Sunday Facepalm.

Wallnau, again. Lance is the gift of never-ending eyerolls. Now it’s Jehovah playing with the stock market, just to fuck about with a few people.

Wallnau was outraged by the fact that several business leaders had resigned from presidential advisory councils in protest of Trump’s comments in the wake of the violence that had occurred at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend, which ultimately forced Trump to disband the councils entirely.

“They insulted the president and his base,” Wallnau declared. “It doesn’t surprise me [that] the stock market had its first setback today. That’s not a coincidence. That’s not a coincidence, that’s a prophetic response to the uprising and insult that came from these CEOs.”

Uprising? Really? I wouldn’t characterize resigning as an uprising, those are different things, Lance. How is this a prophetic response? Has someone had a nifty prophecy about this, and what, just forgot to say? If there’s insult to be had, it’s on the part of the Tiny Tyrant and his base, asshole bigots, nazis, and your garden variety evil fuckers. Every single one of you is an insult to humanity, and to anyone with actual morals. You have all the benefit of a boil on the arse.

“When those CEOs mocked Trump and made this a political issue, the judgment would come where their pocketbooks are,” he continued. “How fast does God sometimes settle accounts.”

They didn’t make this a political issue, Lance. They simply could not walk past the “presidential” standard of hey, nazis are fine people! Naturally, the Tiny Tyrant could have kept his mouth shut, but no, he had come out with just how awful all those people of colour and their allies are, persecuting those poor nazis. I expect the stock market will be fine, it’s the nature of the beast to fluctuate. As for Jehovah being all speedy and stuff, I guess you don’t subscribe to The Mills of God. That, and the very old concept of ancestral sin is more Jehovah’s thing, y’know, just read your book of psychopathy. Not that any of it originated with your particular god, but it was certainly adopted with enthusiasm.

There’s video at RWW.

Squinkery.

I fell in love with a new word: Squink. It’s onomatopoeically delicious! I had expressed a desire to use this wonderful word, and PZ provided:

Here’s another good use that you’ll find opportunities for all the time: when someone throws out a cloud of incoherent obfuscations for something stupid they’ve just said, they’re squinking. Creationists, MRAs, and Republicans do it all the time — Just watch Jack Kingston or Jeffrey Lord or Kellyann Conway sometime. Nonstop squinking.

The conservative christians propping up the Tiny Tyrant are still busy squinking over the Charlottesville statement:

“I do not believe he was speaking of people giving a Nazi salute or giving racist chants,” Suarez, who is also an advocate for immigration reform, said. “I believe he was speaking of a few who sincerely would not like to see a monument removed, and were not participating in racist activities.”

[…]

Robert Jeffress — who made waves last week by making the highly disputed claim that God has given Trump the authority to “take out” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un — told the Christian Broadcasting Network that Trump “doesn’t have a racist bone in his body,” and that the uproar over his press conference is “just more a style issue.”

Ah, a style issue. Right. It seems that the Tiny Tyrant’s style is to have a few Nazi uniforms hiding in his closet. You can read the full article at Think Progress.

Don Boys at Barbwire is squinking so hard you could hear him a mile away:

…I understand that sensitive Blacks might be offended at Confederate monuments; however, many of us are often offended by many things including their apparent desire to be offended, but we always get over it. They will too. However, they are being encouraged in their insanity by local and federal officials.

[…]

And once again, I will remind everyone that Lincoln’s War of Northern Aggression against the genteel southland was not to free the slaves as Lincoln admitted, but he used it later as a “sales job” to prosecute the war. Taxes, tariffs, and states’ rights to nullification were the original reasons brother fought brother with over 600,000 dead. However, uninformed or dishonest people keep saying otherwise.

Hmmm, from where I sit, I see a white man with an acute sensitivity problem. No worries, Don, you’ll get over it. If you can stomach it, the full column is here.

Charting Confederate Symbols Alongside Social Movements.

150 Years of Iconography, courtesy of Southern Poverty Law Center. Sourced from their story, Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy (click to enlarge).

[…] The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) began to catalog Confederate symbols around the country, stating: “There was no comprehensive database of such symbols…In an effort to assist the efforts of local communities to re-examine these symbols, the SPLC launched a catalog to study them.”

[…]

There were two major periods during which the dedication of Confederate monuments and other symbols spiked: the first two decades of the 20th century and, later, the Civil Rights movement. As they explain:

[T]wo distinct periods saw a significant rise in the dedication of monuments and other symbols. The first began around 1900, amid the period in which states were enacting Jim Crow laws to disenfranchise the newly freed African Americans and re-segregate society. This spike lasted well into the 1920s, a period that saw a dramatic resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, which had been born in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War.

The second spike began in the early 1950s and lasted through the 1960s, as the civil rights movement led to a backlash among segregationists. These two periods also coincided with the 50th and 100th anniversaries of the Civil War.

Take a look at the infographic. Note the massive cluster of dedications of monuments around the time the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was being formed, and the dedications’ continued persistence during the KKK’s resurgence. Check out the sudden rise in the dedication of schools, named in honor of Confederate soldiers, almost immediately following Brown v. Board of Education. Note that there were less dedications of Confederate symbols during race riots, even a significant dip during the Detroit uprising of 1943.

You can trace a clear spike in the dedication of Confederate monuments whenever black Americans organized in a concrete way; when they were made visibly vulnerable — such as in the instance of uprisings — the commitment to Confederate symbolism tapered off.

According to this data, it’s clear that once black Americans sought their own agency or publicly defended their rights, white supremacists and Confederate apologists became eager to crowd around these monuments in tender affection and homage, to espouse this history. The monuments had a purpose, newly reinstated again and again, to revive and cherish white history each time minorities, especially black people, made themselves visible. The common refrain in support of the Confederate flag (“heritage, not hate”) quickly dies on its own sword. There’s no pride, except for the kind rooted in a fear of white erasure.

After mining the data, it’s clear white panic is real.

The full article is at Hyperallergic, and it’s excellent, and necessary reading, as many people seem to not know the full history of these monuments to hate. Recommended reading.

Most Liked.

Barack Obama: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…”

Barack Obama: “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love…”

Barack Obama: “…For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela

Here’s a great example of the stark difference between this current presidency and the last: in the wake of Trump’s horrific response to the Charlottesville tragedy, Barack Obama tweeted a three-part quote from Nelson Mandela, the first tweet of which has become the most liked post in the site’s entire history.

Via Out.

The Intertwining of Trees and Crime.

Screencapture.

There’s been some very interesting research happening in Chicago, and it turns out that trees reduce crime. I don’t find this surprising at all, but I’m a “must be attached to the land” person. When your environment is bleak and desolate, you end up with bleak, desolate, desperate people. We need to be aware of our earth, we need to be connected to our planet. In urban environments, the best way to restore that connection is with trees. Yes, they are a long-term investment, but that’s good, because it means people are thinking the right way, generations ahead of themselves.

In June, the Chicago Regional Tree Initiative and Morton Arboretum released what they say is the most comprehensive tree canopy data set of any region in the U.S., covering 284 municipalities in the Chicago area. Now, that data is helping neighborhoods improve their environments and assist their communities.

“When we go to talk to communities,” says Lydia Scott, director of the CRTI, “We say ‘trees reduce crime.’ And then they go, ‘Explain to me how that could possibly be, because that’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard.’”

In Chicago, where more than 2,000 people have been shot this year, scientists are looking at physical features of neighborhoods for solutions. “We started to look at where we have heavy crime, and whether there was a correlation with tree canopy, and often, there is,” says Scott. “Communities that have higher tree population have lower crime. Areas where trees are prevalent, people tend to be outside, mingling, enjoying their community.”

The map revealed that poorer neighborhoods are often “tree deserts,” areas with little or no tree canopy. Trees reduce flooding, improve property values, prevent heat islands, promote feelings of safety, reduce mortality, and provide other significant social and health benefits. This means that when you live in, for example, the South Side, where trees are scarcer, you lose more than just green leaves overhead.

Never before have researchers been able to look so widely and deeply at this sort of data. The map is huge—it covers seven counties—and extremely detailed. That has allowed Scott and her colleagues to notice some startling patterns. For example, in the North Shore community—an affluent, lakeside, suburban area—canopy cover tends to be 40 percent or higher. On the economically depressed South Side, canopy can be as low as 7 percent.

That last is no surprise, either. As it goes with people, the poorer you are, the less of everything you get, including trees. There’s much more to the article, all the research, how it was conducted, and information about Blacks in Green, who are doing stellar work. Click on over to Atlas Obscura for the full story. Then see if you could help plant a tree. Or just hug one.

Need Another Reason to Denounce Nazis?

Here you go:

SCOOP: “Weev”, the system administrator for The Daily Stormer is planning on sending Nazis to #HeatherHeyer funeral. #Charlottesville.

“Yo, I need some research done,” Weev wrote. “What’s the location of this fat skank’s funeral.”

“Get on it, e-sleuths,” he added. “I want to get people on the ground there.”

This is appalling and shocking behaviour. Have we all become so damned weary and jaded that this too, is normalised? We cannot let this be. We cannot dare to enter the silence of complicity. We must keep standing up, we must fight, we must yell back. This cannot become acceptable. This cannot become tolerable, in any way.

Via Raw Story.

Denouncing Nazis.

Pearce Tefft recently wrote an open letter to his son. The other day, PZ posted about the fanatical racist relative he had. I grew up with a rabid John Bircher and bigot extraordinaire. While I was not completely silent in the face of that bigotry, I certainly did not speak up as often or as loudly as I should have done. It’s past time we stop playing all these little games with ourselves, pretending that these bigots aren’t really terrible people, because they are so and so’s Auntie Martha, or Uncle John, and so forth. It’s past time to stop pretending that all the nazis aren’t a problem. They are, and they have now descended into open murder. Conservative Christians are raging in their defense of nazism, and frantically attempting to pin blame everywhere except where it belongs. It’s past time for us all to gather our courage, and speak out. And to keep on speaking out. The more of this we do, the more will join in, finding support. Siobhan has an excellent reason to start yelling at the top of your voice.

My name is Pearce Tefft, and I am writing to all, with regards to my youngest son, Peter Tefft, an avowed white nationalist who has been featured in a number of local news stories over the last several months.

On Friday night, my son traveled to Charlottesville, Va., and was interviewed by a national news outlet while marching with reported white nationalists, who allegedly went on to kill a person.

I, along with all of his siblings and his entire family, wish to loudly repudiate my son’s vile, hateful and racist rhetoric and actions. We do not know specifically where he learned these beliefs. He did not learn them at home.

I have shared my home and hearth with friends and acquaintances of every race, gender and creed. I have taught all of my children that all men and women are created equal. That we must love each other all the same.

Evidently Peter has chosen to unlearn these lessons, much to my and his family’s heartbreak and distress. We have been silent up until now, but now we see that this was a mistake. It was the silence of good people that allowed the Nazis to flourish the first time around, and it is the silence of good people that is allowing them to flourish now.

You can read the rest of Mr. Tefft’s letter here.

The Myth of American Innocence.

Burak Kara/Getty Images for the Guardian.

My mother recently found piles of my notebooks from when I was a small child that were filled with plans for my future. I was very ambitious. I wrote out what I would do at every age: when I would get married and when I would have kids and when I would open a dance studio.

When I left my small hometown for college, this sort of planning stopped. The experience of going to a radically new place, as college was to me, upended my sense of the world and its possibilities. The same thing happened when I moved to New York after college, and a few years later when I moved to Istanbul. All change is dramatic for provincial people. But the last move was the hardest. In Turkey, the upheaval was far more unsettling: after a while, I began to feel that the entire foundation of my consciousness was a lie.

For all their patriotism, Americans rarely think about how their national identities relate to their personal ones. This indifference is particular to the psychology of white Americans and has a history unique to the US. In recent years, however, this national identity has become more difficult to ignore. Americans can no longer travel in foreign countries without noticing the strange weight we carry with us. In these years after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the many wars that followed, it has become more difficult to gallivant across the world absorbing its wisdom and resources for one’s own personal use. Americans abroad now do not have the same swagger, the easy, enormous smiles. You no longer want to speak so loud. There is always the vague risk of breaking something.

Some years after I moved to Istanbul, I bought a notebook, and unlike that confident child, I wrote down not plans but a question: who do we become if we don’t become Americans? If we discover that our identity as we understood it had been a myth? I asked it because my years as an American abroad in the 21st century were not a joyous romp of self-discovery and romance. Mine were more of a shattering and a shame, and even now, I still don’t know myself.

[…]

But for me there was also an intervention – a chance experience in the basement of Penn’s library. I came across a line in a book in which a historian argued that, long ago, during the slavery era, black people and white people had defined their identities in opposition to each other. The revelation to me was not that black people had conceived of their identities in response to ours, but that our white identities had been composed in conscious objection to theirs. I’d had no idea that we had ever had to define our identities at all, because to me, white Americans were born fully formed, completely detached from any sort of complicated past. Even now, I can remember that shiver of recognition that only comes when you learn something that expands, just a tiny bit, your sense of reality. What made me angry was that this revelation was something about who I was. How much more did I not know about myself?

It was because of this text that I picked up the books of James Baldwin, who gave me the sense of meeting someone who knew me better, and with a far more sophisticated critical arsenal than I had myself. There was this line:

But I have always been struck, in America, by an emotional poverty so bottomless, and a terror of human life, of human touch, so deep, that virtually no American appears able to achieve any viable, organic connection between his public stance and his private life.

And this one:

All of the western nations have been caught in a lie, the lie of their pretended humanism; this means that their history has no moral justification, and that the west has no moral authority.

And this one:

White Americans are probably the sickest and certainly the most dangerous people, of any colour, to be found in the world today.

I know why this came as a shock to me then, at the age of 22, and it wasn’t necessarily because he said I was sick, though that was part of it. It was because he kept calling me that thing: “white American”. In my reaction I justified his accusation. I knew I was white, and I knew I was American, but it was not what I understood to be my identity. For me, self-definition was about gender, personality, religion, education, dreams. I only thought about finding myself, becoming myself, discovering myself – and this, I hadn’t known, was the most white American thing of all.

I still did not think about my place in the larger world, or that perhaps an entire history – the history of white Americans – had something to do with who I was. My lack of consciousness allowed me to believe I was innocent, or that white American was not an identity like Muslim or Turk.

Very good reading from Suzy Hansen, recommended.

The Talk.

(Short Version).

(Full Length).

This very short ad, which touches on the very lengthy history of parents having to talk with young children about the ugliness of bigotry, and the gnawing fear of never seeing their child again. This has been, and still is, a necessary talk for most parents of colour. If anything, given the open bigotry and hatred on the part of too many cops these days, and their willingness to murder, well, things might not be worse, but they sure as hell aren’t much better.

I’m sure it won’t be a surprise, the white reaction to this. After having much of my hope for humanity utterly destroyed yesterday by skimming comments, the same thing comes to mind, that so many white people are so terribly frail, and delight in being cruel. It’s all liberal lies! Black people are delusional! Christ. Be smarter than me, stay away from all those willfully stupid, frail, malice filled bigots. They won’t make your day any better.

There is, naturally, a whinging howl to boycott Proctor & Gamble, those horrible, awful people. Damon Young at The Root addresses the storm.

But for what??? What the hell happened in the video that made them so mad? Did they film Michael Vick walking a dog? What the fuck?
 
Apparently they were triggered by an extremely tepid acknowledgment that the world might be a bit harder for black people than it is for them. The articulation of racism is racism. And not just racism, but racism-racism. That real, uncut and raw racism. Not that stepped-on shit with baking soda and milk.

Damon Young at The Root.

The Prophetic Order of the United States.

Right Wing Watch has an in-depth breakdown of the Religious Reich which now has a great deal of control over uStates government. It’s in sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Who Are These People?
  3. Trump and the Prophets: Made For The Era of Social Media?
  4. Overlapping Networks
  5. God’s Own Party?
  6. POTUS Trump and the Prophetic Order of the United States

I’m just going to have a few bits here…

Brody and Lamb’s book, “The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography” is scheduled for publication in January 2018, but it won’t be the first. It will face competition from “God and Trump” by Stephen Strang, who heads the Pentecostal media empire Charisma. During the campaign, Strang gave a media megaphone to Trump-boosting prophets like Wallnau. Strang’s book, which promises to explore “what is God doing, now not only in Donald Trump’s life, but also in the life of the nation,” is scheduled for release in November.

Meanwhile, POTUS Shield leaders continue to personally assure Trump that God Himself put Trump in power, something Amedia told attendees at the March POTUS Shield gathering that Trump understands:

I said to the man’s own face, ‘If you didn’t see God got you elected, with all the mistakes you made, and how you should have lost this election 50 times, then you will never see God.’ And he said, ‘I know it was God.’

[…]

For many Religious Right leaders, support for Trump is transactional: Trump promised them the Supreme Court, attacks on legal abortion and Planned Parenthood, and legal changes to make conservative Christians more politically powerful. But POTUS Shield members believe that something even greater than the Supreme Court is at stake: the future of the church and the reign of God on earth. They give Trump assurance that he’s on a divine path, and they give their followers a sense of playing an important role on the world stage, warring with the devil to take political and culture power away from liberals and secularists and establish the kingdom of God in the United States and around the world.

If you’re inclined to laugh, or shrug, don’t. Instead, think. This is terror. This is terrorism. This is a regime of sweeping oppression waiting in the wings, trying to take the main stage. This has been at work for many a year now, and this is the one and only chance they have, and they know it. I see in my own referrers here, how many people search for things like “Trump tackles elite satanic pedophiles” and the “prophecies” of this, that, and the other self-styled prophets. The Religious Reich has the perfect puppet, and Donny does not dare dismiss them, or spurn their desires, they are about the only thing keeping his arse firmly in the white house.

If there should be a face to atheism, to humanism, to the benefits of a secular society, it should be centered here, in direct and open opposition to these people who, in their pettiness and need to subjugate others, are climbing to ultimate power.

You can read the whole thing at Right Wing Watch, recommended.

Flowers For The Tiny Tyrant.

From Lizania Cruz’s series Flowers for Immigration.

From Lizania Cruz’s series Flowers for Immigration.

From Lizania Cruz’s series Flowers for Immigration.

A stunning project, so eloquent and poignant.

“Say it with flowers,” the expression goes. So, to communicate the thoughts that immigrants harbor about President Trump, artist Lizania Cruz decided to invite some of them to create bouquets for him. Her ongoing photo series Flowers for Immigration documents the resulting arrangements — quiet, beautiful manifestations of opinions that are often unspoken or silenced.

All are the creations of undocumented immigrant bodega workers who spend their days helping New Yorkers express themselves through flowers. Cruz, wanting to see the florists do the same for their own feelings, launched the project last November. Since then, she’s recruited 11 flower sellers to participate in the project. Not everyone she approached took her up on the offer, with some disagreeing with her objective and others refusing out of concern for their status. But providing a platform for those whose lives are at the center of current debates over immigration is precisely the goal of Cruz, who herself came to the city after being born and raised in the Dominican Republic.

“I hope viewers will be able to connect with the beauty and humanity of these undocumented workers and that their voices are amplified,” she told Hyperallergic. “Undocumented workers can’t go out and protest because of fear of facing legal actions. So I hope this project allowed them to have an opinion.” The participants, whom she paid for their involvement, are identified only by first names.

You can read much more about this project, and see much more at Hyperallergic, or visit Flowers for Immigration.

On Being Arrested in Japan.

English cards translated from Japanese by Rachel Mimms.

Getting arrested is a scary experience in every country, but perhaps even more so in Japan, where the conviction rate is over 99%. Last month, the Japanese government passed a new anti-terror conspiracy law that has drawn controversy among Japanese citizens who feel it is a threat to civil liberties and privacy. Artist Megumi Igarashi (pen name Rokudenashiko), famously arrested in 2014 on charges of obscenity for distributing 3D data of her genitals, is creating a set of playing cards that educate people about what it’s like to be arrested in Japan.

Critics of the anti-conspiracy law claim it is too broadly worded and contains acts that have little to no connection to terrorism, such as: copying music, picking mushrooms in conservation forests, and competing in a motor boat race without a license.

No stranger to the absurdity of Japanese law, Ms. Igarashi is responding by making a tongue-in-cheek karuta card game set depicting scenarios of arrest and imprisonment in Japan partly based on her own experiences. Each one has a drawing humorously portraying the situation described on the other side of the card. Through these “jail cards,” players can learn about Japanese prison conditions, police interrogation, and testifying in court.

She has already posted 17 of these cards to her Twitter account and says she plans to create an entire set of 50 — one for each Japanese syllable — so that anyone can print them out and play along.

You can read and see more at Spoon & Tamago. Cop shops, same all over the world.

#Pimpmyfactura.

Yacarebaby’s paste ups are a common sight on the Buenos Aires streets. Photo courtesy of PMF.

Gas and electricity bills, and estimates for bricks, paint, toilets, or doors are being turned into canvases—as we speak—by the indie graphic arts scene in Argentina. Through a program called #pimpmyfactura, the underground visual arts scene scene is bailing out three community day cares by transforming their debts into artwork. Top graffiti, paste up, collage and graphic design artists are merging from diverse disciplines towards one common goal: converting those unsettled bills into marketable works of art.

Over 40 artists from Argentina, Spain, Brazil, Uruguay, the Philippines and Colombia answered #pimpmyfactura‘s call and created artworks to be sold for charity for the value of the bill turned canvas.

This Icarus is brought to you by Colombian illustrator Chaparro on a paint store estimate of 1163 Argentine pesos.

The #pimpmyfactura project emerged last year in a contest that linked a foundation involved with low income daycares to TBWA, an advertisement agency that came up with a creative and concrete way of generating funds for the foundation. TBWA copywriter Enzo Ciucci is co-creator of #pimpmyfactura, and drew a bird’s skull on a hardware store estimate.

[…]

All pieces will be on exhibition at Buenos Aires’ Centro Cultural Rojas from August 4th to the 14th. They will be for sale for the amount of the bill they are painted on, and 100% of profit goes to the debts of these daycare centers through the Publicidar foundation.

You can read and see more at The Creators Project.