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The parallels are chilling between the fatal bullheadedness of Lysenkoism – the denial of genetic facts and reality to Gender Ideology which denies biological fact.  Go to Arty Morty’s Substack to read the rest of his brilliant article.

“Of course, logic and reason tell us that biological sex, like natural selection, is a fact of life that isn’t going anywhere, and also that that’s perfectly OK. We don’t need to rail against genetics or sex in order to grow better crops, teach future generations to be good citizens, or express our feminine and masculine sides freely. Lysenkoism and the denial of biological reality did not lead to prosperity, bounty, and social cohesion; just the opposite: it ripped societies apart, and Lysenko is probably responsible for the deaths of more people than any other scientist in the twentieth century. In fact, it is the acceptance of genetics that has taught us how to make hardier crops, feed more people, and cure countless diseases, advancing society by leaps and bounds. Likewise, gender ideology and the denial of biological reality is not leading to an era of free and healthy gender expression; it’s creating a vast population of disillusioned, distressed and severely harmed detransitioners; it’s creating so much hostility to gays and lesbians that our heroes can’t even attend Pride parades without being violently assaulted by ideological mobs; and it’s gutting the legal rights and protections for women and girls that feminists have built up over more than a century of struggle.

Just like with genetic denialism, every single one of the ideals that gender identity ideologues aspire to is harmed, not helped, by the denial of biological sex. The acceptance and understanding of same-sex attracted people is entirely dependent on the acknowledgement of the facts of biological sex. Understanding and accepting the variety of gender expression in humans, and how it relates to our sexuality and our attraction to each other, is entirely dependent on acknowledging the facts of biological sex. Ensuring that women and girls can live their lives with as much freedom and dignity as men and boys do is entirely dependent on the acknowledgement of the differences between male and female bodies.

Everyone’s got to start paying attention. This is all just history repeating.”

 

Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809) was a genius and was celebrated during his lifetime – but to this day, he remains in the shadow of Mozart and Beethoven. Maybe that is because he lived a life without scandal or financial difficulties, so he did not fit the later picture of what a musical genius was. However, his works have certainly stood the test of time. His almost 100 symphonies, the two oratorios The Seasons and The Creation, the string quartets and his piano music served as templates for later composers and are an essential part of the repertoire of musicians today.

The documentary ‘Joseph Haydn: Libertine & His Master’s Servant’ from 2009 is a kind of road movie that follows the trail of Haydn and visits all the locations of his life and work. The result is a comprehensive picture of this great composer, which also integrates his works. The portrait of Haydn is complemented by informative descriptions from renowned musicologists and interpreters of Haydn such as conductor Sir Roger Norrington, baritone Thomas Quasthoff and pianist Ragna Schirmer.

This music documentary is an extensive source of material for anyone who would like to know who Joseph Haydn was, what role he played during his lifetime and what the nature of his continuing huge significance is. It gives almost a complete picture of this great composer of the 18th and early 19th centuries. Here’s Joseph Haydn in a 54-minute-long nutshell.

It’s easy to get caught up in day to day events, but let’s not forget the quietly ticking bomb of a nuclear *oops* that could end us all.

The Black Swan We Can Never See

Let us turn to the other (and traditional) concern of the atomic scientists who adjust the Doomsday Clock: nuclear weapons. The current threat of nuclear war amply justifies their January 2015 decision to advance the clock two minutes toward midnight. What has happened since reveals the growing threat even more clearly, a matter that elicits insufficient concern, in my opinion.

The last time the Doomsday Clock reached three minutes before midnight was in 1983, at the time of the Able Archer exercises of the Reagan administration; these exercises simulated attacks on the Soviet Union to test their defense systems. Recently released Russian archives reveal that the Russians were deeply concerned by the operations and were preparing to respond, which would have meant, simply: The End.

We have learned more about these rash and reckless exercises, and about how close the world was to disaster, from U.S. military and intelligence analyst Melvin Goodman, who was CIA division chief and senior analyst at the Office of Soviet Affairs at the time. “In addition to the Able Archer mobilization exercise that alarmed the Kremlin,” Goodman writes, “the Reagan administration authorized unusually aggressive military exercises near the Soviet border that, in some cases, violated Soviet territorial sovereignty. The Pentagon’s risky measures included sending U.S. strategic bombers over the North Pole to test Soviet radar, and naval exercises in wartime approaches to the USSR where U.S. warships had previously not entered. Additional secret operations simulated surprise naval attacks on Soviet targets.”

We now know that the world was saved from likely nuclear destruction in those frightening days by the decision of a Russian officer, Stanislav Petrov, not to transmit to higher authorities the report of automated detection systems that the USSR was under missile attack. Accordingly, Petrov takes his place alongside Russian submarine commander Vasili Arkhipov, who, at a dangerous moment of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, refused to authorize the launching of nuclear torpedoes when the subs were under attack by U.S. destroyers enforcing a quarantine.

Other recently revealed examples enrich the already frightening record. Nuclear security expert Bruce Blair reports that “the closest the U.S. came to an inadvertent strategic launch decision by the President happened in 1979, when a NORAD early warning training tape depicting a full-scale Soviet strategic strike inadvertently coursed through the actual early warning network. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski was called twice in the night and told the U.S. was under attack, and he was just picking up the phone to persuade President Carter that a full-scale response needed to be authorized right away, when a third call told him it was a false alarm.”

This newly revealed example brings to mind a critical incident of 1995, when the trajectory of a U.S.-Norwegian rocket carrying scientific equipment resembled the path of a nuclear missile. This elicited Russian concerns that quickly reached President Boris Yeltsin, who had to decide whether to launch a nuclear strike.

Blair adds other examples from his own experience. In one case, at the time of the 1967 Middle East war, “a carrier nuclear-aircraft crew was sent an actual attack order instead of an exercise/training nuclear order.” A few years later, in the early 1970s, the Strategic Air Command in Omaha “retransmitted an exercise… launch order as an actual real-world launch order.” In both cases code checks had failed; human intervention prevented the launch. “But you get the drift here,” Blair adds. “It just wasn’t that rare for these kinds of snafus to occur.”

Blair made these comments in reaction to a report by airman John Bordne that has only recently been cleared by the U.S. Air Force. Bordne was serving on the U.S. military base in Okinawa in October 1962, at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and a moment of serious tensions in Asia as well. The U.S. nuclear alert system had been raised to DEFCON 2, one level below DEFCON 1, when nuclear missiles can be launched immediately. At the peak of the crisis, on October 28th, a missile crew received authorization to launch its nuclear missiles, in error. They decided not to, averting likely nuclear war and joining Petrov and Arkhipov in the pantheon of men who decided to disobey protocol and thereby saved the world.

As Blair observed, such incidents are not uncommon. One recent expert study found dozens of false alarms every year during the period reviewed, 1977 to 1983; the study concluded that the range is 43 to 255 per year. The author of the study, Seth Baum, summarizes with appropriate words: “Nuclear war is the black swan we can never see, except in that brief moment when it is killing us. We delay eliminating the risk at our own peril. Now is the time to address the threat, because now we are still alive.”

These reports, like those in Eric Schlosser’s book Command and Control, keep mostly to U.S. systems. The Russian ones are doubtless much more error-prone. That is not to mention the extreme danger posed by the systems of others, notably Pakistan.

 

 –Noam Chomsky The Doomsday Clock quoted from Tom’s Dispatch

9/11 and the resulting concurrent military debacle and ascendancy of the American Military Industrial Complex continues to haunt us to this day.  Americans and the rest of the free world suffered severe setbacks to their individual liberties and privacy, and perhaps most importantly, the rule of law.  Not that America was super good at following the rule of law when it’s own interests came into play, but perhaps the facade of us being the ‘good guys’ is an illusion that can never be restored.

Many military leaders in the US still parrot the GWB line trying to defend the indefensible War On Terror, nothing particularly surprising there.  The military, institutionally speaking, will always prioritize its interests first.  Looking further down the line though, we can see that people of conscience are coming forward with their stories about the horrors of the WoT and how they simply cannot continue business as usual.

Of course, these people will be punished by the state apparatus for violating the secrecy surrounding the acts of terror and bloodshed that the US is responsible for yet these individuals persisted.  The two individuals both ended up losing their freedom because they were compelled by their conscience to do the right thing.

I’m not a big fan of the military industrial complex in the USA and their imperial spread across the globe – too many people in America and across the world are blind to the actions perpetrated in their name.  In a democratic nation the truth must be known to the citizenry so they can be informed and equipped to make the best choice possible with regards to who will represent and lead them.

If I was an American and either of the following individuals ran for office, they would garner my vote.  They spoke their mind to did what was right demonstrating an ethical and moral backbone that seems so rare in our body politic.

“Recently, some more minor players in the post-9/11 era have apologized in unique ways for the roles they played. For instance, Terry Albury, an FBI agent, would be convicted under the Espionage Act for leaking documents to the media, exposing the bureau’s policies of racial and religious profiling, as well as the staggering range of surveillance measures it conducted in the name of the war on terror. Sent to prison for four years, Albury recently completed his sentence. As Janet Reitman reported in the New York Times Magazine, feelings of guilt over the “human cost” of what he was involved in led to his act of revelation. It was, in other words, an apology in action.

As was the similar act of Daniel Hale, a former National Security Agency analyst who had worked at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan helping to identify human targets for drone attacks. He would receive a 45-month sentence under the Espionage Act for hisleaks— documents he had obtained on such strikes while working as a private contractor after his government service.

As Hale would explain, he acted out of a feeling of intense remorse. In his sentencing statement, he described watching “through a computer monitor when a sudden, terrifying flurry of Hellfire missiles came crashing down, splattering purple-colored crystal guts.” His version of an apology-in-action came from his regret that he had continued on at his post even after witnessing the horrors of those endless killings, often of civilians. “Nevertheless, in spite of my better instinct, I continued to follow orders.” Eventually, a drone attack on a woman and her two daughters led him over the brink. “How could I possibly continue to believe that I am a good person, deserving of my life and the right to pursue happiness” was the way he put it and so he leaked his apology and is now serving his time.”

The cost of a clear conscience shouldn’t have to be your freedom, but kudos to Terry Albury and Daniel Hale for being true to themselves and their country.

[Source: Counterpunch]

Now that school is almost over (got called into a full-time temporary contract for June), I should have more time to write on the blog.  I apologize for the sporadic scheduling for the last month or so, hopefully over the summer months we can get back into a regular publishing rhythm.

While perusing the CBC website I came across an article about calls to “Cancel Canada Day” in light of the mass graves being discovered at residential school sites across Canada, and the opinions of five Canadians on the topic.

“Don Amero – Country and folk singer-songwriter, Winnipeg

“I think my own belief is that Canada Day is a thing in terms of how we approach it. I think that’s where we really need to kind of take a deeper look at it. I think to spend millions of dollars in celebration, not sure if that’s what we should be doing as a country now. I think maybe [we should spend] time to reflect and to really educate ourselves.

“It is an opportunity for every individual, every Canadian, to say, ‘Where do I fit in this story?’ And I think if you’re here and you’re in this country, you’re a piece of this story. And I think that you really need to educate yourself. You can be complicit, you can be ignorant or you can educate yourself. My hope is that what we do this Canada Day is we spend more time educating ourselves on our history and who we were, who we are now and who we want to be in the future.”

I think that people won’t bother to ‘educate themselves’ unless it directly effects how they interact with society, or their income.  I suspect that when asked, most Canadians will agree on the tragedy that was the Residential School system and sympathize.  But not much past that.

I doubt that many Canadians will actually spend time ‘educating themselves’ unless it is job to be in the know.  Historians, teachers, and the odd politician yes, but for the average person, most likely not.

If we move toward a society that values past knowledge and wisdom then then numbers may change a bit, but right now, sadly, we are not far behind the ahistorical United States when it comes to learning from history (see our Pandemic response vis-a-vis lessons the Spanish Flu Epidemic had to offer).

“Lynn-Marie Angus – Co-founder of B.C-based Sisters Sage, an Indigenous brand that hand-crafts wellness and self-care products, member of Gitxaala, Nisga’a and Métis Nations

Honestly I never celebrate Canada Day. I haven’t since I think I was old enough to realize what Canada stood for, what Canada Day is. I’m Indigenous, so I’ve been brought up in a culture of racism. This is just something that’s normal. It’s normalized, unfortunately. But this is something that I deal with day to day  It’s really difficult right now for Indigenous folks. So we’re all really suffering and traumatized and dealing with this very publicly through social media.

There’s a saying that people are saying now: There’s no pride in genocide. And that’s so true. So it’s hard to be proud to be Canadian. I’m proud to be an indigenous person. Our existence Is our resistance. We are still here.”

I’m not sure that Canada is all about the genocide, at least these days.  Canada as a minor power in the world does limited work on the world stage and mostly follows the lead of the US (like we have much choice in the matter).  The successive governments that have ignored indigenous concerns is certainly not a record to be proud of, but one can hope we can improve on our political record regarding the treatment of indigenous Canadians.

“Scott Clark – Executive director, Vancouver ALIVE, director of the Northwest Indigenous Council Society

“I’ve never been a supporter of [Canada Day], recognizing the ongoing process Canada is doing to our people. But [calls to cancel Canada Day] are starting to shed light on the history of the relationship between Canada and Indigenous people. I would say that if anything [cancelling] is going to bring light to the historical and the contemporary relations between the Indigenous people, I would support that.

“I think [that] the uncovering of the the unmarked graves … for some reason, this has taken off with the Canadian public. I think they’re empathetic. I think  they’re shocked.

“I do not identify as a Canadian citizen. That’s been imposed upon myself at birth.  And that’s a result of the Canada Indian Act. So this is why I say there’s a lot of unfinished business that Canada has yet to do. So I don’t consider myself a Canadian, let alone a proud Canadian.”

Well, you happen to live in the political boundary of the landmass we like to call Canada, so there is that, but as with all self identification, you do you.  Again, an appeal to shed light on our history.  Once this news cycle is over, I’m not sure how much light will be left shining on the issue.

 

“Parry Stelter – President, founder of Word of Hope Ministries, originally from Alexander First Nation-Treaty Six Territory in Edmonton, Sixties Scoop survivor

“I feel that this Canada Day should not be cancelled. We should be standing at attention … but standing at attention.in fully acknowledging the full history of Canada and all its atrocities and the genocide and the residential schools.

“I think it’s a matter of changing your total perspective on the whole celebration, because many people go straight to ‘Why would I want to celebrate the past? Why would I?’ So now it’s a matter of changing perspective and saying, as I celebrate Canada Day, I’m not going to celebrate it for what it has been in the past. I’m going to celebrate it for what I want it to be in the future.

“The fact of the matter is that we still all live here. And so we have to make the most of it and move forward and not just be resilient and not just survive, but learn how to thrive in our lives. But I totally understand if my people or anybody else don’t want to celebrate. I totally understand because we all grieve in different ways.

Parry has a great line in there –  I’m going to celebrate it [Canada Day] for what I want it to be in the future.  If we actually learned from our past mistakes Parry’s comment would resonate much more clearly.  Unfortunately, the way our society is structured, just keeping our head above water and getting some time away from the rat-race is always fully centred in our consciousness.  Historical reflection is a luxury many Canadians simply don’t have.

” Aziza Mohammed – Consultant for the World Bank, Toronto

“I don’t think it should be cancelled.I realize we’ve had some very troubling revelations, but the way forward is not to stop aspiring to be a better country, and it’s not to try and erase the existence of a country or erase history. It’s about acknowledging it and and trying to do something better.

“While acknowledging the pain of our Indigenous brothers and sisters, there’s lots of suffering throughout Canada’s history and even today. I’m a  Muslim woman, I’m a racialized person. We have our places of worship burned down, vandalized with swastikas. I’ve been driven out of the first home I bought, which was in a small town in Canada, because the racist locals made my life so unbearable, I had to flee.

“There’s  a lot for me personally to be upset about when it comes to our country, our history and fellow Canadians. But I still want to look forward. I still want to be positive…. Life here can’t just be suffering. It’s also a little bit of community and fellowship and joy. That’s worth celebrating to me.”

Tackling the more discriminatory elements in our society is a laudable goal.

 

What I think we should celebrate in Canada is the fact that we can (for the most part) state and freely share our opinions and thoughts.  We still have a social rights framework in which the common people can safely hold a myriad of political thoughts and opinions and be able to disseminate them in our society.    Without the freedom of the intellectual commons, Canada would be much diminished.  I’m guessing that most Canadians take for granted the rights and freedoms that we have, since we have been exercising our freedom of thought and speech for so long now.

All of the diversity of opinion expressed here goes away if we lose our superstructure of guaranteed rights and freedoms.  So, I think I’ll spend a little time reflecting on that fact that I live in a liberal democratic society that allows me to dissent from the majority and share opinions without deleterious consequences to my personal well being.  And for that I am proud and grateful to live in, and be Canadian.

 

 

 

 

 

Learning without Flinching from History

“The United States has been the imperial power of record on this planet since World War II. Lately, the economic and moral aspects of that power have waned, even as our military power remains supreme (though without being able to win anything whatsoever). That should tell you something about America. We’re still a “SmackDown” country, to borrow a term from professional wrestling, in a world that’s increasingly being smacked down anyway.

Harold Pinter, the British playwright, caught this country’s imperial spirit well in his Nobel Prize lecture in 2005. America, he said then, has committed crimes that “have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

Anyone with a knowledge of our history knows that there was truth indeed in what Pinter said 15 years ago. He noticed how this country’s leaders wielded language “to keep thought at bay.” Like George Orwell before him, Pinter was at pains to use plain language about war, noting how the Americans and British had “brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call[ed] it bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East.”

The point here was not simply to bash America. It was to get us to think about our actions in genuine historical terms. A decade and a half ago, Pinter threw down a challenge, and even if you disagreed with him, or maybe especially if you did so, you need the intellectual tools and command of the facts to grapple with that critique. It should never be enough simply to shout “USA! USA!” in an ever-louder fashion and hope it will drown out not only critics and dissenters but reality itself — and perhaps even your own secret doubts.

And we should have such doubts. We should be ready to dissent. We should recognize, as America’s current attorney general most distinctly does not, that dissenters are often the truest patriots of all, even if they are also often the loneliest ones. We should especially have doubts about a leader who threatens to bring violence against another country 1,000 times greater than anything that country could visit upon us.

I don’t need the Catholic Church, or even Christ in the New Testament, to tell me that such thinking is wrong in a Washington that now seems to be offering a carnivorous taste of what a future American autocracy could be like. I just need to recall the wise words of my Polish mother-in-law: “Have a heart, if you’ve got a heart.”

Have a heart, America. Reject American carnage in all its forms.”

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