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.

An Important Petition from Iris

Iris at Death to Squirrels has a post up regarding the cruel treatment and unjust imprisonment of a young bi-racial girl with mental health problems. It’s an ugly story about a family looking for help and finding horror instead. It’s not only an indictment of the American mental health system but another urgent example of why Black Lives Matter really does matter. The more I read, the angrier I became, and I encourage you all to go read the story and get angry, too. Then, go sign the petition. I did, but I’m not an American, and the petition needs American voices – lots of them. At the very least, it will let this family know that they are not alone, but maybe collectively, we can get this child the help she desperately needs and offer her a future. Thanks.

Portland – Required Reading

A lot is happening in Portland, and Big Media reports are often unreliable or outright false. Our very own Crip Dyke at Pervert Justice has been on the ground risking her health and well-being to report the reality of the situation to us. This morning her report, Still a step away from Pinkerton’s, but it’s badis especially gut-wrenching, and it should be required reading. Please, if you haven’t already, head on over and share your support.

For some perspective on the reference to Pinkerton’s, Marcus at Stderr shares a historical look at labour protests in the U.S. with an essay titled How to Riot. It’s an in-depth look at the history of how the American government has handled civil unrest, and it’s frightening.

To round out your reading, I recommend Iris Vander Pluym at Death to Squirrels, whose essay A.G.Barr: Crip Dyke is a “violent rioter and anarchist” hijacking the Portland Protests, brings some insight into why what Crip Dyke is doing is so vitally important. The American government is lying to the public, and it is the on-sight reports from citizen journalists that tell the real story.

I share my thanks to all of these voices for the clarity they bring to a complicated issue.

Crip Dyke, please stay safe.

 

A Lawyer Talks About Lafayette Square Gassing

I have never seen LegalEagle lose his cool on camera, although I did not watch all his videos.

I have also never expected to live through a deadly pandemic and USA coming apart at the seams at the same time.

Life is full of surprises. To all our USA readers – please stay safe. Our hearts are with you, although we cannot do anything to help.

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.

 

How Typically American

So White House has published a pamphlet about the evils of socialism. I have not read it in full and I probably won’t since I have better things to do with my life than to read drivel from Trump administration, but on casual glance it seems to insinuate that the disastrous attempt at socialism in former Soviet bloc invalidates everything with the word root “social” in it. Therefore since badly implemented socialism in Ukraine has led to famine in 1921, “socialism” in EU in 2018 is just as bad.

That is of course complete non-sequitur.

The whole document also seems to be rather American-centric and comparing apples with pineapples, or perhaps even bananas. Like this infographic:

Whitehouse infographic about Costs of Owning a truck

Now I admit I have zero personal experience with any of the countries on that infographic except with USA.

But my experience with USA is that people there own pickup trucks in about 80% of the cases just to own them, not because they actually, really need them. I mean, I have seen them used for grocery shopping in big cities, with the deck empty and the groceries being put in a bag on the passenger seat. People commuted daily to work in them. Most owners of pickup trucks in USA could do just as well with only ordinary cars and for those rare occasions where they really, really might need something bigger (like buying building materials for house repairs etc.) the options available in for example Germany (i.e. renting a truck or goods trailer at the shop for a few days) would suffice ample. Further populations in EU are much more tightly knit than they are in USA, there are not many far-off farms and isolated homesteads that really need pickup trucks. I am not sure how this is in Nordic countries, but I still suspect that a real need for big pickup truck there is smaller than in US just due to the USA’s sheer size and wast empty places.

Thus this infographic is used either ignorantly or dishonestly to scaremonger. Or both.

As far as the economic side of the pamphlet goes, I will leave the critique to an expert who says everything better than I ever can:
Are the Danes Melancholy? Are the Swedes Sad?

On the whole I get the feeling that this pamphlet starts with the assumption that everything USA=good and everything socialism=bad and tries to spin evidence to appear to validate those assumptions.

How typically American of them, to ignore all context an only seek ways to put USA at the center of the universe. Again.

The Antichrist Will Be…

Detail from Sermon and Deeds of the Antichrist, Luca Signorelli, San Brizio Chapel.

Detail from Sermon and Deeds of the Antichrist, Luca Signorelli, San Brizio Chapel.

The antichrist will be…a homosexual Jew! So sayeth idiot Rick Wiles.

…Wiles said that this sort of “apostasy” is a sign that the End Times are near and warned that the Antichrist “will be a homosexual Jew.”

“What is the spirit of antichrist?” Wiles said. “It is anybody or anything that denies that Jesus Christ came to earth as God in human flesh. That is antichrist. If you deny it, then you are antichrist. And the Jews and Judaism is antichrist. Any Jew that denies that Jesus Christ is the son of God in human flesh, then he is antichrist. Judaism is antichrist. Islam is antichrist. Hinduism, Buddhism, all those isms [are] antichrist because they deny the virgin birth of the son of God.”

Yeah, yeah, only christianity is right, but you all can’t fucking figure out which christianity is right, you all think your particular flavour is right, and the rest are wrong. Nothing new to see here, although I am surprised to see atheism given a pass. I guess we don’t count against all those other isms.

“I personally believe that the Man of Perdition, the one that you call Antichrist, I personally believe he will be a homosexual Jew,” Wiles added. “Watch out for global Zionism taking over this planet through artificial intelligence. There are two things that you cannot publicly criticize now; you cannot criticize the homosexual agenda and you cannot criticize Zionism. Those two are together. They’re driven by the same spirit. And what is coming is a global entity that is going to be Zionism and homosexuality and it’s going to be operated through artificial intelligence and it’s going to be policed through the most high-tech surveillance society that you can imagine. It will be a nightmare.”

Sigh. Seems to me that I see a hell of a lot of public criticism of all things queer; and worse, much bigoted railing and open hatred. Same goes for any and all things and people Jewish. I haven’t noticed the nazis shutting the fuck up lately, or just your garden variety bigots, who are well known for their fear and hatred of Jewish people. So much for that declaration. The christian agenda of attempting to usher in the ‘end times’ is hardly a secret, and you have to have those pesky Jewish people around for that to happen, but it sure doesn’t mean you have to like them, right, Mr. Wiles? As for that ushering in, shouldn’t that really be the business of that lazy ass god of yours?

As for your pretend “global entity”, no, that’s not going to happen, anymore than the terminator showing up at your door. As for high-tech surveillance societies, well, that’s most of the major players, and has been for a very long time. No one loves tech more than governments. That’s not to say that most of them are very good at it, they aren’t. Mostly, they all spend time trying to shift blame and cover up all the mass fuck ups. Surveillance is a fact of life anymore. Well, unless you’re a cop.

“Israel embraces homosexuality,” he continued. “They need to be told, ‘You’re sinners, you’re going to go to Hell, you need to repent, you need to call upon the name of Jesus!’”

I’m pretty sure all of Israel is not a hotbed of queerness, and I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of bigotry and disapproval there too, just like everywhere else.

RWW has the full story.

Scott Lively: The Voice For Authentic Conservative Homosexuals.

All around repugnant, immoral, evil person, Scott Lively has a new shtick in his bid for governor of Massachusetts: he’s going to be the voice of all those nice, properly closeted, quiet, conservative queers, who understand that heterosexuality must remain dominant. Mr. Lively is doing his damnedest to come across as reasonable and tolerant. Not at all the same Scott Lively who once called for the execution of all queer folk, no, no. If you want to read his glurgetastic appeal to “authentic conservative homosexuals”, you can do that at Lively on “Gays”. If you’ve eaten today, you might want to wait a while. In the meantime:

“One of my goals here in this campaign is I want to establish sort of a profile of what an authentic conservative homosexual looks like,” Lively said, quickly making clear that this should not be construed to mean that he would consider “ever endorsing homosexuality, because it’s something condemned by God.”

Lively asserted that “authentically conservative” gay voters are nothing like “the gay progressives,” because the former place “an emphasis on personal privacy instead of gay pride parades cramming it down everybody’s throats.”

Lively said that gay rights activists today are part of a “radical cultural Marxist warfare” movement whereas the founders of the fight for gay rights were simply seeking “the right to be left alone,” which is something he is willing to support because “we should respect people’s right to be wrong, because in God’s perfect timing, he works with every person.”

This is a truly astonishing pile of shit. I don’t believe for one second that Lively has at all softened his views on queer people, he has been utterly virulent in his hate and condemnation of them for decades. He really wants that governorship though, and he’s obviously more than willing to lie his arse off in order to obtain said office. I sincerely hope the people of Massachusetts show Mr. Lively the curb.

Lively declared that as long as gay conservatives “agree that mainstream society should be—and must be—heterosexual,” then society should be willing to accommodate them, especially when faced with the threat that the “gay cultural supremacy being driven by the hard-left progressives” is creating an environment in which “the natural family may actually be facing extinction.”

That is not going to happen. If anything, climate change will get us first, but people are not going to stop breeding. The majority of people on this planet are hetero, and most of them either want or end up with children, and there’s a fucktonne of people on this planet.

“If the concept of male and female complementarity actually becomes criminalized, and that’s where this is headed,” Lively warned, “we’re going to face some really serious problems.”

No, that is NOT where we are headed, you melodramatic asshole. Some people are now learning about gender, and coming to understand it properly, and expanding on the rigid gender definitions which have defined, and often devastated generations of people. That’s not a threat to hetros in any way whatsoever. Family has become a much larger umbrella, to embrace all manner of configurations, and in many cases, extended families are coming back, which is a good thing, because there’s a lot of support in that. There are a whole lot of children out there who are in desperate need of homes, and assholes like you, Mr. Lively, would stop queer folk from providing those homes. It’s good to remember that you don’t actually care about any people outside of evangelical fringe, and all you want is the power to oppress.

RWW has the full story.

Sunday Facepalm: Deep State, Witches & Warlocks, Oh My!

Frank Amedia and his Potus Shield clown circus are back at it, just praying their little red noses off. If you aren’t familiar with Mr. Amedia, you can pretty much find out all you care to know in his recounting a miracle he performed: the resurrection of an ant. Today, they are all trembling over the “deep state”, witches, warlocks, and the antichrist.

“I think we need to be wise to understand that this presidency is going to be taken to the edge of destruction by evil forces, by deep state forces, by a conspiracy that has already been named,” Amedia warned. “We know it’s coming. We need to withstand against that. We need to be the watchmen that say, ‘Don’t take your eyes off, the storm is coming.’”

“We prayed for the Lord to just stir up that storm,” he continued. “Stir up that storm of that president. We declare right now, in Jesus’ name, stir it up. Stir him up like a tornado, don’t let him stop. Let everything fly out that needs to fly out, let everything be exposed, don’t let anything be put back into a place that could come back and linger again.”

That’s a veritable treasure chest of filthy jokes, just waiting to be made. Speaking for myself, I don’t want to see anything flying out of the Tiny Tyrant, and I most emphatically don’t want to see anything exposed. :shudder: Okay, now that my mind has jumped out of the gutter, as far as exposure goes, the Tiny Tyrant and his crew of incompetent cronies are doing a fine job of that themselves. No assistance is required.

Amedia, Mark Gonzales of the U.S. Hispanic Action Network, and Bishop Harry Jackson then initiated a spiritual warfare prayer against Trump’s enemies and critics, with Jackson taking specific aim at the “witches and warlocks” who have cursed the president.

“We lift up witches and warlocks who have been a part of this assignment,” Jackson said, “as they have gathered in numbers almost immeasurable to curse this specific president. We cancel, we bind their authority, we bind their curses, we lift up your word that says you shall not revile the gods and neither shall you bring a curse upon the rule of God’s people. We declare those assignments null and void and we claim the souls of many of the witches and warlocks.”

The Gods? Hmmm. Anyroad, I think we need a serious rule here. This is the 21st century, and people with views that are the same as those prevalent during the inquisition and witch trials? They have no place in a modern society. What they do need is a nice re-created 13th century village, lots of land surrounding, where they could play at witch hunting all they liked, and they could leave the rest of us in the current century alone.

The whole regressive mess is at RWW.

The Inquisition Tentacles Are Spreading.

I’ve written about Ralph Drollinger before. He’s one scary lunatic christian, and he wields way too much influence in the current regime. He’s crowing again, over all the “progress” he’s making. It’s as well to remember that Drollinger’s idea of progress is to bring back the inquisition or something like.

Ralph Drollinger, who runs fundamentalist Bible studies for dozens of members of Congress and President Trump’s Cabinet every week, said in a fundraising letter this month that his group “has been blessed by God with extraordinary growth beyond our wildest imaginings in foreign nations across the globe and most notably in former Soviet Bloc countries.”

[…]

We noted last fall that Drollinger is aggressively expanding his operations both at the local government level in the U.S. and in national capitals around the world. His April 4 letter includes some details about the latter:

In the last few months discipleship Bible studies have been established to Parliamentarians in Romania; Ukraine; Fiji; Papua New Guinea; and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. A ministry is about to begin in Guatemala, and before fall, we expect work to be completed for ministries in the Central and South American nations of Peru; Ecuador; Brazil; Mexico; Uruguay; and Paraguay, as well as in the European city Riga, Latvia.

Work is current an ongoing with partners to establish discipleship Bible studies in Berlin and Bonne [sic]. We are enthusiastically pursuing an opportunity to plant a ministry in the European Union Parliament, a body of 600 Parliamentarians from 26 Western and Eastern European nations who meet two weeks every month in Brussels, Belgium and one week every month in Strasbourg, France.

We thought the Lord did not want us in the Middle East, but to our great surprise discussions are currently underway to establish a ministry in a Muslim majority nation in the Middle East.

[…]

Although Drollinger is quick to complain about news coverage he believes is unfair, his letter says a story published in a German newspaper helped attract new friends. And Capitol Ministries has been gushing about a recent BBC story that the group says “reached more than 1 million readers world-wide.”

I have no idea why people might find Drollinger favourable in any light, but even if you are one of the lucky people who lives in a happily secular nation, this should be worrying. Drollinger is naturally courting regressive governments, but there are always regressive asses in any government, and they are likely to listen to Drollinger. I fail to see the charm, and it’s beyond disturbing that Drollinger is not simply being dismissed. Just to give you an idea of what Drollinger wants to institute, as far as government is concerned:

Drollinger’s April 13 Bible study says it is a “disservice to the country” for public servants to “craft policy that is not somehow rooted in Scripture.” Here are some of the other theological and political positions Drollinger teaches public officials:

Drollinger likes to tell reporters that he doesn’t instruct public officials how to vote, but he makes it clear in his written Bible studies that, for example, Christian public servants are required to support the death penalty and oppose marriage equality.

Drollinger also has very specific views on the role of women: “there is a prohibition of female leadership in marriage, and female leadership in the church.” One of his Bible studies explains what he calls the “unambiguous” difference in responsibilities the Bible gives men and women, saying women’s “primary functions” include homemaking, home management, mothering, teaching younger women, displaying hospitality and dressing modestly.

There’s much more, RWW has the full story.