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1 month Ago

Realistic Expectations for the 2020s in the U.S.

Published by marco on

The article If Biden Wins by Ted Rall is a succinct list of what to expect from a Biden presidency. I’ve cited most of it and added some extra notes of my own.

  • Supreme Court: “[…] he’ll pick a conservative corporatist […] to placate the Republicans in the Senate.”
  • Immigration: “Kids will remain in cages at the border […because] he won’t want to appear weak on immigration.”
  • Medicare for all: “No change on healthcare.”
  • Debt relief: “No student loan forgiveness.”
  • Environment: “No Green New Deal.”
  • Foreign... [More]

3 months Ago

Combat Hegemony Holistically (The Blood is still Flowing)

Published by marco on

The following interview is excellent. I like the discussion between Taibbi and Halper at the beginning (I find them to be entertaining, insightful, and informative, but YMMV), but if you want to skip it, the interview starts at about 31 minutes or so. Or you can watch just the interview as a separate video.

Dr. Cornel West on Protests, Bernie's Campaign, His New Podcast, and Much More | Useful Idiots (YouTube)

Dr. Cornel West is absolutely on fire in this interview. Here he is offering a nuanced and absolutely correct take on voting for the lesser evil. Emphasis is mine.

Cornel West: I was not... [More]”

4 months Ago

Fixing the Police Problem (AKA defining “defund”)

Published by marco on

A Messaging Failure

The phrase “defund the police” is spectacularly terrible optics and messaging. It’s muddled, can be interpreted six ways from Sunday, and can be easily weaponized by an almost overwhelmingly powerful opposition that is utterly uninterested in a generous, or even honest, interpretation.

The phrase “Living Wage” also seems quite innocuous and obvious, but has suffered from decades of picking nits. What does a person really need? What’s the bare minimum someone needs to live?... [More]

American Reactions to Revolution 2020

Published by marco on

A good part of America is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore and a good part of America couldn’t care less.

That’s not accurate; let me rephrase. The other part of America is mad at hell at the part of America that thinks that America isn’t perfect like it is.

They think protesters are, at best, annoying snowflake leeches and, at worst, criminals who should be executed on the spot in the streets for stealing.

Then vs. Now

It’s amazing to think what the echo chamber of the Internet... [More]

John Oliver on Police (w/coda by Kimberly Jones)

Published by marco on

John Oliver has put together 33:32 that are 100% worth watching. The video is linked below and it is titled, simply, “Police”.

Police: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) (YouTube)

He mixes some humor—mostly dark, with very little of his usual wackiness or memes—with an exceedingly well-researched and -written video essay on racism and policing in the U.S.

He starts with a quick run-down of the peaceful protests and the violent reaction of the state against it. He plays, in full, a 30-second message delivered by a pissed-off citizen to LA... [More]

George Floyd: The Class War’s Latest Victim

Published by marco on

A man named George Floyd was murdered by four police officers in Minneapolis last week. One kneeled on his neck for over eight minutes, while two others kneeled on his torso and one stood by and watched. They seemed more-or-less unperturbed that they were being filmed by witnesses. The video picked up George’s pathetic pleas to let him up.

The police had been called by a shopkeeper who suspected Floyd of having passed a counterfeit $20 bill. Floyd was in his car nearby when the officers... [More]

Deeply ingrained American exceptionalism

Published by marco on

Introspection is not easy. To really examine one’s own drives and implicit assumptions takes patience and, above all, humility. The first time you dive down, you may not like what you see. Who you think you are may be only a surface representation—something you’ve plastered over a bundle of atavistic core principles that you’ve never bothered to evaluate, question, or correct.

So it is with American hegemony, which has never not thought itself noble. People of all nations have a jingoistic... [More]

5 months Ago

Revolution for President 2020 (Rant)

Published by marco on

“If voting could bring change, they wouldn’t let us vote”
Mark Twain

In an interview of Noam Chomsky by Mehdi Hasan, Noam pleads his case for “holding your nose” and voting for Biden.

Mehdi Hasan and Noam Chomsky on Biden vs. Trump by The intercept (YouTube)

Noam’s done this for decades. We could be generous and perhaps appreciate his optimism about presidential elections—he never gives up and tells us that there’s no-one worth voting for. Instead, Noam always sees a lesser evil and votes for it—and tells everyone else to vote for it, as well.

Noam goes for the jugular

... [More]

I’ve been talking to idiots, part II

Published by marco on

Ignoring so-called other experts

One friend sent me this article 8 MORE Experts Questioning the Coronavirus Panic (Off-Guardian), which includes varied citations from varied experts. The site is for people who’ve been kicked off of the comments section of the Guardian (hence “Off-Guardian”). The formatting and flow are terrible, but some of the information is OK (e.g. “He suggested that the real figure for the number of cases could be 10 to 20 times higher than the official figure. If he’s right, the headline... [More]”

I’ve been talking to idiots, part I

Published by marco on

 Wondermark: Gaping at the VapidSo here we are, six weeks in to a lockdown of society and slowdown of the economy, due to a particularly nasty virus. We knew it was coming, just like Japan and California know that an earthquake is in the offing. Unlike for earthquakes, we didn’t really prepare too well for pandemics. How could you? Until one happens, you just look like Cassandra. Why waste all of that money and restrict all of those freedoms for something that might happen? We don’t know when, we don’t know how severe, so... [More]

6 months Ago

Bernie should run as an independent

Published by marco on

I titled and started writing this article on March 6th.

A lot has changed since then.

Bernie’s lead evaporates

I wrote the following at the end of March.

Bernie is now almost mathematically unable to win the Democratic nomination.

Then this article got away from me again.

A lot has changed since then.

The Democrats were always going to nominate Biden.

The country needs Bernie right now.

In light of the massive changing of the facts on the ground engendered by COVID-19, Bernie should... [More]

Blaming the Greens Nine Months in Advance

Published by marco on

The article An Open Letter to the Green Party About 2020 Election Strategy by Noam Chomsky, Bill Fletcher, Barbara Ehrenreich, Kathy Kelly, Ron Daniels, Leslie Cagan, Norman Solomon, Cynthia Peters, and Michael Albert (LA Progressive) gets to its point relatively quickly.

“If Clinton got Jill Stein’s Green votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, Clinton would have won the election. Thus, the Green Party’s decision to run in those states, saying even that there was little or no difference between Trump and Clinton, seems to us to be a factor worthy of being removed from contested state dynamics, just like the Electoral College is a factor... [More]”

NY Times discovers inequality

Published by marco on

A few days ago, I read the article America Will Struggle After Coronavirus. These Charts Show Why. by David Leonhardt and Yaryna Serkez (NY Times), which has very nice charts showing a gaping inequality chasm in the United States. It’s really nicely done and drives the point home in a way not often discussed so openly in the mainstream media.

 420% income increase for the 0.1%I was honestly wondering what to make of it, simply because I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and for the NY Times to blame Trump and/or Russia for the whole debacle, even though their charts... [More]

Dear Americans

Published by marco on

An American, originally from New York City and now living in Vermont, mused in the blog post Why Has Germany Been Effective at Limiting Covid-19 Deaths? by Jason Kottke,

“I can’t be the only American whose response to the pandemic is to think seriously about moving to a country with a functioning government, good healthcare for everyone, and a real social safety net.”

No, thank you.

The world neither wants nor needs American refugees.[1]

They would almost certainly be the most entitled refugees the world has... [More]

Sanders is too good for this worldcountry

Published by marco on

I found this truly excellent comment by Remember-The-Future (Reddit) on /r/bestof—and it truly is one of the best things I’ve read on Reddit.

The entire comment is well-worth reading, but I’ve liberally selected the bits I liked the most.

A democracy cannot function without actual citizens.

“I think most people would be very unhappy if Sanders supporters put the blame where it truly belonged. Because the real problem with America is, and always has been, the quality of its people.

“[…] the truth is that there is no... [More]”

“Flattening the curve” is only for rich countries

Published by marco on

The article Why the Developing World Cannot Flatten the Curve with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Beyond by J.P. Linstroth (CounterPunch) addresses the global inequality—not just that between classes/strata in first-world societies—that will doom many to the worst effects of COVID.

“when we speak of epidemics, and even pandemics like the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we must understand that medical care is unequal in our world today. We must understand that “power structures” control who gets medical care and who does not. We must... [More]”

Quick Link: On the Peace Accord in Afghanistan

Published by marco on

The excellent article The Art of the Phony Peace Deal by Nicky Reid (CounterPunch) expresses strong suspicions that the co-called peace deal with Afghanistan that should see the removal of US troops is instead chock-full of the standard caveats and conditions that US loads upon its vassal states. The only real fix for America’s hyper-militarism begins at home, with its people no longer supporting it.

“Look, dearest motherfuckers, I don’t like to be the killjoy here, I really don’t. But when you cut deals with an empire... [More]”

The Long Weekend (An Optimistic Take)

Published by marco on

Much of the world is in an unprecedented lockdown that has completely changed the face of the global economy. The gossamer castle of globalization has been put on ice—perhaps temporarily, but hopefully for good. We can at least hope that the extremely unequal and cruel form that it had doesn’t return.

An unprepared populace

This is a particularly trying crisis for a world full of people who don’t even understand the minimal basics of how their world even works. The world works smoothly... [More]

7 months Ago

A lucid summary of the 2016 and upcoming 2020 U.S. Presidential elections

Published by marco on

The essay Hillary, Donald & Bernie: Three Who Would Make a Catastrophe by Nicky Reid (CounterPunch) is an extremely lucid and accurate summary of the 2016 and upcoming 2020 U.S. Presidential elections. Reid is an excellent and entertaining writer.[1]

The overall thrust is to present what she terms “conspiracy-theory-like” histories of the 2016 election, extrapolating to the 2020 election, which stars many of the same characters (e.g. Bernie and Trump). She starts with a warning that history isn’t fact and that entertaining... [More]

8 months Ago

The Politics of Nativism on This is Hell!

Published by marco on

The 1-hour podcast episode The politics of nativism by Daniel Denvir (This is Hell!) is well-worth a listen[1]. Both Chuck Mertz (the host) and Daniel express themselves well. Here’s one thought from Daniel about the pervasiveness of both overt and implicit racism, from about 50 minutes into the podcast:

“I think it’s a typical failing of liberal analyses to define racism as bad thoughts in people’s heads. This is why liberal elites in wealthy suburbs whose entire lives are organized around providing segregated, wealthy, white... [More]”

10 months Ago

Solipsist Invaders

Published by marco on

The article Risking Lives in Endless Wars is Morally Wrong and a Strategic Failure by Jesse Jackson (CounterPunch) makes good points that are summarized in the title.

It also cites very specific numbers for war dead on the U.S. side in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001.

“VA data reveals that almost two Afghan and Iraq veterans die by suicide each day on average. That adds to an estimated 7,300 veterans who have killed themselves since just 2009, after coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq, a number greater than the 7,012... [More]”

News: You Get What You Pay For

Published by marco on

The article Thousands flock to Wikipedia founder’s ‘Facebook rival’ (BBC) briefly outlines Jimmy Wales’s new social network for sharing news, which “[…] will empower you to make your own choices about what content you are served, and to directly edit misleading headlines, or flag problem posts.” The article doesn’t contain nearly enough information to determine whether it has a hope of succeeding—or how it differs from RSS newsfeeds—though it mentions that it’s a subscription model.

At the end,... [More]

11 months Ago

England is killing Julian Assange for America

Published by marco on

They are killing him on purpose. They are killing him either actively or through neglect. They are not concerned that he be able to stand trial in compos mentis. They are not concerned that whatever the hell they are doing to him in prison is destroying his mind and body even faster than having been locked in the Ecuadoran embassy for over 7 years did.

From Assange in Court: What I Saw by Craig Murray (Antiwar.com):

“Everybody in that court yesterday saw that one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of... [More]”

1 year Ago

What Makes a Good Lawyer?

Published by marco on

From the article The Defense Crack by Scott H. Greenfield (Simple Justice)

“We defend anyone accused of a crime. We do not refuse representation because the defendant is too wealthy, his crime too awful, his skin color too pale or his genitals too stiff. We couldn’t care less that the woke have deemed him too guilty to be worthy. We do not judge. That’s for the jury to do. We defend.

“The notion that criminal defense lawyers should become the advanced guard of morality and justice is one that appeals to those for whom such vagaries... [More]”

2 years Ago

In Which The Press Commits Suicide by Persecuting Julian Assange

Published by marco on

Julian Assange has had his Ecuadoran citizenship revoked and has been forcibly removed from the Ecuadoran embassy where he’d been imprisoned for the last seven years. Had he set foot outside, the British authorities would have swept him up and packed him off to America. It took years of pressure and a regime change in Ecuador, but they finally got permission to go in and get him.

Making You Complicit

Why did they bother to get permission? Why didn’t they just go in and get him whenever they... [More]

Shooting McCoy

Published by marco on

The article Saving Willie McCoy by Scott H. Greenfield (Simple Justice) includes a link to a body-cam video of the shooting of Willie McCoy. McCoy was found asleep in the driver’s seat of his car in the drive-thru lane of a Taco Bell. The police could clearly see a gun in his lap.

Willie McCoy OIS 020919 body camera video 2 by Mercury News (YouTube)

The first three minutes are largely uneventful. The officer notes that the magazine is not in the pistol, so the driver has at most one shot.

When he moves, McCoy’s first scratches his left arm with his right hand, as he seems to be waking up. The... [More]

When’s the Revolution?

Published by marco on

Each new indignity reported from the States leads to this question. When are U.S. Americans going to shake off their parasitic elite? When will they wake up from their Soma coma?

The article On Our Knees by Missy Comley Beattie (CounterPunch) poses the same question as she considers the 2020 candidates.

“Dear God, I shake my head with no, no, no, no, and at the risk of being accused of ageism, I say, “Biden is too old.” So is Sanders, so is Trump, and so is Hillary Clinton—and yes, she has threatened to enter the field if the... [More]

Skeptical about the stories from Venezuela

Published by marco on

I wrote the above several days ago, but held off on publication to avoid jumping the gun. A few days later, I still agree with my my initial reaction. I’ve added a few footnotes here and there.

When you’re as old as I am, have paid attention long enough and have read enough history, you’re morally required to be skeptical about the stories we hear about Venezuela.

But people are suffering! We have to do something to help them! Their government is killing them—whether through ineptitude or... [More]

Can you put a price on that?

Published by marco on

As noted in SOTU 2019: President Camacho holds forth, one of Trump’s giant applause points was when he said, “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.” The best parts of America are the socialist bits. Even the worst parts are socialist: members of the military live in a socialist paradise, with every part of their lives—room, board, insurance, etc.—paid for by the government.

The strongest opponents of socialism are the ones who live the most socialist... [More]

SOTU 2019: President Camacho holds forth

Published by marco on

 So, the State of the Union 2019 finally happened. If you just read the transcript, it’s a speech which any other President could have given. Go ahead: read the first few paragraphs of it in Obama’s voice—it will seem perfectly natural. This isn’t a “Trump” speech, it’s an “American president” speech—given by the imperator of the world. The speech and its implications exist independent of the figurehead—it is an expression of the State, of the Empire.

My notes below are taken from the 2019... [More] (C-SPAN)