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Two Days Ago

Lee Camp > John Oliver

Published by marco on

I’m still watching John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, but I feel he’s slipping. He’s retreating to the safety of slagging on Trump almost exclusively which is both not very funny and not very helpful. Oliver is fading into the same vanilla and safe faux-leftism that characterized his ideological predecessors Jon Stewart and, to a lesser degree, Stephen Colbert.

Both Stewart and Colbert loved the military. By the end of their respective runs, their opposition to military adventures was not no... [More]

Russian Naval Attack (j/k)

Published by marco on

CNN is fake news. CNN is pure government propaganda. They may not be stumping for the current administration, but they’re definitely pushing somebody’s war-hawk agenda. Remember, CNN was born in the cauldron of the first U.S. Gulf War: it knows where the money is. It would be only too happy to make a ton of money reporting a juicy war with Russia. Don’t believe for a minute that CNN has any scruples.

I will prove this with a single article I found as the top search result for “Russian boat... [More]

Snubbing the New York Times

Published by marco on

As it appears, the New York Times, The LA Times, CNN and other august news-gathering organizations like Politico and Buzzfeed have been barred from a press briefing. Clearly the republic teeters. When The Gray Lady is snubbed, can internment camps be far behind? As you would expect, this immediately became a first-amendment, nay, a constitutional issue for the faux-Left, with the NYT at the forefront, hoisting its own banner high.

I don’t think press briefings are in the Constitution, though,... [More]

6 days Ago

Voting with your feet, not your mind

Published by marco on

It would seem that the country is ripe for revolution, given the coverage of protests and unrest since the inauguration of The Donald. But the title of the article Incumbent Reelection Rates Higher Than Average in 2016 by Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley (UVA Center for Politics) reveals the sad truth. Whereas Americans have learned how to march again, they still don’t know how to to use their civic tools to get what they want.

“This election cycle, 393 of 435 House representatives, 29 of 34 senators, and five of 12 governors sought reelection (several of... [More]”

1 week Ago

Redacted Tonight continues to do a great job

Published by marco on

[135] The REAL Reason the U.S. Wants War with Iran, Standing Rock News, Capitalism Failing (27m) by Lee Camp (YouTube)

This is yet another well-written, darkly comic and information-packed show by Lee Camp and his crew at Redacted Tonight on RT.[1] In this show, we hear that a bipartisan resolution easily passed the Congress, authorizing the executive to do anything in its power to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. I thought it was Trump that trying to dismantle the hard-won treaty with Iran? Apparently, it’s the entire government.

This was passed on January 3rd, 2017, when Obama was still in power and... [More]

2 weeks Ago

Publishing Note (Off-topic)

Published by marco on

I’ve been approached by some loyal fans of the blog as to when I will react to the cavalcade—the tumult—of events that most definitely qualify as public policy & politics. President Trump and his flying monkeys have been very busy indeed.

It’s not that I haven’t been paying attention. I’ve been reading a lot. I publish my reading list on Instapaper and you can see the list of articles I’ve liked (RSS newsfeed) as well the firehose of all articles I’ve read (also an RSS newsfeed). I also... [More]

1 month Ago

Lee Camp and Dean Baker cover the news the way it ought to be (covered)

Published by marco on

Lee Camp is definitely in the lead when it comes to incisive coverage of politics with a humorous edge, as pioneered by The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Unlike those two shows, he goes farther while staying on-point and not being partisan: his hate is pure and in sufficient supply for all responsible parties alike. For example, there’s his recent show on the inauguration and the march, which was really, really good.

Be Awake to All Evil

[132] The First Orange President, Obama Left Dictator's Toolkit, Women's March by Lee Camp (YouTube)

Trigger Warning: show is broadcast by RT, the... [More]

2 months 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]

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

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]

3 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]

4 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]

9 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]

10 months Ago

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]

11 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]

1 year 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]

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]