is doing, because their new cases are just through the roof with 27k new cases yesterday, or Spain, or what is keeping Italy relatively stable. What I do know is that currently the narrative is that the second wave is caused by irresponsible individuals. And sure, we are all fed up with the people who don’t wear their masks, and the SNP MP who took the train home despite having Covid, and the Kids who party like there was no tomorrow (well, probably they’re right). Yet, in the end, the tale of the reckless individual who endangers all of us is just that: a tale, mostly to deflect from the complete failure of our governing bodies.

The media are, of course, helping. 12 infected at an illegal party, or 25 infected at a completely legal wedding makes for good headlines. As does “most transmissions occur in the personal sector” while only mentioning in the small print that 30-50% of transmissions are unknown. Transmissions in your private life are easy to follow. Contact tracing will work well when the people you infected with Covid are your spouse and teenage kid. Contact tracing will not work at all when you infect 2 people at the grocery store and one on public transport. Our daily life will force us into close contact with many people, often with not enough protection. At school I’m in close contact with up to 200 people a day, usually with no masks, no air filters, no distance. At least so far it seems that the concept of “tracing and isolating” after a positive test is working, there have been few spreads within schools or among the families, but it shows again why the spread outside of schools and workplaces is going on and on: There’s no contact tracing and isolation for people who shopped together at the supermarket. How’s the cashier supposed to know whether they got the ‘Rona at work or in an elevator where somebody sneezed?

The current discourse is nothing but to deflect from the abysmal failure of the people in charge to implement safety standards that will really keep people safe, but as long as we’re happily blaming one another they’ll get away with it.

The Art of …

… political protest, billboard-style

Just in time for the American election, a billboard project is being held in New York City.In October, Art at a Time Like This Inc., in collaboration with SaveArtSpace, borrows the moniker “Ministry of Truth: 1984/2020” to present 20 artists on 20 billboards around New York City, providing “a platform for artists to comment on the current state of US politics and increasing polarization just in time for the election,” according to a press release.

The twenty artists have been chosen, and below is a small sample of what the installation will include.

Mel Chin’s billboard imagery for “Ministry of Truth: 1984/2020” (all images courtesy of SaveArtSpace)

Dread Scott for “Ministry of Truth: 1984/2020”

Shirin Neshat for “Ministry of Truth: 1984/2020”

Marilyn Minter for “Ministry of Truth: 1984/2020”

The billboards will be placed around the 5 boroughs of New York, and there will be a digital map allowing viewers to plan self-guided tours. The full story is at Hyperallergic.

 

 

I Watched Frozen 2 (and I liked it)

Yesterday we went to watch Frozen 2 in the cinema. My friends took their grandkid and we took ours and the little one’s BFF. They were chatting so much in the car, and our friends arrived a bit late and once we all had our popcorn I was already so confused that we first accidentally ended up in the wrong theatre (I noticed when I could see clearly despite not wearing my 3D classes). Sorry to the other folks.

Once we found space in the right theatre, the movie could start and it was great fun. First, there’s a lot of the silly fun that these movies are known for. Olaf is reliable as in the first one, but there’s also lots of situational humour that both kids and adults can enjoy.

Also, there’s new fun characters, with the spirit of fire probably being the cutest.

 

I’m definitely waiting for merchandise.

There’s also the usual adult joke or two thrown into that Disney is famous for. You know the ones that completely fly over the head of the kids and make the adults giggle and I also think that makes a great family movie. Things can be understood at different levels.

I absolutely liked how they handled the Anna – Kristof relationship. The two of them are lovers, but they are also friends. The whole gang meets up at night in the castle to play games and all the characters care for each other.

Another great part was the costuming. Now, I have no idea how they got spandex in Arendelle, but both Elsa’s and Anna’s travel gear looks like they can actually do the things they are doing in them. Still no pockets, but Anna gets a bag.

Now, for the great “Elsa is gay” controversy:

If that ain’t a “coming out” song I don’t know what it is. She’s always been torn, and different and now she’s singing a duet with a female voice who holds the answer and who is supposed to show herself. I am not quite sure what she’s coming out as, but I think that “queer” definitely counts.

Lastly, an unexpected aspect. While the trailer already hinted at Sami culture, I expected some nod at cultural diversity and you know what. I didn’t expect colonialism to be actually a topic and I didn’t expect the solution to “past wrongs” to be so radical. Without spoiling it: That’s what actual recompensation looks like.

Mni Wiconi- Water is Life: In Memory of Caine

A year ago today our community was devastated by the death of our beloved Caine. The team here at Affinity struggled with how to honor Caine on this day and we finally decided to carry forward her message to love and honor the planet. Caine stood with the tribe at Standing Rock in their struggle against the DAPL and today we’re passing on a few stories about the continuing struggle of Indigenous communities to protect the land and water. We are in no way qualified to speak about Indigenous culture or history, but we do so today with great respect.

First, a few reminders of the meaning of Mni Wiconi – Water is Life.

Mni Wiconi – The Stand at Standing Rock

Mni Wiconi – Water is Life

Hear the message of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Honor tribal sovereignty and the Earth we inhabit by telling President Obama to deny the easement by calling 202-456-1111. We need every person to call Obama this week before Dec. 5th. Please share. For more information visit standwithstandingrock.net#NoDAPL#StandwithStandingRock#standingrock#bankexit

Posted by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Also:

In an article on Indian Country Today, Woonspe—Education Gives Meaning to Mni Wiconi—Water Is Life they tell of the origin story behind the meaning of Mni Wiconi.

An origin story of the Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires, which make up the Lakota, Nakoda, and Dakota people, tells us that the blood of First Creation, Inyan, covers Unci Maka, our grandmother earth, and this blood, which is blue is mni, water, and mahpiya, the sky. Mni Wiconi, water is life.

The entire article is worth reading and the above link will take you right there.

♦♦♦

 

Many Standing Rocks: Three Years and Still Fighting, by Tracy L. Barnett – The Esperanza Project)

LaDonna Allard, center, and Cheryl Angel at a march led by the women of Sacred Stone to the backwater bridge one week after a brutal attack there by law enforcement. (Photo from social media) – The Esperanza Project

 

So water is in danger, globally. Right now Indigenous communities are still at risk, and they are standing up, because they have to stand up.  When you finally realize — WATER IS LIFE — you understand why you can’t sit back down.

People keep saying “after” Standing Rock – but I’m still of the same state of mind, I still have the same passion for the water,  it has to be protected. It was when I was at Sicangu Wicoti Iyuksa that I learned about the aquifers that were in danger and when I was at Standing Rock I learned about the rivers that were in danger.

We encourage you to read the article. Cheryl Angel passes on wisdom from a lifetime spent in activism for the planet. Her reflections on the movement at Standing Rock are insightful, as is her take on the ongoing struggle to protect water and land resources.

♦♦♦

Next, we’re providing links to 2 reports on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s website.

SRST – No DAPL Remand Report Final, from February 5, 2019.

This first story is a damning and infuriating report on the deficient Corps of Engineers Analysis of the environmental impacts of the DAPL. The courts finally sided with the Standing Rock Tribe, but then decided that since the pipeline is already built they will let the oil flow.

Impacts of an Oil Spill from the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe from February 21, 2018, so that you can see just how much is at stake.
Both stories connect you to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s website and we encourage you to have a look around. The About Us section contains lots of information about the history of the tribe and the reservation, as does the section about environmental issues.
♦♦♦
Next, we’re going to point you toward the Indigenous Environmental Network.
IEN is an alliance of Indigenous peoples whose mission it is to protect the sacredness of Earth Mother from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, maintaining and respecting Indigenous teachings and natural laws. Adopted in 1994 by the IEN National Council, Denver, Colorado
The IEN website has a broad focus and they carry a variety of interesting stories about the ongoing fight to protect the land and water. It isn’t all just talk, though. The IEN runs several important environmental campaigns including the Keep It In The Ground Campaign run by Dallas Goldtooth. Dallas was born into an activist family and stood as a water protector at Standing Rock. He’s an accomplished activist, teacher, writer, poet and comedian who uses story and humor to tackle difficult subjects.
Here he is with his comedy troupe, The 1491’s, at Vasser College in 2018. His message is full of hope.

And finally, we leave you with a clip found on Twitter 2 days ago by rq. It’s a true message of hope from The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the it’s the perfect way to end this post.

 

Maybe he should have grabbed her by the pussy instead?

By now you have probably heard of The Incident. Depending on whether you’re a decent human being or a Republican, the actual incident is that the White House tried to forcefully remove the mic of a journalist because they didn’t like what he said and then banned him from the White House, or the real incident is Jim Acosta “laying his hands” on a young intern (who is, by pure coincidence female, white, young and pretty).

Sarah Sanders has tweeted about it several times, stressing the “disrespect” towards the “young woman” and “young women” working in the administration, mimicking feminist language and concerns for the treatment of (young) (professional) women at the hands of older men.

She also shared a clip showing him making a “chopping motion” towards her arm. Only that the video came straight from Infowars (and we all know how much those people care about women) and has a few curious differences to the original:

The intern’s reach for the mic is slowed down, and the “chop” motion is accelerated. Here’s an annotated side by side comparison:

Further analysis: video is absolutely doctored. You can see the edit when the clips are side by side and slowed down to quarter speed. See for yourself:

 The dishonesty of the Trump Administration knows no limits, as shown again, but let me make one thing clear: Even if Acosta had made a “chopping motion” he wouldn’t be the one who’s wrong here. He was talking, she tried to physically remove the mic, very eager to please her betters. She was the one making aggressive moves towards him. And also: fuck you, white women who sell out on basically everybody to lick spittle and get the rewards of being the chill girls of the Trump Administration. You work hard to remove women’s* right to their own bodies. You work double time to disenfranchise black women. You work extra time to rip babies out of their mothers’ arms and lock them in cages. And you all work for a man who is proud of sexually assaulting women. You don’t get to talk about respectful treatment of women.
*and others capable of gestation.

Indian Country Today Is Back!

Who Will Be Our First Founding Member? The new Indian Country Today is launching a membership drive and an auction. Top bid will be forever known as Indian Country Today’s: “First Founding Member.”

Who Will Be Our First Founding Member? The new Indian Country Today is launching a membership drive and an auction. Top bid will be forever known as Indian Country Today’s: “First Founding Member.”

Indian Country Today is back! The NCAI has taken over, and this is grand news.

From September through February I have heard about the importance of saving Indian Country Today. So many people across Indian Country had the same idea:

What if … What if we all contribute?

What if I step up to make certain Indian Country has solid, accurate, fair reporting?

Is it worth it to save this voice? A national media platform for Indian concerns?  And how much will it take?

Yes. Yes. And the answer is a lot  — or perhaps a few tax-deductible dollars if we all contribute together.

We are building a new Indian Country Today on a public media model. We will have some advertising, but most of our resources will come from members, tribes, enterprises, and non-profits.

We need you.

We are launching a membership drive and an auction.

The membership drive will solicit help from our “members” as $100 Founding Members, $500 Sustaining Members, and $1,000 for Premier Members.

Unlike public media we don’t have nifty gifts as a thank you. No t-shirts. No coffee mugs. Just a better news report. We want to use the money to build our news operation, a multimedia reporting platform about what’s going on across Indian Country. We’ll stretch your dollars by partnering with other organizations, and amplify our reporting by letting others repurpose our editorial content.

We will serve.

This is great news, but to work, ICT needs help from people. If you can drop a few dollars into the fund, please do, and if you can’t do that, please, please, spread the word, get it out everywhere! You can read more by Mark Trahant at Indian Country today, or go straight to the membership drive. This is so very important, it’s vital for Indigenous peoples to have a voice.  Also, be sure to check out the new edition, there’s all manner of interesting reading!

ETA: I should point out that it’s possible to donate $5.00 to the membership drive, which is all I can manage right now, but I’ll be dropping more fives each week.

The Memo.

Screengrab.

Curious about all the republican upset over “The Memo”? Aaron Rupar at Think Progress has the answers. It all boils down to bullshit, but there’s little the rethugs love more than a pot of shit to stir about.

House Republicans and right-wing media outlets are up in arms about a classified memo purportedly detailing misconduct related to the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign for possible collusion with Russia.

After reviewing it on Thursday, a number of Trump-supporting Republicans flooded the airwaves on Fox News. On Hannity, Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) called for Mueller to be fired, with Gaetz characterizing the special counsel’s investigation as “a lie built on corruption” and akin to “a palace coup.” On Friday morning, Fox & Friends spun the story as “worse than Watergate.”

The truth about the new ‘top secret’ memo Republicans can’t stop talking about.

“It’s Okay To Be White.”

(Screenshot/4Chan.org).

All us lefties are going to start foaming at the mouth, wilt, and just give up in the face of It’s Okay To Be White. Odd, but I don’t feel a swoon coming one, and my monocle is unpopped.

In right-wing internet message boards, users are encouraging one another to print and hang posters that state simply “It’s OK to be white” with the goal of exposing what they claim is anti-white racism in liberal communities and on college campuses.

Creators of the signs were first inspired by a news report that police were investigating fliers hung at Boston College that depicted Uncle Sam and the text, “I want you to love who you are” and “Don’t apologize for being white.” Reporters noted that the signs were posted near the planned location of an anti-racism rally on campus.

Earlier this week, 4chan users called on one another to hang fliers in their own communities with a more succinct spin on the Boston signs, making the statement “It’s Okay To Be White” in large easy-to-read font with no other context. One post detailing the plan explained the goal was to make liberals go “completely berserk” and ruin their credibility, marking a “massive victory for the right in the culture war.” [The linked post actually says media will go berserk.]

The campaign also urges participants to use adhesives that are non-permanent in order to avoid violating any laws and to conceal the signs’ connections to “racists or the alt-right.” One campaign graphic reads: “The simplicity is the point. It’s working.”

Right-wing YouTube creators have also taken notice, including Infowars editor-in-chief Paul Joseph Watson and white nationalist Paul Ramsey. Alt-right video bloggers James Allsup and Nick Fuentes even launched their own spin-off of the signs that read “Make your ancestors proud. Never feel guilty for who you are,” and solicited donations to produce and distribute their posters.

Oooh, be proud of your ancestors! Okay, I am. Funny how my pride amounts to “you stupid Indians, shut up! Pipelines are good!” and the like. That’s the problem with white pride, it excludes everyone else. Of course, exclusion is what white colonial pride is all about: “white people masters, everyone else, lay down to be trodden on.” This little campaign is hardly different from all the other shite supremacy, so it’s not a shock, it’s not even a surprise. White people being suuuuuper assholes simply has zero shock value.

There’s more to the story, RWW has it.

AppSame: Fakery.

Sarah Wasko / Media Matters.

Something else I had never heard of at all, and I don’t spend much time on Twitter, certainly not enough to be aware of AppSame, which has an influential twitter account (1.1 million followers). Of course, this leads to the same old question: why is Twitter ignoring this? They certainly have a way of turning their heads to obviously fake bullshit and abuse when it’s convenient for them.

Despite what its wildly misleading name might suggest, AppSame is not an application. Based on the biographical details its social media accounts provide, AppSame is “a conservative political marketing firm helping America back to its greatness.” While publicly available information does not clarify what exactly, if anything, this firm does to help MAGA, its impressive Twitter presence (1.1 million followers as of this writing) invites some questions — about its tactics, its actual impact, its role in the spread of fake news purveyor-generated misinformation into influential right-wing Twitter networks, and whether its influence could become a case study in the way Twitter enables unknown entities to have a disproportionate impact in politics.

Both its massive following and its clout among right-wing Twitter hubs like #TCOT (an acronym that stands for “top conservatives on Twitter”) earned AppSame the top spot in Brandwatch’s 10 most influential Republicans on Twitter rankings in 2016. AppSame’s Twitter behavior is practically indistinguishable from that of hard-core supporters of President Donald Trump: The account frequently retweets the president and his family (once earning a magnanimous mention from Trump) as well as memes featuring right-wing narratives, churning out more than a hundred tweets or retweets per day. But despite its impressive following, AppSame’s original tweets barely register any viral attention, which might be evidence of a heavy fake account presence among its followers. A Twitter audit report confirmed as much in 2015, finding that 45 percent of @AppSame’s followers are suspected fake accounts.

@AppSame’s social media habits also include disseminating fake news and conspiracy theories into right-wing Twitter networks. On Twitter, @AppSame has shared links to fake news purveyors like TruthFeed and True Pundit, and its tweets have on occasion been featured in items written by fake news purveyors. Inmultipletweets, AppSame either suggested or explicitly claimed that Hillary Clinton was responsible for the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.

Cristina López & Natalie Martinez at Media Matters have the full investigative story.

Oh, So That’s What It Took.

Robert Galbraith/Reuters.

Reddit announced on Wednesday evening that it was shutting down several neo-Nazi forums that promote violence — just hours after it was revealed that a Trump-loving Redditor had fatally stabbed his own father.

In an announcement posted on its website, Reddit said it was cracking down on violent content in a way that it hadn’t done before.

“Going forward, we will take action against any content that encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people,” the website wrote. “Likewise, we will also take action against content that glorifies or encourages the abuse of animals. This applies to ALL content on Reddit, including memes, CSS/community styling, flair, subreddit names, and usernames.”

Among other neo-Nazi communities, Reddit has shut down /r/pol,/r/nazi, and /r/DylannRoofInnocent.

Reddit didn’t discover their ethics until after the Daily Beast exposé, so it’s a bit difficult to give them so much as one point for doing the right thing. They have had one very long time indeed to clean their forums up; they’ve certainly received enough complaints over the years from users as well as outside criticism. It will be interesting to see if they actually follow through this time, and stand against their former stance of ‘hey, sewers are alright, we’re making a lot of money!”

Via Daily Beast and Raw Story.