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Yesterday

Take allies where you can get them

Published by marco on

I jumped in on the thread Jimmy Dore says something objectively correct about how Democrats are making people fight for a one time payment, when other countries support their citizens, and Sam Seder has a fit about it whining about Senate process. (Reddit) the other day.

One comment accused Dore of being a grifter, which is an exceedingly odd charge. It’s most likely that that person has never seen or heard Dore and was just regurgitating what they’d heard from someone else who’d never seen or heard... [More]

4 days Ago

Talking ‘bout the poor

Published by marco on

This episode of Chapo was a discussion with Liz and Matt Bruenig about population-control policies on both sides of the aisle in America. Liz, in particular, was quite eloquent and biting in her criticism of elite hatred of the poor.

Child FACTS Credit feat. The Bruenigs | | Episode 498 FULL by Chapo Trap House (YouTube)

At 37:00, they discussed how both parties sought to avoid “encouraging fertility among the bottom quintile”, ending with a proper critique of what’s wrong with Bill Gates running the world for us.

Liz Bruenig: All of this talk about what would happen in terms of... [More]”

5 days Ago

Vetting information sources

Published by marco on

This is an interesting discussion by Eleanor Goldfield and Lee Camp on their Common Censored podcast. It ranges across different topics, but the part I found the most interesting was about vetting information sources.

They did a good job of citing a Grayzone article by Ben Norton that got to the bottom of a concerted misinformation campaign about the purported Chinese genocide, for which evidence is vanishingly scarce, despite the opposite appearance in the mainstream press. But then Goldfield... [More]

6 days Ago

Section 230C1/C2: A debate on continuing utility

Published by marco on

This is an informative and interesting debate between Eric Goldman and Eugene Volokh about whether section 230C has outlived its usefulness. That is: is the protection for corporations and platforms sacrosanct no matter their size, power, and reach? Or do we have a problem when a small handful of companies control the channels of broad communication made available to people today?

Does the Government Have the Right to Control Content Moderation Decisions? by UCLA School of Law (YouTube)

I’ve included a transcript of the closing arguments, starting at 53:45.

Eugene made a sort of pre-closing... [More]

1 week Ago

Chapo Trap House mourns the death of the King of Twitter

Published by marco on

This episode is ostensibly about what social media is like in the yawning absence of Donald Trump on Twitter. It’s not just that, but those parts are pretty funny. I include a partial transcript after the video—mostly of Matt Christman (whose voice I recognize and whose comments are the pithiest). He has an excellent and moving rant at just over 45 minutes in that is amazingly eloquent considering he did it extemporaneously.

PermabannedPresident45 | Episode 488 FULL by Chapo Trap House (YouTube)

The episode’s cold open has them rewriting the famous Tears in... [More] (Wikipedia)

A fair trial of J.K. Rowling

Published by marco on

I found this 90-minute analysis of J.K. Rowling’s participation in the trans-gender discussion to be fair and enlightening. I hadn’t paid the years-long online battle much attention and figured there was a lot of deliberately elided context as well as exaggeration and straw-manning involved. While there is that aspect, there isn’t just that aspect.

J.K. Rowling by ContraPoints (YouTube)

One nice example is from about 27:00 into the video. She addresses the disingenuousness of just “stating facts”. She asks the important question... [More]

Jimmy Dore on tightening of the “liberal” censorship noose

Published by marco on

This is excellent coverage of CNN literally saying that Congress should force tech companies to shut down their competition because “there are YouTubers with a larger audience than daytime CNN” and that cannot stand.

CNN Panel’s OUTRAGEOUS Call To Shut Down YouTube News by Jimmy Dore (YouTube)

He starts with old footage of Noam Chomsky teaching his students that standing up for freedom of speech means nothing if you’re only willing to defend speech with which you agree. If you’re for censorship of opposing views, then you’re not for freedom of speech—in any way.

They... [More]

1 month Ago

Chapo on Bush and Trump at Jacobin

Published by marco on

This is an interesting discussion featuring Jen Pan and Ariella Thornhill of Jacobin and Felix Biederman of Chapo Trap House. I enjoyed the free-ranging nature and insight, but found the end, starting at 1h30 or so to be the most insightful—where they discuss concrete lines leading from Bush’s policies to Trump’s—with a partial transcription below.

George W. Bush Amnesia w/ Felix Biederman of Chapo Trap House by Jacobin Show (YouTube)

This is a partial transcript starting at about 1h30.

Jen Pan: There is no Trump without Bush. […] For example, people always talk about... [More]”

Chris Hedges explains American desperation on Jimmy Dore

Published by marco on

Chris Hedges delivers powerful analysis in this 45-minute interview on the Jimmy Dore Show.[1]

America Has The Tinder To IGNITE Social Uprising − Chris Hedges by Jimmy Dore (YouTube)

The following is an especially powerful, off-the-cuff explanation for the core problem in America: a nearly unacknowledged problem of inequality that actively disparages the poor and the disadvantaged. 50 years ago, it was open season on anyone non-white. It still is, though less (or expressed less directly, if not less effectively).[2]

But they’re now joined by poor whites, who the elites happily send... [More]

2 months Ago

Increasingly Unhinged Observers

Published by marco on

The imposed panic and climate emergencies and COVID seems to be trapping more and more victims in a death spiral of increasingly frenetic, ill-considered, spiteful, and ill-informed—if not actively misleading—commentary.

Jeffrey St. Clair

The article Roaming Charges: White Riot, I Wanna Riot of My Own by Jeffrey St. Clair (CounterPunch) contains a lot of increasingly unfair “hot takes” and seemingly unwarranted swipes at other journalists and commentators. This is an unfortunate trend over the last few months. I used to... [More]

Nils Melzer on Julian Assange

Published by marco on

This is an excellent interview with Nils Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

UN torture expert [Nils Melzer] on Julian Assange's persecution and the lies behind it by The Grayzone (YouTube)

Melzer is not optimistic because the judgment was, essentially: the British court system agrees with all of the charges brought by the U.S. and agrees that, under their own laws, they would also prosecute Julian Assange for journalism.

The British prison system has deteriorated Assange’s mental condition to the level that he has... [More]

Cornell West and Chris Hedges on the American Condition

Published by marco on

This is a splendid and inspiring 30-minute discussion between Cornell West and Chris Hedges. As the interviewee, West does most of the talking. I’ve included a partial transcript of the points I found particularly insightful below.

America's existential crisis (Interview with Cornell West by RT America/On Contact with Chris Hedges (YouTube)

Here, they discuss the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol:

Chris Hedges: I found so much of the coverage—I don’t know what you thought—where they were demonized as thugs—which is not in any way of course to condone their activity—missing the... [More]”

An American Cultural Revolution

Published by marco on

“I’m not a conspiracy theorist − I’m a conspiracy analyst.”
Gore Vidal

On this episode of Useless Idiots with Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper, they interviewed Mark Crispin Miller, a professor at NYU who’s teaches media literacy, where he teaches students to examine what the facts are before calling something a “conspiracy” or accepting “unimpeachable truth”.

Stimulus Checks, Larry Summers, plus Mark Crispin Miller on Academic Freedom (YouTube)

The NDAA

Before the interview, at about 9:00 in, Matt and Katie discuss Bernie’s filibuster of the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act).

Matt... [More]

Matt Christman (Chapo Trap House) on Useful Idiots

Published by marco on

I had only heard of Chapo Trap House (and listened to part of a podcast once), but had never heard of Matt Christman (one of the founders), until I got an extensive introduction in the video interview below. He seems like a pretty intelligent guy with lots of interesting ideas and analysis.

Matt Christman and MSNBC’s Petty War on Sanders (YouTube)

The following is a partial transcript that includes the bits I found the most insightful.

Matt Christman: What it does is it makes the Democratic elites feel less bad about being elites. And that’s all... [More]”

4 months Ago

Be honest about what the Democrats are (part II)

Published by marco on

I’ve collected a few notes from the last few months that I haven’t published in other articles. Clearing things out before the civil war makes it all irrelevant.

I published the first of these notes in Be honest about what the Democrats are. The following notes aren’t all directly related, but there’s a thread if you’re willing to look for it.

Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti from The Hill

I’ve only recently been introduced to this pairing and I quite like them. They were more recently... [More]

Chinese Invasion: The Future of Fake News

Published by marco on

 A friend sent me a link to a web site called “Dave Hodges: The Common Sense Show (Freeing America, One Enslaved Mind at a Time ®)”, which I honestly hesitate to link because I actually opened it in a private tab in a browser I never use—the equivalent of putting on two pairs of rubber gloves before picking it up.

I’ll include the title of the article, “Mounting Reports of a Simultaneous Coming Civil War and World War III Will Be Unleashed With An Unfavorable Election Result for Harris/Biden”,... [More]

Be honest about what the Democrats are

Published by marco on

I’ve collected a few notes from the last few months that I haven’t published in other articles. Clearing things out before the civil war makes it all irrelevant.

Why Joe and not Bernie?

A while back, I had a conversation with a friend who asked me why the Democrats chose Joe Biden over Bernie Sanders. How could they want to maintain a status quo that hurts so many people?

”Dr. King’s policy was, if you are nonviolent, if you suffer, your opponent […] will be moved to change his heart.... [More]
Stokely Carmichael

Howie Hawkins 2020

Published by marco on

 Howie Hawkins is the Green Party candidate for President in 2020. He’s a former teamster who, until 2018, was loading trucks for UPS. He’s been involved in socialist and green politics since…forever:

“He supported the Peace and Freedom Party in 1968, the People’s Party in 1972 and 1976, and the Citizens Party in 1980. Since its first national meeting in 1984, Howie has been a Green Party organizer.”

He lives in Syracuse, New York. He ran for governor of New York State 3 times. He has never... [More]

Greg Palast on “The Purged” (Voters)

Published by marco on

 Greg Palast has been fighting for years to stop voter purging, all on a shoestring budget and with hardly any major media coverage. He’s gotten more prominence recently, but it’s unconscionable how little influence his message still has.[1]

His message is simple: the elites are stealing votes in America with corrupt and illegal practices. Many others abet by staying mute and idle.

“I never use the term vote suppression, because when someone steals your car, you don’t say, my car has been... [More]”
Greg Palast

The Sane and the Belligerati

Published by marco on

Katie Halper had a show just about a month ago that had three separate interview sections. The first was with Chris Hedges and Gerald Horne; the second with David Sirota (writer for Jacobin); the third was with Arun Gupta.

This show is separate from her Useless Idiots weekly show with Matt Taibbi, of which I am a regular listener. I only learned of her from that show and am impressed with the nuance and balance and insight she brings to all of her shows.

Chris Hedges & Gerald Horne + David Sirota on Amy Coney Barrett + Arun Gupta Live in Portland by Katie Halper (YouTube)

Hedges and Horne: A Class Act

The... [More]

5 months Ago

Free Julian Assange

Published by marco on

“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.[1]
George Orwell

The article The Assange Extradition Case is an Unprecedented Attack on Press Freedom, So Why’s the Media Largely Ignoring It? by Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch) describes what is happening to Julian Assange.

“In an Old Bailey courtroom in London over the past four weeks, lawyers for the US government have sought the extradition of Assange to the US to face 17 charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 and one charge of computer misuse. At the heart of their... [More]”

Jimmy Dore watches Obama at the DNC

Published by marco on

The video below is a 30-minute analysis of Obama’s short speech at the DNC that provides context from how Obama actually ruled when he was president.

OBAMA Says 'Nobody Is Above the Law'! by Jimmy Dore (YouTube)

I laughed out loud at Dore’s riff on Obama’s continued characterization of America’s torture as “enhanced”, starting at about 4:30,

“That’s my favorite: enhanced interrogation technique. Enhanced? That sounds like it’s nice. Are you going to turn on some mood music and some track lighting?

“No. We’re going to hook your balls up to a car battery... [More]”

Discussing issues == unduly influencing elections

Published by marco on

The article The First Rule of Court Packing is you do not talk about Court Packing by Josh Blackman (Reason) discusses the recent presidential debate.

When Biden was asked about ending the filibuster or packing the court (two highly relevant election issues), he responded,

“Whatever position I take on that, that’ll become the issue. The issue is the American people should speak. You should go out and vote. You’re voting now. Vote and let your Senators know strongly how you feel.”

What the hell does that even mean? I... [More]

What Drives Trump?

Published by marco on

The article The Death of Debate by Scott H. Greenfield (Simple Justice) describes what makes Trump tick in what I think is a far more accurate and reasoned manner than most people seem to be able to muster.

I would like to preface (and will re-address in the summary), that it’s pretty clear that Trump is not alone in his motivations. He is just a very extreme example. While there are many U.S. politicians who are interested in doing what they perceive as good for others, many of the most powerful are very clearly in the business... [More]

Corruption in the US

Published by marco on

This video from 2015 takes only five minutes to present the results of a Princeton University study of 20 years of data to determine the amount of influence an American had on which laws were enacted. Regardless of whether Americans were completely against or completely for a policy, there was a 30% chance of it being enacted. From the study:

“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy. ”

 It seems... [More]

7 months 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]

8 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]”

9 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]