By the mid 70s, I had harbored a belief that frenetic societal norms were approaching a tipping point. Unfortunately, I did not turn that gnawing Angst into a Greta Thunberg moment. Since that time, generational thieves continue to place the young closest to the brink. The wealthiest of the most privileged draw up CYA plans, such as keeping a pilot on call and insuring that the bunkers stay well stocked and well armed.
Solastalgia: a form of mental or existential distress caused by environmental change.
An item from today’s (28 May 2019) New York Times:
In the next few months, the White House will complete the rollback of the most significant federal effort to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, initiated during the Obama administration. It will expand its efforts to impose Mr. Trump’s hard-line views on other nations, building on his retreat from the Paris accord and his recent refusal to sign a communiqué to protect the rapidly melting Arctic region unless it was stripped of any references to climate change.
Everyday ecologies slip away every day and every where. My particular “where” is in a fly-over State, the point where Ohio and Kentucky meet Indiana.
What I saw a generation ago, that I do not (or very seldom) see now:
ants crawling up a tree,
diverse wild birds,
earthworms in puddles,
Cicadas flew by the billions here in 2004. Will they hatch in 2021?
Plastic molecules form islands in every ocean, plastics permeate lungs and digestive tracts, they extend to the peak of Everest (see photo below) and drop into the Marianna Trench. Sea life ingests those products manufactured using fossil fuels, transported with fossil fuels. Furious resource-extraction teams purchase ice-breaking ships to the Arctic for rare minerals needed in throwaway electronics.
An urgent suggestion: stop eating fish — and all other sentient things. Industrial nets extending 75 miles behind enormous tankers cull sea life efficiently enough to shorten the intervals between individual eco-extinctions.
Did you know that Greta Thunberg is vegan? She confronts eco-criminals with action plans that address the root of the problem. It’s not Climate Change, it’s not Climate Crisis, it’s nothing less than a Climate Emergency.
Go Vegan like there’s no tomorrow.
wasting lives by consuming them,
trashing lives for folly, fashion, fad, or geopolitical advantage,
frenzied shopping experiences,
joining traffic jams on the highways if avoidable,
frenetic frequent flying,
idling your ass in a drive-thru for the In and Out of it all,
ingesting the toxins that dwell in fast food,
tossing single-use plastic utensils and drinking straws,
salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, secret sauce, soy, sugar… packets into an environment already fulsomely (my favorite word) thick with them.
“Hamas is no rogue militant group, with anonymous, shadowy operators. It will not disappear or shirk its leadership responsibility. It remains an authentic and powerful part of the Palestinian people, for over thirty years… much older than some of the current Israeli political parties in the Knesset. While many of its founders, all those years ago, have been killed by Israel, Hamas continues to speak on behalf of the dignity and hope of millions of Palestinians worldwide. Like them, it carries the kindle of resilience and self-determination of a People rendered stateless but neither hopeless nor powerless by a European colonial project. Like them, it will not cease to exist or fade into silence.”
The Islamic Resistance Movement began more than thirty years ago at an historical moment in time which it knew to be fraught with absolute peril for their people. The founders of this national liberation struggle examined the overwhelming military capabilities of Israel, fostered by its global superpower sponsor, the United States. They looked at Israel’s expansionist programs… the Zionist project of illegal settlements erasing their homes and villages, dispossessing mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers… and at the failure of the international community to stop them. They knew then, that within a generation Palestinians would lose it all … their motherland and patrimony and their nation… leaving them homeless captives to the whims of another man’s door. In that moment, resistance was not a lifestyle choice or a revolutionary pose. It was existential necessity, just as it is now.
A repost from There’s an Elephant in the Room — “Veganism; do motives matter?”
This is an essential article — a clear and sustaining statement that maintains its focus. It quite simply dispels facile, self-serving, soothing delusions that keep the inconceivably evil nihilist machinery profitable and unstoppable. Motives matter enormously.
“Underpinned by the decision to stop the deep injustice of creating victims, no checklist is needed to determine which species deserve to be respected; it’s ALL of them. This is what veganism actually is and once an individual has acknowledged that this is their choice, it is unshakeable. It becomes completely unthinkable to even consider going back on that decision; it becomes an integral part, even the defining part of who we are as individuals.”
A reign of terror began 71 years ago in Palestine: aptly called The Catastrophe, that terror continues to this day. That land lies at an ancient crossroads, located directly along the shortest land route from Africa to Europe. You have to be a resilient people to have lived there over the past few millennia, resiliency is something that defines such people. Palestinian Social Customs and Traditions
Ethnic cleansing continues even as the Palestinian birthrate increases more rapidly than the Israeli birthrate. There are now 5.3 million Palestinians and 5.2 million Israelis living in the same geography.
Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1516 to 1917 — the United States has only been around for 243 years. How much history, culture, traditions, arts, sciences, music, dance, cuisine, celebrations had flourished in those 401 years? Here is that link again: Palestinian Social Customs and Traditions.
The current political milieu in Israel extends from Rightwing to Ultra Rightwing, and all points in-between. Michael Oren, former Netanyahu ambassador to Washington and now a part of Netanyahu’s government, spoke over the telephone with Isaac Chotiner of the New Yorker, the interview went off the rails with quite a flourish. Here is an excerpt:
Isaac Chotiner: I am trying to disaggregate the ideas that this is being done for safety and security and there is no alternative, and that it is being done because people are traditional and religious—
Michael Oren: That’s my point. It’s not just security. It’s also ideology, it’s also belief.
Isaac Chotiner: Do you think that there are moral consequences to those beliefs, if they include increasing settlements in the West Bank?
Michael Oren: I have to distinguish between what’s right and what’s smart.
Isaac Chotiner: Increasing settlements is which?
Michael Oren: Again, you want to put this in black-and-white terms, but it is not black and white. Increasing settlements where? They are not all the same.
Isaac Chotiner: Sure. I just didn’t understand what you meant by right versus smart. I didn’t mean to interrupt you.
Michael Oren: It is definitely our right. I think it is our incontrovertible right as Jews to live anywhere in our ancestral homeland.
Isaac Chotiner: Really?
Michael Oren: No question. No question about it. Anywhere. And a member of the Sioux nation has a right to live on Sioux-nation territory. These are our tribal lands. The cradle of our civilization.
Occupation and demolition is heartless and it is brutal. Is it “a moral imperative” to uproot a thousand olive trees tended for a thousand years? The occupiers, protected by the IDF, routinely force families onto the street, then demolish their homes. Does it matter that those families have lived there for centuries? Housing developments in the Occupied Territories look like they’ve been transported from Southern California: reliable electricity, clean water, sewage pipes that dump onto the small isolated pockets that remain well isolated — where dwell the huddled Palestinian masses. Homeless in their own country. The “settlements” connect to Israeli jobs, markets and families over modern highways, fences run along the entire length of both shoulders. “For Israelis Only” — Jim Crow echoes there. Zoom out and you witness the spectacle of a 200 state solution, 200 isolated pockets of huddled masses yearning to be free.
What is it like to be dispossessed, to live under terror for 71 years? The IDF doesn’t just knock on your children’s door in the middle of the night, they break the door down and terrorize the entire family, the entire neighborhood. They do it at whim and with impunity, they keep the kids in holding cells indefinitely.
The British Empire took advantage of several remnants of the Ottoman Empire in 1917 by obtaining a legal instrument (a Mandate for Palestine) drawn up by the short-lived League of Nations. Lord Balfour feared an influx of Semites arriving at British shores, undesirable refugees in an otherwise polite country. He sought to keep them far away from Britannia. Palestine was on the other side of Europe, far from the White Cliffs of Dover.
I maintain that the British Empire signed over their “Mandate for Palestine” to Palestine’s present occupiers.
In 1948, Truman pulled a Balfour on the Palestinians.
The cow is on the table, she takes on roles to disguise her guise, she must assume names that soothe the savage sapiens who seek satiety. A “meat” cookbook is a collection of vignettes for social occasions and celebration. Let’s look at just one: veal medallions — carefully crated cow-boys separated from their mothers at birth and slaughtered at youth, at the exact moment when their flesh is optimally tender to the tongue and teeth. The name ‘medallions’ evokes an honor bestowed upon the diner, esteeming the favor of their palate. Vegan diets are healthy for children and other living things.
The Jungle opened a section of curtain to reveal where the cow body parts on your plate originated. The best minds of inhumane capitalism hire the most devious among us to serve man. Capitalism wretches souls that way. It’s for dinner.
Sinclair Lewis had already predicted the vicious horror that a body politic driven by greed and wanton power could unleash. He did a damned good take on a fictitious character who possessed certain skills and ambitions, including a despotic trumpish draw.
The Jungle’s heart-wrenching critique of industrial capitalism was lost on readers more worried about the rat faeces that, according to Sinclair, contaminated their sausage. Sinclair later observed: “I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.
Sinclair Lewis THE JUNGLE 1906
Mr. T took on fifteen fellow Republiconnivers and finished them off with considerable ease in 2016. Lewis wrote It Can’t Happen Here, revealing that every brick of its heavy foundation had already been kilned.
Artificial intelligence is approaching the capability of moving its not-so-invisible finger, in a curiously recursive way, to write robust robotic code to compile algorithms of cruel but profitable intention. A perfection of agency commanded by global geopolitical intention without the slightest sliver of morality. Let there be slaughterhouses, and there were slaughterhouses.
I think of Proto-Indo-European as a linguistic continent comprised of many languages — geographies mapped by language. Though PIE has left nothing in writing for her descendants to examine, a process of reverse engineering points to a hub at the greater Ukraine vicinity.
All homo sapiens came from East Africa, the shortest and most easily traversed paths have gone through what is now Palestine. Those who took up residence in the fertile bread-basket of Western Asia stopped to create PIE before proceeding to various points of the compass.
My first steps taken outside the world of English were in German, where I wrestled her complex set of inflections — function signals developed over the millennia on the Northern European Plain — an easily traversed topography as well. The shortest distance between two points takes longer if you must scale mountains along the way.
Arabic doesn’t look three-quarters of a smidgeon like PIE.
Saxons brought German across the channel, The English. Along that path, the “b” became a “v”, the “t” became a “d” and a few other things I shall leave unexamined right now. Vikings made short work of inflections when they occupied Isles, The British. The “t” latched onto the “h” to do something not done in proper German society — sticking the tongue out. A native German-speaking friend once told me that her mother would scold her at any spoken breach, such as allowing your tongue to extend beyond the teeth. “It’s what the Englanders do. Tut tut. The very idea…”
One of my German students, a Palestinian, introduced me to the Arabic alphabet. I accepted his interest in German as a challenge to learn Arabic, at the time I hadn’t known that Arabic was not one of the PIE tongues. The excerpt of the Qu’ran included below might alert you that Arabic doesn’t look three-quarters of a smidgeon like PIE. Peruse this image for a long take at nine English words. It’s a color-coded snapshot of those nine that elucidate many aspects of Arabic grammar. The Quranic Arabic Corpus provides detail from the hair strands to the toenails.
Search any translation, interpretation, analysis, mistranslation, misinterpretation, or spurious analysis in any Qu’ran 67:1. Take it where you will or where you won’t. Languages should always offer a means for removing barriers, not exacerbating them. Weaponizing translations for propaganda value is a kind of false witness that literally obfuscates communication for a hidden or unstated agenda.
A few closing thoughts:
Arabic language has
a script that makes many alphabets (alpha, beta…) based on Latin look hammered and chiseled by comparison.
a root system that works as precise architecture — form follows function. It combines beauty with linguistic precision.
some amazing flexibility. German, my second language, can concatenate nouns, can use entire prepositional and adverbial phrases to function as adjectives. However, Arabic can incorporate entire sentences into a single word.
a different look and feel that distinguishes it from Proto-Indo-European language. Farsi is a PIE language, it’s not based on a root system — even though its words look like Arabic.
something for the left-handed student. Arabic allows me to see what I am writing as I write, to sweep a pen across a piece of paper. To pull along a sheet of paper rather than to plow into it.
You may think you already know too much about geopolitical regime-change architect Steve Bannon, perhaps you were hoping that the creep had already crept back under a rock — not at all, Bannon fans. Be of good cheer, Altrighteers! Taste fist, AntiFas!
Fulsome News and U.S. Empire Report:
Good news for the Fas: SB has crept under a different kind of rock, the Petrine.
Steve Bannon is working to make friends and influence Fascists in a Europe that has shown entirely too much unity since post-war Fascist losses in 1945. The great man is setting up shop in Italy, just one easy commute away from Vatican City, a world capital where he can simultaneously keep his friends and his enemies close. It’s at a medieval monastery built in 1204 CE (only eleven years before the Magna Carta, for the sake of Christ!), a facility quite large enough to simultaneously accommodate dozens of über-conservative deal brokers. The monastery’s building complex was built in an era when Cannon Law was supreme and unfettered, when separation of church and state was capital heresy.
Bannon is a reliable information (propaganda) source for the rightwing political players in the Roman Catholic Church. A base that has become most rigidly rigid in its resurgent Church Militant: a call to reinvigorate The Crusades — a mission, in their words, that has never ended, that needs recruits to defend The West from Moslems (the word Muslim is insufficiently orientalist for their purposes) that have always sought to conquer European Civilization: The Judeo-Christian West threatened by Mohamedism (orientalist for Islam) and the dreaded boogymen in the “Koran” — perhaps best pronounced perhaps as the “Ko-ran”, those fiery fiends that threaten Israel — perhaps also best pronounced as “Is-real”.
Imagine a placard on the base statue of Mr. Steve in the square of St. Peter.
Steven Kevin Bannon
Founder of Bannon Law, an informed interpretation of Cannon Law
stalwart champion of White Rights, Bannonavellianism , the guy who knows how to get the job done and is ready to drop shells on all the egg shells it takes to make a proper Stalinist Omelet.
Rough-beast incarnate: not the kind of slouch who would limit his reach to Bethlehem.
After leaving the White House, Bannon declared his intention to become “the infrastructure, globally, for the global populist movement.
A vegetarian ingests an animal’s personal effects by consuming merely eggs, milk and/or cheese — highly addictive substances that keep addicts coming back for more. It takes commitment and some patience while your body excretes toxins, but it’s also enormously rewarding. Immeasurably if you have genuine compassion for animals and remember that we ain’t nothing but mammals.
Calfs get separated from their mothers at birth. Her breast milk is diverted to a marketplace. Oddly enough, a cow’s milk is designed for her offspring. Imagine if you can. There is no weaning process, just immediate separation of mother and calf.
Sir, would you please direct me to the supermarket’s breast-milk cooler?
Unfortunately, a vegetarian ends up causing more cruelty than a “meat” eater who eats only meat. When chickens and cows can no longer produce the goods for the dairy industry they are shipped to a slaughter houses for marginal return on investment.
As a veganist, I advocate formal legal recognition of the inalienable rights of all sentient animals to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Animals are not a necessary “resource” for a becoming life. We become inured our entire lives to the unspeakable violence that attends denial of these rights — multiple times per day for most non-vegan humans.
Look at a chart of “cuts” in a butcher shop. Connect the dots to Grey’s Anatomy. We share virtually the same vital organs, virtually the same body systems: from head to toe and wrapped in the largest organ of all, the skin. Skin keeps the organs protected from the elements. You are what you eat.
A rodent living a matter of inches below scorched Earth was the mother of all mammals.
Humans once lived in harmony with this planet — some time after the fifth extinction event ended reptilian species that evolved over 200,000,000 years. By comparison, human have evolved for only 200,000 years. That should humble us, but I don’t think we are terribly modest in our self-estimation. Having an extinction event named after ourselves — The Anthropocene — is not a cause for celebration.
A rodent living a matter of inches below scorched Earth was the mother of all mammals. Who knows what might follow an Anthropocene?
“The truth is that it is hard for me to say what I am. I was born in El Salvador, and its land and people are synonyms with love and freedom in my heart. But the country itself is an invention of an invader from another continent. Its language, its religion, its traditions all were imposed by the invaders, burned into us with fire and cauldrons. Our 500 year old resistance has left its mark in a perennial PTSD so ingrained in our bones that we don’t even know any other way of feeling is possible.”
I was born in the continent known as “America”, yes. But somehow this United States has given itself the name of the entire continent.
Ronald Reagan demoted the rest of this magnificent continent to the mere “Backyard of America.”
That’s when I came here, to the “land of the free,” when Ronald Reagan sent billions of dollars to military dictators so they could use the money to rape, torture, and massacre my people. I didn’t want to come here. Oh, how I hated coming to this land so full of restrictions, prohibitions, and people kept so ignorant of their own history!
Once I came here, almost no one I met knew where my country was. They all assumed I was Mexican. Except for Mexicans. They knew where I was from, and knew they couldn’t trust me because if I was from where I was, I…
Nota Bene: Criticism of Israel does not constitute antisemitism.
Matti Friedman argues that “There Is No Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” — from the perspective of a Canadian-Israeli, a soldier-poet, an apologist for Israeli rightwing family values: a kindred spirit for those who think of Palestinians in terms of cardboard cutouts, and a considered belief that they are a waste of cardboard. He works words with great economy, clarity and imagination — a Western writer living in a Middle-Eastern geography . Mr. Friedman is currently residing in Palestine’s capital city: Al Quds.
…a kindred spirit for those who think of Palestinians in terms of cardboard cutouts…
Friedman’s opinion piece “There Is No Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” is a study guide on how to look through both sides of a pair of binoculars in order to begin understanding that non-conflict. The article uses fifteen paragraphs to house fifteen straw men. I had intended to critique each, but have discovered that it might take a multi-part series to adequately address them, so here are the first couple straw men.
Matti Friedman (@MattiFriedman), a contributing opinion writer, is the author of “The Aleppo Codex,” “Pumpkinflowers” and the forthcoming “Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel.”
JERUSALEM — If you are reading this, you’ve most likely seen much about “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” in the pages of this newspaper and of every other important newspaper in the West. That phrase contains a few important assumptions. That the conflict is between two actors, Israelis and Palestinians. That it could be resolved by those two actors, and particularly by the stronger side, Israel. That it’s taking place in the corner of the Middle East under Israeli rule.
They brought house keys along, planning to unlock their doors upon their return home.
West (orientalists): Palestine is in the Middle-East, it was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1918. The League of Nations — a short-lived and long defunct Western (orientalist) attempt at world order — The League unilaterally granted the British a legal instrument termed “Mandate for Palestine.” They colonized Palestine until May 1948, when 700,000 unarmed Palestinians were forcibly removed from their homes, their neighborhoods, their ancestral homeland with only what they could cart or carry. They brought house keys along, planning to unlock their doors upon their return home — a right, ironically enough, guaranteed in that same catastrophic year by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 1948.
Not surprisingly, Palestinians lived in greatest number along the Mediterranean Coast.
Particularly by the stronger side: The only armed forces — unless you consider rusty Ottoman-era weapons, unreliable and inaccurate mortars, and rocks from the rubble of demolished homes to be forces rather than farces — has always been the occupier.
Let me be clear: there is no “both sides.” There is a terrorist org that endangers civilians, and there is a state that protects them. Soon, the world will stare reality in the face and finally condemnation.
Let me be clearer: Hamas has no army, no navy, no air force, no tanks, no attack helicopters, no fighter jets, no armored vehicles, no missiles, no bombs, no nothing but rocks and a few crude unguided rockets which land with a thud. From the bottom of my heart, shut the fuck up.
Corner of the Middle East: a feint that reminds me of Goebbel’s Ministry of Propaganda — Lebensraum defined in terms of population density, where British “living space” included Canada and Australia.
Under Israeli rule: Not surprisingly, Palestinians lived in greatest number along the Mediterranean Coast. See Mahmoud Darwish’s famous poem “Unfortunately, It was Paradise.” Palestine is comparable to Southern California in terms of climate and real estate value. Displaced refugees were driven into Gaza, and the West Bank of the Jordan River. Ironically, again, the number of “settlers” in the West Bank is now greater than the 700,000 granted diaspora in 1948. That corner of the Middle East.
Let me be clearer: Hamas has no army, no navy, no air force, no tanks, no attack helicopters, no fighter jets, no armored vehicles, no missiles, no bombs, no nothing but rocks and a few crude unguided rockets which land with a thud. From the bottom of my heart, shut the fuck up.
Presented this way, the conflict has become an energizing issue on the international left and the subject of fascination of many governments, including the Trump administration, which has been working on a “deal of the century” to solve it. The previous administration’s secretary of state, John Kerry, committed so much time to Israeli-Palestinian peace that for a while he seemed to be here each weekend. If only the perfect wording and map could be found, according to this thinking, if only both sides could be given the right dose of carrots and sticks, peace could ensue.
To someone here in Israel, all of this is harder and harder to understand. There isn’t an Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the way that many outsiders seem to think, and this perception gap is worth spelling out. It has nothing to do with being right-wing or left-wing in the American sense. To borrow a term from the world of photography, the problem is one of zoom. Simply put, outsiders are zoomed in, and people here in Israel are zoomed out. Understanding this will make events here easier to grasp.
International Left: A political leaning so distasteful in Israel that the Left is nearly extinct. Netanyahu, a perfect storm of a politician, remarks that his opponent Benny Gantz “leans to the left.”
Deal of the Century: Trump is a fellow White Supremacist, “subject of fascination of many governments…” Trump’s interests do not include any measurable intellectual curiosity. Trump is just another convenient tool — Obama was considerably too melanin-rich, but he delivered the 3.8 billion in funding to allow the largest per-capita military prowess to eke along, to scrape a respectable secure “defense” that now includes the ethnical-cleansing maiming marvel: butterfly bullets.
John Kerry: He knows what war is, he knows who Trump is, he successfully completed the difficult negotiations with Iran — a country without nuclear weapons. Israel gets to have it both ways: nuclear weapons? Yes, No, Maybe, Meh. “Hey, what’s happening over there?” No, it’s what’s happening here, we’re picking your plump wallet.
Perfect Wording : Who is your new friend there? I hear he comes from a good Saud family (the only country in the world run by a single family.
… a political leaning so distasteful in Israel that the Left is nearly extinct.
I include myself among those who sense that a long, deep and deadly conflict has extended into the longest and most threatening conflict in at least the last several centuries. I was eight-months old in May 14, 1948, but have only been paying close attention to the conflict/non-conflict since the mid 1960s.
The population of Palestine/Israel has reached parity, there are as many Palestinians as Israelis within the same geography. Israel has managed to eliminate any remote semblance of a two-state solution with a divide and occupy strategy:
Maintaining an apartheid wall
“Withdrawing” from the Gaza Testing Range and Petri dish
Nota Bene Too: The phrase “security for the Jews” has been consecrated as an exclusive synonym for “the lessons of the Holocaust.” It is what allows Israel to systematically discriminate against its Arab citizens. For 40 years, “security” has been justifying control of the West Bank and Gaza and of subjects who have been dispossessed of their rights living alongside Jewish residents, Israeli citizens laden with privileges. — Amira Hass