Maureen Dowd: ,Apocalypse Right Now

Louis Proyect

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Maureen Dowd

Apocalypse Right Now

Fire consumed a home as
              the Sugar Fire tore through Doyle, Calif., this month.
Fire consumed a home as the Sugar Fire tore through Doyle, Calif., this month.Credit...Noah Berger/Associated Press

Maureen Dowd

Opinion Columnist

WASHINGTON — Holy smokes.

It feels like we are living through the first vertiginous 15 minutes of a disaster movie, maybe one called “The Day After Tomorrow Was Yesterday.

Heat waves are getting hotter. Forests are ablaze. Floods are obliterating. An iceberg nearly half the size of Puerto Rico broke off from Antarctica.

Florida’s fleurs du mal, algal blooms known as red tide, have become more toxic because of pollution and climate change. They are responsible for killing 600 tons of marine life, leaving beaches strewn with reeking dead fish.

It’s Mad Max apocalyptic. Crazy storms that used to hit every century now seem quotidian, overwhelming systems that cannot withstand such a battering.

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The heat wave that stunned the Pacific Northwest, killing nearly 200 people, was followed by a bolt of lightning igniting the dry earth in Oregon. The Bootleg Fire has now devoured 400,000 acres, with flames so intense, they are creating their own weather pattern capable of sparking new fires. The smoke has traveled from the West to the East Coast, tainting the air.

As Angela Merkel and President Biden touted a climate and energy partnership on her recent visit here, nature mocked them. While the two leaders had dinner, rains submerged huge swaths of Germany, including medieval towns.

Germany suffered its worst flooding in living
                  memory, with at least 165 people confirmed dead.
Germany suffered its worst flooding in living memory, with at least 165 people confirmed dead.Credit...Christof Stache/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Severe flooding and landslides hit central China’s Henan Province.Credit...Jade Gao/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The deluge in Henan Province in central China was so fierce that it crippled a large hospital, left subway riders up to their necks in water, affected three million people, displaced 250,000 from their homes and killed at least 33. Flash flooding had Brits wading in waist-high water in the London Underground. More scenes of devastation are unfolding in India, where at least 112 are dead after a monsoon triggered landslides.

As a New York Times story pointed out, whether systems were refurbished, like New York’s subways after Hurricane Sandy, or operating on fumes from the Victorian era, like London’s drainage system, it didn’t matter. The storms overwhelmed both the new and the old.

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There are wildfires raging in Siberia, and California is becoming Crematoria.

After Jeff Bezos shot 65 miles above Texas in his priapic rocket, the richest earthling marveled about our atmosphere: “When you get up above it, what you see is, it’s actually incredibly thin. It’s this tiny, little fragile thing, and as we move about the planet, we’re damaging it. That’s a very profound — it’s one thing to recognize that intellectually. It’s another thing to actually see with your eyes how fragile it really is.”

Remember when the weather was just a matter of small talk, or a cool lyric for a Cole Porter song, “Too Darn Hot,” or a great double entendre title for a Billy Wilder comedy, “Some Like It Hot”? Now, the scariest thing on TV is the Weather Channel.

We’ve been living in a culture of dread for a long time now. Republicans have been weaponizing fear, trying to scare us about gays and transgender rights and ambitious women and people with darker skin.

When fear doesn’t have a basis in reality, it is deeply irresponsible and causes great social damage.

Republicans invent things to provoke paranoia. But when it comes to climate, the fear has a basis in reality. We should be scared out of our minds watching the weather run amok.

“Everything we worried about is happening, and it’s all happening at the high end of projections, even faster than the previous most pessimistic estimates,” John Holdren, a professor of environmental p

A boat sits on a mound in a dried-out channel of
                  Hensley Lake in Madera, Calif.
A boat sits on a mound in a dried-out channel of Hensley Lake in Madera, Calif.Credit...David Swanson/Reuters

It may be too late for negotiating incremental change. We just went through four years of proudly unscientific Donald Trump, who once told me, “I’m not a believer in man-made climate change.” (Who can forget when he attacked Greta Thunberg and told her to “chill!”) As the planet sizzles, many Americans have gone from not caring to glazing over, from indifference to fatigue.


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There have been spots of progress. Antediluvian Republicans can no longer destroy opponents who worry about climate change by mocking them as sandal-wearing tree-huggers. In January, G.M. rocked the auto industry when it revealed plans to phase out petroleum-powered cars and trucks and move to zero-emission vehicles by 2035. The Times story about it was a pre-obituary for gas guzzlers, saying, “The days of the internal combustion engine are numbered.”

But there are still plenty of Republicans shilling for Big Oil and pushing back against climate change provisions in the big legislation before Congress. As we go through the debilitating politics of Covid, we have to go through the debilitating politics of the environment. Scary plagues are ravaging the planet while drivelers drivel.

Some hope technology can save us.

In Dubai, scientists are plotting to combat heat waves in several ways: sending aircraft to fire chemicals such as silver iodide into clouds to spur precipitation, and sending drones to zap an electrical charge into the clouds to trigger rain.

Making waterfalls in the desert sounds cool until you think about it. Torquing Mother Nature to clean up our messes can’t end well.

Après moi, le déluge.

  • What I Saw in Yosemite Was Devastating

    Louis Proyect

    What I Saw in Yosemite Was Devastating
    NYT, July 22, 2021

    By Susannah Meadows

    Ms. Meadows is the author of “The Other Side of Impossible: Ordinary People Who Faced Daunting Medical Challenges and Refused to Give Up.”

    I recently visited Yosemite National Park after decades away. In 1993, I spent a summer there as a park ranger intern, and came to know and love the park deeply. On this trip, I saw its transformation at the hands of climate change. It was devastating.

    Coming into the park from the south, up California 41, I looked out onto mountains that appeared studded with giant charred toothpicks. The 2018 Ferguson fire had decimated this once magnificent forest.

    Other trees were dying off, victims of bug infestations abetted by warming temperatures and milder winters. The waterfalls were pathetic wisps in the wind, shadows of the lush, white horse-tails that spilled down the summer I lived there.

    Wildfire, tree-death, and dwindling waterfalls are natural occurrences. But these problems are exacerbated by climate change, according to the National Park Service.

    With the worsening heat — it hit 104 degrees in the valley this month — you can’t enjoy being there as much. The West Coast is being battered by those three awful cousins, drought, heat and wildfire. When will the hot weather leave certain unforgettable, vertical hikes, like to the top of Half Dome, out of reach?
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    Yosemite’s last two glaciers are rapidly retreating. They will most likely disappear in a few decades, threatening the summer and autumn water supply in these mountains. By the time I visited in the first week of July, some of the streams in the high country — relied upon by animals and backpackers alike — were already dry. The river that threads through the valley, the Merced, was low and listless. When I lived alongside it years ago, it was so swollen with melted snow and the rapids so loud, I would have to close my window before making a phone call.

    The evidence of our planet’s warming is all around us. But many of us have been able to comfort ourselves, if only slightly, with the knowledge that the more cataclysmic fallout is still a ways off, that it may be preventable. Perhaps the gradual nature of the worsening conditions we see everyday has lulled us into a sense of complacency.

    What I saw in Yosemite feels like a wake-up call that’s come too late.

    The park is an international treasure, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and climate change is trashing it. If we can’t even protect protected land, then what about more vulnerable targets of climate catastrophe, like the people we care about?

    That Edenic summer so many years ago, stewards like me worried about things that now seem picayune: tourists littering, climbers drilling holes into El Capitan. We broke up fire rings because we thought they marred the wilderness. We patiently explained to backpackers how to hang their food to keep it away from bears.

    The principles of “leave no trace” were our religion. We thought we were safeguarding a hallowed place. But we were learning how to swim when a tsunami was coming.

    Back then, I fell hard for Yosemite’s awesome beauty. But over those months of reaching deep into its canyons and meadows along the veins of hiking trails, what awed me most was its might, its invincibility. Those 3,000-foot cliff drops and rushing waters were gorgeous, but they were threatening, too. Yosemite’s — and by extension, nature’s — power felt limitless.

    The park’s magisterial hunks of granite have been there for what feels like forever. Part of the Sierra Nevada range that forms the backbone of eastern California, they were shoved up into peaks millions of years ago. Later, a glacier carved the U-shaped valley. We humans, I was sure, could do nothing to this place by comparison.

    Now, almost 30 years later, in what might be the most profound shift of all, the power dynamic between humans and Yosemite has changed. To see nature so vulnerable not only feels depressing, but wrong, disorienting and scary.

    “It’s reminiscent of that moment when an adult child starts to experience their parent not just as a caregiver, but as someone who is starting to need care,” Alejandro Strong, an environmental philosopher who founded Apeiron Expeditions to lead people on trips into the wilderness, told me after I’d returned home.

    We talked about the transcendentalists. “Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller — their accounts of nature are that it’s perfect,” Dr. Strong said. “You would go and learn from this limitless teacher. Nature was pure truth. It offered access to the infinite, a stand-in for God.” Yosemite brought to its knees shows how naïve it was to think so.

    We’ve had it upside down all along. Nature wasn’t ever invincible — and we know this because we’ve been able to hurt it so much, Dr. Strong says. Because we had a long period of stability until recently, we thought nature was all powerful, that it would be here forever. “We’re being shocked out of that now,” he said.

    I went to Yosemite with my 13-year-old son, Beau. I wanted to introduce him to a place I’ve talked about his whole life. He’s a hiking enthusiast who climbs gentle mountains in the state parks outside New York City. It was time, I figured, to knock his socks off. I was not expecting to leave Yosemite writing a kind of obituary for it.

    That first glimpse Beau got of the valley — its colossal, polished granite walls facing off against each other — still delivered. Yosemite isn’t over yet. He had seen plenty of photos of that view, but he said, “I had no idea it would be this pretty.”

    What he didn’t see, because he wasn’t there before, was the startling emptiness in the right side of the postcard. With this year’s snowpack below average, Bridalveil Fall was a trickle sooner in the year than it once would have been. I wish he’d had a chance to see it the way it was before.

    After Recent ‘Heat Dome,’ Washington Issues Warning Not to Eat Raw Shellfish

    Louis Proyect

    After Recent ‘Heat Dome,’ Washington Issues Warning Not to Eat Raw Shellfish

    Health officials said that high temperatures and low tides were likely to blame for an outbreak of vibriosis, an intestinal disease associated with eating raw oysters and other shellfish.

    Oysters being
                harvested in Samish Bay, north of Seattle.
    Oysters being harvested in Samish Bay, north of Seattle.Credit...Liz O. Baylen/Los Angeles Times, via Getty Images

    Washington State health officials have urged consumers not to eat locally harvested raw oysters and other shellfish after an outbreak of intestinal disease caused by bacteria that multiplied rapidly after a recent “heat dome” baked the Pacific Northwest.

    State health officials said that recent high temperatures and low tides were most likely to blame for the outbreak of the disease, vibriosis, which has sickened at least 52 people this month, the most ever recorded in July.

    The disease — which usually lasts between four hours and four days and causes diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever and chills — is associated with eating raw or undercooked shellfish, especially oysters that are contaminated with vibrio, a bacteria that is found naturally in coastal waters.

    In low numbers, the bacteria do not pose any threat to people who eat shellfish. But the bacteria multiply quickly in warm conditions, so oysters are more likely to be contaminated in hot summer months when many like to savor the briny delicacy with a chilled glass of wine.

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    Late last month, a “heat dome” enveloped the Pacific Northwest, shattering records across the region. Seattle broke a record on June 28 for the highest temperature ever recorded by the National Weather Service there: 108 degrees. The previous high of 105 degrees had been set in July 2009.

    “It was a perfect storm of these super low tides we’ve been having this month and the high heat,” Teresa McCallion, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Health, said in an interview on Thursday.

    “This most likely is not just a one-time thing, an anomaly,” she added. “As climate change has an effect on a lot of things, this is just one example.”

    While tying a single heat wave to climate change requires extensive attribution analysis, heat waves around the world are growing more frequent, lasting longer and becoming more dangerous.

    The 2018 National Climate Assessment, a major scientific report issued by 13 federal agencies, notes that the number of hot days is increasing. And the frequency of heat waves in the United States jumped from an average of two per year in the 1960s to six per year by the 2010s. Also, the season for heat waves has stretched to be 45 days longer than it was in the 1960s, according to the report.

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    Washington State health officials recommended that people cook shellfish at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds to destroy vibrio bacteria, that they check the department’s Shellfish Safety Map before heading to the beach to harvest shellfish recreationally, and that they always keep oysters chilled on ice or refrigerated.

    “We’re recommending, if you don’t want to get sick, don’t eat raw oysters,” Ms. McCallion said. “Cook them. Make sure they’re fully cooked.”

    Margaret Pilaro, executive director of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, said it was important to remember that vibrio is found naturally in coastal waters. She said it was also important to buy shellfish from a “reputable source” and to care for oysters by keeping them cold.

    “This is something that happens every year, and there are plenty of delicious ways to eat cooked shellfish,” Ms. Pilaro said. “And when temperatures go back down, vibriosis is not much of an issue. Consumers can really feel good about the quality of the product they’re getting.”

  • Montana’s Famed Trout Under Threat as Drought Intensifies

    Louis Proyect

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    Montana’s Famed Trout Under Threat as Drought Intensifies

    The state is imposing more restrictions on fishing this year as the combination of extreme conditions, including low river levels, fish die-offs and the crush of anglers, poses long-term problems.

    Fly fishing in Rock
                Creek, a tributary of the Clark Fork River in western
                Montana, on Wednesday.
    Fly fishing in Rock Creek, a tributary of the Clark Fork River in western Montana, on Wednesday.Credit...Tailyr Irvine for The New York Times

    HELENA, Mont. — Few places in the world rival Montana’s fly fishing, and the state’s cold, clear mountain streams are renowned for their large populations of trout, especially the rainbow and brown.

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    But this is a drought year, and a confluence of extreme conditions now threatens the state’s legendary waters. Higher temperatures early in the year, worryingly low river levels, fish die-offs and pressure from the crush of anglers yearning to recapture a year lost to the pandemic have swirled into a growing crisis.

    This week the state announced a slate of new restrictions, including outright closures, for some of the top trout streams.

    And a new coalition of businesses, fly fishing guides and environmentalists warned that the severe drought may not be a temporary problem and that the state’s fisheries could be nearing collapse.


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    The coalition, which includes Orvis, the fly fishing company, and the clothing manufacturer Patagonia, sent Gov. Greg Gianforte a letter Wednesday seeking the creation of a task force to address the decline of the fisheries.

    “Between early season fish kills, unnaturally warm water temperatures and low trout numbers, it’s an all hands on deck moment,” said John Arnold, owner of Headhunters Fly Shop in Craig, along the Missouri River, one of the state’s premier fisheries.

    The coalition said that the conditions not only threatened the fisheries, but also would be devastating for businesses. “If water quality in our rivers continues to decline, and our rivers themselves dry up, these negative changes will also tank our state’s robust outdoor economy that directly depends on upon vibrant cold water fisheries,” the group stated in its letter.

    “This is a really unique, ecologically speaking, part of the world,” said Guy Alsentzer, the executive director of Upper Missouri Waterkeeper. “These rivers are really hurting and they need cold, clean water.”

    The crisis is occurring as the state was just beginning to recover from the pandemic, with tourists and fishing enthusiasts returning in large numbers. Anglers of all kinds spend nearly $500 million a year in Montana, according to the American Sportfishing Association.

    In addition to low river levels and even dry sections of some small streams, dead trout have been found floating in rivers around the state, a sight that in other seasons was rare. And there has been a mysterious, steep decline in one of the most sought-after fish, brown trout, over the last several years in southwest Montana.

    A sunset tinted by wildfire smoke over the Clark
                  Fork River.
    A sunset tinted by wildfire smoke over the Clark Fork River.Credit...Tailyr Irvine for The New York Times
    Dead trout in the Bitterroot River in Montana.
    Dead trout in the Bitterroot River in Montana.Credit...Wade Fellin

    Trout thrive in water between 45 and 60 degrees. Temperatures in some rivers have hit the low-70s much earlier than usual. At those temperatures the fish are lethargic because there is less oxygen in the water and they quit feeding; the stress of being caught by fishers in that weakened state can kill them. Around 75 degrees can be lethal to trout.

    Montana’s rivers and streams are wild trout fisheries, which means that unlike in most states, rivers there are not stocked with hatchery-reared trout. If populations crash, the state’s wild trout would have to rebound on their own, which could take years or might not happen at all.

    Low flows and warm temperatures are affecting sport fishing across the West, from California to Colorado. On the Klamath River in Northern California, the Iron Gate Fish Hatchery could not, for the first time in its 55-year history, stock the river with young hatchery-reared salmon and steelhead because extremely low flows and warmer water temperatures have increased infections from C. shasta, a parasite.

    Utah has doubled the allowable limit for fishers because low water levels are expected to kill many fish in the streams. In Colorado, state officials asked people not to fish a 120-mile-long stretch of the Colorado River in the north-central region because of low river levels and warmer water.

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    “The water temperatures have been above 70 degrees for multiple days in a row,” said Travis Duncan, a spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “And there is a potential for more closures as we get further along in the season.”

    On Tuesday, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks imposed “hoot owl” restrictions on the Missouri River, one of the most popular trout fishing sites in the state, between Helena and Great Falls because of warm water temperatures. The rule bans fishing after 2 p.m. (The term “hoot owl restrictions” stems from the early days of the timber industry. Loggers work early in the mornings of late summer, when it’s cooler, because the forests are dry and that increases the risk of chain saws or other equipment sparking a fire. Loggers often heard owls during their early morning shifts.)

    Yellowstone National Park announced that, beginning on Saturday, it would shut down fishing on its rivers and streams after 2 p.m. until sunrise the following day, citing water temperatures exceeding 68 degrees and extremely low river flows. “These conditions are extremely stressful and can be fatal to fish,” the park said in a news release.

    Although restrictions are often put in place at some point in the summer season, this year is unusual.

    “From what we know historically, this is unprecedented in the extent” of limits that have been imposed, said Eileen Ryce, the administrator for the state’s fisheries division.

    Compounding the situation here is the decline over several years in brown trout populations in the southwestern part of the state, including the Big Hole, Ruby, Yellowstone, Madison and Beaverhead Rivers, some of the top destinations for fly fishers.

    Fisheries technicians for the Yurok Tribe counted
                  dead chinook salmon pulled from a trap in the lower
                  Klamath River in Weitchpec, Calif., last month.
    Fisheries technicians for the Yurok Tribe counted dead chinook salmon pulled from a trap in the lower Klamath River in Weitchpec, Calif., last month.Credit...Nathan Howard/Associated Press
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    A sign advised fishing rules on the Bitterroot
                  River on Wednesday.
    A sign advised fishing rules on the Bitterroot River on Wednesday.Credit...Tailyr Irvine for The New York Times

    This year on the Big Hole River, for example, on one of the most popular stretches, a May census found 400 brown trout per mile, down from 1,800 in 2014. The Beaverhead River has dropped to 1,000 from 2,000 brown trout per mile. And those counts were conducted early in the season, before the onset of this summer’s extreme conditions. The state is considering long-term restrictions on all of these rivers, which could include release of all brown trout or shutting down fishing in some places.

    What, precisely, is causing the decline over such a large regional area of the Upper Missouri River Watershed is stumping experts, especially since brown trout are traditionally a hardy, resilient species, able to handle warmer temperatures. Many attribute the decreases, at least in part, to shifting river conditions caused by climate change.

    Oddly enough, an unintended benefit of the raging wildfires in the West has been the smoky skies, which may be keeping the rivers from getting even warmer by reducing the amount of direct sunlight.

    Meanwhile, on the Beaverhead and Bitterroot Rivers, anglers have reported seeing fish with large lesions whose cause is still unknown.

    Beyond hoot owl limits, those who fish have been asked to rapidly land their catch and carefully and quickly release them, to minimize the stress of handling and reduce the potential for killing them.

    Other factors threatening Montana’s trout include agricultural changes.

    Ranchers used to primarily flood irrigate their fields, which returned about half the water to the river system. Now many use pivot irrigation systems, which are far more efficient and use nearly all of the water.

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    “We may have altered groundwater so much that brown trout haven’t been able to adapt,” said Patrick Byorth, the director of Trout Unlimited’s water project for Montana. The group is a nonprofit focused on fisheries.

    Water pollution also adds to the problem. Increasing construction near resort areas along the Gallatin River near Yellowstone National Park, for instance, has contributed, with storm water runoff and septic systems sending phosphorus and nitrogen into the Gallatin River, causing algae blooms. The bloom is exacerbated by warmer temperatures and lower flows.

    One big question that can’t be answered is whether this is just a bad year, or a part of a more permanent change in the climate, a long-term aridification of the West.

    Mr. Arnold, the fly-fishing guide who has worked on the Missouri River for decades, said the decline in trout populations has been occurring over a longer span of time than just this year. “My top guides could put 60 fish in the boat in a day,” he said. “Now half of that would be considered a good day.”

    “It’s all climate-change related,” Mr. Arnold said. Twenty years ago, nobody fished in November and March because it was so cold, he recalled. Now they do. “It’s starting to feel like a downward spiral.”

    Water recreation on
                an unseasonably low Bitterroot River near Missoula on
    Water recreation on an unseasonably low Bitterroot River near Missoula on Wednesday.Credit...Tailyr Irvine for The New York Times

  • NY Times: Bob Moses, Crusader for Civil Rights and Math Education, Dies at 86

    Alan Ginsberg

    Mr. Moses developed a reputation for extraordinary calm in the face of violence as he helped to register thousands of voters and trained a generation of activists in Mississippi in the early 1960s.

    Michael Levenson and

    Bob Moses, a soft-spoken pioneer of the civil rights movement who faced relentless intimidation and brutal violence to register Black voters in Mississippi in the 1960s, and who later started a national organization devoted to teaching math as a means to a more equal society, died on Sunday at his home in Hollywood, Fla. He was 86.

    His daughter Maisha Moses confirmed his death. She did not specify a cause.

    In 1960, Mr. Moses was teaching math at the private Horace Mann School in the Riverdale section of the Bronx when scenes of Black people picketing and sitting at lunch counters across the South “hit me powerfully, in the soul as well as the brain,” he recalled in the book “Radical Equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project,” which he wrote with Charles E. Cobb Jr.

    He went to Mississippi to organize poor, illiterate and rural Black residents, and quickly became a legend among civil rights organizers in a state known for enforcing segregation with cross burnings and lynchings. Over the next five years, he helped to register thousands of voters and trained a generation of organizers in makeshift freedom schools.

    In an era when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was drawing vast crowds with his soaring oratory, Mr. Moses looked for inspiration to an older, less well-known generation of organizers like Ella Baker, a leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, drawing on her “quiet work in out-of-the-way places and the commitment of organizers digging into local communities.”

    White segregationists, including local law enforcement officials, responded to his efforts with violence. At one point during a voter-registration drive, a sheriff’s cousin bashed Mr. Moses’s head with a knife handle. Bleeding, he kept going, staggering up the steps of a courthouse to register a couple of Black farmers. Only then did he seek medical attention. There was no Black doctor in the county, Mr. Moses later wrote, so he had to be driven to another town, where nine stitches were sewn into his head.

    Another time, three Klansmen shot at a car in which Mr. Moses was a passenger as it drove through Greenwood, Miss. Mr. Moses cradled the bleeding driver and managed to bring the careening car to a stop.

    Arrested and jailed many times, Mr. Moses developed a reputation for extraordinary calm in the face of horrific violence. Taylor Branch, the author of “Parting the Waters,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the early Civil Rights movement, told The New York Times in 1993 that “in Mississippi, Bob Moses was the equivalent of Martin Luther King.”

    Although less well-known than some of his fellow organizers, such as King, Fannie Lou Hamer and John Lewis, Mr. Moses played a role in many of the turning points in the struggle for civil rights.

    He was a volunteer for and then a staff member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, focused on voter registration drives across Mississippi. He was a director of the Council of Federated Organizations, another civil rights group in the state.

    Mr. Moses also helped to start the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project, which recruited college students in the North to join Black Mississippians in voter registration campaigns across the state, according to the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.

    Their efforts that summer were often met with brutal resistance. Three activists — James E. Chaney, who was Black, and Andrew Goodman and Michael H. Schwerner, who were white — were murdered in rural Neshoba County, Miss., just a few weeks after the campaign began.

    In 1964, when Black people were excluded from the all-white Mississippi delegation at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, N.J., Mr. Moses helped create the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which sought recognition as the state’s delegation instead.

    Mr. Moses wrote in his book that he, King, Hamer and Bayard Rustin negotiated directly with Senator Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota, who was running for vice president. Although King favored a compromise in which the Freedom Party delegates would be given two seats alongside the all-white delegation, Mr. Moses and other Freedom Party leaders held out for full recognition, according to the King Institute.

    Mr. Moses later recalled that he was in Mr. Humphrey’s suite at the Pageant Motel when Senator Walter Mondale of Minnesota suddenly announced on television that the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party had accepted the “compromise.”

    “I stomped out of the room, slamming the door in Hubert Humphrey’s face,” Mr. Moses wrote in “Radical Equations.”

    Robert Parris Moses was born on Jan. 23, 1935, in New York City, one of three children of Gregory H. Moses, a janitor, and Louise (Parris) Moses, a homemaker.

    In an interview with Julian Bond, Mr. Moses credited his parents with fostering his love of learning, recalling that they would collect books for him every week from the local library in Harlem. His family participated in a cooperative program selling milk that was organized by Ms. Baker — an early connection that the two activists didn’t realize until they were working together in the South.

    He was raised in the Harlem River Houses, a public housing complex, and attended Stuyvesant High School, a selective institution with a strong emphasis on math. He played basketball and majored in philosophy and French at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y.

    He earned a master’s degree in philosophy in 1957 from Harvard University, and was working toward his doctorate when he was forced to leave because of the death of his mother and the hospitalization of his father, according to the King Institute.

    With his denim bib overalls and strong moral leadership, Mr. Moses was a hero of many books on the civil rights movement, and an inspiration for the 2000 movie “Freedom Song,” starring Danny Glover.

    Fleeing the Vietnam-era draft, Mr. Moses and his wife, Janet, moved to Tanzania, where they lived in the 1970s and where three of their four children were born. After eight years teaching in Africa, Mr. Moses returned to Cambridge, Mass., to continue working toward a Ph.D. in the philosophy of mathematics at Harvard.

    In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Moses is survived by another daughter, Malaika; his sons Omowale and Tabasuri; and seven grandchildren.

    When his eldest child, Maisha, entered the eighth grade in 1982, Mr. Moses was frustrated that her school did not offer algebra, so he asked the teacher to let her sit by herself in class and do more advanced work.

    The teacher invited Mr. Moses, who had just received a MacArthur “genius” grant, to teach Maisha and several classmates. The Algebra Project was born.

    The project was a five-step philosophy of teaching that can be applied to any concept, he wrote, including physical experience, pictorial representation, people talk (explain it in your own words), feature talk (put it into proper English) and symbolic representation.

    One of the basic tenets was to teach integers by taking students on trips — around Cambridge, on the subway; to the South, on a tour of civil rights landmarks. It could be as simple as a drive around the neighborhood or even a stroll around school.

    The children then drew what they had seen, and talked and wrote about it. Eventually they created number lines and practiced adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers.

    By the early 1990s, the program had stretched from Boston to San Francisco, winning accolades from the National Science Foundation and reaching 9,000 children.

    “I believe that the absence of math literacy in urban and rural communities throughout this country is an issue as urgent as the lack of registered Black voters in Mississippi was in 1961,” he wrote in “Radical Equations.”

    “I believe we can get the same kind of consensus we had in the 1960s for the effort of repairing this,” he added. “And I believe that solving the problem requires exactly the kind of community organizing that changed the South in the 1960s.”

    In the summer of 2020, when the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis touched off global protests against systemic racism and police brutality, Mr. Moses said that the country seemed to be undergoing an “awakening.”

    “I certainly don’t know, at this moment, which way the country might flip,” Mr. Moses said in June 2020. “It can lurch backward as quickly as it can lurch forward.”

    Clay Risen contributed reporting.




    Biden Said He’d Cut Incarceration in Half. So Far, the Federal Prison Population Is Growing

    Charles Keener

    Biden Said He’d Cut Incarceration in Half. So Far, the Federal Prison Population Is Growing. – Mother Jones

    His team recently announced that thousands of people released early due to COVID could be forced to return after the pandemic.

    Re: 'Advanced' Nuclear Reactors? Don't Hold Your Breath - Scientific American

    Farans Kalosar

    IMO the author--while scoring some  much-needed points--overstates the technical case and fails to mention the biggest joker in the new nuke deck--the nearly inevitable indiscriminate "free market" deployment of little commodity reactors of any kind.

    "Unproven technology from 50 years ago."  This is strange. Is technology only valid for the half-breath it takes for capitalism to junk it and proclaim some "new, improved" wasteful gadget to be consumed and discarded in the blink of an eye?  Why not tech from 50 yrs. ago--electric cars represent technology from well over 100 years ago but remain a hot topic.  For that matter, Charles Fritts installed working photovoltaic solar panels on a New York city rooftop in 1884.  Porsche built a hybrid car in 1901.

    Capitalist consumerism has implanted in many of us a completely falsified idea of the technology timeline--indeed of history in general--and this article appears to depend in part on that finger-snapping, smile-in-the voice fiction. 

    As far as "unproven" goes, AFAIK the famous Oak Ridge MSRE that ran from 1964 to 1969 was a valid proof of concept--many other projects have followed or are under way at present.  That IMO isn't really the problem.

    The claim that MSREs and other "advanced" reactor concepts--including the famous Thorium MSR being marketed in one way or another by a dozen bickering little firms from Kirk Sorensen's FliBe Energy to the mysterious ThorCon, which claims to be building an updated Oak Ridge Thorium MSR for the Indonesian government--are "unproven" is just too general to be meaningful. 

    I find Sorensen quite brilliant in his way, but he, like all the others, has a slice of pizza to sell and this corrupts the so-called "debate." All you get from that discussion is Reaganized "entrepreneurial" marketing hype. In the long run, this drives out actual "debate" as bad money is said to drive out good.  The author complains about "hype" but with no real sense of what that means or how it's a bad thing.  

    In short. I don't think the proposition that "safe" nuclear power is feasible has been conclusively settled in the negative scientifically or technically. It does, however, seem to be moot because under no circumstances apparently could our hyper-degenerate, nihilistic capitalist society generate the social solidarity necessary to produce a safe solution at an acceptable cost even if such a solution were feasible. 

    The idea that you could just let any petty millionaire or "brother" dictator under the "Fray Morkit" sow his Godgiven land with little unregulated nuclear reactors of any type because Freedom is a nightmare, but IMO the article doesn't address that.  This unacknowledged risk runs through all the allegedly modular "safer nuke" proposals.  ThorCon, for example, propose to build their Thorium MSRs on a shipyard assembly line and send them all over the world like so many Liberty Ships. That would IMO very probably cause a disaster in not too long a run--if possibly one of an objectively new and unanticipated type.  

    It would be very helpful if some Marxist scientifically and technically "in the know" would take a look at the report on which this article is based and produce a better-informed assessment with a view to the social context.  

    The Most Influential Spreader of Coronavirus Misinformation Online

    Louis Proyect

    NY Times, July 24, 2021
    The Most Influential Spreader of Coronavirus Misinformation Online
    By Sheera Frenkel

    SAN FRANCISCO — The article that appeared online on Feb. 9 began with a seemingly innocuous question about the legal definition of vaccines. Then over its next 3,400 words, it declared coronavirus vaccines were “a medical fraud” and said the injections did not prevent infections, provide immunity or stop transmission of the disease.

    Instead, the article claimed, the shots “alter your genetic coding, turning you into a viral protein factory that has no off-switch.”

    Its assertions were easily disprovable. No matter. Over the next few hours, the article was translated from English into Spanish and Polish. It appeared on dozens of blogs and was picked up by anti-vaccination activists, who repeated the false claims online. The article also made its way to Facebook, where it reached 400,000 people, according to data from CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned tool.

    The entire effort traced back to one person: Joseph Mercola.

    Dr. Mercola, 67, an osteopathic physician in Cape Coral, Fla., has long been a subject of criticism and government regulatory actions for his promotion of unproven or unapproved treatments. But most recently, he has become the chief spreader of coronavirus misinformation online, according to researchers.

    An internet-savvy entrepreneur who employs dozens, Dr. Mercola has published over 600 articles on Facebook that cast doubt on Covid-19 vaccines since the pandemic began, reaching a far larger audience than other vaccine skeptics, an analysis by The New York Times found. His claims have been widely echoed on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

    The activity has earned Dr. Mercola, a natural health proponent with an Everyman demeanor, the dubious distinction of the top spot in the “Disinformation Dozen,” a list of 12 people responsible for sharing 65 percent of all anti-vaccine messaging on social media, said the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate. Others on the list include Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a longtime anti-vaccine activist, and Erin Elizabeth, the founder of the website Health Nut News, who is also Dr. Mercola’s girlfriend.

    “Mercola is the pioneer of the anti-vaccine movement,” said Kolina Koltai, a researcher at the University of Washington who studies online conspiracy theories. “He’s a master of capitalizing on periods of uncertainty, like the pandemic, to grow his movement.”

    Some high-profile media figures have promoted skepticism of the vaccines, notably Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham of Fox News, though other Fox personalities have urged viewers to get the shots. Now, Dr. Mercola and others in the “Disinformation Dozen” are in the spotlight as vaccinations in the United States slow, just as the highly infectious Delta variant has fueled a resurgence in coronavirus cases. More than 97 percent of people hospitalized for Covid-19 are unvaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    President Biden has blamed online falsehoods for causing people to refrain from getting the injections. But even as Mr. Biden has urged social media companies to “do something about the misinformation,” Dr. Mercola shows the difficulty of that task.

    Over the last decade, Dr. Mercola has built a vast operation to push natural health cures, disseminate anti-vaccination content and profit from all of it, said researchers who have studied his network. In 2017, he filed an affidavit claiming his net worth was “in excess of $100 million.”

    And rather than directly stating online that vaccines don’t work, Dr. Mercola’s posts often ask pointed questions about their safety and discuss studies that other doctors have refuted. Facebook and Twitter have allowed some of his posts to remain up with caution labels, and the companies have struggled to create rules to pull down posts that have nuance.

    “He has been given new life by social media, which he exploits skillfully and ruthlessly to bring people into his thrall,” said Imran Ahmed, director of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which studies misinformation and hate speech. Its “Disinformation Dozen” report has been cited in congressional hearings and by the White House.

    In an email, Dr. Mercola said it was “quite peculiar to me that I am named as the #1 superspreader of misinformation.” Some of his Facebook posts were only liked by hundreds of people, he said, so he didn’t understand “how the relatively small number of shares could possibly cause such calamity to Biden’s multibillion dollar vaccination campaign.”

    The efforts against him are political, Dr. Mercola added, and he accused the White House of “illegal censorship by colluding with social media companies.”

    He did not address whether his coronavirus claims were factual. “I am the lead author of a peer reviewed publication regarding vitamin D and the risk of Covid-19 and I have every right to inform the public by sharing my medical research,” he said. He did not identify the publication, and The Times was unable to verify his claim.

    A native of Chicago, Dr. Mercola started a small private practice in 1985 in Schaumburg, Ill. In the 1990s, he began shifting to natural health medicine and opened his main website,, to share his treatments, cures and advice. The site urges people to “take control of your health.”

    In 2003, he published a book, “The No-Grain Diet,” which became a New York Times best seller. He has since published books almost yearly. In 2015, he moved to Florida.

    As his popularity grew, Dr. Mercola began a cycle. It starts with making unproven and sometimes far-fetched health claims, such as that spring mattresses amplify harmful radiation, and then selling products online — from vitamin supplements to organic yogurt — that he promotes as alternative treatments.

    To buttress the operation, he set up companies like Health Resources and Mercola Consulting Services. These entities have offices in Florida and the Philippines with teams of employees. Using this infrastructure, Dr. Mercola has seized on news moments to rapidly publish blog posts, newsletters and videos in nearly a dozen languages to a network of websites and social media.

    His audience is substantial. Dr. Mercola’s official English-language Facebook page has over 1.7 million followers, while his Spanish-language page has 1 million followers. The Times also found 17 other Facebook pages that appeared to be run by him or were closely connected to his businesses. On Twitter, he has nearly 300,000 followers, plus nearly 400,000 on YouTube.

    Dr. Mercola has a keen understanding of what makes something go viral online, said two former employees, who declined to be identified because they had signed nondisclosure agreements. He routinely does A/B testing, they said, in which many versions of the same content are published to see what spreads fastest online.

    In his email, Dr. Mercola said, “Translation and a variety of media positions are standard for most content oriented websites.”

    Facebook said it has labeled many of Dr. Mercola’s posts as false, banned advertising on his main page and removed some of his pages after they violated its policies. Twitter said it has also taken down some of Dr. Mercola’s posts and labeled others. YouTube said Dr. Mercola was not part of a program from which he can make money from ads on his videos.

    In 2012, Dr. Mercola began writing about the virtues of tanning beds. He argued that they reduced the chances of getting cancer, while also selling tanning beds with names like Vitality and D-lite for $1,200 to $4,000 each. Many of the articles were based on discredited studies.

    The Federal Trade Commission brought false-advertising claims against Dr. Mercola in 2017 based on the health claims about tanning beds. He settled and sent $2.95 million in refunds to customers who bought the tanning beds.

    The Food and Drug Administration has also issued warning letters to Dr. Mercola for selling unapproved health products in 2005, 2006 and 2011 and has fined him millions of dollars.

    Many of Dr. Mercola’s claims have been amplified by other vaccine skeptics, including Ms. Elizabeth. She worked for from 2009 to 2011, according to her LinkedIn page.

    But while Ms. Elizabeth and others are overtly anti-vaccine, Dr. Mercola has appeared more approachable because he takes less radical positions than his peers, Ms. Koltai said. “He takes away from the idea that an anti-vaccination activist is a fringe person,” she said.

    In an email, Ms. Elizabeth said she was “shocked to have been targeted as one of the 12” in the “Disinformation Dozen” and called it a “witch hunt.”

    When the coronavirus hit last year, Dr. Mercola jumped on the news, with posts questioning the origins of the disease. In December, he used a study that examined mask-wearing by doctors to argue that masks did not stop the spread of the virus.

    He also began promoting vitamin supplements as a way to ward off the coronavirus. In a warning letter on Feb. 18, the F.D.A. said Dr. Mercola had “misleadingly represented” what were “unapproved and misbranded products” on as established Covid-19 treatments.

    In May, Dr. Mercola took down many of his own Facebook posts to evade the social network’s crackdown on anti-vaccine content. Facebook also recently removed his Feb. 9 article.

    But Dr. Mercola has continued to raise vaccine questions. In a Facebook post on Friday, he used another study to mull how useful the Pfizer vaccine was against Covid-19 variants. One headline in the post said the vaccine was only 39 percent effective, but it did not cite another statistic from the study that said the vaccine was 91 percent effective against serious illness.

    “Is this possible? We were told 95 percent effectiveness,” he wrote.

    Within a few hours, the post had been shared more than 220 times.

    Davey Alba, Karen Weise, Erin Woo and Daisuke Wakabayashi contributed reporting. Ben Decker and Jacob Silver contributed research.

    H-Net Review [H-Buddhism]: Taylor on Gayley, 'Voices from Larung Gar: Shaping Tibetan Buddhism for the Twenty-First Century'

    Andrew Stewart

    Best regards,
    Andrew Stewart

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: H-Net Staff via H-REVIEW <h-review@...>
    Date: July 25, 2021 at 11:24:27 AM EDT
    To: h-review@...
    Cc: H-Net Staff <revhelp@...>
    Subject: H-Net Review [H-Buddhism]:  Taylor on Gayley, 'Voices from Larung Gar: Shaping Tibetan Buddhism for the Twenty-First Century'
    Reply-To: h-review@...

    Holly Gayley, ed.  Voices from Larung Gar: Shaping Tibetan Buddhism
    for the Twenty-First Century.  Boulder  Snow Lion Publications, an
    imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2021.  xxiii + 292 pp.  
    $19.95 (paper), ISBN 978-1-61180-894-0.

    Reviewed by Andrew S. Taylor (University of Virginia)
    Published on H-Buddhism (July, 2021)
    Commissioned by Lucia Galli

    Voices from Larung Gar, ably edited by Holly Gayley, offers a mosaic
    of translations and scholarly analyses of one of the most active
    religious sites of modern Tibet. The edited volume, which emerged
    from the 2017 American Academy of Religion panel of the same name, is
    comprised of ten chapters, each of which briefly introduces a current
    or former Larung teacher and provides a translation of an especially
    influential sermon or teaching. Both the translations and
    introductions are sufficiently robust that the volume can be utilized
    as either a reader of contemporary Tibetan Buddhist thought (in the
    locative as well as the ideological sense) or a collection of studies
    of Larung Gar as an institute.

    Holly Gayley's concise and informative introduction acquaints readers
    not previously familiar with the institute to Larung Gar Five
    Sciences Buddhist Academy. Larung Gar was founded as a retreat center
    in the early 1970s by the renowned teacher Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok
    (1933-2004), or Khenpo Jigphun. Khenpo Jigphun chose to stay in Tibet
    during the Cultural Revolution rather than follow much of the Tibetan
    intelligentsia into exile, and he came to be seen by Tibetans as one
    of precious few links to the traditional Tibetan Buddhism destroyed
    to the point of extinction in the turbulent 1960s. Khenpo Jigphun
    actively cultivated this aura of authenticity, and soon his quiet
    retreat center attracted thousands of monks and nuns from all across
    Tibet in search of genuine religious instruction. The retreat center
    gradually systematized into a quasi-monastic establishment and was
    formally recognized as Larung Gar Five Sciences Buddhist Academy in
    1987 under the auspices of the Tenth Panchen Lama, Chokyi Gyaltsen
    (1938-89). Larung soon became the largest religious institution in
    Tibet and surely one of the largest in the world, at its peak housing
    almost twenty thousand monastics, with tens of thousands of
    additional laypeople and monastics inundating the Academy during the
    teaching season. Given the broader suppression of Tibetan religiosity
    by the Chinese government, it is obvious why a quasi-monastic
    institute championing a socially oriented vision of Buddhism is
    worthy of scholarly attention.

    Gayley's introduction provides a concise history of the Academy and
    identifies a striking paradox at the heart of the Larung mission and
    the volume itself: On the one hand, Larung Gar's authority and
    influence is derived from its perception as one of the last bastions
    of traditional Buddhism still present in Chinese-occupied Tibet--like
    Khenpo Jigphun himself, the existence of Larung allows Tibetans to
    imagine Buddhist and Tibetan identities that predate the cultural
    dismemberment of the Cultural Revolution. On the other hand, teachers
    from Larung Gar have been instrumental in modernizing Tibetan
    Buddhist teachings and practices to remain relevant to the political
    and religious conditions of the twenty-first century. As Gayley asks
    in the introduction, "What can we learn about how Buddhists are
    maintaining the best of their tradition while adapting to changing
    circumstances and the demands of an increasingly globalized world?
    The voices from Tibet translated in this book offer compelling
    answers" (p. ix).

    Gayley's conviction that the unique perspectives of the Larung
    teachers have something to offer both Buddhist practitioners and
    scholars of Buddhist modernism imbues the entire volume. Reviving a
    format that she previously used to great effect in _A Gathering of
    Brilliant Moons_, a similar reader-cum-scholastic overview of
    nonsectarian (_ris med_) discourse, each chapter of _Voices_ consists
    of a translation of a work from a Larung teacher, e.g., Khenpo
    Jigphun or the current Larung abbots Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro, Khenpo
    Sodargye, and Metrul Tenzin Gyatso, that is discursively and socially
    situated by a translator.[1] I will treat each element in turn. The
    scholarly introductions are thoroughly researched, and, at only five
    to ten pages apiece, in many cases represent condensed versions of
    lengthier articles published elsewhere. But the contributors are well
    chosen, and it is undoubtedly valuable to corral these treatments
    into a single volume instead of consulting disparate publications.
    Similarly, these scholarly introductions, especially when taken
    together with the volume's notes and reference list, amount to a
    comprehensive bibliography of current research on Larung Gar. It
    speaks to the expertise of the contributors that I often hoped for a
    deeper discussion or elucidation just as the introduction was ending,
    and I would have welcomed slightly longer articles.

    But the trade-off in pages is certainly earned, as the Larung
    teachers themselves are the true stars of the volume, a testament to
    the contributors' skill in translation as much as their scholastic
    prowess. Although Buddhist modernism has already been extensively
    studied in a variety of historical contexts and theoretical lenses,
    the Larung teachers have been confronted with an especially complex
    blend of secularist discourses, and they must defend Buddhism on a
    variety of fronts--from the persecution of a formally atheistic
    Chinese government, from scientific critiques of religion associated
    with Western modernities, and from Tibetan intellectuals who view
    Buddhism as anti-modern and even responsible for leaving Tibet
    impotent before China. The responses to questions of modernity
    offered across these chapters reveal a discourse parallel to, but
    ultimately distinct from, that of Tibetan Buddhist teachers in exile
    whose writings are oriented primarily toward a liberal Western
    audience. Gayley says in the introduction that one of the goals of
    the volume is to publicize the writings and thought of various Larung
    teachers who are renowned in Tibet and China but have not received a
    Western audience (p. xi). It is a worthwhile aim, as the voices
    amplified here are fresh and likely to offer viewpoints different
    than those previously encountered by scholars of Buddhist

    Indeed, one of the most welcome surprises of the volume is that
    _Voices from Larung Gar_ is as useful to scholars of Buddhist
    modernism as to Tibetologists specifically. Contributors tackle
    ethical and educational issues as diverse as the Buddhist response to
    vegetarianism (chapter 5), animal welfare (chapter 8), the
    preservation of Tibetan language and culture (chapters 1 and 2), and
    women's rights (chapters 9 and 10). Anyone looking to teach or
    research Buddhist modernism in non-Western or non-liberal milieus
    will find a number of useful sources in _Voices_.

    There is little in this volume to criticize, but readers who are
    aware of Larung Gar primarily as a human rights issue or in the
    context of religious freedom might be surprised at the lack of
    discussion of the recent displacements and forced disrobings of
    Tibetan monastics, or of the Tibetan self-immolations offered in
    protest. Although individual authors obliquely address Chinese
    governmental policies, the volume lacks a systematic analysis of the
    relationship between Larung Gar and the Chinese government. In my
    estimation, this is undoubtedly the correct decision, as the safety
    of one's contributors and sources should supersede all other
    concerns, and a volume that seeks to amplify the voices of
    individuals currently housed at Larung is right not to jeopardize
    their safety through overtly political discussions. A political
    analysis of Larung Gar, though a worthy scholastic project, is the
    task of a different volume.

    Even so, _Voices_ still offers much to the reader interested in
    Buddhist negotiations of modernism in a contemporary Tibetan context.
    Holly Gayley continues to demonstrate the potential value of edited
    volumes as a gathering place of translations, a common venue for
    Buddhist and scholastic discussion alike. Larung Gar is not an easy
    place to conduct fieldwork, and the discursive analyses offered by
    the contributors add to the understanding of the current Tibetan
    religious _zeitgeist_. But the triumph of the volume is undoubtedly
    that the titular voices ring loudly and clearly through skillful
    translations; scholars of Tibet, Buddhist modernism, and
    secularization would do well to heed them.


    [1]. Holly Gayley and Joshua Schapiro, eds., _A Gathering of
    Brilliant Moons: Practice Advice from the Rim_é _Masters of Tibet_
    (Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 2017).

    Citation: Andrew S. Taylor. Review of Gayley, Holly, ed., _Voices
    from Larung Gar: Shaping Tibetan Buddhism for the Twenty-First
    Century_. H-Buddhism, H-Net Reviews. July, 2021.

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
    Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States

    Michael Harrington’s Failure of Vision


    My interview with Left Voice on Michael Harrington's life and poisonous political legacy.

    How Virginia Won the South's Strongest Voting Rights Act

    Charles Keener

    How Virginia Won the South's Strongest Voting Rights Act (

    I fled Virginia when I reached adulthood and spent the next three decades in Washington, D.C. I returned to Virginia a dozen years ago when I bought my first home. At the time, my decision was economically based and somewhat grudging. I was reluctant to return to a state where the Confederate traitors had made their capital. Yet in the intervening years I have seen Virginia make remarkable progress on a wide range of concerns including expanding Medicaid and restoring voting rights to hundreds of thousands formerly incarcerated people. This Virginia Voting Rights Act is another tremendous step forward.
    I am at long last unashamed, indeed proud, to call myself a Virginian.


    Water Protector Facing 8 Years.

    Louis Proyect

    Jessica Reznicek has been sentenced to eight years in prison,

    Hey Ann,

    Jessica Reznicek has been sentenced to eight years in prison, followed by three years probation, and a restitution of over three million dollars paid to Energy Transfer Partners for taking nonviolent direct action to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

    This sentencing is incredibly harmful to Jessica, and to all land and water protectors who are united to defend our communities and our shared climate. In less than a month, she has the chance to appeal this decision.

    Sign the petition to Congress and Joe Biden right now to support Jessica.

    What happens to Jessica, happens to all of us. The use of the terrorism enhancement in Jessica’s case is not only immoral and illegal, but if allowed to stick sets extremely dangerous precedent for movements seeking to protect the earth and water. We unequivocally denounce labeling climate justice action and water protection as terrorism.

    Will you take one minute to add your name to the hundreds calling on Joe Biden and Congress to Free Jessica?

    NASA Climate Scientist Peter Kalmus echoed this sentiment saying, "Jessica was sentenced to 8 years for protecting all of us from climate and ecological breakdown. She acted from necessity and from love. She is a hero, not a terrorist."

    We are all extremely alarmed by the Department of Justice's choice to characterize climate justice activists & water protectors as terrorists, while the deadly impacts of the climate crisis are being felt all around us. The Department of Justice in their use of the terrorism enhancement is prioritizing fossil fuel expansion over the wellbeing of human survival.

    You can follow and support Jessica on social media here:

    In solidarity,

    Rising Tide North America

    P.S. If you are part of an organization that can sign on to the petition to support Jessica, please fill out this form.

    You are receiving this email because you have previously taken action with Rising Tide North America. Rising Tide is an international, all-volunteer, grassroots network of groups and individuals who organize locally, promote community-based alternatives to the climate crisis and take direct action to confront the root causes of climate change.

    The Rising Tide network has been a central part of building the climate justice movement and organizing actions to confront the worst fossil fuel companies. We need you to join us to help keep it going. Whether its $5, $50 or $500, donate to build this movement!

    Sent via To update your email address, change your name or address, or to stop receiving emails from Rising Tide North America, please click here.


    Standing with the Cuban People / Walter Rodney and Black Power ‘ Capitalism IS Exploitation / TPLF and Accumulated Evil of War

    Charles Keener

    You received this email either because you are subscribed to Black Agenda Report's weekly email notification of new content at or because someone forwarded it to you. 

    Freedom Rider: Standing with the Cuban People
    - Margaret Kimberley, BAR senior columnist
    The current Black-centered Cuban protest operation is very well orchestrated and if Black people in this country are not careful, they will end up amplifying the dictates of U.S. imperialism.

    DOCUMENT: The Rise of Black Power in the West Indies: Walter Rodney, 1969
     Editors, The Black Agenda Review
    Rodney succinctly demonstrates how capitalism and colonialism, and nationalism and imperialism, function to create a rigid hierarchy by which color is fused with class to keep the Black majorities

    Joe Biden is Wrong, Capitalism IS Exploitation
    Danny Haiphong, BAR Contributing Editor
    The COVID-19 pandemic has produced numerous examples of “disaster capitalism, and spectacular profits for billionaires.”

    The TPLF Attack on Ethiopia Contains the Accumulated Evil of the War
    Ann Garrison, BAR Contributing Editor
    “The US and its allies haven’t even been able to get past the first step—UN Security Council censure—with regard to Syria, then Burundi, and now, Ethiopia.”

    Our ‘democracy’
    Raymond Nat Turner, BAR poet-in-residence
    Shangri-La—untaxed, socially-distanced champagne- caviar, Cayman Island, yacht crowds who Pay nothing for water washing their waste to sewage 

    The Conspicuous Absence of Derrick Bell—Rethinking the CRT Debate, Part 1
    Patrick D. Anderson
    Bell levels a class critique against the Black bourgeoisie, whom he sees as having led Black political protest down the wrong path time and time again.

    Memo to France as Its Soldiers Leave Africa: “Get Out and Stay Out!”
    Mark P. Fancher
    French bullying of Africa has been driven entirely by self-interest and greed.

    BAR Book Forum: Matthieu Chapman’s Book, “Anti-Black Racism in Early Modern English Drama”
    Roberto Sirvent, BAR Book Forum Editor
    This book analyzes Early Modern English Drama as a form of cultural production in which the paradigm of Early Modern England was shifting to account for encounters with black Africans.

    BAR Book Forum: Julia Rose Kraut’s “Threat of Dissent”
    Roberto Sirvent, BAR Book Forum Editor
    Ideological exclusion and deportation from the United States, and how they has been consistently used as tools of political repression.

    People Working A Minimum Wage Job Can’t Afford Rent Anywhere In The U.S.
    Sarah Ruiz-Grossman
    Over 40% of Black and Latinx households pay more than 30% of their income on rent, compared with 25% of white households.  

    Zuma Imprisonment: “Riots” or “Insurrection” in South Africa?
    Black Agenda Radio with Margaret Kimberley and Glen Ford
    In the wake of the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma on corruption charges, two South African provinces were swept by riots that current President Cyril Ramaphosa called an attempted “insurrection” against the state. “This is no way to address the differences” in the country, said Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Detroit-based Pan African News Wire. “South Africa has the worst Covid-19 epidemic on the continent. The focus should be on mitigating the spread” of the disease.

    US Destabilizes Planet, Blames China and Cuba
    Black Agenda Radio with Margaret Kimberley and Glen Ford
    Despite portraying Donald Trump as representing everything they oppose, when Democratic President Joe Biden took over the White House he left Trump’s measures against Cuba and China intact, virtually unchanged. As activists in the belly of the beast, “We must take a stand against US militarism, said Netfa Freeman, an organizer with the Black Alliance for Peace who was interviewed on Sputnik Radio by Sean Blackmon and Jacqueline Luqman.

    Class Struggle Shapes Haiti Political Conflict
    Black Agenda Radio with Margaret Kimberley and Glen Ford
    Class conflicts between Africa-born and Haiti-born Blacks and mulattos shaped Haitian political battle lines before and after the 1804 revolution and to this day, said Haitian American author and activist Pascal Robert. The descendants of “African peasants make up Haiti’s poor majority today,” said Robert, speaking at a webinar on Haiti at Broward College in south Florida.



    Howie Hawkins does these almost every week

    Charles Keener

    Howie really helps me focus and center each week. 


    Invitation: The People, Cuba, & Radical Solidarity | July 26 @ 7-8:30 pm ET on Zoom | Black Lives Matter Grassroots

    Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo


    We mean it when we say liberation for all Black people -- a liberation that can only be achieved when Black people around the world thrive, experience joy, and are free from all forms of oppression and violence.

    We remain in solidarity with our Afro-Cuban family as they call for change. We will continue to speak up and demand an end to the U.S. Embargo and additional sanctions recently imposed by the Biden administration -- sanctions that contribute to the oppression of our siblings in Cuba. This demand has been echoed for the 39th year in a row by 184 countries under the United Nations.

    On Monday night, Black Lives Matter Grassroots will co-host an educational webinar with our partners from Cuba on the current political situation and deepening mutual solidarity. We remain firmly resolute in our support of the Cuban people.

    What: It's Time: The People, Cuba, and Radical Solidarity
    Who: BLM x Belly of the Beast x Get Out of Cuba's Way X Higher Ground x Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
    When: Monday, July 26 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm ET // 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm PT

    We'll see you on Monday, Kevin. Be sure to use this Zoom link to join the webinar!

    In love and solidarity,

    Black Lives Matter Grassroots

    Black Lives Matter Global 

    A Title shift from: (title was) Are fats in the diet responsible for heart disease? to 'should one treat high values'

    hari kumar

    Honestly, I debated whether to respond at all to this shift in discussion emphasis. It shifts from talking about diet - to more active treatments and preventions with statins. In the end a short foray seemed sensible, to counter over-simplifications. 

    As an aside, the discussion also obviously does have some important political aspects, going beyond the large obvious one - namely of profits for big pharma. 

    I am certainly not a cardiologist, nor a cholesterol biologist nor a nutritionist. However maybe a brief note about the potential non-treatment of high cholesterols with statins, might be worthwhile. It is 'brief' -  as this literature is enormous and beyond my time, energy or expertise. This focuses only on heart consequences, not the emerging ones of cancers or cognition. Having said that:

    1) No drug or therapy is without complications or side effects, as everyone here would likely agree. [I am not even mentioning costs here]. That is why large data sets that amalgamate  in meta-analysis (MA) -  at best the numbers from randomized controlled trials. But if that is not possible (RC trials are both difficult and expensive and at the end of the day, almost never answer all possible and relevant questions) - MAs should amalgamate large prospective studies. In this case, my literature read is that such MAs do suggest benefit. The most recent I know of is in the brackets here (Association Between Baseline LDL-C Level and Total and Cardiovascular Mortality After LDL-C Lowering A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis'; Eliano P. Navarese,MD, PhD; Jennifer G. Robinson, MD, MPH; Mariusz Kowalewski, MD; Michalina Kołodziejczak, MD; Felicita Andreotti, MD; Kevin Bliden, MD; Udaya Tantry, PhD; Jacek Kubica, MD, PhD; Paolo Raggi, MD; Paul A. Gurbel, MD; JAMA. 2018;319(15):1566-1579. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.2525).

    Since no study is perfect, naturally qualifications remain. These can be seen best in the three editorials on this paper - itself unusual, thus reflecting the intensity of debate and uncertainties in the field. The title of one of these editorials displays this ( 'Statins for Primary Prevention. The Debate Is Intense, but the Data Are Weak'; Rita F. Redberg, MD, MSc; Mitchell H. Katz, MD; JAMA November 15, 2016 Volume 316, Number 19 1979). 

    These editorials do not reject the authors' conclusions, but raise sound queries that in my view, revolve around risk-stratification. In other words - who is at high risk and who is not and are these balanced in various analyses? One of these editorials explicitly discusses making decisions to treat with the proposed patient using 'shared decision-making' methods to explicitly lay out risks and benefits.   

    2) Since the name has come up: A response to Ravnskov is also helpful in assessing how to weigh the total evidence. This reply points out in response to Ravnskov, some important methodological issues of relevance - including length of follow-up needed, before making conclusions (Response by Abdullah et al to Letters Regarding Article, “Long-Term Association of Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol With Cardiovascular Mortality in Individuals at Low 10-Year Risk of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease: Results From the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study” Circulation. 2019;139:2192–2193).  

    Sorry this has been rather long. Even so it remains inadequate I fear, and it is rather general. I will also say - for whatever it is worth - that I have been on first-generation statins for about 20 years following some cardiac events and family history.  

    Re: We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops and Corruption in an American City


    Ah brilliant, thank you.

    On Jul 24, 2021, at 8:24 AM, Louis Proyect <lnp3@...> wrote:

    On 7/24/21 11:00 AM, Ryan via wrote:
    What is this from? It’s impossible to read like this.

    If you ever have trouble reading this or any other post coming in as email, you can always look it up on

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