Tuesday Reads

Good Day Sky Dancers!!

Claude Monet - Path through the Forest, Snow Effect, 1870

Claude Monet – Path through the Forest, Snow Effect, 1870

Today is Pearl Harbor Day. Here is an interesting article I read this morning at MassLive: On 80th anniversary, Pearl Harbor veteran worries US on brink of ‘losing our democracy.’

The memories of this day 80 years ago still give Harry L. Chandler pause.

Alarms sounding from all directions. The sight of mighty battleships torn asunder. The smells of burning flesh and oil. The conversation halts.

“I’m OK. You asked me a question, and I’ll answer,” Chandler said last week as he recalled the only other time that he visited Pearl Harbor after Dec. 7, 1941. He had taken his daughters and their husbands in the 1960s to visit the nation’s memorial to the Japanese attack on the U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet.

“It was a case of knowing the (battleship USS) Arizona was right there still. I began to see what was happening (again),” Chandler said. “It hurt. I cried a little. Then, it was, well, we did it, we won (the war) and hooray.”

He chose never to return.

By the time the attack was over, the Japanese had both literally and figuratively torn into the heart of the Pacific fleet. Twelve ships, including three battleships, were sunk or beached; nine others were damaged. The attack killed close to 2,500 Americans and injured 1,200 more. The Arizona — now the site of a National Park Service memorial — accounted for the loss of 1,177 lives alone. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt would term it, the “date which will live in infamy” would propel the U.S. to enter World War II.

Chandler is 100 years old, and after 80 years, he’s still having flashbacks to that awful day. But nowadays, he’s more focused on current events.

Now in the 21st century, Chandler would rather speak of politics in today’s America and how he fears the lessons of his war — World War II — seem to be forgotten as time marches on. “Remember Pearl Harbor” was a rallying cry for his generation back then and is one he thinks is needed even more so now….

“(President Donald J.) Trump has done a terrible thing to this country,” Chandler said. “People should realize what’s going on. They are losing their democracy. He’s got some sort of spell over them. I don’t know what the hell it is, (but his supporters) will do anything he says.”

Birge Harrison, Winter Sunset

Birge Harrison, Winter Sunset

Chandler stays abreast of news of the world thanks in large part to TV. He says he tries to get the broadest view of what’s going on by tuning in to a variety of networks, listening to all and digesting what is said. Still, it is Trump and his continuing influence in the Congress and on everyday Americans about which Chandler is most concerned.

Chandler cites Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., (“I’m so surprised at him.”) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., (“What’s he doing? Anything that Trump says to do.”) among those he fears are undermining the America he once knew, especially the nation as it existed 80 years ago.

“It’s a terrible situation because I can see us losing our democracy the way it’s going,” Chandler said. “I’m very serious about it and sick about it.” […..]

“(People) don’t know what (Pearl Harbor) is all about. They don’t realize what World War II was about,” he said. “I mean they don’t know what Hitler did. They don’t teach history anymore. We’ve got a Hitler in the making here, and I mean it, the way (Trump’s) got his control over these people. … Parents need to tell their children about Hitler, what happened and how easy it was for him to mobilize the German people before the war.”

“It’s happening in this country right now,” he continued. “What we gained (over the course of World War II), we’ve lost. We are right back where we were when Germany started with Hitler. Everyone’s against everyone.”

Wise old man.

Yesterday marked a dark day for women, but these days women are being erased. From Graham Linehan on Substack: Today Of All Days. A trans identified male speaking at a memorial service for murdered women is a new low, even for Canada.

On 6th December 1989, a young man called Marc Lépine walked into a mechanical engineering class at Montreal’s École Polytechnique armed with a semi-automatic rifle. He separated the men from the women and then instructed the men to leave the classroom. He declared that he was ‘fighting feminism’ before opening fire on the nine women who remained. He killed six of them.

Lépine then ranged around the building for 20 minutes, targeting and shooting women. He murdered a further eight women before finally killing himself.

His page-long suicide note made clear that his barbaric actions had been motivated purely by his hatred of women. “Feminists have always enraged me. I have decided to send the feminists, who have always ruined my life, to their Maker.

Thirty-two years later and a Canadian province has deemed that the best person to speak at a memorial service for these women is a male….

Talking to CBC about being invited to speak at the service, Preston commented, “For decades, trans women have been kept out of the conversation around gender-based violence”. He then talked on, at length, about being trans.

He said that, at the memorial service, he would describe his own experiences as a ‘trans woman’ and gave an example which involved him being ‘groped’ in a bar while wearing a red dress….

Those women were not murdered because of their ‘gender’ but because of their SEX.

Had Preston been in that classroom and instructed to leave with the other men, would he have lingered to complain about being misgendered? Of course he bloody wouldn’t.

I probably shouldn’t post this, because I don’t want to cause trouble; but I’m getting sick of this shit.

The January 6 investigation is in the news. Mike Pence’s top aide Mark Short is cooperating with the House committee, and Mark Meadows is no longer doing so (if he ever really was).

CNN: CNN Exclusive: Top Pence aide cooperating with January 6 committee.

Marc Short, the former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, is cooperating with the January 6 committee, a significant development that will give investigators insight from one of the highest-ranking Trump officials, according to three sources with knowledge of the committee’s activities.

CNN is also reporting for the first time that the committee subpoenaed Short a few weeks ago.

Fanny Churberg, Winter Landscape, Evening Atmosphere

Fanny Churberg, Winter Landscape, Evening Atmosphere

Short remains one of Pence’s closest advisers and is a firsthand witness to many critical events the committee is examining, including what happened to Pence at the Capitol on January 6 and how former President Donald Trump pressured the former vice president not to certify the presidential election that day.

Short’s assistance signals a greater openness among Pence’s inner circle. One source told CNN the committee is getting “significant cooperation with Team Pence,” even if the committee has not openly discussed that. Another source told CNN that Short’s help is an example of the “momentum” the investigation is enjoying behind the scenes.

Last month, CNN reported that a number of figures close to Pence, including Short, may be willing, either voluntarily or under the guise of a “friendly subpoena,” to cooperate with the committee.

CNN: Mark Meadows to halt cooperation with January 6 committee.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating January 6 insurrection, according to a letter from his attorney to the panel, which was obtained by CNN on Tuesday.

“We agreed to provide thousands of pages of responsive documents and Mr. Meadows was willing to appear voluntarily, not under compulsion of the Select Committee’s subpoena to him, for a deposition to answer questions about non-privileged matters. Now actions by the Select Committee have made such an appearance untenable,” the letter from George J. Terwilliger II stated.

“In short, we now have every indication from the information supplied to us last Friday – upon which Mr. Meadows could expect to be questioned – that the Select Committee has no intention of respecting boundaries concerning Executive Privilege,” Terwilliger added.

CNN first reported last week that Meadows had begun cooperating with the committee, handing over thousands of documents and agreeing to appear for an interview this week.

Obviously, if Meadows was still claiming executive privilege, he was never really “cooperating.”

A house in the winter sun, 1909, Gabriele Münter

A house in the winter sun, 1909, Gabriele Münter

The New York Times has a report on the Omicron variant: Omicron Is Fast Moving, but Perhaps Less Severe, Early Reports Suggest.

JOHANNESBURG — The Covid-19 virus is spreading faster than ever in South Africa, the country’s president said Monday, an indication of how the new Omicron variant is driving the pandemic, but there are early indications that Omicron may cause less serious illness than other forms of the virus.

Researchers at a major hospital complex in Pretoria reported that their patients with the coronavirus are much less sick than those they have treated before, and that other hospitals are seeing the same trends. In fact, they said, most of their infected patients were admitted for other reasons and have no Covid symptoms.

But scientists cautioned against placing too much stock in either the potential good news of less severity, or bad news like early evidence that prior coronavirus infection offers little immunity to Omicron. The variant was discovered just last month, and more study is needed before experts can say much about it with confidence. Beyond that, the true impact of the coronavirus is not always felt immediately, with hospitalizations and deaths often lagging considerably behind initial outbreaks.

Dr. Emily S. Gurley, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said of the signs that the variant is less severe, “It would not be shocking if that’s true, but I’m not sure we can conclude that yet.”

So basically, we still don’t know much. Sigh . . .

As we all know, Hillary warned us about everything that is happening. This is from Chauncy de la Vega at Raw Story: Still hate Hillary’s guts? Fine. But let’s admit that she saw all this coming.

During her 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton warned us that Donald Trump and his “basket of deplorables” were a threat to American democracy. She wasn’t a prophet. She was simply offering a reasonable analysis based on the available evidence — and she paid an enormous political price for daring to tell that truth in public….

Clinton’s description was in fact about much more than the disreputable people who flocked to Trump’s banner. It was also a warning about the regressive politics and antisocial values that Trump’s followers represented (and still do), including cruelty, racism and white supremacy, sexism and misogyny, collective narcissism, anti-intellectualism, an infatuation with violence, proud ignorance and support for fascism and authoritarianism.

The Wilderness, Pekka Halonen, 1889

The Wilderness, Pekka Halonen, 1889

Whatever you think of her as a person and a public figure, Clinton clearly perceived that Trumpism would be a disaster for American democracy and the world, pushing the United States towards the brink of full-on fascism including an attempted coup….

One thing Hillary Clinton clearly perceived, even if she didn’t put it this way, was that Trump’s authoritarian politics would involve a campaign to limit human freedom, in accordance with the needs and goals of the Trump movement. Specifically, limiting and controlling the bodily autonomy of those groups and individuals deemed to be Other, the enemy or otherwise subordinate to the dominant group.

Such an exercise of power is central and foundational to American fascism in its various forms, as the history of slavery and Jim Crow ought to make clear. In America now, the fascist movement longs for the subordination, control, and domination of women’s and girls’ bodies to the sexual, emotional, financial, physical and psychological needs of men — especially, of course, white conservative “Christian” men. Restricting women’s reproductive rights and freedoms, especially by attempting to force women to conceive and bear children, are recurring features of fascist-authoritarian political projects and societies.

There’s much more at the link. I hope you’ll read it. 

More stories to check out today:

The Washington Post: Biden, Putin to discuss Ukraine in video call amid growing tensions.

CNN: Biden administration considering options for possibly evacuating US citizens from Ukraine if Russia invades.

Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post: Opinion: The media has given Republicans a free pass on assaulting democracy.

The Washington Post: U.S. coronavirus cases approach 50 million.

The New York Times: Trump’s Blood Oxygen Level in Covid Bout Was Dangerously Low, Former Aide Says.

The Washington Post: Seven days: Following Trump’s coronavirus trail. Trump came into contact with 500 people after he tested positive.

The Daily Beast: Steve Bannon Wants to Turn His Trial Into a Search of the Biden White House.

The New York Times: Defendant in Case Brought by Durham Says New Evidence Undercuts Charge.

What stories are you following today?

22 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a nice day everyone!

  2. dakinikat says:

    Getting ready for winter? I love the winter scenery!

    Wondering what your thoughts are about this?

  3. dakinikat says:

    “Gov. Greg Abbott called for school districts to review books he called “clearly pornographic” or “extremely inappropriate.”

    Leander ISD removes books, graphic novels from libraries after review


    and this is austin

    • dakinikat says:

      Hand Maid’s tale is right on the list because that’s the vision for Texas

    • darthvelma says:

      Leander is not Austin. Leander is one of those places people live who want all the amenities you can find in Austin without having to pay the taxes or live around “those people”.

      I used to live in Austin proper. The Austin burbs are hell on earth.

  4. Beata says:

    How dark and terrifying this day must have been for our parents’ generation. They could not know what the future would bring.

    “Dream” by the Pied Pipers (1942)

  5. djmm says:

    Just to note that it is Pearl Harbor Day. One of my relatives was supposedly killed that day and his parents were notified, but it turned out that he was not killed. He survived WWII.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. MsMass says:

    Good article by Rubin from Washington Post, this angle can’t be stressed enough. Thanks.

  8. NW Luna says:

    BB, thank you so much for writing on the trans-identified man chosen — or self-chosen — to speak at a memorial service for the women murdered in the École Polytechnique massacre. Those women could not self-identify out of their oppression, and could not self-identify out of being hated by the murderer. Preston would have been allowed to leave. He’s not a woman and no one really thinks he’s a woman. It’s vile and misogynist for him to dare compare himself to any woman, and especially to the women murdered because of being women.

    Men can indulge their desires to wear skirts, makeup, painful high heels, and whatever else of the gendered costume stereotypes put on women. That’s fine! Go ahead! Dress up as your AGP fantasies! But don’t expect the rest of us to deny reality. Sex is not gender. Sex is immutable and binary. There is no 3rd gamete. (BTW, so-called “intersex” people are still either male or female, not in-between or a 3rd sex.) Women are oppressed because of our sex, and gender is how women are oppressed.

    Men need to expand their own expectations for how men dress and act, and be inclusive of men who like to wear and behave according to female stereotypes, rather than invading women’s spaces.