More significant even than explaining this somewhat imbalance is to call your attention to the story on Page Two about how bad things have come to be in West Virginia, and how our greatest priority may be to recognize what went wrong in that region over the last century before the contagion catches up with all of us. We confess not knowing where to start in taking on this conundrum, but we’re open to suggestion. Washington may be the last place to turn.
THE BIG IDEA: A little humility goes a long way.
President Trump really enjoys talking about himself, his grievances and how he’s never treated fairly. In his first State of the Union address, he showcased other people. As a result, his approval rating is likely to inch up in the coming days.
The businessman who likes to put his name on buildings and declared “I alone can fix it” during his acceptance speech at the 2016 Republican convention spoke less in the first-person Tuesday than in any major address since he came down the escalator at Trump Tower three years ago to launch his campaign.
He used the word “we” 130 times, “our” 103 times and “us” 15 times. He mentioned “the people” nine times. He used the word “I” just 35 times and “my” 14 times. He went with the second person “you” 25 times, though that includes “thank you.”
Trump is a consummate showman, and his stagecraft was top notch. He played the pomp and circumstance to his advantage. The first reality television president seemed to be channeling Mike Deaver, Ronald Reagan’s image guru, by pointing to a bevy of ordinary people who have done extraordinary things.
Reagan began this tradition by highlighting the heroism of Lenny Skutnik in his 1982 State of the Union. The federal employee had jumped into the icy Potomac to save a woman from drowning after a plane crash.
The official White House transcript shows that Trump was interrupted by applause 117 times in 80 minutes. The bulk of those came when the president was praising others: the cop from New Mexico and his wife who adopted the baby of a heroin addict, the victim of torture in North Korea who escaped to freedom and defiantly held up crutches he no longer needs, the Army staff sergeant who performed CPR for 20 minutes and artificial respiration for two-and-a-half hours to save a comrade after an explosion in Iraq. He offered a touching tribute to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who recovered after being shot at congressional baseball practice.
He didn’t whine about “witch hunts,” or even elliptically refer to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, and he made just one passing mention of Russia (it was critical).
— The speech offered a window into what might have been, if he had stuck to script and shown more self-discipline during his first year. Trump’s approval rating could easily be 10 points higher right now if he just behaved the way he did last night, even while pursuing an identical agenda. The speech worried politically savvy Democrats because it suggested that he has upside potential.
Read more at The Washington Post.
Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) had the utterly thankless task of delivering the response to the State of the Union. Speaking in front of a live audience that frequently applauded was smart. Did he look awfully young and have a distracting bead of sweat (or was it saliva) at the corner of his mouth? Yes, but by gosh he gave a fair to very good speech. (Moreover, millennials are overwhelmingly anti-Trump so a youthful image for the Democrats is probably a net plus.)
On Tuesday I urged Kennedy to give a nod to reality, by saying, for example: We are in abnormal, frightening times, led by an unfit president. He did just that: “Many have spent the last year, anxious, angry, afraid, we all feel the fractured fault lines across our country.” He went on, “We hear the voices of Americans who are forgotten and forsaken. Corporate profits climb but fail to give their workers their fair share. A government that struggles to keep itself open. Russia, knee deep in our democracy. An all-out war on environmental protection. A justice department rolling back civil rights by the day. Hatred and supremacy proudly marching in our streets. Bullets tearing through our classrooms, concerts and congregations, targeting our safest and sacred places. This nagging and sinking feeling, no matter your political beliefs, this is not right, this is not who we are.” The nagging and sinking feeling this is not right, this is not who we are. That surely will resonate with Democrats, independents and despondent Republicans and ex-Republicans.
He also drilled down on the abuses of power and violations of democratic norms that have intensified just this week. “This administration is not just targeting the laws that protect us, they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection.” Moreover, especially for Democrats who too often fall into a laundry list of constituent complaints, he made an admirable stab at unity — real unity, unlike the pretense of unity that President Trump cynically set forth. Kennedy insisted that “we are all equal, that we all count in the eyes of our laws, our leaders, our God, and our government. That is the American promise.” And indeed, it’s what Republicans would abandon and, worse, reject on the premise that America is a pitiful giant willing to take only people who are already successful and look like us.
Read more at The Washington Post.
Patriarchy is often defined as a system of male dominance. This definition does not illuminate, but rather obscures, the complex set of factors that function together in the patriarchal system. We need more complex definition if we are to understand and challenge the patriarchal system in all of its aspects.
Patriarchy is a system of male dominance, rooted in the ethos of war which legitimates violence, sanctified by religious symbols, in which men dominate women through the control of female sexuality, with the intent of passing property to male heirs, and in which men who are heroes of war are told to kill men, and are permitted to rape women, to seize land and treasures, to exploit resources, and to own or otherwise dominate conquered people.
Marx and Engels said that the patriarchal family, private property, and the state arose together. Though their understanding of the societies that preceded “patriarchy” was flawed, their intuition that patriarchy is connected to private property and to domination in the name of the state was correct. It has long seemed to me that patriarchy cannot be separated from war and the kings who take power in the wake of war. Many years ago I was stunned by Merlin Stone’s allegation that in matrilineal societies there are no illegitimate children, because all children have mothers. Lately, I have been trying to figure out why the Roman Catholic and other churches and the American Republican party are so strongly opposed to women’s right to control our own bodies and are trying to prevent access to birth control and abortion. In the above definition of patriarchy, I bring all of these lines of thought together in a definition which describes the origins of patriarchy and the interconnections between patriarchy, the control of female sexuality, private property, violence, war, conquest, rape in war, and slavery.
The system I am defining as patriarchy is a system of domination enforced through violence and the threat of violence. It is a system developed and controlled by powerful men, in which women, children, other men, and nature itself are dominated. Let me say at the outset that I do not believe that it is in the “nature” of “men” to dominate through violence. Patriarchy is a system that originated in history, which means that it is neither eternal nor inevitable. Some women and some men have resisted patriarchy throughout its history. We can join together to resist it today.
My definition of patriarchy is influenced by new research collected and analyzed by Heide Goettner-Abendroth in Societies of Peace, who advances our understanding of prepatriarchal societies which she calls “matriarchal” “societies of peace.” Goettner-Abendroth identifies the deep structure of matriarchies using four markers: 1) economic: these societies usually practice small scale agriculture and achieve relative economic equality through gift-giving as a social custom: 2) social: these societies are egalitarian, matrilineal, and matrilocal with land being held in the maternal clan and both men and women remaining in their maternal clan; 3) political: these societies are egalitarian and have well-developed democratic systems of consensus; 4) culture, spirituality: these societies tend to view Earth as a Great and Giving Mother. Most importantly and permeating everything, these societies honor principles of care, love, and generosity which they associate with motherhood, and believe both women and men can and should practice.
Read more at Feminism and Religion.
Late at night I gaze upon the faces of the women of the YPJ, the Kurdish all-female military organisation, as they unfurl flags in Raqqa. ISIS is not entirely gone. Everything is still complicated. But for a moment these women have won. They vanquished the rapists. They have confronted our worst nightmares. They know what they are doing. In interviews these young women tell us that rape is a planned way to destroy a culture and that this is what ISIS fighters were doing to the Yazidis. They tell us they scream with happiness when they go into battle because they know that, according to the ISIS interpretation of Islam, to be killed by a woman means a fighter won’t go to heaven.
Watch, if you can bear it, the accounts of the Rohingya women who have been raped in Myanmar. Again, rape is being used systematically to destroy a culture. It was used in the Balkans, too. It has always been used.
Men rape old women, and they rape tiny girls in front of their mothers. In some cases, they rape with guns and metal bars. Dying women are raped. This is about power, not sex.
We are warned not to generalise. We must always be specific about male violence. “Not all men”, we must say, in case someone gets upset. We must not connect the horrendous violence of war zones with anything nearer our own safe spaces, our homes and gardens. And, as well as that, we must not connect what happens in UK homes – two women murdered a week – to our own lives, because then we might realise that we cannot fully live in these conditions.
To be paralysed by the fear of what men do would shrink our world. Which, of course, is precisely what has been revealed by all the #MeToo accounts of assault and harassment that have been shared on social media, accounts that illustrate the myriad ways women live smaller lives in anticipation of male violence. It breaks my heart to see it is the same, and perhaps even worse, for younger women today. I would quite like a day off from all this, but so much fiction, TV, so many films, are about the murder of women. A real-life murderer of a woman – Bertrand Cantat, the musician who beat his girlfriend Marie Trintignant to death – is the cover star of a French magazine this week. The publishers say perhaps this was bad timing. Yet this is just one one-off occurrence, of course. It has no connection, we are told, to anything else.
I must not join the dots. God forbid I become “reductive” about male violence. No, I must be sophisticated and unknowing. I must play to the better angels: men who are nice. We have to get them on side.
Well no. Get real. This strategy has failed. Without an analysis of the “p” word, patriarchy, we remain powerless to change it. Either a) men are just naturally aggressive because of testosterone, women are passive breeders, and this is biologically determined, or b) there is a power structure in play here that can be challenged.
I am going with b) because I am an optimist. The concept of patriarchy is overarching and universalising, it is trans-historical and nowhere near cross-cultural enough. You cannot talk of women as a class, say the materialists, the post-structuralists, the anti-feminists. Be more specific about the gradations of difference, and talk of intersectionality. Talk of class and race. Yes, do, but we also have to understand and recognise that Marx’s writing never could and never will quite explain the subjugation of women.
Read more at The Guardian.
5G will be the lifeblood of the new economy.
Self-driving cars, virtual reality, smart cities and networked robots will all be powered by 5G networks someday soon. 5G promises to open the door to new surgical procedures, safer transportation and instant communication for first responders.
It’s no wonder the Trump administration is considering a government-funded 5G public utility, according to a report Sunday in Axios.
There’s no reason to believe that will happen. A publicly financed 5G project would cost hundreds of billions of dollars. It would be a moonshot unlike anything the government has taken on since it sent people to the moon.
5G is on its way whether the government backs it or not. Major internet companies are far along in their 5G network development, and the first networks will be up and running in the next couple years.
What is 5G?
Like every “next generation” wireless network technology, 5G will give your phone a speedier connection — about 10 times faster than 4G, industry experts expect. That’s enough to stream “8K” video or download a 3D movie in 30 seconds. (On 4G, it would take six minutes.)
The extra capacity will make service more reliable, allowing more gadgets to connect to the network at the same time.
But 5G is about much more than smartphones. Sensors, thermostats, cars, robots, and other new technology will all connect to 5G one day. Today’s 4G networks don’t have the bandwidth for the vast amounts of data all those devices will transmit.
5G networks will also reduce to virtually zero the lag time between devices and the servers they communicate with. For driverless cars, that means uninterrupted communication between a car and other vehicles, data centers and outside sensors.
To accomplish all that, 5G will need to travel over super-high-frequency airwaves. Higher frequencies bring faster speeds and more bandwidth. But they can’t travel through walls, windows or rooftops, and they get considerably weaker over long distances.
That means wireless companies will need to install thousands — perhaps millions — of miniature cell towers on top of every lamp post, on the side of buildings, inside every home and potentially in every room.
That’s why 5G will complement 4G rather than outright replace it. In buildings and in crowded areas, 5G might provide a speed boost. But when you’re driving down the highway, 4G could be your only option — at least for a while.
Read more at CNN.