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1 week Ago

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]”

2 weeks Ago

“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]

2 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]

3 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]”

5 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]

6 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]”

11 months 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]”

1 year 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)

Controlling Sanders for 2020

Published by marco on

I’d originally earmarked the article It’s Bernie Bitch! by Amber A’Lee Frost (The Baffler), but discovered that it’s been unpublished by the Baffler. They got cold feet that this level of endorsement was contrary to their charter as a certain type of organization—a type that is prohibited from expressing a political opinion.

Leave aside that it was clearly Lee’s opinion being expressed and not the magazine’s. It looks pretty gutless, on the surface. If you’re interested in the back-and-forth, Here’s the Pro-Bernie Sanders... [More] by Jake Johnson (Common Dreams)

Because of course they do

Published by marco on

I’m not even going to do more than cite the article US Intelligence thinks Russia may have microwaved US embassies in Cuba, China by Sean Gallagher (Ars Technica).

I’m honestly not sure how anyone with an ounce of journalistic self-respect can write an article like this non-ironically.

I wrote in the title, “because of course they do”. I’m referring to the “analysts” who—after nearly a year—have decided that the Russians are to blame.

It is here that we should all become more adept at both thought experiments and... [More]

A Holier-than-thou Bullshit Factory

Published by marco on

Out-of-date and chock-full of devil’s advocacy.

I’ve listened to some coverage of the Kavanaugh hearings on The Intercept. This includes an unusually giddy and convinced Jeremy Scahill and a typically partisan Amy Goodman.

What shines through is this notion that being blackout drunk (i.e. not remembering parts of an evening) is an indication of alcoholism, or having a drinking problem. It’s also the sign of a really good party.

These people all sound like shrill churchgoers who can’t even... [More]

Analyzing a LateStageCapitalism meme

Published by marco on

There was a meme posted to Reddit at How are we supposed to live? that discusses the costs of various features of life now vs. 40 years ago.

The discussion petered out quickly when someone posted a refutation from Meme Policeman. In fairness, it didn’t exactly refute the meme, but questioned its numbers and tried to put them into a better context.

I responded with the following comment,

It’s not just the cost of these things, but also the value obtained for the money.

While offering more... [More]

Leaving Syria

Published by marco on

The article Trump gets it (half) right by John Quiggin (Crooked Timber) is about Trump’s recent decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria. In it, he makes the following point:

“[…] the history of US involvement in the Middle East has been one of consistent failure at least for the last 40 years. […] Reagan in Lebanon, 40 years of failure on Israel-Palestine, failed confrontation on Iran, incoherent attempts to influence oil supplies, and, of course, the second Iraq War including the rise of ISIS).”

Pulling out of Syria... [More]

A discussion about RussiaGate

Published by marco on

Is RussiaGate a giant pile of smoke? Just listen to two defenders of it, James Risen and Jane Bradley[1] in this video CIJ Logan 2018: Collusion or the New McCarthyism? by CIJ (Vimeo).

Risen circumlocutes into a summation that says that the Russians almost certainly didn’t do anything worthwhile, but that they tried real hard to do something, even if that something can’t be proved. He backs off considerably on the main RussiaGate accusations, although he is a stickler for terminology. It’s just that this... [More]

Why do we need Jobs?

Published by marco on

You’ll very often hear politicians, pundits and pretty much everyone talk about “jobs” as the be-all, end-all of the economy.

But why do we all need jobs? To stay busy?

Jobs are a means whereby the needs of a society are provided by its members. People have certain needs in order to survive—food and shelter being two of them. We’ll get to others later. A society is filled with people, each of whom need food and shelter.

Let’s imagine the beginning: each member fending for itself. There is... [More]

The State of the World

Published by marco on

How not to be ignorant about the world by Hans and Ola Rosling (YouTube)

This video poses a few interesting questions about the state of the world. The two presenters argue that we should be less pessimistic about certain features of global society. For example, extreme poverty and deaths by natural disaster have all gone down significantly. There is almost global parity between men and women on number of years of schooling. These are all good things.

However, they seem to play fast and loose with some statistics. They use the statistics about people in extreme... [More]

Sohaila Abdulali Interview

Published by marco on

I just listened to this interview with Sohaila Abdulali, the author of the book What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape. This is an incredibly lucid, pragmatic, sensitive and occasionally funny interview.

On rape and the conversation about rape by Sohaila Abdulali (This is Hell)

“I never forgot what happened to me. I wouldn’t say I ‘got over’ it, in the same sense I wouldn’t say I ‘got over’ the fact that my father died. Both of those things are awful, but here I am. I figured it out. I feel bad sometimes, and often I don’t.... [More]”

2 years Ago

YouTube content warnings

Published by marco on

At first, YouTube stopped bringing certain subscribed content into newsfeeds – unless you explicitly marked that subscription as “show all content”. Shows like Redacted Tonight weren’t exactly being suppressed, but they weren’t being promoted in the same way that much-more mainstream content was being promoted. However, if people simply browse the next item suggested by Google, slack-jawed and dull-eyed, then it amounts to suppression, in the end.

Now, YouTube/Google is plastering warnings on... [More]

Acknowledging and punishing crime

Published by marco on

Louis C.K. did 15 minutes at a stand-up club last week. The audience seemed to like it. They gave him a standing ovation.

This is not allowed because he copped to sexual-harassment allegations less than a year ago. He is a pariah and has been ostracized for it. That is his punishment. It’s unclear how long this is to last, but one year is definitely not enough.

There was never a ruling and his exile was more-or-less self-imposed, but it’s been made very clear that he should never be allowed... [More]

Go Down Swinging

Published by marco on

This is taken from Chris Hedges, “America: The Farewell Tour” (1h 12m) by Chris Hedges (YouTube), a truly excellent talk Hedges gave at a bookstore in New York.[1]

“We’re talking about revolution, by the way – we’re talking about the overthrow[2] of the corporate state. Because these people are going to kill us, and they’re going to kill my children.

“And, in the end, these corporate forces have us, they have us by the throat – and they have my kids by the throat. And I don’t know if we’re going to win – I don’t even know... [More]”

Greenfield responds to a nation gone mad

Published by marco on

From the article, The Constitution Will Survive, If We Deserve It by Scott H. Greenfield (Simple Justice), which attempts to address the absolutely hyperbolic and absurd hysteria surrounding Kavanaugh’s inevitable nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This isn’t how the law works, how courts work, how the process works. It’s really quite absurd. Worse than absurd, it feeds the craziness and ignorance that makes people hysterical about the future, that there is no hope. The solution to Trump isn’t to rewrite the Constitution, to... [More]”

Empathy for Immigrants

Published by marco on

“How can those people not know how things work here? How can they abandon and/or endanger their children?How can they not know they’re going to get caught?”

Think of your own culture, of the many idioms, historical events and nuances of language that influence your quotidian actions. Think of how much work it is to know implicitly what is possible and what isn’t, what is acceptable, how things are done. Many of our cultural idiosyncrasies blossom from large or small events in the past, spreading... [More]