Contents

522 Articles
74 Comments

Search

2 weeks Ago

CSPAN interview with Chris Hedges (2013)

Published by marco on

I’ve been watching a lot of Chris Hedges lately. Below is another video, this one from 2013, in which he discusses a wide range of topics from his essays, his many books as well as questions from callers.

Brace Yourself! The American Empire Is Over by Chris Hedges on October 2013 (YouTube)

“I share the right-wing’s critique of Obamacare. It’s a disastrous bill. It was written by corporate lobbyists. 2000 pages of it. It is essentially the equivalent of the bank-bailout bill for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, $400 billion in subsidies. Meanwhile, the White House... [More]”

Mark Blyth on Global Trumpism

Published by marco on

In the article Discussion between Mark Blyth and Wendy Schiller on Nov. 9, 2016 I transcribed quite a bit of Mark Blyth’s discussion of Trump’s recent electoral victory. In the video linked below, Blyth holds forth on similar themes, but 1.5 months before the election. Again, I’ve transcribed what I consider to be very nicely phrased and salient points from the 1.5-hour video below.

Global Trumpism by Mark Blyth on September 29, 2016 (Watson Institute/YouTube)

When discussing how to reason about the world economy, he showed a slide that he’d cadged from an IBM for... [More]

3 weeks Ago

Discussion between Mark Blyth and Wendy Schiller on Nov. 9, 2016

Published by marco on

The following video is well worth investing 90 minutes.

Mark Blyth and Wendy Schiller – Election 2016: What Happened and Why? on November 9th, 2016 (YouTube)

Mark Blyth is absolutely brilliant. Here are some choice quotes that I manually transcribed.

“How is all of this going to play out? Where is it all connected? Well, here’s a simple way of thinking about it. From 1945 to 1975, we targeted a particular economic variable called “full employment”. And there’s a thing called the Lukas Critique, which basically says that if you keep targeting something, people will game it. And they did:... [More]”

A philosophical and political discussion with Cornel West and Chris Hedges

Published by marco on

The following video is well worth investing 90 minutes.

Chris Hedges and Cornel West in Conversation − Wages of Rebellion | The New School on October 14th, 2015 (YouTube)

I can’t even summarize this. Watch all of it. If you don’t understand it, be worried, then rectify the situation. Because they explain exactly what’s going on. With no deviation and no exaggeration. I was surprised to see how reasonable West has gotten. He was on the Obama bandwagon for a few years.

Here are some choice quotes that I manually transcribed.

“It’s not a radical movement’s job to seize power. Its job is to make power fear... [More]”
Chris Hedges

1 month Ago

Propaganda about Obama’s love for Palestinians

Published by marco on

 I figure that’s a better title than “Obama administration takes a significant step toward ending the occupation”.

I heard from a few sources that the U.S. Congress finally voted against funding Israel. That is patently untrue. What actually sparked this rumor is that—for the first time ever—the U.S. allowed a vote in the U.N. Security Council to proceed against Israel. Congress had nothing to do with it. The budget for Israel stands. The U.S. didn’t even vote against Israel. Instead,... [More]

2 months Ago

A tutorial for reaching across the aisle

Published by marco on

In response to a link to the article and video Why Trump supporters stand by debunked claim (CNN) and the ensuing comments, I posted the following discussion.

Initial remarks

The citations below are from the aforementioned comments.

  • “Ill-informed” <> Stupid
  • “Their feeling that they are getting screwed”: It’s not just a feeling, though, is it? Isn’t it more accurate to say that they *have noticed* that things are going from bad to worse. They understandably want to make things better. They grasp at... [More]

President Trump

Published by marco on

I haven’t been asleep. I’ve noticed that Trump was elected president of the United States. I’ve been following the hyperbolic reactions and speculations. Predictions of doomsday have been loosed with abandon.

Most of this coverage comes from the same heedless simpletons who’ve failed miserably as journalists umpteen times. But this time, we should listen to them because what they have to say is important. Any opinion that lines up with their own is valid—regardless from whom it comes (i.e.... [More]

3 months Ago

Syria: Hillary’s lever to topple Russia

Published by marco on

In An Ocean of Misdirection, Vote Hillary or we’re all gonna die!, The left’s answer: blame everything on the Russians and Trigger-happy: Hillary Clinton vs. the World, I tried to organize my thoughts about the upcoming election, with dubious success. In this article, I focus more on the direct danger that a Clinton administration may be for the world, especially with her expressed intent in Syria.

Killing to Cure

 Ted Rall: July 29th, 2016The article The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks... [More] by Diana Johnstone (CounterPunch)

Trigger-happy: Hillary Clinton vs. the World

Published by marco on

In An Ocean of Misdirection, Vote Hillary or we’re all gonna die! and The left’s answer: blame everything on the Russians, I tried to organize my thoughts about the upcoming election, with dubious success. I discussed the intense propaganda effort behind demonizing everything that is not Hillary. In this article, I try to build a more solid case against that tremendous push.

Female Dissent

Taking on Clinton these days is not so easy, especially for those on the left. In the US of A, if you’re... [More]

The left’s answer: blame everything on the Russians

Published by marco on

See An Ocean of Misdirection and Vote Hillary or we’re all gonna die! for the articles and thoughts that led up to this one.

For those of us alive during the cold war, the current atmosphere in the U.S.—and, indeed, most NATO countries, if not all of Europe—is reminiscent of the cold war.

Everything—but everything—is Russia’s fault.

Did something bad happen? They say that Putin did it.

Do you have proof? They ask you, Are you now or have you ever been a communist?

McCarthyism is... [More]

Vote Hillary or we’re all gonna die! (i.e. Jill Stein hates your children.)

Published by marco on

As described in a recent article, Ocean of Misdirection (earthli News), now that the election is only weeks away, Democrats are coming out as increasingly fervent. Everybody’s piling on the hyperbole. Hillary Clinton is not just the choice to make, she is a world-changing, peace-bringing successor to one of the best presidents America has ever had. Democrats will continue to fix America. Long may they reign.[1]

 Ted Rall: August 31st, 2016While I’m almost certain that Republicans are doing the same thing, their news sources are too... [More]

An Ocean of Misdirection

Published by marco on

A sea of propaganda covers the population of the U.S. For the most part, it goes unnoticed. Its greasy, tepid depths cover their heads in lazy, turgid swells. Ancient Greeks had but a river—Americans reside beneath a whole ocean of Lethe’s waters.

Just weeks away from the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the machinery of the ruling class has steadily increased a torrent of endless wealth to churn these depths. The surface heaves as powerful currents of brainwashing media bludgeon an... [More]

8 months Ago

Is America Psychopathic?

Published by marco on

I’ve just about finished reading The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. He’s a humor writer with a penchant for interviewing odd people. In the book, he discovers a checklist for determining whether someone is a psychopath. Throughout the book, he notes which checklist items a particular conversation with an interviewee triggers, even when that person is clearly not a psychopath. He gets kind of carried away with it, which is pretty funny.

It’s kind of easy to start doing it yourself, too.

We’re... [More]

Because she’s a woman

Published by marco on

The article Democrats Will Learn All the Wrong Lessons From Brush With Bernie by Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone) includes this passage, right at the top.

“The arrival of the first female presidential nominee was undoubtedly a huge moment in American history and something even the supporters of Bernie Sanders should recognize as significant and to be celebrated.”

I can’t agree with this facile lip service to political correctness.

How can it be a huge moment when nothing has changed except for the genitalia? The ideas are the... [More]

Hillary is the real Republican candidate

Published by marco on

Politics in America

When a politician sways with whichever wind blows hardest, it’s called triangulation. They try to find the combination of positions most likely to yield enough votes to win election. Those of us who don’t run for office call it being dishonest and unprincipled.

Americans have been told for years that such judgment is idealistic, that in real-world politics, there is no room for a person with principles. We are even happy to see our candidate doing what we interpret as... [More]

9 months Ago

Trump’s reason to run

Published by marco on

I was digging and sorting and deleting old bookmarks the other day and came across this clip from the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner. I don’t want to take anything away from him with the analysis that follows: Seth Meyers really knocks it out of the park for his whole 20 minutes or so. Really good material.

But there’s something I noticed. I’ve cued up the following clip at the point in his presentation where I feel he may have influenced the future of the U.S. of A. without even... [More]

11 months Ago

Trump wouldn’t be the first fool, psycho or moron

Published by marco on

Since Trump won the primaries, the press and representatives on both sides of the aisle in America have stepped up their level of panic to at least DEFCON2. Nearly everyone who’s anyone is pulling on the handbrake as hard as they can to prevent the ever-more imminent disaster of a President Trump. At this point, the entirety of the press has nearly forgotten that Hillary and Sanders are even running in the other party’s primary because Trump is doing such a good job making Trumpzilla/the... [More]

The Winning Ticket in 2016

Published by marco on

The Trumpdozer rolls on, showing the world the real America. The article How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable by Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone) makes the case that Trump is the logical result of the American electoral process, which is not to be confused with the presidency itself, which while often cruel and capricious is not really a joke. People die because of it. As Taibbi says,

“The presidency is serious. The presidential electoral process, however, is a sick joke, in which everyone loses except the people behind the... [More]”

The FBI vs. Apple

Published by marco on

The news is that the FBI has requested that Apple comply with a court order to crack a single iPhone—that belonging to one of the suicide killers at the San Bernardino massacre last year.

A lot has been said about this case that is wrong. I’ve read a few articles and comments from relatively knowledgable sources and what they have to say makes a bit more sense than the typically hyperbolic interpretation in the major media—and, of course, social networking sites.

The Law is Bigger than You... [More]

1 year Ago

Problems with Kunstler’s social politics

Published by marco on

I find James Howard Kunstler to be worth reading more often than not. He writes engagingly and his insight into the devolution of capitalist society can be quite valuable, But he’s been more and more prone to going off the rails when he discusses issues of race. It’s usually not out-and-out racism; there’s a kernel of an idea that’s worth discussing, but usually not the way he’s discussing it. His phrasing betrays a tone-deafness that underlies much of his opinion in these areas.

For example,... [More]

Occupy Wildlife Preserve

Published by marco on

I haven’t read much about Ammon Bundy and his gang’s standoff in Oregon. I’ve read so little about it that I had to look up where it was actually happening (other than knowing it was “somewhere in the U.S.”). So it’s some Arizona ranchers occupying a federal building in Oregon. This is definitely a step up from the domestic terrorism of the Unabomber or Timothy McVeigh because at least fewer people are being killed. Still, armed men have occupied federal property and are demanding the release... [More]

2 years Ago

The West deigns to help Islam modernize

Published by marco on

In defense of Islam (3QuarksDaily) cites a same-named blog post by Ross Douthat (New York Times) in which he uses quite-dense prose to obfuscate the central message: he argues that the fanaticism of ISIS rises directly from Islamic scripture and shouldn’t be treated as necessarily crazy. The first step in ending a needless war is the recognition that the enemy is not crazy, but Douthat’s interpretation is more insidious, I think.

“Western analysts tend to understate not only the essential religiosity of ISIS’s worldview, but the extent to... [More]”

Human Rights Watch is not credible

Published by marco on

HRW is clearly in the pocket of the U.S. government. From a recent tweet, which linked to the article Saudi Arabia: King’s Reform Agenda Unfulfilled (HRW),

“King Abdullah’s reign brought about marginal advances for women but failed to secure the fundamental rights of Saudi citizens to free expression, association, and assembly. […]”

 King Abdullah's Twipitaph from HRW

The verb employed here is not accurate. You cannot fail at something without actually trying it. In the main tweet, they do it again, characterizing a purely... [More]

Using American Sniper as a microscope to examine America

Published by marco on

I have not seen American Sniper for the same reason that I have not seen Act of Valor, Zero Dark Thirty or Lone Survivor. I did watch one season of Homeland and lasted that long only because my watchin’ buddy refused to stop mid-season. This type of entertainment is mostly just the U.S. military advertising itself through Hollywood’s mouth. I’d rather read the news and come to my own conclusions without the hagiographies.

I watched Battleship ‘cause it had aliens and The Hurt Locker ‘cause the... [More]

Some thoughts on reactions to Charlie Hebdo

Published by marco on

After a few days of coverage, the Charlie Hebdo attack had already started to resonate with the same vibrant religious fervor in France as the 9–11 attacks quickly did in America. Through the entire (mainstream and largely fringe) spectrum, though, there was an utter lack of awareness that what happened at those offices was just another normal day in the many places where the West exerts its influence.

Just how sympathetic do the French suppose an average Libyan would be to Parisian wails... [More]

Stop blowing other people up #1342

Published by marco on

A few month ago, a friend sent a link to this article, The Islamic State Panic by Michael Brenner (Huffington Post). I found this response in my inbox.

tl;dr: Michael Brenner makes the point that the West—especially America—simplifies foreign policy to the detriment of all. He argues that they should stop doing this. I heartily concur and feel that they should, in fact, stop blowing things up entirely.

HuffPo? Really? Ok, fine. Ignore stupid chain of articles littering the right-hand side. Avoid long diatribe about our... [More]

Relating to Race with Chris Rock

Published by marco on

I’d heard that the article In Conversation: Chris Rock by Frank Rich (Vulture) including some groundbreaking statements on race by Chris Rock. I like Chris Rock and I like his standup. He’s a comedian, though, so while his niggers vs. black people bit was funny at the time, in retrospect, it’s a savage attack on the poor and uneducated. Still, admittedly funny at the time.

On Bill Maher

Seeing that Frank Rich of the New York Times had interviewed him was not encouraging. So let’s see what Rock has to say. It starts... [More]

Michael Brown and Ferguson

Published by marco on

I haven’t really weighed in on this topic because I’m still digesting it. There are so many interlocking parts and so many reasons for why things are not right that an off-the-cuff article just doesn’t do the topic justice. A lot of what you read gives the impression that the fact that people are rioting in one town in the Midwest is a good excuse for trotting out more unsavory opinions in the guise of chastening those thugs and hoodlums who can’t abide by the rule of law.

If you assumed that... [More]

Workfare instead of welfare

Published by marco on

I received the post Maine Just Changed Their Food-Stamp Policy… Every State Should Do This (Conservative Tribune) from a friend.

The friend wondered whether the following was a good idea. They thought it might be, but asked if I could confirm.

“[…] adults 18 to 50 years old with no children and who are able to work must do so or volunteer for 20 hours each week. Otherwise, their benefits will be limited to three months over a three-year period”

This is one of those superficially seductive ideas that keeps coming... [More]

The Obama Question

Published by marco on

“What do you think of Obama?[1]

He is Barack Hussein Obama,

44th—and first black—President of the United States of America.

Nobel Peace-prize winner.

So-called leader of the free world.[2]

O-bomber.

The Drone Ranger.

Mr. Guántanamo.

Mr. extraordinary rendition.

Mr. N.S.A.

The whistle-blower hunter.[3]

Defender of the 0.1%.

The question above is posed in different ways, in different tones. It depends on the person posing it. If the person hates Obama—for any of a variety of reasons,... [More]