Gwynne Dyer: Putin’s Fans May be Italy’s Next Rulers

Power close at hand for hard-right populist party as Italy’s snap election draws near

Gwynne Dyer – Sept. 20, 2022

There’s an election in Italy next Sunday, almost exactly 100 years after Benito Mussolini’s ‘blackshirts’ marched on Rome and brought the first fascist dictator to power.

Giorgia Meloni, the hard-right populist politician who is likely to win that election, rejects any comparison with that ugly past. The party she leads, Brothers of Italy, has some nostalgic neo-fascists in its ranks, but she prefers to compare it to Britain’s post-Brexit Conservative Party or the U.S. Republican Party as rebranded by Donald Trump.

She shares her hostility to the European Union with Britain’s Conservatives, her hatred of immigrants, gays and Muslims with the U.S. Republicans and her truculent nationalism with both those parties. She is also militantly Christian and she dabbles in Great Replacement paranoia. And just like them, she wages a non-stop culture war. Continue reading Gwynne Dyer: Putin’s Fans May be Italy’s Next Rulers

Gavin Newsom takes Pro-Choice fight to Anti-Abortion States

On September 15, California governor Gavin Newsom announced that billboards with the assertive pro-choice messages below were going up in several states. Very striking. How many more to follow?

 

 

 

 

South Carolina? Way too close for my comfort. North Carolina could join his target list if the midterm elections go badly.

 

 

 

 

What’s this thing about states that start with “South”??

 

 

 

 

Hoosier daddy? Mike Pence has a plan . . .

 

 

 

The Buckeye Ban could STOP you here . . .

 

 

 

 

Politics aside, The flame of liberty will not be put out . . .

Preserving Liberty & Justice

 

Quaker Chuckle – 09/20/2022

One day God was looking down at Earth and saw all of the rascally behavior that was going on. She decided to send an angel down to Earth to check it out. So She called one of Her angels and sent the angel to Earth for a closer look.

When he returned, he told God, “Yes, it is pretty bad on Earth; 95% are misbehaving and only 5% are not.”

God thought for a moment and said, “Maybe I had better send down a second angel to get another opinion.” So God called another angel and sent her to Earth to investigate.

When that angel returned she went to God and said, “Yes, it’s true, the Earth is in terrible shape; 95% are misbehaving, and only 5% are being good.”

God was not pleased. So She decided to E-mail the 5% that were good, because She wanted to encourage them, give them a little something, to help them keep going.

Do you know what the E-mail said . . . ?

 

. . . Just wondering, I didn’t get one either.

On the Brink of Autumn: Quote of the Season

 

Joe Biden, 09/15/2022, United We Stand Summit, at the White House:

George Floyd mural, Minneapolis

“Too much hate that’s fueled extremist violence [has] been allowed to fester and grow.

Heather Heyer, spontaneous memorial, Charlottesville

You know, as a result, our very own intelligence agencies — our own intelligence agencies in the United States of America, have determined that domestic terrorism rooted in white supremacy is the greatest terrorist threat to our Homeland today.

I’ve been around a while.I never thought I’d hear that or say that.

Enough.”

Russia’s top Pop Singer Denounces Ukraine War

[NOTE: two hundred and fifty million pop records, 500+ songs, in a dozen or more languages, over a 50-year career and I never heard one of them. A reminder that I’ve led a very sheltered western life. Now, it sounds like she may be the loudest public voice in Russia against Putin’s war. Will it have impact? Can she do it and stay out of jail?]


Russian pop star Alla Pugacheva speaks out against war in Ukraine

Singer who shot to fame in Soviet era asks to be labelled ‘foreign agent’ after husband denounced conflict

Published: Sunday, 18 September 2022

The Russian singer Alla Pugacheva has spoken out against the war in Ukraine and the “death of our boys for illusory goals”.

The remarks are the first time that the pop star, an icon in Russia, has publicly criticised the conflict.

Her husband, Maxim Galkin, joined journalists, human rights activists and Kremlin opponents in being labelled a “foreign agent” last week for opposing the war.

Addressing the Russian justice ministry, Pugacheva told her 3.4 million Instagram followers: “I am asking you to include me on the foreign agents list of my beloved country.

“Because I stand in solidarity with my husband, who is an honest and ethical person, a true and incorruptible Russian patriot, who only wishes for prosperity, peace and freedom of expression in his motherland.”

Alla Pugacheva, the longtime top popstar singer in Russia-USSR. Cover of her song, “Some Day.”

She said her husband wanted “the end of the deaths of our boys for illusory goals that make our country a pariah and weigh heavily on the lives of its citizens”.

Pugacheva, 73, who has sold more than 250m records, became hugely popular during the Soviet era and has remained so over a career spanning more than 55 years.

Galkin, a TV presenter who now lives abroad, has often criticised the war in Ukraine.

Russian media said Pugacheva left the country after the invasion began in February. She was seen in Moscow at the funeral of the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on 3 September.

Russian authorities have clamped down on any criticism of the war in Ukraine, handing out fines and prison sentences to dissenters. Many Russian artists who denounced the conflict had their shows cancelled.

Pugacheva has met the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, several times, but she has never publicly supported him.

Listen to: “Some Day”:

https://youtu.be/dlLbb-Em6bE ”

 

Quote of the Day: Two Contemporary Funerals

“On one side in Britain you see the Queen’s dignified burial and on the other this mass grave [just discovered in Ukraine] stemming from mass violence,” said Anjli Parrin, the Kenyan deputy director of the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School. “They are two extremes that remind us that the idea of someone missing, buried anonymously, is a violation of a fundamental instinct to honor the dead.”

— Roger Cohen in the New York Times

 

 

Hope Fatigue? Is there a remedy here?

[NOTE: I’m usually dubious about self-help lists. But maybe some readers will find this one helpful.]

8 ways to feel less anxious about things beyond your control


Washington Post — Sept. 13, 2022

Hope fatigue is the latest mental health challenge therapists are seeing
By Lesley Alderman, LCSW

Lesley Alderman, LCSW, is a psychotherapist based in Brooklyn.

One of my patients showed up at her virtual psychotherapy session last week looking tired. She had always been ambitious and concerned about injustice. During this session, she sighed when talking about a meeting where her colleagues complained about unfair treatment. She said: “I don’t know why they bother getting upset, when it feels like nothing matters.”

I like taking photos In The Yard

I was concerned by her disengagement. But then a colleague sounded similarly worn down. She had spent the pandemic helping her third and fourth graders with remote school while trying to keep her small business going. She confided to me: “I haven’t followed the war in Ukraine at all, I simply don’t have the bandwidth.”

To an unusual degree, people are weary.

During the spring of 2020, just as the pandemic started, the question my patients asked was, “when do you think things will go back to normal?” Now, no one talks to me about a return to normal. There’s an unspoken recognition that the chaos we are experiencing might be with us for a long time.

Patients who had been concerned about national and world events and visibly frightened during the pandemic, now seem exhausted. The murder of George Floyd was horrific, and mass shootings are increasingly common. Now it feels like we are all in a relentless game of whack-a-mole, but in this case the rodents are existential threats.

I’m noticing that many of my patients are experiencing a deficit of optimism, and are overwhelmed about important issues that are beyond their control.

I’m calling it “hope fatigue.” Continue reading Hope Fatigue? Is there a remedy here?

Gwynne Dyer – longterm thinking

GWYNNE DYER: Thinking in long-termism
How some people are planning for the planet

Gwynne Dyer · Sept. 16, 2022

Which would be worse: a global nuclear war with all buttons pressed, or real, self-conscious artificial intelligence that goes rogue? You know, the central theme of the “Terminator” movies.

An AI called Skynet wakes up and immediately realizes that humanity could simply switch it off again, so it triggers a nuclear war that destroys most of mankind. The few survivors end up waging a losing war against the machines and extinction. But this fantasy has too many moving parts. Let’s try again.

Which would be worse: a nuclear “war orgasm” (Herman Kahn’s description of the Pentagon’s nuclear war strategy circa 1960) or a designer plague created in some secret biowar lab? The plague, obviously, because it could theoretically wipe out the human race, whereas all-out nuclear war probably can’t.

The distinction between a 99 per cent wipeout and a 100 per cent wipeout is insignificant if you happen to be one of the victims, but Oxford University philosopher Derek Parfit thought that it actually made a huge difference. Continue reading Gwynne Dyer – longterm thinking