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Showing posts from 2018

The Roots of Venezuela's Crisis with Greg Wilpert and Steve Ellner

They're sympathetic to Venezuela, so you'll get a different angle here.

Info on these two dudes: Ellner; Wilpert.


Transcript to part 1; transcript to part 2.

DOD Criterion for Success: Spend all Your Money by Year End - Lester Ear...

Medicare for All is a Fight to Democratize the Economy

Japan: Spirit and Form, NHK

A history of Japanese art, if not of the culture itself, by Shūichi Katō, one of the leading Japanese public intellectuals of the twentieth century.

More info if you click on the book here, especially the front cover.

Here's the playlist on YouTube.

Shinto: Nature, Gods, and Man in Japan (1977)

Medicare for All - How Can We Pay for It?

And the study itself.

The Unbearable Frightness of Being Jewish in Alabama, WaPo

Or, as the WaPo put it: "A millionaire paid Jews to move to a small town in Alabama. Now, a couple struggle with their choice."

The horror! The horror!
My wife and and I literally laughed through this silliness
Try to find what makes it hard to be a Jew in Alabama. Note that aside from these snowflakes, the Priddles, no other Jews in the town can recall an antisemitic act. I’m actually surprised they didn’t get more flak, being almost literally carpetbaggers. They were paid by a Jewish millionaire to come down from the North to "build the South?" And they're amazed to discover that there aren't oodles of Jewdles running about hither and tither? The hell did they expect, the Upper West Side?
Here’s what I could find, even though the Priddles (adult converts, which might explain their silliness, ie, identity-mongering) can apparently recount at will all the antisemitism...except to an actual reporter, even a overly sympathetic one:
1. They’re "worn down&quo…

No worries: just attacks on Ebola prevention and treatment centers and workers in the Congo

During an outbreak. No big deal. Continue shopping.

Here's what happened yesterday.

And here's more background, including this wonderful bit that I'm sure will be best combated by the good vibes that come from having a positive attitude:

Congolese health officials and their international partners expect the fight against Ebola to drag on well into next year. The biggest worry is that, unchecked, the epidemic could reach Goma, the regional capital. “If it hits Goma, we’re done for,” said Dr. Jean-Christophe Shako, the director of a local Ebola response team whose tasks require negotiating with the militia so that health workers can enter their territories and have their safety guaranteed. The city sits on a busy border with Rwanda and has an international airport that could disperse the disease globally.
Try having a positive attitude when you're drowning in your own blood. I'd like to see Sean Achor prove his "90% of happiness is inside your head" bullshit whi…

Truthout: US Corporations Are Micromanaging Curricula to Miseducate Students

See, that's the nice thing about centralizing curriculum development via "standards" and online courses. You get those pesky teachers with their individuality out of the way of the March of Sanctioned Truth.

Anyway, corporations are the embodiment of freedom, after all, so there's no problem, right? That's what all the Adults in the Room say, and I want to be allowed to crouch by their side, and maybe get a treat every so often. So that's what I think--please, Sir, may I have another pat on the head? I'll be a good little poodle for you--see how I roll over on command?

I wrote a book for the AP US history test last year for Peterson's. It was, if I do say so myself, great--and they loved all of it but the content chapters, which was a review. They paid me--and then rewrote it. You can judge it for yourself here in reverse order (go to the last one in the list, etc.).

The funny bit is that the test, to its credit, actually assesses historiographical skill…

Lawrence Wittner: Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: A Practical Proposal

A taste:

In late November 2018, Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned public intellectual, remarked that “humanity faces two imminent existential threats: environmental catastrophe and nuclear war.” Curiously, although a widespread environmental movement has developed to save the planet from accelerating climate change, no counterpart has emerged to take on the rising danger of nuclear disaster. Indeed, this danger ― exemplified by the collapse of arms control and disarmament agreements, vast nuclear “modernization” programs by the United States and other nuclear powers, and reckless threats of nuclear war ― has stirred remarkably little public protest and even less public debate during the recent US midterm elections. Suggestions to fix this follow.

NYT: Inside Facebook's Secret Rulebook for Global Political Speech

I have an idea: how about not censoring speech? How about meeting speech you don't like with more speech? How about teaching people intellectual self-defense? How about not draping the worst assholes in the world in the garb of free-speech martyrs, which is what they want?

Nah, let's do this.

Incitement to violence? No good; not protected speech. Just follow the current American legal schema for free speech, which is the best in the world. It's not fucking hard.

Of course, traditional media is thrilled to bash social media, sometimes even correctly. But you can't forget that interest.

Joe Biden: Cut Medicare And Social Security

Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent revisited | The Listening Post

You want to learn how the world really works? Watch/read Lynn Fries on The Real News Network

This "boring" stuff is the purposely arcane system by which we are ruled. It ain't democratic. Like Varoufakis, Fries knows the nitty-gritty, and is honest and incorruptible enough to translate it for us citizens.

Here is a list of all the segments she's produced from Geneva, Switzerland for The Real News Network.

Bill McKibben, How Extreme Weather Is Shrinking the Planet

It ain’t pretty.

Continue shopping.

Here are a few choice tidbits for the busy professional:

Human beings have always experienced wars and truces, crashes and recoveries, famines and terrorism. We’ve endured tyrants and outlasted perverse ideologies. Climate change is different. As a team of scientists recently pointed out in the journal Nature Climate Change, the physical shifts we’re inflicting on the planet will “extend longer than the entire history of human civilization thus far.”


"Climate change,” like “urban sprawl” or “gun violence,” has become such a familiar term that we tend to read past it. But exactly what we’ve been up to should fill us with awe. During the past two hundred years, we have burned immense quantities of coal and gas and oil—in car motors, basement furnaces, power plants, steel mills—and, as we have done so, carbon atoms have combined with oxygen atoms in the air to produce carbon dioxide. This, along with other gases like methane, has trapped heat…

The Global Power Elite: A Transnational Class

ProPublica: How the IRS Was Gutted

You can always get a nonrich American to saw off his own legs. Taxes bad! Government bad! Let private tyrannies run everything! I want Dark-Age Europe back--that's when we were truly free!

The sordid details.

Nelson Goodman Interview (1989) - Induction, Worldmaking, & Symbols

Richard Wolff: We Need a More Humane Economic System—Not One That Only B...

Military-Industrial-Congressional Frauds - Lester Earnest on RAI (2/4)

Yanis Varoufakis | The Euro Has Never Been More Problematic | Oxford Union

Patrick Cockburn: Ignore the howls of protest – Trump's Syria withdrawal is a simple reflection of foreign policy realities

The kind of nuanced approach which, agree or not in whole or part, is oh-so-twentieth-century.


Here's another person with some knowledge and not among those who simply want to cheerlead blindly for one or the other side of the ever-present mutually-exclusive binary, Andrew Bacevich.

The War Game, 1965: A film about nuclear war

Watch it.

Blurb, from the Internet Archive

"The War Game was made for the BBC in 1965, but not broadcast at the time. It is a docudrama based upon a supposed nuclear attack on the south east of England. It was written and produced by Peter Watkins with commentary by Dick Graham and Michael Aspel."

Thing is, because of the state of special effects at the time--and at the time of The Day After--the actual effects of nuclear explosions are hilariously underdone. Today, we could make the film that we need--but no one would throw down the money. Who'd see it? Where would it be shown? It'd be beyond x-rated.

But it should be made and seen. Watching 100,000 people melt in a sea of asphalt might concentrate the mind exceedingly well.

Won't happen.

Meanwhile if Trump pulls out of New START, we'll have, for the first time in a century, no ongoing nuclear treaties with Russia. Great.

Continue shopping.

Facing nuclear reality, 35 years after The Day After, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

An excellent and long piece on the reality few want to face.

I mean, hey, that's not really positive thinking, is it? And what, pray, does it have to do with our CVs, LinkedIn pages, resumes, and the really important issue: gaining as much money, status, and power as possible--and displaying them as ostentatiously as possible to shore up our pathetically weak egos?

Not much. Read it anyway, and pass it around. Trust me, there's never going to be a bad time to talk about this and global warming, and there'll never be a sanctioned time to bring it up.

Noam Chomsky - Political Betrayal, Mobilizing Action

About the organization that sponsored this interview:

"Faith and science are two of the most influential forces in global society. The United Planet Faith & Science Initiative unites prominent religious figures and leading scientists to speak out together and mobilize action for ecological sustainability. The UPFSI is a project that holds low-impact, web-based meetings of eminent scientists and faith leaders from across the globe. Lately our focus has been mostly on the 'science' part since governments too easily brush aside the words of spiritual conscience. Our conversations are edited into short, powerful videos and shared through social media and news outlets to promote public awareness, political will, policy, and action. Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and prominent climatologist Dr. James Hansen are among the founding members of this Initiative. Read more about us here: Contact us here:"

Robert Reich: The US is on the edge of the economic precipice – Trump may push it over

Prepare yourself during the next crash for every motherfucking Establishment pundit (and their wooly-headed auto-nodders, their heavily Ivied willing elocutioners--jokers to the left of them, Trumpers to the right--who have ceded all thought to What The Adults in the Room Tell Me to Think) to say, "Oh, my god--no one could possibly have known that the post-2008 'recovery' was a load of bullshit because I and my ilk are religiously against any quasi-Keynesian counter-cyclical stimulus worth a fuck, and, besides, are entirely arc-welded to our paymasters, so if we actually have a hint of intelligence, it's swamped by the need to maintain our invites to swanky Georgetown parties among the Important People. Sanders delenda est."

You know, a solution like some fool-moron like Stiglitz, to pick one name out of a very large hat, was insisting upon. Plus, like, oh, I don't know--direct relief to homeowners, a federal jobs program to support aggregate demand. Etc.


Cold War Radar System a Trillion Dollar Fraud - Lester Ernest on RAI (1/4)

The only Jewish-Israeli journalist in the Westbank, Amira Hass - Jung & ...

In English.

Rush's Geddy Lee on his obsession with the history of the bass guitar

Varoufakis, Guardian: "Our plan to revive Europe can succeed where Macron and Piketty failed"

As usual, wise words worth attending to.

Read here.

Note how this "radical" idea is simply what used to be the American and European norm. That's how far to the right we've gone. And all the good, adult Democrats will snicker about the stupid morons who want to push this stuff. As the right continues to rise.

The Pro-Palestinian Movement Should Dump Alice Walker Immediately

[21 Dec: Walker’s doubled down: NYT and the post on her blog/site. One line in her blog post I definitely agree with: “The ignorance of many humans, especially in our country, is abysmal.” Correct, and she's a prime example of that.]

They won't. But they should.

By the way, a few months ago, working for #MeTooGaza, I actually talked to Walker on the phone, as she was having trouble uploading a video. She's a nice and funny person, in an interpersonal sense. I didn't know about this lunacy, though.

Here's the poem noted in the link above (original here):

It Is Our (Frightful) Duty To Study The Talmud ©2017 by Alice Walker The first time I was accused Of appearing to be anti-Semitic The shock did not wear off
For days.
The man who charged me
Was a friend.
A Jewish Soul
Who I thought understood
Or could learn to understand
Almost anything. He could not understand
Why I thought Israel should give back
The land it took
From a poorly defended
People in a war that lasted
Six days. I cri…

The United States of North Korea: Making Political Speech (in this case, BDS) a Felony

Somewhat famously, when the usual suspects, led by Alan Dershowitz (that avatar of civil liberties), tried to quash a fucking conference on BDS at Brooklyn College in 2013, Michael Bloomberg reacted properly: 

“If you want to go to a university where the government decides what kind of subjects are fit for discussion, I suggest you apply to a school in North Korea.” (The Chronicle of Higher Education on that story.)

I am not "for BDS," as each and every potential boycott or divestment notion needs to be independently considered. I also have some experience with the leaders of BDS; they're assholes.

I am against an academic boycott, for sure. Boycotts of Israeli products made in the occupied territories? Sounds good to me. Divestment of mutual funds from companies that profit from or are located in the occupied territories? Sounds good to me. And so on. (Sanctions are a state-level tactic; we're nowhere near that yet.)

So I'm neither "for" nor "against&…

A Scene from _Charade Runner: The Campaign Director's Cut_

Washington, D.C.
An intern runs across the conference room as PR HACK watches his progress. JOE BIDEN walks in.
Do you like our intern?
PR HACK Is it unpaid?
BIDEN, right hand in pocket, smiles and saunters over to PR HACK.
BIDEN Of course it is.
PR HACK Must be a relative of a very big donor.
BIDEN Very. I’m Joe.
BIDEN It seems you feel our work might be a benefit to the public.
PR HACK Candidates are like any other product. They’re either a benefit or a hazard. If they’re a benefit, it's my problem.
BIDEN May I ask a personal question?