633 Articles


11 months Ago

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)


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]”

1 year 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]

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... [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]

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]

2 years 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]”

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]

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... [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]

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]”