What An AR-15 Does

via Sophia, NOT Loren!

A radiologist describes what she found examining victims Marjory Stoneman Douglas:

In a typical handgun injury that I diagnose almost daily, a bullet leaves a laceration through an organ like the liver. To a radiologist, it appears as a linear, thin, grey bullet track through the organ. There may be bleeding and some bullet fragments.

I was looking at a CT scan of one of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who had been brought to the trauma center during my call shift. The organ looked like an overripe melon smashed by a sledgehammer, with extensive bleeding. How could a gunshot wound have caused this much damage?

The reaction in the emergency room was the same. One of the trauma surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle which delivers a devastatingly lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim. There was nothing left to repair, and utterly, devastatingly, nothing that could be done to fix the problem. The injury was fatal.

[…]

As a doctor, I feel I have a duty to inform the public of what I have learned as I have observed these wounds and cared for these patients. It’s clear to me that AR-15 or other high-velocity weapons, especially when outfitted with a high-capacity magazine, have no place in a civilian’s gun cabinet. I have friends who own AR-15 rifles; they enjoy shooting them at target practice for sport, and fervently defend their right to own them. But I cannot accept that their right to enjoy their hobby supersedes my right to send my own children to school, to a movie theater, or to a concert and to know that they are safe. Can the answer really be to subject our school children to active shooter drills—to learn to hide under desks, turn off the lights, lock the door and be silent—instead of addressing the root cause of the problem and passing legislation to take AR-15-style weapons out of the hands of civilians?

Conservatives are going to try to divert the debate by proposing a whole bunch of counterproductive security theater. Liberals can’t play into that. The focus needs to be on gun control. Inter alia, civilians should not be able to own weapons like the AR-15. The cost-benefit analysis is not close, and such a ban does not raise a serious constitutional question.

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A Magical 1970s French Comic Book Finally Translated Into English

The Green Hand and Other Stories by Nicole Claveloux with Edith Zha (all images courtesy New York Review Books unless otherwise noted)

The title story of Nicole Claveloux’s comic collection, The Green Hand and Other Stories, follows a young woman and her friend — a bird suffering from depression — as they move through a surreal dream-like series of events. Now out from New York Review books, the collection was originally published in French in 1978 and is the first to gather Claveloux’s work in English, thanks to the translations of Donald Nicholson-Smith and new lettering by Dustin Harbin. But Claveloux’s images almost don’t need text; the illustrations communicate the surreal tone and magical realist world of her narratives. The penwork is heavy, with dark, thick lines and striking colors that dramatically shift from panel to panel, conveying the mysterious mood. Shadows loom across high-ceilinged hallways lined with statues of gargoyles and nymphs. The Green Hand’s female protagonist wanders into a building, passes through its walls, and peeks behind doors, each time encountering something more wild and unusual: a regal religious figure on a quest of silence or a young boy eager to undress for her. In her own apartment, the bird lurks, soaked in deep purples, reds, and blues.

The Green Hand and Other Stories by Nicole Claveloux with Edith Zha

While these visuals are what immediately lure us into the story, that’s not to say the words are inconsequential. Edith Zha’s text not only complements but inspired the dissociative quality of the images. “She asked me if I could write a story for her to make a comic out of,” Zha explains in the interview published in the book. According to Claveloux, she leaned on Zha’s sense of structure: “I know how to write dialogues, but I don’t know how to write a story with a beginning, an end, and events between them. So I called on Edith, who is a skilled writer. She told this strange story chapter by chapter, and then I cut it all up into boxes and text bubbles.” These chapter titles are as alluring and mystifying as the pictures, with names like “The White Night” and “Blue Funk.”

Zha’s conversations are as idiosyncratic as the personalities speaking them. “She seems to find me quite attractive,” the plant taunts the bird in the first chapter of The Green Hand. “To me you look inert and potted,” the bird retorts, crying, “You’re insolent and pretentious. And you’re rooted to the spot. As for me, I’m free. Look!” as it dances around the room. When the woman discovers the bird has killed the plant out of jealousy, she runs out, beginning the fever dream journey that propels the story. When finally reunited, the bird and the woman share a text bubble, “It’s you! Yes! Good evening! You came back? Yes! As you see!” There’s a nod to the reader, as the characters throughout the stories call to each other to “see” or plainly state what we can see on the page, but rarely make sense of. What we see is as puzzling as the dream states the characters move through.

The Green Hand and Other Stories by Nicole Claveloux with Edith Zha

The book also includes a number of Claveloux’s shorter stories, including “The Little Vegetable Who Dreamed He Was a Panther,” wherein a rooted vegetable travels across fields and through walls in an attempt to become more like a panther. In “The Ninny and Her Prince Charming,” columns of horizontal panels depict a woman aging as she awaits her prince. Claveloux’s characters all seem to be waiting and searching, hoping to undergo a transition from their current stagnant state into something more. Her illustrations and worlds demonstrate a deep imagination of place, but also of personhood, as she makes space for the diverse imaginations and dreams of her creatures.

The Green Hand and Other Stories by Nicole Claveloux with Edith Zha

In one scene of The Green Hand, the woman and the bird reunite and run out into the blue and yellow horizon: “I was looking for you,” the woman calls. “The water attracts me!” exclaims the bird. Immersed in the water, the woman asks, “Where are we going?” The bird replies, “I don’t know. Just keep walking a long time?” Throughout Claveloux’s comics, the emphasis is on the voyage through the lush visuals and not on the specific plot points. In an aimless dream-like state we wander through her wonderfully twisted worlds, after which who knows what we will become.

The Green Hand and Other Stories written by Nicole Claveloux with Edith Zha, translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith with English lettering by Dustin Harbin, is now out from the New York Review Books.

The post A Magical 1970s French Comic Book Finally Translated Into English appeared first on Hyperallergic.

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Maxine Waters to Speak at 2018 HRC Los Angeles Dinner

Maxine Waters: Profile

WASHINGTONThe Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, announced that Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) will speak, and the Grammy Award-winning rock band Portugal. The Man will perform at the 2018 HRC Los Angeles Dinner.

Set to take place on Saturday, March 10, 2018, at the JW Marriott L.A. LIVE, the event brings together more than 1,000 of HRC’s most active members and supporters in the greater Los Angeles area to raise crucial funds in the fight for LGBTQ equality.

“Maxine Waters is a steadfast defender of equality who is fighting to reclaim the United States from the Trump-Pence agenda of hate, fear, and discrimination,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “For years, Congresswoman Waters has been standing up for the marginalized and oppressed in our society. We are truly honored to welcome her to the 2018 HRC Los Angeles Dinner.”

Congresswoman Waters is considered by many to be one of the most powerful women in American politics today. She has gained a reputation as a fearless and outspoken advocate for women, children, people of color, and the poor. Elected in November 2016 to her fourteenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives with more than 76 percent of the vote in the 43rd Congressional District of California, Congresswoman Waters represents a large part of South Central Los Angeles, including the communities of Westchester, Playa Del Rey, Watts, and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County comprised of Lennox, West Athens, West Carson, Harbor Gateway, and El Camino Village. The 43rd District also includes the diverse cities of Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lomita, and Torrance. Congresswoman Waters serves as Ranking Member of the powerful House Financial Services Committee.

“Portugal. The Man is rocking the resistance and using their platform to help make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ people,” said Griffin. “We’re proud to have Portugal. The Man as part of HRC’s Equality Rocks campaign, helping to spark a conversation about love, fairness, and equality across the country, and we look forward to welcoming them to the 2018 HRC Los Angeles Dinner.”

In 2017, Portugal. The Man joined HRC’s Equality Rocks — a public engagement campaign featuring prominent musicians who support LGBTQ equality. In the video for their Grammy-winning single “Feel It Still – which is featured on their eighth studio album, WOODSTOCK – the Portland rockers send a message of resistance to its fans, giving them tools to fight oppression. The interactive video includes 30 Easter eggs with tips on how to resist during the current political climate of the Trump-Pence administration. HRC was featured in one of the eggs, encouraging followers to “stand up for equality.”

“Feel It Still” dominated the charts and radio airwaves in 2017. The multi-platinum certified hit reigned at #1 at nearly all radio formats, including Top 40, as well as Alternative, where the song held the chart’s top spot for a mind-blowing 20 weeks, breaking the record for most weeks at #1. Billboard Magazine even went as far as to call the song, “the unexpected rock crossover hit of 2017,” while Rolling Stone listed it as “one of the best songs of 2017.”

From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/17630-maxine-waters-to-speak-at-2018-hrc-los-angeles-dinner

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A bizarre end to the trial of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour

By the time a verdict is handed down in her case, Dareen Tatour will have lost over two-and-a-half years of her life to prison and house arrest.

By Yoav Haifawi

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour (left) and her supporters speak to Attorney Gaby Lasky inside the Nazareth court, February 18, 2018. (Yoav Haifawi)

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour (left) and her supporters speak to Attorney Gaby Lasky inside the Nazareth court, February 18, 2018. (Yoav Haifawi)

Like a cartoon character who runs over a cliff but continues to run in the air, or Achilles who thought he could pass the tortoise easily, but each time he got close, the turtle moved a bit further away, so is the trial of Dareen Tatour, a poet who has been detained since October 2015 — defying gravity, looking like it will never end.

After the last witness testified back in April 2017, Judge Adi Bambiliya-Einstein decided that the parties should submit written summaries within three months. In September, Tatour’s defense attorney, Gaby Lasky, asked to present new evidence, and the issue was brought before the judge on November 15. On that occasion, the judge accepted a request by prosecutor Attorney Alina Hardak to supplement the written summaries with oral closing arguments. After several postponements, the court scheduled the hearing for Sunday, February 18.

The prosecution’s extra show

The prosecution submitted 43 pages of written summaries. The defense managed to shorten its arguments and squeeze them into 83 pages. The initial justification had been the new evidence.

And yet there was not much new evidence.

The prosecution convinced the court not to accept as evidence a screenshot from Tatour’s Facebook page showing that she initially published the profile picture with the caption “I am the next martyr” in July 2014, as a response to the murder of the teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir. It was rejected on technical grounds — the absence of a witness corroborating the authenticity of the image.

The second piece of new evidence related to the publication of a video accompanied by the lyrics of Tatour’s poem, “Resist My People.” The defense brought evidence that the same video was later posted by Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev on her own Facebook page. That no legal steps have been taken against Regev, the defense argued, constitutes proof of discriminatory prosecution. The arguments on this matter lasted less than a minute, out of an hour and a quarter of the prosecution’s closing arguments.

Culture Minister Miri Regev speaks with media before the weekly cabinet meeting, Jerusalem, March 16, 2017. (Marc Israel Sellem/Flash90)

Culture Minister Miri Regev speaks with media before the weekly cabinet meeting, Jerusalem, March 16, 2017. (Marc Israel Sellem/Flash90)

On the other hand, the prosecutor took advantage of the closing arguments to repeat that which she had already detailed at length in the written summaries. She tried to present the poem, “Resist My People,” as part of the wave of attacks by Palestinians in October 2015.

The defense insisted that the poem is a legitimate expression of protest, which speaks about the occupation’s violence against innocent Palestinians. The defense based its arguments on specific events that were mentioned in the poem: the children who were burned; Hadeel, who was shot; the settler’s robbery; and the violence of the army’s special undercover units.

The prosecutor focused on what she thought was clear to every “average person”—the Israeli worldview that sees every Arab, and especially whoever opposes the occupation, as a dangerous terrorist. The prosecution, therefore, screened gory videos of Palestinian attacks, under the pretext of checking the skill and objectivity of the defense’s translator. This time, to refresh the judge’s memory, the prosecutor began to read aloud in court a list of attacks by Palestinians that took place in October 2015. Defense Attorney Gaby Lasky objected, which the judge accepted — a rare occasion in this court.

According to the prosecution, the publication of the photo “I am the next Martyr” was part of a systematic pattern of encouraging suicide attacks. The fact that the picture was first published in response to the burning of young Abu Khdeir, of course, should have been conclusive proof that Tatour speaks of the martyr in the sense of a victim rather than an attacker.

However, as previously mentioned, the prosecutor managed to have that new evidence stricken. Now she wanted “to prove” that this image was first published in October 2015. During the trial, the prosecution claimed (and Tatour consistently denied) that this picture first appeared next to the picture of Israa Abed, who was shot at the central bus station in Afula on October 9, 2015, after she was wrongfully suspected of intending to carry out an attack. The prosecution used this false claim as proof that it couldn’t have been published by Tatour earlier. On the basis of this circular argument, the prosecutor even dramatically declared that Tatour was “lying brazenly,” which led to another objection by Lasky.

An important part of the defense summaries focused on the importance of preserving freedom of expression, especially freedom of political and artistic expression. For this purpose, the defense quoted not only many legal precedents, but also international conventions to which Israel is a signatory. Concerning one of the cited documents, a joint declaration of 57 countries issued in September 2015, before the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which relates to the freedom of artistic expression, the prosecutor claimed that it is not legally binding and that, in fact, Israel’s participation in this declaration has no practical value. She even said that this was the position of the State Attorney’s Office Department of International Law. Lasky requested to see this legal opinion.

Was the prosecution authorized to file the indictment?

The indictment accuses Tatour of two crimes: incitement to violence and support for a terrorist organization. These two articles, by nature, restrict freedom of expression, and therefore indictments under these articles require the approval of the attorney general. In practice, the prosecution only submitted to the court approval from the attorney general for prosecuting Tatour for “incitement to violence.”

It is worth noting that the excessive sensitivity to freedom of expression in Israel’s legal system is applied mainly to the freedom of expression of settlers and other anti-Arab extremists. Therefore, in cases of this type, the defense often quotes cases of right-wing activists who were acquitted despite serious violent statements. The judges, for some reason, have no difficulty telling the difference; when the accused is Arab, they use entirely different criteria.

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour (r) and Attorney Gaby Lasky seen in the Nazareth court. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour (r) and Attorney Gaby Lasky seen in the Nazareth court. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Lasky argued in her written summaries that in the absence of the required authorization, the part of the indictment that deals with support for a terrorist organization should be considered null and void. She cited precedents of indictments that were dismissed due to lack of such authorization, and showed that such decisions can be made even in the late stages of a trial.

In response to these claims, the prosecutor drew a rabbit from her hat. She presented to the judge a letter which, she claimed, proved that a deputy state attorney approved indicting Tatour for supporting a terrorist organization. Lasky was furious at how the prosecutor suddenly presented a document that had not been submitted to the defense as part of the investigation materials. The prosecutor explained that this was an internal correspondence with the State Attorney’s Office that was not part of the investigation materials. The judge gave Lasky the letter so she could look at it, but the prosecutor snatched it from her hands, claiming Lasky was not allowed see it.

For a few minutes, a dramatic argument took place between the prosecutor and the defense attorney.

Lasky argued that the accused could not be convicted on the basis of materials she had not been allowed to see. The prosecutor gradually withdrew, saying she was ready for Lasky to see the letter but not photograph it. The judge made it clear that if the letter was indeed attached to the case, it would be scanned and accessible for the defense. The prosecutor sought to consult with those responsible for her, and argued that the entire issue of the necessary approval is an internal procedure that does not oblige her to present approval to the court, and that the court should be satisfied with her declaration that the indictment was submitted with the necessary authority.

Finally, the same letter was presented again to the judge. It was clear that it was not actually an authorization by the attorney general. The judge announced that it would also be given to the defense, which would probably refer to it in her response to the prosecution’s summaries.

Five minutes

The hearing was supposed to last an hour and a half. Starting 15 minutes late, after an hour and a quarter of the prosecutor’s summaries, it was already 10 o’clock. The other litigants scheduled to appear before the same judge were already waiting in the courtroom. The judge told Lasky: “You have five minutes to summarize.” I still don’t know whether she meant this seriously or in jest.

Lasky used the few minutes she had to object to the whole procedure of the supplementary summaries. She reviewed the sequence of events, how it was decided that the summaries would be delivered in writing, followed by the verdict, with no room for further summaries. The nature of the criminal proceeding, she said, citing from legal textbook, is such that the prosecutor summarizes first, then the defendant is given the right to the last word. If there was justification for supplementary summaries because of the additional evidence, that is not what happened. Lasky demanded to cancel the entire procedure.

In the event that this request is rejected, Lasky explained that she cannot respond without preparation and examination of the prosecution’s new claims, which include references to different court rulings and minutes of Knesset deliberations designated to clarify the legislator’s intention. She said she would prefer to submit a written response.

The judge and the audience

This prolonged and absurd trial always leads to new surprises.

At a certain stage, during the stormy debate over the submission of the letter ostensibly proving that the indictment had been approved, journalist Ofra Yeshua-Lyth, who was sitting next to Tatour, remarked out loud: “Write it down, it was not recorded in the protocol.”

The judge stopped the hearing and asked: “Who said that?”

There was silence in the courtroom and then Ofra said “I,” already prepared to be thrown out of the hall for disturbing the hearing.

However, in lieu of the expected scolding, the judge told Ofra that she should not worry and that the trial was conducted with great fairness.

Since discussion between the judge and the public had been legitimized, Ofra added that she had examined the minutes of the trial and that not everything that was said in the courtroom was recorded in them.

The judge patiently explained her policy regarding writing the protocol: only what was of legal value was recorded. When some of the audience repeatedly argued that important things were not recorded, the judge replied that if something important was missing in the protocol, the defense could file an official request for its amendment.

Daren Tatour is seen in her home in the town of Reineh, near Nazareth, August 23, 2017. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Daren Tatour in her home in the town of Reineh, near Nazareth, August 23, 2017. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Toward the end of the hearing, another activist, Bilha Golan, remarked: “this is a political trial.” In response the judge resumed the rare dialogue with the public. It was, in essence, a lecture by the judge — not to be mentioned in the protocol, of course — designed to prove that this was a fair process whose sole purpose was to enable her to judge objectively, according to the facts presented to her.

“Everyone is here to examine the truth,” the judge claimed. She explained patiently – again – and at one point even said she was talking to us as she sometimes spoke to her children. At one stage, she even claimed that we, Tatour’s supporters, were hurting her. According to her, we, by our one-sided approach, made Tatour feel that the process was unfair and that she had been wronged!

Activist Hana Safran took the opportunity to remind the judge that while the trial was being held, Tatour’s life had been put on hold for more than two years. Even if she is eventually acquitted, she has suffered greatly – and no one can undo that suffering. The judge replied that the matter of house arrest was not her responsibility, but was rather determined in another proceeding by different judges. Perhaps this judge is unaware that the judge responsible for Tatour’s detention rejected the latest request to revoke her house arrest — without even scheduling a hearing.

What next?

As expected, the judge rejected the defense’s objection to the proceedings.

She told Lasky to choose between summarizing on the spot, and promised that she would stay until the middle of the night to hear her arguments, and presenting written summaries. In the end, she gave Lasky seven days to submit a written response.

Only after receiving these summaries will the judge set a date for announcing the verdict. Until it is given, Dareen Tatour will have lost more than two-and-a-half years of her life to prison and house arrest.

Yoav Haifawi is covering this trial and more on his blog, Free Haifa. A version of this article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

Hundreds of asylum seekers march to desert prison to protest deportations

Hundreds held in Israel’s desert detention facility march to nearby Saharonim Prison after seven asylum seekers were transferred and imprisoned there indefinitely — for refusing to leave the country. 

By Oren Ziv / Activestills.org

Asylum seekers protest outside Holot against Israel's deportation plan. February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Asylum seekers protest outside Holot against Israel’s deportation plan. February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Hundreds of asylum seekers detained in Holot, Israel’s desert detention facility for African asylum seekers, marched to nearby Saharonim Prison on Thursday after seven asylum seekers were imprisoned there for refusing to be sent an unnamed country in Africa, widely presumed to be Rwanda, as part of a “voluntary” deportation program. The demonstrators chanted “We are refugees not criminals,” “We are human beings,” “Bring back our brothers,” “Stop the deportations,” and “We are not for sale.”

Israel is giving Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers an impossible choice: leave for a third country where they are not guaranteed any legal status, or be imprisoned in Israel — indefinitely.

Asylum seekers protesting the indefinite detention of seven asylum seekers who refused to leave Israel for a third country. February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Asylum seekers protesting the indefinite detention of seven asylum seekers who refused to leave Israel for a third country. February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

 

The letter asylum seekers attempted to give to the prison authorities during the protest march on Thursday, February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The letter asylum seekers attempted to give to the prison authorities during the protest march on Thursday, February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The march comes a day after 700 asylum seekers detained in Holot began a hunger strike to protest the transfer of the seven asylum seekers, who were moved to Saharonim without being allowed to pack their belongings. Two of them are survivors of torture camps in the Sinai Desert, according to the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants. Israeli authorities had previously stated that victims of torture would be exempt from the deportation program.

In the coming weeks, many more of the asylum seekers detained in Holot will be transferred to the Saharonim Prison and imprisoned indefinitely, or until they agree to leave the country.

Asylum seekers protesting the indefinite detention of seven asylum seekers who refused to leave Israel for a third country. February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Asylum seekers protesting the indefinite detention of seven asylum seekers who refused to leave Israel for a third country. February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

 

Asylum seekers protesting the indefinite detention of seven asylum seekers who refused to leave Israel for a third country. February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Asylum seekers protesting the indefinite detention of seven asylum seekers who refused to leave Israel for a third country. February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Asylum seekers protesting outside of the Saharonim Prison, joined by dozens of Israeli activists, attempted to submit a letter to the prison authorities, demanding the authorities release the imprisoned asylum seekers. The prison personnel, however, refused to accept the letter.

Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers protest Israel's deportation plan, following the indefinite detention of seven asylum seekers who refused to leave Israel for a third country in Africa. February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers protest Israel’s deportation plan, following the indefinite detention of seven asylum seekers who refused to leave Israel for a third country in Africa. February 22, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Far left on the front lines: The Westerners joining the Kurds’ fight in Syria (Part 1 of 2)

War gets messier as world sits by to new Turkish version of genocide

occidentaux_kurdes_afrin_syrie_turkey_0.

Fighters from France, Britain, Greece and beyond have joined Kurds in their battle against Turkish troops in Syria’s Afrin. Often identifying with the far left, these volunteers have set off to fight, and even die, for a “Kurdish revolution”.