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Gaythia Weis
Analytical Chemist
Analytical Chemist
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Trump Administration:

"Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”"

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"Monsanto Co will give cash back to U.S. farmers who buy a weed killer that has been linked to widespread crop damage, offering an incentive to apply its product even as regulators in several U.S. states weigh restrictions on its use."

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Even if we ignore the "Creeping after Teenage Girls" thing, this alone ought to be enough to sink his candidacy.

Ought to, but it won't. And I can't help considering what would happen if a German politician had said: "At least during the Third Reich we had great family values!"

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"With strong winds blowing and bone-dry conditions, utility officials in San Diego on Thursday began shutting off the power to thousands of people — a pre-emptive move to reduce the danger of power lines sparking wildfires."

This also shuts down other facilities like water pumps.

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On the insidiousness danger of small changes. "...Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even talk, alone; you don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble.' Why not?-Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty. Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, 'everyone' is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there would be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, 'It's not so bad' or 'You're seeing things' or 'You're an alarmist.'

And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can't prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don't know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. You are left with your close friends, who are, naturally, people who have always thought as you have....

But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That's the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked-if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in '43 had come immediately after the 'German Firm' stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in '33. But of course this isn't the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.

And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying 'Jewish swine,' collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in-your nation, your people-is not the world you were born in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God. The system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way."

-Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-1945

Like an individual acclimates to increasing domestic violence, or the slow decline of addiction, so can nations be slowly brought to new and terrible realities.

This is not normal.

h/t John-Henry-Eden

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Some thoughts on Harvey Weinstein and the culture of abuse

I have been following the Harvey Weinstein scandal with a mixture of rage, sadness, and a complete lack of surprise. Those of you who have been following my writing on the topic of sexual harassment and abuse would know that this is a topic I am personally invested in. Because it happened to me too, although thankfully the man who did this to me was nowhere near as powerful as Weinstein is.

Yesterday was #WomenBoycottTwitter on Twitter. Women had planned a silent protest in response to Twitter temporarily suspending the account of Rose McGowan, one of the most vocal accusers against Weinstein. I consciously decided not to join this protest, and in fact tweeted more than I normally do, simply because silence in response to abuse and harassment just doesn't work for me. Abuse silenced me for so many years, I will not do this to myself again.

I was silent about my experience of abuse (more at during which time he targeted more and more women. I hate to even think about it, but it's true that my silence contributed towards allowing him to target many other women after he finished with me. But I also admit and agree that survivors such as myself have very good reasons for remaining silent - we only have to see how society responds with victim blaming and shaming to understand why people chose to avoid that hassle completely and try their best to put a shitty experience behind them. There are truly awful consequences that happen when women decide to speak out in defiance of their abuser. As the Weinstein scandal shows us, it's so easy to use guilt and shame and a false sense of complicity to silence survivors. I know because it happened to me too. This article by Jia Tolentino does a fantastic job of explaining how predators like Weinstein implicate their victims in their acts:

But I've also learned that if enough of us gather in numbers too large to ignore, with stories too similar to be coincidental, the truth comes out.

Silence enables abusers to thrive. And bystanders who stay silent also enable abusers. Because abuse doesn't happen in a vacuum. That's why I wrote this article last year on the importance of speaking out against abuse: In it, I said that "our feminism and activism cannot end with simply sharing a BuzzFeed article once the story comes out. We need to do more before it ever gets that far."

I am not as active on Twitter as much as I used to be. I haven't felt inclined to participate in a network that has such an awful track record with tackling harassment and abuse. But my lack of participation is also because several of my abuser's friends stayed silent following the revelations of his abuse. They are part of the problem. One of his friends, a very prominent woman astrophysicist subtweeted in defence of him and undermined his victims. It was awful, hypocritical, and unforgivable. It was also doubly ironic given how vocal she is about her feminism and how loudly she calls out Trump's sexism. I'd laugh, but it is still painful for me.

The problem is so much deeper than the Scott Lewises or the Harvey Weinsteins of this world. Their enablers and their complicity is collusion.

My abuser silenced me for many years. I will not be silent anymore in response to abuse. Silence does not change anything; it just maintains the status quo. But sharing stories, supporting and validating each other, and most importantly holding our friends accountable for their behaviour - that's how we stop abuse.
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