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Climate Crisis

This is an extremely important contribution to the most extremely important and urgent conversation we need to have now.

The video is 40 minutes long. It is urgent that we listen what Dr. Peter Carter has to say, that we continue the conversation and make sure that it is continued in all forums we have access to. In addition to ensuring that this becomes the predominant conversation, we all neeed to push for systemic change, that is change at government and international levels. This is not a change that individuals, or companies or communities can make, there are things we can do at these levels but there need to be huge political changes, disengaging governments from dependency on and support of the fossil fuel industries and their obsession with environmentally destructive economic growth.

Climate change cannot be reversed and there will be disasterous consequences. As Peter Carter indicates there are disasterous consequences happening now. The question is can climate change be slowed and can we ameliorate the consequences. I don’t know the answer to that and I don’t believe anyone does. There is no question that we will suffer hugely. The question is will we survive. Will the planet survive. We don’t know if it is possible to survive given the unprecedented challenge, we do know without a shadow of a doubt that unless we make changes on an unprecedented scale life on this planet will not persist beyond the end of this century.

These are a few of the points made by Carter in the video:

  1. Yearly increase in atmospheric co2 is unprecedented in Earth history. That is geological history not human history.
  2. All indicators for climate change increasing.
  3. More heatwaves, forest fires, droughts are inevitable. All food producing regions will see decline in crop yields. This is absolute social chaos.
  4. Co2 is forever. co2 cannot be removed from the atmosphere. its dependent on formation of fossil carbon which takes millions of years. it will take 100k years for all the co2 we’ve produced to be removed from the atmosphere. So what has already been done cannot be undone.
  5. The survival of humanity is in question because of extent of greenhouse gas pollution. We have to act on an emergency immediate basis but there are huge powers working in government and the fossil fuel industry to prevent this.
  6. We are wiping out life in this planet at a terrible rate. The yearly rate of species extinction is more than 1000 times greater than the natural background rate.
  7. We can’t save the planet anymore. The planet is drastically different from the one older people grew up in.
  8. There is no sense out there of how huge this is.
  9. Catastrophic climate change is now unavoidable.
  10. We have lost half of the Great Barrier Reef.
  11. The Paris Agreement December 2015 was an agreement to do nothing. The climate justice groups had it right. Friends of the Earth International described the Agreement as a sham. It is a PR success. Nothing in the agreement was legally binding. The US under Obama said that it could not be binding as the Republicans could stop it being ratified. The entire world is being deceived.
  12. The planet is being fracked to death. It is global suicide.
  13. We need to stop subsidising the fossil fuel industry. trillions of dollars a year subsidise fossile fuel industries. We are paying for our own death.
  14. There is no allowable amount of carbon we can still burn

21 March – Mendelssohn


Felix Mendelssohn Piano Trio No.1, op.49 in D-minor

Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847)

Mendelssohn died aged just 38. But he had accomplished so much.

I am reading ‘Year of Wonder‘ by Clemency Burton-Hill. It looks at one piece of classical music each day. A worthwhile book, it prompts listening .. and that leads to more wonderful pieces.


Mendelssohns – Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor (op. 25) , Yuja Wang, Kurt Masur (Full)

Equinox

I need this. We need this .. Renewal. Rebirth. Monteverdi is a Renaissance composer and this piece of music celebrates, O Zepher Return, celebrates the return to Spring.

From Wikipedia: An equinox is commonly regarded as the instant of time when the plane (extended indefinitely in all directions) of Earth‘s equator passes through the center of the Sun.[3] This occurs twice each year: around 20 March and 23 September. In other words, it is the moment at which the center of the visible Sun is directly above the Equator. In the northern hemisphere, the equinox in March is called the Vernal or Spring Equinox; the September equinox is called the Autumnal or Fall Equinox.

Monday: Day 13

I prepare my meditation space .. but still much needs to be thrown out before I can meditate.

A letter to Stephen Timms

Handed in at my surgery on Friday. pic.twitter.com/CPf4GtJMdJ— Stephen Timms (@stephenctimms) March 18, 2019

There must be a minimum standard beneath which no person should be permitted to fall. Situations like this must be considered an emergency and be corrected immediately.

No Means What?

If Theresa May’s ‘deal’ has been rejected twice by Parliament that suggests that the MPs who voted against it think that there is something intrinsically wrong with it and that they will say no again when asked again to approve it on 23rd March. Unfortunately my naive logic fails because:

1. MPs rejected the deal for different reasons. Some want no Brexit, some a softer Brexit and others a harder Brexit.

2. May is saying to the hard Brexiters that they should accept her deal because however it is presented it can be made harder later. That’s to say that the ‘Irish Backstop’ which guarantees no ‘hard border’ between Ireland and Northern Ireland can be disregarded unilaterally at some future time. Thus she is acting in bad faith towards either the EU or the hard Brexiters.

If the hard Brexiters buy May’s guarantee that the guarantee to the EU is not a guarantee then they will vote for the deal and Parliament’s ‘no’ will become a ‘yes’.

Saturday: Day 11

I’m off FB for Lent. That was my only public resolution.

I have other resolutions/observances to observe but let’s say that it’s taken some time for me to get into the full spirit of the thing.

We were with Lisa, Dane and the children this afternoon and evening. It was a home blessing rather than a house warming. I thought it was nice. I thought that we should bless this Earth too. I thought that we on this Earth should recogognise each other as part of One Family. This is surely the greatest religious observance.

No intention to write an essay every day but writing helps me reflect, even if there is no one to reflect with. FB is valuable for that, having people reflect my thoughts back to me. But now is a time to go inwards.

Anti-Jazz

Attacks by people claiming to be ‘on the Left’ on Gilad Atzmon are attacks on freedom of expression. They are part of an irrationalism within the party and the so called ‘Left’ but they do not represent the Labour Party or any true Left any more than the CAA represents Jewish people. This is my response on YouTube to Atzmon’s understandable counter attack.

This is a completely unnecessary battle that is damaging for all concerned. I disagree with your view concerning JVL. While I do not like the notion of identity based political groups I understand that they may be necessary in particular circumstances. And when the Board of Deputies, JLM, CAA and LFI are powerful voices claiming to speak on behalf of the ‘Jewish community’ there is surely a need for a JVL to counter that claim. If I were Jewish and groups like JLM and CAA were claiming to speak for me I would take it personally and would wish to have my voice heard as a Jew.

You are of course entitled to your view. I have read your writings and have found nothing hateful, racist or antisemitic in them though not everyone may understand your use of irony and humour and you do not seem to make concessions to people’s sensitivities. It is not surprising that some people like Owen Jones and the leadership of Momentum jump on the Jewdas bandwagon in condemning you for being you but I have not heard of any attacks on you from either Corbyn or JVL.

It seems clear that the Labour party has been a pro-Zionist and latterly neoliberal party and that those elements are powerful within it. What we are experiencing is a kickback against Corbyn’s challenge to their power. With the excrable Tom Watson organising a ‘counter revolution’ within Labour and with a MSM almost wholly ranged against him, Corbyn’s strategy of keeping his eyes on the prize of a democratic socialist government is highly intelligent. It is right to resist and expose the empty irrationalism of those who are attacking you and freedom of expression but we should also understand the fight that Corbyn and his allies like Chris Williamson are engaged in. Very few of us could stay the course under that sort of pressure. Corbyn continues to do so and Corbyn continues to deserve our support.

Syrian Girl on Ilhan Omar

Syrian Girl is a vlogger whom I’ve followed for some years. She’s part of a network of news dissidents. Here she talks about AIPAC – The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, self described as “a bipartisan organization of U.S. citizens committed solely to strengthening, protecting and promoting the U.S.-Israel relationship. “, and about Ilhan Omar a young congresswoman

Ilhan on 10 February responded to a tweet by journalist Glenn Greenwald that reads, “GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens punishment for @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib over their criticisms of Israel. It’s stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.”She replied, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,”

‘Benjamins’ is American slang for money but it was characterised as being an antisemitic reference, a ‘trope’ as some like to say, indicating the control of the American political system by ‘Jewish’ money. Ilhan apologised for the unintended ‘trope’ but reaffirmed her concerns about the role of lobbyists in American politics.

Listening and learning, but standing strong 💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/7TSroSf8h1— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019

The controversy continues.

Racism, Antisemitism and Goebellian Liars

Racism of any kind is wrong and utterly stupid. As a form of racism, antisemitism is wrong and stupid. Any notion that any ethnic group can be characterised on the basis of the behaviour some of its members is logically flawed and the notion that individual members of that group should then be judged on the basis of that logically flawed characterisation is doubly absurd.

I believe that we are socially conditioned to accept the absurdities of racism and may other absurdities and that this often distorts our ability to think in a way that is logically coherent.

Antisemitism exists to a greater or lesser degree in all populations and it will exist to some degree in the population of Labour Party members. I do not know if it exists to a greater or lesser degree than anti black, anti Muslim, anti Asian or indeed anti white sentiment but since we are talking about a group of people it would be absurd to maintain that it, and all of those other sentiments do not exist to any degree. What I will say however is that because of its socialist, humanitarian and compassionate underpinnings I would expect all of these sentiments to exist in the Labour Party membership to a far lesser degree than in the general population. My experience as a Black member of the Labour party has not disabused me of this notion.

At the same time, because the Labour Party is a party of social justice, I would expect, and hope, that there is greater willingness among party members to condemn injustice wherever they find it, at home or abroad, without fear or favour and with a greater willingness to stand shoulder to shoulder with the oppressed. It is right that the regime in Israel should be condemned for its racist behaviour and apalling treatment of the Palestinians. Israel is by no means a unique locus of evil. We should have no hesitation in condemning the behaviour of other states such as Saudi Arabia for their disgusting treatment of women, religious minorities and sexual minorities, or certain African states for wars and oppressions based on tribalism, or India for the perpetuation of caste based prejudice or the US for the slavery that still exists in its prison system. Israel is not uniquely evil but it should be called out for its unique or commonplace evils.

The Labour party has a history of being a pro Israel party, but growing awareness and dissatisfaction with Israeli oppression is leading to strong opposition towards Israeli policies and actions. Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters are seen as being at the forefront of this shift. It is hardly surprising that they should be attacked by the Israeli government and its supporters inside and outside the Labour Party. To exaggerate the issue of antisemitism and to extend its definitions to cover any criticism of Israel and its supporters is clearly a strategem that is being used with the utmost cynicism and dishonesty. I do not believe that Israel is the sole source of these attacks I believe that Corbyn is also seen as a threat to neoliberal interests and to the interests of Western imperialism and that theses interests too are supporting the wholly unsubstantiated myth of widespread antisemitism in the Labour Party.

It is right that we all recognise what it going on and that antisemitism is being used as a deliberate tool by those who wish to maintain power. We should be angry but never in our anger be unfair or irrational. We should never when charged with antisemitism respond by becoming in any way genuinely antisemitic. The struggle is not against Jewish people and there should be no presentation or expression that is or can reasonably be taken to be antisemitic. I say this because for the first time in an online forum, today, I saw a cartoon which represented a Jewish caricature figure as being behind the antisemitism slurs. This pained me because over the past few years it has becen obvious that Jewish people of all stations have been among the bravest and most active in opposing these slurs and they have been among those paying the highest price for their courage and honesty. It is essential that we do not allow the ‘Goebellian liars’ (to borrow Galloway’s apt phrase) to make us irrationally fearful or irrationally angry or push us towards the ranks of the haters. We should speak the truth without fear and without resentment. We should never be afraid to debate or to be wrong and to be corrected if we are wrong. It is liars who personalise the battle and run away from examination and fearing the light of open debate seek to close it down. It is the liars and the haters who are careless with accusations and resort to invective and force rather than reason. We are not that, we are not haters and anyone who becomes a hater excludes themselves from what we are.

A Question of Humanity

Article Source: Guardian 23rd February 2019

There is so much wrong with this article that it is difficult to know where to start or where to stop, but I’ll take just this passage about Derrick Hatton’s allegedly antisemitic tweet:

She said that she voted Green and had never agreed with Derek Hatton but, as a supporter of the Palestinians, she couldn’t see what was wrong with his tweet. Had she read it? “A summary of it, yes.”

The original wasn’t long. It stated: “Jewish people with any sense of humanity need to start speaking out publicly against the ruthless murdering being carried out by Israel!”

Essentially, Hatton did what the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance defines as a concrete example of antisemitism: “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.”

His tweet rendered them guilty until proven innocent. If they didn’t condemn Israel, they had no humanity. And what happens in history when we strip a minority of its humanity?

A few points:

  1. Stating that Jews need to speak out about Israel’s actions IS NOT the same as holding Jews collectively responsible for for Israel’s actions. If I said to anyone that them need to speak out against a particular evil it does not equate to them being responsible in the sense of being culpable for that evil.
  2. Hatton’s statement DOES suggest that Jews have a particular responsibility for speaking up against the particular abuses perpetrated by the state of Israel. I do not accept that Jews have such a responsibility because they are Jews. I believe that we all have equal responsibility in this matter because we are equally human and rational beings. It is true however that Jewish groups such as JVL and JVP appear to come together on the premise that they, as Jews, have a particular role to play in opposing the abuses. It is also true that Muslims are often urged to take responsibility in the sense of speaking out against and identifying Islamist terrorism and ‘radicalisation’. Indeed there are government programmes that seek to engage Muslims in such activity. If Hatton had tweeted (after seeing an Isis beheading) “Muslim people with any sense of humanity need to start speaking out publicly against the ruthless murdering being carried out by Isis and other Jihadist groups” I might, for the reasons I gave above, question that formulation but I would not say that he was Islamophobic because of it. Hatton would be equally wrong in saying this but I suspect that he would not receive the same degree of censure.
  3. Saying that Jews with ‘any sense of humanity’ ought to speak out against the brutal acts of Israel does not imply that those who do not speak out against such acts have no sense of humanity much less that they have no humanity. It may be argued that Hatton meant this to be inferred but this is not logically implicit in what he said.

In conclusion while I consider statements like Hatton’s to be flawed because they incorrectly assign responsibility for moral action to people on the basis of their belonging to a particular group rather than on the basis of them being rational beings, I understand that this as a matter of erroneous (though common) speech rather than antisemetic or racist intent.

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