In this week’s digest, Bernice L Hausman unpacks “the medicalized life”; Firoze Manji interviews ETC Group on peasant movement organising in the time of Covid; Franklin Foer asks whether we are seeing a watershed moment in the United States; Betsy Morais & Alexandria Neason explore ‘how the media lost the story.’ And much more.
Moving backward: hypocrisy and human rights
An essay adapted from “The Death of Human Rights,” the 2019 Robert B. Silvers Lecture, delivered at the New York Public Library in honor of the late founding co-editor of the New York Review.
by Mark Danner, The New York Review of Books, June 1, 2020
Science alone can’t solve Covid-19. The humanities must help
By giving us the tools to decode complex social problems—to contextualize them historically and analyze them critically—the humanities can serve as an antidote to an over-reliance on, or mistrust of, “the science.”
by Anna Magdalena Elsner & Vanessa Rampton, Undark, June 4, 2020
The medicalised life
Medical skepticism is rooted in experience, not ignorance. Hausman explores why so many people see vaccines and other medical interventions as tools of social control rather than boons to health.
by Bernice L Hausman, Aeon Essays, June 2, 2020
John Ioannidis and medical tribalism in the era of Covid-19
The critical questions the Stanford professor is raising about Covid-19 have gotten lost amid partisan bickering: “In politicizing Ioannidis’ work, both the left and the right … impede our ability … to respond in a way that minimizes deaths, not just from the disease, but from our reaction to it.”
by Jeanne Lenzer & Shannon Brownlee, Undark, June 11, 2020
Organising in the times of Covid-19: Big data, big surveillance, and industrial agriculture
Firoze Manji interviews Elena (Neth) Dano and Jim Thomas of the ETC Group. In the context of Covid19, ETC is working to spotlight how agribusiness and big data giants are seizing this moment to accelerate inequitable technologies and policies. The interview highlights the crucial role of the peasant food web and food workers who are helping communities through these interlocking crises.
Daraja Press Podcast, June 9, 2020
Contact-tracing technology must protect people from discrimination as well as disease
Sharing outbreak data saves lives. But its potential to do so can be reached only if the global community ensures that the development of the contact-tracing technologies is guided by principles that protect and serve the most vulnerable among us.
by Pardis Sabeti & Andres Colubrid, STAT, June 5, 2020
The Trump regime is beginning to topple
The best way to grasp the magnitude of what we’re seeing is to look for precedents abroad. Gene Sharp’s handbook, “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” offers a guide from history about how vile autocratic regimes crumble under their own venality. Recent history indicates that a watershed may have arrived in the United States.
by Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, June 6, 2020
How the Saudis, the Qataris, and the Emiratis took Washington
The arms industry and K Street lobbyists have been the only clear American winners in an ingrained PR war in Washington. The Gulf states have used money and high-powered lobbyists to influence Congress and deepen their ties with the military-industrial complex, ensuring that the interests of Middle Eastern despots continue to trump the real interests of Americans. With near-historic weapon sales to the region, it has also prolonged the wars in Yemen and Syria, contributing to death and devastation on an almost unimaginable scale.
by Morgan Palumbo & Jessice Draper, Counterpunch, June 11, 2020
The story has gotten away from us
Six months of life and death in America: How the media lost the story
by Betsy Morais & Alexandria Neason, Columbia Journalism Review, June 3, 2020
New report and New York Times both confirm CEPR’s analysis refuting OAS claims of flawed Bolivian election results
Finally “fit to print,” even in the New York Times: Organization of American States’ charges of election fraud against Evo Morales in Bolivia were bogus.
Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), June 8
NYT finally gets around to reporting that OAS election fraud claims in Bolivia were cooked
“For those paying close attention to the 2019 election, there was never any doubt that the claims of fraud were bogus: it was—then as now—clearly a coup”
by Eoin Higgins, Common Dreams, June 8, 2020
Ottawa’s poet laureate of the poor vibrant to the last verse
Remembering the late Dorothy O’Connell, legendary Ottawa anti-poverty activist who died May 22, 2020. Author of Chiclet Gomez, a collection of short stories based on her family’s life in Ottawa public housing (mainly the Rochester Heights community in Centretown), O’Connell’s activism and writing was rooted in her determination to humanize the experience of poverty, and address it through collective social and political action.
by Kelly Egan, The Ottawa Citizen, June 9, 2020
And finishing up with a personal reflection:
I’m not a racist but…
Reflections on living in a white skin
by Brian K Murphy, Murphy’s Log, June 7, 2020