Category Archives: Politics

Live from the International Space Station ISS

ESA: Good evening, Kraftwerk / Guten Abend Kraftwerk, guten Abend Stuttgart! (YouTube, 11:48min)

“On 20 July 2018 around 21:50 local time, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst welcomed the legendary electronic band Kraftwerk and 7500 visitors to the Jazz Open Festival on Stuttgart’s Schlossplatz – live from the International Space Station, where he will live and work until mid-December 2018. During the call with space, Kraftwerk founding member Ralf Hütter and Alexander played a special duet version of the track Spacelab, for which Alexander had a tablet computer configured with virtual synthesizers on board.”

Alexander Gerst’s Horizon Blog: Good evening, Kraftwerk!

““Here in the European Columbus laboratory, the successor to the Spacelab, the European Space Agency ESA is researching things that will improve daily life on Earth. More than 100 different nations work together peacefully here and achieve things that a single nation could never achieve. We are developing technologies on board the ISS to grow beyond our current horizons and prepare to take further steps into space, to the Moon and Mars,” Alexander said.

However, as Kraftwerk founding member Ralf Hütter emphasised, Alexander’s appearance was not only about greeting Kraftwerk and the audience in Stuttgart but also about “music as the universal language of the world”. After addressing the crowd, he and Alexander played a special duet version of the track Spacelab, for which Alexander had a tablet computer configured with virtual synthesizers on board.”

Alexander Gersts Horizon Blog: Guten Abend Kraftwerk!

“Nachdem Alexander Gerst sich mit einem „Good Night Earth“ vom Publikum verabschiedet hatte, fuhren Kraftwerk mit ihrem fulminanten Set fort, während die Zuschauerinnen und Zuschauer sich wohl noch ein paar Mal verblüfft fragten, ob das, was sie da gerade gesehen und gehört hatten, auch wirklich live und real war. Wir können sagen: Das war es.”

Bannon “claims European integration is coming to an end

Deutsche Welle: Steve Bannon plans Brussels-based foundation ‘The Movement’ for EU far-right. “Donald Trump’s ex-strategist Steve Bannon told the Daily Beast he hopes the foundation will fuel the spread of right-wing populism across Europe. He wants to offer a rightwing alternative to George Soros’s foundation.”

Deutsche Welle: US-Rechtspopulist Steve Bannon plant rechte Bewegung in Europa. “Der Ex-Berater von Donald Trump und Vorreiter der radikalen Rechten in den USA will eine rechtspopulistische Bewegung in Europa gründen – als Gegengewicht zum Investor George Soros, der liberale Gruppen unterstützt.”

“The Trump administration implemented this policy by choice and could end it by choice.”

The Washington Post: The facts about Trump’s policy of separating families at the border.

“The doublespeak coming from Trump and top administration officials on this issue is breathtaking, not only because of the sheer audacity of these claims but also because they keep being repeated without evidence. Immigrant families are being separated at the border not because of Democrats and not because some law forces this result, as Trump insists. They’re being separated because the Trump administration, under its zero-tolerance policy, is choosing to prosecute border-crossing adults for any offenses.

This includes illegal-entry misdemeanors, which are being prosecuted at a rate not seen in previous administrations. Because the act of crossing itself is now being treated as an offense worthy of prosecution, any family that enters the United States illegally is likely to end up separated. Nielsen may choose not to call this a “family separation policy,” but that’s precisely the effect it has.

Sessions, who otherwise owns up to what’s happening, has suggested that the Flores settlement and a court ruling are forcing his hand. They’re not. At heart, this is an issue of prosecutorial discretion: his discretion.”

NYmag Daily Intelligencer: Trump Ends Family Separations by Ordering Family Detentions.

“In effect, Trump has switched from holding children hostage to congressional action to holding entire families hostage instead.

So in the very narrowest sense Trump is complying with demands that he end family separations at the border, but only by way of creating the equally large problem of large-scale family detentions at the border, and ignoring the more obvious option of abandoning the whole “zero tolerance” posture until such time as the system can be overhauled. The president’s allies will try to sell us on his compassion for kids and his extreme flexibility in modifying his administration’s procedures without, of course, giving up its devotion to The Law. The real question is whether the sights and sounds from the border that turned the cruel Trump-Sessions policy into a political disaster will get that much better now that children are no longer suffering on their own.”

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US politics

Deutsche Welle: US withdraws from UN Human Rights Council. “The Trump administration has yet again pulled the United States out of a major global body — this time the UN Human Rights Council. The move comes a day after the UNHRC criticized Trump’s immigration policies.”

Deutsche Welle: US Attorney General Jeff Sessions claims Nazis did not deport Jews. “The Nazis “were keeping Jews from leaving the country,” Jeff Sessions has claimed. Meanwhile, US President Trump doubled-down on false claims about rising crime in Germany due to immigration.”

“The comments by Sessions came just one day after President Trump wrote on Twitter: “The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”

As many have gone to lengths to point out, crime in Germany is currently at its lowest rate since 1992.

Not one to be deterred in the face of facts, Trump doubled-down on this claim on Tuesday:

While refugee crime has risen slightly with the increase in refugees, nearly all of these crimes are minor, such as not paying for a bus ticket. There is no data suggesting that people not born in Germany are more likely to commit crimes than those that are.

Rebuffing Trump’s assertion, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the official statistics that showed a 10 percent fall in crime across Germany last year “speak for themselves.””

Deutsche Welle: USA treten aus UN-Menschenrechtsrat aus. “Es hatte sich schon länger abgezeichnet – jetzt ist es offiziell: Die USA haben ihre Mitgliedschaft im Menschenrechtsrat der Vereinten Nationen gekündigt. Sie sind unzufrieden mit der Arbeit des Gremiums.”

Deutsche Welle: Migrantenkinder: Druck auf Republikaner wächst. “Der Proteststurm gegen die Trennung von Migrantenfamilien an der Grenze zu Mexiko zeigt Wirkung. Die Republikaner und US-Präsident Trump suchen eine rasche Lösung des Problems. Fortschritte sind bisher nicht in Sicht.”

“Die Republikaner geraten wegen der vielen Bilder von weinenden und verzweifelten Kindern zunehmend unter Druck – was sie sich vor den wichtigen Kongresswahlen im Herbst nicht erlauben können. Sie sind daher um Schadensbegrenzung bemüht. Mehrere Vertreter der Konservativen gingen auf Distanz zu dem Präsidenten. Trump verteidigte gleichwohl seine umstrittene Politik: Sie sei notwendig, um eine “massive Krise” zu meistern. Er sagte, er werde den Kongress zu einer Lösung auffordern, mit der Einwanderer ohne Papiere gemeinsam mit ihren Kindern inhaftiert werden könnten.

[…]

Derweil kritisierten Guatemala und Mexiko die zwangsweisen Trennungen von Familien an der US-Grenze. Das Vorgehen der US-Regierung sei grausam und unmenschlich, sagte Außenminister Luis Videgaray in Mexiko-Stadt. Von den rund 2000 betroffenen Kindern sei nur ein Prozent aus Mexiko. Der Großteil der Kinder stamme aus den mittelamerikanischen Staaten Guatemala, Honduras und El Salvador. Der Minister kündigte für Freitag ein Treffen mit Behörden aus den betroffenen Ländern an.

Die Regierung Guatemala verurteilte ebenfalls das Vorgehen an der US-Grenze. Dieses zerstöre die Einheit der Familie und verletzte die Menschenrechte. Nach Angaben von Außenministerin Sandra Jovel befinden sich 465 Kinder aus Guatemala in Herbergen in Texas und Arizona. Guatemala forderte die USA auf, die Einwanderungspolitik zu überdenken. Nach Schätzungen leben in den USA rund drei Millionen Menschen aus Guatemala – der Großteil von ihnen als illegale Einwanderer.”

“Look what you made me do.”

The New Yorker: The Language of the Trump Administration Is the Language of Domestic Violence. By Jessica Winter, June 11, 2018.

Look what you made me do has emerged as the dominant ethos of the current White House. During the 2016 Presidential race, many observers drew parallels between the language of abusers and that of Trump on the campaign trail. Since his election, members of the Trump Administration have learned that language, too, and nowhere is this more vivid than in the rhetoric they use to discuss the Administration’s policies toward the Central American immigrants crossing the U.S. border. Informally since last summer, and officially since April 6th, the Department of Homeland Security has been separating parents from their children at the border, taking the parents into criminal custody and handing the children over to the Department of Health and Human Services to be placed in shelters and foster families, sometimes thousands of miles away from their parents. The process is compounded in its brutality by its perhaps intentional disorder, as a Boston Globe piece detailed on Sunday: parents in custody often have no idea where their children are, how to get them back, or if or when they will see them again.

[…]

There has always been a sickening intimacy to Trump’s insults and cruelties, whether he was sexualizing his daughter or sexually humiliating and physically dominating Hillary Clinton during the second Presidential debate. For many observers, especially women, that debate—coming days after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape—triggered a fight-or-flight response, unleashing their own memories of harassment and abuse. And, for many observers, especially parents, the news coverage of the atrocities being committed at the border in the name of American prosperity and security triggers a similar physiological response—except that this time the trigger is instantiated by sadistic, totalitarian force. (I cannot be the only mother of small children who slept on the floor of her kids’ room the night that “All In with Chris Hayes” reported on a baby seized from his parents, one week past his first birthday.) A slow, quiet terror continues to spread through the American populace. We are all being made into complicit bystanders in Trump’s violence. We are all members of Trump’s toxic, traumatizing family now.”

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