Welcome to Issue 20.2 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
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Today’s news, fermented:
I really like to make sweeping generalizations. Nuance is vital, but sweeping generalizations are, by nature, a hook. We stop and turn our heads.
Today’s sweeping generalization is: the fossil fuel industry is the police. (This goes nicely with another one I love: the government is a corporation.) In a report out yesterday, it’s clear that the fossil fuel industry has been lining the pockets of private police foundations. These foundations generally fund the budgets of urban police departments, and that money often goes directly to buying weapons that make American police forces the militarized armies we know them to be.
These foundations have been around since the 70s, right around, I would guess, police departments started to get bigger—a result of white flight from cities, and the ensuing urban budget crises—just in time for the crack epidemic, followed by the war on drugs. (Go watch this 4 minute illustrated overview of the war, narrated by Jay Z.)
So back to the present: we have over-funded police departments equipped with heavy weaponry, and they’re supplemented by the fossil fuel industry’s ‘charitable donations.’ There are so many troubling things about this, but the one at the top of my mind is: How is it that corporations get to ‘donate’ money to a public entity without that money being subject to public oversight? It seems, almost, like a rogue, unofficial, but still real privatization of public police forces (which as we’ve seen, are still hard to manage in accordance with the public’s demands).
And the fact that there are new laws popping up that further criminalize protest at fossil fuel sites, many in response to the water protectors at Standing Rock, kind of forecloses the idea that these donations are just in the interest of public safety—which is also something the fossil fuel industry is not…known for caring about.
May we extrapolate, from our rather-substantiated sweeping generalization, now? If I were going to, I’d say: maybe the fossil fuel industry endorses and funds the terrorization and murder of Black and brown people because there need to be some people whose land and lives it is acceptable to destroy in order to justify extraction sacrifice zones.
Elie Mystal, beacon of wisdom and sass at The Nation, published an article yesterday entitled Trump’s Secret Police Have Never Been a Secret to Brown People, in which he welcomes the parents and veterans being assaulted by the Portland secret police to the fight against the Department of Homeland Security, which has been assaulting peaceful brown people since its inception. He lays it out pretty clearly:
“[At its inception,] the department was given a broad mandate: “Prevent terrorist attacks within the United States,” which is Congress-speak for “apple pie good, everybody else bad.” Because “terrorism” isn’t really a defined term, we end up with the situation in which we find ourselves today—with Trump people deploying DHS agents to defend statues in Portland while the department ignores white supremacists in Charlottesville.”
So the moral of the story is that the government is deploying force in all kinds of ways, usually if not always in the interest of suppressing/detaining/murdering Black and brown people, and it’s either funded directly by corporations (via fossil-fueled foundations), or indirectly, because most of DT’s cabinet is neck-deep in corporate crime, and manipulating the national priorities to protect their profits (see also: every virus relief bill).
This is all I have to add—just substitute people for the pigeons, and “a bird” for “part of this profitable racist shit storm.”
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
I woke up today feeling nothing short of euphoric.
The only ~*Hot Goss*~ that matters to me this morning is the news that former Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was found guilty of all seven charges on counts of power abuse, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering involving millions of dollars from state funds. He has been sentenced to 12 years in prison and an RM210 million fine. This is a momentous occasion for Malaysia but I also know this is an extremely niche topic of goss so I’ll just leave it at that. Just know that today, I’m on cloud nine.
In more happy news – Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner are parents! I was actually surprised to hear the news that Sophie had given birth. It felt to me like she had only just announced her pregnancy. But here we are, with a new Bebe Jonas in tow. Joe and Sophie have been keeping a low profile during this quarantine szn, and yesterday the couple announced that Sophie had given birth to a baby girl last Wednesday. How precious!
And of course, no celebrity baby watch would be complete without the name: Willa. You know, I don’t hate it. In a year where we welcomed baby X Æ A-ii Musk, Willa is a perfectly interesting enough name for a celebrity offspring. Just the perfect mix of whimsical and staid; of Joe’s American brand of brashness and Sophie’s British sensibility. It straddles the line of Tayleigh Loughaynne and Basil Boo Chiffon just nicely. As I said, I don’t hate it!
Back to my personal cloud nine…