Odin's Mid-Year Momentum: June Updates and Insights

From techno-feudalism to covid vaccines, it's a real news-letter this time around from Odin's Halvorson Times.

Odin's Mid-Year Momentum: June Updates and Insights

Hello friends!

Today, I've got two articles I'm proud to share with y'all!

This first piece got boosted on Medium and has gotten a lot of positive comments from people over there. I'm pleased to see the reactions, and I'm feeling encouraged to explore and work more on some of these economic topics.

Techno-Feudalism Feasts Upon Us All
What if the Marxists made a mistake? What if the inevitable transition point for Capitalism isn’t socialism but feudalism?

This other piece is on some new research about Covid-19 vaccines, and I'm really excited to share it because it's good news.

Positive Impact of Repeat COVID-19 Vaccinations
A new study shows repeat COVID-19 vaccinations produce broadly neutralizing antibodies, enhancing protection against various variants and related viruses.

Before I move on, I want to highlight that I now have two paid subscriptions at my highest $10/month tier! I'm so very grateful to those of you who donate at any level, as your support literally allows me to continue doing this work by funding my website hosting and the tools I use to do my work.

If you like this newsletter, please consider subscribing to a paid tier. In the future, once I have enough subscribers at paid levels, I may even be able to start working on additional content (I would love to start back up my podcast, for instance, where I interview self-published authors from around the world).

News from the world

The obvious good news is that Donald Trump, ex-President of the United States of America, was convicted on 34 felony counts in a hush money trial in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through a hush money payment to a porn actor. The next few months will be interesting, as Trump remains the presumptive Republican nominee for one of the most powerful political offices in the world, faces the lengthy process of actually sentencing him for this case, and the unknown outcome of the three other criminal cases he's facing.

I think that, for many of us, the conviction of Trump on these charges has been a heartening experience. We know that our justice system is broken, we know that justice for poor folks and minority folks is a laughable concept in the United States... but there is something beautiful about a truly sociopathic tyrant being convicted in a criminal case by ordinary people from New York. It doesn't right all the wrongs, it doesn't change the day-to-day horrors that so many people face, but it does shed some small light of hope.

Something similar happened when the ICC, the International Criminal Court moved to seek two arrest warrants on May 20th, one for the authoritarian Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and one for the Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar. Both Netanyahu and Sinwar are wanted for war crimes against humanity, and the ICC believes that it has significant evidence against all parties in support of that claim.

The United States has, meanwhile, continued to defend Netanyahu - in a trend that's hardly new. After all, the U.S. has defied attempts by the ICC to arrest American presidents for war crimes in the past, and the entrenched political elite is unlikely to support anything that would weaken the position of immunity for those we like, vindictive death for those we don't. Still, the ICC has made a bold step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, complex situations are emerging everywhere around the world. Focused as I am in the United States, I'll call out the continued protests on campuses around the country against Israel's genocidal war. While students and allies are bravely standing up against war profiteering, academic administrators are counseling the use of violence at every turn. Police are once again making headlines for terrible acts of unabashed brutality against U.S. citizens, reinforcing a decades-long argument that the fundamental design of the police force in the United States is broken, and that a new model for community security is required in the days ahead.

Finally, you've seen me writing about the H5N1 "Bird Flu" for a little while now, so you won't be surprised to note that the situation has evolved. Now, H5N1 has proven itself capable of going airborne. Now, the current cases are very, very low, so it's not a problem that's likely to affect most of the world immediately (maybe not at all). However, it does highlight that our society faces an existential risk from disease evolution in the years ahead.

Especially as climate change warms the planet further, there will be further pandemics to look forward to. Given the low morale suffered during and following the primary phase of the Covid-19 pandemic (and the terrible government response to it across the board) I'm more than a little concerned. Maybe it won't be H5N1, but it might be something else. And it doesn't have to be. With the right infrastructure, training, and preparations, we can head most of these diseases off before they become pandemic or endemic.

Despite being an avid masker and supporter of huge reformations to how we deal with public safety and hygiene, I actually want to enjoy life without my mask sometime soon. I don't think I'll ever go back to unthinkingly riding crowded transit every again (for my sake as well as for the sake of others with autoimmune conditions), but I do want to eat at indoor restaurants again. I want to enjoy popcorn at the movies. I want to act in plays on stage and perform at music venues. I want to have fun. It's a lot harder to have fun and experience a safe and maskless lifestyle if we keep having new diseases cropping up.

This, for me, highlights several classes of change we need to fight for:

Of course, the dark news is easy to hyper-fixate on. But doing so disrupts the balance of our lives, disrupts our ability to make real change for the better happen. It's one thing to be aware and disturbed, another to be awake and balanced.

I want to highlight that California (as of May 21st) ran on 100% renewable energy for over 45 days straight. Climate change is the single greatest point of disaster for our species (and all species), and the United States is perversely dominant in our negative climate impact. For that reason, it's wonderful to see shifts like this taking place. That doesn't overrule the complexities, but it does remind us that change for the better can happen.

Another win for climate happened in India, one of the world's worst offenders for pollution in the developing world. Coal mining was under strong consideration within the diverse and environmentally vital Hasdeo Aranya forests, known as the Lungs of Chhattisgarh. Enter "Alok Shukla, founder of the Save Hasdeo Aranya Resistance Committee, which began a decade ago advocating for the protection of Hasdeo through a variety of media and protest campaigns." His work led to "every existing coal mining proposal [being] rejected by the state legislature, and all existing licenses [being] canceled." This is the sort of work I want to see happen in the United States, where continued coal mining not only destroys our precious biodiversity, but harms local communities and ensures that hundreds of thousands of Americans remain destitute and divorced from new jobs and opportunities.

In another slate of good news, the campus protests for divestment from Israelthat I mentioned earlier have been incredibly successful. While some institutions, like Rutgers and Columbia, refuse to divest from Israel, others are lining up behind protesters' ethical arguments at last. What this means is that community action is working; you, personally, can have a positive impact on the world if you align and act with others. Community can be more powerful than corporations and authority.

So, never let it be said that I'm just trying to be a downer, lol.

"Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom — poets, visionaries — realists of a larger reality."
--Ursula K. Le Guin

Well, this newsletter turned into a bit of a literal news-letter. Any topics that you'd like me to cover in the future? Comment or send me in your email comments and I'll take note of them!

Alright, that's all for now, folks!

Go easy! And, if you can't go easy, just go as easy as you can.


Hi there! I’m Odin Halvorson, a librarian, independent scholar, film fanatic, fiction author, and tech enthusiast. If you like my work and want to support me, please consider becoming a paid subscriber to my newsletter for as little as $2.50 a month!

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