“Yet this leaked Supreme Court ruling would steal that decision away from pregnant women and instead encourage a policy of forced birth in a society that does not value the lives of those being birthed—or those doing the birthing.This decision empowers those invested only in the creation of life, not the quality of life. If we cared about quality of life for the living, we would offer up more than “’houghts and prayers’ in response to our record levels of life-ending gun violence. We would move heaven and earth to reverse the life-ending effects of the climate crisis. But we aren’t regulating gun manufacturers or carbon-spewing industries. Instead, we’re choosing to use our finite resources to regulate women…”
“We need to acknowledge that this issue is not simple and that morality and legality are different things. From my reading of the Pew Research, even those strongly opposed to abortion on a moral basis don’t believe it should be illegal in most cases. I know women who’ve had abortions, and I can attest to the seriousness with which they’ve made that decision. It’s not fun. It’s emotional and difficult and painful, but it’s also something they deemed necessary. Most people don’t want to be in a position to have to choose an abortion.
For some women in, abortion is the only way to save their lives, and the new wave of incoming restrictions will bring new stresses and new threats. As a friend of mine and mother of three recently told me, ‘Suddenly planning for my children’s future is not about saving for college—it’s finding ways to protect them from being thrown in jail for having a miscarriage.’We should not criminalize women or further isolate them. We need to trust women and close that gap between the practice and promise of this country on our path to liberty and justice for all. I think we can. I believe we must. I know it will be hard.”
I INVENTED GILEAD. THE SUPREME COURT IS MAKING IT REAL.
I thought I was writing fiction in The Handmaid’s Tale.
By Margaret Atwood, author ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’
Although I eventually completed this novel and called it The Handmaid’s Tale, I stopped writing it several times, because I considered it too far-fetched. Silly me. Theocratic dictatorships do not lie only in the distant past: There are a number of them on the planet today. What is to prevent the United States from becoming one of them?
Let’s look at the First Amendment. It reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The writers of the Constitution, being well aware of the murderous religious wars that had torn Europe apart ever since the rise of Protestantism, wished to avoid that particular death trap. There was to be no state religion. Nor was anyone to be prevented by the state from practicing his or her chosen religion.
T H I S:
It ought to be simple: If you believe in “ensoulment” at conception, you should not get an abortion, because to do so is a sin within your religion. If you do not so believe, you should not—under the Constitution—be bound by the religious beliefs of others.But should the Alito opinion become the newly settled law, the United States looks to be well on the way to establishing a state religion. Massachusetts had an official religion in the 17th century. In adherence to it, the Puritans hanged Quakers.
The Alito opinion purports to be based on America’s Constitution. But it relies on English jurisprudence from the 17th century, a time when a belief in witchcraft caused the death of many innocent people. The Salem witchcraft trials were trials—they had judges and juries—but they accepted “spectral evidence,” in the belief that a witch could send her double, or specter, out into the world to do mischief. Thus, if you were sound asleep in bed, with many witnesses, but someone reported you supposedly doing sinister things to a cow several miles away, you were guilty of witchcraft. You had no way of proving otherwise.
Similarly, it will be very difficult to disprove a false accusation of abortion. The mere fact of a miscarriage, or a claim by a disgruntled former partner, will easily brand you a murderer. Revenge and spite charges will proliferate, as did arraignments for witchcraft 500 years ago.
If Justice Alito wants you to be governed by the laws of the 17th century, you should take a close look at that century. Is that when you want to live?
Like nature this time of year, abundance is all around you and the possibilities for all of us, together, are bountiful, if only we believe.
Not easy, is it. This thing called hope. Collectively, we can grow it together.
Can you feel it?
Tomorrow, the full moon lunar eclipse. From Lena at Power Path:
The Super Moon marks the bookend of this eclipse window that has brought powerful and unexpected change in endings, beginnings and transitions. Whatever you have set into motion over the last couple of weeks has tremendous momentum and will have far reaching effects. It is important to honor and acknowledge any endings and completions, whether they are initiated by you or not. It is also crucial to focus and place some attention on the space created for new beginnings by those completions. Stay out of any judgment or resentment or martyrdom if what has left your life was not of your doing. Instead, notice what is coming into your life and honor it as part of something new. If you only dwell on what you have lost, you will likely create the same thing for yourself, losing the opportunity to create something new, something that marks an improvement in your life. Be careful what you ask for during this powerful time and make sure it is from your heart and not a calculated thought process.
It is a good time to take action and to refine the intentions you have been working with since the new moon at the beginning of the month. This is a transformational time that can expose issues that need to be addressed, processed and changed. You can also be inspired to manage your obstacles in a new creative way. Be encouraged to think and problem-solve outside the box with a focus on improvement and innovation. Creative thinking will be rewarded with new solutions to old problems.
Whatever else happens, keep your energy light, your vibration as high as possible and your thoughts positive. Bring beauty into your life and fill yourself with inspiration and the intention to move forward in a positive way no matter what.
‘In the spiritual Universe, we only keep what we give away.’
‘I would not sacrifice my soul / for all the beauty of this world. / There is only one thing / for which I would risk everything: / an I-don’t-know-what / that lies hidden / in the heart of the Mystery.’ -John of the Cross
Noche Oscura del Alma
‘If we stay the course and go through this [dark night], we find our way deeper, deeper, deeper, and then we can see that at any given moment in these ways, through marital love, through parenting, through solitude, through oneness with the world, through silence, through service to community, through art, in any given moment, there can come flashing forth our unexpected proximity to this mystical dimension of union.’ -James Finley
C O V I D
1,000,000 U.S. (at least) – – let’s lower the flags and move on.
Yet, the virus continues to mutate and infect, and kill. In our small community, zero masks indoors. As if Covid is…gone.
“COVID-19 Rates Rising as Super Contagious Variant Gains Ground”
KRLD News Radio 1080
With Dr. Peter Hotez, Baylor College of Medicine, with his own breakthrough infection.
“This new BA.2.12 sub-variant is the most transmissible one we’ve seen to date and it’s up there with measles in terms of its reproductive number and its ability to infect. So when you have something this transmissible, even a good vaccine is going to be tough to fight.” Any individual shedding that virus is likely to infect 12 other people.
BA.2.12 is now poised to become the dominant variant in the United States. Dr. Hotez says prior infection from Omicron doesn’t offer much in the way of immunity.
“I have to believe this coming summer we’re going to be vulnerable yet again. Don’t screw around. Get vaccinated, get boosted and get your kids vaccinated.”
In Texas? The testing positivity rate was below 2% in the middle of March. Now it’s up to 8.4%. Keeping in mind, many are ‘home’ testing and positive results are not being recorded.
Too few boosted. Too many more will suffer from long Covid complications. And too many more will die.
How To B/e/l/o/n/g Be Alone Written and read by Pádraig Ó Tuama
It all begins with knowing nothing lasts forever, so you might as well start packing now.
In the meantime, practice being alive.
There will be a party where you’ll feel like nobody’s paying you attention. And there will be a party where attention’s all you’ll get. What you need to do is to remember to talk to yourself between these parties.
And, again, there will be a day, — a decade — where you won’t fit in with your body even though you’re in the only body you’re in.
You need to control your habit of forgetting to breathe.
Remember when you were younger and you practiced kissing on your arm? You were on to something then. Sometimes harm knows its own healing Comfort knows its own intelligence. Kindness too. It needs no reason.
There is a you telling you another story of you. Listen to her.
Where do you feel anxiety in your body? The chest? The fist? The dream before waking? The head that feels like it’s at the top of the swing or the clutch of gut like falling & falling & falling and falling It knows something: you’re dying. Try to stay alive.
For now, touch yourself. I’m serious.
Touch your self. Take your hand and place your hand some place upon your body. And listen to the community of madness that you are. You are such an interesting conversation.
You belong here.
‘In truth, the purpose of any relationship is that love itself be served, in the lives of all concerned.’ -Marianne Williamson
The generous heart does not collapse into the easy things, but rises up in adversity. – Mirabai Starr [Glosa a lo Divino, John of the Cross]
‘The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.’ -Kahlil Gibran
“In the United States, the origins of the official holiday go back to 1870, when Julia Ward Howe – an abolitionist best remembered as the poet who wrote “Battle Hymn of the Republic” – worked to establish a Mother’s Peace Day. Howe dedicated the celebration to the eradication of war, and organized festivities in Boston for years.
In 1907, Anna Jarvis, of Philadelphia, began the campaign to have Mother’s Day officially recognized, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson did this, proclaiming it a national holiday and a “public expression of our love and reverence for all mothers.”
This the proclamation Ward-Howe wrote in 1870, which explains, in her own impassioned words, the goals of the original holiday.”
Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.
Chapter 3, let’s go!
“For Mother’s Day, my mom would like the activism of her youth to not be for nothing.”
Wisdom is the mother of all good things.
“In this time of excessive patriarchy, may wisdom prevail over folly, love over fear, compassion over hate, justice over injustice, the mammal brain over the reptilian brains so that future generations may thrive.” -Matthew Fox
I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.
“The Latin word for ‘Mother’ comes from ‘mater’ (matter)…Divine Wisdom…Holy Spirit.”
“The biggest step in the evolution of human morality was the move from interpersonal relations to a focus on the greater good.”
Your children are not your children They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself They come through you but not from you And though they are with you yet they belong not to you You may give them your love but not your thoughts For they have their own thoughts You may house their bodies but not their souls For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams You may strive to be like them But seek not to make them like you For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday. -Kahlil Gibran
Respite from the tilt toward darkness our planet collectively shares.
Our spiritual compass.
‘It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’ -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
[My thesis.-dayle ❀]
From poet Pádraig Ó Tuama:
“Friends, there are many things that crowd your attention. And many things deserve your attention. May you find the space to pay attention to what is important, to feel the feel of feelings, and to find ways to respond with action, care, justice, kindness, time, and whatever else is needed. Beir bua.” [Bring Victory]
Sharing a beautiful curation from journalist and author Dan Rather and his writing partner Elliot Kirschner. They title their compilation, ‘Smile for Saturday’ featured on their ‘Steady’ published on the Substack platform. Subscriptions are open. -dayle
Music has a way of speaking to us, across genres, across performers, and across the years. It is a conversation that builds from what was said before and evolves over time. All these thoughts flooded forth when we discovered a video of the brilliant musician Jon Batiste performing his version of the Beatles song “Blackbird.”
The occasion for the 2016 performance was the 52nd anniversary of the Beatles’ television debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and Batiste was appearing on the very same stage as they had. As many of you likely know, the Ed Sullivan Theater is now home to “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” where Batiste serves as musical director.
Batiste plays “Blackbird” on the piano, whereas the song’s co-writer Paul McCartney (John Lennon shared the writing credit) played his version on the guitar. The musical style also differs, and so does the delivery of the lyrics. But there is a kinship of evocative musicality linking this version to McCartney’s that brought a big smile to our faces. Batiste’s Juilliard-honed abilities as performer and arranger are on full display. So, too, is the genius of the original.
At a time when we are fractured, this song made us feel whole. At a time when we are unmoored, this feels rooted. At a time when we see far too many acts of hate, this feels like a tribute of love.
Left in awe of this performance, we decided to dig a little more into the history of “Blackbird.” And things got even more interesting. It turns out the lineage of the song goes back well before the 1968 White Album on which it first appeared — as in centuries back. “Blackbird” was inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach — more specifically, his famous “Bourrée in E minor.” We will let Sir Paul himself tell you the story.
Bach’s piece was originally written for the lute but has since become a staple for classical guitar. If you are still with us and want to continue this musical journey, here is a performance of the piece on its original instrument.
Through our research we became a bit obsessed with Batiste, his story, and his music. We encourage you to listen to more from this remarkable talent.
‘Innocent bystander.’ Thomas Merton: I am no longer smiling … for I do not think the question of our innocence can be a matter for jesting, and I am no longer certain that it is honorable to stand by as the helpless witness to a cataclysm, with no other hope than to die innocently and by accident, as a nonparticipant. ♀︎
‘What you can do: Experts say it may be time to rethink period-tracking apps and to rely more on incognito mode in browsers, turning off location tracking and understanding your options for data deletion.
The Digital Defense Fund has a detailed set of recommendations:
This page is organized into different security-related threats. You can jump to the ones that most concern you. Along with each scenario is a list of digital security tips to neutralize the threat.
In the United States of America, only dollars move politics and policy.
Shut downs are possible, we saw this in early March 2020. Everything Stops.
Not hyperbolic. What’s next?
Same sex marriage?
All built on the premise of privacy, not equality.
[Far-Right groups now want to go after Brown v. Board. Precedent?]
Abortion “presents a profound moral question.”
-Justice Samuel Alito
Indeed. For a woman to answer.
V A R I E T Y
French Abortion Drama ‘Happening’ Just Became the Year’s Most Timely Film
“Happening” unfolds in 1963 France, but the story of a woman risking imprisonment and her health to obtain an illegal abortion has emerged as the year’s most urgent drama.
“When I started thinking about making a movie about this topic, everybody asked why I would want to do that at this time?” says Audrey Diwan, director and co-writer of the IFC film, debuting in theaters May 6. “Now everybody tells me how timely it is.”
That’s because in the years that it took Diwan to bring “Happening” to the screen, the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court shifted dramatically to the right, with conservative justices achieving a supermajority.
Now, per Politico, the Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision — and with it nearly 50 years of abortion protections — according to an initial draft majority opinion circulated inside the court.
“The story I tell is a poor woman’s story,” says Diwan. “If you have money, you can go to another country and find somewhere where it’s legal and you find a way to have a medicalized abortion. The working class experiences these problems differently.”
The director is also upset that six of the nine-member court are men. What right, she asks, do they have to determine whether women have access to abortions?
“I would love to show them this movie,” says Diwan. “It’s complicated to make this decision. It’s even hard to be pregnant if you want the baby. For these men, it’s all just theoretical.”
“Well I know what’s right, I got just one life In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around But I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down”
From Indivisible Guide
This summer the United States will reverse a Constitutional right for 2.5 generations.
N E W Y O R K E R
From Jill Lepore
Of Course the Constitution Has Nothing to Say About Abortion
There is no mention of the procedure in a four-thousand-word document crafted by fifty-five men in 1787. This seems to be a surprise to Samuel Alito.
‘True, women are no longer without electoral power [Alito]. But they were without it for almost the entirety of the history on which Alito grounds his analysis of the Constitution and its provisions. You don’t need a leaked document to learn that.’
‘Alito, shocked—shocked—to discover so little in the law books of the eighteen-sixties guaranteeing a right to abortion, has missed the point: hardly anything in the law books of the 1860’s guaranteed women anything. Because, usually, they still weren’t persons.’
‘Alito cites a number of 18th texts; he does not cite anything written by a woman—not because there’s nothing available. Mary Wollstonecraft wrote “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” in 1791: “a man and his wife … she is but a part of him … a “non-entity.”’
More from Jill:
Women are indeed missing from the Constitution, as Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft opinion suggests. That’s a problem to remedy, not a precedent to honor.
I’m not even a hard-liner on the question of abortion; I find it morally thorny.But, when Samuel Alito says that people who believe abortion is a constitutional right “have no persuasive answer to this historical evidence,” he displays nothing so much as the limits of his own evidence. “The page of history teems with woman’s wrongs,” as the nineteenth-century abolitionist Sarah Grimké once put it. It does not teem with women’s rights. To use a history of discrimination to deny people their constitutional rights is a perversion of logic and a betrayal of justice. Would the Court decide civil-rights cases regarding race by looking exclusively to laws and statutes written before emancipation?
‘…if I celebrate the preciousness of the human body, the innate capacity for love and wisdom, and the vast potential for beauty, my eyes soften, my mind settles, and my heart opens to a reality of joy.
Again, these two realities hinge upon the faculty of attention. In the ancient language of Sanskrit, the word for attention, manisikara, literally means ‘creating in the mind’. In the Principles of Psychology, William James, wrote, “Each of us literally chooses, by (our) ways of attending to things, what sort of a universe (we) shall appear to (ourselves) to inhabit.”
Because our attention strongly defines reality, it is important to consider what are the objects of attention the mind is drawn to and do these support our own and others’ well being?
If we engage in this investigation, chances are we’ll discover there is room for improvement.’
Today, sources with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights are reporting 3,000 civilians have died in Ukraine. Understandably, “the real toll is likely to be considerably higher, citing access difficulties and ongoing corroboration efforts.”
‘The metaphysical basis, the stable core must be with Divine Union or it always bounces bock to the
core of human behavior.’ [R. Rohr] Indeed.
‘Everything in our lives is another lesson in the one continual school of conscious loving.’
And we fail. Humanity fails again and again and again…
Father Richard Rohr at the Center for Action and Contemplation:
“To be clear, it is inconceivable that a true [believer of any faith] would be racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, homophobic, or bigoted toward any group or individual, especially toward the poor and vulnerable, which seems to be an acceptable American prejudice. To end the cycle of violence, our actions must flow from our authentic identity as Love.
One of the reasons I founded the Center for Action and Contemplation was to give activists some grounding in spirituality so they could continue working for social change, but from a stance much different than vengeance, ideology, or willpower pressing against willpower. Most activists I knew loved Gandhi’s and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s teachings on nonviolence. But it became clear to me that many of them had only an intellectual appreciation rather than a participation in the much deeper mystery. The ego was still in charge, and I often saw people creating victims of others who were not like them. It was still a power game, not the science of love that Jesus taught us.
When we begin by connecting with our inner experience of communion rather than separation, our actions can become pure, clear, and firm. This kind of action, rooted in one’s True Self, comes from a deeper knowing of what is real, good, true, and beautiful, beyond labels and dualistic judgments of right or wrong. From this place, our energy is positive and has the most potential to create change for the good.”
‘It is normally three steps forward, two steps backwards, and, as Lady Julian of Norwich says, “Both are the mercy of God.”
(I wish I could see the mercy in the backward momentum of this Universal equation.)
Finally, a publication digging deep and giving light to the social and cultural cancer that is Rupert Murdoch’s FOX news and specifically to the hate and darkness that is Tucker Carlson. This is the first of three parts, available to all, that is, not blocked by a pay wall.
Please read and discover how a man who inherited his father’s broadcast talent only to turn his platform into a vehicle for hate and meanness to weaken, perhaps destroy, the fabric of our democracy, “you vs. them”…distrust of other…night after night, reaching three million views each broadcast, with his poisoned tentacles of disinformation, lies, and clouded deceit reaching across platforms and computers. Ideology? Maybe. More likely because he found a message that gave him the opportunity he wanted, to make money, millions. This is what he always wanted to have, especially after being abandoned by his mother, who “didn’t like him.” He allowed this personal darkness to shape his destiny, and ours. -dayle
How Tucker Carlson Stoked White Fear to Conquer Cable
April 30, 2022
American Nationalist: part 1
Reporting was contributed by Larry Buchanan, Weiyi Cai, Ben Decker, Barbara Harvey, Candice Reed, Michael D. Shear and Karen Yourish. Julie Tate contributed research. Nicholas Confessore is a New York-based political and investigative reporter and a staff writer at the Times Magazine, covering the intersection of wealth, power and influence in Washington and beyond. He joined The Times in 2004.
Often think back to this this post on Twitter from an encounter with Carlson at a fly fishing shop in Montana; it brings hope there are, could be, so many more democratic citizens in this country who feel, who know, the same. -dayle
series “American Nationalist.” This installment takes you inside how “Tucker Carlson Tonight” was built, how Carlson shaped and reshaped the show — and how he made war on critics & rivals at Fox.
‘His new direction — Trumpism without Trump.
“He is going to double down on the white nationalism because the minute-by-minutes show that the audience eats it up,” said another former Fox employee, who worked frequently with Mr. Carlson.
To maintain its dominance in the post-Ailes era, the teams working on Fox’s evening lineup began to make wider use of expensive ratings data known as “minute-by-minutes.” Unlike the “quarter-hour” ratings more commonly used in cable newsrooms, which show how each 15-minute “block” performed, the minute-by-minutes allow producers to scrutinize an audience’s real-time ebb and flow. Mr. Carlson, determined to avoid his fate at CNN and MSNBC, was among the network’s most avid consumers of minute-by-minutes, according to three former Fox employees. “They’re all obsessed with the minute-by-minutes,” said a former Fox employee. “Every second that goes on that network now gets scrutinized.”
“Moneyball” for television: a data-driven, audience-first approach to deciding what to cover and how to cover it.
Lachlan Murdoch — sole heir to the throne. He’s widely viewed as having more conservative politics than his father.’
Trevor Noah at the White House Correspondence Dinner, April 30th, 2022:
“What we’re here for is to honor and celebrate the 4th Estate…and what you stand for…what you stand for…an additional check and balance that holds power to account and gives voice to those who otherwise wouldn’t have one.”
‘For it is necessary that there be a genuine and deep communication between the hearts and minds of men, communication and no the noise of slogans or the repetition of cliches. Genuine communication is becoming more and more difficult, and when speech is in danger of perishing or being perverted in the amplified noise of beasts, it seems to me we should attempt to cry and out to one another and comfort one another with the truth of humanism and reason.’
-Thomas Merton, Seeds of Destruction, 1961
‘When the artificiality of a random number algorithm replaces the surprises of natural richness, we lose something of human life. When we replace the earth with an artificial screen we cut ourselves off to its secret workings. We become so vulnerable in the face of the void that we have to keep filling up our lives with more stuff, including information.
Technology pushes us along as such rapid speeds that the human brain cannot absorb the information sufficiently to process. […] We are increasingly overwhelmed and fragmented…the speed of the machine has now surpassed the speed of thought. The result is ‘great psychic turbulence, opening fractures and fault lines in the collective unconscious.’ For protection, the human nervous system ‘numbs out’ to protect itself from this destructive energy.
Computer technology depends on individual control, preempting relationships of dependency on one another and the earth. […] Artificial intelligence can lend itself to community without commitment and mutuality without responsibility. It can lead to narcissism, self-indulgence, and isolation if it is not used reflectively to further wholeness and unity.’
‘In a culture as throughly marinated in instant gratification and consumer fetishes as ours, one so deeply in bed with consumer capitalism and instructed daily in how best to worship the gods of the latest gadgets that promise to make life easier and quicker and more satisfying. The experience of the dark night is a deep wake up call.
Whether it comes at us from climate change or coronavirus or failures of politicians or the destruction of ideals of democracy or failures of religious promises. There is plenty to grieve. Loss is in the air as the dark night knocks loudly on the doors of our souls. Julian of Norwich and Mechtild…John of the Cross…did not run from it but to learn what it had to teach. It can do the same for us.’
-Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic and Beyond, 2020
‘Global consciousness.’ ?
‘Politically Neutral.’ ?
[Twitter descriptions by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and new Twitter owner Elon Musk.]
Facebook [deleted 12.31.19-dayle] top-performing link posts in one 24-hour period:
The Daily Caller
Terence K Williams
Casey Newton, founder and editor of Platformer, a publication about the intersection of tech of democracy:
‘Elon Musk has not acted like a white knight riding to the rescue of a beloved but underperforming cultural institution. Instead, he has rushed to publicly affirm various half-baked and bad-faith criticisms of the company, all emanating from the right…’
‘What happens in a space with no public safety and no moderation? We deserve better than billionaire-owned social media platforms.’
‘The Internet business model is arson.’ -Jon Stewart
With the possible exception of hockey games, there have been few places in our modern lives where public interactions are supposed to be coarse. If (back when we could, and soon when we can again) you go to the theater, a museum, the mall, a restaurant, the library, school, the supermarket, the park, or yes, even to a movie theater, the management does not tolerate or encourage acting like a jerk.
And then social media arrived.
Social media is a place where the business model depends on some percentage of the crowd acting in unpleasant ways. It draws a crowd. And crowds generate profit.
We’ve created a new default, a default where it’s somehow defensible to be a selfish, short-sighted, anonymous troll. At scale.
Civility has always been enforced by culture, and for the last hundred years, amplified by commerce. We shouldn’t accept anything less than kindness, even if the stock price is at stake. Algorithms. Once you start prioritizing some voices, you become responsible for the tone and noise and disconnection (or possibility, connection and peace of mind) you’ve caused.
The word noosphere means a sphere of the mind, from the Greek nous or mind. It is a provocative idea that influenced many cultural leaders, such as Al Gore.
The idea is that the Earth is not only becoming covered by myriads of grains of thought, but becoming enclosed in a single thinking envelope so as to form a single vast grain of thought on the sidereal scale, the plurality of individual reflections grouping themselves together and reinforcing one another in the act of a single unanimous reflection.
-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man, 1959
For trivial matters, it’s efficient and perhaps useful to simply follow a crowd or whatever leader we’ve chosen.
But when it matters, we need to make (and own) our own decisions.
To do that effectively, consider:
Do the reading
Show your work
Avoid voices with a long track record of being wrong
Ask, “and then what happens?”
Ask, “how would that work?”
Ignore people who make a living saying stupid things to attract attention
Follow a path you’re eager and happy to take responsibility for
Be prepared to change your mind when new data arrives
Think hard about who profits and why they want you to believe something
Consider the long-term impact of short-term thinking
None of these steps are easy. This could be why we so often outsource them to someone else.
UnitedStates and 60 Global Partners Launch Declaration for the Future of theInternet
A Declaration for the Future of the Internet
We are united by a belief in the potential of digital technologies to promote con- nectivity, democracy, peace, the rule of law, sustainable development, and the en-
joyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. As we increasingly work, com- municate, connect, engage, learn, and enjoy leisure time using digital technologies, our reliance on an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet will continue to
grow. Yet we are also aware of the risks inherent in that reliance and the challenges we face.
We call for a new Declaration for the Future of the Internet that includes all partners who actively support a future for the Internet that is an open, free, global, interoperable, reli- able, and secure. We further affirm our commitment to protecting and respecting human rights online and across the digital ecosystem. Partners in this Declaration intend to work toward an environment that reinforces our democratic systems and promotes active par- ticipation of every citizen in democratic processes, secures and protects individuals’ priva- cy, maintains secure and reliable connectivity, resists efforts to splinter the global Internet, and promotes a free and competitive global economy. Partners in this Declaration invite other partners who share this vision to join us in working together, with civil society and other stakeholders, to affirm guiding principles for our role in the future of the global In- ternet.
Reclaiming the Promise of the Internet
The immense promise that accompanied the development of the Internet stemmed from its design: it is an open “network of networks”, a single interconnected communications system for all of humanity. The stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems have, from the beginning, been governed by a multistakeholder approach to avoid Internet fragmentation, which continues to be an essential part of our vi- sion. For business, entrepreneurs, and the innovation ecosystem as a whole, interconnection promises better access to customers and fairer competition; for artists and creators, new audiences; for everyone, unfettered access to knowledge. With the creation of the Internet came a swell in innovation, vibrant communication, increased cross-border data flows, and market growth—as well as the invention of new digital products and services that now permeate every aspect of our daily lives.
Over the last two decades, however, we have witnessed serious challenges to this vision emerge. Access to the open Internet is limited by some authoritarian governments and online platforms and digital tools are increasingly used to repress freedom of expression and deny other human rights and fundamental freedoms. State-sponsored or condoned malicious behavior is on the rise, including the spread of disinformation and cybercrimes such as ransomware, affecting the security and the resilience of critical infrastructure while holding at risk vital public and private assets. At the same time, countries have erected firewalls and taken other technical measures, such as Internet shutdowns, to restrict access to journalism, information, and services, in ways that are contrary to international human rights commitments and obligations. Concerted or independent actions of some governments and private actors have sought to abuse the openness of Inter- net governance and related processes to advance a closed vision. Moreover, the once decentralized Internet economy has become highly concentrated and many people have legitimate concerns about their privacy and the quantity and security of personal data collected and stored online. Online platforms have enabled an increase in the spread of illegal or harmful content that can threaten the safety of individuals and contribute to radicalization and violence. Disinformation and foreign malign activity is used to sow division and conflict between individuals or groups in society, undermining respect for and protection of human rights and demo- cratic institutions.
We believe we should meet these challenges by working towards a shared vision for the future of the Inter- net that recommits governments and relevant authorities to defending human rights and fostering equitable economic prosperity. We intend to ensure that the use of digital technologies reinforces, not weakens, de- mocracy and respect for human rights; offers opportunities for innovation in the digital ecosystem, including businesses large and small; and, maintains connections between our societies. We intend to work together to protect and fortify the multistakeholder system of Internet governance and to maintain a high level of securi- ty, privacy protection, stability and resilience of the technical infrastructure of the Internet.
We affirm our commitment to promote and sustain an Internet that: is an open, free, global, interoperable, re- liable, and secure and to ensure that the Internet reinforces democratic principles and human rights and fun- damental freedoms; offers opportunities for collaborative research and commerce; is developed, governed, and deployed in an inclusive way so that unserved and underserved communities, particularly those coming online for the first time, can navigate it safely and with personal data privacy and protections in place; and is governed by multistakeholder processes. In short, an Internet that can deliver on the promise of connecting humankind and helping societies and democracies to thrive.
The Internet should operate as a single, decentralized network of networks – with global reach and gov- erned through the multistakeholder approach, whereby governments and relevant authorities partner with academics, civil society, the private sector, technical community and others. Digital technologies reliant on the Internet, will yield the greatest dividends when they operate as an open, free, global, interoperable, re- liable, and secure systems. Digital technologies should be produced, used, and governed in ways that enable trustworthy, free, and fair commerce; avoid unfair discrimination between, and ensure effective choice for, individual users; foster fair competition and encourage innovation; promote and protect human rights; and, foster societies where:
Human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the well-being of all individuals are protected and promoted; All can connect to the Internet, no matter where they are located, including through increased access, affordability, and digital skills; Individuals and businesses can trust the safety and the confidentiality of the digital technologies they use
and that their privacy is protected;
Businesses of all sizes can innovate, compete, and thrive on their merits in a fair and competitive ecosys- tem; Infrastructure is designed to be secure, interoperable, reliable, and sustainable; Technology is used to promote pluralism and freedom of expression, sustainability, inclusive economic growth, and the fight against global climate change.
Principles to promote this Vision
The partners in this Declaration intend to uphold a range of key principles, set out below, regarding the In- ternet and digital technologies; to promote these principles within existing multilateral and multistakeholder fora; to translate these principles into concrete policies and actions; and, work together to promote this vi- sion globally, while respecting each other’s regulatory autonomy within our own jurisdictions and in accor- dance with our respective domestic laws and international legal obligations. These principles are not legally binding but should rather be used as a reference for public policy makers, as well as citizens, businesses, and civil society organizations.
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Dedicate ourselves, in conducting and executing our respective domestic authorities, to respect human rights, including as reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the principles of the rule of law, legitimate purpose, non-arbitrariness, effective oversight, and transparency, both online and offline, and call upon others to do the same. Promote online safety and continue to strengthen our work to combat violence online, including sexual and gender-based violence as well as child sexual exploitation, to make the Internet a safe and secure place for everyone, particularly women, children, and young people. Promote safe and equitable use of the Internet for everyone, without discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnic, national or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of an indigenous population, property, birth, disability, age, gender identity or sex- ual orientation. Reaffirm our commitment that actions taken by governments, authorities, and digital services including online platforms to reduce illegal and harmful content and activities online be consistent with inter- national human rights law, including the right to freedom of expression while encouraging diversity of opinion, and pluralism without fear of censorship, harassment, or intimidation. Protect and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms across the digital ecosystem, while provid- ing access to meaningful remedies for human rights violations and abuses, consistent with international human rights law. Refrain from misusing or abusing the Internet or algorithmic tools or techniques for unlawful surveillance, oppression, and repression that do not align with international human rights principles, including devel- oping social score cards or other mechanisms of domestic social control or pre-crime detention and arrest.
A Global Internet Refrain from government-imposed internet shutdowns or degrading domestic Internet access, either en- tirely or partially. Refrain from blocking or degrading access to lawful content, services, and applications on the Internet, consistent with principles of Net Neutrality subject to applicable law, including international human rights law. Promote our work to realize the benefits of data free flows with trust based on our shared values as like-minded, democratic, open and outward looking partners. Promote cooperation in research and innovation and standard setting, encourage information sharing re- garding security threats through relevant international fora, and reaffirm our commitment to the frame- work of responsible state behavior in cyberspace.
Inclusive and Affordable Access to the Internet Promote affordable, inclusive, and reliable access to the Internet for individuals and businesses where they need it and support efforts to close digital divides around the world to ensure all people of the world are able to benefit from the digital transformation. Support digital literacy, skills acquisition, and development so that individuals can overcome the digital di- vide, participate in the Internet safely, and realize the economic and social potential of the digital economy. Foster greater exposure to diverse cultural and multilingual content, information, and news online. Ex- posure to diverse content online should contribute to pluralistic public discourse, foster greater social and digital inclusion within society, bolster resilience to disinformation and misinformation, and in- crease participation in democratic processes.
Trust in the Digital Ecosystem Work together to combat cybercrime, including cyber-enabled crime, and deter malicious cyber activity. Ensure that government and relevant authorities’ access to personal data is based in law and conducted in accordance with international human rights law. Protect individuals’ privacy, their personal data, the confidentiality of electronic communications and in- formation on end-users’ electronic devices, consistent with the protection of public safety and applicable domestic and international law. Promote the protection of consumers, in particular vulnerable consumers, from online scams and other unfair practices online and from dangerous and unsafe products sold online. Promote and use trustworthy network infrastructure and services suppliers, relying on risk-based assess- ments that include technical and non-technical factors for network security. Refrain from using the Internet to undermine the electoral infrastructure, elections and political pro-
cesses, including through covert information manipulation campaigns.
Support a rules-based global digital economy which fosters trade and contestable and fair online markets so that firms and entrepreneurs can compete on their merits. Cooperate to maximize the enabling effects of technology for combatting climate change and protecting the environment whilst reducing as much as possible the environmental footprint of the Internet and digital technologies.
Multistakeholder Internet Governance Protect and strengthen the multistakeholder system of Internet governance, including the development, deployment, and management of its main technical protocols and other related standards and protocols. Refrain from undermining the technical infrastructure essential to the general availability and integrity of the Internet.
We believe that the principles for the future of the Internet are universal in nature and as such we invite those who share this vision to affirm these principles and join us in the im- plementation of this vision. This Declaration takes into account, and expects to contribute to, existing processes in the UN system, G7, G20, the Organisation for Economic Cooper- ation and Development, the World Trade Organization, and other relevant multilateral and multistakeholder fora, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, Internet Governance Forum, and Freedom Online Coalition. We also welcome partner- ship with the many civil society organizations essential to promoting an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet, and defending fundamental freedoms and human rights online. Partners in this Declaration intend to consult and work closely with stakeholders in carrying forward this vision.
The Internet has been revolutionary. It provides unprecedented opportunities for people around the world to connect and to express themselves, and continues to transform the global economy, enabling economic opportunities for billions of people. Yet it has also created serious policy challenges. Globally, we are witnessing a trend of rising digital authoritarianism where some states act to repress freedom of expression, censor independent news sites, interfere with elections, promote disinformation, and deny their citizens other human rights. At the same time, millions of people still face barriers to access and cybersecurity risks and threats undermine the trust and reliability of networks.
Democratic governments and other partners are rising to the challenge. Today, the United States with 60 partners from around the globe launched the Declaration for the Future of the Internet. Those endorsing the Declaration include Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, the European Commission, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, North Macedonia, Palau, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Uruguay.
This Declaration represents a political commitment among Declaration partners to advance apositive vision for the Internet and digital technologies. It reclaims the promise of the Internet in the face of the global opportunities and challenges presented by the 21st century. It also reaffirms and recommits its partners to a single global Internet – one that is truly open and fosters competition, privacy, and respect for human rights. The Declaration’s principles includecommitments to:
• Protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people;
• Promote a global Internet that advances the free flow of information;
• Advance inclusive and affordable connectivity so that all people can benefit from the digital economy;
• Promote trust in the global digital ecosystem, including through protection of privacy; and
• Protect and strengthen the multistakeholder approach to governance that keeps the Internet running for the benefit of all.
In signing this Declaration, the United States and partners will work together to promote this vision and its principles globally, while respecting each other’s regulatory autonomy within our own jurisdictions and in accordance with our respective domestic laws and international legal obligations.
Over the last year, the United States has worked with partners from all over the world – including civil society, industry, academia, and other stakeholders to reaffirm the vision of an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet and reverse negative trends in this regard. Under this vision, people everywhere will benefit from an Internet that is unified unfragmented; facilitates global communications and commerce; and supports freedom, innovation, education and trust.
A growing group of journalists has cut back on Twitter, or abandoned it entirely Journalists view Twitter as a valuable platform for finding and sharing information, but many say they wish they used it less.
“Many journalists use Twitter to connect with sources they might not otherwise reach; to drive traffic and attention to their published work; to rally support for union drives; and yes, often for fun and frivolity. During the last few months, amid an unprecedented global pandemic and nationwide protests for racial equality, the site has been a valuable platform for journalists assessing the rapidly evolving state of the nation and calling attention to the challenges they face covering it.
But for all the value journalists can extract from Twitter, they can also fall victim to its less savory aspects: engaging in petty squabbles over esoteric issues; fielding bigotry and bad-faith attacks from anonymous users and bots; enduring relentless brain stimulation that can distort perception and distract from more pressing responsibilities.”
Women, people of color and LGBTQ people might be discouraged from entering the field, Bien contends, if they know they’ll have to experience hate speech and physical threats as occupational hazards.
Safety parameters strengthen free speech and invites participation.
“Power Needs Guardrails.”
-Scott Galloway, author and podcaster
“Elon Musk promises to reduce censorship as he buys Twitter
Best of Today
The board of Twitter has agreed to a $44bn (£34.5bn) takeover offer from Elon Musk. The billionaire has promised to reduce censorship on the platform, raising questions about what his approach will mean for the “digital town square”. On Monday he tweeted that he hoped his worst critics would remain on Twitter “because that is what free speech means”. Today’s Nick Robinson speaks to Vivian Schiller, former head of global news at Twitter who is now executive director at the Aspen Institute, and Ross Gerber, friend of Elon Musk and founder of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth Management. (Image credit: Patrick Pleul/Pool via REUTERS)
‘With help from Isaiah Berlin, I wrote about negative freedom of speech, positive freedom of speech, and why Elon Musk types fear a world in which all of us can speak freely and safely.’
Mr. Musk operates from a flawed, if widespread, misapprehension of the free speech issue facing the country. In his vision, what we may, with help from the philosopher Isaiah Berlin, call negative freedom of speech, the freedom to speak without restraint by powerful authorities, is the only freedom of speech. And so freeing Nazis to Nazi, misogynists to bully and harass and doxx and brigade women, even former president Donald Trump to possibly get his Twitter account back. this cuttingof restraints becomes the whole of the project.
But there is also what we may call positive freedom of speech: affirmative steps to create conditions that allow all people to feel and be free to say what they think.
Legally speaking, all American women or people of color or both who were ever talked over in a meeting or denied a book contract or not hired to give their opinion on television enjoy the protections of the First Amendment. The constitutional protection of speech does not, on its own, engender a society in which the chance to be heard is truly abundant and free and equitably distributed. “Freedom for the wolves has often meant death to the sheep” Mr. Berlin once said. This is a point often lost on Americans. Government – or large centralized authority – is one threat to liberty but not the only one. When it comes to speech, what has often kept a great many people from speaking isn’t censorship but the lack of a platform. Social media, including Twitter, came along and promised to change that. But when it became a cesspit of hate and harassment for women and people of color in particular, it began to offer a miserable bargain: You can be free to say what you wish, but your life can be made unrelentingly painful if you so dare.
“With the possible exception of hockey games, there have been few places in our modern lives where public interactions are supposed to be coarse. If (back when we could, and soon when we can again) you go to the theater, a museum, the mall, a restaurant, the library, school, the supermarket, the park, or yes, even to a movie theater, the management does not tolerate or encourage acting like a jerk.
And then social media arrived.
Social media is a place where the business model depends on some percentage of the crowd acting in unpleasant ways. It draws a crowd. And crowds generate profit.
We’ve created a new default, a default where it’s somehow defensible to be a selfish, short-sighted, anonymous troll. At scale.
Civility has always been enforced by culture, and for the last hundred years, amplified by commerce. We shouldn’t accept anything less than kindness, even if the stock price is at stake. DMS has a great point about the algorithm. Once you start prioritizing some voices, you become responsible for the tone and noise and disconnection (or possibility, connection and peace of mind) you’ve caused.”
‘Let’s have less hate and more love.’
Let’s pray he means it. -dayle
Bellingcat staff to benefit from TTI’s expert psychological services.
Trauma Treatment International is to provide psychological support to staff of investigative journalism site Bellingcat, helping them deal with their exposure to violent content.
The collective, which has 20 full-time staff and more than 30 contributors around the world, launched in 2014 to probe a variety of subjects using open source and social media investigation.
These have included the poisoning of MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, the death of Venezuelan rebel leader Óscar Alberto Pérez, and the attempted murder of Russian politician Alexei Navalny. The group is currently working to gather evidence of war crimes in Ukraine as the conflict continues.
Trauma Treatment International’s CEO Quen Geuter said:
“Bellingcat’s vital investigative work can include dealing with traumatic material like images of injury, death or sexual assault. Staff can also find themselves the subject of online harassment and abuse which can be very disturbing.
“Left unchecked, this exposure can lead to conditions like burnout, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and generalised anxiety. As a trauma-informed organisation, Bellingcat understands that it needs to take a preventative approach to vicarious trauma through help from our experts.”
TTI’s clinical psychologists are experienced in working with trauma caused by exposure to violent content, in particular within the context of human rights infringements. As part of the partnership with Bellingcat, they will lead initial check-ins with 20 staff members to assess their mental wellbeing, and offer advice on coping with workplace stressors.
Staff can then request two further sessions if they feel they need follow-up support, while the clinical team will provide help to anyone showing signs of PTSD or needing additional treatment.
Quen added: “The war in Ukraine is having a negative effect on the mental health of many of us as we watch in horror from the sidelines. For the Bellingcat team-members, who are delving even deeper into the human toll of the war, this impact is far greater.
“The support of our clinical psychologists will be extremely valuable for them, helping to prevent serious mental health challenges from arising in the future.”
Bellingcat senior investigator Nick Waters said: “Bellingcat has never been a single monolithic body, but rather a network of those passionate about holding perpetrators to account. Ultimately we have reached where we are because of the passionate and driven people who look at a story and work out how to get to the bottom of it.
“Bellingcat knows that to keep producing the stories that we’re known for, we need to appropriately support those who investigate them, and as such we’re proud to work with TTI on this subject.”
Eliot Ward Higgins, who previously wrote under the pseudonym Brown Moses, is a British citizen journalist and former blogger, known for using open sources and social media for investigations.
‘The event gets underway at 5 p.m. at Ketchum Town Square with music by Tylor and the Train Robbers. Their music will be followed by a showing of Teton Gravity’s Research’s 25-minute film “Fire on the Mountain” showcasing music by the Grateful Dead.’