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At The Intercept, Alleen Brown on how the Hubbard County Sheriff is blocking access to the Line 3 protest camp.—ErikaA M...
Minnesota Sheriff Barricades Pipeline Resistance Camp’s Driveway

At The Intercept, Alleen Brown on how the Hubbard County Sheriff is blocking access to the Line 3 protest camp.

A Minnesota sheriff’s office blocked access Monday morning to one of the protest encampments set up to resist the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

In a notice delivered at 6 a.m. to pipeline opponents, who own the property, the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office stated that it would no longer be allowing vehicular traffic on the small strip of county-owned land between the driveway and the road. Sheriff’s deputies arrived with trucks carrying building materials, a witness said.

“I was handed a notice that states the sheriff will be installing a physical barricade across the driveway to our private property,” said Tara Houska, an Anishinaabe co-founder of the anti-pipeline Giniw Collective, which organized the camp. “He’s saying that we have no right of access to our private property by vehicle.”

“This is quite simply nothing less than an overt political blockade,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, an attorney for the pipeline opponents and director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund’s Center for Protest Law and Litigation. “This is an outrageous and unlawful effort to blockade people who are engaged in protected First Amendment activity and to punish them for their opposition to the Enbridge pipeline, where Enbridge is serving as the paymaster for Hubbard County sheriff.”

“This is an outrageous and unlawful effort to blockade people who are engaged in protected First Amendment activity.”

These days, a riven Congress is proving essentially incapable of passing significant legislation, no matter the subject....
What Price "Defense"?

These days, a riven Congress is proving essentially incapable of passing significant legislation, no matter the subject. After all, the 2021 congressional version of the Republican Party believes fervently in no-votes and filibusters. New voting rights legislation? Don’t hold your breath. Improvements on Obamacare, no less a public option? Not on your life (which might indeed be what’s at stake for some Americans). A bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6th assault on the Capitol? Why create an “additional, extraneous commission that Democratic leaders want” (as Senator Mitch McConnell put it)? A major infrastructure package with a truly green heart, rather than a pallid compromise that might not even make it through the Senate? Not a chance in hell (not unless the Democrats can use “reconciliation” and get senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to go along). And so it goes. That’s certainly the recent past and possibly the future, too, as far as the eye (or perhaps I mean the “nay”) can see.

Oh, wait a minute, there is one exception to the rule of the day, week, month, year, and for all we know so many years to come: the Pentagon budget! The party that thinks taxpayer dollars should not be spent on most Americans makes only two exceptions: the rich (who got their super tax cut as the Trump years began) and the military or rather the military-industrial complex. In fact, that’s the only place where congressional Democrats and Republicans seem capable of endlessly agreeing: that the military deserves every tax dollar it desires or that any giant weapons-making corporation might want. “Defense” spending has long been and remains the only truly bipartisan subject in Washington. If you remember, Congress even passed the previous Pentagon budget — 81 to 13 in the Senate — over President Trump’s veto.

The only other exception: anything that can be made to seem like part of a coming new cold war with China, or as Katrina vanden Heuvel put it recently, “In a Washington addled by bitter partisan divides, the call to meet the threat posed by China and Russia forges bipartisan consensus.” Indeed! And the Democrats were, at least, clever enough to get recent bipartisan support for funding a $250-billion science and high-tech infrastructure bill by framing it as an anti-Chinese measure.

In that context, consider the new Biden-era budget not just for the Pentagon but for the full national security state. Today, Pentagon experts and TomDispatch regulars William Hartung and Mandy Smithberger do something that, strangely enough, no one else in the media bothers to do: they actually add up the full national security budget, piece by piece, leaving us with a mind-boggling view of the true financial glories of militarization, American-style. —Tom

President Biden’s first Pentagon budget, released late last month, is staggering by any reasonable standard.  At more than $750 billion for the Defense Department and related work on nuclear weapons at the Department of Energy,

TomDispatch regulars William Hartung and Mandy Smithberger begin their remarkable new look at the national security budg...
What Price "Defense"?

TomDispatch regulars William Hartung and Mandy Smithberger begin their remarkable new look at the national security budget this way: "President Biden’s first Pentagon budget, released late last month, is staggering by any reasonable standard. At more than $750 billion for the Defense Department and related work on nuclear weapons at the Department of Energy, it represents one of the highest levels of spending since World War II — far higher than the peaks of the Korean or Vietnam wars or President Ronald Reagan’s military buildup of the 1980s, and roughly three times what China spends on its military.

"Developments of the past year and a half — an ongoing pandemic, an intensifying mega-drought, white supremacy activities, and racial and economic injustice among them — should have underscored that the greatest threats to American lives are anything but military in nature. But no matter, the Biden administration has decided to double down on military spending as the primary pillar of what still passes for American security policy. And don’t be fooled by that striking Pentagon budget figure either. This year’s funding requests suggest that the total national security budget will come closer to a breathtaking $1.3 trillion.

"That mind-boggling figure underscores just how misguided Washington’s current “security” — a word that should increasingly be put in quotation marks — policies really are. No less concerning was the new administration’s decision to go full-speed ahead on longstanding Pentagon plans to build a new generation of nuclear-armed bombers, submarines, and missiles, including, of course, new nuclear warheads to go with them, at a cost of at least $1.7 trillion over the next three decades."

President Biden’s first Pentagon budget, released late last month, is staggering by any reasonable standard.  At more than $750 billion for the Defense Department and related work on nuclear weapons at the Department of Energy,

Juan Cole writes on (Tucker) Carlson rage... Tom "Fox white nationalist (there, I’ve been redundant and repeated myself)...
Gaslighting the Pentagon: Tucker Carlson, who called Iraqis 'Monkeys,' Poses as anti-Racist in defending White Supremacy from "Pig" Gen. Milley

Juan Cole writes on (Tucker) Carlson rage... Tom

"Fox white nationalist (there, I’ve been redundant and repeated myself) Tucker Carlson once called Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys,” managing to be racist, anti-Arab and Islamophobic all at once.

Now Carlson is posing as an anti-racist. Funny thing, though. He isn’t out there apologizing for his racism against Iraqis.

Then there was that time when Carlson advocated for the odious anti-Semitic “replacement theory” that rich Jews are bringing in immigrants to the US to “replace” “white people:”

“Now, I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical. If you use the term replacement, if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots with new people, more obedient voters from the third world, but they become hysterical, because that’s, that’s what’s happening actually.”

“Democrats” (he means rich Jews) are not bringing in immigrants to replace “white people.”

Carlson is objecting to Gen. Mark Milley’s remarks before Congress in which the general said he wanted to understand the roots of white rage.

Carlson replied,

“Hard to believe that man wears a uniform. He’s that unimpressive.

Notice he never defined white rage, and we should know what it is. What is white rage?

Well . . . it’s one of those diseases that only affect people with certain melanin levels. It’s a race-specific illness.”

This sort of allegation is called gaslighting, an attempt to convince the victim that they heard something different than they did.

Milley was not saying that only whites suffer from rage. He was saying that some whites suffer from rage, and he wants to understand why. One of the whites who suffers from rage is Tucker Carlson. I know why he does. It is a very good paycheck for a privileged white trust fund baby, and it also helps his bosses, the Murdochs, whip up further white rage.

Since Carlson says he doesn’t know what white rage is, here’s a clip that might illustrate the phenomenon for him. Some white rage involves attacking and brutalizing the police, as at the Capitol insurrection:

MSNBC: “Feds Release More Capitol Riot Video Of Attack On Police”

Carlson continues:

“So Mark Milley reads Mao to understand Maoism, he reads communists to understand communism. But, interestingly, he doesn’t read white supremacists to understand white supremacy. Why not? Go to the source. He’d be fired for that instantly, and that’s the one thing he doesn’t want. So he reads about White rage as if it’s totally real. It’s a medical condition.”

Carlson’s twisted logic is on full display here.

First, he accuses Milley of not reading the white supremacists in the same way he read Mao, to understand the enemy. So he seems to be admitting that white supremacy exists and is an enemy of the United States just as Maoism was. And he admits that supremacists write pamphlets justifying their ideology.

Then he says that Milley would be fired for reading those white supremacist tracts.

Then he denies that white rage exists at all.

But if it doesn’t exist, what drives the white supremacists? If it doesn’t exist, why did Tucker demand Milley read them?

It is a clear sign of the decline of the American Right that where once it would have lambasted Milley for reading Mao and Marx, it now skewers him for not also having read Timothy McVeigh.

Why does Milley care about white rage? It is a problem in his own ranks. In 2017 at Charlottesville, the Neo-Nazi who rammed his car into Heather Heyer and killed her for protesting Fascism had tried to join the U.S. Army and washed out of basic training.

Travis Tritton wrote at the Washington Examiner at the time,

” The Army chief of staff, Gen. Mark Milley, said early Wednesday morning his service will not tolerate “racism, extremism or hatred” among its soldiers and that it is “against our values and everything we stood for since 1775.”

This week, it was learned that the man accused of driving a vehicle into counterprotesters, killing one of them, failed out of Army basic training two years ago.”

The killing of Heather Heyer, about which Carlson has never complained, might just be an example of the white rage he insists does not exist (or which he insists does not exist on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, but the rancid pamphlets of which he demands we read on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays).

Carlson then went for the big ratings with a schoolboy rant against Milley, “He is not just a pig, he is stupide.”

Wikipedia informs us,

“Milley graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics in 1980 after completing a 185-page-long senior thesis titled “A Critical Analysis of Revolutionary Guerrilla Organization in Theory and Practice”. Milley also holds a Master of Arts degree in international relations from Columbia University and another Master of Arts degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College. He is also an attendee of the MIT Center for International Studies Seminar XXI National Security Studies Program.”

I’ve lectured at the Seminar XXI Program and only the brightest and most promising young officers are even invited.

So, Princeton BA and MAs from Columbia and the Naval War College.

There are things Milley can be criticized for, including his stroll in combat fatigues with Trump for the Bible photo op. His intelligence, however, is not one of them.

Carlson was kicked out of a Swiss boarding school, did a BA at Trinity College, then applied to join the CIA but was rejected. Maybe not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.

Also, Milley is a decorated war hero whereas Carlson is a pampered chickenhawk.

In the end, Carlson’s fit of pique is based on the position that criticizing white supremacy is a form of racism. The illogic and bad faith of this position reeks like the garbage outside the Fox “News” studio in New York. Even worse, it reeks like the garbage inside the Fox studios."

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - Fox white nationalist (there, I've been redundant and repeated myself) Tucker Carlson once called Iraqis …

At the New Yorker, Bill McKibben's weekly column on what it truly means to live on a hotter planet.  Tom"It’s hard to ch...
It’s Not the Heat—It’s the Humanity

At the New Yorker, Bill McKibben's weekly column on what it truly means to live on a hotter planet. Tom

"It’s hard to change the outcome of the climate crisis by individual action: we’re past the point where we can alter the carbon math one electric vehicle at a time, and so activists rightly concentrate on building movements large enough to alter our politics and our economics. But ultimately the climate crisis still affects people as individuals—it comes down, eventually, to bodies. Which is worth remembering. In the end, we’re not collections of constructs or ideas or images or demographics but collections of arteries and organs and muscles, and those are designed to operate within a finite range of temperatures.

I happened to be talking with Dr. Rupa Basu, the chief of air-and-climate epidemiology at California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, on Friday, a day after Palm Springs had tied its all-time heat record with a reading of a hundred and twenty-three degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hot—hotter than the human body can really handle. The day before, with temperatures topping a hundred degrees before noon, a hiker in the San Bernardino National Forest had keeled over and died. “We talk a lot about biological adaptability, but as humans we’re not supposed to adapt to temps that high,” Basu said. “If your core body temp reaches a hundred and five, that means death can be imminent. As humans, we can only adapt so much. Once the air temperature is above a hundred and twenty, there’s only so much you can do, except rely on air-conditioning and other mitigation strategies. And that puts a lot of pressure on the power grid, and that could result in brownouts and blackouts. It’s not really a long-term, chronic solution. It’s just living for the moment and hoping it works.”

And often it doesn’t work. Last summer, Basu published a remarkable paper, a “systematic review” of research on pregnant women. The studies she looked at—which collectively examined more than thirty-two million births—found that higher temperatures in the weeks before delivery were linked to stillbirths and low birth weights. “It’s weeks thirty-five and thirty-six that seem to be the trigger,” she told me recently. “What we think is happening is that a lot of the mechanisms from heat-related illness start with dehydration. If there are symptoms of dehydration, those might be overlooked. If someone doesn’t connect it with heat, they might not get to a cooler environment. You see vomiting—and people might say, ‘That’s O.K. Bound to happen when you’re pregnant.’ But it’s because of the dehydration.” Further along in the pregnancy, she said, “your body releases oxytocin, which triggers contractions. And if it happens prematurely—well, heat raises the level of oxytocin faster. If you’re not able to thermoregulate, get the temp down, it can trigger low birth weight or, earlier on, miscarriage or stillbirth.” Past a certain point, the body diverts blood flow to the subcutaneous layer beneath the skin, where the body’s heat can radiate out into the air. That diverts the blood “away from vital organs,” Basu said. “And away from the fetus.”

The brain is an organ, too. For all its metaphysical magnificence, it’s a hunk of cells that comes with operating specs. Again, don’t let its temperature get too high: in 2018, Basu published a study showing the effect of seasonal temperatures on mental health. A ten-degree-Fahrenheit jump in temperature during the warm season was associated with an increase in emergency-room visits for “mental-health disorders, self-injury/suicide, and intentional injury/homicide” of 4.8, 5.8, and 7.9 per cent, respectively. Those are big numbers, and the search for mechanisms that explain them is fascinating. Among other things, certain medications impede the body’s ability to thermoregulate: beta-blockers, for instance, decrease the flow of blood to the skin, and antidepressants can increase sweating, Basu told me. “There’s also some evidence to show that heat affects neurotransmitters themselves—that everything is just a little bit slower.”

Both these effects show up more strongly in this country in Black and Hispanic patients—probably, as Basu explained, because those groups disproportionately live in low-income neighborhoods. “They’re often in areas where there are more fossil-fuel emissions, fewer green spaces, and more blacktop and cement, which really absorbs and retains the heat,” she said. “And also living closer to freeways. That exacerbates air pollution. And, with the heat, that’s a synergistic effect. It’s environmental racism that leads to these differences in exposure.” Some people, she added, bristle at hearing that: “Someone said to me, ‘Oh, so now we’re breathing different air?’ And I said, ‘Yes, that’s exactly right. We can track it down to the Zip Code level.’ ” Call it critical race epidemiology.

Which leads us, of course, back to politics. There’s only so much that doctors can do to help us deal with heat; ultimately, it’s up to the Joe Bidens and the Joe Manchins—and the Xi Jinpings—of the world. “We’re seeing these kinds of extreme temperatures in Palm Springs right now,” Basu said. “If we start to see those in more populated areas, imagine the public-health impact.” That’s obviously what’s coming. Last week, researchers at NASA and NOAA found that, according to satellite data, “the earth is warming faster than expected” and that the planet’s energy imbalance—the difference between how much of the sun’s energy the planet absorbs and how much radiates back out to space—has doubled since 2005, an increase equivalent to “every person on Earth using 20 electric tea kettles at once.” And the National Weather Service is forecasting a heatwave this week for the Pacific Northwest that could smash regional records.

Amid the endless deal-making—the U.S. last backed off what would have been a G-7 plan to end coal use—the human body is a useful bottom line. “I think what we need to do is prevent the warming,” Basu said, when I asked her for a prescription. “So it doesn’t get that hot.”

Rising air temperatures remind us that our bodies have real limits.


New York, NY


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