9.27.2020

Perhaps I should have expected to feel wildly out of place at Prepper Camp. I am a vegetarian agnostic feminist in a creative field who sits to the left of most American socialists: I want immediate and radical action to halt climate change; Medicare and free public higher education for all; abortion pills offered for pennies in pharmacies and gas stations; the eradication of billionaires; the destruction of capitalism; and the rocketing of all the planet’s firearms into the sun.

And yet I am also, in the darkest corners of my heart, a doomsday prepper myself. I live in Florida, where hurricane season runs officially from June through November, and both the Gulf and the Atlantic are regularly beset by calamitous storms. It just makes sense, living on that vulnerable spit of land between two roiling, unpredictable bodies of water, to ensure that one’s house has at least a two-month supply of food and at least nine modes of procuring drinking water in case society breaks and city services are cut off. (My family’s are: a rain barrel [1]; filtration straws [2]; a sun oven to pasteurize water with solar heat [3]; a Sawyer Squeeze water-filtration system [4]; a hundred-gallon airtight bladder, to be filled at the first sign of trouble [5]; a gas grill for boiling [6] and, in a pinch, dew collection [7]; iodine tablets [8]; and a tub with a tarp over it to let evaporation run off into a clean bowl [9].) We have medical kits in both of our cars and bug-out bags prepared for each family member, in case we have to flee in minutes. This kind of preparation is all still somewhat in the realm of the normal. Less so: I have negotiated for my family a hideout in New England with a fully stocked tiny house that has a woodstove and solar heat, with forests around it for firewood and cleared land for gardening. There are established fruit trees, water sources, and plenty of wildlife, if necessity forces us to set aside our moral revulsion and kill our fellow creatures for sustenance. In both Florida and New England, I have libraries of foraging and food-storage books; if I don’t always have direct knowledge, I know where to find it. I take boxing classes for self-defense; I have made my children learn archery. I have signed them up, for years, with the Boy Scouts so they will know how to build fires and handle knives safely, even though its soft-focus, quasi–Hitler Youth nationalism makes me queasy.

It is not that I have horrendous visions of an electromagnetic pulse taking out the world’s power grids, or of oil and gas production ceasing and leaving seven billion humans to revert to the pre-industrial era, or even of World War III being launched on an otherwise normal day because Trump can’t resist the urge to push the big red button. But I can see how fragile the institutions of society are and how ever-more frayed they are becoming under the weight of late-stage capitalism. I see in vivid near-hallucinations how climate change will exacerbate every human-rights issue until we cannibalize ourselves. There will be mass displacement, pandemics, tribalist violence, genocide, food and water scarcity, deforestation, desertification, cities underwater. The warming planet, the mass extinction that has already begun, the fact that I need my children to live at least beyond the span of my own life: these things murmur in my ears, give me waking nightmares. Such profound eschatological horror can only be slain by action. I ready myself for as many possibilities as I can so that I may keep my raging anxiety under control.

https://legacy.harpers.org/archive/2020/03/waiting-for-the-end-of-the-world-lauren-groff/

9.20.2020

33 chains

 https://genius.com/11385265

Humanity's strengths and weaknesses

 Humanity's strengths and weaknesses

Things were designed to do:
Think about sex
Feed ourselves every day 
Put ourselves and our family above others 

Things we have learned to do:
Delay gratification 
Read

Things we still can’t do:
Solve large-scale collective action problems 
Perform long-term strategic thinking 

 The quality and diversity of people in a city mirrors its extant housing stock.

Covid Reflections

 Covid Reflections

Folks have done a lot of reflecting through Covid. Here are some of my takeaways, brain farts:

Neanderthal theory: Trump is a dinosaur. We can proactively decide, based on science, who is fit to lead a nation of 330 million and who is not. Our politicians, our senators, our process is a dinosaur that needs to be modernized, else we will get eaten alive by other nations.

We are in the clutches of a madman. What we hold dear about democracy could be lost.  It places a weight, unnecessary weight upon each of us. We must search our feelings for the will to rebel against fascist demonstrations of power and consolidation of power at the highest levels of government and justice.  What job opportunities for our children will be available in a world controlled by Trump and people like him?   

Covid is actually the perfect opportunity/demonstration for Rawlsian justice: if you don’t take care of the poorest, the richest will get sick, as opposed to aids, poverty, race, etc. that can be segregated to a defined group and the group can be made to suffer. In fact the people that are least compliant, least likely to wear masks, are most likely to feel the pain of this wrathful Covid gd.     

We have made the robots that have taken over and they are corporations with one primal directive: profit over human health, wealth, or security. Corporations globally need to adhere to a new set of rules.

Instead of it's the economy stupid, it's the stupids, stupid. Why would people ignore the dangers of Covid. It's way way too complicated for them to wrap their heads around (e.g. how it's transmitted, etc.)

For decades after the fall of Hitler, Germans had intense shame that they could have followed a fascist into a war a that murdered 6 million+ people and destroyed their country. What needs to happen for Republicans to wake up? Do we need to get invaded by another country? Do we need to go bankrupt? Does everyone need to lose a family member or friend to Covid?

If you make over 100K, your should be thinking about how you can get involved in public governance. Folks are vastly underequipped to step up.  We need to raise wages for elected officials so they are competitive with the best and brightest industries. We need competency over here. 

The idea that normal, everyday people would have to be charged with the idea of remaking society or bringing back the equity of another generation, which was never good, blows my mind.

We are destroying the earth, that much is clear. This is the point at which the smallness of the earth is catching up to us. We have had stupid, pigheaded leaders before, but there was only so much destruction they could wreak.

Towards a new model of global governance. Trump and leaders like him are dangerous to the health and well-being of the world. Simply from a personality characteristic point of view, he would most certainly get us all killed quickly if he or someone like him were to reign despotically for a long time. What are the characteristics of despots and potential despots and how can they be identified early?

We need to make a commitment to stopping global warming in its tracks, whatever the cost, and devising new strategies to live at a high quality of life for a long period of time, including population control.

The lesson from Collapse (Jared Diamond) is not simply that the world could fall apart, but the scale on which it could happen.

We are re-imagining the world and a government ready for the 21st century and not living in the 19th or 20th. We have a 18th century Constitution for a 21st century Republic. Time for a 2.0.

Silence is complicity.

I wish we had a 10-year anti-poverty pledge in Durham that had some teeth.

Take as an assumption that instability has been more common in Human history than stability
So why do we assume that we will get out of this jam of global warming, resource depletion, global governance, war, without new solutions?

Covid has helped me see with a great clarity that the political process is inherently broken, that a governor might decide how many people live or die in a state, based on when they put a stay-at-home order in place or whether they hired more or less contact tracers and testing infrastructure.

(April 2020)
Why don't we have sophisticated contact tracing?
Why don't we know where covid patients live?
What is going to be the result of 2 trillion dollars worth of assistance
Epidemiologist academics have failed us. The industry is engineered to generate papers, not praxis.
Why is there not more (bilingual) community and state-level messaging?

What did we learn from Covid

1. We need leaders and processes and governance that is results oriented.

2. We need global governance to solve global collective action problems, backed up with real money (Covid, climate change, resource depletion, food and water scarcity, nuclear proliferation).

3. Power is actually held by a small number of people, and it trickles down.  The president, governors, etc.

4. We need better leadership. Well now everyone should run for every city council position, every school board position. We need the Reverend Barbers, the Bomani Joneses, the Roger Bennetts, the John Olivers to actually take the elected positions, and the highest ones they can attain or be appointed to.

5. In the absence of power, all we can do is educate.

6. I retain: the capacity to determine my own fate; the capacity to make changes; the capacity for self-expression.

The coming recession

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/13/us/politics/budget-deficit-coronavirus.html

6.16.2020

Do the Right Thing: Systemic Racism and Covid

Do the Right Thing | Spike Lee | 1989

Covid might have been the tinderbox that allowed the George Floyd protests to ignite, but the here and now of racism are the black and brown folks that are disproportionately getting sick and dying of Covid today. Right now. The white liberal response is to hashtag the eff out of this situation, but in fact we should be pressuring officials right this minute to get more testing and tracing in low-income communities, more education of health behaviorsPPE, and protecting families that aready are infected.

It’s not too late to do the right thing. While Instagram activity is crazy high, black and brown people are still getting infected with Covid, right this minute. Let’s reform our police departments, and educate our parents, and set city budgets right, but what can we do right this minute to take down the silent killer that already taken 56 Durham lives and who knows how many more until a vaccine is found and administered.