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Richard Spencer at UF

Richard Spencer, the White nationalist who invented the term “alt-right” and a leader at the Charlottesville riot, spoke at the University of Florida (UF), home of the Gators. That was on October 19th 2017. The governor, fearing another Charlottesville, declared a state of emergency.

There were two arrests, no injuries, no deaths. There were hundreds of police. There were snipers and drones and helicopters. That part of campus was a ghost town. Hundreds of protesters showed up, but there were still plenty of empty seats in the auditorium where he spoke.

Unlike Charlottesville, the Klan was not out in force and protesters did not openly carry guns.

Protesters seemed intent on remaining peaceful, but any time Spencer spoke, they chanted over him, saying stuff like:

  • Let’s go, Gators, let’s go!
  • Go home, Spencer, go home!
  • Alt-right, you cant hide, you support genocide.
  • Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcomed here.
  • Black lives matter.
  • Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye.

His supporters, numbering two dozen or so, sat in front and were quiet. Many were White men in white shirts, cultlike.

Spencer, instead of giving a speech, berated the (mostly White) protesters while they chanted over him. He said they were acting like children, that it was the most important free-speech event of their lives, that they did not want to think for themselves, that they were afraid of his ideas. He said he was a “dissident intellectual” and they were “shrieking and grunting morons.”

He seemed to view the University of Florida as a large, boorish football school where students were brainwashed by Marxist professors.

After berating them, he took questions. The protesters would quiet down to the hear the questions but would chant over his answers. But from their chants it was clear they heard what he was saying.

They asked questions like:

  • Do you believe in a White ethno-state?
  • Do you believe in ethnic cleansing?
  • Don’t your ideas lead to violence, like at Charlottesville or under Hitler?
  • How can you say Whites are superior when you are so ugly?
  • What was it like to get punched (by Antifa)?
  • What are you still doing here?

Spencer said the dominant US institutions hate White people and had taught Whites to hate themselves. Whites need a country of their own. Multiculturalism and the Immigration Act of 1965 were destroying the US. He seemed to yearn for the 1950s that his parents knew.

Hitler comparisons: From the questions, it was clear that Hitler had given White nationalism a bad name and that Spencer was unable to shake the Hitler comparisons. He denied he was a Nazi, but they did not buy it. He said he was for ethnic cleansing, but did not make clear how that would take place without force or violence.

The university allowed him to speak in the name of free speech, but allowed him to control who could attend, even choosing which media outlets could come.

– Abagond, 2017

Update: There was a shooting after the event by one of Spencer’s supporters, but no one got hurt. Tyler Eugene Tenbrink, the alleged shooter, came from Texas to see Spencer speak. LA Times.

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Sgt La David T. Johnson

Sergeant La David T. Johnson (c. 1992-2017) of the US Army was killed in action in Niger near the Mali border at the edge of the Sahara on October 4th 2017. So did seven other soldiers, three Americans and four Nigeriens. His body was not recovered for two days, the names of his two children tattooed on his chest. They found him before the signal from his military beacon gave out.

Fallen soldiers: Some two dozen US soldiers have died so far under President Trump, but this one has made news nationwide because after nearly two weeks Trump still had not called or written his family and, when he did call, he said to his crying, pregnant widow, Myeshia Johnson:

“He knew what he signed up for”

That is according to Johnson’s Congresswoman, Representative Frederica Wilson, who was there at the time. She said Myeshia:

“was crying the whole time, and when she hung up the phone, she looked at me and said, ‘He didn’t even remember his name.'”

He said nothing about Johnson being a hero. Wilson said Trump was “almost like joking.”

Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, was also there. She backs Wilson’s account and said:

“President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband.”

President Trump said it was a “very nice conversation”, that the

“Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!”

Breitbart News, that champion of Western civilization, called it fake news and said:

“When Trump first called the media the ‘enemy of the people,’ it was somewhat shocking. And it remains unfair to those journalists who are committed to the truth. But those pushing this story are certainly earning the epithet.”

Credibility: Going by Trump’s PolitiFact scorecard, there is a 17% chance that he is telling the truth.

President Obama at Dover Air Force Base saluting fallen soldiers. When Johnson’s body arrived at Dover, Trump was golfing.

Given how Trump went after the parents of Humayun Khan, another fallen soldier, the Johnson family has got off easy. So far.

Jihadist-related deaths in Africa, 2009 to 2015. Via The Economist.

Niger, which is just north of Nigeria, has a US drone base at Agadez and 800 US troops. The US is fighting with Niger, Mali, and France against jihadists like Boko Haram and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The Niger-Mali border, near where Johnson was killed, is a key point in the jihadist supply chain.

Myeshia Johnson will never see her husband again, not even in death: it will be a closed-casket funeral. They have two children, ages two and six. A third child is due after Christmas.

Sgt Johnson was with the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), a Green Beret unit based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He is from Miami Gardens, Florida, a place without many heroes.

His awards and decorations: the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Army Parachutist Badge, the Army Air Assault Badge, the Driver and Mechanic Badge, and the Marksmanship Qualification Badge – Sharpshooter with Rifle.

Requiescat in pace.

– Abagond, 2017.

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demographically weighted world news

Egypt from space, circa 2011. (NASA)

As an experiment I took the top story at Aljazeera for each continent and cut it to length according to the number of people living in that region. Since Asia is so huge, I divided it into three regions.

October 17th 2017:

North America: 35 words

Hawaii judge Derrick Watson blocks Trump travel order

US President Donald Trump’s third attempt to ban travel from several countries has been blocked by a federal judge in Hawaii, just hours before the executive order

South America: 26 words

Venezuela’s opposition refuses to accept elections results

Nicolas Maduro’s ruling Socialist Party won 17 of the 23 governorships, a major surprise in a country experiencing food

Africa: 74 words

Ghana child malnutrition: 1,000 days of hunger

Child malnutrition is a silent tragedy jeopardising the future of more than one million children across Ghana.

Many Ghanaian children under the age of five suffer the irreversible effects of malnutrition in their critical first 1,000 days of life. This is the time in children’s lives that determines their health as adults, their ability to learn in school and to perform at a future job.

Europe: 45 words

Malta in shock over investigative journalist’s killing

The son of Malta’s best-known investigative journalist says his mother had been killed by a car bomb because of her work exposing political corruption.

Matthew Caruana Galizia’s comments on Tuesday came as hundreds of people demonstrated in

West Asia: 19 words

SDF captures Syria’s Raqqa city from ISIL

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab forces

South Asia: 110 words

Amnesty: Myanmar committed crimes against humanity

Amnesty International says it has strong evidence that the Myanmar army committed crimes against humanity in northern Rakhine state.

A new report published by the global rights group on Wednesday details mass killings, rape, torture and forcible transfers of Rohingya Muslims in the army’s ongoing campaign against fighters from the persecuted minority.

Amnesty has called for the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar and set targeted sanctions against senior officials.

The reports says hundreds of thousands of Rohingya men, women and children have been “the victims of a widespread and systematic attack”, and that “Myanmar’s security forces unleashed an attack

East Asia: 140 words

Explained: National Congress of China’s Communist party

China’s ruling Communist Party will begin its 19th National Congress on October 18.

China’s president and the party’s general secretary, Xi Jinping, is expected to use the twice-a-decade event to consolidate his hold on power in the world’s second-largest economy.

A wider government shake-up could also be on the agenda as a majority of the Communist Party’s top decision-making body, the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, are expected to retire during the meeting.

Here are some of the key questions about the Congress, who it involves and why it matters:

What is the National Congress?

Held every five years since the 11th Communist Party of China (CCP) Congress in 1977 – the year after Chairman Mao Zedong’s death – the National Congress draws together selected delegates from the CCP’s membership

Oceania: 2 words

Australia court

– Abagond, 2017.

Source: Aljazeera (2017).

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The Somalia truck bombing

Safari Hotel, Mogadishu, Somalia. (Said Yusu Warsame/EPA)

The Somalia truck bombing (2017), also called the Mogadishu bombings, took place on Saturday October 14th, killing at least 300 people and injuring some 300 others. Flags are at half-mast as the nation mourns for three days. Kenya, Ethiopia and Turkey are offering medical help.

On Saturday a huge truck bomb went off in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. Houses were flattened, the Safari Hotel was destroyed, a nearby oil truck blew up. Burning cars and bodies and body parts were everywhere. Many of the dead were burned beyond recognition. An incinerated minibus had schoolchildren.

Two days before the bombing, both the defence minister and army chief stepped down from their posts for reasons unknown.

It is by far the worst terrorist attack in Somalia in living memory – no mean achievement for a country that has been sunk in civil war since 1991, with an ally of al-Qaeda at large in the countryside: al-Shabab.

Somalia, November 2016. (BBC)

Mogadishu, 2017. (Google Maps)

Al-Shabab, jihadists who are  losing the war, are widely suspected of being behind the bombing. But they have not claimed credit, which is not like them.

Maryam Abdullahi (Anfa’a Abdullahi/BBC)

One of the dead is Maryam Abdullahi (pictured above), due to graduate medical school the next day. Her father came to Mogadishu to see her graduate. Instead he saw her buried.

Compare the death toll of 300+ to some other terrorist attacks:

  • 2,993: 9/11 (US, 2001)
  • 700?: Baga Massacre of 2015 (Nigeria, 2015)
  • 303: US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania (1998)
  • 301: Beirut bombing of US Marine and French barracks (Lebanaon, 1983)
  • 270: Lockerbie (Britain, 1988)
  • 191: Madrid train bombings (Spain, 2004)
  • 169: Oklahoma City bombing (US, 1995)
  • 152: Garissa University attack (Kenya, 2015)
  • 137: Bataclan theatre (France, 2015)
  • 67+: Westgate shopping mall (Kenya, 2013)
  • 59: Las Vegas massacre (US, 2017)
  • 22: Manchester bombing (Britain, 2017)
  • 12: Charlie Hebdo  shooting (France, 2015)
  • 6: Boston Marathon bombing (US, 2013)

Al-Shabab claims credit for Westgate and Garissa.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada tweeted:

“The attacks in Somalia are horrifying & Canada condemns them strongly. We mourn with the Canadian Somali community today.”

President Donald Trump of the US tweeted:

“”

There are almost as many Somali Americans as Somali Canadians.

Media guide: The number of times “Somalia” appeared on the home page of news websites as of Monday afternoon (New York time):

  • 5: Aljazeera
  • 4: The Guardian
  • 3: Atlanta Black Star, NY Daily News, Yahoo! News
  • 2: Buzzfeed News, Al Arabiya, The Root, Univision, Google News (US edition)
  • 1: Fox News, LA Times, Democracy Now!, Times of India
  • 0: BBC, RT, Xinhua, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, Washinngton Post, Huffington Post, The Economist, Daily Mail, Des Moines Register, Drudge Report, Daily Caller

Some of the zeros are the very ones who will go nuts over much smaller attacks on White people – #JeSuisCharlie and all that.

US military drone and surveillance network in Africa, 2012 to 2015. (The Intercept)

For the US, Somalia is not just some faraway country in Africa. The US is fighting there. It unofficially operates the Baledogle airfield, 110km north-west of Mogadishu (#8 on the map above). Somalia was part of President Obama’s Dronelandia. In April 2017 President Trump started sending US soldiers. One died in May, the first US combat death in Somalia since the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993 when two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down.

Scene from “Black Hawk Down” (2001).

– Abagond, 2017.

Update (October 17th): The death toll is now up to 320, making it the ninth worst terrorist attack in the world since the Second World War. Authorities believe that the truck bomb was headed for a government ministry but went off before it got there. They say they stopped a second truck bomb from entering the city. Its driver, according to them, said he was proud of what he was doing, that it was for jihad, that al-Shabab was behind it. Al-Shabab has yet to claim credit. 

Update (October 18th): Authorities say the bomber was with al-Shabab and that both he and the truck came from Bariire, a town which the US raided in August, killing 10 civilians and 0 al-Shabab fighters. Three of those killed in that raid were children, ages six to ten. Al-Shabab used pictures of the dead children to get more people to join their cause. The US hit Bariire again yesterday. Under President Trump rules about killing civilians have been loosened. 

Sources: mainly NPRBBC, Aljazeera, The InterceptJohnston Archive (list of deadliest terrorist attacks worldwide),  Twitter, Google Images, Google Maps.

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Susana Baca: Maria Lando

Remarks:

This is Susana Baca’s cover of a song by Chabuca Granda, an Italian Peruvian singer who reached her height in the 1950s singing Afro-Peruvian songs. Baca is herself Afro-Peruvian.

The video was filmed in Lima, Peru, circa 2014. She is accompanied by Felix Casaverde, Carlos Hayre, Mangué Vázquez and Lalo Izquierdo.

Thanks to Llorona for suggesting this artist.

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Lyrics:

La madrugada estalla como una estátua
Como estátua de alas que se dispersan por la ciudad
Y el mediodía cánta campana de agua
Campana de agua de oro que nos prohibe la sóledad
Y la noche levanta su copa larga
Su larga copa larga, luna temprana por sobre el mar

Pero para María no hay madrugada,
Pero para María no hay mediodía,
Pero para María ninguna luna,
Alza su copa roja sobre las aguas…

María no tiene tiempo (María Landó)
De alzar los ojos
María de alzar los ojos (María Landó)
Rotos de sueño
María rotos de sueño (María Landó)
De andar sufriendo,
María de andar sufriendo (María Landó)
Sólo trabaja
María sólo trabaja, sólo
trabaja, sólo trabaja
María sólo trabaja
Y su trabajo es ajeno

Pero para María no hay madrugada,
Pero para María no hay mediodía,
Pero para María ninguna luna,
Alza su copa roja sobre las aguas

María no tiene tiempo (María Landó)
De alzar los ojos
María de alzar los ojos (María Landó)
Rotos de sueño
María rotos de sueño (María Landó)
De andar sufriendo,
María de andar sufriendo (María Landó)
Sólo trabaja
María sólo trabaja, sólo trabaja, sólo trabaja
Maria sólo trabaja
Y su trabajo es ajeno

María Landó, María Landó, María Landó,
María Landó sólo trabaja,
María Landó sólo trabaja,
María Landó
Sólo trabaja
María Landó
Sólo trabaja y su trabajo es ajeno…

Source: FANDOM.

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Gratuitous Obama Pictures

obamas-2016-03-11

Gratuitous Obama Picture #11, from 2016.

This is a picture of the Obamas going to a state dinner with the Trudeaus. It is hard to believe it was just last year, 2016.

As I grew disillusioned with President Obama, I posted Gratuitous Obama Pictures less and less. They were making me cringe. Now, looking back at them in 2017, they no longer make me cringe. They make me sad.

Gratuitous Obama Picture #5, from 2009.

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Trump and Puerto Rico

US president Donald Trump tweeted about Puerto Rico yet again on October 12th 2017:

“‘Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.’ says Sharyl Attkisson. A total lack of…..

“…accountability say the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend….

“…We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”

Thus echoing earlier tweets, as if Puerto Rico were a foreign country, some charity case, not part of the US.

Chaguas, Puerto Rico. Via Washington Post.

Hurricane Maria hit three weeks ago. A third of the people in Puerto Rico still have no clean drinking water, most have no electric power, most roads are impassable.

Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez said the president’s:

“most solemn duty is to protect the safety and the security of the American people. By suggesting he might abdicate this responsibility for our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico, Mr. Trump has called into question his ability to lead. We will not allow the federal government to abandon Puerto Rico in its time of need.”

She was born in Puerto Rico. Her district in New York City is heavily (but not majority) Puerto Rican. She has called Hurricane Maria Trump’s Katrina.

When Ben Carson, Trump’s housing secretary, appeared in committee later that day, she let him have it:

“To kick fellow citizens when they are down is SHAMEFUL! … So since I don’t have President Trump in front of me I just would like for you to let him know how shameful all the tweets that he put out this morning, how offended and insulted I am as an American citizen.

“And I would like to suggest that the president get some history lessons regarding the Puerto Rican relationship with the United States.

“In 1898 American troops invaded Puerto Rico. American troops took over Puerto Rico. … So Puerto Ricans didn’t invite the United States armed forces. It was invaded. So with that invasion comes responsibility.

“In 1917 American citizenship was imposed on Puerto Ricans. Timely, so they could join the armed forces and fight in World War One.

“So, those tweets are unpresidential. The most basic, fundamental responsibility of the president of the United States, the president of the most powerful country in the world, is to show up and make and provide the assistance and the relief that American citizens need. They don’t need this type of insult.

“And, by the way, why is it that he doesn’t put the same tweets when it comes to Texas or Florida?”

Trump on Texas:

“TEXAS: We are with you today, we are with you tomorrow, and we will be with you EVERY SINGLE DAY AFTER, to restore, recover, and REBUILD.”

See the difference?

Hurricane Harvey caused $190 billion of damage in Texas. Maria caused $95 billion in Puerto Rico. Even if you add Puerto Rico’s debt of $74 billion, that is still less than Harvey. It is not about the money.

– Abagond, 2017.

Sources: mainly NBC News, Washington Post, Twitter, Google Images, Mother Jones.

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