Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Quotations to Make You Smile

 From my friend Wayne, from his friend Nick in Australia.

~ John Glenn...

As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind - every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.

 ~ Desmond Tutu...

When the white missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, "Let us pray." We closed our eyes. When we opened them , we had the Bible and they had the land. 

 ~ David Letterman...

America is the only country where a significant proportion of the population believes that professional wrestling is real but the moon landing was faked.

 ~ Howard Hughes...

I'm not a paranoid, deranged millionaire. God dammit, I'm a billionaire. 

 ~ Old Italian proverb...

After the game, the King and the pawn go into the same box. 

 ~ Betsy Salkind...

Men are like linoleum floors. Lay 'em right and you can walk all over them for thirty years. 

 ~ Jean Kerr...

The only reason they say "Women and children first," is to test the strength of the lifeboats. 

 ~ Zsa Zsa Gabor...

I've been married to a communist and a fascist, and neither would take out the garbage. 

~ Jeff Foxworthy...
You know you're a redneck if your home has wheels and your car doesn't. 

~ Prince Philip...
When a man opens a car door for his wife, it's either a new car or a new wife. 

 ~ Emo Philips...

A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing. 

 ~ Harrison Ford...

Wood burns faster when you have to cut and chop it yourself. 

 ~ Spike Milligan...

The best cure for Sea Sickness is to sit under a tree. 

 ~ Robin Hall...

Lawyers believe a person is innocent until proven broke.

 ~ Jean Rostand...

Kill one man and you're a murderer, kill a million and you're a conqueror.

 ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger...

Having more money doesn't make you happier. I have 50 million dollars but I'm just as happy as when I had 48 million. 

 ~ WH Auden...

We are here on earth to do good unto others. What the others are here for, I have no idea. 

 ~ Jonathan Katz...

In hotel rooms I worry. I can't be the only guy who sits on the furniture naked.

 ~ Johnny Carson...

If life were fair, Elvis would still be alive today and all the impersonators would be dead. 

 ~ Warren Tantum...

I don't believe in astrology. I am a Sagittarius and we're very skeptical. 

 ~ Steve Martin...

Hollywood must be the only place on earth where you can be fired by a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a baseball cap. 

 ~ Jimmy Durante...

Home cooking. Where many a man thinks his wife is. 

 ~ Doug Hanwell...

America is so advanced that even the chairs are electric. 

~ George Roberts...
The first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone. 

 ~ Jonathan Winters...

If God had intended us to fly , he would have made it easier to get to the airport. 

 ~ Robert Benchley... 

I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something for it.


 


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

White Supremacy (3) Bibliography

 https://www.macleans.ca/politics/how-much-do-canadians-dislike-donald-trump-a-lot/

https://www.macleans.ca/society/the-events-of-2020-have-made-it-clear-that-no-one-can-ignore-racism

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/news/2016/02/05/130647/what-about-white-voters/

https://medium.com/@ste.kinneyfields/do-you-know-this-graphic-i-made-it-heres-why-f97bcf88408c#.7f996n9xu

https://isozyme.tumblr.com/post/151713149884/the-538-gender-split-electoral-maps-are-striking

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-11-14/march-of-the-non-white-babies

https://ncarteron.medium.com/white-supremacy-is-the-point-1a9bbb526e1c

(https://edition.cnn.com/2009/US/07/22/gates.arrest.reaction/index.html)

https://eand.co/americas-problem-is-that-white-people-want-it-to-be-a-failed-state-bac24202f32f

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/11/12/politics/obama-memoir-promised-land/index.html

(https://edition.cnn.com/2009/US/07/22/gates.arrest.reaction/index.html)

https://eand.co/why-freedom-became-free-dumb-in-america-4947e39663f2

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/17/trump-desperate-fight-stop-minority-vote-republicans-racism

https://www.politicalflare.com/2020/09/millions-of-people-still-support-trump-despite-his-many-failures-here-are-the-main-reasons-why

https://thewayofimprovement.com/2020/11/17/study-white-evangelicals-are-cultural-others-and-the-culture-wars-are-getting-worse

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/trump-s-election-support-evangelicals-shows-we-re-biggest-obstacle-ncna1247723

https://eand.co/the-battle-for-the-american-mind-18a77fa85f8f

https://www.vox.com/2020/11/7/21551364/white-trump-voters-2020

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/11/09/trump-trumpism-gop-republicans-election-outreach

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/11/17/trump-latinos-south-texas-tejanos-437027

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/11/18/rural-city-trump-voters/

https://carsey.unh.edu/publication/US-population-growth-slows-diversity-grows

https://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/july-august-2018/how-the-right-wing-convinces-itself-that-liberals-are-evil

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/11/09/biden-voting-counties-equal-70-of-americas-economy-what-does-this-mean-for-the-nations-political-economic-divide

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2019/09/10/america-has-two-economies-and-theyre-diverging-fast/

https://www.politicalorphans.com/democrats-should-weaponize-federalism/

https://abcnews.go.com/Elections/exit-polls-2020-us-presidential-election-results-analysis

https://thecorrespondent.com/790/not-every-trump-voter-is-racist-or-misled-theres-a-rational-trump-voter-too/58815518960-53ad3099

https://medium.com/illumination/biden-didnt-win-by-a-landslide-here-s-are-two-reasons-why-afd460a22956

https://eand.co/biden-won-but-has-trump-broken-america-63f5e563fba7

https://otherwords.org/low-income-voters-showed-up-for-biden-now-they-need-relief

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/elections/exit-polls-changes-2016-2020/

https://level.medium.com/america-will-never-learn-its-lesson-6d3ed3118cb

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/09/opinion/trump-biden-georgia.html

https://whatever.scalzi.com/2020/11/08/the-sound-of-a-landslide-not-happening/

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/09/opinion/biden-harris-trump-2020.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/07/opinion/biden-win-america.html

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2020/11/06/confronting-the-enduring-appeal-of-fascism/

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/05/opinion/trump-biden-voters.html

https://medium.com/the-apeiron-blog/donald-trump-won-no-matter-what-happens-next-203f7c3a55c7

https://eand.co/how-slavery-sowed-the-seeds-of-american-collapse-9df0658c4d8b

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/large-portion-electorate-chose-sociopath/616994

 

White Supremacy is the Heart of the American Social Contract (2)

 This is what Republicans (and White Americans in their majority) have been for: Segregation, Endless war, Inequality, Billionaires, Capital, Guns, and Religion as primary social values. This is what Republicans (and White Americans in their majority) have been against: Desegregation, Civil rights, Women’s rights, Healthcare, Retirement, Childcare, and Public goods of any kind whatsoever.

White America, as a group, as a majority, has never, ever voted for anything even slightly towards greater equality, justice, freedom, for all. It has only ever voted to preserve, maintain, and expand its own power. They empathize with Jeff Bezos, not his workers. There is no better metaphor for what constitutes a foundational part of the Trump vote in 2020: if some people must die or suffer so that others can thrive, then so be it. Self-interest trades off other factors for cold, hard personal gain.

While Republican policy can be summed up as lower taxes for the rich and lower standards of living for everyone else, they campaign on the following, in no particular order: States Rights, Law and Order, Personal Responsibility, Fiscal Responsibility, Abortion, Voter Fraud, Religion, Hard Work, Capitalism, and Freedom.

My explanations for what these actually mean may reflect some bias on my part.

States Rights: These are important if the states are disenfranchising non-whites but should be overridden if they pass laws to protect the environment.

Law and Order: Whites have been terrified of Blacks since the days of slavery. Police are there to protect Whites from Blacks, often with tragic results for the latter. Only 16% of Republicans expressed any sympathy with Black Lives Matter. When Obama criticized the arrest of a noted African American Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr., for the crime of being Black in his own home, he lost millions of White Voters and they never came back. If Biden had not come down against BLM and defunding the police, he would have lost the election.

Personal (Individual) Responsibility: essentially means “I’ve got mine; F**k you”.

Fiscal Responsibility: Republicans are only concerned with this when Democrats are in power as the Dems might spend money on Public Goods which would benefit non-whites. It doesn’t matter if Whites get hurt as long as Blacks are hurt worse. When Republicans are in power they will spend billions, if not trillions to the benefit of the wealthy 1%, which is OK; that is not socialism.

Abortion: Republican’s pro-forced-birth stance became the mantra of the Religious Right in the Civil Rights era, as they fought to maintain segregation. Since abortion isn’t really the issue, they refuse to implement any measures that would reduce the demand, such as improved pre and post natal care. As George Carlin said, “If you are pre-born, you are fine; if you are pre-kindergarten, you are f****d”.

Voter Fraud: In 2013, just a year after turnout rates for Black voters surpassed that for white voters for the first time, SCOTUS gutted the Voting Rights Act, which provided some legal protections for Black voters, because racism had been cured. The Republican States lost no time in passing laws designed to disenfranchise Black voters. However the rate of increase in percentage of non-white votes overwhelmed the Red States ability to suppress them, hence Trump’s cry of illegal voters, meaning any one not white who voted Democrat .

Religion: The Republican version of Freedom of Religion goes back to the Pilgrim Fathers and means freedom to force my religious beliefs on you. Any argument to the contrary is deemed religious persecution and discrimination.

Hard Work, Capitalism: you do the work, we reap the benefit. See also Personal Responsibility.

Freedom: the most deliberately misunderstood and abused word in America (democracy or socialism may be second). It really is more like Free-Dumb. It means carrying a gun to Starbucks — never mind that kids get shot in schools. Not wearing a mask so you can go out and infect a block, town, city, region. Not having to obey a law or norm of decency and civilization. Not having to “believe” in science or reason or logic.

American thinking has become Soviet. It’s obvious wrong, yet because it’s become an ideology, fixed, rigid, immovable, the nation can’t seem to outgrow it or move past it. They want everyone (except themselves) to help themselves and consider any attempt to help even the playing field "socialism", and convince those who could most benefit from help to despise it because it will also help people they hate. People are not voting against what they consider to be their self interest. They would rather be on top of a garbage heap than share even a bit of their supremacy with non-whites

It has cost them dearly. In 2016, the 2,584 counties that Trump won generated just 36% of the country’s economic output, whereas the 472 counties Hillary Clinton carried equated to almost two-thirds of the nation’s aggregate economy. In 2020, Biden’s winning base in 477 counties encompasses fully 70% of America’s economic activity, while Trump’s losing base of 2,497 counties (to date) represents just 29% of the economy.

But you say, "I know these people. They are not racist monsters; they are religious people, smart, hard workers. honorable in business, good parents, good citizens, good-natured". All true but do you think that the Germans who supported Hitler were no less? And some of them were in the SS and some worked the death camps.

White Americans — the good and reasonable ones — overestimate their social group so badly. Democrats are divided into Progressives and Moderate or Corporate Dems. Progressives are trying to drag America, kicking and screaming, into at least the 20th Century and if at all possible, into the 21st Century. Moderate Dems get elected because they can be trusted to do a little but not too much to bring equality to the non-whites. IF the moderate Dems get too carried away, they will lose the next election. Senator Manchin (D, WV) has already said he will oppose any and all progressive legislation.

How to reach the unreachable? One idea I ran into was to pass highly progressive federal legislation but allow any state to completely opt out. That leaves the citizens of those states completely at the mercy of their elected state bodies. Maybe when they see other states getting public goods they can’t have, they will change their minds. If not, the moving companies will make good money as people abandon them for a better life elsewhere.

And maybe there is hope. Non-whites are getting tired of Democrats empty promises and if there ever was a time to force them to stand and deliver, now it is. And more whites are getting sick of this whole carry over from slavery and would like to see a united, diverse, and equitable country


White Supremacy is the Heart of the American Social Contract (1)

 The American election November 3rd showed a massive increase in votes for Donald Trump and Republicans, rather than a ‘Blue Wave’ that wiped them out. Immediately my FB news feed and email were full of articles dissecting who or why. Actually, these posts began in 2016 when he won the first time. I have some 22 pages of notes cut and pasted from articles, (along with graphics that I will include in this blog post).

Why should an ex-pat Canadian living in Ukraine care about such things? As a friend of mine in Panama said many years ago, the whole world should vote for the American president because America affects the whole world. And when America is on the verge of going Fascist had Trump won a second term, it is rather terrifying. Especially when that fascism is creeping into Canada. In a recent Maclean’s survey some 16% of Canadians would have voted for Trump (32% in Alberta) and we have Trump wannabees in Ontario and Alberta already as well as a national party that reflects Trumpian/Republican values. And if you don’t believe me read the FB comments after any Maclean’s or Globe and Mail article dealing with First Nations or racism in general.

American political historian Dr. Heather Cox Richardson’s (HCR) books West from Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America after the Civil War (finished reading) and How the South Won the Civil War (still reading) supplied a great deal of the historical background. The books, along with her Letters from an American and her twice weekly Q&A/History presentations on Facebook/YouTube helped me make sense of what was happening.

HCR makes is clear in her books that White Supremacy was the guiding principle from the founding of America. While all men were created equal, as George Orwell pointed out, some were more equal than others.  The racial order is White, Asian, Latino, Black, and Indigenous. The ‘new’ Republican Party (GOP) came into its own when LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act and tasked itself with maintaining that hierarchy.

They brought back the old Southern Democrat trope about White males being hardworking producers and Blacks being lazy just wanting government programs that sucked tax dollars and then updated it to include all Brown and Black people, unions, feminists, immigrants, and refugees.

The majority of Whites support that ideology (Figure 1). No Democratic presidential candidate since 1976 when they started to keep track, has won a majority of White votes. From 1976 to 2012, White voters split 55:41 for Republican presidential candidates. White voters split 58:37 for Trump in 2016 and 57:42 for Trump in 2020, so from 1976 to 2020 White voters averaged 55% Republican. Even Bill Clinton could not get a majority of White voters when Ross Perot split the Republican vote.

Figure 1

In 2016 in every state, non-whites voted overwhelmingly Democrat, while White voters voted Democrat in 15 states and DC (Figure 2). If there is a non-white vs white voter map for 2020, I have not been able to find it. The Democrats have for too long comforted themselves by saying the old white voters are dying off and will be outnumbered by non-whites by 2050 (Figure 3). People do not give up power that easily and have doubled down on disenfranchising Black and Brown voters. Republicans will go totally fascist before they will give up the power of Whiteness.

Figure 2


Figure 3

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Ravens are flocking; winter is here

The weather is suddenly cold by my standards at least. +1C today was the high and tonight it will drop to -4C. Forecast for the next 10 days is more of the same.

The ravens have been flocking now for a couple weeks. They do that every winter to rustle food in the daylight and roost at night. They will split up in spring again. They mate for life and both parents tend the young of which there may be 5 to 7. 

These are North Eurasian ravens, Corvus corax, and are slightly smaller than the Northern Raven of North America, Corvus principalis. Their beak is also shorter and hooked.

I don't think we have crows per se here as the Russian word for raven and crow is the same. Verona or veron. Our birds make a croaking sound rather than a cawing sound.

We also have rooks, Corvus frugilegus, which look like ravens but have a whitish, grey face and bill. I have seen a few but mostly ravens.

All this to introduce a poem I wrote a while back. 

The Crow

The crow sat on the garden fence.

To the world, he caw’d his discontent.

I watched him through my windowpane

And wondered that he would complain.

As his fellows flew from tree to tree,

“Old Crow”, thought I, “you are so free.”

 

Free to wander, free to fly,

Free to eat or freeze or die.

No one cares if you cease to be,

You’ve no responsibility.

Nothing rests on what you do.

You see the world with “bird’s eye” view.

 

Food and shelter, mates and friends,

Foes and danger, your only ends.

You do not ponder worlds above,

Or mysteries of life and love.

While I sit trapped in human skin,

You’re free to caw and fly again.

 

The crow sat on the garden fence;

To the world, he caw’d his discontent.

I watched him through my windowpane

Then looked across the windswept plain,

“Old Crow”, thought I, “you may be free,

But love’s worth more than liberty.”


Alexei Kondratievich Savrasov (1830–1897), Rooks have Returned (1871), oil on canvas, 62 x 48.5 cm, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

They also served

 Horses were used extensively in the First World War. Horses were also used in the Second World War, mainly by the German and Soviet armies on the Eastern Front. They were employed in the millions and died in the hundreds of thousand. They gave their all when asked. They had no choice and did not know better. One could say the same about the men who fought and died.  There are many memorials to the horses who fought in many wars and so there should be. They were as brave as the men and contributed as much.

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horses_in_World_War_I) says that:

One estimate puts the number of horses that served in World War I at around six million, with a large percentage of them dying due to war-related causes.

The military used horses mainly for logistical support; they were better than mechanized vehicles at traveling through deep mud and over rough terrain. Horses were used for reconnaissance and for carrying messengers as well as for pulling artillery, ambulances, and supply wagons. The presence of horses often increased morale among the soldiers at the front, but the animals contributed to disease and poor sanitation in camps, caused by their manure and carcasses. The value of horses and the increasing difficulty of replacing them were such that by 1917, some troops were told that the loss of a horse was of greater tactical concern than the loss of a human soldier. Ultimately, the blockade of Germany prevented the Central Powers from importing horses to replace those lost, which contributed to Germany's defeat. By the end of the war, even the well-supplied US Army was short of horses.

Conditions were severe for horses at the front; they were killed by artillery fire, suffered from skin disorders, and were injured by poison gas. Hundreds of thousands of horses died, and many more were treated at veterinary hospitals and sent back to the front. Procuring fodder was a major issue, and Germany lost many horses to starvation... Battle losses of horses were approximately 25 percent of all war-related equine deaths between 1914 and 1916. Disease and exhaustion accounted for the remainder



 Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horses_in_World_War_II) says: 

The role of horses for each nation depended on its military strategy and state of economy and was most pronounced in the German and Soviet Armies. Over the course of the war, both Germany and the Soviet Union employed more than six million horses.

Horse-drawn transportation was most important for Germany, as it was relatively lacking in natural oil resources. Infantry and horse-drawn artillery formed the bulk of the German Army throughout the war; only one fifth of the Army belonged to mobile panzer and mechanized divisions. Each German infantry division employed thousands of horses and thousands of men taking care of them. Despite losses of horses to enemy action, exposure and disease, Germany maintained a steady supply of work and saddle horses until 1945. Cavalry in the German Army and the Waffen-SS gradually increased in size, peaking at six cavalry divisions in February 1945.

The Red Army was substantially motorized from 1939 to 1941 but lost most of its war equipment in Operation Barbarossa...The logistical role of horses in the Red Army was not as high as it was in the German Army because of Soviet domestic oil reserves and US truck supplies

German and Soviet armies relied heavily on work horses to pull artillery and supplies. Horses seemed to be a cheap and reliable transport especially in the spring and fall mud of the Eastern Front but the associated costs of daily feeding, grooming and handling horses were staggering. In theory horse units could feed off the country, but grazing on grass alone rendered horses unfit for work and the troops had no time to spend searching the villages for fodder. Hard-working horses required up to twelve pounds of grain daily; fodder carried by the troops made up a major portion of their supply trains.

Horses needed attendants: hitching a six-horse field artillery team, for example, required six men working for at least an hour. Horse health deteriorated after only ten days of even moderate load, requiring frequent refits; recuperation took months and the replacement horses, in turn, needed time to get along with their teammates and handlers. Good stables around the front line were scarce, makeshift lodgings caused premature wear and disease. Refit of front-line horse units consumed eight to ten days, slowing down operations.



Saturday, October 31, 2020

Making Felt Mongolian Style

 Tanya and I were in Mongolia back in the summer of 2007 on a U of S project. We were treated to a demonstration of how Mongolians make felt with which they construct their Gers or Yurts. The Ger is the traditional dwelling of nomadic herders of the Steppes. Built on a wooden lattice frame, it is lined with felt and then a canvas cover over all. Surprisingly roomy, it is warm in winter and cool in summer. With a stove and stove pipe it is no longer filled with smoke from a fire on the floor and smoke drifting up through a hole in the centre.

A typical Ger, with the bottom lifted and the top open to allow a cooling draft

Our host, in an elaborate traditional costume was a well to do herder with thousands of sheep, goats, cattle and horses

While the basics are as old as herding on the Steppes, the method has been updated a little to take advantage of more modern technology. A plastic sheet under the raw wool for example.

I can't recall how many sacks of raw wool it takes but quite a few. 

The wool is spread evenly about 30 to 40 cm deep on the plastic sheet

Once the wool is spread, it is wetted evenly and thoroughly

It takes a great deal of water to ensure the wool is well soaked

Once the thickness is even and the wool is well wetted, it is ready to roll up

The wool is rolled around a wooden roller

This job is done very carefully to ensure the final product is even
Both ends of the roller have a pipe sticking out over which a rope is looped

Now the boys get involved. The roll is dragged at a walk for many minutes, all the while rolling along on the ground. Then it is unrolled and rerolled tighter and dragged some more only at a trot. 

The distance and timing are carefully counted. the roll is unrolled and rerolled tighter a couple more times and then finally dragged at a full gallop for another set time.
The finished product. Can't remember the dimensions. Maybe 2 meters by 6 meters?

Wool fibres at the beginning

Wool fibres after rolling