Tag: austin
Far-Right Eugenics Advocates Warn Of 'Population Collapse'

Far-Right Eugenics Advocates Warn Of 'Population Collapse'

A conference warning that "by the end of the century, nearly every country on earth will have a shrinking population, and economic systems dependent on reliable growth will collapse" is set to be held at an Austin, Texas hotel in December and led by far-right eugenicists, The Guardian reports.

The Guardiannotes:

Broadly, eugenics is a group of beliefs and practices aimed at improving the genetic quality of a human population. It became the basis of a popular movement from the late 19th century, and led to governments around the world adopting policies such as forced sterilization of disabled and mentally ill people. The field was discredited after the second world war due to its association with racial policies in Nazi Germany, and many critics have attacked it as a pseudoscience.

According to the report, Natal conference organizer Kevin Dolan "has a long history as an activist and influencer on the far right," although the conference's website claims the event "has no political or ideological goal other than a world in which our children can have grandchildren."

During a June interview with "the Jolly Heretic podcast, hosted by Edward Dutton, an Englishman who left an academic position in Finland after his university found that a work he co-authored with the self-described 'scientific racist," Dolan suggested "that the pro-natalist and the eugenic positions are very much not in opposition, they're very much aligned."

Additionally, the report notes when asked "why outsiders should be interested in Mormonism, Dolan said, "I think we actually are going to win. I think we're going to inherit the earth."

The Guardian reports the longtime right-wing influencer "pseudonymously promoted conservative Mormon and alt-right talking points" online until "his identity was revealed by antifascist activists and subsequently corroborated by Guardian reporting" in 2021.

Furthermore, he has promoted the conference, which will be held at The Line Hotel, "on the far-right podcast circuit, and has explicitly linked the conference's 'pro-natalist' orientation to eugenics," The Guardian notes.

Some event speakers include "Malcolm and Simone Collins, who have attracted significant coverage on both sides of the Atlantic for their warnings about slowing birthrates in advanced economies and how this will lead to 'catastrophic population collapse,'" as well as "Charles Haywood, the former shampoo magnate who the Guardian revealed as the founder and sponsor of a far-right network of fraternal lodges, the Society for American Civic Renewal, and who has speculated about his own future as a 'warlord' in 'more-or-less open warfare with the federal government' in a post-collapse America."

Global Project on Hate and Extremism co-founder Heidi Beirich told the news outlet, "It's not surprising to see far-right folks, eugenicist types and white nationalists joining forces at a conference like this. They have become bedfellows. The far right has long fretted about a demographic winter, and though they don't necessarily say it openly, what they are referring to most often is a fall in white birthrates."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Big Food And Hotel Giants Trying To Peddle Plastic ‘Authenticity’

Big Food And Hotel Giants Trying To Peddle Plastic ‘Authenticity’

Near my home in Austin, Texas, there is a great, old refurbished motel that I recommend to people when they come to visit our fair city. It not only is right on the famed Congress Avenue but also has a keep-it-real attitude that is expressed right on its iconic marquee: “No additives, no preservatives, corporate-free since 1938.”

The good news is that more and more businesses across the country are adopting this attitude, providing a buy-local, un-corporate, anti-chain alternative for customers. Food shoppers and restaurant goers, for example, have made a huge shift in recent years away from the likes of McDonald’s, Pepsi, and Taco Bell, preferring upstart, independent outfits with names like “The Corner,” “Caleb’s Kola,” and “US Taco Co.”

But uh-oh, guess who owns those little local alternatives? Right — McDonald’s, PepsiCo, and Taco Bell. Leave it to ethically challenged, profiteering monopolists to grab such value-laden terms as “genuine,” “local,” and “honest,” empty them of any authenticity, then hurl them back at consumers as shamefully deceptive marketing scams.

In Huntington Beach, California, US Taco Co. poses as a hip surfer haunt, with a colorful “Day of the Dead” Mexican skull as its logo. The airy place peddles lobster tacos and other fare at $3 or $4 each — very un-fast-foody. Nowhere is it whispered that this is a big-chain outlet, created by a group of Taco Bell insiders. They even usurped the enterprising word “entrepreneur,” stripped it of its outsider connotation, and twisted it into an ugly corporate vanity, calling themselves “intrapreneurs.”

Fast-food restaurants are not the only ones that play this profitable imitation game. As everyone who travels a lot soon learns, when you stay in the hotels of the big chains, it’s easy to forget where you are, since they are all so alike, offering all the charm of Noplace, USA.

This disorienting sameness has become even more dizzying in recent years as the chains have merged and conglomerated. Weary travelers might choose to stay overnight in one of the Residence Inn hotels, a Courtyard, the TownePlace Suites, or even splurge for a night in a ritzy Ritz-Carlton. In fact, though, whichever one you choose, you’re in a Marriott — the $14 billion-a-year combine that owns all of the above chains, along with 15 others. Marriott is among the world’s 10 largest hoteliers that have a combined 113 different chains in their crowded stable of brand names.

Naturally, as uniformity and conglomeration have taken over the industry, a consumer rebellion has erupted, with more and more travelers — especially younger ones — seeking out independent hotels, unique inns and local B&Bs. They prefer the un-corporate places that have cool names like the Moxy, Canopy, and Vib. But oh, crud, guess what. All three of those are chains of “hip” hotels that opened in the past year and are owned respectively by Marriott, Hilton, and Best Western.

Known in the industry as “lifestyle hotels,” these fake-independent lodgings are the hot new niche for mega-conglomerates trying to nab travelers in search of authenticity. “The big hotel chains are in the business of pretending they aren’t big chains,” says Pauline Frommer, editor of the well-regarded Frommer’s travel guides. “They want you to think they are boutiques.”

Sneaky, sneaky! But the real problem with these fabricators of corporatized authenticity is that reality will win out in the end. Small and local has a genuine feel and flavor that the imitators can’t sustain as they sprawl out into 1,000 and then 10,000 stores. And as they do that, it becomes obvious to customers that they’ve been duped — and that’s not a good marketing strategy. We dupes will not only quickly see that we’re being sold plastic “authenticity” but also be ticked off about it.

To find out more about Jim Hightower and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. 

Photo: Matt Weibo via Flickr

Central Texas Inundated By 10 Inches Of Rain; 1 Dead In Flood

Central Texas Inundated By 10 Inches Of Rain; 1 Dead In Flood

Austin American-Statesman (TNS)

AUSTIN, Texas –– An unidentified man died Sunday in central Texas flooding after torrential rain swelled the normally scenic Blanco River into a destructive wall of water.

Ken Bell, the emergency management coordinator for San Marcos, said the man was found in San Marcos on Sunday afternoon, Bell said.

Separately, Hays County officials are searching for three missing Wimberley residents.

At least 1,000 people remained in Hays County shelters Sunday morning after losing their homes or being stranded in a part of the Hill Country dotted with low-water crossings. As a result, Hays County officials ordered a nighttime curfew beginning at 9 p.m. for San Marcos, Wimberley and some unincorporated areas.

At least 400 homes in San Marcos and Wimberley were destroyed, and many more are damaged, officials said as rooftop rescues continued into the late morning.

“We were going to retire here,” Wimberley resident Bob Harla said Sunday as clean-up workers pumped brown water out of the house he recently bought on the banks of the Blanco River. “I don’t know what we’re going to do now.”

The Blanco River runs through both Wimberley and San Marcos, and it was swollen by nearly 10 inches of rain that fell Saturday night over neighboring Blanco County. Upstream in the town of Blanco, the river ran roughshod over its banks through Blanco State Park and reached the U.S. Route 281 bridge.

In Wimberley, the river crested at 40 feet — 27 feet above flood stage.

When the river reached San Marcos further downstream, it swept into houses and up over Interstate 35, closing the highway for several hours Sunday morning.

Residents in northeastern San Marcos reported waking between 4 and 5 a.m. to the terrifying sounds of fast-rising rushing water in their homes. They scrambled in the dark for higher ground.

Among the piled up vehicles was a white Chevy Silverado, bought brand-new this past March by Mark Blackburn. Blackburn, who lives off Bogie Drive, also lost his 65-inch TV and laptops — “all my belongings were under 7 feet of water,” he said. He and his Australian Shepherd mix, Kirk, had made their way in the dark, against rushing water, to a neighbor that has a two-story house.

“I grabbed the dog, the phone, and a wallet,” he said. He seemed resigned to the catastrophe: “It’s OK, as long as everybody’s safe.”
Residents who say they have lived in the area for decades said they have not seen this kind of flooding.

Wimberley residents Dody Spencer, 91, and Char Moreland, 79, spent Sunday at the Cypress Creek Church, which sheltered about a dozen families, after being rescued the night before from their homes in Wimberley.

Spencer said the water filled the first floor of her house, and a rescuer pulled her out of a second-floor window and onto a boat. She said she would be surprised if the flood hadn’t destroyed or thoroughly damaged her house.

“I’ve been through a lot of floods but not like this one,” Spencer said. “I was up in the loft, and the water was up to my knees.”
Moreland also was rescued from her house.

“The phones weren’t working. The water was about chin-level. Furniture was moving around the room,” she said. “I have three dogs who were safe on a king-sized bed, floating. Meanwhile, I’m drowning.”

Then she heard a voice calling for her.

“I told them, ‘I’m not going without my dogs,’ ” Moreland said as the dogs sat by her feet in the church.

The storms that brought the heavy rainfall also delivered strong winds, with one gust measuring 75 mph at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Winds knocked down power lines, trees and damaged several buildings, including a Northeast Austin apartment complex.

(Reporting by Asher Price, Sean Collins Walsh, Marty Toohey, Patrick Beach, Andra Lim, Melissa Taboada and Mary Ann Roser.)

(c)2015 Austin American-Statesman, Texas. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: A large tree rests on the Hwy 12 bridge over the Blanco River in Wimberley, Texas, after the flood on Sunday, May 24, 2015. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman/TNS)

Jimi Hendrix Biopic Premieres At SXSW

Jimi Hendrix Biopic Premieres At SXSW

By Dan DeLuca, The Philadelphia Inquirer

AUSTIN, Texas — The most anticipated music movie of SXSW Film has got to be “Jimi: All Is By My Side,” the unconventional Jimi Hendrix bio starring Andre Benjamin that was written and directed by “12 Years a Slave” Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley.

The movie, which had its American premiere in Austin on Wednesday, avoids the cliches of the music biopic genre. Rather than the conventional arc of the rise and subsequent substance abuse assisted death of a doomed genius, “Jimi,” which is Ridley’s directorial debut, focuses on the year that Hendrix spent in England before taking America by storm at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.

Nearly as important to the story as Hendrix himself is Linda Keith, the Vogue model who was Keith Richards’ girlfriend before she met Hendrix. Played by Imogen Poots, she has a key role in urging the outrageously talented but unfocused guitarist to get his act together. It’s a quiet, captivating, sharply edited movie, full of intuitive performances.

On Sunday, a week after he won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for his script about the life of Solomon Northup, Ridley was in Austin to talk up Jimi while doing prep work for “American Crime,” the pilot for a potential ABC series with an ensemble cast featuring Tim Hutton and Felicity Huffman. The show began shooting in Austin this week.

Ridley’s inspiration for telling the story came from stumbling upon a Hendrix rarity on YouTube called “Send My Love To Linda,” which the guitarist wrote for Keith. “It was one of the most powerful and emotive pieces I’d ever heard in my life,” he says. “‘Why is he writing this song?’ I wondered. Who is Linda?”

Of Benjamin, who’s startling good as Hendrix, Ridley says, “I just cannot imagine anyone else in this role.”

Being an Oscar winner hasn’t sunk in yet, Ridley says. “To have Robert De Niro hand you that award, to have Meryl Streep tap you on the arm, to be backstage and meet Daniel Day Lewis and Cate Blanchett, and to be only the seond person of color to win that award. There’s a lot of weight that goes with that.”

And what about the supposed feud between Ridley and “12 Years” director Steve McQueen, who did not thank each other at the Oscars? Ridley says it doesn’t exist.

“Twenty four hours earlier at the Spirit Awards, I went on and on about Steve. Steve has always been gracious to me. We were there together — we’ve been to a million events. In this moment when you’re rushing on stage, they tell you have 30 seconds … Steve helped make me who I am. I got no problem with him.”

vagabondMusicCo via Flickr