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Showing posts from September 21, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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Bloc leader attacks Jagmeet Singh, gives fuel to Quebec bashers

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[Good piece generally, but Nerenberg is in denial if he does not recognize that Quebec has one of the highest average levels of xenophobia in Canada. *RON*]
Karl Nerenberg, rabble.ca, 20 September 2017

Bloc Québécois leader Martine Ouellet claims that Jagmeet Singh's NDP leadership campaign signifies we must now confront not only the obscurantist, anti-science and anti-women's-rights religious right, but also the new and scary religious left.

Ouellet has not said what policies or values of this new political force she finds to be objectionable.

It is, however, impossible that the Bloc leader and former Parti Québécois cabinet minister does not know Jagmeet Singh is entirely in favour of the separation of church and state, ardently believes in a woman's right to choose, wants the Canadian government to heed the science and do a lot more about climate change, and does not, in any way, subscribe to the view that the sinful poor are the au…

Bangladesh Textile Mill Burns, Yet Again

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[This is, nominally, a Westminster-style parliamentary republic with universal suffrage. More like suffer-age. This is what it means when the West offers 'democracy' to the developing world - deadly collusion with the corporatocracy. *RON*]
Aruna Kashyap, Human Rights Watch , 21 September 2017

A fire in Ideal Textile Mills in Bangladesh killed at least six workers this week, reportedly after sparks from welding set ablaze inflammable chemicals stored close by.

Soon, the blame game will begin. Perhaps there’ll be a government-ordered inquiry. Maybe someone will be sent to jail. Then it will be business as usual, and the six workers will join a growing list of those who died in factory tragedies there.

Earlier this year, the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a legally binding agreement between clothing brands and unions, was renewed. The accord covers more than 1,600 garment factories. Under the revised agreement, the accord ste…

“What Do You Say To People Who Think They Have Nothing to Hide?”

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[Thought crimes in the era of the surveillance state. Nathan Wessler, a lawyer with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, monitors a government that increasingly monitors its citizens. *RON*]
Hawa Allan, Longreads, September 2017
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“Big Brother” has become shorthand for the inescapable gaze of governmental authority, first defined by George Orwell in his novel 1984. Everywhere yet nowhere, Big Brother is all-seeing and all-knowing, surveilling not just every person’s movement, but every thought. Where Orwell referred to illicit states of mind as “thoughtcrimes,” Philip K. Dick called them “precrimes” in his 1956 short story “The Minority Report,” in which a futuristic police force arrests subjects for crimes long before they are committed. While Big Brother has become common parlance, the precrime unit illustrated by Dick is a more apt portrayal of the to…

Scotland’s Oldest Snow Patch May Not See Another Sunrise

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[The original story - click above - is accompanied by several snarky and generally irritated comments by climate change deniers. *RON*]
Amy Klinkhammer, Discover Magazine, 20 September 2017
Resting beneath the 1,000-foot cliffs of Scotland’s Aonach’s Beag mountain range, The Sphinx –one of the country’s proudest snowcaps—is on its deathbed.

“It’s a very sorry sight,” says Iain Cameron, a leading snow expert and arguably one of Edinburgh’s most dedicated “snow patchers,” a group of people who seek out and track the changes in the island’s coldest landmarks. These patches “tend to sit in the little gullies and corries below the peaks,” Cameron told Atlas Obscura. The Sphinx, which dwells between the higher points of the Garbh Choire Mor in the Cairngorms, is not only Scotland’s oldest snow patch, but is typically its most vigorous.

The island’s craggy and dynamic slopes offer a place for snow patches to nestle throughout the warmer spring months. Som…

Terrorism: The Lessons of Barcelona

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[Interesting read on studying ISIS recruitment in Spain. "I was given a complicated task: find radicalized people, conduct interviews, surveys, and psychology experiments with them, and then get them in and out of a brain scanner in order to run neuroscience experiments on them. After having escaped a few dicey situations by jumping out of windows, and having narrowly avoided being kidnapped by an informant, I began to appreciate knowing the authorities could be nearby" *RON*]

Nafees Hamid, New York Review of Books, 19 September 2017

As I walked home on a sunny August day in Barcelona, I took in the mingling of tourists, locals, and expats so typical of the cosmopolitan city that I’ve called home for the past few years. This was interrupted by the sound of terrified screams from behind me. When I turned and saw throngs of people running my way, I immediately knew my fears had come true. I’ve spent the last three and a half years conduct…