02/19 Open Thread: February 19 is a Day of Shame
We are getting ready to head out on yet another multi-week adventure in the near future. This means that I need to write, post and schedule a whole bunch of OTs for the period of my absence, as well as some to bridge the gap between now and the start date. This means, among other things, that you shouldn't expect too much from them and will need to provide content as well as commentary yourselves (as if you don't already, heh). So, here we go ...
On February 19, 1942, FDR signed executive order 9066, authorizing the US military to create military zones "from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion" and to provide transport food and shelter for those so excluded. This was, in short, the order to relocate Japanese Americans to internment camps.
This order was not rescinded until 34 years later, February 19, 1976, when Gerry Ford did the deed with his Proclamation 4417. Ford, as you may recall was neither elected President nor even Vice President. He was appointed VP by Nixon when Spiro T Agnew was forced to resign, and then assumed the Presidency when Tricky Dick was similarly forced to resign. He then turned around and pardoned Nixon, but there was no quid pro quo involved, since he already possessed the office. This might, or might not, explain his willingness to hang it all out there and say oops, though, IIRC, he still didn't apologize to the victims. He also supported the ERA, which may or may not be related to the fact that two, count 'em, two, separate women tried to shoot him.
It really took Fred Korematsu to put this event in its place and into a proper perspective, but there is still zero certainty that it could not happen again.
I personally know nobody who thinks good thing about Peter Thiel. That is possibly because he has aligned himself with the GOP, so all of the Democrats who would otherwise think well of him, his ideology, activities, or plans reject him outright. (At my age it is impossible not to know a goodly number of mainstream Democrats.) So I almost didn't read Peter Thiel’s Latest Venture Is the American Government, New York Magazine, January 21, 2020 ( http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/01/peter-thiel-conservative-politica... ), but the exact wording of that title sort of grabs one. His venture is our government. Yowtch. The article is somewhat short and turns out to be a somewhat interesting read.To illustrate:
How to square Thiel’s post-national techno-libertarianism with his bloodthirsty authoritarian nationalism? Strangely, he wants both. Today’s Thielism is a libertarianism with an abstract commitment to personal freedom but no particular affection for democracy — or even for “politics” as a process by which people might make collective decisions about the distribution of power and resources. Thiel has wed himself to state power not in an effort to participate in the political process but as an end run around it.
It turns out that the man is a "Christian" (heh) and seemingly, a rabid one. At any rate, the author dips into Thiel's writing to inform us that:
Thiel suggests that growth is essentially a religious obligation — “building the kingdom of heaven today, here on Earth” — and that stagnation is, well, demonic — the chaotic sea “where the demon Leviathan lives.” This binary appears frequently in Thiel’s writing, where “progress” is always aligned with technology and the individual, and “chaos” with politics and the masses. If Thiel has an apocalyptic fear of stasis, you can begin to see why his politics have changed over the past few years, as it has become less clear whether the booming technology industry has actually added much to the economy or to human happiness, let alone demonstrated “progress.”
This is all by way of illustrating the origins of Thiel's libertarian fascism in some sort of perceived need for an authoritarian government to prop up and enforce, what else, capitalism. (No surprise there.) And, of course, authoritarianism goes hand in mailed glove with "Christianity" anyway. In fact, it was on this date in 356 that Emperor Constantius II issued a decree closing all pagan temples in the Roman Empire. This and other actions by said Constantius II led some to opine that he laid a foundation or precedent for the inquisition, as if any were needed.
America’s Radioactive Secret, by Justin Nobel in Rolling Stone, January 21, 2020 is an important article and a source of significant concern. Link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/oil-gas-fracking... Subtitle or heading is Oil-and-gas wells produce nearly a trillion gallons of toxic waste a year. An investigation shows how it could be making workers sick and contaminating communities across America. This is a long article and deserves a long, slow, careful read. The first time I went through it I found myself sporadically dropping into "speed-reading" and even skimming or scanning, but often going back up to catch what I'd glossed over. After I digested it a bit, I went back through it again. I have saved it for further re-reads and further use. There is a ton of information and data in this article. A drilling and production byproduct is brine, and it can be intensely radioactive in the worst ways. It is not in the least controlled or regulated. Depending on where you live it is being trucked through regularly and often, dumped, spread on fields or into rivers and the like. There are no placards. Another form of waste, solids this time are known as drill cuttings. They too can be highly radioactive and they too are routinely mishandled. The article is full of horror stories of environmental destruction and harm to humans, and it is ongoing. The forms the threats can take are numerous and most of them are invisible. The dust on the clothes of the guy who cleans the pipes or drives the brine truck, dirt blowing off of or leachate leaching from landfills. The laws are mostly lax to non-existent, and are, in some cases, being weakened as we sit here. Nuke power advocates are often won't to pooh-pooh stories about radioactivity and rad waste, but I suspect that even most of them would react to the kind of numbers and measures disclosed by this article. Action needs to be taken, big time, and pronto. If the climate doesn't get us, this will certainly make things vastly worse. Do read it and spread it around.
How about a break from all that. I'm looking at something entitled The Healing Power of Gardens originally written by Maria Popova and originally published on May 27, 2019, by Brain Pickings, It came form pocket; https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-healing-power-of-gardens-oliver-s... I think it is actually a review and is subtitled Oliver Sacks on the psychological and physiological consolations of nature. It got to me early on by stating:
to garden — even merely to be in a garden — is nothing less than a triumph of resistance against the merciless race of modern life, so compulsively focused on productivity at the cost of creativity, of lucidity, of sanity;
After reading though I felt almost compelled to go outside and sit in the garden a bit, perhaps to go there and do nothing, and I went out and wandered through the yard a bit and, as more or less predicted felt much more mellow, relaxed and together. (It seriously needs weeding, but this was my scheduled do-nothing time, smirk.) In the article or review or whatever there are assertions of exemplars of curative and restorative powers of gardens and natural settings. They may or may not be true, but aren't outlandish enough to make one doubt the benefits of wandering out in the out there or reduce the stimulus to go do so that the writing, whatever it is, inspires. A short relaxing read after what has preceded.
have a good one
We should be back by now, and, assuming that nothing untoward has happened, I should even be here to host. Thanks for your patience during. my absence.
Title Image is Manzanar_Grave_Memorial
It's an open thread, so have at it. The floor is yours