Category Archives: Holocausts

Coping with the inevitability of climate change


Given that global climate change is already happening, and the reality that political leaders lack the will or ability to implement measures to head off imminent impacts, what then?

That’s the subject of How To Let Go of the World -and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, the new documentary from Josh Fox, direct of the award-winning 2010 documentary Gasland.

Here’s how the reviewer for the New York Times sums up the film:

The film’s title will use up many of the allotted words for this review, so it’s best to be terse when critiquing “How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change.” Hence, a one-word assessment of this documentary: Tough. As in, tough to watch. Tough to consider. Tough to ignore.

But beneath the despair Fox conveys a certain optimism in this discussion with Chris Hedges for the latest installment of Days of Revolt, Hedges’ weekly series for teleSUR English.

The optimism lies not in any conviction Fox has that quick, massive response may avert the worst impacts — he has none. Rather, his optimism stems from the ability of the human spirit to craft emotional responses that foster a spirit of community, responses mediated by song, dance, and the other arts.

From Days of Revolt:

Days of Revolt: Letting Go of the World

From the transcript:

HEDGES: I just want to interrupt–you in the film point out that it’s not like we stop at 2 degrees. That becomes essentially, once we hit 2 degrees, it just begins to accelerate.

FOX: The problem is we’ve already warmed the Earth by about a degree Celsius over pre-industrial times. We have enough heat and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and methane in the atmosphere now to bring us to definitely 1.5 degrees and perhaps beyond. Some of the projections for this year even bring us to 1.3 degrees, and we’re talking Celsius. Doesn’t sound like so much. But if you think about your freezer at home, if you take it from 32 degrees Fahrenheit to 34 degrees Fahrenheit, everything starts to melt and everything starts to spoil, which is what’s happening on the planet Earth right now. Everything that?s supposed to stay frozen is melting and that has created feedback loops and all the things we know will continue to accelerate.

HEDGES: Explain feedback loops.

FOX: So at the top of the Earth and at the bottom of the Earth, there are these poles which have white snow and ice, and white reflects heat and light and black absorbs it, right? So that heat that would otherwise radiate back out to space, because it’s reflecting off of the poles. As the poles shrink as we melt them, then all of a sudden there’s even less reflectivity. So that’s one feedback loop. Another feedback loop is that as we melt the permafrost, there’s all sort of methane trapped inside the permafrost that creates even greater greenhouse gas emissions. These things start to accelerate and spiral.

HEDGES: You also talk about the animal agriculture industry, which many people avoid, but is a major contributor to climate change.

FOX: Of course, there’s so many contributors. Not just oil and gas and coal but yes, animal agriculture and deforestation is another major cause because trees basically bring carbon into them and exhale oxygen which we need to survive. So the more we cut down the forest, you get less oxygen and you get more carbon dioxide. What was most startling to me is the sea level rise projections. When you 5-9 meters of sea level rise, that’s basically say goodbye to Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C., Baltimore.

HEDGES: You show in the film what it will look like. What these cities will look like when huge sections of these cities are gone.

FOX: In New York it’s always interesting because whenever we show that map to people in New York, you see the Lower Eastside get eaten, you see Williamsburg, Red Hook and The Rockaways. And people always go, ‘Well, I live over here in Park Slope. I’m on a hill.’ I’m like ‘Okay that’s cool. Yeah you’re right, you know. The Brooklyn Bridge won’t be under water but the onramp will be.’ Now you won’t be able to take the subway. It’s so funny how we think these things aren’t going to happen to us and yet, that is extraordinarily startling.

So what does this mean, this 2 degrees? Basically what it means is if we’re already for all intents and purposes are at 1.5 or beyond, there is no scenario in which New York, Baltimore or D.C., Miami, New Orleans stays above water if we continue to develop and drill for more fossil fuels. And just today, the oil and gas industry had a huge auction in the SuperDome in New Orleans to ten more years of oil and gas drilling offshore. We’re talking about frack gas expanding. We have proposals right now for 300 frack gas power plants throughout the United States and people are battling them every single place we go. They’re battling the pipelines, they’re battling the power plants. Hillary Clinton speaks of natural gas as a bridge fuel. So does Barack Obama, by the way. What that bridge means is 30-40 more years of dependence on fossil fuel, the worst fossil fuel that there is for climate change. That’s not responsible action, that’s not what is says in the Paris Accords. You have an incredible contradiction right now among this administration that saying, ‘We wanna take on climate change. We wanna keep climate change well below 2 degrees,’ is what they said in Paris. And yet you have FERC permitting all these pipelines.

Ted Cruz: The non-alternative to The Donald


For some Republican presidential voters, a choice between the two top contenders is akin to being forced to decide if you’d rather die from cancer or prolonged starvation.

Leave it to Samantha Bee to give us a short, concise look at three prominent homicidal Cruz fans, adherents of the malignant Christofascism that has taken over the hard Right margins of the evangelical movement.

From Full Frontal with Samantha Bee:

Team Cruz

Program note:

Who are some of Ted Cruz’s biggest fans? Prepare to not be surprised in the slightest.

Quote of the day: The AP, Hitler’s media enabler


From Philip Oltermann, writing in the Guardian, a dark chapter in the history of the country’s oldest and most influential news service:

Associated Press, which has described itself as the “marine corps of journalism” (“always the first in and the last out”) was the only western news agency able to stay open in Hitler’s Germany, continuing to operate until the US entered the war in 1941. It thus found itself in the presumably profitable situation of being the prime channel for news reports and pictures out of the totalitarian state.

>snip<

In an article published in academic journal Studies in Contemporary History , historian Harriet Scharnberg shows that AP was only able to retain its access by entering into a mutually beneficial two-way cooperation with the Nazi regime.

The New York-based agency ceded control of its output by signing up to the so-called Schriftleitergesetz (editor’s law), promising not to publish any material “calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home”.

This law required AP to hire reporters who also worked for the Nazi party’s propaganda division. One of the four photographers employed by the Associated Press in the 1930s, Franz Roth, was a member of the SS paramilitary unit’s propaganda division, whose photographs were personally chosen by Hitler. AP has removed Roth’s pictures from its website since Scharnberg published her findings, though thumbnails remain viewable due to “software issues”.

AP also allowed the Nazi regime to use its photo archives for its virulently antisemitic propaganda literature. Publications illustrated with AP photographs include the bestselling SS brochure “Der Untermensch” (“The Sub-Human”) and the booklet “The Jews in the USA”, which aimed to demonstrate the decadence of Jewish Americans with a picture of New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia eating from a buffet with his hands.

And now for our word from our sponsor. . .


Given that eugenics seems to be an implicit part of right wing populist movements of the last hundred years or so, and that eugenics messaging was often mandatory, we thought we’d get a jump on things. . .

A poster from the Galton Society, the most prominent of Great Britain's eugenics advocacy organizations.

A poster from the Eugenics Society, the most prominent of Great Britain’s eugenics advocacy organizations.

Unfitness. . .

What an ironic word.

Few governments were led by leaders less likely to pass their own eugenics standards than that of the Third Reich, with a Fuhrer apparently afflicted with deformed genitalia, the propaganda minister was seven inches too short to serve in Hitler’s own bodyguard, and the air marshal was a grossly obese drug addict, and while the first  deputy Fuhrer was was a closeted homosexual, a condition that, for ordinary Germans, meant an express ticket to a concentration camp and sterilization.

Indeed, the leadership’s eugenic unfitness was literally an underground joke in Nazi Germany:

Q: What does the ideal Aryan look like?

A: As tall as Goebbels, as slim as Goering, as blond as Hitler.

To the eugenics advocate, human beings are breeding stock, and thoise who advocate its adoption are the very sorts who wouldn’t meet the standards of their own program.

Funny, no?

No, not funny at all.

A poster from the Nazi Party's Racial Political [eugenics] Office declaring: "This hereditarily ill person will cost our national community 60,000 Reichmarks over the course of his lifetime. Citizen, this is your money."

A poster from the Nazi Party’s Racial Political [eugenics] Office declaring: “This hereditarily ill person will cost our national community 60,000 Reichmarks over the course of his lifetime. Citizen, this is your money.”

Native Americans imperiled in ‘national interest’


When the first Europeans arrived in what they called the New World, they were greeted hospitably by the peoples to who the Americas were anything but new.

In additions to guns, armor, and horses, the Europeans brought invisible invaders, microbes that would kill many times more the numbers of indigenous people who fell to the guns and swords of the invaders.

And invisible enemies are still assaulting those who first called this land home, particles far smaller than the living organisms that had brought lethal epidemics of measles, small pox, and other ailments new to the Americas.

These new afflictions were brought by miners and scientists, assaulting the earth for uranium to build the bombs brandished during the Cold War and that still form the backbone of the national arsenal.

In the latest episode of Days of Revolt, journalist Chris Hedges talks with two Native Americans about the radioactive threat to their peoples, as well as the impacts of coal mining and fracking.

Charmaine White Face is of the Oglala Tetuwan Nation, or from POW Camp 344, the original designation of what became today’s reservation. Petuuche Gilbert comes from the Acoma Nation in New Mexico, the oldest continuously inhabited urban community in the country.

One of the deepest concerns of the Acoma has a direct connection to UC Berkeley, the two national laboratories in New Mexico, both of which have intimate connections with the University of California and its Berkeley campus.

From teleSUR English via The Real News Network:

Days of Revolt: Sacrifice Zones

From the transcript:

HEDGES: Let me ask you, Petuuche, in New Mexico are there, is it a similar situation as South Dakota, Wyoming? Different in any way, what you’re confronting?

GILBERT: I think it’s very similar in terms of the dependency of the United States on nuclear energy. So I call New Mexico a very irradiated state because of its attention on nuclear research. So in Mexico not only do you have abandoned uranium mines and mills, but you have your two National Laboratories–.

HEDGES: Los Alamos.

GILBERT: Los Alamos National Laboratories that still makes smart bombs. And that Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque that stores supposedly the world’s largest collection of nuclear warheads. And then you have your WIPP, the Waste Isolation Pilot Project plant in Carlsbad which is now closed because of problems, a fire that occurred a couple years ago. And then you have a uranium enrichment facility in New Mexico.

So yet this whole state that’s so dependent on this nuclear research, and the whole nuclear fuel cycle, what our concentration is is up, where I’m from, is the mines and mills which we call the legacy uranium mines and mills in the Grants Mining District. You have today, the EPA tells us there’s 97 abandoned uranium mines and five mills. And of course, all of these have created radioactive poisoning of the land, the people the environment and wildlife.

HEDGES: What is a, what is a mill? What does a mill do?

GILBERT: A mill would process the uranium ore into yellow cake.

HEDGES: I see.

GILBERT: So in, in this Grants [inaud.] you get five plants. They’re all closed, now, and they are administered by the Department of Energy or another [crosstalk].

HEDGES: And are you seeing the same kind of health effects?

GILBERT: Same kind of health effects. The refusal of the state of New Mexico, the refusal of the United States to do epidemiological studies or other real serious risk health impact studies. And that does–for example, today the citizens are okay with going with new uranium mining, because they don’t have the information to influence them, that radiation poisoning affects them and that they were all radiation victims as a result of these mines and mills.

HEDGES: And you’re seeing the elevated cancer rates that you’re seeing in South Dakota.

GILBERT: Yes, yes. There’s this one community that published what they call a death map in the Albuquerque Journal. It’s the Blue Water Valley Downstream Alliance organization. Their villages are less than 100 yards away from an old Homestake [inaud.] mill site, and that the people are dying from cancer, they claim, as a result of living right next and adjacent to this old mill.

So definitely radon gas, or radioactive particles contaminated the groundwater, that are affecting the health and welfare of the people, including the wildlife.

The very, very creepy Ted Cruz’s weekend adventure


The weekend in question was 6-7 November, and the occasion was a hatefest called the National Religious Liberties Conference in Des Moines.

BLOG Theocons

But the liberties in question at the conference included the liberty to conduct a gay holocaust.

From Katherine Stewart, writing in the 16 November edition of the  New York Times [emphasis added]:

Earlier this month, in Des Moines, the prominent home-schooling advocate and pastor Kevin Swanson again called for the punishment of homosexuality by death. To be clear, he added that the time for eliminating America’s gay population was “not yet” at hand. We must wait for the nation to embrace the one true religion, he suggested, and gay people must be allowed to repent and convert.

Mr. Swanson proposed this at the National Religious Liberties Conference, an event he organized. Featured speakers included three Republican contenders for the presidency: the former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

Mr. Huckabee later pleaded ignorance. Yet a quick web search will turn up Mr. Swanson’s references to the demonic power of “the homosexual Borg,” the unmitigated evil of Harry Potter and the Disney character Princess Elsa’s lesbian agenda.

Mr. Cruz apparently felt little need to make excuses. He was accompanying another of the featured speakers at the conference: his father, Rafael Cruz — a politically connected pastor who told a 2013 Family Leadership Summit that same-sex marriage was a government plot to destroy the family.

Yep, Ted’s pappy was right there, spouting his own brand of venomous bile, the kind that was meat and potatoes to his young son as he grew up.

Rachel Maddow brought the conclave to a broader audience in a trualy remarkable video from RightWingWatch.org. From MSNBC:

GOP Hopefuls Speak At Anti-Gay Conference

Program notes:

Rachel Maddow shows that while Democrats were participating in a candidates forum, Republicans Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal and Ted Cruz were guests at “religious freedom” event led by a pastor who preaches that homosexuality should be punished with death.

For more on the extreme beliefs of conference organizer Kevin Swanson, see this catalog of horrors from Right Wing Watch.

And from the New York Daily News, here’s one example:

“America, repent of your rebellion against God!” he yelled in his hysterical speech.

“America, repent of stumbling the little ones! America, repent of ‘Harry Potter’! America, repent of ‘How to Train Your Dragon!’

“America, repent that Dumbledore emerged as a homosexual mentor for Harry Potter, that Hiccup’s mentor in ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ emerged as a homosexual himself in order that history might repeat itself one more time.”

And what if your kid turns out to be gay [or is seduced by Satan into turning gay, which the good reverend seems to think is how it’s done]?

The good pastor has a suggestion:

“There are families, we’re talking Christian families, pastors’ families, elders’ families from good, godly churches whose sons are rebelling, hanging out with homosexuals and getting married and the parents are invited. What would you do if that was the case? Here is what I would do: sackcloth and ashes at the entrance to the church and I’d sit in cow manure and I’d spread it all over my body. That is what I would do and I’m not kidding, I’m not laughing.”

And from Jeff Rouner of the Houston Press comes this observation:

I was watching The Rachel Maddow Show the other day. . .when I heard a sentence that cannot possible have ever been uttered by human lips before in history: “Don’t you dare carve happy faces on open, pussy sores.”

So how did the candidates respond? Here’s the headline from a piece on the rant from the Des Moines Register:

Candidates won’t call out host citing death for gays

Of course they won’t. Cruz and Jindal are no doubt in agreement with the pastor’s pronouncements, though we’re not so sure about the Huck-ster.

Now consider this: Just substitute Jew for gay, and nothing the preacher says wouldn’t have fit right in the speeches of a certain Munich beer hall orator back in the 1920s.

And he has the imprimatur of a possible nominee for President of the United States.

When America’s proteges commit mass murder


In the latest edition of his TeleSUR English series, journalist and author Chris Hedges interviews a fellow member of the Fourth Estate about the murderous ways of America’s proteges in the Third World.

Allan Nairn, an independent and much-honored journalist, has reported on the violence perpetrated by American-taught death squads in Latin America, Indonesia, and the Mideast.

While covering a massacre by Indonesian death squads in East Timr in 1991, he was assaulted by soldiers, his skull fractured by the butts of American-supplied M16s.

In their discussion, Nairn and Hedges cover the bloody deeds of death squads as well as the inevitable blowback, most recently in the form of ISIS.

From TeleSUR English:

Days of Revolt: America’s Death Squads

Program notes:

In this episode of Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges sits down with investigative journalist Allan Nairn to discuss his experience covering wars across the globe, and the U.S.’s role in fueling such conflicts. The two discuss the mechanics of Western intervention, and the consequences that are still unraveling today.