Free Speech Issue in US

The ACLU has just asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an Arkansas law that requires all state contractors to sign a pledge declaring they will not boycott Israel. Arkansas is one of 35 U.S. states that have passed legislation to criminalize or discourage BDS. That’s the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which seeks to boycott Israel and Israeli goods to protest violations of Palestinian rights. The ACLU originally sued Arkansas on behalf of Alan Leveritt, the publisher of the Arkansas Times. He appears in the new documentary Boycott.

For us, it’s just basically a free speech issue. The state of Arkansas is requiring us to take a political position in return for advertising. We’re taxpayers here in Arkansas. We have as much right as anyone else to do business, to earn that business on our merits. And we’re being told that, “No, you have to also take a political position. You have to pass a political litmus test in order to do business.” And so, when we refused to sign and the state started shutting down our advertising, our state advertising, we sued. So, for us, it’s just — we’re not boycotting anyone; for us, it’s purely a First Amendment issue. This is still America.

— source | Oct 24, 2022

Nullius in verba


The world’s insurance bill from natural disasters this year: $115 billion

Extreme weather events have caused an estimated $115 billion in insured financial losses around the world this year according to Swiss Re, the Zurich-based reinsurance giant. That’s 42 percent higher than the 10-year average of $81 billion. The firm estimates that $50 billion to $65 billion of the total losses are a result of Hurricane Ian, the category 4 storm that pummeled parts of Florida’s west coast in late September with torrential rain, a 10-foot storm storm surge, and winds topping 140 miles per hour. Swiss Re ranks Ian as the second costliest natural disaster ever, in terms of insurance losses, after Hurricane Katrina struck south Louisiana in 2005.

— source | Dec 02, 2022

Nullius in verba

How Republicans Whitewash MLK

U.S. Rep. Chip Roy of Texas is just the latest conservative lawmaker to misuse the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to judge a person on character and not race.

In the protracted battle to elect Rep. Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House, Roy, a Republican, nominated a Black man, Byron Donalds, a two-term representative from Florida who had little chance of winning the seat. Considered a rising star in the GOP, Donalds has opposed the very things King fought for and ultimately was assassinated for—nonviolent demonstrations and voting rights protections.

Calling Donalds a “dear friend,” Roy noted the selection by Democrats of another Black man, Hakeem Jeffries of New York, and invoked King’s words.

“For the first time in history, there have been two Black Americans placed into nomination for speaker of the House,” Roy said. “However, we do not seek to judge people by the

— source | Hajar Yazdiha | Jan 20, 2023

Nullius in verba

Climate change protester jailed for 15 months in Australia

Last Friday, a young woman who briefly blocked one lane of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in a protest over governments’ refusal to halt climate change was jailed for 15 months and then denied bail for an appeal. This chilling punishment highlights the resort by Australia’s governments—Labor and Liberal-National alike—to draconian anti-protest laws to try to suppress opposition to their pro-business agenda. This includes protecting the fossil fuel super-profits being made by the coal, oil and gas conglomerates on the back of the US-NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.

The jailing of Deanna “Violet” Coco is designed to send a wider message of intimidation directed against any protests that cut across the interests of the corporate elite. She was the first person to be sentenced under laws introduced by the New South Wales (NSW) Liberal-National government in April that impose fines of up to $22,000 and jail terms of up to two years for protests on roads, rail lines, tunnels, bridges and industrial estates.

— source | Dec 6, 2022

Nullius in verba

What is framing?

[here author is talking mainly about literary framing not the CL frame]

Republican communications strategist Frank Luntz wrote: ​“communication is functional, the people are the true end, language is just a tool to reach and teach them”.

And yet as people who want to communicate progressive ideas, either at work or at home, we are often met with the frustration of saying the right things, presenting facts and compelling evidence and finding that people don’t come running to support us.

Why aren’t our messages cutting through?

If we want to communicate effectively to shift people’s thinking, we need to start by not only thinking of what we are saying but most importantly how it’s going to be received.

The truth is, human beings are complex, messy and contradictory. We are constantly processing the world around us through a filter of pre-existing beliefs and past experiences,

— source | Funmibi Ogunlesi | 30 Jan 2023

Nullius in verba

Why History Matters: the Left and Ukraine

When US President, racist, segregationist, eugenicist, and liberal Democrat Woodrow Wilson sent soldiers from the American Expeditionary Force to ‘negotiate’ the aftermath of the October Revolution in the USSR in 1919, the Indian Wars in the US were still underway, slavery had only recently been abolished, and the inconclusive end of the first global imperialist war—WWI, was setting up a sequel—WWII, to be fought. That Wilson’s worldview in 1919 formed the basis of German fascist ideology a decade later provides insight into how ruling-class ideas take root.

In contrast to liberal political theory where people develop opinions in isolation, Wilson was very much a person of his economic class and time. American capital had close to a billion dollars invested in Russia when the Bolsheviks turned the world upside down by launching a revolution to govern themselves. American (and German) industrialists, having convinced themselves that were rich because they were genetically / racially / morally superior to workers, imagined that a successful workers revolution would place inferiors in charge of their superiors (went the logic).

Since then, an odd selectivity has overtaken Western historians whereby Russian and Soviet history is imagined to have started with the October Revolution (1917), whereas most of

— source | Rob Urie | Jan 6, 2023

Nullius in verba

Why do they identify as Palestinians?

Kan 11, the public broadcaster, launched a series of reports this week by Eran Singer and Roy Ettinger titled “Palestinians Blue-and-White.” The first item set out to examine “the growing extremism in Arab society in Israel” and asked, “What went wrong?” What went wrong, that the Arabs now drink espresso? That the Balad party received 45 percent of the vote in Abu Ghosh, a town west of Jerusalem that the Jews love to love? What does this say about the spectrum of affiliation between Palestinian and Israeli? Maybe to build more roads?

The problem with reports like this isn’t only the patronizing and the old Orientalism – as if 150 years haven’t gone by since the first Jewish settlers became acquainted with the food of the Middle East – but also that they don’t try to challenge the viewer. Instead, they try to challenge the Palestinian interviewee and make him feel that in the best case he’s mistaken and in the worst, a traitor.

One of the interviewees was the head of the Abu Ghosh council, a member of the Likud Central Committee who personally loves Benjamin Netanyahu. This was presented as a benefit for his town, so there will be institutions, roads and schools. Not that he’s trying to entice Bibi voters to eat hummus precisely there, heaven forbid. He truly esteems the man,

— source Jews For Justice For Palestinians | Hanin Majadli | Jan 19, 2023

Nullius in verba