Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Ugly American

Probably first coined in a 1958 novel, The Ugly American is a term that, unfortunately, has clear and immediate relevance:
The US has bought up virtually all the stocks for the next three months of one of the two drugs proven to work against Covid-19, leaving none for the UK, Europe or most of the rest of the world.

Experts and campaigners are alarmed both by the US unilateral action on remdesivir and the wider implications, for instance in the event of a vaccine becoming available. The Trump administration has already shown that it is prepared to outbid and outmanoeuvre all other countries to secure the medical supplies it needs for the US.

“They’ve got access to most of the drug supply [of remdesivir], so there’s nothing for Europe,” said Dr Andrew Hill, senior visiting research fellow at Liverpool University.
That this rapacious and selfish ethos should come to the fore now is really not surprising. While doubtlessly quite happy to exploit an ethnocentric orientation that seems to define so many Americans, the Infant-in-Chief is reacting in a typically craven manner to some unpleasant truths that may cost him his re-election:
The deal was announced as it became clear that the pandemic in the US is spiralling out of control. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading public health expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Senate the US was sliding backwards.

“We are going in the wrong direction,” said Fauci. Last week the US saw a new daily record of 40,000 new coronavirus cases in one day. “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around,” he said. He could not provide an estimated death toll, but said: “It is going to be very disturbing, I guarantee you that.”
Even though he has proven by his abysmally inept handling of the pandemic to be quite willing to sacrifice his fellow Americans, I doubt that Donald Trump, even in his most delusional state, believes that kind of statistic will serve him well during his campaign.

Hence, a reappearance of The Ugly American in full selfish splendour who, if Trump's disciples remain true to form, will be lustily cheered.

Not a sentiment, I suspect, that will be shared by those with a conscience and a recognition of their obligation to the larger world, i.e., real human beings.

Monday, June 29, 2020

To John Wayne Fans Everywhere

Apparently, the screen hero had the proverbial feet of clay. There is no context that can justify these indefensible views, expressed in a 1971 Playboy interview:

H/t Brian Karem

Sunday, June 28, 2020

UPDATED: With Age Comes Wisdom

But clearly, only for some:

UPDATE: Trump tweeted out the above video, despite the 'white power" proclamation at its beginning. He later withdrew it, claiming he hadn't heard the offending phrase.

Hmm, about as believable as his Sgt. Shultz-like assertion that he 'knew nothing' about Russia offering the Taliban a bounty on the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan, eh?

Friday, June 26, 2020

UPDATED:Theirs Is Not To Reason

Owen's blog post today discusses how the world sees the United States as a nation to be shunned, one of the reasons being its entirely inept handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Clearly, its refusal to confront this peril in a responsible, mature manner means that its citizens have become a deadly threat to other countries. My hope is that our country keeps our border closed to them indefinitely.

Last night, NBC Nightly News devoted the first six minutes to the surge of cases in various states. To say the least, the situation is dire. That was followed, as you will see at the 5:50 mark below, by a report on how the wearing of masks, an effective method of reducing transmission of the virus, is still a highly contentious, highly politicized matter in the Benighted States of America.

UPDATE: If this unmasked woman were infected, I wonder how far her viral droplets would travel, given her highly agitated state:

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

An Alternate Reality

With a pathological liar as its president, it probably does not come as a shock that many Americans live in an alternate reality. Promoted and cultivated endlessly by Donald Trump, their master, and spread wide by pernicious social media and house organs like Fox 'News' and One American News Network, it is a version of things that until recently would have been deemed credible only to the uneducated, cognitively challenged, or the completely unhinged. Sadly, many more appear to be regularly drinking from these poisoned waters.

Bruce Anderson writes:
Knowledge of the world seems to be deteriorating in America, abetted by a president—ignorant of the world himself—whose formula for political success depends on more people becoming less informed.
Despite all that has been responsibly reported about Russian interference, Trumpian malfeasance and his daily record of gross incompetence, a recent Abacus poll yielded some disheartening results:
If Trump loses, most Republican voters say they will believe the election was rigged. If he tries to stay in office after losing, they wouldn’t want the military to enforce the election results. In other words, their trust in or need for him is so powerful they don’t stop to think what sort of precedent it would set to leave the country in a state of impasse.

As many Americans think Russia is America’s best friend as think France, Italy or Germany is. This despite America having spent decades in a military alliance with France, Italy and Germany to protect against Russian military ambition, despite proven Russian use of cyberwarfare to disrupt American social peace and elections.
It would appear that those polled have little insight into their country's relations with the rest of the world:
Under Trump’s time in office, Republicans are four times more likely to say relations with Canada have improved (41 per cent), than think they have worsened (8 per cent). This is mindless partisanship—the facts of the last few years were almost constant tension around NAFTA, dairy subsidies, steel and aluminum tariffs, the idea of Canada as a security risk, the G7 Charlevoix summit friction. But for Republican voters everything seems to be going swimmingly.

Less than 12 per cent of Republican voters think U.S. relations have soured with Great Britain, France or Germany. This despite almost constant friction in these relationships, on topics from trade to NATO to climate change to refugee and immigration policy. Trump has by all accounts a terrible relationship with President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. He was on bad terms with U.K. Conservative Prime Minister Teresa May and launched scathing attacks on London’s Mayor.
In a time when the world sees the U.S. for what it has become, 80 per cent of Republicans think Trump has made America greater.

Canada has good reason to worry about living next door to an unhinged giant:
Half of Republican voters would go along with abandoning NORAD, roughly a third would support building a wall and putting troops along the Canadian border. Happily, most Americans are against invading Canada to get at our resources. But stop and think about the fact that only 56 per cent of Americans strongly oppose the idea.
As children, almost all of us indulged in fantasies of one kind or another. It now appears that many Americans have entered a second, much darker childhood.

Let us not be in any hurry to reopen our borders to such a diseased nation.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Just In Case The Blood Of The Lamb Doesn't Protect You

... these pastors have a backup plan:
Dream City Church, the north Phoenix megachurch set to host a Donald Trump rally on June 23, claims it has solved the pandemic problem in its auditorium, making it safe for anyone who wants to attend.

In a video posted on Sunday, Senior Pastor Luke Barnett and Chief Operations Officer Brendon Zastrow announce happily that the church has installed a new air-purification system that kills 99.9 percent of the coronavirus. The technology, they say, was developed by members of the church.

Despite their evangelical fervour for this technology, caution is clearly warranted. Consider first what the fine print of Clean Air EXP, the company behind this marvel, says:
"COVID-19 REPORT: Lab tests confirm that CleanAir EXP eliminates 99.9% of coronavirus from the air in less than 10 minutes.*"

The footnote states, "* Biosafety lab analysis performed on active coronavirus 229E test surrogate."

Coronavirus 229E is one of the viruses responsible for the common cold that's often used in virus studies.

But even if the technology can eliminate the surrogate virus in 10 minutes, such studies are done in controlled laboratory settings. They don’t necessarily apply to something like the interior of a megachurch. How much air a system can process in a set time would play a role. Clean Air EXP's website states that its home system takes a few hours to purify the air: "Most homes see a 90% reduction of particulates and contaminants within 4 hours, and 99.8% reduction in 6 hours or less."

A larger, commercial system can purify more air than a home unit, presumably. But it's hard to see how 99 percent of COVID-19 could be eliminated from the church auditorium before people arrive. Also, saying attendees would be "safe and protected" when they come to the rally overstates the ability of any air-purifying system to prevent transmission by infected people in a crowd.
Faith, it has been said, can move mountains. As of this writing, it remains to be seen if faith in an unproven technology can conquer Covid-19.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

A Unified Theory Of ....

I'll leave you to supply the appropriate term to reflect this gentleman's 'insights':

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Boogie On Down To The Rally Tonight

I do believe this young lady captures a certain reality and ethos quite effectively:

Not sure if the youngsters below would agree, but they do validate the above, don't you think?

Friday, June 19, 2020

They Indict Themselves

A wealth of words, many of them scathing and acrimonious, have been written about Donald Trump and those who continue to support him; I have nothing to add except an indisputable observation: one of the ties that bind them is their refusal/inability to confront reality.

That fact is on full display in this short video about some disciples eagerly awaiting their master's upcoming Tulsa rally:

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Heroes No More

The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh? Things like corporate greed, for example.

The public was much heartened when grocery store magnates granted pay boosts to front-line line workers as an acknowledgement of the risks they were facing during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. However, that corporate 'largess' has now ended.
Despite soaring first-quarter profits ... Loblaw Companies Ltd. president Sarah Davis said stores and distribution centres are experiencing a “new normal,” now that COVID-related safeguards have been in place for several months.

“With this stability and with economies reopening we have decided the time is right to transition out of our temporary pay premium,” Davis said in the note.
The Metro, Sobeys and Walmart chains are following suit in this retrenchment, a retrenchment that seems especially cruel given that Covid-19 is by no means conquered, and an effective treatment continues to elude the world. In other words, those same front-line workers lauded as heroes but a short time ago continue to be at risk as they perform their crucial work.

The Toronto Star expresses its disappointment in people like Galen Weston by reminding us of his words when he enacted the wage premium:
“Supermarkets and pharmacies are performing well ... And the leaders in our business wanted to make sure that a significant portion of that benefit would go straight into the pockets of the incredible people on the front line.”

Loblaw Companies Ltd. saw its first-quarter profits soar to $240 million, compared to $198 million in the same quarter last year. No doubt expenses have increased because of COVID-19 safeguards, but it’s hard to fathom how these stores are no longer benefiting financially, as Loblaw claims.
Star readers also weigh in on this shameful reversal. Herb Alexander of Thornhill writes:
Galen Weston is quoted as saying now “is the right time to end the temporary pay premium we introduced at the beginning of the pandemic.”

I wonder which information source led Weston to this conclusion. I just checked; COVID will be not be ending soon.

So it seems this is not the time to be pulling money out of the pocket of his staff, who continue to make him richer by working on the front lines in his stores.

Weston, said to be the scion of the third-richest family in Canada, is quoted as saying he “would support any government effort to establish a living wage.”

This tells me two things about Galen Weston: First, he concedes that he is currently not paying a living wage. Second, he will only pay a living wage if government forces him to.
And Wesley Turner of St. Catharines, Ont. offers this:
Major grocery chains Metro, Loblaws and Walmart, in the early days of the pandemic, awarded their hard-pressed employees an extra $2 per hour to continue working in what were dangerous conditions.

Their work inevitably exposed them to many possible sources of infection from COVID-19, and workers who had to use public transportation faced even more sources of infection.

They were frequently described as “heroes” for maintaining an essential service, providing food and other necessities to all.

So have they ceased to be “heroes?” Has the danger of catching COVID-19 ended? Are all safe to travel and work in grocery stores?

It would seem so in the eyes of their employers who can now lower labour costs and gain more profits. It looks like this increase in wages was no more than a gesture, motivated not by generosity, but by fear that employees would not come to work at the risk of their lives.

That danger remains and so should the wage increase. Indeed, a permanent wage increase would show that those companies really do value their “heroic” employees.
The response to the Covid-19 pandemic has offered many moments when the best of human nature has shone forth. However, the actions of Galen Weston and his fellow-travellers are also a stark reminder that only rarely do the better angels of our nature prevail in the corporate world.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

What Manner Of Man Is This?

The short answer is that he is not a man at all. A man, as opposed to a raging narcissist/sociopath, would never do what Donald Trump is planning as he gets ready to put tens of thousands of his loyalists at risk at his upcoming Tulsa ego-fest.

Note the series of lies and boasts that issue from the demented one's mouth in the following:

None of this is surprising, but I still find myself puzzled over how Trump's disciples steadfastly refuse to take the true measure of this monster.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Strange Fruit

H/t Michael De Adder

Those who say the police are just doing their job are just not paying attention.

Be warned. Both of these videos are hard to watch:

And lest we feel smug in thinking that violent, corrupt and racially-biased policing is just an American blight, Clyde McDonald of Bracebridge, Ont. sets us straight:
Heartbroken and conflicted: Canada’s Black police officers open up about George Floyd’s death and anti-racism protests, June 7

Sorry, I am not buying the “Ninety-nine per cent … are good men and women police officers” and the “few bad apples” excuses.

The ninety-nine per cent continually protect the bad apples, so they are accomplices, and just as guilty as the bad apples.

Officer Cartright says he is being pulled in both directions.


There is only right and wrong.

There is nothing to wrestle with.

The Toronto Police are a disgrace. Phone video showed Consts. Piara Dhaliwal and Akin Gul lied about Abdi Sheik-Qasim’s arrest. Toronto Const. Robert Warrener had “deliberately fabricated” the drug transaction — “inexcusable deceptive conduct” in a case against Pankaj Bedi. The Star has had many, many other articles on corrupt police officers, most of whom are still employed by the force.

Despite all of the scandals and shootings, Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack has never met a bad officer.

McCormack defends them …, even when there is irrefutable video evidence.

He does not recognize that keeping bad officers on the force tarnishes the reputation of all of the other officers.

If the ninety-nine per cent truly wanted to protect their reputations, they would vote McCormack out of office.

It is their own reputations that are at stake, and they should be proactive in wanting the bad apples removed.

The fact that they actually protect and defend the bad apples speaks volumes about these supposed “good men and women police officers.”

You can criticize the Americans all you want, but when they have bad cops caught on video, they fire them.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

With A Humble Heart

These past many weeks have been difficult ones. We have been largely confined to our homes; social ties we have nurtured for years are under stress, if for no other reason than our inability to be in the presence of those we love and care about. Compounding our sense of helplessness, the racial ructions in the United States have confronted us with some unpleasant but oft-ignored truths. The public spectacle of George Floyd's murder caused deep anguish for all right-thinking people.

The fact that his murder was a spectacle made it easy to feel horror, outrage, and deep sadness. The hard part will be sustaining those reactions and demanding that constructive, structural changes be implemented. In that, we all have a role to play, and that role begins not with the shedding of more tears, but educating ourselves deeply about the daily truths people of color and other minorities confront.

And that takes work, and it takes commitment. In some of my forthcoming posts, I would like to share some of the things I have watched and some of the things I have read that may help bring us closer to a real understanding of, even some empathy for, the daily lives of others. I tried to do that recently in a post about black parents having "the talk' with their kids, as well as a followup post about former Argo player Orlando Bowen and his traumatic encounter with Peel undercover cops back in 2004. As well, I reposted on the murder of Emmett Till.

Below is something culled from NBC Nightly News. If you advance to the 18-minute mark, you will see a story about ow systemic racism affects both the physical and mental health of its victims, many of whom are collateral ones.

It would be both supremely arrogant and supremely naive to suggest that my small efforts can make a difference in the larger scheme of things. The real lesson here, for me, is to approach the learning with a humble heart, fully acknowledging that as a white person, I can never truly know what it is to be in the skin of another, but to make every effort to understand, to bear witness, and to support changes that will improve people's lives everywhere.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Putting Things Into Perspective

Few people do it as well as Robert Reich. And there are lessons here for Canada as well:

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Not A Pleasing Reflection

Yesterday's post revolved around the painful reality of Black people having to tell their children, often at a very young age, the harsh facts of racialized life and the things they must do to protect themselves from state violence. Truly heartbreaking, but it would be a mistake to believe this onerous responsibility falls only to American families.

Dave Feschuk very ably disabuses us of that notion in writing about the violence Orlando Bowen experienced at the hands of police back in 2004 when he was celebrating having signed a contract with the Hamilton Tiger Cats. It is an experience whose lessons he now imparts to his own Black children.
Waiting for friends in his car in the parking lot of a Mississauga night club, on the way to toasting the new contract he had just signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the story goes that Bowen was approached by two men who asked him if he had drugs.

When he brushed them off, they persisted. The men, it turned out, were plainclothes officers from Peel Regional Police Service. An altercation ensued. And in one frightening instant, a night that was supposed to be a celebration of Bowen’s professional success turned into a fight for his survival. The way he remembers it, he eventually found his bloodied face pressed into the asphalt, a knee driving into his back, a forearm pinning his neck.

“I was convinced I was going to be killed,” Bowen said. “I just kept thinking in my mind, ‘Oh my God. This is how my life is going to end.’”
The scenario is familiar to anyone who has seen the murder of George Floyd, but with one crucial difference - there was no video evidence of the encounter,
... which might speak to why, for a long time, Bowen was the one on trial for assault and drug possession (Bowen says police planted cocaine on him during their altercation). After months of personal turmoil and legal entanglement, Bowen was eventually exonerated of all charges after one of the officers was charged and later convicted of a drug-trafficking offence that led to his resignation from the force and a judge ruled the testimony of the officers was “unworthy of belief.”

Bowen sued Peel police for $14 million, a matter that was settled out of court. Still, the officers were never charged in relation to the interaction; a Peel police spokesperson told CTV in 2018 that two internal reviews found “no misconduct in relation to Mr. Bowen’s incident.”
Beyond the emotional trauma, there were physical consequences to the encounter.
The concussion he suffered, which he says still occasionally gives him trouble with his balance, led to his retirement from the CFL.
Now the father of three boys, Bowen makes sure they are well-prepared for the world they must live in:
Always keep your hands where the police officer can see them if you’re ever stopped, lest there be any misunderstandings of your intention. Never wear your hoodie with the hood up, especially when you’re out and about in the United States, lest you be perceived as a threat.

“They’re important things. I never want my sons to come back to me after something painful happens and say, ‘Dad, why didn’t you tell me?’” Bowen said. “We would be doing everyone a disservice if we weren’t honest with them. Painfully honest, sometimes. But honest.”
If you get the chance, read Feschuk's entire piece, as Bowen's life, while marked by that incident in 2004, has not been defined by it. He has accomplished much, and he even eventually wrote a letter forgiving the officers for what they did,
not to absolve his transgressors but to help himself move past the trauma.

“Forgiveness is not for them, it’s for us,” he said. “It’s for us to know that we don’t have to hold onto things that have pained us. We can let go.”
No matter our country of residence, we all need to look in the mirror. In doing so, we should be prepared to see something other than just a pleasing reflection.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

A Lesson In Empathy

In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus Finch famously tells his daughter Scout, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

That statement, that call for empathy, may sound obvious, but far too many of us have a hard time seeing, really seeing, what others see, and feeling, really feeling, what others feel.

I find the following quite powerful; although I have watched it more than once, it continues to break my heart. People, especially those who are parents, will find a hard time not being moved by the painful reality that black children must learn about far, far too early in their lives.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Repost: The Blood of Emmett Till

Almost two years ago I wrote a series of posts on racism, starting with the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Black boy horribly tortured before his death. Here is that post, and if you would like to read the entire series, you can click here

From this tragedy large, diverse groups of people organized a movement that grew to transform a nation, not sufficiently but certainly meaningfully. What matters most is what we have and what we will do with what we do know. We must look at the facts squarely ... The bloody and unjust arc of our history will not bend upward if we merely pretend that history did not happen here.
- Timothy B. Tyson, author of The Blood of Emmett Till

As a species, we are terrible students of history. Although its tools have become much more refined over the years, its lessons seem all too frequently lost on many, either because we prefer comforting illusions or we see them through narrow ideological lenses. Refusing to confront ugly truths ensures their longevity.

One of the most emotionally difficult books I have read in a long time is The Blood of Emmett Till. This excerpt from a NYT review sums up the murder of Till, the 14-year-old black lad from Chicago who, in the summer of 1955, was visiting relatives in Mississippi:
On a Wednesday evening in August, Till allegedly flirted with and grabbed the hand of Carolyn Bryant, a white woman who worked as the cashier at a local market. According to recovered court transcripts released by the F.B.I. in 2007, he let out a “wolf whistle” as she exited the store to get a gun from her car. Bryant later informed her husband and his half brother, who proceeded to uphold a grim tradition: Till was abducted, beaten, shot in the head and thrown into the Tallahatchie River. A 74-pound gin fan was tied to his neck with barbed wire, with the hope that he would never be found.
Despite overwhelming evidence of their guilt, his murderers were, in the Southern tradition of the time, found not guilty. Despite the absence of justice, Till's mother, an indefatigable woman, changed the course of civil rights history by insisting that the horribly mutilated body of her son rest in an open coffin, of which photographs were published in prominent magazines, while an estimated 240,000 filed by his casket.

The purpose of this post, however, is not to revisit the horrific details explored in the book that go well beyond the murder of a young teen. Rather, it is to draw parallels between the language and justifications of the racists of Till's time with those of the contemporary white supremacist movement. While over 60 years separate the two eras, the echoes of history are evident for all who care to look.

The most obvious parallel evolves around efforts to discredit the veracity of events. Examples of this 'strategy' abound in the book:
The editor of the Picayune Item snarled that a "prejudiced communistic inspired NAACP" could not "not blacken the name of the great sovereign state of Mississippi, regardless of their claims of Negro Haters, lynching, or whatever [emphasis mine].
Sherriff Strider, a racist who was friends with the accused, sought to constantly undermine the evidence and question whether or not the body was, in fact, that of Till's, telling reporters the following:
"The body we took from the river looked more like that of a grown man instead of a young boy. It was also more decomposed than it should have been after that short a stay in the water."
Soon after, Strider told reporters, "This whole thing looks like a deal made up by the NAACP."

During the trial, Strider was happy to share his racist view with reporters, disguised as questioning the evidence:
"It just seems to me that the evidence is getting slimmer and slimmer. I'm chasing down some evidence now that the killing might have been planned and plotted by the NAACP."
Of course, there was no such evidence. Just as there was no evidence to support a convenient claim that Till had been spirited out of Mississippi and was now living in Detroit, again part of the larger effort to cast doubt on the evidence and the integrity of the NAACP.

Why the attacks on the NAACP? Besides trying to sow doubts about the murder, it was part of a pattern of extreme resistance to school integration and voting rights that Hodding Carter wrote about in The Saturday Evening Post:
Whites considered the NAACP "the fountainhead of all evil and woe," and the factual nature of most of the NAACP's bills of particulars ... doesn't help make its accusations any more acceptable. "The hatred that is concentrated upon the NAACP surpasses in its intensity any emotional reaction that I have witnessed in my southern lifetime." This reflected the NAACP's demands for voting rights and school integration as much as it did their protests over the Till case.
Any fair-minded person who reads The Blood of Emmett Till cannot emerge from the experience without a deep sense of outrage over the horrible injustices meted out to Black people over the years, as well as a profound admiration for those extraordinary souls who, countless times, braved both physical and economic reprisal in their long battle to be treated exactly as they were: American citizens demanding their full rights.

And the battle continues today. In Part 11 of this post, I will look at the tactics employed by white supremacists today, tactics that eerily echo those of a much earlier time as the racists among us seek to turn back the clock and once more subjugate those they deem their inferiors.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

A More Apt Comparison

I'm sure you have heard about White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany's utterly shameless extolment of Donald Trump's prop walk with The Bible the other day.
McEnany claimed during a White House briefing Wednesday that Trump had “wanted to send a very powerful message that we will not be overcome by looting, by rioting, by burning, this is not what defines America” and that the stunt was “a very important moment” to show “resilience,” as other presidents and world leaders have previously done.

“Like Churchill, we saw him inspecting the bombing damage, it sent a powerful message of leadership to the British people,” she boasted.
This was all too much for Anderson Cooper who, I think most people would agree, draws a far more apt comparison/contrast between the Moron-in-Chief and Winston Churchill:

And the beat goes on.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

A Modern-Day Prophet

If you know anything about Old Testament traditions (and I confess to knowing only a little about them), you may be aware of the role played by the prophets. Contrary to popular belief, their main function was not to predict the future but rather to serve as a conduit for God's messages. And those messages were often rebukes of the people of Israel.

As with the prophets of old, people like Cornel West and Chris Hedges today offer up critical mirrors to society; their messages are harsh, unsparing, and uncompromising. The following indictment of the U.S. by West, the link to which was sent to me by my dear friend Dom, amply demonstrates this:
As thousands across the country and around the world took to the streets this weekend to protest the state-sanctioned killing of Black community members, professor Cornel West says it signals the implosion of U.S. empire, "its foundations being shaken with uprising from below." He says the U.S. is a “predatory capitalist civilization obsessed with money, money, money,” and says the uprisings are a direct result of a system that prioritizes profits over people both domestically and abroad. While the nation faces its largest public health crisis in generations and the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, protesters came out in droves to verbalize their discontent. "What we need is … a fundamental transformation of this American Empire," says West.

As in days of old, modern-day prophets are often ignored, ridiculed and despised. Now more than ever, however, we ignore them at our collective peril.

Monday, June 1, 2020

A Plague Nation

I wonder if Americans realize that is how their country is seen by the rest of the world, in no small measure thanks to their having elected a raging racist psychopath as their president.

The following video takes a few seconds before beginning to play: