8.29.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Belief is a powerful thing, its potency primarily a matter of coalescing different people into social and hence political alignment about what is not visible, incapable of proof; however, it often has little or nothing to offer to argument, which entails juxtaposing to each other disparate assertions about reality—that realm of the factual and the evidentiary—so as to comprehend better that which actually happens: one can believe that acorns can propagate elms, therefore, or that fish can breed monkeys, or that angels can dance on the head of a pin, or that skin color associates with something called race, but none of these inclinations can ever contribute to a policy discussion about life and human prospects.

Quote of the Day

"Happiness is good health and a bad memory. …I have no regrets. I wouldn’t have lived my life the way I did if I was going to worry about what people were going to say." Ingrid Bergman: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/i/ingrid_bergman.html.

This Day in History

Today is International Day Against Nuclear Tests; thirteen hundred six years prior to our present pass, Japanese principalities first used copper coins; Ottoman Turks four hundred eighty-eight years back attacked and defeated the forces of Hungary and Bohemia, killing the last Jagiellonian King in the process; four hundred seventy-three years ago, Ottoman forces capture Buda, the Hungarian Kingdom’s capitol; three hundred eighty-two years back, the boy child who became John Locke entered the world; two hundred fifty-six years before the here-and-now, colonial administrators establish the first Indian Reservation at Indian Mills, New Jersey; two hundred twenty-eight years ago, Shays’ rebellion unfolded in Massachusetts and spread from there, in response to debt and taxes; two hundred five years ago, the infant who became physician and author Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. was born; a hundred eighty-nine years back, Portugal recognized Brazil’s independence; one hundred eighty-three years ago, scientist Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction; one hundred seventy-two years back, the Nanking Treaty ended the conflict about England’s successful imposition of Opium imports on China; one hundred fifty-two years ago, the baby boy who would grow into Nobel Laureate and poet Maurice Maeterlinck took his first breath independent of his mother; one hundred thirty-seven years back, Brigham Young, the Latter Day Saints leader, died; a hundred twenty-nine years ago, Gottlieb Daimler patented the first internal-combustion engine motorcycle; one hundred sixteen years back, the Goodyear Tire Company incorporated; one hundred four years prior to the present, Japan forced the Annexation Treaty on the Koreans, inaugurating thirty-five years of formal, harsh Japanese oversight; ninety-eight years ago, the United States recognized the Philippines right to independence; ninety-two years ago, WEAF in New York City broadcast the first radio advertisement; seventy-one years back, Danish sailors scuttled most of their country’s navy, causing the Nazis to dissolve the government; seventy years ago, over 60,000 Slovak soldiers and citizens rose against their Nazi overlords; sixty-five years ago, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics exploded its first fission nuclear weapon; sixty-four years back, a small contingent of British troops arrived to support the U.S. war effort in Korea; fifty-six years ago, the U.S. opened the Air force Academy in Colorado Springs; forty-four years prior to the present pass, a Chicano Moratorium against the Vietnam War took effect, and in the police riot that followed, three citizens died, including journalist Reuben Salazar; thirty two years prior to this instant, iconic actress Ingrid Bergman died on her sixty-seventh birthday; twenty-three years back, the Supreme Soviet formally dissolved the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; nine years ago, Hurricane Katrina made landfall, starting the devastation that nearly destroyed New Orleans; seven years back, six H-bomb equipped cruise missiles flew across the U.S. with no security precautions.

"united states" empire OR imperialism "u.s. citizens" OR americans benefit OR interest OR advantage disadvantage OR deleterious OR harmful = 33.3 Million cites.


http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/29/mh17-a29.html A ‘let’s-talk-about-this-elephant-thing-in-the-living-room’ piece from World Socialist Website, examining the literal disappearance of corporate news coverage of one of the biggest stories of the millennium, the shooting down of MH-17, which Western governments and their media mouthpieces all screamed, for weeks, was the fault of Ukrainian rebels, Russians, and Vladmir-Putin-as-the-devil-incarnate himself, an overall position of skepticism and disbelief, by the way, that the exact opposite end of the ideological spectrum also espouses without hesitation–http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/six-big-lies-about-the-ukraine-washingtons-narrative-is-pure-propaganda/?utm_source=wysija&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Mailing+List+Mid+Day+Friday: "(I)n one article on the crash, headlined ‘The strange silence of the investigators,’ (Der Spiegel, which has otherwise backed the U.S. POV) attempts to backtrack somewhat and at least intimate there are good reasons to doubt the official line put out by Washington and Brussels. The article refers to a letter sent to Barack Obama at the end of July by a group of former US intelligence officers. … their letter …accused Secretary of State Kerry of attempting to use the crash to blacken Russia, … . The Obama administration has never responded to the allegations… .The Spiegel article then goes on to quote reports in the Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times, which charge Ukraine with responsibility for the crash, citing one journalist who writes: ‘It is farcical that the country known for overseeing the world’s most sophisticated and far-reaching surveillance capabilities has sunk to citing grainy YouTube videos to justify its policy decisions.’"


Folks have two weeks from Monday to make comments about Net Neutrality at the FCC portal: , arguably a task that citizens–especially those who use words and rely on the web–might take seriously.

Anyone even vaguely neighboring Columbia, South Carolina ought to consider a lovely afternoon of improvisational theater and learning about power, consciousness, and liberation, all courtesy of the National Writers Union At-Large Chapter(labarreblackman: contact), in conjunction with the intellectual technology of Augusto Boal, author of Theater for the Oppressed.

http://blogs.loc.gov/law/2014/08 A Library of Congress announcement about its upcoming eight week exhibit, in Washington, concerning the Magma Carta, as the 800th anniversary of the signing approaches in January.

http://iac.com/careers/job-listings The portal to IAC‘s job postings, whose media properties include The Daily Beast.

http://johnjayresearch.org/cmcj/juvenile-justice-fellowships/ John Jay College in New York’s Center for Media, Crime, & Justice fellowships for reporters who are covering youth and incarceration or similar issues.

http://www.loc.gov/folklife/events/botkin-lectures.html#sept5 A Folklife program from Library of Congress, scheduled for next Friday afternoon, in which a pair of intrepid peripatetic ethnomusicologist documentarians bring back their recordings of local singers from across the country to the Botkin Lecture.

http://act.ips-dc.org/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=7645&em_id=4202.0 The portal to Institute for Policy Studies annual Moffitt-Letelier Human Rights Awards on Tuesday morning, October 14, named for two writers and activists murdered by agents of Chile’s Secret Police who were part of the CIA-installed mass-murdering fascist apparatus of Augusto Pinochet.

http://www.techrepublic.com/article A Tech Republic commentary and analysis about such ‘shared-economy’ ventures as Lyft and Airbnb, and about the trust and logistics that are necessary to move such ventures forward: "A new global economy can be good for many reasons. It can allow people to share their underused assets and make money. For instance, 56% of Airbnb hosts in San Francisco said the service helps them pay their rent, according to the company. The average RelayRides member makes an extra $250 a month. Forbes estimates the revenue people will earn from the sharing economy will surpass $3.5 billion this year, with a growth rate of 25%. ‘While people may not always get their income with a combination of Airbnb, Relay Rides, and TaskRabbit, this next generation of micro-entrepreneurship, or the freelance economy, people are becoming more and more comfortable with being responsible for their own income to a certain extent,’ (sharing venture executive)Anderson said."

http://portside.org/2014-08-28/students-barricades Oh my! An arguably essential Jacobin article, available through the good offices of Portside Labor, about the local bargaining unit of the United Auto Workers Graduate Student Organizing Committee that covers New York University, by one of the members of the chapter, in which activists and students committed to this process strongly criticize UAW leadership for lack of strategy and passivity: "In July, a group of bargaining committee members — graduate students elected by their peers to represent us in our negotiations with the NYU administration — released a statement highlighting the ‘concessionary strategy, demobilization of our membership, and opacity of the bargaining process’ on the part of UAW staff that they had witnessed over the course of the previous semester. That statement, which charged union leadership with failing to adequately communicate with the membership and with the marginalization of activist members who sought to create an campaign to support the bargaining process, called for a new strategy to win a strong contract: one based on transparency, accountability, and building democratic structures within our unit."

http://mikenormaneconomics.blogspot.com/2014/08/david-katz-hushed-up-hitler-factor-in.html An incredibly useful little brief from MikeNormanEconomics about the role and essence of Nazi involvement with the U.S. side of things in Ukraine: "The US is already well known for using black ops for overthrowing democratically elected governments and forming unsavory alliances when politically convenient, with the UK perceived as the US toady in this. But this has generally been more peripheral. Now it is taking place in the heart of Europe."

http://usdac.us/equity/ A port-of-entry to the U.S. Department of Arts & Culture initiative, a call to creativity for equity and justice in the creation of a cultural democracy, with an enlisting form–http://usdac.us/enlist/–attached: "I do hereby join with the US Department of Arts & Culture in asserting that:

access to culture is a fundamental human right;

culture is created by all and thus should represent all; cultural diversity is a social good and the wellspring of free expression; a deep investment in creativity is critical to cultivating empathy and social imagination; and art and artists are powerful forces for accomplishing social change and strengthening social fabric.

As a founding Citizen Artist, I pledge to all others affirming these values my creativity, integrity, and commitment to cultivate the public interest in art and culture and catalyze art and culture in the public interest."

http://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-states-underprivileged-children/5403/ A further evidence that the website, WalletHub, uses data and graphics and charting options to deliver powerful, timely, and crucially important information, in this instance about which States serve poor kids the best, or the worst, all of which would be an extremely helpful linkage for a union of scrappy writers.

http://entrepreneur.sfgov.org/ San Francisco’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, a useful or at least plausible model for problem solving, civic engagement, and more.

http://www.demos.co.uk/people/jamiebartlett Access to a Demos project, The Center for Analysis of Social Media, essentially the work of a University of Sussex professor whose research and writing and thinking about basic issues in this area are available for public consumption and consideration.


http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/08/28/ A powerful little essay from Tikkun that announces the U.S. Department of Arts & Culture initiative, which seeks both to engage artists in deconstructing oppression and to connect cultural workers and citizens so as to take action to relieve oppressive conditions, though in the context of a police-state apparatus that–to say the least–can be intimidating: "(M)y grandmother’s father was killed by Cossacks during a pogrom, and quite a few of my other forebears were murdered, forced out, or otherwise oppressed by men in official uniforms. Fearing the police was something we absorbed from infancy. I’ve filed a police report that the insurance company required when my apartment was ransacked by intruders, and I’ve gotten a traffic ticket, but that’s as close as I’ve come. I’ve participated in many demonstrations and public gatherings that caught the attention of the police, but despite my friends’ brave civil disobedience, I’ve never been arrested. When someone close to me mentioned that he’d recently called the police to intervene when a man seemed to be harrassing others in a public park, I was reminded that not everyone has this policy of steering clear. But I have it, and I’m sure I always will."

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/fashion/ferguson-reveals-a-twitter-loop.html?_r=0 Oh boy! A sobering look from the Times at just how true the law school evidence stories are about the unreliability of eyewitness testimony, in this case dealing with Twitter and other social media feeds from the heart of the action, as it were, in places like Ferguson, Missouri, about which many writers of various sorts often want to scribble something: "No one will argue that Twitter played an imperative role in ensuring that the events in Ferguson led to an international debate about police violence and race in America. But it was also responsible for creating and perpetuating numerous falsehoods. What’s worse, Twitter users sought out and shared accounts that aligned with their viewpoint, with little regard to whether they were true."

gigaom.com/2014/08/27/germany-mulls-ban-on-after-hours-work-emails-and-calls/ A GigaOm note about a development in a more socially democratic country, Germany, that would particularly please many freelance, contract, and fully employed writers, e.g., a legal ban on after-hours e-mails and social media posts from employers to their minions in off duty hours.

http://landers.bookbub.com/covers/?source=liveintent A portal to BookBub, which pitches itself as the gateway to "free and bargain best-selling e-books."

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/ A ‘do-what?’ moment, thanks to MediaPost that indicates that great writing, important research, beautiful content, and so forth, are pretty much useless from advertisers’ perspectives, going forward, that all that matters is that one is speaking directly to the buyers of whatever the marketing flacks are selling: "In this world of audience fragmentation, the foundation of marketers’ media strategies will have to be built first on finding, aggregating and communicating with specific people, not funding specific content. Without the attention certainty that monopoly distribution played in analog media, it won’t be good enough in the digital world to base the foundation of a media strategy around picking great content."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/act-four Oh man! An irresistible "Act Four" column from WaPo, concerning the highly regarded tropes around "authorial intent," a subject(http://www.vox.com/2014/8/28/6078375/tony-soprano-hello-kitty-authorial-intent) that might be near and dear to at least a few scrappy writers, which the author here incisively contends is only resolvable as a willingness to deal with ambiguity in text: "’So how are we supposed to deal with authorial intent? The answer is a particularly important one for this moment, when authorial intent is easier to discern than ever before and when cultural affinities and interpretations have become so important as to constitute identity categories. I am all for respecting the basic facts of stories as they appear in the text. If J.K. Rowling writes a scene of Albus Dumbledore’s death, another of his funeral and a third that addresses her characters’ hopes that Dumbledore might still be alive and gives the same answer as before, it seems neither necessary nor interesting to try to prove her wrong. But I think there is something odd about the demand that creators give their imprimatur to fans’ feelings, as if those reactions are not valid on their own, or if they will make dissenters go away."

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/29/ A Times opinion essay by a stalwart conservative who looks into a monograph, The Intellectual Virtues, that break down into six categories what makes for ‘good moral character’ among journalists and other scribes who make their way with words.

http://www.marketplace.org A Marketplace assessment, and brief podcast, about the issues and possibilities of "co-working"–when freelancers, e-lancers, telecommuters, and so forth–share office space to reduce overhead and such.

http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/28/ One of those, ‘but-what-exactly-does-it-mean-to-me?’ moments, in the form of a TechCrunch article brief about Google’s decision to remove ‘authorship’ from its search results: "As writers, we always think that readers will care about our byline, but at least in search results, it looks like authorship — or how many people follow you on Google+, isn’t an important signal for most users."

http://www.mediapost.com Well, duh! A report from MediaPost that social media is emiserating its users: "’Social trust’ refers to the individual’s tendency to assume – or not assume – that strangers, as proxies for society in general, are benign and trustworthy, in the sense that they will ‘observe the rules of the game’ in basic social interactions by being polite and so on. The authors note that previous studies have shown social trust to be closely related to individual happiness. But a number of characteristics of social media threaten to undermine social trust."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com A brief Hollywood Reporter profile of the White House’s choice for a new "Piracy Czar," to bird-dog copyright and intellectual property issues, the candidate an Emory Law grad and associate at one of D.C.’s most prestigious IP firms.

http://gigaom.com/2014/08/27 A warning against fatuous fancy from GigaOm, in relation to hopes that ‘big-data’ might represent some sort of magical politics-free cure-all for social mayhem or dis-ease: "But the reality appears to be that most of them remain as research, promising proofs of concept that are rarely applied to analyzing actual data or helping actual people. Save for a few exemplars and areas with a lot of easy money at stake — there are all sorts of startups and large vendors tackling health care and agriculture, for example — there’s just not a lot of action."

http://www.weforum.org/news An announcement about a new initiative on the part of the World Economic Forum, which proffers information and protocols in regard to WIF’s development of Internet management and integration and protection: "Specifically, the initiative seeks to provide an international, multistakeholder platform that brings together government, business and civil society leaders, along with the representatives of technical communities, to sustain and strengthen an effective and distributed approach to Internet governance."

http://benton.org/node/201303 A Benton.org summary of an InfoWorld essay that tries to wade through some of the bovine fecal matter that many commentators are putting out as the comment period about Net-Neutrality approaches its final two weeks.

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/ A downstream-of-Aereo court case against FilmOn, which the streaming firm is appealing on the grounds that it has a mandate to obtain the cable license for which it’s applied, all thanks to MediaPost.

http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/08/28An argument from Tikkun that mediation of Pope Francis’ recent statements about potential U.S. bombing in Iraq and Syria had distorted, omitted, and otherwise mischaracterized key elements of what the Pope expressed, which was not, ‘Go Bomb-’em Barack!’: "He also warned against the misuse of force: ‘To stop the unjust aggressor is licit, but we nevertheless need to remember how many times, using this excuse of stopping an unjust aggressor, the powerful nations have dominated other peoples, made a real war of conquest.’He didn’t offer pat policy answers but suggested the United Nations should consider the key questions: ‘Is there an unjust aggressor? It seems there is. How do we stop him?’"

http://www.wired.com/2014/08/healthcare-gov/ A Wired report about the White House Chief Technology Adviser’s ‘switching coasts’ to leave Washington and continue working for the Feds in the Bay Area: "But Park is not departing the government, just continuing his efforts on a more relevant coast. Starting in September, he’s assuming a new post, so new that the White House had to figure out what to call him. It finally settled on technology adviser to the White House based in Silicon Valley. But Park knows how he will describe himself: the dude in the Valley who’s working for the president. President Obama said in a statement, ‘Todd has been, and will continue to be, a key member of my administration.’ Park will lead the effort to recruit top talent to help the federal government overhaul its IT. In a sense, he is doubling down on an initiative he’s already set well into motion: bringing a Silicon Valley sensibility to the public sector."

http://www.technologyreview.com/news An MIT Technology Review summary of the aftermath of the Time Warner Cable service meltdown for eleven and a half million customers, which, the author says, points to important issues concerning the reliability of our systems and the protocols that we need to improve them, the upshot of this the need for backup: "The lack of disclosure about accidental outages is itself a serious issue, says Jonathan Zittrain, professor of Internet law at Harvard Law School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government. ‘We ought to have standards for release of data by broadband providers to allow apples-to-apples comparisons and tracking of outages over time so the public, and policymakers, can gauge trends in connectivity,’ he says."

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-real-dark-net-goes-beyond-tor-sites A Motherboard posting from Vice Media that lets readers peer inside the curtain into some of the more obscure corners of the ‘dark web,’ places where trolls, practitioners of socially unacceptable behavior like purge-vomiting, and others hang out, though at times the activities portrayed are illegal, and for good reason: "He spoke to committed trolls, pro-anorexia forum visitors, semi-professional cam girls, and more besides. Over the span of a year, he observed and interacted with the different subcultures that have found a haven on the internet. Many of these might be perceived as seedy corners of the web. But Bartlett, who currently serves as the director of the Centre of the Analysis of Social Media at Demos, a British think tank, says that none of the forums he came across were straight-up, obviously immoral. Instead, he found that the communities were generally rather nuanced in their ethics. ‘It’s shades of grey,’ he told me over the phone. ‘It was far more morally ambiguous than I expected it to be: It was unclear where things were absolutely bad, or absolutely good.’"

http://www.novanewsnow.com/News/Local A briefing from a small Nova Scotia town that has suffered an e-mail network outage for a month as a result of malware.

http://vashiva.com/celebrate-the-anniversary-of-email-on-august-30/ The link to the technical guru who filed the first patent for electronic mail, with a nifty interactive timeline and other contextual bon mots for interlopers to peruse.

http://www.mediapost.com/publications A MediaPost Daily Online Examiner brief about New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call for the Federal Communications Commission to treat broadband Internet Service Providers as utilities subject to monopoly control.


Argentine Strike
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/29/arge-a29.html For anyone inclined to believe that easy answers are possible to the socioeconomic crises afflicting humanity, a bracing report and analysis from World Socialist Website about the most recent Argentine general strike, in which unions in opposition to the Kirchner government call stoppages to protest general conditions but no one seems motivated to arouse working people to actual action in the direction of people power.

http://www.france24.com/en/ A France24 breaking news brief to the effect that, all evidence or nuance to the contrary aside, the ‘West’ is going to buy the version of today’s happenings in Ukraine as a ‘Russian invasion.’

http://www.moonofalabama.org An assessment from Moon of Alabama that does believe in reasoning and evidence in addition to assertion and ‘journalism-by-official-press-releast,’ finding in the event that the empirical basis for accusing Russia of invading Ukraine is at best shaky and at worst a pack of lies: "These folks and the western news agencies that promoted the WMD in Iraq claims are now claiming a Russian "invasion" in Ukraine only to retract it when the damage is done. Warmongers. All of them."

http://thehill.com/policy/international/216200-obama-dodges-on-ukraine-invasion Fascinating propaganda from the hill, taking President Obama to task for not engaging assertions about Ukraine that the article then circularly factualizes, raising alarms as it goes.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/ A series of articles about what’s transpiring, and what might come down the pike, in regard to Islamic State in Iraq & Syria, from the Daily Beast, noting that the Pope did decidedly not endorse war in the event and that the President’s National Security Council cannot agree on a strategy.

http://justsecurity.org/14414/international-law-airstrikes-isis-syria/ A ‘murder-with-impunity’ international law posting from Just Security, that finds justifiably shocking the sense of arrogant high-handedness that the U.S. is bringing to the discussion of how to deal with ISIS, especially inasmuch as the ‘favorite flavor’ of the week is attacks on Syria, which the U.S. has been trying to try to find an excuse to conduct for at least going on ten years: "(T)he Syria government has now essentially stated that it is willing and able to cooperate with the United States in carrying out strikes against ISIS. And the Syrian government has said, ‘Any strike which is not coordinated with the government will be considered as aggression.’ In a statement that is a bit stunning when viewed in light of international law, the State Department spokesperson said earlier this week, ‘We’re not looking for the approval of the Syrian regime.’"

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/216205-we-dont-have-a-strategy-yet A report from The Hill about President Obama’s acknowledgment that his administration does not yet know what its strategy is in relation to ISIS, which Senators both Democratic and Republican have taken as a cue to insist on Congress’ involvement in choosing any action that is forthcoming.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39533.htm A crossposting from Information Clearinghouse of a Zero Hedge piece that makes the important announcement that as of now Russia will accept payment for hydrocarbons in either Rubles or Yuan, as well as providing the–full disclosure, this is a security’s analyst–dire news that this will cause implosion in the world economy, as if it’s not wrecked enough as is.


http://www.nytimes.com The Times report about the concluding phases of the trial against four Blackwater mercenaries to slaughtered seventeen Iraqis without any provocation any more substantial than a car that tried to extricate itself from a traffic jam that the operatives had caused: "Blackwater, once a major security contractor, came to symbolize American power run amok. The fallout from the shooting unraveled the company, which was sold and renamed Academi. There is no dispute that security contractors working for Blackwater Worldwide fired on the white Kia, killing a medical student and his mother. The Justice Department says the action was unprovoked and unjustified. Lawyers for four former contractors say the Kia looked like a car bomb bearing down on the convoy."

Phoenix Murder

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/29/phoe-a29.html Another case of police murder, this time from Phoenix, in which the victim was a fifty-year old schizophrenic whose mother had called for a mental-health in-patient placement, the result of which was police’s shooting her to death because she threatened them with a hammer, resulting in mourners carrying her coffin from city hall to the prosecutor’s office and Phoenix’s mayor ordering an investigation: "There have been 31 cases of police shootings so far this year in Phoenix. The usual response to a law enforcement shooting in Maricopa County appears to be the same whether or not the person shot represented an immediate threat to an officer. The media accepts the prepackaged police version and predictable Maricopa County attorney’s findings without question."


Working Class Culture

http://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2014/08/work-songs-and-other-laborlore-for-labor-day/ A Library of Congress Folklife blog that both offers up work songs, as well as other working class musical expression, and provides hyperlinked access to other Labor Day sites and citations–e.g.,

Housing Markets
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/29 The Times’ examination of ‘hot’ real estate markets, rising rents, soaring evictions, and further social dislocation and inequality in various major housing markets.

Technology Capacitation
http://www.govexec.com/state-local/2014/0 A model, even if nuance and deconstruction is de rigeur, of a project that ought to be available everywhere, San Francisco’s Entrepreneur-on-the-Spot initiative to apply technology and best-practices and capacitated individuals to civic problems.

Electric Grid
http://www.techrepublic.com/article An overview and update about the critically important issue of the electrical grid’s current incapacity efficiently to deliver the safest, most reliable, and most sustainable renewable forms of electricity, so-called ‘smart-grid’ concerns.

http://ecowatch.com/2014/08/28 An EcoWatch conveyance of a podcast from the brilliant and prolific writer/investigator Harvey Wasserman, From Fukushima to Solartopia: An Atomic Meditation.

Detroit, MI Economic Indicator

http://www.govexec.com/state-local/2014/08 Just a fascinating contextualization from GovExec, which contends that Washington is the least accurate mirror of the United States possible, according to socioeconomic indicators: the best? Detroit, Michigan, according to a truly monumental new study from WalletHub–: "Detroit, on the other hand, was most similar. A scant 8.3 percent of the city’s households take in $150,000 or more annually, about 1 percent fewer than the national average. And in Detroit, slightly more than a quarter of households make do with less than $25,000 in annual income (again, compared with 24.1 percent nationally)."

http://www.technologyreview.com/review/ One of those amazing leads, this time from MIT Technology Review, to an article about a archeological DNA detective and some of his cohorts who are expanding the known parameters of what humanity includes and how we happened: "Ancient DNA will almost certainly complicate other hypotheses, like the ­African-origin story, with its single migratory human band. Ancient DNA also reveals phenomena that we have no other way of knowing about. When Pääbo and colleagues extracted DNA from a few tiny bones and a couple of teeth found in a cave in the Altai Mountains in Siberia, they discovered an entirely new sister group, the Denisovans. Indigenous Australians, Melanesians, and some groups in Asia may have up to 5 percent Denisovan DNA, in addition to their Neanderthal DNA."

http://magazine.good.is/articles/bali-and-bitcoin An article from Daily Good about a proposal to convert areas of archipelago South Pacific habitation to an all-Bitcoin-all-the-time currency status.

Nuclear War
http://fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/R41464.pdf For anyone who wonders whether a nuclear war might still happen with international continental ballistic missiles and such, a profferal from the Congressional Research Service, thanks to the diligence of Federation of American Scientists available to citizens, that presents an extensive White Paper on the planning and contingencies that our government is actively considering in regard to such end-of-humanity eventualities.

http://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R43698.pdf Another Congressional Research contextualization only accessible in virtual form thanks to FAS, in this case about a NATO summit in regard to Ukraine, hopefully not in such a fashion as to invoke the thinking of the previous document.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/ An interesting contextualization from a Global Research correspondent about the panoply of participants in the Southwest Asian corner of the Eastern Mediterranean, in which the author forces readers to see what storylines don’t work, and which do: "The U.S. does not have a real friend in this fight because it already has what it wants, instability. All parties are expendable as we clearly seen with U.S. airstrikes targeting ISIS in Iraq. Washington has friends in the Middle East, and that is Israel and the Gulf state dictatorships. Syria is back in the spotlight. Washington is determined to oust the Assad government and create a fragmented state as they did to Libya. By supporting Israel and its Gulf states allies including Turkey and Jordan militarily and economically, U.S. interests would be secure. In a sense, it is order out of chaos."

8.28.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Truly, all too often we know the terrain of the Earth, the stuff of stars, the delineation of atomic elements much better than we know our own hearts and minds; scary stuff there, no doubt, but not only worth a thought but also arguably a mystery the unraveling of which hinges our continued existence among the mud and muck and heavenly bodies and trillions of chunks of the cosmic stew.

Quote of the Day

"Before we can act to change a situation, however, we must know how it has arisen and evolved, and through what institutions it now operates. Engels’s ‘[We must] examine the historic succession of events from which the antagonism has sprung in order to discover in the conditions thus created the means of ending the conflict.’ For feminist revolution we shall need an analysis of the dynamics of sex war as comprehensive as the Marx-Engels analysis of class antagonism was for the economic revolution. More comprehensive. For we are dealing with a larger problem, with an oppression that goes back beyond recorded history to the animal kingdom itself." Shulamith Firestone: https://www.marxists.org/subject/women/authors/firestone-shulamith/dialectic-sex.htm.

This Day in History

One thousand five hundred and twenty-five years ago, Ostrogoth soldiers forced their way into Italy by defeating a Roman army in the Alps; thirteen hundred fifty-one years back, Korean armies forced Japanese invaders who were seeking to reassert their dominance of the Korean peninsula to withdraw; eight hundred twenty-five years before this point in time, Europeans of the Third Crusade began the Siege of Acre; four hundred ninety-three years back, Ottoman Turks attacked Belgrade; four hundred ninety years back, Mayan allies of Spain rebelled against the Spanish invaders in Guatemala; four hundred forty-nine years prior to the present late Summer days, Pedro Aviles led ships that made landfall near where they founded St. Augustine, Florida, the first lasting European settlement in the Continental U.S.; four hundred five years ago, ships under the command of Henry Hudson entered Delaware Bay; three hundred sixty-nine years ago, Dutch philosopher Hugo Grotius died; in a decisive victory, Parliamentary troops three hundred sixty-six years back accepted the surrender of Royalist forces, ending the siege of Colchester; two hundred sixty-five years ago, the infant who grew up to become Johann Wolfgang Goethe was born; a hundred eighty-four years ago, the Baltimore & Ohio steam engine, Tom Thumb, first raced a horse drawn cart cross-country; one hundred eight-one years ago, Queen Victoria assented to the abolition of slavery throughout most of the British Empire; one hundred sixty-nine years back, Scientific American published its first issue; one hundred eleven years ago, designer and author Frederick Law Olmstead died; a hundred and one years ago, Princess Wilhelmina opened the Peace Palace in Belgium, and the baby boy who grew into Canadian author and critic Robertson Davies came into the world; ninety-eight years ago, the infant male who became sociologist and thinker C. Wright Mills was born; ninety-seven years prior to the present pass, ten suffragettes endured arrest for the crime of demanding that women receive the right to vote; ninety years ago, Georgia citizens who sought to secede from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics rose against the Soviets; eighty-three years before the present, France and the U.S.S.R. signed a non-aggression pact; seventy-one years back, Danish citizens and workers conducted a general strike against Nazi occupiers; sixty-one years ago, Nippon Television broadcast the first Japanese TV show, replete with advertising; fifty-nine years prior to our time, Emmett Till was murdered for the fourteen year-old’s supposed temerity of looking at a White woman; fifty-seven years ago, meanwhile, Strom Thurmond of South Carolina led a Senate filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1957; fifty-one years back, in a turn toward humanity, Martin Luther King delivered a speech, “I Have a Dream,” to hundreds of thousands of listeners in the District of Columbia; fifty years prior to our moment, riots against police violence and White supremacy erupted in Philadelphia; twenty-seven years back, actor, director, and screenwriter John Huston died: twenty-four years back, Iraq annexed Kuwait; twenty-three years ago, the Soviet Union formally accepted Mikhail Gorbachev’s resignation; two years ago, activist feminist writer Shulamith Firestone died. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_28

"british intelligence" OR "french intelligence" OR "british spies" 1920’s ukraine OR georgia OR latvia OR caucasus = 252,000 citations


http://www.commondreams.org/hambaconeggs A mandatory read from Common Dreams, replete with thousands of comments, based on a lengthy and successful investigation of trollish spammers who seek to destroy credible conversation and useful political dialog and the possibility of human knowledge by posing as alter-egos of fascist hate-mongers and other embodiments of reactionary, ecocidal stupidity, which sorts of ‘commenters’ are now pretty much everywhere on the web, meaning that unmoderated or automatic comments are impossible if one wants to bar the Nazis, which means that affordable comments are highly unlikely.


NWU Statement on the Murder of James Foley by ISIS
08/20/2014 – 10:03pm

8.27.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Every human cousin here started out an infant: every God-fearing Christian; every Allah-loving Muslim; every Torah-toting Jew; every non-attached Buddhist; every reincarnated Hindi: every godless atheist; every patriot; every terrorist, and so on and so forth–what would need to happen to have the far-flung members of our fractious clan treat each other with mutual respect and compassionate regard? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Quote of the Day

"I do not laugh. I am quite straight-faced as I ask soberly:
‘But what on earth is whiteness that one should so desire it?’ Then always, somehow, some way, silently but clearly, I am given to understand that whiteness is the ownership of the earth forever and ever, Amen!
Now what is the effect on a man or a nation when it comes passionately to believe such an extraordinary dictum as this? That nations are coming to believe it is manifest daily. Wave on wave, each with increasing virulence, is dashing this new religion of whiteness on the shores of our time. Its first effects are funny: the strut of the Southerner, the arrogance of the Englishman amuck, the whoop of the hoodlum who vicariously leads your mob." W.E.B. Du Bois Darkwater; Chapter Two–"The Souls of White Folks:" http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/W._E._B._Du_Bois.

This Day in History

Sixteen hundred and four years before the here-and-now, the sacking of Rome by Visigoth invaders came to an end; three hundred twenty-five years ago, Russians and Chinese signed a treaty that lasted nearly two hundred years to regulate trade, establish borders, and accomplish the unheard of achievement of having Chinese recognition of a European power as an equal; two hundred forty four years ago, the baby who became German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel was born; two hundred twenty-one years ago, the royalist leadership of Toulon, France gave up their port to Spanish and British fleets, leading to the Siege of Toulon; two hundred one years back, Napoleon’s forces won a victory at the Battle of Dresden against superior numbers under the combined leadership of Austrian, Prussian, and Russian generals; brokered by England, a hundred eighty-six years ago, a conference in Buenos Aires proclaimed Uruguay independent of both Brazil and Argentina; a hundred eighty-two years ago, Sauk leader Black Hawk surrendered to U.S. forces, effectively ending Black Hawk’s War; one hundred fifty-five years prior to the present pass, prospectors confirmed the presence of petroleum and soon opened the first commercially viable oil well near Titusville, Pennsylvania; a hundred forty-three years back, the child who would grow up to write as Theodore Dreiser was born; a hundred six years ago, the baby boy who became Lyndon Baines Johnson came into the world; ninety-six years back, the only World War One battle in North America took place as U.S. Army troops skirmished with Mexican revolutionaries advised by German officers; ninety-three years ago, British imperial administrators installed King Faisal I in Iraq, the son of the leader of the 1916 Arab revolt against the Ottomans; ninety-two years back, Turkish armies invaded Greece in the first Greco-Turkish War; eight-seven years before just now, five Canadian women directed Canada’s Supreme Court to answer whether they were “persons” under the 1867 Act that created their nation; eighty-six years back, fifteen nations signed the Kellogg Briand Pact that outlawed war, the forty-six additional countries to do so not enough to stop World War Two’s percolating into mass collective suicide a decade hence; seventy-five years ago, the child who would publish his work as William Least-Heat Moon was born, and German engineers launched the first jet-powered aircraft, with a turbo-jet engine; fifty-eight years ago, Nobel Prize winning physicist and engineer of megadeath, Ernest Lawrence, died; fifty-two years back, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration launched Mariner Two toward Venus; fifty-one years back, historian, civil rights leader, and communist W.E.B. Du Bois died; forty-three years ago, photo-journalist Margaret Bourke-White died; thirty-two years ago, Armenian activists assassinated a Turkish military attaché in Ottowa, Canada, to protest the lack of acknowledgement of and apology for the Armenia genocide of the early Twentieth Century; twenty-three years back, European Union members recognized Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which had theretofore been part of the Soviet Union; eleven years ago, Russia, China, Japan, North and South Korea, and the United States met to seek a resolution to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_27

"labor union" "industrial unionism" organizing models inclusive OR inviting community analysis = 3,200 results.


http://www.pewinternet.org/files/2014/08/PI_Social-networks-and-debate_082614.pdf Social Media & the ‘Spiral of Silence,‘ a Pew Internet Project research report that shows how such platforms as Twitter and Facebook have tended not to draw forth discussion and debate, which represents a gigantic opportunity to a union of scrappy writers if they are willing to organize inclusively so as to garner the resources truly to discuss matters of substance ‘from all sides’ that support human rights and empowered working people.


Folks should recall that Sunday, September 7th will mark a lively and evocative At-Large-sponsored workshop in Columbia, South Carolina: Dramaturgy, Expanded Consciousness, & Organizing the Unorganized: Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed As a Methodology for Change, put together by NWU At-Large Steering Committee member Labarre Blackman and others


  • http://www.701cca.org The application and guidelines for an annual grant available to South Carolina artists under 40, with a $25 fee, which seems dubiously steep, to say the least, but which might represent both a direct and a networking opportunity for members in South Carolina.
  • http://www.mediabistro.com A Media Bistro listing of a TV/Cable news producer’s position, with only one or more years experience required.
  • Asheville Citizen Times – The Citizen-Times in Asheville, N.C., is looking for visual journalists to round out our news team. Must have video skills.
  • Oregon State University – Oregon State University’s (OSU) Extension and Experiment Station Communications unit (EESC) is accepting applications for the position of Director.
  • Agora Financial (Baltimore, MD) – Seeks Chinese speaking copywriter
  • Orlando Sentinel – The Orlando Sentinel is seeking a Reporter to join our team.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Another gem from Erik Wemple at WaPo, in which the blogger documents how an Indian media company is requiring its reporters and employees to give up any social media presence except for allowing the employer, The Times of India no less, to post for the employee, even after a worker leaves the firm, a report that also shows up, in significantly more detail, on Quartz–http://qz.com/253025/the-times-of-india-just-instituted-a-bizarre-twitter-and-facebook-policy/–all of which has to represent a potential opportunity for outreach and engagement by a union of scrappy writers: "At your request, while in employment, your personal user account may be converted into a company User Account. It is specifically agreed that on such conversion, all intellectual property rights in such converted User Account shall be vested in the company."

http://www.blueashpublishing.com/ A joint venture of BookBaby and Writers Digest, two organizations that a scrappy writer might trust as far as she can throw the corporate office building, Blue Ash Publishing, which holds itself out to be a complete salon of advice, platforms, print and e-book options, and more for writers with an interest in self-publishing.

http://protectvoting.com/?source=AFLCIO A ProtectVoting project gateway, thanks to the AFL-CIO, which invites passers-by to sign a petition to push back against attacks on voting rights in North Carolina.

http://russellchapman.wordpress.com/ A WordPress blog about the travails and persistence of Syrians who are seeking to rebuild their lives amid carnage and mayhem, much of it, of course, the result of machinations by the U.S.A.

http://www.shareable.net/blog/ A set of Shareable mini-profiles of fourteen online avenues to increased civic engagement, on the one hand, and an essay about one U.K. project and one Australian program that are using crowdfunding to support local-agriculture-and-food engagement:

http://blogs.loc.gov/law/ A Library of Congress review of its second Magna Carta program and the way that primary sources were the event’s highlight, of use to teachers and students and other writers.

http://www.propublica.org/ Pro Publica’s announcement of the organization’s nomination for thirteen different honors in the 2014 Online Journalism Awards.

www.cjr.org/the_kicker/4_issues_john_oliver_explained.php A Columbia Journalism Review essay that examines ‘four issues that John Oliver explained’ more usefully and understandably than did monopoly media’s traditional journalism outlets: "Oliver has seemingly aimed higher, often dissecting complex policy issues better than the TV programs he parodies. That’s not to say he breaks news or does original reporting, but rather that he often relays information in a clear, comedic way that’s easier for viewers to comprehend. Call it explainer comedy."

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/08/26/fall-and-rise-investigative-journalism A Common Dreams analysis of the paradoxes of contemporary investigative journalism, in which both the dire straits of corporate efforts and the burgeoning growth of grassroots upsurge are simultaneously true: "When I began researching my new book, Global Muckraking: 100 Years of Investigative Journalism from Around the World, I assumed that the good old days of investigative reporting were in the past. It was a surprise to learn just how much high quality work is still being done around the planet. The amount of data now available online, the ability of journalists to use the Internet to connect to one another and share information — a major aid in cross-border reporting

8.26.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Competition may make us stronger; cooperation makes us human.

Quote of the Day

"The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own. There is no other way." Betty Friedan: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Betty_Friedan.

This Day in History

Six hundred sixty-eight years ago, English military advances, in the form of the longbow, won out at the Battle of Crecy in the Hundred Years War; five hundred sixteen years prior to the present pass, Michelangelo received his commission to carve the Pieta; two hundred forty-six years back, James Cook embarked in the Endeavor to explore the world for England; two hundred twenty-five years ago, France’s revolutionary National Constituent Assembly issued the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen; two hundred twenty-three years ago, American John Fitch received a patent for a steamboat design; one hundred ninety-three years before the here-and-now, Argentina opened the University of Buenos Aires to students; one hundred forty-one years ago, the infant who grew up to invent the audion tube and lay the foundation for amplified audio was born and named Lee de Forest; a hundred four years prior to this day, the infant who grew to renown as William James, philosopher and psychologist, entered the world; ninety-four years ago, women first officially could vote, as the Nineteenth Amendment came into force; eighty-nine years back, the boy baby who became award winning Ukrainian-Russian director and screenwriter Pyotr Todorovsky was born; seventy-two years before this moment, Germans were rounding up Jews in what is now Western Ukraine to execute if they were young or sick and to send to death camps otherwise; forty-four years back, a Women’s Strike for Equality took place under the leadership of feminist Betty Friedan; thirty years ago, Roger Baldwin, trade-unionist and cofounder of the American Civil Liberties Union, died; thirty-seven years ago, Quebec’s legislature approved a resolution that declared French the province’s primary language; twelve years prior to the present, one in a series of Earth Summit’s—addressing issues of sustainability and environmental crisis and more—took place in Johannesburg, South Africa; five years ago, U.S. journalist Dominick Dunne died. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_26

writing OR speaking media mediation power OR capacity "being human" OR "human nature" = 16 Million citations.


http://hnn.us/article/156679 Just an amazing article from the History News Network, which demonstrates dispositively the potency of honest historical narrative, in the event a placing in context of the police violence in Ferguson that followed on the heels of an officer’s murder of Michael Brown: "Yet the reality is that these problems between police and community run far deeper than that. The truth, in fact, is that abuse and violence have been central elements in the policing of urban areas for at least the better part of a century. Eighty-five years ago, in 1929, when the federal government commissioned a study of law enforcement lawlessness after a decade of police graft and abuse all over the country, one of the most shocking portions of their report was a part documenting the commonality of police abuses that spilled over into things more adequately termed torture. As the Commission documented, in urban police stations around the country, reports proliferated of officers banging rubber hoses across suspects’ abdomens, placing boxes over their heads and filling them with tear gas, applying acid to genitals, depriving prisoners of sleep, hanging them upside down by their ankles, beating them with poles to the point of eyeball dislocation and blindness, and so on. The year that report was commissioned (it wouldn’t be released until 1931), a woman writing to the Chicago Defender who lived just behind a South Side Chicago police station in a heavily-black neighborhood pleaded that she was nearly being driven toward a ‘nervous breakdown from hearing those poor prisoners crying like children’ as police officers split lips, knocked out teeth, and committed any number of other abusive acts."


  • http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/schedule/ Library of Congress’ multidimensional schedule for this Saturday’s National Book Festival in Washington, covering all genres and types of literary output.
  • http://dssg.io/ A portal to the Data Science for Social Good initiative at the University of Chicago.
  • http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/ A National Science Foundation announcement about funding opportunities for the seed-money phase of Small Business Development Grants, which can lead to prototype funding down the pike, all of which requires writers who can turn numbers and concepts into words, of course.
  • \http://www.nsf.gov/pubs A National Science Foundation conveyance concerning a Memorandum of Understanding between U.S. and Israeli science authorities about funding to foster collaborations between researchers, practitioners, and firms in the two nations.
  • Atlanta GA – 30 year old software company in Sandy Springs seeks entry level technical writer & customer service representative.
  • Atlanta, GA – Lanier Parking Solutions has an immediate need for a detail oriented and organized business writer to serve as a Proposal Writer.
  • Rediscover New England – Rediscover New England, a newly-formed history magazine, seeks experienced freelance writers for regular contribution. We are currently seeking content specific to the Seacoast Region of New Hampshire.
  • Portsmouth, NH – Consumer Focus™ is looking for a Content Intern to assist in the development of print and web marketing materials for client and company promotions.
  • New Hampshire- I need a great writer to write a summary of 4-5 pages,


  • http://www.truth-out.org/news/item A TruthOut interview with Gar Alperovitz, whose work, covering many decades–, on the amoral and self-serving use of nuclear weapons in the 1940’s and his more recent efforts as a political economist have laid crucial groundwork for common understanding and community action.
  • http://www.collegemediamatters.com A College Media Matters compilation of University media homepages, with which scrappy writers might consider making network connections and more.
  • http://www.radiation.org/ A portal to Dr. Joseph Mangano’s Radiation and Public Health Project, which, for writers who are not too elitist to consider social and health activists as colleagues-in-the-scripts-of-life, represents both an important issue to consider and an awesome opportunity for networking.
  • http://www.tikkun.org/ A Tikkun crossposting of a research report from New America Media about the underlying social crisis that affects towns like Ferguson, Missouri and guarantees that, without organized empowerment of working people and the manifestation of this power in social transformation, the violence and mayhem will continue to erupt: "In the zip code that encompasses Ferguson, half (49 percent) of homes were underwater in 2013, meaning the home’s market value was below the mortgage’s outstanding balance. This condition (also called ‘negative equity’) is often a first step toward loan default or foreclosure, according to the recent report, “Underwater America,”from the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley. Mortgage lenders targeted predominantly black and Hispanic areas for the highest-risk, highest-cost types of mortgage loans, such as adjustable-rate mortgages and loans with high prepayment penalties. This led to higher-than-average default rates, according to the Housing Commission established by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C."
  • http://diversity.berkeley.edu/underwater-america-report An entryway to Berkeley’s Haas Institute, whose subheading is "For a Fair & Inclusive Society," in this instance a report, Underwater America, which demonstrates that–all talk of housing recovery aside–a substantial plurality of American neighborhoods are metaphorically and actually in the toilet.
  • http://www.tikkun.org/ A passionate, albeit ‘merely liberal,’ defense of women’s rights by a Tikkun essayist whose staunch defense of social equality–whatever the nature of nature, so to speak–is unequivocal and powerful: "But here’s my question: so what if the brain turns out to be gendered? Do those who search for brain differences imagine that specific, concrete variations in behavior, policy, or social opportunity will automatically follow from them? If so, they will be disappointed. Unless that perhaps to-be-discovered organic difference comes with an owner’s manual, its meaning will remain wide open to interpretation. And that undeniable truth must lead to precisely the same conclusion as the opposite finding: that there are no organic differences in male and female brains. It is incumbent on society to offer exactly the same range of opportunity and liberty – the same unfettered human rights – to men and women, because only absolute social equality will allow individuals and communities the full scope of possibility which is our birthright (however often it has been denied)."
  • http://www.loc.gov/rr Library of Congress’ Hispanic Reading Room’s audio archive, a trove for a scrappy union of writers that has a vision that includes communities and writers whose first languages–or favorite languages–are other than English.


  • https://www.aclu.org/blog/ An American Civil Liberties Union blog that analyzes the ways that free speech is under attack and the evidence of this assault, from Ferguson to anywhere else in the U.S. or the world, especially in relation to working journalists who are trying to do their job, which is to find out and report what’s really happening: "Widespread government surveillance, in addition to imperiling the privacy rights of millions of Americans, has also severely undermined the freedom of the press. A recent ACLU-Human Rights Watch report shows that many journalists have found information and sources increasingly hard to come by. To make matters more burdensome, they’ve had to resort to elaborate techniques to keep their communications secret. The result? We get less information about what our government is doing in our name."
  • http://hechingerreport.org/ A crossposting from Slate by the Hechinger Report, about the increasing dependence of schools on digital technology and how a greater focus on reading and writing might yield more salubrious results, an issue about which a union of scrappy writers might consider developing both opinions and best-practices recommendations: "The printed word is a technology, too, Greenfield notes, albeit one that is several thousand years older than the others. It is unsurpassed at inducing its users to take the perspective of another, to enter inside the thoughts of authors or their characters. Written language encourages reflection — there’s no risk that the reader will lose her purchase on fast-moving action if she pauses to think — and builds vocabulary and content knowledge, which in turn enable ever more fluent reading and ever more sophisticated comprehension."
  • http://www.niemanlab.org/ A Nieman Journalism Lab analysis of the ‘newsonomics’ of Gannet Enterprises’ newest ‘Newsroom of the Future’ initiative, which the assessment here puts in the context of both the push of the company’s past snafus and the pull of current print media issues: "The list of job descriptions (courtesy Jim Romenesko) now being imposed in five Gannett newsrooms — The Tennesseean in Nashville, The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, The Greenville News in South Carolina, The Pensacola News Journal in Florida, and The Asheville Citizen-Times in North Carolina — are in many ways commonsensical, including content coaches, community engagement editors, and producers. In total, there are 16 job descriptions that are intended to be used company-wide, and to connect with a new set of metrics, including traffic and other digital countables."
  • http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases A transcript of the speech of the Republican General Counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, which, go figure, calls any attempt to facilitate cities’ insistence on their right to have Internet access that is optimal and affordable unconstitutional, which is the position, of course, of the GOP.
  • \http://www.salon.com A critique of Amazon and its self-righteous campaign in favor of lower e-book prices, albeit many complexities attend this conversation, presented by Salon, in such a fashion as to tell the tale of this conflict’s development thoroughly and yet incisively while revealing Amazon’s miscues and insularity: "To top it all off this month, the retailer posted an open letter at the url for something called Readers United. Bitingly sarcastic, the letter indicted the ‘literary establishment’ for resisting Amazon’s efforts to set e-book prices at $9.99, invoking George Orwell as one such defender of the establishment, noting that in a 1936 article Orwell called on publishers to ‘suppress paperback books.’ Oh, Goofus! The Orwell quote Amazon used was promptly revealed to have been taken out of context, and on top of that reminded many observers of an earlier scandal in which Kindle owners who’d bought Orwell’s ‘1984’ had their copies erased from their devices. Contrary to Amazon’s assertion, Orwell was in fact endorsing paperbacks. His literary executor sent a letter to the New York Times likening Amazon’s letter to the ‘doublespeak’ employed by the totalitarian Ministry of Truth in ‘1984.’"
  • http://digiday.com/brands/brands-blogs-dont-suck/ A lovely little DigiDay posting, in the form of four mini-case studies about corporate blogs that aren’t horrible, a presentation that any writer–confronted by occasional assignments or situations that seem to require divine intervention, might appreciate.
  • http://benton.org/node A Benton.org briefing about an American Public Media note that points out the way that political advertising is often a significant source of revenue for different community media, especially print, a finding that ought to bring up questions in the minds of scrappy writers about how widely they ought to cast their organizational net, and how broadly they want to conceive their social and political mandate.
  • http://www.theatlantic.com Another ‘merely liberal’ commentary, powerfully argued and persuasive, that takes the reader from grappling with the most egregious sorts of ‘free expression’ to questions of censorship, economic concentration, and the role of speech and assembly in community power, not to mention freedom: "So why am I so uncomfortable with this(removal of Foley’s decapitation)? Because it’s not clear what’s too vile to host. And, even more, because Twitter and YouTube are among a tiny group of giant companies with greater and greater power—and less and less accountability—over what we read, hear, and watch online. Who gave them this power? We did. And if we don’t take back what we’ve given away—and what’s being taken away—we’ll deserve what we get: a concentration of media power that will damage, if not eviscerate, our tradition of free expression. …This is a pivotal time for our communications ecosystem. As we cede control to governments and corporations—and as they take it away from us—we are risking a most fundamental liberty, the ability to freely speak and assemble. Let’s not trade our freedom for convenience."
  • http://energycommerce.house.gov Arguably a central inquiry from the Republicans on the House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee, especially since they will not like many of our answers, a process of reflection and response that will only be possible to a union of scrappy writers inclusive enough to grow much larger than a simple aggregation of freelancers who mainly want more money.
  • http://blogs.loc.gov/catbird A sublime piece of reporting from Library of Congress’ Catbird blog, which examines matters of literature and poetry, in this case providing readers with obituaries of two prominent Brazilian writers whose work most Americans will not know, but whose contributions are eminently worthy of attention.
  • http://benton.org/node/ Benton.org‘s and Kevin Taglang’s response to this call, in an incisive and powerful presentation of historical context and principles of fundamental media justice: "As regular Benton readers are well aware, universal service is a cornerstone of the law that established the FCC, the Communications Act of 1934, and is the principle that all Americans should have access to communications services. Traditionally, universal service policies have helped make telephone service ubiquitous, even in remote rural areas. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 expanded the traditional goal of universal service to include increased access to both telecommunications and advanced services — such as high-speed Internet — for all consumers at just, reasonable and affordable rates. The 1996 Act established principles for universal service that specifically focused on increasing access to evolving services for consumers living in rural and insular areas, and for consumers with low-incomes. Additional principles called for increased access to high-speed Internet in the nation’s schools, libraries and rural health care facilities. The FCC established four programs within the Universal Service Fund to implement the statute."
  • http://www.theeuropean-magazine.com An inspiring interview in The European with Maria Popova, the blogger of BrainPickings, thanks to Media REDEF, which evokes the love of literature and thought and meaning that drive all scripts, all poems, all literature and text that is more developed than the instructional manual: "The European: You call ‘Brain Pickings’ a ‘human-powered discovery engine for interestingness.’ What’s your definition of ‘interestingness’? Popova: Anything that moves me and impresses upon me some fragment of truth that leaves me different, even slightly altered and more enriched – intellectually, creatively, and spiritually.

The European: Do you think that that concept has changed in the digital age?
Popova: Not at all! What has changed is that we’ve conflated the amusing (cat slideshows! silly quizzes!) with the interesting, the temporary diversion with the deeper dimension of personal growth. The most ‘interesting’ ideas are invariably timeless."


  • http://www.mediapost.com/ A briefing from Media Post about a research survey that concludes that media habits still make television the number one mediated activity, at just under a quarter of the total, with the U.S.’s daily appetite close to double the international average and Chinese viewers least likely to watch the box.http://justsecurity.org/ A Just Security offering that concludes, using its own research and material recently available through The Intercept, that the ‘metadata of U.S. telephony,’ possible as much as every call we make, is not in fact subject to secure ‘minimization,’ that it can in fact be visible or audible to clever intelligence and law enforcement investigations.
  • http://www.commondreams.org/ The Common Dreams assessment of the ICREACH program, which has allowed a ‘Google-like’ access to close to one trillion streams of data from phone calls from U.S. and foreign users to each other and domestically, all available to law enforcement and government agents who are part of the system.
  • http://www.theverge.com A summary–and access to the entire process–of an interview with two thirty year developers of the ‘virtual reality’ ethos, who, despite the shortcomings of technical performance since the 1980’s, continue to maintain that the future of Virtually Real Deals is here, as attested by documentary work that explores the use of VR in environmental science and physiology, as well as by artistic conceptualization of the near future, all of which is taking place in the context of FaceBook’s purchase of Oculus Technologies, which may lead to an upsurge in virtualization like never before seen.
  • http://www.marketplace.org A Marketplace profile and news context report about the extensive and growing reach of big data, in the form of a look at the career of a corporate data scientist who joined Barack Obama’s election campaign as a ‘chief data scientists’ and ended up moving from their to a ‘social good’ program at University of Chicago.
  • http://benton.org A Benton.org summary of a Reuters report of Al Jazeera America’s rejection of the argument of a recent Al Gore complaint against the network, alleging facts that sound much like an ensuing counterclaim and in any event promising a nasty fight.
  • http://online.wsj.com A Wall Street Journal article that addresses North Carolina’s trimming its heretofore quite generous tax credits to film companies, which last year cost the State $61 million, as it reimbursed the moviemakers for a portion of expenses even if they did not pay State taxes.
  • http://benton.org/ A Benton.org precis of a Multichannel News piece about the call by Public Knowledge and others to extend the comment deadline on AT&T’s and DirectTV’s merger, which the company’s stridently opposed.
  • http://transition.fcc.gov A Federal Communications Commission Public Notice about action in regard to high charges that Inmate Calling Services exact from families of the incarcerated and prisoners themselves, in the event also making payments to prisons, States, and other operators of the prison system, which correlated to much higher rates.
  • http://www.psmag.com A review of a recently developed reality TV show, American Greed, that flows from a shtick that was part of Bowling for Columbine, chasing so-called white-collar criminals, presented by Pacific Standard via MediaREDEF, and thereby providing a basis for financial and economic knowledge: "AMERICAN GREED PROVIDES THE public with financial education in a time when the public could use more of it. Ponzi King Bernie Madoff may be behind bars, but others like him are out there rehearsing their next PowerPoint presentation. ‘Basically, what we’re hoping to do is to give investors pause,’ says Schaeffer. ‘When you hear something that seems too good to be true, you really have to dig down and do the research. A lot of times these so-called secret deals are scams.’"
  • http://digiday.com/brands/khan-academys-takes-branding-leap/ A DigiDay briefing that–whether scammish or brilliant, open or hidden in its agenda–brings up all manner of issues about learning and society and business–in this case Khan Academy and its partner, Comcast–that a scrappy union of writers had better be willing to countenance.
  • http://www.marinsoftware.com A White Paper by a marketing-software firm that seeks to contextualize–no doubt in a way that plugs its products–some of the thorny issues that the contemporary advertising expenditure environment presents, a subject that affects writers and citizens in just countless ways.


Michael Brown Murder

  • http://thehill.com/homenews A briefing from The Hill in which Attorney General Holder’s recent announcements of investigations of the Ferguson police are in the spotlight, in which Holder promises that the focus of the queries will be whether the local authorities violated civil rights.
  • http://www.opednews.com/articles An opinion essay from the site editor of OpEd News that powerfully and eloquently rejects the notion that ‘kids should respect authority,’ which is different from wisdom or leadership or half a dozen other valuable social attributes that are worthy of deference, of respect, all especially relevant in the context of murder and mayhem from on high in Ferguson, Missouri: "(W)e live in a world where morality is threatened and often missing, where power is abused and government and laws which benefit non-human interests over humans are passed and enforced. Why would you respect such authority, when the authority is made to protect corporations with major psychopathic characteristics, which have no interest in the needs of humans, outside of keeping them viable as customers? Fear authority, be wary of authority, expect abuse and exploitation of authority, yes. But those are different from respect.

    Respect authority? Like the criminal, murdering cops in Ferguson MO? They should and do inspire fear, but also contempt, not respect."


A New Yorker investigation and analysis of the American Israel Political Action Committee, the influence of which maintains a firm grip on its Congressional ‘target audience,’ but has been fading among the general public–including Jewish citizens–and diminishing in particular in the executive branch: "Even before the fighting escalated, the United States, Israel’s closest ally, had made little secret of its frustration with the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. ‘How will it have peace if it is unwilling to delineate a border, end the occupation, and allow for Palestinian sovereignty, security, and dignity?’ Philip Gordon, the White House coördinator for the Middle East, said in early July. ‘It cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely. Doing so is not only wrong but a recipe for resentment and recurring instability.’ Although the Administration repeatedly reaffirmed its support for Israel, it was clearly uncomfortable with the scale of Israel’s aggression. AIPAC did not share this unease; it endorsed a Senate resolution in support of Israel’s ‘right to defend its citizens,’ which had seventy-nine co-sponsors and passed without a word of dissent."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=share&v=hHAmAULY23U&app=desktop A Palestinian speaker’s presentation recently in North Carolina, passionate and articulate, about the liberation of Palestine that is for her and others the sine qua non of any real expression of peace: "The word peace is now translated for my community as ‘we want to die silently,’ and we don’t want to die silently; we have a rather stranger request. We want to live."


  • http://www.marketplace.org/topics A Marketplace briefing about a California bill that–along with twenty-two other states–extends the reach of community colleges, in California’s case by giving them the capacity to issue Bachelor’s Degrees in high-demand areas that do not compete with ‘traditional’ liberal arts institutions.
  • hechingerreport.org / A Hechinger Report about the phenomenon of students who enroll in double-dealing, marginal colleges that provide them with little chance of ever improving their lot with the ‘education’ that they receive, at a cost and indebtedness that is exorbitant, something that, authoritative voices indicate, self-aware pupils can avoid.

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/ A breaking news report from The Hill that would be ironic but for what is at stake, a documentation of the U.S. wariness about bombing one of its clients–Islamic State in Iraq & Syria–on the same territory where it has recently bombed Syrian government positions to help ISIS advance its agenda.

http://ecowatch.com/2014/08/25/thyroid-cancer-fukushima/ An EcoWatch assessment of recent revelation about massively elevated rates of thyroid cancer in the young people likely exposed to Fukushima radiation, a result congruent with such exposure, but which Japanese officials in both health and energy deny has a relation to the nuclear accident three years ago: "’The 104 cases either confirmed or very likely to be confirmed is far greater than the expected number of seven for a population of children that size over a three year period. Thyroid cancer is only one of the many diseases whose risk increases after a meltdown, and researchers must conduct studies, both in Japan and other affected nations.’ The full extent of the risk from exposure to very high levels of radiation exposure is unknown. The high level of secrecy and denial over those impacts followed both the Chernobyl meltdown and the 1979 Three Mile Island meltdown in Pennsylvania made the true human cost of the disasters hard to map."


  • http://consortiumnews.com A deeply disturbing analysis by Robert Parry at Consortium News about the distortion and bias, verging on outright lying, that have characterized Times coverage of Ukraine, in the event examining a recent ‘parading’ of prisoners by rebels as execrable, while reporting nothing about Nazi-led stormtroopers who are murdering civilians at the behest of Kiev, or the indiscriminate assault on urban areas that has cost at least a couple thousand civilian lives: "Just as the deaths of those early demonstrators were played up by the Times – and even spun to create a more black-and-white narrative – the more recent deaths of thousands of ethnic Russians have been played down. And, the anger of eastern Ukrainians over the brutal assaults on their cities – as displayed in Sunday’s Donetsk demonstration – is then used by the Times to, in effect, justify Kiev’s continued ‘anti-terrorist’ operation. In other words, it seems that the Times places a greater value on the lives of the Maidan demonstrators in Kiev than the ethnic Russians in the east. The Times also displayed this bias after dozens of ethnic Russian protesters were killed by arson and other violence in Ukraine’s southern port city of Odessa on May 2. The victims had taken refuge in a trade union building after a clash with a pro-Kiev mob."
  • http://www.france24.com Breaking news from France24, in the form of a briefing of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s dissolution of the country’s legislature and calling for a vote at the end of October, due in part to his belief that some representatives supported the rebels in Eastern Ukraine.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp A Japan Times update that reveals that the recently deceased head of operations at Fukushima during the meltdown–dead of esophogeal cancer–gave 28 hours of interviews on the crisis, transcripts of which will soon be available to the press and the public.

Argentine Loan

  • http://www.commondreams.org A masterful Common Dreams news analysis that delves the history and political economy of what is transpiring in Argentina, which continues to resist U.S. and international pressure, and shows the deep roots of such schemes and plutocratic dreams: "[T]he idea would be to transform our public debt default into direct equity investment in which creditors can become land owners where they can develop industrial, agricultural and real estate projects. . . . There could be surprising candidates for this idea: during the Alfonsin Administration, the Japanese studied an investment master plan in Argentine land in order to promote emigration. The proposal was also considered in Israel. Salbuchi notes that ceding Patagonia from Argentina was first suggested in 1896 by Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement, as a second settlement for that movement."
  • http://rt.com/op-edge/179772-sovereign-debt-for-territory/ An RT Argentinian analyst’s presentation, even more richly historical and nuanced, that shows the tentacles of international finance in relation to strangling the life and blood from the soil of nations such as Argentina: "Perón was hated for his insistence on not indebting Argentina with the mega-bankers: in 1946 he rejected joining the International Monetary Fund (IMF); in 1953 he fully paid off all of Argentina’s sovereign debt. So, once the mega-bankers got rid of him in 1956, they shoved Argentina into the IMF and created the ‘Paris Club’ to engineer decades-worth of sovereign debt for vanquished Argentina, something they’ve been doing until today. But each sovereign-debt crisis cycle became shorter, more virulent and more toxic. "

http://fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/RS21049.pdf? A Congressional Research Service Report that, but for the intervention of the Federation of American Scientists, would be unavailable online to U.S. citizens, which would be particularly unfortunate in this case, since the subject matter concerns what appears to be our government’s preparing to label a substantial portion of Latin America as prone to ‘terrorism’ for nations and citizens there having a different view of Iran from the U.S.

Organized Forgetting

http://www.truth-out.org An excerpt from Henry Giroux’s newest monograph, The Violence of Organized Forgetting: Thinking Beyond America’s Disimagination Machine, made available thanks to TruthOut, that presents the way that information overload, hidden power networks, and historical ignorance combine to facilitate a morass of repression and authoritarian skulduggery: "Decontextualized ideas and issues coupled with an overflow of information produced by new electronic media make it more difficult to create coherent narratives that offer historical understanding, relational connections, and developmental sequences. The fragmentation of ideas and corresponding cascade of information reinforce new modes of depoliticization and authoritarianism."

Prison Industrial Complex

http://www.dallasnews.com A gripping and horrifying opinion brief from the Dallas Morning News about a Texan who, after twenty-five years in prison for a killing that not only did he not commit but which his prosecutors also knew he did not commit, is free to demand that such egregious trampling of human rights receive criminal sanctions and that citizens reclaim the criminal law generally, though even such powerful moves will not restore the lives of those murdered by states, like Texas his own Texas and other jurisdictions such as Georgia, that execute innocent victims of the criminal injustice mechanisms that rule America today: "Recently, the Innocence Project filed a grievance with the State Bar of Texas chief disciplinary counsel’s office alleging that Willingham’s prosecutor made a “secret deal” with a jailhouse snitch, then intentionally presented false testimony and has aggressively tried to cover up these actions for over two decades. Of course, if the allegations are proved to be true, the prosecutor, like the prosecutor in my case, should be stripped of his law license. However, given the gravity of what has occurred, professional discipline alone is wholly inadequate. Whether as a citizen you oppose or support capital punishment, Willingham’s case proves to me that the risk of executing an innocent person has become a reality. Our nation is now faced with an important moral challenge. How we handle that challenge is critical. If our civil rights are meaningful to all classes of citizens, we must demand accountability from those who deprive us of those rights."


  • http://www.truth-out.org A TruthOut Graphic Journalism profferal, which documents the ways that Bill Gates’ free-market hype passes itself off as ‘educational reform,’ when what it is doing is breaking unions, attacking teachers, and cheating students of a system that serves them and their communities.
  • http://hechingerreport.org/ A Hechinger Report the deep reading of which reveals some of the convolutions that today’s socioeconomic relations induce, in which U.S. colleges are turning to German advisers and the firms that produce documentation such as HR are proponents of this European approach: "Ninety-six percent of chief academic officers from colleges and universities say their institutions are preparing college graduates for work, but only 11 percent of business leaders say they’re getting what they need, the Gallup polling organization found in a survey for the Lumina Foundation. (Lumina is among the funders of The Hechinger Report, which produced this story.) About 30 companies and 30 community and private colleges are turning to the Germans, embassy spokesman Markus Knauf said. Most of the programs are still in the planning stages, though a few are under way. In addition to Indiana, they’re in California, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. ‘Why not? Different methods of education can be very effective,’ said Debra Kerrigan, dean of workforce training and continuing education at Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, which has teamed up with a local plant of the Swiss equipment manufacturing company Bühler to deliver the classroom portion of the German-style apprenticeship-and-classroom combination."

http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42066.pdf? A Congressional Research Service Report about the growing prevalence of synthetic drugs, government research available to citizens only through the intervention of the the Federation of American Scientists.

Manhattan Project
http://www.osti.gov/includes/opennet A just-released seventy-odd year old report, volume fourteen in a series, that until recently was top-secret, about the security operations of the U.S. during the Manhattan Project, which in multiple cases was less than opaque to the view of the curious apparently, along with Volume One in the same series: http://fas.org/sgp/library/mdhist-vol14.pdf.

Psychology and Unions

http://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=32124 A Stanford Alumni profile of a psychologist whose work–on success, failure, mindset, and training persistence–provides loads of ‘food for thought’ and models to try in relation to such intractable problems as ‘growing little unions’ into big and powerful organizations: "Through a series of exercises, the experimenters trained half the students to chalk up their errors to insufficient effort, and encouraged them to keep going. Those children learned to persist in the face of failure—and to succeed. The control group showed no improvement at all, continuing to fall apart quickly and to recover slowly. These findings, says Dweck, ‘really supported the idea that the attributions were a key ingredient driving the helpless and mastery-oriented patterns.’ Her 1975 article on the topic has become one of the most widely cited in contemporary psychology."


A Thought for the Day

The complex convolutions of contemporary social crises mandate complete, forthright, & inclusive conversations, freewheeling debates that foster popular empowerment & enlightenment, which in turn yield potent, democratic action; unfortunately for human prospects, all inclusive, discursive movements elicit often fierce & official resistance: hypocritical ‘gatekeepers,’ polite hosts, & timid citizens mainly either proscribe or avoid any discussion which threatens to impinge on sensitive issues that are critical to human survival—humanity’s epitaph might soon enough read, “They could have solved their problems, but didn’t care to talk about them.”

Quote of the Day

"Here am I who have written on all sorts of subjects calculated to excite hostility, moral, political, and religious, and yet I have no enemies — except, indeed, all the Whigs, all the Tories, and all the Christians." David Hume: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/David_Hume.

This Day in History

One thousand, nine hundred and thirty-seven years back, Roman historian Pliny-the-elder died; four hundred five years back, Galileo Galillei demonstrated his telescope for the first time to legislators in Venice; two hundred thirty-eight years ago, English thinker David Hume died; one hundred eighty-nine years back, Uruguay declared independence from Brazil; one hundred eight-six years ago, the baby boy who would become Bret Harte, American author of both Westerns and poetry, came into the world; one hundred thirty-seven years back, English scientist Michael Faraday died; one hundred thirty-one years prior to the here-and-now, Vietnam and France signed a treaty that declared a French protectorate over Annam and Tonkin; a hundred twenty years ago, a Japanese scientist discovered the microbe responsible for Bubonic Plague and published his discovery in the British journal, The Lancet; one hundred fourteen years ago, German philosopher and pundit Friedrich Nietzsche died; a hundred six years back, French physicist Henri Becquerel died; one hundred two years ago, the Chinese Nationalist Party Kuomintang came into existence; one hundred years ago, German soldiers deliberately attacked the Catholic University Library in Leuven, Belgium(?), destroying hundreds of thousands of one-of-a-kind ancient volumes and manuscripts; ninety-eight years before this moment, the U.S. National Park Service came into being; ninety-four years ago, the early Soviet attempt to take over part of Poland ended in the Red Army’s defeat at Warsaw; ninety-three years back, West Virginia miners asserted their rights against local authorities and mine-company ‘police’ in the first skirmishes of the Battle of Blair Mountain; sixty-five years back, the boy infants who were to grow into Kiss sensation Gene Simmons and United Kingdom literary genius Martin Amis were both born; seventy-five years before the present pass, England and Poland declared an alliance of mutual protection, which would in less than ten days see the beginning of World War Two; seventy years back, partisans and allied soldiers completed the liberation of Paris; sixty-nine years ago, Chinese Communists assassinated U.S. Office of Strategic Services agent John Birch, whose eponymous society now espouses imperialist reaction as a rational course for U.S. policy; in its first televised hearings, sixty-six years back, the House Un-American Activities Committee confronted Alger Hiss with Whitaker Chambers en route to the former Assistant Secretary of State’s perjury conviction; sixty-four years prior to the current state of affairs, the country’s first ReDemoPubliCratiCan President, Harry Truman, ordered the Army to seize control of the nation’s railroads in order to avert and break a threatened strike; fifty-three years back, after sharp unrest in part fostered by U.S. interests, the President of Brazil resigned, laying the basis for upheaval that led two and a half years later to a military coup; thirty years ago, thinker and storyteller Gore Vidal died; twenty-three years ago, Linus Torvalds released the first version of open-source operating system Linux, and the siege of Vukovar began in what ended up being the dissolution of Yugoslavia; seventeen years ago, a former premier of East Germany faced a conviction for a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy at the Berlin Wall, and former Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell died; five years ago, Ted Kennedy died; two years back, spacecraft Voyager One entered interstellar space, the first human artifact to reach so far from home.


credibility media process analysis evidence consciousness "lack of public awareness" OR ignorance = 78.7 Million results.


http://www.globalresearch.ca/ A Global Research summary and assessment of the Russian Aggression Prevention Act, a bill from the U.S. Senate, and what its passage could portend for a world poised on the edge of upper-crust-enforced mass collective suicide: "Thus, in the eyes of Russia, the requirement to ‘withdraw from Crimea’ amounts to a US demand that Russia surrender Russian territory. Putin has just taken the entire Russian Duma (the Russian House of Representatives) to Crimea, to address them there and strongly make the point that there will be no withdrawal from Crimea. RAPA, however, stipulates that the US does not recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea, and creates sanctions and legal penalties for anyone who does. RAPA therefore provides both military and political support for Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s stated goat that Ukraine will retake Crimea."


  • http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime A New York Daily News briefing, richly supplied with photos, of the march on Staten Island against the NYPD’s killing of Eric Garner, an outpouring of outrage at which, whatever the lack of engagement from trade unionists in Ferguson, witnessed a substantial contingent of NWU member on the streets in solidarity with friends and family and citizens.
  • https://www.nwu.org/nwu-statement-murder-james-foley-isis The National NWU’s eloquent statement in solidarity with the grotesquely murdered James Foley, a martyr to seeking knowledge.



  • http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com/ A provocative look at the Common Core State Standards Initiative, supported by the likes of Bill Gates and Jeb Bush, but with a predetermined, behind-the-scenes agenda–replete with Federal and Gates Foundation cash–that never even pretended to adopt a community engagement model or strategy, which might make one wonder, and even question, what the real impetus here is, all available as a result of Forbidden Knowledge TV, at the behest of the Home School Legal Defense Association.
  • http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com/ A Forbidden Knowledge TV posting of New World Next Week, a largely Libertarian but highly creative, factual, and pointed review of weekly events–Ferguson’s appearance as an excuse for police-state tactics; California’s irresponsible dispensing of water resources, in such a fashion as to cause resource conflicts and mayhem; and Portland’s attempts to foster ‘responsible’ investments, which its administrators have used as a pretext for threatening such moves, all of which ought to suggest both models and networks that could interest a scrappy union of writers.
  • http://www.popularresistance.org/ A Popular Resistance posting of a petition and an analysis of calls for regional FCC hearings across the U.S. that guarantee people’s access to Commissioners’ ears and minds, where the grassroots can speak and have some certainty that their voices will not drown in a sea of orchestrated ‘VC’-&-‘Silicon Valley’ propaganda: "Tom Wheeler has been saying many of the right things, but his proposal does the opposite of his rhetoric. We’ve been asking whether or not Tom Wheeler gets it or is he intentionally trying to mislead the public. Public hearings will help push Wheeler to listen to people who explain how his proposal will break the Internet. All of the commissioners need to hear from the people and take our views seriously. One way to do that is for the FCC Commission to hold hearings across the country where people can speak face-to-face with the commission."
  • http://ourfuture.org/20140821 A Campaign for America’s Future blog that notes how European leaders as establishment-oriented as Francoise Hollande and Angela Merkel are conceding that ‘belt-tightening’ not only hasn’t worked but has also been significantly counterproductive in creating jobs, stabilizing or expanding investment, and so forth, the upshot of which is that a community like Ferguson, Missouri, not Jackson Hole, Wyoming ought to be the locus for the Fed’s annual confab: "These voices should weigh heavily in the minds of the economic leaders in Jackson Hole. But even more weight should be given to the voices of the residents of Ferguson, and today a group of activists organized by the Center for Popular Democracy will be at Jackson Hole to help make that happen. While a police officer’s bullet was the spark, the agonies and frustrations rooted in a lack of jobs and economic opportunity provided much of the fuel for the flames. Dousing those flames, repairing the damage and eliminating the conditions that would breed more fires in the future means working toward a full employment economy. Neither the Fed nor our political leaders can be allowed to change their focus from ensuring that every person who wants a job can find one."
  • http://time.com/3132635/ One in a series of populist outpourings of intelligence and pointed rhetorical flair from Kareem Abdul Jabbar, whose complex sentences are nearly as telling as his hook shot once was, in this case about the ‘class war’ that is at the roots of what happens in relation to community-police relations and almost everything else: "I’m not saying the protests in Ferguson aren’t justified—they are. In fact, we need more protests across the country. Where’s our Kent State? What will it take to mobilize 4 million students in peaceful protest? Because that’s what it will take to evoke actual change. The middle class has to join the poor and whites have to join African-Americans in mass demonstrations, in ousting corrupt politicians, in boycotting exploitative businesses, in passing legislation that promotes economic equality and opportunity, and in punishing those who gamble with our financial future."
  • en.blog.wordpress.com/2014/08/22 A WordPress portal to a group of important blogs that have contextualized Michael Brown’s murder, at least a few of whom might enjoy hearing about a scrappy union of writers.
  • www.detroitjournalismcooperative.com Another model, networking node, and possible source of ideas and insights, the Detroit Journalism Cooperative, started as the city faces the worst set of crises in its history.
  • http://howardzinn.org/?utm_source A foyer to enter the world of Howard Zinn, premier peoples historian, who would have been ninety-two yesterday.


  • http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com A Times Opinionator column, extolling or at least not demonizing a long period of blocked pipes, when the words simply did not flow, in which the author reveals that sublime sense of uncertainty about what was next, which, in his case was a pathway back to inscription via the mechanism of becoming a personal fitness trainer, which he analogizes with training the writer’s mind.
  • http://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2014/08 A Library of Congress Folklife blog, which proffers access to two articles from the 1840’s, difficult to find despite their public domain status, which are likely the first "Folk-Life" essays in the English language, in conjunction with another piece that examines a particular iconic figure in the start of "Folk-Lore."
  • http://www.popularresistance.org/ A wake-up call of deep import from Popular Resistance, at least to any writer who imagines that access to distribution channels might conceivably be important at some point, about asserted intentional cutting of telecommunications channels at the critical juncture in police assaults in Ferguson: "However, some weapons are less obvious like technology to kill livestream feeds during questionable police activity. And that’s precisely what happened last night according to Ferguson’s most prolific livestreamer Argus Radio. The GIF above, taken from the final seconds of Argus Radio feed from last night, shows the moment the police bum rush the crowd and create mass panic in an attempt to catch someone. Moments later the livestream feed was cut and registered a network error, according to Argus Radio."
  • http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/08/21/deep-politics-for-lunch/ A way of contextualizing models for both programming and meet-ups for a union of scrappy writers, a WhoWhatWhy account of a "Deep Politics" luncheon at which investigative authors shared ideas, experiences, and insights: "

– Scott is the author of American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan

– Baker wrote Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years

– Talbot penned Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years

– Ellsberg is the author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

– Morley wrote Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA"

  • http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/08/17/radiowho-we-arent-getting-real-news/ An important podcast from WhoWhatWhy that presents a discussion with investigator Russ Baker, who takes listeners on a tour of recent news as a way of demonstrating that the ‘information’ that we receive serves all manner of establishment agendas, unfortunately none of which concern democratic enlightenment and empowerment.
  • www.propublica.org/atpropublica/item/ Pro Publica’s announcement of its executive director’s receipt of the John Peter Zenger Award for work that supports freedom of the press and the people’s right to know.
  • http://archive.knightdigitalmediacenter.org A Knight Digital Media Center look at Oklahoma Watch, which it holds out as a model for local investigative news reporting, and which a scrappy union of writers ought to consider in critical and objective terms: http://oklahomawatch.org/.
  • https://medium.com A speech from Cleveland’s recent Weapons of Mass Creation gathering, reprinted in Medium, that evidences the power of community radio, the power of learning to code, and power of building cooperative relationships and forms and forums to create what we need in our communities and our lives: "First, I think we should think about what it means to be an active member of a community. When I say I support public media, I mean I’m a member of my local station WAMU, which means I donate money. I do this because I deeply care about public media and want it to continue. But there are other ways — and more active ways — we could actively support public media besides or in addition to pledging money."
  • http://www.niemanlab.org/2014/08/ A Nieman Journalism Lab assessment of what has driven the upsurge in interest and activity online at Mother Jones, which comes down to "mastering the dark arts" of Facebook, according to this.
  • http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article52066 A doozy of a yarn, while one cannot hope but implore fate for something other than another grotesque outcome for reporters, in this case four reporters from a Catholic Radio Station in Sudan, as reported by the Sudan Tribune, via Pew Research.
  • http://www.journalism.co.uk/news One of those instances in which all of the members of a union of scrappy writers with an interest in journalism, reportage, or creative nonfiction ought to perk up and pay attention, from journalism.co in England about a new international investigative and documentary project that might have loads of best-practices and other sorts of ideas for the likes of us: "They have developed a collaborative approach towards writing, editing and the other responsibilities that come with building a start-up from scratch – despite the fact that most of the team have never met in person. The collaborative process–Deca works together using a combination of Gmail, Google Docs, Skype, as well as an editing app called Quip, which allows members to work together in real-time, Faleiro explained. Writers produce a pitch, which is then circulated to the rest of the group. To go ahead, a pitch must be accepted by all members."


  • http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books A media-and-culture’s impact on real world people, reported by Britain’s Independent, in relation to Fifty Shades of Grey and abusive sexuality in the name of fetish and money and top-dog domination, which recent research suggests fuels violence against women, compulsive behavior, a justification of compulsion and more: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/jwh.2014.4782.
  • http://chieforganizer.org/2014/08/24 An entirely different, and arguably much more manageable and collaborative, perspective about what might lead to more educational opportunity and equity and empowerment, from the Chief Organizers’ Blog at the Association of Communities Organized for Reform Now, in the event an explication of a nationwide effort in Canada to mandate a means-based access to computers and high-speed Internet, supported by the Toronto Star, among others.
  • http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/25 A Times breaking news report about the release by a former Islamic State in Iraq & Syria organizational affiliate of U.S. journalist Theo Clarke, with mediating roles by various parties, including the government of Qatar, all of which raises big questions about how these anti-Assad groups, funded and supplied by U.S. allies and ‘partners’ or worse, by U.S. agents themselves, come to their positions in the world, with writers for ransom, as well as causing one to reflect about the nature of the underlying conflicts, given the public relations and other forces at play in all of these matters.
  • http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/22 A Tech Crunch review essay about this year’s Burning Man festival, where regular rich people get to indulge themselves and now super-rich people are getting criticism for distorting the metric of ‘self-reliance’ and ‘self-expression,’ so to speak, all of which misses the point in a way that shrugging off ignoring oppression and mayhem as a necessary ‘vacation’ is unlikely to do: "If a combination of luck, skill, hard work, and more luck has granted some technologists immense wealth and influence, shouldn’t we want them immersed in a culture of generosity and communal love? It may take a little extra air conditioning at first, but if they don’t flaunt their money and bring home some of the ideals, that seems like a net win for the human race."
  • http://thehill.com/policy/technology/ Another "can’t make this s%$t up" posting from The Hill, which details the madness that has emanated from Congressional offices in relation to Wikipedia recently, enough of a combination of ‘flame wars’ and trolling that the world’s sixth-largest website has had to ban several Capitol Hill IP addresses, one of them for a month.
  • http://www.france24.com/en One of those little-noticed stories that could easily determine the future in ways both huge and diminutive, of Europe’s Galileo navigation system, which, when completely operational might rival or surpass both the U.S. and Russian GPS and Glonass systems, respectively.
  • http://www.techrepublic.com/article/ A fascinating post from Tech Republic that brings up all manner of intellectual property, open-source software, and appropriate technology issues in the guise of an at least partially tongue in cheek critique of Linus Torvalds and the Linux creator’s continuing insistence that he wants to facilitate the creation of a ‘Linux Desktop’ computer, in close conjunction with another TR article that contextualizes Munich City Government’s recent shifting of its 15,000 computers from Windows to a custom-built version of Linux, and the possibility that a switch back to MSW is in the offing.
  • http://motherboard.vice.com/read/perus-dvd-pirates-are-its-top-culture-dealers A report from Peru, where Vice Motherboard suggests that a nuanced understanding of major copyright ‘pirate’ Peru–taking into account digital divides, other access issues, and focusing on distribution rather than sanctions–would lead to vastly different articulations and policies than what we currently have in place: "Peru’s high piracy rates show that there’s a market for music and movies with huge potential for monetization. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation has argued, restrictive copyright powers aren’t the answer, as eliminating piracy completely is impossible. But if stemming rampant privacy is the goal, continually improving delivery of copyrighted content to consumers is key. ‘I’m your dealer. I deliver your pirated films,’ bootlegger Santos Demonios said. ‘Your visual drug.’"
  • https://medium.com/@dweinberger A fascinating background essay about the year before Facebook’s launch, and discussing some of the social and other reasons for the necessary rise of ‘social media,’ though the software upsurge of the past decade has shifted the world in ways that might have little to do with ‘being social,’ and everything to do with organizations that want to accomplish growth, membership engagement, and so on, which–hint, hint–might apply to a union of scrappy writers.
  • www.fiercecable.com/story/appeals-court A Fierce Cable briefing about a Second Circuit Appeals Court’s disallowing its latest attempt to obtain a retransmission license of other capacity.


James Foley Murder
http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/middle-east A briefing from New Zealand Stuff about the growing certainty that the man who murdered James Foley was a well-to-do British rapper who became a British jihadi over the past couple of years, a posting that notes the dispatch to ISIS territory of British special forces teams to hunt him down, all of which raises a hundred thousand more questions than the ones it answers.


  • http://www.popularresistance.org/ A Popular Resistance briefing about protesters’ interrupting a speech at a benefit for Israel with a "Shame on You!" shout out.
  • http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/middle-east Another installment from Stuff about a Hamas execution of suspected Israeli spies, whom the killers paraded through the streets prior to their being shot to rags in public.


  • http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily A news-analysis and documentary context from Tikkun, which reports on a recent ad in The New York Times by forty Holocaust survivors, all of whom condemn Israeli attitudes and actions in regard to Gaza and call for a full boycott of Israel in response, in the process of which Tikkun offers readers the full text of the letter: "We are alarmed by the extreme, racist dehumanization of Palestinians in Israeli society, which has reached a fever-pitch. In Israel, politicians and pundits in The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post have called openly for genocide of Palestinians and right-wing Israelis are adopting Neo-Nazi insignia. Furthermore, we are disgusted and outraged by Elie Wiesel’s abuse of our history in these pages to justify the unjustifiable: Israel’s wholesale effort to destroy Gaza and the murder of more than 2,000 Palestinians, including many hundreds of children. Nothing can justify bombing UN shelters, homes, hospitals and universities. Nothing can justify depriving people of electricity and water."
  • http://972mag.com/israelis-in-the-u-s-urge An essay from +972 about American Jewish community advocates’ imploring Jewish citizens to look more closely at Gaza and what it means and implies, richly commented and discussed, following the posting of the open letter that activists had signed: "We are reaching out to you because we want to re-examine what it means to be pro-Israel or pro-Palestine. We argue that these terms might be one and the same. We believe that supporting equal rights for both peoples is the only way to build a better Israel and a better Palestine and we want the American Jewish community to stand behind that message."
  • http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/middle-east/ A report from New Zealand Stuff about a recent case of Israel’s five thousand air strikes in Operation Protective Edge, in this case flattening an twelve-story apartment building and destroying several homes, killing and injuring more civilians.

, like the Ukrainians are casualties of it who live in the portions of Ukraine that had overwhelmingly elected in 2010 the Ukrainian President whom Obama ousted from office in 2014. Obama doesn’t want a President like that elected ever again in Ukraine; so, those voters are being gotten rid of, and ethnic cleansing is how it’s being done. And the residents there are likewise not being heard from in Western ‘news’ media, and nobody in the West is asking these victims what they think of the Ukrainian Government that Obama installed. Perhaps that’s because they are increasingly becoming a guerilla army to defeat the regime that Obama installed. As to the specific operation that downed the plane, there is already a lot more information about that than the official ‘investigation,’ if that’s ever published, is likely to reveal, and it points clearly to the Ukrainian military as the perpetrator, in yet another of their ‘false flag’ operations. And unlike the Ukrainian Government’s charges that rebels shot it down by mistake, Ukraine shot it down with deadly purpose and knowing full well what they were doing."

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/08/23/russias-humanitarian-invasion/ A brilliant piece from Consortium News that calls to task both fatuous reportage from corporate media and disingenuous government condemnation of Russia’s ‘humanitarian terrorism,’ a truly incisive piece of prose analysis that provides a brilliant context for seeing how pathetic is the Times briefing in contrast–http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/world/europe/russian-convoy-ukraine.html?emc=edit_ee_20140824&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=66212615&_r=0: "Charter members of the Fawning Corporate Media are already busily at work, including the current FCM dean, the New York Times’ Michael R. Gordon, who was at it again with a story titled Russia Moves Artillery Units Into Ukraine, NATO Says. Gordon’s “scoop” …was picked up by NPR and other usual suspects who disseminate these indiscriminate alarums. Gordon, who never did find those Weapons of Mass Destruction that he assured us were in Iraq, now writes: ‘The Russian military has moved artillery units manned by Russian personnel inside Ukrainian territory in recent days and was using them to fire at Ukrainian forces, NATO officials said on Friday.’ His main source seems to be NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who famously declared in 2003, ‘Iraq has WMDs. It is not something we think; it is something we know.’ Cables released by WikiLeaks have further shown the former Danish prime minister to be a tool of Washington. However, Gordon provided no warning to Times’ readers about Rasmussen’s sorry track record for accuracy."

http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/10416707 A New Zealand Stuff briefing about a Chinese fighter’s recent buzzing of a U.S. reconnaissance plane, a report that raises all sorts of questions about double-standards, the law of the sea, and more, issues that in the context of a world on hair-trigger alert in many cases ought to interest those citizens, such as scrappy writers, interested in survival.

Michael Brown Murder

  • http://thehill.com/homenews/news/215834-whats-next-for-ferguson An update and overview regarding the official versions of events from Ferguson, Missouri, from The Hill, none of which brings into play community perspectives, at the same time that it does clearly delineate both legal and political consequences of Michael Brown’s murder by Darren Wilson and the heavy-handed official response to community outrage about that homicide.
  • http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics A background investigation from Slate into the St. Louis County prosecutor’s having never charged officers for shooting Black men, and thereby leading protesters, and approaching 100,000 petition signatories, to remove him from the case: "’McCulloch’s decision not to charge officers who murdered two unarmed African-American men in 2000 by shooting into their car 20 times,’ writes state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed in a letter attached to the petition, ‘gives us no confidence that his office can provide a fair and impartial investigation into this current matter.’"


http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/08/21/where-online-social-liberalism-lost-the-script/ A posting from The Dish that seeks to make sense out of ‘social liberalism’s’ failing, without paradoxically accounting for what ‘liberalism,’ how it turned all ‘neo’ so easily, and whether human progress might just require something less fetishistic and more revolutionary, but interesting for all that.

Mountaintop Removal
http://ecowatch.com/2014/08/22/ An EcoWatch report about a recent litigation ruling that essentially give carte blanche to the Army Corp of Engineers, and its corporate collaborators, to ignore grotesque health impacts of mountaintop removal mining, particularly in West Virginia, as documented by lifelong activist Maria Gunnoe: "We all must recognize and resolve these mountaintop-removal-caused health problems and end the onslaught of pollution on people. …Two years ago, in fact, the USGS published preliminary findings on ‘unusually high’ toxic compounds in the soil and water near strip mining operations. That USGS research team is no longer funded. ‘Our state politicians display a willful ignorance of some 24 peer-reviewed scientific reports about mountaintop removal’s human health effects,’ Gunnoe wrote. ‘Studies show a correlation between living near a mountaintop removal site and significantly increased rates of cancer, birth defects, and premature deaths. We believe they’d have a much harder time ignoring studies put out by the USGS.’"

Militarization of Police
http://www.popularresistance.org A Popular Resistance investigative report that demonstrates one channel of funding militarized police, seizures of assets and other forfeitures enforced by the fascistic and criminal, so-called War-on-Drugs, a case of the left hand of oppression’s aiding and abetting the left hand of police-state violence: "The contracts signed by each of the three participating departments specify the agreements of each department to provide the personnel as listed above and the annual dollar amount to be contributed by each department towards operating expenses. The contracts state the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department are to contribute $150,000 annually and due to a lower call volume and usage of the helicopter the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department is to contribute $100,000 annually. All of the money contributed by each department is money that is collected from asset forfeiture. Asset forfeiture is a term used to describe the confiscation of assets which are either the proceeds of crime or the instrumentalities of crime. No funding of the Metro Air Support Unit comes from any of the police departments actual budgets."

Contextualization Michael Brown Murder
http://www.popularresistance.org/ An additional Popular Resistance contextualization, in which the author notes that St. Louis was the jurisdiction from which the Dred Scott case emanated, not altogether ironic in terms of recent police murders there of unarmed Black young men: "In an unprecedented argument, (Supreme Court Chief Justice)Taney wrote that Scott had no right to sue, although in fact, black Americans had sued and petitioned for their freedom and their rights since Colonial times. Although some free blacks had even voted to ratify the Constitution, Taney dismissed the idea that the Declaration of Independence might apply to black Americans when it insisted that ‘all men are created equal,’ writing, ‘It is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration.’ In his version of ‘original intent,’ Taney insisted that the framers of the Constitution believed that black Americans were so inferior that they ‘had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.’"

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health A New Zealand Stuff brief about Jannsen Pharmaceutical’s funding on a prostate cancer seminar in which, the author asserts, the drug giant has sought to ignite the equivalent of a ‘war-of-the-sexes’ vis a vis breast cancer treatments that health plans approve and prostate cancer treatments that they do not allow, all of which points to deeper issues of the meaning of cancer and its treatment.

Birth Control
http://portside.org/2014-08-23 A Portside Labor crossposting of a Think Progress analysis of the legalistic strategy of the Obama Administration in relation to the Supreme Court’s proto-fascist permission of employers to disallow employee birth control decisions, a sort of end run by the Democrats to find out who the insurers are and hold them harmless to honor women’s requests for contraception, both a creative ‘calling of the high court’s bluff’ and indicia of how limited are options for democracy under these circumstances.

Renewable Energy
http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/ A Renewable Energy World report that details the accomplishments of the top-ten U.S. solar states, only three of them not in the West and only one–North Carolina–in the erstwhile Sunny South, likely of clear import and impact if democracy ever manages to prevail and investments in renewable energy represents more than a tiny fraction of other energy expenditures.

War on Drugs
http://motherboard.vice.com/read/ A Vice Motherboard examination of yet another repressive, counterproductive, and arguably nonsensical drug prohibition–that on MDMA, or ecstasy–especially in the grotesque context of a nation awash in antidepressants and other grossly toxic ‘prescribed medications.’

http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/business-a-lobbying One of those ‘lifting-the-curtain’ pieces from The Hill that details the rise of an Obama-staffer plutocracy of consultants and more-traditional-revolving-door appointees.

http://safeenergy.org/2014/02/05/ A GreenWorld examination of the proffered role–courtesy of Department of Energy and more–for nukes to rescue humanity from climate change, which the author indicates would be a ludicrous choice.

Organ Sales
http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate A chilling Room for Debate item from the Times about proposed easing of ‘sales’ on organs, which would–in the current social context–be as grotesque as the most nightmarish science horror stories, but for which we might imagine ‘room for debate.’

8.22.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

‘Human events’ do not follow a predictable ‘course:’ if they did, Pharaohs’ and Caesars’ great-great-great-great grandchildren would all still be in charge; often, however, things do develop according to the planned agendas of whatever plutocracy sits atop the conflicted heap of things until people attain the organization and will to counteract elites’ determination to control the future by dominating the confluence of past and present.

Quote of the Day

"We are twenty-eight men and women who, together with other resisters across the country, are trying with our lives to say ‘no’ to the madness we see perpetrated by our government in the name of the American people – the madness of our Vietnam policy, of the arms race, of our neglected cities and inhuman prisons. We do not believe that it is criminal to destroy pieces of paper which are used to bind men to involuntary servitude, which train these men to kill, and which send them to possibility die in an unjust, immoral, and illegal war. We stand for life and freedom and the building of communities of true friendship. We will continue to speak out and act for peace and justice, knowing that our spirit of resistance cannot be jailed or broken." Statement of the Camden Twenty-Eight before their successful trial defense: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Camden_28.

This Day in History

Five hundred twenty-nine years ago, Richard III died in battle to end the rule of the House of Plantagenet over England; three hundred seventy-five years ago, the British East India Company furthered its plans to colonize India with a settlement at ‘Madras;’ three hundred seventy-two years before the here-and-now Charles I labeled Parliament traitors, initiating the English Civil War that would lead to his decapitation; two hundred twenty-three years back, the first successful slave revolution in the Americas began on Haiti; one hundred eighty-three years back, the first killings in the Turner uprising in Virginia occurred; a hundred sixty-six years prior to the present pass, the U.S. annexed New Mexico as part of its conquest during the War With Mexico; one hundred sixty-five years back, Austria launched unmanned balloon bombs against Venice in history’s first bombing mission from the air; one hundred fifty-two years back, the infant who matured into composer Claude Debussy came into the world; one hundred fifty years ago, twelve nations signed the original Geneva accords; one hundred twenty-one years ago, the girl baby who grew up to become author and poet Dorothy Parker was born; a hundred six years back, the child who would become photographer and artist Henri Cartier-Bresson was born; one hundred ten years ago, feminist novelist Kate Chopin died; one hundred four years prior to the present, Japan annexed Korea, initiating a repressive governance that lasted till the end of World War Two; ninety-nine years back, the baby boy who would become peace and civil-rights activist David Dellinger entered the world; ninety-four years ago, the child who would grow up to write Fahrenheit 451 and other classics was born; eighty-two years ago, the British Broadcasting System began its first experiments with television; seventy-three years back, German troops reached the outskirts of Leningrad to begin the massive siege of that city that was the high-water mark of Germany’s advances in WWII; forty-seven years ago, co-inventor of birth control pills Pincus died; forty-eight years back, the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee forms, the predecessor of United Farm Workers of America; forty-three years ago, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and future felon, Attorney General John Mitchell, announce the arrest of the ‘Camden 28’ for sacking a Draft Board office; forty-one years before this moment, Chile’s Parliament called on Salvador Allende to step down, which he refused to do, leading to tens of thousands of murders—including his own—at the hands of thugs launched, armed, and financed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency; thirty-six years ago, the Sandinista National Liberation Front—in Spanish, FSLN—occupied Nicaragua’s National Palace, overthrowing decades of Somoza family butchery; thirty-five years back, writer James Farrell died; twenty-five years ago, Black intellectual, community leader, and Black Panther activist Huey Newton died at the hands of a killer from a rival revolutionary faction; ten years back, armed thieves stole two Edvard Munch paintings, including the iconic The Scream, from a prominent museum in Oslo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_22

"british empire" model OR template OR background OR predecessor "u.s. imperialism" OR "u.s. hegemony" = 154,000 citations.


http://www.frbatlanta.org/news/conferences/2014workforce.cfm A Portside Labor crossposting from a Nation blog, about the deafening silence–or, which is worse, the grotesque euphemisms and non-sequiturs–that has characterized most national-level-politicians’ responses to Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, from Paul Ryan to Hillary Clinton.


A week from Sunday in Columbia, South Carolina, the NWU At-Large Chapter will be hosting a presentation and practicum about the work and techniques of Augusto Boal, whose Theater of the Oppressed has served as a template for transformative personal growth and social organization.


  • https://www.stlouisfed.org/bsr A open-to-the-public St. Louis Federal Reserve Connecting Communities webinar about the results of recent report on the economic well-being of American households.
  • http://www.stlouisfed.org/community_development A Call-for-Papers–abstracts due September 8–for an April, 2015 conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve, Economic Mobility: Research & Ideas on Strengthening Families, Communities, & the Economy
  • http://www.frbatlanta.org/news A Federal Reserve and Rutgers University conference in mid-October, Transforming U.S. Workforce Development Policies for the 21st Century.
  • http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/ What could be a defining possibility for a union of scrappy writers, especially for an At-Large Chapter with many rural members, a solicitation from the Federal Communications Commission, via Benton.org, of proposals to broaden rural broadband access and best-practices, with an October 14th deadline.
  • http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2014/nsf14106 A National Science Foundation portalto funding possibilities in its Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research & Education, apropos for writers in various ways.
  • http://www.mediabistro.com A Copy Editor’s job at Scholastic, in New York City, thanks to Media Bistro.


  • http://www.technologyreview.com An MIT Technology Review briefing about the upward curve of robot-purchasing trends by manufacturers, richly charted and graphed.
  • http://regressing.deadspin.com/ A ReGressing briefing about its project to detail every police-involved shooting over the past several years, in the hopes of accomplishing which they’ve reached out to regular citizens, researchers, writers, and so on, sort of a crowd-sourced wiki of data on this particular topic: "We’re making this fully public, and anyone can jump in and lend a hand. This is a trial—we’d love it if this turned out well, but if it doesn’t, we’re prepared to complete it on our own, or with more targeted assistance. But we think this is a necessary thing, and we are trusting you all to not be dicks in there."
  • https://beta.cironline.org/reports/ A port of entry, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, to an in-depth series of depth-textuality reports on the murder of South Carolina women by those who were their spouses and lovers, a set of stories that CIR helped the Charleston Post & Courier to develop.
  • http://ecowatch.com/ An EcoWatch briefing about a decision of the Federal Appeals Court for the District of Columbia’s decision to uphold the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s standards for an upgraded energy grid, which will move forward the affordability and feasibility of renewable sources of power.
  • http://www.richhillfilm.com/ The entry point to the documentary film, Rich Hill, an absolutely vital connection for a union of scrappy writers to follow up, since the movie not only has the power to move mountains but also concerns precisely the sorts of issues that affect freelancers’ lives and undermine our best efforts at self improvement and so on.
  • http://www.commondreams.org/views A Common Dreams clarion call from a retired local Machinist’s President, that deals with the absence of a AFL-CIO presence in Ferguson, Missouri as a telltale sign of the underlying rationale for any ‘labor’s decline’: "Nonetheless, I believe the falling numbers are more a reflection than an explanation of labor’s decline. Therefore, I do not agree with the prevailing opinion that spending more money on organizing will turn everything around. Our biggest problems are political, not organizational. Put another way, corporate power looms large because unions are seriously disconnected from the social aspirations of the majority of working class women and people of color who strive for equality, justice, and fair play that cannot be measured or satisfied solely by the size of a paycheck."
  • http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks An interview in TruthOut with Henry Giroux about his recent book, The Violence of Organized Forgetting: Beyond America’s Disimagination Machine: "We live in a historical moment when memory, if not critical thought itself, is either under attack or is being devalued and undermined by a number of forces in American society. Historical memory has become dangerous today because it offers the promise of lost legacies of resistance, moments in history when the social contract was taken seriously (however impaired), and when a variety of social movements emerged that called for a rethinking of what democracy meant and how it might be defined in the interest of economic and social justice."
  • http://ssw.umich.edu/sites/default A University of Michigan course syllabus, Empowering Community Through Creative Expression, that deploys the intellectual revolutionary technology of Augusto Boal in ways that ought to interest scrappy writers who want to accomplish things in their communities.


  • http://justsecurity.org/14179/ A Just Security research-analysis of the background of James Foley’s murder, along with a detailing of the dangers of reporting on Syria–apparently overwhelmingly as a result of U.S. and Western-supported ‘rebels’–and a condemnation of violence against media-workers as a ‘war crime’ that ought to be pertinent to recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, though at a less grotesque level: "(The United Nations)Condemns unequivocally all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers, such as torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, as well as intimidation and harassment in both conflict and non-conflict situations; … [and] Urges Member States to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability through the conduct of impartial, speedy and effective investigations into all alleged violence against journalists and media workers falling within their jurisdiction, and to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice and to ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.’"
  • http://www.commondreams.org A Common Dreams assessment from an American Civil Liberties Union communications specialist that highlights the absolute crisis that has descended on writers, especially journalists, in the present moment, unfortunately without so much as a shred of political economic or socioeconomic contextualization of this crisis: "A federal court denied a motion from the ACLU of Missouri for an emergency order to prevent police from enforcing a ban on standing in place for more than five seconds. The ‘keep-moving mandate’ (also known as the five-second rule) remains in place, criminalizing constitutionally protected activity and placing a dangerous barrier on the ability of the media to bring us stories from this city under siege. As Tony Rothert, the legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, told MSNBC, ‘In many ways, the First Amendment has been suspended in Ferguson.’"
  • www.hollywoodreporter.com/news Hollywood Reporter’s weighing in on the repression of journalism and communication, arguably a move of self-preservation about the profoundly different social environment of poverty and distress that characterize Ferguson, Missouri.
  • http://www.collegemediamatters.com A College Media Matters report about Purdue University’s agreeing to release a video about a confrontation between a student photographer and campus police after young journalists took the college to court.
  • http://pando.com/2014/08/20/ Pando Daily’s weighing in on Medium’s status–‘one foot in the platform camp, the other in the publisher barracks’–as a plausible model for journalism that will lead to at least a few writers’ receiving payment, an assessment that focuses in particular on Medium’s new music reportage, which all and sundry suggest is in dire need of intervention: "My beef against modern music journalism goes even further. Sadly, much of it has devolved into posting SoundCloud links with the headline, ‘Check out the new awesome track from <insert artist here>.’ Which is fine, except I often wonder whether these writers really think that new track is awesome, or if they just put that in the headline to convince me to click. How often do you see the headline, ‘Check out the mediocre, predictable new song from Ke$ha?’"
  • http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/ A TruthOut analysis that untangles some of the intersecting threads that the James Risen story, the prosecution of Jeffrey Sterling, the Federal investigation of James Cartwright for sharing compromising information, and the general critique of U.S. spy-capers as ham-handed and counterproductive all share in common: "Risen’s account revealed not just that CIA tried to thwart nuclear proliferation by dealing doctored nuclear blueprints to American adversaries, but that in this case, the Russian defector the US charged with dealing the blueprints to Iran told them the blueprints were flawed. In other words, Risen’s story — for which Sterling is one alleged source – demonstrated questionable judgment and dangerously incompetent execution by the CIA, all in an effort to thwart Iran’s purported nuclear weapons program."
  • http://praxtime.com/2014/08/18/libraries A brilliant contextualization about the pull of ‘streamed text,’ from PraxTime, via MediaREDEF: "Let’s start by noting the internet economics of all media is much the same. Music, movies, TV, newspapers, magazines and books all have a very high creative and human fixed cost to produce. But once created have essentially zero cost to replicate and distribute. So we should expect all types of media to wind up with roughly comparable internet distribution models."
  • http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/ Just a critically important item from the Columbia Journalism Review that at once shows the powerful commitment of Al Jazeera to real journalism at the same time that it reveals the ratings crisis that the network faces and what its critics call a lack of a clear digital strategy: "’We have more live news; we are long format; we have a heavy investigative arm,’ (the head of Al Jazeera America) said in an interview. ‘We have more news gathering in under-reported areas… It is one of our competitive advantages, the opportunity that exists. It’s not about having an agenda. It’s not about infotainment. It’s about raising the bar for the quality of journalism.’ The sentiment, heartfelt, and forcefully expressed, is the network’s reason for being, the foundation of its business plan, and the heart of its marketing campaign: ‘More reporting,’ says a typical promo. ‘More bureaus. More stories. Real reporting from around the world. This is what we do.’"
  • http://pando.com A possible good-news-for-writers–and hope against Huffington Post at some point–briefing from Pando Daily about a Southern District of New York Federal trial judge’s decision to accept a group of Gawker’s unpaid interns’ Fair Labor Standards Act motion, in their lawsuit, to declare them a class for purposes of expanding both the scope and the availability to potential litigants of access to the action.
  • http://www.siupress.com/ A Southern Illinois University Press profferal, Staging Social Justice, in the form of an annotated Table of Contents and selected narrative material from this arguably essential set of tools for scrappy writers who want both to organize better lives for themselves and contribute to social transformation more generally.
  • http://blogs.loc.gov/law/2014/08/ A Library of Congress gateway to Congress.gov, a trove for all manner of writers, researchers, thinkers, and citizens who might join a union of scrappy writers.


  • please let us know.)"
  • http://www.theverge.com/2014/8 An utter gem from Verge, which cries out for more of the same, and deeper, about six key lawsuits from the 1990’s that shaped the service delivery, interactivity, and intellectual property rules of the Internet.
  • http://benton.org A summary from Benton.org of an important piece from The Hill about Senator Markey’s and others’ pushing the FCC to permit communities to develop Internet access strategies that diverge from the use of lame and expensive Internet Service Providers.
  • http://www.wsws.org/en/articles A brilliant and heartrending review of a indispensable documentary film experience, Rich Hill, which details a Missouri town 250 miles from Ferguson but, as the World Socialist Website makes crystal clear, "in the same social universe" as that which yielded the murder of Michael Brown, the films’ approach to detail the lives of three young teenaged boys who confront a life that–without some sort of upsurge of organized struggle–is literally hopeless, a hopelessness from which, miraculously, the filmmakers themselves emerged: "’There are children in Rich Hill who seem lost. They are born into these conditions, into families that have for generations lived in poverty. They have no agency to ‘work the system’ and they often are ashamed to reveal the true circumstances of their living conditions.’ The documentary offers a close-up view of abject poverty and the wanton demolition of precious lives. Rich Hill also exposes, by its very absence from the lives of its protagonists, what is missing from American social life: a social safety net, which has been shredded by Democrats and Republicans at every level of government. In the ongoing war against the working class, entire families and even communities are pushed into the abyss. Andrew, Appachey and Harley yearn for a different life, a prospect cruelly denied them."
  • http://pando.com/2014/08/19 An in-depth investigative analysis from Pando Daily that serves both to introduce readers to the routine reality of venture capital and to explicate and ponder ‘what in the hell is happening’ at "Google Ventures," which appears to be in either freefall or a state-of-flux: "The important thing to note is that in the venture business no one is ever really fired. Rather, people just fade away. Partners commonly still have titles, slots on their firm’s website, and even maintain offices and admins long after they’ve been asked to leave or even decided to leave on their own. Case in point, (GV principle)Seigler’s girlfriend, Megan Quinn. The former Kleiner Perkins Partner is still listed on the firm’s website as a Strategic Advisor, even though she too has moved to London where Kleiner doesn’t actively invest. The firm has confirmed that it thinks the world of Quinn and that her departure was entirely voluntary, but what exactly a ‘strategic advisor’ is certainly isn’t clear to the market."
  • http://www.livemint.com/Companies A Live Mint report about the Huffington Post decision to enter the Indian digital media market in a big way, both something of note in its own right and a development to follow as Arianna’s exploitative brand digs in where writers are even worse off than they are here.
  • http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology Both a call to action and a tocsin for doom, a New Zealand Stuff article about which social media platform "rules" in terms of news, with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr the primary choices.
  • http://blogs.loc.gov/now-see-hea An audio blog from Now See Hear at Library of Congress that presents listeners with various ways of putting ‘back-to-school’ in perspective.
  • http://blogs.loc.gov/music A Library of Congress historical briefing about an American music festival on the eve of World War One that mimicked the Bayreuth celebration of Wagner in Germany.


Argentine Loans

  • http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/08/20

    Oh my! A Times DealBook column that portrays a creative Argentinian scheme to circumvent a U.S. Federal Appeals Court’s holding its bond deals hostage, essentially by shifting the locus of the payments themselves, away from New York to Buenos Aires, under a new legislative agenda: "’Mr. Singer can come here and show up at the counter and receive payment, obtaining a 300 percent profit,’ Mr. Kicillof said. But, he added, ‘that isn’t enough for Mr. Singer because he’s a vulture.’ A spokesman for Elliott Management declined to comment. A spokesman for Aurelius Capital Management, another hedge fund investor, issued a statement that called Argentina’s leaders ‘outlaws.’"

  • http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39456.htm An Information Clearinghouse item that implies that we’ll soon be hearing Argentina’s derisive howls at the European Union’s request that it honor a Russia boycott, in the lee of Brussels’ acceptance of the crucifixion of Buenos Aires by the world’s banking-and-legal system: " Under these circumstances, the boundless arrogance of Brussels expects Argentina to (accede) to the US / EU sanctions on Russia to which Russia responded by banning all imports from the EU? – And is now seeking trading with South America? Not that Russia really needs food from South America – there is an enormous and willing Asia market open to them. Russia’s gesture is a helping hand to Argentina and South America to free themselves from the economic and political pressures constantly exerted on them by Washington."

Loan Defaults
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/08/19 Another DealBook piece from the Times on a different aspect of this debacle, a dispute among the credit-default-swaps crowd over which bondholders are entitled to payment.


  • https://portside.org/2014-08-21/ A Portside Labor reposting of the already noted Consortium News item about the Kiev regime’s deepening and increasing the use of fascist–and openly Nazi–militias against the Easter Ukrainian separatists.
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cikvqdMRTTA A just incredible interview with Vladimir Putin’s adviser, Sergei Glaziev, on YouTube, who makes sense of the morass now unfolding in Eastern Europe and the ongoing policies in the region of the U.S., at the same time that he seems more than a little infatuated with nanotechnology and pharmaceutical production: "The goal of American Policy is to create as many victims as possible. The Ukrainian Nazis are a tool of this policy. …Because what we see in Ukraine is the revival of Naziism, which should excite the historical memory of all Europeans, who know the signs of fascism."

http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/middle-east A breaking news report from New Zealand Stuff about an Israeli air strike that has killed several top Hamas leaders.

Michael Brown Murder

  • http://thinkprogress.org/justice A Think Progress essay that, on the one hand, delivers fascinating nuance and contextualization about Michael Brown’s murder and the way that real people who live in Ferguson have been processing the killing and its aftermath, and, on the other hand, indisputably downplays the sense of outrage and uprising that are, if not omnipresent, particularly potent there now.
  • http://www.commondreams.org/news A Common Dreams news analysis that focuses on the killing of Kajieme Powell by St. Louis police on Tuesday, only ten days after Michael Brown’s murder, with video evidence having already emerged here that belies the official version of events and suggests another unprovoked and savage homicide of a young Black man.

Unjust Imprisonment

http://www.propublica.org/article An incredibly important analysis from Pro Publica that, on the one hand tells the story of falsely-and-maliciously convicted innocent citizen Jabbar Collins’ ten million dollar settlement with the City of New York for his plus-or-minus twenty years in prison, and on the other hand demonstrates how grotesquely inadequate such ‘remedies’ are: "The system for identifying and punishing misconduct by prosecutors is badly broken, our reporting shows, and with the Collins case settling, a crucial channel for exposing systemic problems and ensuring they don’t recur may close as well. So many shortcomings spotlighted by the Collins case remain unresolved. Michael Vecchione, the prosecutor who gained a murder conviction against Collins in the 1990s and who was later accused of having committed an array of misconduct in the case, has to date faced no sanction."

Energy Issues
http://www.ferc.gov/media/statements-speeches/lafleur/2014/08-15-14-lafleur.pdf The Federal case that has pitted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission against State Public Service Commissions–acting at the behest of power companies and such–in grappling with how much and how soon the U.S. will upgrade its energy grid, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia’s having decided in FERC’s and the people’s favor.


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/ A Times news analysis and background of arts, and a particular area’s artists’ retreats, in Crimea, which is hilarious in its unvarnished bias against Russia but ‘balanced’ in acknowledging that plenty of cultural workers there are happy to have avoided the fate of Eastern Ukraine’s decimation by Kiev.


http://www.truthdig.com/repor A basically ‘liberal-establishment’ analysis from TruthDig, the premise of which is at best highly questionable–a looming ‘breakup’ with Israel–which has some historical contextualizaiton and a few ideas to recommend it, but which just rocks in the comments section where the real background and analysis surge up from the grassroots: "The alliance of the United States with Israel has become internationally seen as an alliance of international lawbreakers, which literally is true because of the indifference both demonstrate to the established norms and conventions of international justice. The United States facilitates the continuing aggressive and illegal Israeli annexation of territories assigned to the Palestinian people by the 1948 United Nations ruling that established a Jewish National Home in the British mandated colony of Palestine. For Israel it has become something more sinister, an inducement as well as license to international law-breaking. The war that has just taken place between Hamas-controlled Gaza and Israel began with deliberate provocation on both sides. Hamas activists contested Israel’s domination of Gaza, and invited military repression of a scale and degree of indiscriminate and illegal violence that would discredit Israel, and indirectly its American sponsor and arms supplier."


http://justsecurity.org/14154 A schematic analysis from Just Security of the intertwined issues of executive authority, Congressional oversight, and imperial agendas in relation to reaching any agreement with Iran over that country’s nuclear program, with a pointed dig at the Senate GOP bill a part of this contextualization: "On close analysis, the logic of the bill’s design seems seriously flawed and may well serve to defeat, not advance, its own apparent objectives. Indeed, at least if adopted as currently drafted, the President will be well placed to argue that the bill strengthens, not weakens, his authority, effectively empowering him to make the agreement without the need to obtain any congressional (or senatorial) permission. In this respect, the bill could follow a well-established, albeit perverse, pattern, most famously illustrated by the War Powers Resolution, which Presidents have frequently interpreted to augment rather than limit their authority."

Racial Inequality & Law

http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily A Tikkun essay about the systematic stigmatization, oppression, and violence directed against people of all sorts in modern society, but against Black and Latino young men in the United States, which means that any focus on ‘bad cops’ or other ‘errors of judgment’ as curative is, at the very best, insane: "Since the time white people first forcibly kidnapped, enslaved, and transported Africans across the vast oceans to the Americas, some law enforcement officers as well as civilian white residents of the United States routinely profiled and targeted black and Latino boys and men for harassment, arrest, violence, and murder simply for walking down the street or later driving in cars while being black or Latino. Black and Latino parents from all walks of life throughout the country engage with their sons in what they refer to as ‘the talk’ once their sons reach the age of 13 or 14 instructing them how to respond calmly if ever confronted by police officers."


http://www.technologyreview.com/news/527051/the-man-who-really-built-bitcoin/ The MIT Technology Review’s assessment of the power that currently rules Bitcoin, in the form of a former software engineer anointed by the cryptocurrency’s founder, in the process of which the author acknowledges the mystery surrounding the new way of seeking to pay (https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf) and the lack of a complete accounting(http://www.technologyreview.com/news/424091/what-bitcoin-is-and-why-it-matters/), as it were, along with establishment interest in everything Bitcoinish: "The CIA and Washington regulators have looked to him to explain the currency. And it was Andresen who conceived of the nonprofit Bitcoin Foundation—established in 2013—which is the closest thing to a central authority in the world of Bitcoin."

Economic Well-Being Report

http://www.federalreserve.gov The Federal Reserve’s recent research report about 2013 data, The Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households.

Labour & Work
http://www.citylab.com/work An Atlantic CityLab report that contends that for various reasons–social, economic, and psychic, at the least–the five-day workweek is a destructive relic, an idea that a scrappy group of freelancers might embrace as a godsend, since most of them slave away eight days a week.

Charter Schools

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17109 A characterization of charter schools as at least in good measure and exercise in racketeering, from In These Times, starting with a litany of news briefs of FBI raids on particular operations and proceeding therefrom to a more general deconstruction of the profiteering impulse at the base of this ‘movement:’ "Charter schools are such a racket, across the nation they are attracting special attention from the FBI, which is working with the Department of Education’s inspector general to look into allegations of charter-school fraud. One target, covered in an August 12 story in The Atlantic, is the secretive Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who runs the largest charter-school chain in the United States. The Atlantic felt compelled to note, repeatedly, that it would be xenophobic to single out the Gulen schools and their mysterious Muslim founder for lack of transparency and the misuse of public funds. ‘It isn’t the Gulen movement that makes Gulen charters so secretive,’ writes The Atlantic’s Scott Beauchamp, ‘it’s the charter movement itself.’"

Algorithmic Thinking

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com A so-amazing-it’s-hart-to-express analysis from Naked Capitalism, that understandably–albeit in depth–deconstructs both the nature of and the flaws in ‘algorithmic thinking,’ the notion that "code-is-law"(which NC has been following, a serial depiction to which this article links) and we all should just shut up and accept Dr. Pangloss’ gloved insertion with vaseline if we’re lucky, contextualizing the whole lot in terms of Ferguson and the ‘frack-job’ that has occurred on politics in St. Louis County: "’It’s an absolute myth that you can send an algorithm over raw data and have insights pop up,’ said Jeffrey Heer, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington and a co-founder of Trifacta, a start-up based in San Francisco. In other words, we might look at O’Reilly’s piece more a sample of ‘Investor Storytime’ for data wrangling startups in Silicon Valley, rather than as a serious public policy proposal, assuming the word ‘public’ has meaning any more; open or not, the data doesn’t support what the techno-visionaries want to do with it. Further, given that law enforcement (‘automated intervention’) is now data driven, malefactors of great wealth have every incentive to game the data they make available: …Problems with no clear boundaries are often called ‘wicked problems.’ There’s a whole literature on this topic, but this description gives the flavor:

‘Wicked’ problems, for which there is no clear path to an optimal solution, no consensus on what an optimal solution would look like, and not even a clear definition of the boundary of the problems to be confronted (Rittel and Webber 1973), are unfortunately widespread in the management of social-ecological systems (Chapin et al. 2008, Jentoft and Chuenpagdee 2009, Peterson 2009)….In the face of wicked problems, when framing the problem itself is a political process, discourse structured by coalitions, ideology, and social practices can take on a central role in defining policy choices[9] …. As a result, power relations, emerging from formal institutional arrangements and informal network structures, can have an important influence on the way wicked problems of sustainability are framed and responses are defined (Chatterton and Style 2001).

In short form, we have politics to handle wicked problems; they cannot be handled algorithmically."

Martial Law

http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com A Forbidden Knowledge Television video brief about the origins, use, and present prospects for "False Flag" operations that induce militarism and, more or less, martial law in the name of ‘security.’

Marijuana & Terence McKenna

http://www.vice.com/read More absolutely addictive reading from Vice, in this case about the views and experiences of ethnobotanist, anthropologist, and psychedelic guru Terence McKenna concerning marijuana, which the peripatetic genius imbibed as if it were coffee for decades, with primarily what he would consider positive effects: "McKenna discerned (while attending counseling to save his marriage) that cannabis was ‘impeding the therapeutic process’—not due to its effects on him, but because of its effects on his psychotherapist’s attitude toward him—and so, ‘to remove this issue from the menu of issues we were dealing with,’ stopped smoking it. He said:

And I’m happy to report that, though I was at that time the heaviest and most continuous cannabis user that I have ever known or ever heard of, it was no big deal: I simply stopped smoking it, and took up reading in the evenings, and it seemed to have no impact on my psychological organization at all, except that, I must say, my dream life became considerably more interesting in the wake of that decision.

After a number of months without cannabis, McKenna continued smoking again—every day for the rest of his life, except when his ‘access to cannabis was interrupted,’ due to travel or other reasons."

Psychedelics & War on Drugs
http://www.serendipity.li/trypt.html Downstream from the above article, one of the many excellent portals to materials about psychedelics and their nature and advocates, including such as would ponder the place of such substances in a ‘war on drugs’ and a popular resistance to it: "If combat readiness is an issue, if your function is to evacuate a building in a hurry, screen airline passengers, detect the presence of microscopic pathogens, analyze forensic evidence that could lead to the apprehension of culpable or would-be terrorists, or execute a commando raid on an Afghan mountain, psychedelics are probably contra-indicated. But if you’re uncertain who the real enemy is, if you’re inclined to ask more questions about the nature of the reality that’s just swung out into a broad new arc, or if you’re seeking healing from debilitating stress, it could well be the time to venture out into new psychic frontiers. In fact, for some especially scarred, it might even be foolish not to, given that there might not be as much time to lose as we thought."

Carbon Dating

http://www.nytimes.com/ A Times Science report that lays out the evidence that new carbon dating methods provides about the timing of Neanderthal’s disappearance from Europe and Northern Asia, which appears to be at least forty thousand years before the current moment, in the context of which the author intertwines a narrative of human and neanderthal relations and such: "A recent analysis of Neanderthal DNA shows that Neanderthals and modern humans not only crossed paths, but interbred. For non-African people living today, 1 to 4 percent of their genome has Neanderthal origins. The genetics suggest that interbreeding occurred about 50,000 to 60,000 years ago, somewhere in western Asia. ‘You’ve kind of got two parts of the story,’ Dr. Stringer said. ‘There must have been a western Asia coexistence, which included interbreeding. Then there was a later coexistence in Europe, for which we have no evidence of interbreeding but possible evidence of some cultural contact between the groups.’"

8.21.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

As murder cascades from every side—on the neighborhood street from the barrel of a gun; from on high like lightning bolts of bane; at knife-point amid seared and lifeless desert dunes—one may explode with frustration, calling for action at all costs to alleviate the hideous threats everywhere apparent, action that amounts to further homicidal outpourings; in pondering who benefits from such cycles of victimization and revenge, one thing is certain: regular people and common citizens suffer in such a devolutionary despond.

Quote of the Day

If the Russian word ‘perestroika‘ has easily entered the international lexicon, this is due to more than just interest in what is going on in the Soviet Union. Now the whole world needs restructuring, i.e. progressive development, a fundamental change.” Mikhail Gorbachev: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mikhail_Gorbachev.

This Day in History

Three hundred thirty-four years back, Pueblo Indians wrested control of Santa Fe from the Spanish in the Pueblo Revolt; two hundred forty-four years ago, James Cook led ships to Australia where he claimed what was to become New South Wales for England; one hundred eighty-three years prior to the present pass, Nat Turner led slaves and free Blacks in an uprising in Virginia that cemented various repressive measures, such as proscription of any education for Blacks; one hundred fifty-one years ago, guerilla raiders from the Confederacy destroyed Lawrence, Kansas; a hundred twenty-six years back, William S. Burroughs patented the first workable adding machine; seventy-one years ago, the baby boy who grew up to become journalist and popular philosopher Jonathan Schell was born, and Danish Nobel Literature Laureate Henrik Pontoppidan died; seventy years prior to the here-and-now, a key step to the founding of the United Nations occurred at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference near Washington, D.C., attended by Soviet, English, American, and Nationalist Chinese representatives; fifty-seven years back, the Soviet Union tested the first Intercontinental-Ballistic-Missile; fifty-three years ago, Motown released Please Mr. Postman, which would become the labels first number one hit; forty-three years back, Black Panther leader George Jackson died in a hail of police gunfire; thirty-two years ago, the first soldiers of a multinational force landed in Lebanon to oversee the withdrawal of the Palestine Liberation Organization from the nation; twenty-three years before this moment, the coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev collapsed; twenty-two years back, the Ruby Ridge debacle began in Idaho.

“saudi arabia” beheading injustice repression OR oppression “united states” support = 2.11 Million results.


http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1990/gorbachev-lecture_en.html The link to Mikhail Gorbachev’s address after he received the Nobel Peace Prize, when transformation of the Soviet Union into Russia was just beginning: “Preparing for my address I found in an old Russian encyclopedia a definition of ‘peace’ as a ‘commune’ – the traditional cell of Russian peasant life. I saw in that definition the people’s profound understanding of peace as harmony, concord, mutual help, and cooperation.”


The National Organizing-&-Strategy Committee met for a second time yesterday afternoon. The group had a lively exchange on matters germane to our expansion and survival. While your garrulous Chapter-Chair will be sharing more with you all anon, anyone who wants can e-mail me for an earlier update.

https://www.nwu.org/nwu-statement-murder-james-foley-isis Our national union’s beautiful commemoration of the life and work and commitment of James Foley.



  • http://www.nukewatchinfo.org/  A gateway to a fiery, fighting stalwart for human survival, Wisconsin-based Nukewatch, in which an NWU member plays a leading role.
  • http://www.uvm.edu/~vtconn/v31/Sadler.pdf  A Vermont Connections  assessment from the University of Vermont about the work and purpose and sublime social impact of Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed, in tune with an upcoming workshop that the At-Large Chapter is cohosting in Columbia, South Carolina: “(Participating) students left feeling more in tune with themselves as a result of their year as ‘spectactors,’ empowered audience members who jumped on stage looking to explore oppressive burdens, privileges, and the systems that limit and subjugate humanity.  Twelve students came out of the experience with the deeply held belief that theater is one of the most visceral forms of human expression and that art, driven by a communal democratic body, is one of the most effective means of social justice education and of student activism. “
  • http://www.iiss.org/-/media/Silos A link to sacked disarmament specialist James Doyle’s White Paper on the powerful rationale for even ‘right-thinking’ nuclear strategists to contemplate ridding ourselves of these weapons of mass collective suicide and megaprofits for their producers: “(D)eclassified official documents from the Cold War reveal occasions when nuclear catastrophe was avoided by luck or seemingly random events rather than by the clearly identifiable operation of nuclear deterrence. There are further examples where existential characteristics of alerted nuclear forces appear to have caused crises that nearly resulted in their use.”
  • http://www.trivalleycares.org/new/SaveDate.html A richly-linked (http://www.trivalleycares.org/new/links.html) briefing from Tri-Valley Citizens Against a Radioactive Environment(s) from the group’s gathering two weeks ago in the Bay Area to commemorate the U.S.’s launch of the world only nuclear war so far.
  • http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/ A Poynter.org brief about St. Louis’ Riverfront Times, an alt-weekly, which had to tear up its intended issue and put together a contextualization of the murder of Michael Brown in its stead.
  • http://hastac2014.org/ A portal to the Humanities, Arts, Science, & Technology Alliance & Collaboratorium’s 2014 conference last Spring in Lima Peru, where hemispheric contextualization and network-building were transpiring apace.
  • http://askbigquestions.org/ A portal to an organization that, at the very least, ought to interest some scrappy writers in their seeking to understand themselves and the crazy world that we inhabit together.
  • http://gijn.org/ Another network node, the Global Investigative Journalism Network that could easily be agents-of-empire as easily as it could be a sample of seekers who want the world to embody social justice, but which is a source of facts and analysis and leads in any event.
  • http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39419.htm Another absolutely glorious gritty travelogue from Linh Dinh, crossposted in this case by Information Clearinghouse, this time about his cross country train trek, from which vantage point the seamy and scammy aspects of the American morass just now were all too clear.


  • http://www.trivalleycares.org/new/Doyle_blog.html A Tri-Valley CARES posting about a Los Alamos national Laboratory disarmament expert who had the temerity to write an article that critiqued the possibility of nuclear weapons’ rationality, a report initially approved but ultimately classified after the fact and used to justify his dismissal: “Doyle’s ordeal seems to have set the stage for the Energy Department to take steps that squash Freedom of Speech disguised under the improper application of Classification Procedures. The review process at the Los Alamos Lab for personnel’s independent articles amount to an employment policy designed to mold, direct, and in some cases (like Doyle’s) squash intellectual independence if the writings veer from, threaten, or criticize the Agency’s policies.”
  • http://www.collegemediamatters.com/2014/08/18/ A College Media Matters entry about a new Egyptian college newspaper that didn’t exist four years ago, but has spread to become the likely largest student journalism organization in Egypt: (Asked how to teach ‘journalism basics’)–“We always start with the most obvious place — we report because we care. We do this to become aware of what is going on and the things that matter. We are not just journalists, we are student journalists. We are ‘Insiders’ and that is our advantage. It is what gives us credibility over any other reporter that works in a big media company. That way, our members adopt the scrutinizing attitude of a journalist. Then, out of need, they start looking for tools, methods and skills to do the job. That’s when they feel the urge to know more about journalism basics.”
  • http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2014/08 A hugely important Public Broadcasting System Media Shift brief, about Guardian Media’s Contributoria platform for writing, networking, critique, crowdfunding, and more, all the brainchild of GM’s chief digital strategist, Matt McAlister who provides a Q-&-A here as well: “McAlister says something special happens when ample time for constructive criticism is allotted before the writing process ever begins, and the final product is significantly better because specific feedback has been input from start to finish. So the venture brings together like-minded writers who are looking for affirmation and development of ideas, writing suggestions and final reviews. More importantly, this community helps create a way for stories to get told that might have been stalled by traditional gatekeepers.”
  • http://benton.org/node/200004? A Benton.org summary of a Broadcast & Cable report about Screen Actor’s Guild/American Federation of Television & Radio Artists condemnation of arrests in Ferguson of journalists who were only seeking ‘to do their jobs.’
  • http://digiday.com/sponsored/huffington-post-rise-viral-editors/ A ‘learning-from-one’s enemies’ item from DigiDay, about Huffington Post’s ‘relentless’ experimentation in building its output, reach and more, with the emergence of “viral editors” as its most recent innovation.
  • http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/20/6049259/ A nuanced and historically engaged examination of current trends in mediated outreach, with e-mail newsletters now at the top of the list, but with the editorial director of Vox Media’s continued validation of ‘good-old blogging:’ “Here at Vox, we put a premium on product and design, and that comes through in the gorgeous layouts that have graced so many Verge features over the last few years. That’s not going to change. Nor is the deep reportage that underlies so much of the best work across Vox’s sites. But there’s also something great and internetty about moving fast and breaking things. It’s been a lot of fun over the last month to watch Nilay, in his new role as editor-in-chief of The Verge, encourage his team to re-embrace an ethos that I can only describe as bloggy.”
  • http://ethicaljournalisminitiative.org/pdfs/EJI_book_en.pdf An International Federation of Journalists initiative to its monograph, To Tell You the Truth: the Ethical Journalism Initiative, which seeks to define both the parameters and the program that might result in the subtitle’s halcyon state.
  • http://unreasonable.is/skills/the-questions-we-share/ An Unreasonable.Is essay of potential use, or even crucial import, to a union of scrappy writers, about how we engage with each other, with readers, with movements, with attempts to transform the world: “‘If you start a student discussion with a hard question, like ‘How can we bring peace to the Middle East?,’ Feigelson says, ‘the two students who think they know the most are going to debate and protest, while everyone else watches and thinks they have nothing to contribute. It doesn’t build trust or capacity for solving problems. It creates an adversarial environment.’ By contrast, a big question can open a space in which each individual can contribute, speaking from experience, without feeling pressured to win a debate or demonstrate loyalty to a position. Big questions can help build the trust that’s necessary to grapple effectively with hard questions. For instance, one way to build toward a discussion of campus sexual assault is to frame a conversation around the question: ‘When have you been a witness?'”
  • http://blog.wan-ifra.org/2014/08/07 A World Association of Newspapers/International Federation of blog that examines the growth of international investigative collaborations that, though they may show up here as primarily imperially friendly and market-oriented, offer all manner of networking, engagement, and outreach opportunities.
  • http://gijn.org/2014/08/11/14-pulitzer A Global Investigative Journalism Network crossposting of an Institute for Public Accuracy announcement of fourteen Pulitzer Prize winners’ issuing of strong individual statement of condemnation against the Obama Administration’s continued prosecution of James Risen.
  • http://www.americanpressinstitute.org An American Press Institute listing of ten fundamental lessons from the iconic textbook, The Elements of Journalism, a must-read for anyone interested in either journalism or citizenship.
  • http://www.politico.com/blogs/media A Politico media blog in which Fareed Zakaria, with whom I agree at most ten percent of the time, makes an extremely powerful case that he for one reason or another ran into a plagiarism witch hunt which was wholly unwarranted.


  • http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/gannett_adopts_advance_publica.php Columbia Journalism Review’s Audit column, detailing Gannett News’ following the rubric for restructuring journalism laid down by Advance Publications, which means more writers, fewer editors, and a lot more besides: “All newsroom jobs have been redefined and current staff must apply for new jobs. And, of course, there are the buzzwords and the chirpy editors’ notes to readers. Assignment editors become ‘content coaches.’ Managing editors are now ‘content strategists.’ A diminished newsroom is a ‘bold new structure.’”
  • http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/8/19/ferguson-foreignmediaviews.html A vital and important Al Jazeera meta-report, which gathers examples of foreign media reactions to Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson as a lesson for U.S. policy makers and pundits and citizens alike: “The (Chinese) story underlines how prejudice is entrenched in the U.S., with conflict inevitable in a multicultural melting pot. The author rips into the U.S. for aggressively advocating human rights abroad while failing to address simmering issues at home. Mentioning American accusations towards ‘almost 200 countries across the world for their so-called poor human rights records,’ the commentary concluded that the U.S. should focus more on its own problems rather than pointing fingers overseas.”
  • http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/ A FierceTelecom briefing about Syracuse’s mayor’s and other leaders’ investigating a community-funded wi-fi network since Verizon and Time Warner are not meeting the city’s needs for this critical infrastructure.
  • http://www.technologyreview.com MIT’s Technology Review assessment of the possibilities and pitfalls of ‘nowcasting’ with ‘Big Data.’
  • http://www.theverge.com/ Another fascinating briefing from Verge, about the metaphorical treatment of the Internet and virtuality and what such things might mean: “The 1990s saw a boom in sweeping metaphors for the entire internet, mostly because it was a time when people who were very excited about the internet were trying to explain it to people who didn’t understand it at all. That’s when you get your ‘internet superhighways,’ ‘infobahns,’ ‘global villages,’ and ‘coffee houses with a thousand rooms.’ But these metaphors weren’t simply clumsy attempts at communicating what the internet was; implicit in each of them was a vision of what the internet ought to be.”
  • http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate The Times portal to a Room for Debate exchange about Internet trolls, much of it quite superficial, more of it reactionary in one fashion or another, but telling for all that and full enough of some interesting facts and ideas.
  • http://www.cjr.org/the_kicker/sec_investigation_media_leaks_reuters.php A Columbia Journalism Review of the fanatical anti-leak culture that prevails at the Security and Exchange Commission, an aggressive attitude that critics of the agency would find better placed in its often all-to-friendly relations with the corporate miscreants it all too often slaps on the wrist, as it were: “The zealousness of these probes is worrisome. Leak investigations send a chilling message to both journalists and their sources. They can also impede legitimate newsgathering and curtail reporting that seeks to hold government to account.”
  • http://digiday.com/publishers/ A DigiDay attempt to recontextualize ‘Native Advertising’ into ‘Native Advocacy,’ which–so far as one can imagine Mother Jones in an advocate’s pose about ACLU–has some interesting points to make but fails utterly to examine its assumptions that some sort of ‘Advertorial’ policy must for the bedrock of mediation, which is so limiting and ahistorical and utterly petty bourgeois, at best.
  • http://digiday.com/agencies Another DigiDay pitch for an advertising-based business model, in the form here of a listing of responses to Ethan Zuckerman’s recent insistence that the only alternative to ads is nonexistence: “‘At the end of the day, the business model that got us funded was advertising,’ wrote Ethan Zuckerman. ‘The model that got us acquired was analyzing users’ personal homepages so we could better target ads to them. Along the way, we ended up creating one of the most hated tools in the advertiser’s toolkit: the pop-up ad.'”
  • http://www.theatlantic.com/technology Ethan Zuckernman’s Atlantic article, rich in context and linkages and a sense of historical background, with a plea for a second chance: “The fiasco I want to talk about is the World Wide Web, specifically, the advertising-supported, ‘free as in beer’ constellation of social networks, services, and content that represents so much of the present day web industry. I’ve been thinking of this world, one I’ve worked in for over 20 years, as a fiasco since reading a lecture by Maciej Cegłowski, delivered at the Beyond Tellerrand web design conference. Cegłowski is an important and influential programmer and an enviably talented writer. His talk is a patient explanation of how we’ve ended up with surveillance as the default, if not sole, internet business model.”
  • http://idlewords.com/bt14.htm The presentation referred to just above, full of wit and brilliant analogies and a way of thinking about mediation and virtuality that simply has to become part of what a scrappy union of writers is willing to think about: “Anyone who works with computers learns to fear their capacity to forget. Like so many things with computers, memory is strictly binary. There is either perfect recall or total oblivion, with nothing in between. It doesn’t matter how important or trivial the information is. The computer can forget anything in an instant. If it remembers, it remembers for keeps. …Every programmer has firsthand experience of accidentally deleting something important. Our folklore as programmers is filled with stories of lost data, failed backups, inadvertently clobbering some vital piece of information, undoing months of work with a single keystroke. We learn to be afraid.”
  • http://digiday.com/platforms/facbeook-twitter-ferguson/ A really invigorating brief from DigiDay, using Ferguson and ice-dunking as context, for the difference between FaceBook and Twitter, although as Pando Daily pointed out yesterday, that could be about to change in the direction of all algorithms all the time: “The implications of this disconnect are huge for readers and publishers considering Facebook’s recent emergence as a major traffic referrer. Namely, relying too heavily on Facebook’s algorithmic content streams can result in de facto censorship. Readers are deprived a say in what they get to see, whereas anything goes on Twitter.”



  • http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/18/ukfc-a18.htmlA World Socialist Website report about the contradictions and chaos occurring just now in Ukraine, with attacks and counterattacks, subterfuge and hidden agendas at almost every level: “In a statement published on their website Saturday, the leaders of the fascist group Right Sector, Dimitry Yarosh and Andrey Stempitsky, threatened to recall their paramilitary battalion from the frontlines in the east and march on Kiev. They warned that President Petro Poroshenko had two days to remove Deputy Interior Minister General Vladimir Yevdokimov from his post, release all Right Sector prisoners, drop all criminal charges against members of Right Sector, and return weapons that had been seized during raids by the police. Otherwise, they would face an armed march by fascist battalions on the Interior Ministry in Kiev.”
  • http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014 A Naked Capitalism installment, by a principle in a Natural Gas Firm that is seeking to do business in Ukraine, about the likely “economic disaster,” a loss of as much as five percent or more of GDP, facing the Kiev regime, in which morass the attacks on the industrial and coal-producing regions of the East will play a catastrophic role.

James Foley Death

  • http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/ New Zealand Stuff’s Reuters report on the beheading of journalist James Foley, whose Islamic State in Iraq & the Levant murderers posed his assassination as payback for U.S. bombing.


  • http://thehill.com/homenews/administration The Hill’s report on President Obama’s call to treat the Islamic State in Iraq & Syria, as much a U.S. creation in the obsessive fight to unseat Bashar Assad from Syria’s leadership, as a ‘cancer,’ when the metaphor of the Frankenstein monster is much more apt, though we have to hope that it doesn’t altogether scotch its maker.


  • https://portside.org/2014-08-19 A Portside Labor crossposting about a militant solidarity move by Bay Area protesters that led to longshoremen’s refusal to unload an Israeli cargo ship there, resulting in its rerouting to Los Angeles: “The protesters, organizing under the motto ‘Block the Boat,’ first converged at the International Container Terminal on Saturday, a day before the Piraeus arrived at the port. Longshore workers responsible for unloading the vessel refused to do so, not because they are taking sides in the fight between Israel and Hamas, but because they would not work ‘under armed police escort – not with our experience with the police in this community,’ said Melvin MacKay, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10.”


  • http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/14 A Counterpunch eyewitness report of the devastation in Gaza, where whole communities have disappeared bombed into oblivion with the carrion amid the rubble: “We continued toward Khuza’a. It was a model Palestinian agricultural village with open fields and green everywhere. They had fruit trees and vegetable fields. But there was nothing left of the village I remembered. The smell and the sights we saw were shocking. The moment we parked and I got out, a very strange smell hit us—the smell of dead bodies. That smell will never leave me; it is still stuck in my nose. We saw totally flattened houses and other houses partially destroyed. It reminded me of pictures from war-torn areas where years of fighting erased a village. I could tell that something huge and terrible had happened here, the rubble and the destruction were extreme. Some villagers told us they had found two bodies in the rubble a couple of hours before we arrived. Still people were searching the ruins for their relative’s remains. Many times I had to stop myself from vomiting because the smell was so strong.”


  • http://www.counterpunch.org A Counterpunch assessment of Egypt a year after government-orchestrated slaughter of civilians, with another thousand or so slated for the executioner’s ax, essentially a condemnation of U.S. support for fascist thugs and willing bagmen: “I had a minor taste of this regime’s ‘hospitality’ when I attempted to enter Cairo on March 3, 2014 as part of a women’s peace delegation. I was stopped at the airport, detained for 17 hours, and then thrown to the ground and handcuffed so violently that my shoulder popped out of its socket. Instead of allowing me to go to the hospital to have my arm reset, as the doctors insisted, I had my scarf stuffed into my mouth, was dragged through the airport and deported to Turkey. I was never given any explanation as to why I was detained, attacked, arrested and deported. To this day, months later, the pain in my arm is a daily reminder of the thugs who run Egypt today.”


  • http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/18 A pitch from TechCrunch for mini-nukes that will supposedly be less lethal and hideous than other aspects of the Nuclear ‘Fuel’ Cycle, further indicia of the inanity of what passes for analysis in these matters.

Michael Brown Murder

  • ttp://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/19/pers-a19.html An overarching overview from World Socialist Website of what the events in Ferguson and the murder of Michael Brown could indicate: “The events in Ferguson, Missouri over the past ten days mark a political turning point for the entire country. The immense scale of social inequality, the ruthlessness of the financial aristocracy, the disintegration of American democracy—all have been exposed in the execution-style police killing of unarmed eighteen-year-old Michael Brown and the vicious crackdown on protests that erupted in response. At the heart of all the social and democratic issues raised in Ferguson is the nature of the capitalist system. No struggle against inequality and the police state apparatus in America can be successful unless it is based on the understanding that what is involved is a struggle against the entire social and economic order.”
  • ttp://www.commondreams.org/news A Common Dreams essay and analysis of Michael Brown’s murder and Ferguson’s response as an aspect of institutionalized bigotry, on the one hand, and murderous police as standard operating procedure on the other hand, a data-rich and deeply reported piece of work.


Student Loans

Technology & Labour

  • http://www.techrepublic.com/article/ A Tech Republic assessment of a plausible development in this ‘fourth-wave’ of technologically induced layoffs and marginalization that the supremacy of technique will “encroach on human labor” and not yield more fulltime positions than it destroys, based on an MIT professor’s recent volume, The Second Machine Age (An Excerpt–http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/secondmachineage/pages/24/attachments/original/1386738780/SecondMachineAge_Ch1.pdf?1386738780), such disadvantages despite all of of technology’s miracles.: “‘The accumulated doubling of Moore’s Law, and the ample doubling still to come, gives us a world where supercomputer power becomes available to toys in just a few years, where ever-cheaper sensors enable inexpensive solutions to previously intractable problems, and where science fiction keeps becoming reality,’ Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, associate director of the Center for Digital Business at MIT, write in the book. ‘Sometimes a difference in degree (in other words, more of the same) becomes a difference in kind (in other words, different than anything else). The story of the second half of the chessboard alerts us that we should be aware that enough exponential progress can take us to astonishing places,’ the book continues.”
  • http://techcrunch.com/2014/08/17/algorithm-overlords/?ncid=tcdaily Another Tech Crunch ‘Polyanna’ take on things, basically that unions’ having failed the working class, wage-earners can put their faith in computers, algorithms, robots, and other aids to their full development and the easing of their burdens, which even if a load of ordure, nonetheless contains both analytical and factual notions worth exploring and provides a set of tropes that those who champion the working class must deal with in some fashion.
  • http://www.theverge.com A Verge visual and interactive report on the evolution of the technology of policing over the course of U.S. history, an irresistibly fascinating topic.


  • www.marketplace.org/topics/business/tear-gas A Marketplace briefing on the business of tear gas, which generates over a billion and a half dollars each year in sales and for which the biggest consumer, go figure, is law enforcement, “overwhelmingly in the United States.”
  • http://www.govexec.com/state-local An overview, from GovExec, of one of the background issues that affects such eventualities as the murder by police of unarmed Black young people, the “great divorce” that separated St. Louis City from St. Louis County, and underpinning or facilitating set of relationships in terms of official viciousness, lack of regard for citizens, White supremacy, and more.


  • http://www.trivalleycares.org/new/Chizu_8_6_14.Hiroshima_speech_Livermore.pdf A speech of a Japanese American on the occasion of the sixty-ninth anniversary of Hiroshima, in which the speaker notes that forgiveness for these “international war crimes” will never be forthcoming, especially in the aftermath, trying to ‘recoup the atomic investment’ by foisting fission power plants on an earthquake-prone island: ” The USA sold nuclear power plants to Japan, and Japan bought them. Imagine that. Japan, a country that suffered so much from atomic bombs, decided that nuclear power was a good decision. The American government was cunning and sly, and the Japanese government was stupid and vain, wanting to own nuclear technology and nuclear weapons for themselves. Since then, fifty-four nuclear plants have sprouted up like mushrooms.”


  • http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175883 A retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel’s examination of the ‘urge-to-bomb’ that characterizes the United States, with social, political economic, and political pointers for all and sundry, along with a powerful contextualization from Tom Dispatch: “To complete the circle, both the Iraqis defending Baghdad and the Kurds now desperately need new weaponry, and Washington is already starting to supply it in the north and soon undoubtedly in the south as well. Can there be any question that this is a win-win situation for the American arms industry and the military-industrial complex? It gives new meaning to American bombing campaigns that, since 1991, have proven to be disastrous regional destabilizers. Think of this as an innovative profit center for American industry and a jobs-creation exercise of the first order: we provide the weapons, we destroy them, then we provide more.”
  • http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/19/eumi-a19.html A World Socialist Website review essay about a research monograph recently issued by the European Institute Union for Security Studies, which examines projected uses of the military in 2020 and sees increased operation within Europe, against protesters and unions and so forth: “The rich had to be protected from the poor, the professor explained. Since ‘the percentage of the population who were poor and frustrated would continue to be very high, the tensions between this world and the world of the rich would continue to increase, with corresponding consequences. Since we will hardly be able to overcome the origin of this problem by 2020, i.e., the functional defects of society, we will have to protect ourselves more strongly.'”


  • http://www.rogerannis.com/prospects-for-an-antiwarsolidarity-movement-in-russia/ Another incisive deconstruction from A Socialist in Canada, in this case a critical examination of a ‘liberal’ plea for an ‘antiwar movement in Russia,’ which almost without exception in the present pass has to ignore that Russia’s position in regard to the plethora of conflict on its borders is overwhelmingly defensive and reactive, not imperialist and aggressive: “The Russian state didn’t want a war in Ukraine, nor did it provoke it. The slide to war began when fascist bands began making raids into the Ukrainian south-east as early as late February of this year in order to impose a centralized, intolerant and socially regressive governing authority out of Kyiv. Local people took up arms to defend themselves and Russia became confronted not only with a conflict that it could not ignore but also with an opportunist NATO military alliance that seized an opening to press its goal of dismembering the Russian Federation.”
  • http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39414.htm An Information Clearinghouse crossposting from Holland’s Unz, a richly intertwined examination of recent events in Ukraine in a context of mediated nonsense and eviscerated journalism in most of Europe, the upshot of which is mass amnesia and an apparent disposition to consider Russia an ‘enemy,’ despite all the evidence to the contrary: “To place European media loyalty to Washington in the Ukraine case as well as the slavish conduct of European politicians in perspective, we must know about and understand Atlanticism. It is a European faith. It has not given rise to an official doctrine, of course, but it functions like one. It is well summed up by the Dutch slogan at the time of the Iraq invasion: ‘zonder Amerika gaat het niet’ (without the United States [things] [it] won’t work). Needless to say, the Cold War gave birth to Atlanticism. Ironically, it gained strength as the threat from the Soviet Union became less persuasive for increasing numbers among European political elites.”

8.20.2014 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Open-mindedness does not mean objectivity, which both intuitively and mathematically is no more plausible than simultaneously being the shark as its teeth rend flesh to taste blood and the tuna as it feel its killer’s teeth, yet embracing one’s own subjectivity need not mean an inability to understand diametrically opposed positions.

Quote of the Day

"I have seen a little boy, six or seven years old, struck thrice with a horse-whip (before I could interfere) on his naked head, for having handed me a glass of water not quite clean; I saw his father tremble at a mere glance from his master’s eye. … And these deeds are done and palliated by men, who profess to love their neighbours as themselves, who believe in God, and pray that his Will be done on earth! It makes one’s blood boil, yet heart tremble, to think that we Englishmen and our American descendants, with their boastful cry of liberty, have been and are so guilty… ." Charles Darwin; http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Charles_Darwin.

This Day in History

One thousand three hundred and seventy-eight years back Muslim Arabs took control of both Syria and Palestine away from Byzantine rule, in a first wave of post-prophet expansion outside the Arab peninsula; one thousand fourteen years back, Saint Stephen received credit for founding Hungary; three hundred seven years ago, British forces that were besieging Pensacola withdrew, leaving Spain still in control; two hundred thirty-nine years prior to the present, Spanish settlers established the Presidio del Tucson in what evolved to become Tucson, Arizona; two hundred twenty years back, U.S. forces—in at least possible abrogation of treaty obligations—crushed Native American opposition to White Settlement in the ‘old Northwest,’ at the Battle of Fallen Timbers; one hundred fifty-six years before the here-and-now, Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace co-publish theories about processes of evolution that occur through natural selection in the Linnean Society of London Journal; a hundred thirty two years back, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture enjoyed its first performance in Moscow; one hundred twenty-eight years back, the child who became philosopher and humanitarian Paul Tillich came into the world; one hundred twenty-four years ago, the infant boy who grew into the horror author H.P. Lovecraft was born; ninety-four years back, the U.S.’s first commercial radio station opened in Detroit, which continues to operate as WWJ; eighty-eight years ago, Japan opened its State-controlled radio network; seventy-four years ago, an assassin from Russia mortally wounds Leon Trotsky with a small axe that penetrates the revolutionary’s brain; fifty-two years back, the world’s first nuclear-powered civilian craft, the Savannah, left port on its maiden voyage; forty-eight years ago, Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia, beginning the unraveling of the so-called Prague Spring; thirty-nine years back, NASA launched Viking One, an interplanetary explorer aimed at Mars; thirty-seven years prior to the present NASA sent spacecraft Voyager Two toward the outer reaches of the Solar System, and eventually deep space; twenty-six years back, Iran and Iraq formally ended their eight year bloodletting, in which most of Saddam Hussein’s support came from the U.S. and its allies; twenty-three years ago, upwards of 100,000 protesters massed in Red Square in Moscow to stand against any coup against Mikhail Gorbacheve; twenty-one years ago, Israel and Palestine signed the Oslo Accords, round one, which formally recognized the PLO on the part of Israel and formally recognized Israel’s right to exist on the part of the PLO; one year ago, iconic crime novelist Elmore Leonard died.

gaza ukraine ferguson oppression OR repression OR fascism OR "police state" imperialism OR empire OR militarism analysis OR assessment OR examination = 2.23 Million citations.


http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/18/ukmh-a18.html A World Socialist Website overview of the deafening silence of corporate media about MH-17’s destruction, the upshot of which cannot be good for the ‘allies’ of U.S. empire in Kiev: "Having built up the crash into a casus belli against Russia, however, the US media suddenly dropped the matter completely. The New York Times has not found it fit to print a word on the MH17 crash since August 7. There is no innocent explanation for the sudden disappearance of MH17 from the media and political spotlight. The plane’s black box has been held in Britain for examination for weeks, and US and Russian spy satellites and military radar were intensively scanning east Ukraine at the time of the crash. The claim that Washington does not have detailed knowledge of the circumstances of the crash and the various forces involved is not credible. If the evidence that is in Washington’s hands incriminated only Russia and the Russian-backed forces, it would have been released to feed the media frenzy against Putin. If it has not been released, this is because the evidence points to the involvement of the Ukrainian regime in Kiev and its backers in Washington and the European capitals."



  • http://www.washingtonpost.com A poem from Crisis magazine’s executive editor, posted in WaPo that cries out the anguish of the oppressed who cannot even win by giving in–which ought to inspire some cold, clear thinking, perhaps.\
  • http://kasamaproject.org/ A radical site for reds and their sympathizers to think and speak and converse with each other, as here, to ponder the political meaning of the social mayhem that Michael Brown’s murder represents: "We have mentioned in a recent article how Democratic Party reformers are often used to channel the energy and anger of the people at injustice and oppression back into the framework of electoral politics. The bait of hope for change becomes the switch of perpetuating the way things are."
  • https://portside.org/2014-08-19 A Portside Labor crossposting of an essay from Tikkun about an instructor from Helix and multilevel, multiethnic, multi-continental program of study of the intricacies of a thousand years of Jewish experience, which finds sources of opposition to Zionism, nationalism, and Israeli chauvinism: "The Bund deeply opposed Zionism. It believed that Jewish workers should be empowered in the places where they lived, where their families had lived for generations, to fight for equal rights and a fair economic and political system, the same as every other person who called Russia or Poland home. The Bund believed that nationalism turned workers against their neighbors, rather than focusing on the true enemy: an authoritarian government that denied citizenship (let alone rights) to the residents of its territories and the capitalist system that thrived on the exploitation of working people."
  • http://www.truth-out.org/news/item A first-person account of one of scores of attacks on academics who have deigned to criticize Israel, a University of California at Santa Barbara sociology professor who examines his personal ordeal in the context of a general repression of any speaking out against the carnage in Gaza or otherwise, an assault on academic freedom and general due process that thanks to staunch organizing did not succeed: "The persecution to which I was subjected involved a litany of harassment, slander, defamation of character and all kinds of threats against the university by outside forces if I was not dismissed, as well as hate mail and death threats from unknown sources. More insidiously, it involved a shameful collaboration between a number of university officials and outside forces from the Israel lobby as the university administration stood by silently, making a mockery of academic freedom. The disciplinary procedure initiated against me by UCSB officials involved a host of irregularities, violations of the university’s own procedures, breaches of confidentiality, denial of due process, conflicts of interest, failure of disclosure, improper political surveillance, abuses of power and position, unwarranted interference in curriculum and teaching and so on. As I would discover during the course of the ordeal, individuals inside the university and in positions of authority had linked up with agents of the lobby outside the university in setting out to prosecute me."
  • http://www.truth-out.org/news A TruthOut examination of a recent philosophy conference explicitly designed to bring diversity, radicalism, and a dose of the real into academic philosophy, in the form of a Diverse Lineages of Existentialism gathering at Southern Illinois University: http://www.siue.edu/existentialism/index.shtml.
  • https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/ A report, Take Back the Streets, by an international consortium of civil rights organizations, in the U.S., the American Civil Liberties Union, which argues that a global engine of repression necessitates a global upsurge of resistance.


  • http://www.vice.com/read/a-german From Vice, a weird and tantalizing TGTBT briefing about and interview with a Berliner who discovered that when he no longer worried about making ends meet, he became much more productive, much more socially aware, all round a better person, starting My Basic Income in the process: http://www.mein-grundeinkommen.de/.
  • https://news.vice.com/article A Vice breaking news report and analysis about an assassinated Mexican journalist who had just fingered a local politician as in the pay of organized criminals, one of several recent attacks against reporters in the nation where impunity is worst in the Western Hemisphere: "According to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2014 Global Impunity Index, Mexico ranks seventh among places where murders of journalists are likely to remain unsolved, right behind Afghanistan. It’s ranked first in the Western Hemisphere, followed by Colombia and Brazil. Mexico’s special prosecutor for crimes against freedom of expression counted 102 journalists killed in Mexico between January 2000 and June 30 this year."
  • http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/08/14/236547 A McClatchy D.C. report about writers’ groups’ having filed a petition with the Justice Department with over a 100,000 signatures as part of a broad campaign to quash the threat of jail that hangs over Times reporter James Risen: "’There’s just no way to conduct aggressive investigating reporting without a reporter’s privilege of some kind, without confidential sources,’ said Risen, who after the news conference said that he doesn’t know what’s going to happen with his case. Meanwhile, experts note that the Obama administration’s pursuit of leakers and its attempts to use journalists and media outlets in the process is unprecedented and worrisome. ‘There is an attitude shift that says it’s OK to go after reporters to get information to use in litigation. That is very dangerous and has a real potential for chilling free speech and free press and reporting on important issues,’ Theodore Boutrous, a longtime First Amendment lawyer, said in a recent phone interview."
  • http://bookarma.net/blog/ebook-vs-print-book/ A simple–some might contend simplistic–examination of the e-book versus print-volume debate, in a way that finds merit in both formats for most authors.
  • http://blog.bookbaby.com/2014/08/blogging Another highly simple, perhaps simplistic ‘guide’ to blogging that nonetheless is a useful start, with a ‘free download’ that provides further guidance: http://www.bookbaby.com/pages/pdf/Blogging101.pdf.
  • http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08 A Times opinion essay that provides a descriptive look at trolling and a surface assessment of its presence: "’As long as the Internet keeps operating according to a click-based economy, trolls will maybe not win, but they will always be present,’ said Whitney Phillips, a lecturer at Humboldt State University and the author of “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” a forthcoming book about her years of studying bad behavior online. ‘The faster that the whole media system goes, the more trolls have a foothold to stand on. They are perfectly calibrated to exploit the way media is disseminated these days.’"
  • https://beta.cironline.org/reports An examination of a hugely-high-concept program that the Center for Investigative Journalism has initiated in conjunction with San Francisco non-profit, Youth Speakshttp://youthspeaks.org/, the point of which is a conjunction of investigative reporting, youth storytelling, and poetry, all of which shows up with an interview here of an embedded storyteller and poet.
  • http://electronicintifada.net/content An Electronic Intifada item about the ways that factional infighting and unresolved class and schismatic issues impact media coverage of Palestine, in this instance an examination of multiple instances of journalists’ having their right to report stripped away.
  • http://gawker.com/time-inc A Gawker item about the putrefaction of reportage, specifically in relation to Time’s new system of ranking writers by how ‘friendly’ their reports are to advertisers, using a charted rubric to accomplish these assessments: "Anthony Napoli, a union representative with the Newspaper Guild, tells us: ‘Time Inc. actually laid off Sports Illustrated writers based on the criteria listed on that chart. Writers who may have high assessments for their writing ability, which is their job, were in fact terminated based on the fact the company believed their stories did not ‘produce content that is beneficial to advertiser relationships.’ The Guild has filed an arbitration demand disputing the use of that and other criteria in the layoff decisionmaking process."
  • http://pando.com/2014/08/12 Pando Daily’s latest update in the ‘Techtopolis’ wage-fixing suit, in which Pando teases corporate outlets’ inability to come to grips with what is likely coming down the pike to some of their favorite advertisers, which is likely to be a massively increased payment due after Judge Koh threw out the original $380 million figure as a fair amount for 66,000 plaintiffs–a little under six grand per worker, a ‘tease’ that the author feels justified in dishing out since he did the workmanlike thing in reporting the case of contacting the disputing claimant for his take on things: "’Rejoin? I never left! The Plaintiffs in this case are the 64,466 members of the class. I have consistently, and will continue to faithfully represent their interests. If anything, it is original class counsel who, as a consequence of Judge Koh’s ruling, we now welcome back to the pursuit of a fair outcome.’"


  • http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/ An Ars Technica investigative briefing about Comcast’s withdrawal of a $132,000 donation that would have benefited FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who is leaning toward favoring the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger.
  • http://ericrhoads.blogs.com/ink_tank/ A blogger’s ideas about the AM radio crisis, which paradoxically he sees as necessitating a big public relations campaign and a commitment to free market principles.
  • http://www.journalism.co.uk/ A news report from the U.K.’s Journalism.co portal, which examines the Marshall Project media startup that will use state-of-the-art storytelling and content management protocols to create audience engagement around its single-issue coverage of the U.S. criminal justice system, in its initial blast looking into the case of a Texas convicted murderer who was almost certainly innocent, though the State executed him several years ago.
  • http://pando.com/2014/08/14/ A truly spooky assessment from Pando Daily that extols the news content of Twitter feeds in regard to Michael Brown’s murder, if one exercise a little skepticism and discretion, but fears for its utility in this regard in the future, if ‘happy-algorithms,’ a la FaceBook–which has had relatively few posts about Ferguson, become the norm for Tweeters: "As you probably know by now, Facebook uses an algorithm that aims to predict what type of content users will most want to click on, so it can surface those stories more frequently in a user’s News Feed. As we’ve reported in the past, this algorithm favors listicles, quizzes, and other clickbait, as well as pat inspirational stories with little substance behind them. Even Facebook admits that it wants to make us feel happy (“delighted,” even). After all, that was its defense for conducting emotional experiments on its users. Of course, don’t believe for a second that Facebook does this out of the goodness of its heart. Happy people, or at least people who think happiness is just a click away, are more likely to buy whatever shit Facebook’s advertisers are selling. In any case, a report from Ferguson hardly passes the happy test — If you’ve been following any of the reports out of Ferguson lately, you’ll know there’s little to be delighted about in greater St. Louis right now."
  • http://gigaom.com/2014/08/14/crowd-powered GigaOm’s treatment of the social mediation of Ferguson’s rising up against Michael Brown’s murder, which the author puts in the context of various other such risings internationally, a la Ukraine and Egypt: "Just as it did in Egypt and Ukraine, the stream of updates from Ferguson — both from amateur or non-journalists, eyewitnesses and professional reporters for various outlets — turned into a feed of breaking news unlike anything that non-Twitter users were getting from the major news networks and cable channels. Most of the latter continued with their regular programming, just as media outlets in Turkey and Ukraine avoided mentioning the growing demonstrations in their cities. In a very real sense, citizen-powered journalism filled the gap left by traditional media, which were either incapable or unwilling to cover the news."
  • http://www.niemanlab.org/2014 A Nieman Journalism Lab summary of material posted on Medium by a University of North Carolina professor, about the way that the coverage of Michael Brown’s murder becomes a Net-Neutrality and power-of-algorithmic-filters issue: "This isn’t about Facebook per se—maybe it will do a good job, maybe not—but the fact that algorithmic filtering, as a layer, controls what you see on the Internet. Net neutrality (or lack thereof) will be yet another layer determining this. This will come on top of existing inequalities in attention, coverage, and control."
  • http://electronicintifada.net/content/candid An Electronic Intifada scoop of Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren’s interactions on camera with local folks, including a tete-a-tete with Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman, whose anti-Palestinian views and actions belie his apparent commitment to ending anti-Semitism.
  • http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/available/ An LSU dissertation about the work of Augusto Boal, whose Theater-of-the-Oppressed the author contextualizes as a useful tool in introductory public speaking and interpersonal communications courses, which suggests just a couple of applications of this intellectual technology for scrappy writers.
  • http://www.govexec.com/state-local A Gov-Exec briefing about and summary of a report by the Center for Data Innovation of the six top states in implementing open-data protocols: Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, and Utah.
  • http://www.pewinternet.org/packages The portal for the Pew Research Internet Project’s smorgasbord of materials that show the history, evolution, and possible futures of the web of virtuality that is so much a part of modern mediated existence.
  • http://www.w3.org/History/1989/proposal.html Tim Berners-Lee’s Information Management: a Proposal, while he worked at CERN, which in many ways laid the conceptual foundation for today’s Internet.
  • http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/13 Ethics quandaries from the Times, a result of ‘overflowing’ data that doesn’t have the inconvenience of Institutional Review Boards and subject protection protocols–and besides, everybody does it.



  • http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item A TruthOut heartfelt plea for enough engagement after the protests have finished and we’re waiting for the rice to boil or the pizza to arrive to have an impact on those involved in actually effecting policies of mass murder in Gaza, not to mention–which the article does not mention–having the gumption to begin participating in politics in such a way as to mandate that democracy actually means majority rule.
  • http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/08/14/but-hamas/ A Tikkun Daily by-the-numbers briefing of the historical background of the rise of Hamas, by a founder in Israel of "Jews Say No!"
  • http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/16 A Times profile of a supporter of the Dutch resistance to the Nazis, who helped to hide a Jewish child in his home in the mid-1940’s and supported the founding of Israel passionately, to the extent that Israel awarded him publicly, but who has now turned into a fierce critic of Israeli aggression, returning his medal, as his grandniece’s husband is a benighted Gazan Palestinian.


  • http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/18/sepa-a18.html A World Socialist Website article about leadership shifts and other developments in Eastern Ukraine that dig deeply into the real sociopolitical and political economic situation there and in Russia, detailing the countervailing forces in Russia and Eastern Ukraine that pretend to be progressive but have nothing but praise for energy billionaires and nothing but subservience to their property interests, with Russian nationalists in both Moscow and Ukraine almost indistinguishable from their Ukrainian assailants, all of which is unfolding under Putin’s guidance as a pointed attempt to stave off a regional conflict that would devolve into civil war and possibly a global catastrophe: "Whether or not the Kiev regime is open to a resolution of the conflict in southeastern Ukraine that falls short of the total destruction of the region remains to be seen. Shortly after the change in personnel in the DPR and the LPR, the Ukrainian government issued new allegations that the separatists are receiving direct aid and training from Moscow, citing remarks made by Zakharchenko to a meeting of his government. In an interview with LifeNews on August 16, Zakharchenko denied these allegations."
  • http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39427.htm A ‘Saker’ analysis, full of speculation that is nonetheless empirically and historically informed, as well as generally intelligent, which assessments follow his utter debunking of all ‘Putin-as-devil’ or ‘Putin-as-fall-guy’ and other fantastical scenarios concocted by Western pundits: "Within the next couple of months Banderastan will full enter Stages 4 and 5 of (Dmitri) Orlov’s (Five Stages of Collapse) collapse model and then things will get really ugly. At this point the introduction of some kind of dictatorship is simply inevitable. Either that, or a "Somalization". In either case, this is really going to be hell on earth and this is were the real focus should be right now: how to prepare for the absolutely inevitable explosion"


  • https://news.vice.com/video/the-islamic An irresistible profferal from Vice, in the form of a forty-two minute video, much of which plays like a grotesque joke, or an incredibly amateurish propaganda film against ‘the Caliphate,’ interspersed with depictions of executions, heads on metal fence pikes, all to point out the power of Islamic State, without heavy weapons, without an industrial base, without anything other than this mediated expression of its omnipotence, which makes skepticism a generous position, that means that hidden agendas are certainly in play.
  • http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/08 Washington’s Blog’s contextualization, turning away from the fantasy that ISIS is somehow an actual state, a real expression of Islam, to look behind the curtain at those pulling the strings–quite likely Israeli intelligence, and definitely CIA operatives and bagmen for the Saudis and other billionaire representatives of international oil: "Why would the U.S. and its allies back ISIS, when they are barbarian Islamic terrorists? Well – assuming it’s true – oil and gas could be the explanation. After all, there is evidence that the U.S. and her allies have wanted to break up the nations of Iraq and Syria for decades. And ISIS has done so. In any event – whether or not it’s true of ISIS – it’s well-documented that the U.S., Saudis and Israelis have been backing the world’s most dangerous and radical Muslim terrorists for decades. And see this. And anyone who looks at the battle against ISIS as a religious war is being played."
  • http://www.counterpunch.org A Counterpunch analysis, fast-paced, wide-ranging, and arguably a bit glib, but richly historical and contextualized in terms of identifiable imperial interests, so that it is overall quite persuasive and indubitably enlightening and useful: "Just as anti-Russian American operatives in Afghanistan funded the nascent Taliban in the 1980s, so the deathly lab culture of the Islamic State incubated in the violence that the Bush and Obama administrations visited on Iraq. In addition, many of the weapons that have been used to establish the caliphate between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers came either directly from the Americans or by way of the Iraqi army, which has a habit of throwing down its guns when it is under attack or surrendering bases. (New Yorkers might ask: “Whaddaya want for a trillion bucks?”)"

http://newsjunkiepost.com/2014/08/07/ A News Junkie Post essay that examines the new regime in India, focusing on its orders literally to rewrite history textbooks so as to remove them from ‘leftist thugs’ who had the temerity to speak factually and forthrightly about South Asia and Indian society.

Race and Police

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/18/dayt-a18.html A World Socialist Website report from Dayton, Ohio about a young Black man gunned down by police at Walmart in what is another case of the terrible litany of official execution of Black males, in this case a fellow who had a BB gun in his hands, which the authorities are claiming justified this homicide, even though neither the police nor Walmart have released store videos yet, which eyewitnesses say will exonerate the murdered youth and indict the coppers: "LeeCee Johnson, the mother of Crawford’s children, told the Dayton Daily News she was on a call with Crawford when he was shot by the police. ‘We was just talking. He said he was at the video games playing videos and he went over there by the toy section where the toy guns were. And the next thing I know, he said ‘It’s not real,’ and the police start shooting and they said ‘Get on the ground,’ but he was already on the ground because they had shot him,’ she said, adding: ‘And I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.’"

Michael Brown Murder

  • http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/15 The Times report and analysis about the upshot of the Ferguson police murder of Michael Brown and its aftermath, a groundswell of support for ‘demilitarizing the police.’
  • http://www.ksdk.com/videos/news/local/2014/08/14/14042891/ A local news outlet’s presentation of an Al Jazeera film crew’s tear-gassing by Ferguson police as the journalists shot footage of the police.
  • http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek An Electronic Intifada scoop about what Daily Links have twice noted in the past couple of weeks, that local police forces–including two active in quelling citizen outrage over Michael Brown’s murder–have been regularly receiving training from Israel: "The dystopian scenes of paramilitary units in camouflage rampaging through the streets of Ferguson, pointing assault rifles at unarmed residents and launching tear gas into people’s front yards from behind armored personnel carriers (APCs), could easily be mistaken for a Tuesday afternoon in the occupied West Bank. And it’s no coincidence. At least two of the four law enforcement agencies that were deployed in Ferguson up until Thursday evening — the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Police Department — received training from Israeli security forces in recent years."


Renewable Energy
http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/25592-solar-power-gets-hot-hot-hot A TruthOut crossposting from Institute for Policy Studies Other Voices syndicator, which trumpets the coming age of renewable energy, albeit without the apparent capacity to comprehend that more than supply and demand and empirical logic are in play in the unshakeable commitment of society’s rulers to the Nuclear Fool Cycle.

https://beta.cironline.org/reports/ousted A Center for Investigative Reporting profile of Border Patrol Internal Affairs head James Tomschek, and analysis of his recent removal from this position, because he insisted on thorough investigations of a string of killings by officers of "the nation’s largest police force," all of which and more he spoke about in an unauthorized interview with CIR: "He said the Border Patrol suffers from ‘institutional narcissism,’ a view that it is the premier federal law enforcement agency. It’s part of a broader culture of impunity at its parent agency, Customs and Border Protection, which sees itself as above reproach and ‘constitutional constraints’ and aims to shield agents’ misconduct and a massive corruption problem from outside scrutiny, he said."

Education / For Profit ‘Education’

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/ A horrifying news analysis from the Times, which demonstrates the corruption and fraud that result from the natural operation of the present system in regard to workers and small business owners crushed by the fickleness of the present pass toward their worth and the utility of their labor, so that they end up with a mountain of debt to for-profit ‘colleges’ that guaranteed them training and jobs in order to gain access to Federal billions: "Millions of unemployed Americans like Mr. DeGrella have trained for new careers as part of the Workforce Investment Act, a $3.1 billion federal program that, in an unusual act of bipartisanship, was reauthorized by Congress last month with little public discussion about its effectiveness. Like Mr. DeGrella, many have not found the promised new career. Instead, an extensive analysis of the program by The New York Times shows, many graduates wind up significantly worse off than when they started — mired in unemployment and debt from training for positions that do not exist, and they end up working elsewhere for minimum wage."

Freedom Summer Freedom School
http://centerx.gseis.ucla.edu/principal A UCLA professor’s documentation of Mississippi Freedom Summer Freedom Schools, crucially important both as historical memory and as contemporary models for such as a union of scrappy writers.

Education / Homeschooling

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item A TruthOut essay, a first-person account of a homeschooling family that has the resources and wherewithal to see to its children’s learning for reasons of a commitment to social justice, critical thinking, and a more equitable world, none of which values and beliefs will find a home in public education now: "Homeschooling provides a safe, respectful, loving, educational refuge for our children from a dominant education system that is not merely ‘underserving’ children, but, according to social critic Bell Hooks, joining other elements of dominant culture in miseducating children ‘for conformity and obedience.’ Homeschooling is not the only solution to this systemic social problem. Democratic free-schools are another. Truly radical transformation of the dominant education system is potentially another. Our experience also indicates that homeschooling can be part of the solution and that it is compatible with core democratic principles including civic-engagement, critical consciousness, and a fundamental concern for social justice."

Franco / Spanish Civil War

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/18/spai-a18.html A World Socialist Website historical essay about recently exhumed bodies of workers and socialists murdered by proponents of Francisco Franco during and after the Spanish Civil War, when a mini-holocaust against social democrats and organized workers occurred: "On July 19, two days after the coup, Mola sent another order: ‘It is necessary to spread terror, eliminating without scruples or hesitation all those who do not think as we do…. All those who oppose the victory of the movement to save Spain will be shot.’ Since the death of Franco and the end of the fascist dictatorship in 1978, successive governments have attempted to cover up the crimes of fascist regime. After its election in the 2011, the Popular Party (PP) government of Mariano Rajoy reduced by 60 percent the budgets dedicated to the Law of Historical Memory (LHM), passed by the previous Socialist Party government, and abolished the Office of Victims of the Civil War and the Dictatorship, which coordinated the exhumation of the remains of those that disappeared. For 2013-2014, the budget for LHM ceased to exist, forcing the associations dedicated to recovering the remains to rely on donations."

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/15 A Counterpunch analysis that reveals how ‘liberal’ Iraqis celebrated Saddam’s overthrow but somehow don’t like its logical outcome, with the current pass a quick path to what the Georgetown Arabic Studies author terms "ceaseless escalation," which like his Iraqi colleagues he sees as a litany of "mistakes’ instead of an ideology and policy of imperial hegemony.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39420.htm An Information Clearinghouse profile, crossposted from Haaretz, of an Israel-Prize laureate, Zeev Sternhell, who recently experienced a non-lethal bomb attack for his criticism of Israeli policy, all of which in the scholar’s view brings into question the sustainability of Israel’s democracy and even its capacity to survive.

Argentine Debt

http://truth-out.org/news/item/25570 A TruthOut crossposting of populist financial guru Ellen Brown’s Web-of-Debt blog about Argentina’s taking the U.S. to the Hague in a bid to undo the Federal Court’s undoing of Argentina’s settlement of its debts with almost all of its creditors in 2005, the upshot of which was the fraction of its loans held by ‘vulture funds’ may unravel the entire deal, all of which Dr. Brown places in the context of a system that can never operate equitably and efficiently since private banks thrive on instability and the well executed ‘killing:’ "Total debt, public and private, has grown by over 40% since 2007, to $100 trillion. The US national debt alone has grown from $10 trillion in 2008 to over $17.6 trillion today. At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2014, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde spoke of the need for a global economic ‘reset.’ National debts have to be ‘reset’ or ‘readjusted’ periodically so that creditors can keep collecting on their exponentially growing interest claims, in a global financial scheme based on credit created privately by banks and lent at interest. More interest-bearing debt must continually be incurred, until debt overwhelms the system and it again needs to be reset to keep the usury game going."

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/25616 A TruthOut analysis of the role of geopolitics and the financial imperial imprimatur of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in the Ukraine conflict, where the inception of the meltdown occurred in the immediate aftermath of a rejection of an IMF line of credit: "A major factor in the crisis that led to deadly protests and eventually Yanukovych’s removal from office was his rejection of an EU association agreement that would have further opened trade and integrated Ukraine with the European Union. The agreement was tied to a 17 billion dollars loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Instead, Yanukovych chose a Russian aid package worth 15 billion dollars plus a 33 percent discount on Russian natural gas."


http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39413.htm An Information Clearinghouse essay by Paul Craig Roberts that lays the blame for the devolutionary state of the current international situation squarely at the feet of U.S. imperial imprimatur, over which many people around the world are more outraged than ever before in history, especially in Russia: "Egor Prosvirnin, the chief editor of a Russian news site, shows us the extent of the anger in Russia caused by the dangerous mixture of Washington’s broken promises with the vicious propaganda war against Russia and the German government’s complicity. http://sputnikipogrom.com/europe/germany/18213/russian-appeal/ Prosvirnin expresses anger that is white hot: ‘Germans have failed their test. When Evil has returned again to Europe, you do not even attempt to resist it, and immediately fall prostrate at its feet like a slave.’ As Russians see it, all of Europe is a slave to the evil emanating from Washington."

Grassroots Empowerment
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/15 A Counterpunch manifesto that, insisting that ‘despair is not an option,’ appeals for an upsurge in cross-border organizing and action that amps up the struggle for grassroots empowerment and a disarming of the police state apparatuses that predominate around the globe: "Perhaps the only hope to stop the final rise, confirmed by this report, of an Orwellian world under the boots of a global police state where protest and dissent are virtually illegal, is for citizens of the world to unite in fighting to take back our streets. Some will pay a heavy price, but we must ‘take back the streets’ from the police at any cost and without fear. Then we might regain control of our respective governments before it is too late. Power belongs to the people, but it must be regularly reclaimed. Historically troubled times, such as the rise of fascism in Europe during the 1930s, have proven that people must remain vigilant and watchful of basic human rights being swept away by tyranny. Globalization of policing calls for global vigilance about human-rights abuses and a massive and coordinated globalization of outrage and protest."

8.19.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day

Discovering that what one already ‘knows’ is something entirely different will almost always prove nearly impossible, which is why skepticism and uncertainty associate nearly one-to-one with the open-minded inquiry that underpins knowledge-creation.

Quote of the Day

"Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice;

From what I’ve tasted of desire, I hold with those that favor fire:

But if I had to perish twice, well, ice is nice and would suffice." Ogden Nash

This Day in History

Plus-or-minus two thousand three hundred nine years ago, minions of Roman Emperor Quintus Fabius dedicated the first temple to the Goddess Venus; four hundred two years back, one of the most famous witch trials in English history put three women from Lancashire on trial for their lives; three hundred fifty-two years before the present, mathematician and philosopher Blaise Paschal died; three hundred twenty-two years before the present, authorities in Salem, Massachusetts executed five women and one man as witches; two hundred one years ago, upper class power broker Gervasio Posados joined the Second Triumvirate to rise in Argentina, which ended up in bed with the English and attuned with the debt-for-bribes empire that continues to this day; a hundred seventy-five years ago, France declared Louis Daguerre’s early photo processing method as a gift to humankind; one hundred sixty-six years back, New York papers began to break California’s gold rush, which had actually begun in the snows of the previous January; one hundred sixty years prior to the present pass, the First Sioux War started when Army personnel killed Chief Conquering Bear and all died in a slaughter thereafter; one hundred fifty-two years back, as the Civil War exploded further East, Lakota Sioux rose up against American incursion and attacked settlers, killing scores of farmers and families; one hundred forty-four years ago, the male infant who grew up to become financier Bernard Baruch was born; one hundred twelve years back, the boy baby who ended up being Ogden Nash came into the world; ninety-nine years before this moment in time, the child who turned into writer Ring Lardner was born; ninety-five years ago, having fought off the British repeatedly, Afghanistan gained full independence in the treaty of Rawalpindi, and the infant who became publisher Malcolm Forbes came into the world; seventy years back, the city of Paris, aided by allied troops, rose up against German occupiers and forced them to retreat; sixty-nine years ago, Viet Minh forces under Ho Chi Minh took control of Hanoi; sixty-eight years back, the baby boy who matured to become President Bill Clinton was born; sixty-one years ago, the government of Mohammed Mossadegh fell apart, as a result of CIA-and-British-Intelligence-supported conspiracies and attacks; fifty-four years back, the Soviet Union sentenced U-2 pilot to ten years imprisonment for spying in his overflight of Russian territory;thirty-seven years back, Groucho Marx died; thirty-three years back, U.S. fighters destroyed two Libyan fighters over the Gulf of Sidra; twenty-three years before the here-and-now, a coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev resulted in his house arrest in Crimea; twenty years ago, Nobel Prize winning chemist Linus Pauling died; eleven years ago, a Hamas-orchestrated attack on a city bus killed 23 Israelis; four years back,‘Operation Iraqi Liberation’—damn, I mean ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom,’ Freedom—officially came to its supposed ‘end,’ with the withdrawal of the final combat contingent from the U.S.

"government statistics" OR "official data" inaccessibility OR "lack of availability" OR cutback democracy diminution OR degradation OR deterioration = 1.67 Million hits.


http://www.opednews.com/articles/A-Different-D-Day-by-Gary-Brumback-Blowback_Ecocide_Failed-States_Gmo-140818-574.html An OpEd News essay-analysis of the fruits of empire, contending that if a democratic upsurge against imperialism is not soon forthcoming, ‘doomsday’ scenarios will quite likely become inevitable: "America’s regimes have always had ulterior motives for their militaristic imperialism that has led over the course of her history to the deaths and sufferings of millions, with one-half or more on average being noncombatant fatalities. Today, most of the world’s inhabitants see America as the greatest threat to world peace.

America is paying a heavy price to indulge her addiction to warring with a much heavier price yet to come unless and until she starts making friends instead of enemies on foreign soil. I call that heavier price ‘a different D-Day.’ It means ‘doomsday,’ and it will very likely show itself in the decades to come in one or more of these different forms…"


At-Large Steering Committee member Labarre Blackman has organized a Columbia, S.C. meeting for September 7th that will present NWU members and their contacts a chance to learn some of Augusto Boal’s techniques for power-building that utilize the rubric of the ‘Theater-of-the-Oppressed’ model; further information is forthcoming in updates about this, and Labarre’s contact info is labarreblackman.

At-Large Chapter member–and soon-to-be Steering Committee officer–Toni Good and other NWU adherents in Wisconsin are planning to participate in a Labor Day gathering in Madison on September first.

http://www.builtindetroit.net/ A portal to an NWU member’s recent, acclaimed book that details the second decade of the United Auto Workers and beyond through the author’s experience as part of a UAW family.

Bunches of unions, including the NWU, have signed on to a demonstration to bring justice to the causes of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, which National Officers describe as a "real step forward and a recognition of the power of racism in our society," as well as a "concern about the development of fascism in the U.S."


  • http://www.communitiesconference.org/ A conference over Labor Day Weekend devoted to cooperation, sustainability, and equality in Louisa, Virginia.
  • http://openeverything.ie/ A conference in Ireland from September 10-14 about a transformative approach to economic, political, and social relations: "At the heart of our economies, a diversification and increasing importance of collaborative practices can be observed. By proposing alternative paths of value creation and sharing, these practices open new perspectives in terms of consumption, production and innovation models."
  • http://www.knightfoundation.org/blogs An interesting potential follow-up to NetRoots, either as a potential collaborative extension or critical intervention, or perhaps both, the Urban Innovation Exchange, slated to take place in Detroit, according to the Knight Foundation, from September 24-26


  • http://www.shareable.net/blog/ A Shareable link, in the form of a list about benefits of Chattanooga’s recent ‘innovative’ social developments, including low-price, high-speed broadband and more.
  • http://guerrillatranslation.com/2014/06/26 A recently posted expression of democratic values important enough to note again–from Spain’s M-15 organization, a Charter for Democracy: "We emerged during the destruction of an economic and political model that, by its decadence, makes us poorer, excludes us, and exiles us from our own cities and towns…we are here to take democracy into our own hands, to defend against the constant threat of its systematic robbery…we are the Movement for Democracy and we came into being to say, “Yes we can!” a thousand times and more. And as we hold this to be true, that we actually can, we will challenge whoever tells us it’s impossible."
  • http://www.bu.edu/agni/essays/online A lyrically beautiful Palestinian essay, in AGNI Online, about the situation in Gaza, in which the author contextualizes the horrors of the current miasma in terms of an ongoing commitment of a people to their communities in a particular place: "There are many questions that arise amid this cyclical war that used to occupy much of our thoughts. Now these questions seem all too logical. Six years ago, before I had lived through three wars, one after the other, (with only two years or less between each one) I wondered: Why do our exiled families cling to their camps? Why do they live all packed in, one next to the other? The adults insist on repeating over and over: ‘Tomorrow, we return.’ Sixty-eight years have gone by, yet they still cling to the idea of ‘Tomorrow, we return.’ And they cling all the more to the campgrounds, refusing to leave the shelters behind."
  • http://transitiontownmedia.org/ A gateway to an unfolding development–the Transition Town movement–that undoubtedly has all manner of problems but which equally so presents interesting prospects for a scrappy union of writers.
  • http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/ A wild thought game from The Kernel’s Daily Dot, imagining high school without social media–whoa!! "For our inaugural back-to-school issue, The Kernel wanted to see that imagination in action. We partnered with the Austin Bat Cave, a Texas-based nonprofit that runs creative writing and English tutoring programs for kids and teens in the Austin area, to ask the question: What would high school be like without social media?"
  • http://thesouthlawn.org/2014/08/19 Another Southlawn posting worthy of iconic status, about the need for a thoroughgoing social transformation, or revolution if one can stomach the word, that truly engages masses and masses of people, possibly a driving thought for a union of scrappy writers, presented as a series of thought-portals and quotations on the subject: "Remember these words in your movements through the struggle today. Remember that the revolution is for everybody, or it is for nobody."
  • http://austinbatcave.org/ The Austin group that offers free writing instruction to young people and members of the Austin community.
  • http://everysaturdaymorning.net/ A blogger’s take on helping women navigate the confrontations that they face in trying to get an abortion in Louisville, Kentucky, which is a lot better than what women in other places have to deal with.\
  • http://www.leftinalabama.com/ A Left in Alabama discussion of the State’s recent Democratic Committee meeting, of which LinA is fundamentally critical, implying that any local Democratic progress would necessitate democratic process improvements at all levels.


  • http://www.govexec.com/excellence A GovExec review of the Central Intelligence Agency style manual, full of tips for writers, and available as a free download– http://www.nationalsecuritylaw.org/files/received/CIA/DI_Style_Manual.pdf.
  • http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com Another scribe’s essay from the Times Opinionator blog pages, about one writer’s journey from the strictures of literary fiction to the liberating potential of fantasy: "Fantasy is sometimes dismissed as childish, or escapist, but I take what I am doing very, very seriously. For me fantasy isn’t about escaping from reality, it’s about re-encountering the challenges of the real world, but externalized and transformed. It’s an emotionally raw genre — it forces you to lay yourself open on the page. It doesn’t traffic in ironies and caveats. When you cast a spell you can’t be kidding, you have to mean it. I felt myself connecting with a much older literary tradition, one that went further back, before Joyce and Woolf and Hemingway, back before the modern novel in English was even born, before literature became so closely identified with realism. Shakespeare, Dante, Milton, Homer: those writers trafficked in witches and fairies and ghosts and monsters. Why shouldn’t I?"
  • http://mellonseminaremotions. A compilation of Augusto Boal’s work regarding a ‘Theater of the Oppressed’ that parallels Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, both an opportunity and a model for scrappy writers to consider in regard to expanding engagement and otherwise building networks and membership that serve union-building.
  • http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/18 A brilliant contextualization from Verge that deconstructs issues of critical import for writers and readers, about data, about knowledge, about discovery, about mediated mutuality and more: "The future — of news, of storytelling, of knowing — has to, in some way, address this(explosion of data, but not of filters for it). The methods by which we filter and evaluate and accumulate information need to be transparent and readily interrogated. Not because openness is a panacea — it isn’t — but because knowing something is an iterative process which depends upon collaboration, and collaboration can’t happen in a dark room. …A better future would open the comments that writers and editors make to each other and invite readers in."
  • http://gawker.com/against-editors-1623198 A hilarious presentation, thanks to MediaREDEF, from Gawker, that examines the arbitrary hierarchy of writers on the bottom, editors above them, management above that, with owners and publishers skimming the gravy, both imagining different structures and laying out succinctly the present pass: "Here is the traditional career track for someone employed in journalism: first, you are a writer. If you hang on, and don’t wash out, and manage not to get laid off, and don’t alienate too many people, at some point you will be promoted to an editor position. It is really a two-step career journey, in the writing world. Writing, then editing. You don’t have to accept a promotion to an editing position of course. You don’t have to send your kids to college and pay a mortgage, necessarily. If you want to get regular promotions and raises, you will, for the most part, accept the fact that your path takes you away from writing and into editing, in some form. The number of pure writing positions that offer salaries as high as top editing positions is vanishingly small. Most well-paid writers are celebrities in the writing world. That is how few of them there are."
  • http://digiday.com/publishers/meet-audience-development-czars/ A DigiDay report about the newest trend that could salvage media corporations while savaging journalism, or maybe not, maybe the upshot would end up being the triumph of ‘free’ markets and consumerism as the basis for all life: "The fact that audience-development staffs are embedded in the newsroom reflects a cultural change. The Slate and Washington Post audience czars report to the top editor and managing editor, respectively. The Times appointment is unusual but not a first in that MacCallum had come from the business side, and it also reflects a growing openness at news organizations to allow cross-pollination among formerly siloed departments. It wasn’t long ago that the Times, as it admitted in its Innovation Report, was turned down by a candidate for senior audience-development job there because the newsroom wasn’t fully committed."
  • http://www.thecrimereport.org/news An amazing tale from The Crime Report, that serves as an introduction to the notion of ‘crowdsourcing’ criminal investigations, through the case of one blogger’s assistance to police in a Minnesota child abduction case.
  • http://journalistsresource.org/skills/research A Journalists Resource report about best-practices in relation to utilizing research in reporting situations, with a state-of-the-art examination of sources and pathways in regard to twelve important issues.
  • http://copyright.gov/comp3/docs/compendium-full.pdf The full Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, downloadable and electronically searchable, fully up to date.
  • http://pando.com/2014/08/17 A Pando Daily analysis of ‘pay-to-play,’ ‘native content,’ and other methods of embedding marketing protocols deep into the flow of journalism as a likely wave of the future for the apparently difficult-to-refute reason that readers don’t concern themselves much with such blatant conflicts of interest and so forth: "Imagine, though, if it turned out that serious news consumers didn’t care about that stuff. Not just teens or those who get all their news from Buzzfeed lists and trending hashtags — but if actual, grown up readers didn’t give a flying toss about church and state. If that were the case there’d be nothing to stop every financially-challenged newsroom (i.e. every newsroom in the world) from joining the race to the bottom: Selling every headline to the highest bidder, giving every book a positive review (with an affiliate link at the bottom, of course, or even becoming a full-fledged ecommerce company. News organizations, after all, are supposed to serve their readers, and if readers want a completely bought-and-paid-for news agenda, how long will it be until they get their wish? Judging by the depressing reaction to the Bezos-owned Washington Post’s move to insert giant Amazon affiliate buttons into its news stories, that future might not be far off."


  • https://lareviewofbooks.org/review/ An L.A. Review of Books essay, courtesy of Media REDEF, that deals both with The Wire as a television serial melodrama and with film Critic Linda William’s political-economic and sociopolitical deconstruction of the series in On the Wire: "Neoliberalism treats everyone as rationalized economic inputs; it flattens democracy into unitary hierarchy; people become cogs in uncaring institutions. The Wire, Williams suggests, resists neoliberalism in part through the richness and diversity of its melodrama. Williams compares David Simon’s work to anthropology: the careful, layered, nuanced creation of a map of reality that captures both institutions and individuals. Thus, where most cop dramas focus on the cops, The Wire’s focus is broader, including institutions like schools and newspapers, and, also depicting, most significantly, the criminals who in other shows might simply be ‘bad guys.’"
  • http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014 A Public Integrity profferal that details the mediated disinformation policies of political elites as a contemporary SOP that cannot help but destroy democracy: "The most recent evidence: a National Journal article about a new tactic used by the National Republican Congressional Committee to attack Democratic candidates. Earlier this year, the NRCC created several fake Democratic candidate websites. The organization’s latest effort is a brand new set of deceptive websites, this time designed to look like local news sources."
  • http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/19 A critically important background and analysis of the underlying issues that attend James Risen’s case, entailing an examination of U.S.-and-Israeli collaboration against Iran, the arrest of Jeffrey Sterling as Risen’s likely source, the so-far non-starter of a case against General James Cartwright as a whistleblower for another journalist, and other matters of skullduggery such as the StuxNet virus and more: "Both Risen’s and Sanger’s stories provided citizens important information on America’s ham-handed efforts to combat Iran. Both leaks served to provide important information about the ill-considered covert actions done in our name. Thus far, the leaks have not been treated the same. Hopefully, the inaction on Sterling’s case and against Cartwright — if he is, indeed, Sanger’s source — reflects reconsideration on the part of the Obama Administration of its counterproductive criminalization of whistleblowing. Hopefully, what we’re seeing is a belated recognition that attacking journalism doesn’t serve the country."
  • http://www.newscientist.com/article A link from the graces of MediaREDEF to a New Scientist review essay that explores the rationale for the web and all that is weird and twisted in its depths, using The Dark Net as a point of reference: "The sole point of connecting computers was to allow the easy sharing of data. In one sense, that’s still all the internet is for. But the mess of humanity has since put its spin on things. There is nothing you can think of, however extreme, sordid, outlandish or just plain weird, that someone else hasn’t already put online. Take the Assassination Market. …The Assassination Market is Jamie Bartlett’s first port of call in The Dark Net, a travelogue around the dark side of the internet. It gets worse. At least the Assassination Market has the whiff of a stunt about it – to date no one has been knocked off the list."
  • http://www.knightfoundation.org/blog A Knight Foundation Blog that briefs about and links to the Aspen Institute Forum on Communications and Society, where "thought leaders" have told the rest of us what they think, and possibly implied how we should think about things too: http://www.aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/communications-society/FOCAS2014.
  • http://digiday.com/publishers An update from Digiday about Gawker’s nightmare with its platform in relation to violent porn’s posting on Jezebel, which the author here examines as one case of the problematic scenario inherent in all ‘platform’ approaches to publishing.
  • http://organizingforpower.files A general compilation of tools and techniques that are available to organizers and activists who want to use theater and like performance to help citizens gain insights into, power in relation to, and ability to question about social issues and events and such, following the practices of Augusto Boal: "Boal begins with the principle that theatre, like language, can be appropriate to anybody so long as the methods are passed on to them. It is this teaching role that Theatre of the Oppressed sets out to achieve. Through series of exercises, games, techniques and drama forms (of which Forum Theatre is the most commonly used), the aim is to understand social reality, to then be able to change it. As in the Education of the Oppressed of Paulo Freire, in Theatre of the Oppressed there is no room for the passive spectator. There is a time to observe and another to act."
  • http://journalistsresource.org/studies A Journalists Resource annotated bibliography of materials about Massive Open Online Courses, their effectiveness, potential, and so forth.
  • http://www.govexec.com/technology/ A GovExec briefing about how even the mild-mannered critique permissible on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s real-time website is far too much for Republicans and reactionaries, who have organized a well-funded and far-reaching campaign to disenable this sort of reporting.
  • http://www.mediabistro.com/ A portal from Fishbowl New York, courtesy of Media Bistro, that provides links to journalists’ accounts of harassment and worse at the hands of police in Ferguson.
  • http://pando.com/2014/08/18/ A Pando Daily investigative article about the link between Silicon Valley and India’s new government, anomalous in many ways, but sensible in terms of market penetration, control of distribution, and in more down-to-earth terms of power and perquisites, all of this by media and technology behemoths: "Omidyar’s direct involvement in opposition politics in India — which got him in trouble in 2012 when the ruling center-left government accused Omidyar Network and the Ford Foundation of illegally lobbying parliament to allow FDI in e-retail — stands as one of the most brazen examples of Silicon Valley strategically meddling in a sovereign nation’s politics. While the effort in 2012 failed under a cloud of suspicion, this year, Big Tech’s investments in Modi appear poised for a huge payoff."
  • http://pando.com/2014 Pando Daily’s version of the exposes that Amazon-owned Washington Post has elicited by inserting into news articles "buy-it-now" buttons that link to Amazon sales portals.



  • http://www.rogerannis.com/

    Another sally from A Socialist in Canada, in the form of richly analytical examination of the current and recently past military-social situation in Ukraine, where a wider conflict, a growing anti-Kiev movement, and a martial standstill are all part of the present pass: "(D)uring the previous offensive, the main Western mass media, while assiduously denying their readers any real information about the war, suddenly began running reports of successes by the government’s army. Just as occurred last time, the optimistic forecasts this time have been followed by silence. The failure of the second offensive followed exactly the same scenario as that of the first: the attacking forces were cut off from their bases, and finished up surrounded. The virtual victories turned into a real catastrophe. A war cannot be won in the information space if you are getting beaten on land."

  • http://www.opednews.com/articles/Our-Side-s-Using Another OpEd News article from ‘Investigative Historian’ Eric Zuesse that examines recent developments in East Ukraine, in particular accusations and evidence that the Kiev regime that the U.S. helped to install is deploying banned White Phosphorous weapons against urban populations.
  • http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com A Stockman Report on the situation in Ukraine, which corporate media distorts and viciously misrepresents at almost every turn: "Or you could look at the actual facts of how the Ukraine crisis began and realize that it was the West, not Russia, that instigated this crisis. Putin’s response has been reactive to what he perceives as threats posed by the violent overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych and the imposition of a new Western-oriented regime hostile to Moscow and Ukraine’s ethnic Russians."
  • http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog A Pundits Blog from The Hill about Ukraine’s currency woes, regarding which the author suggests that the best interests of citizens is to intervene in favor of the fascists, reactionaries, and plutocrats in charge in Kiev.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/ A Reuters breaking news article via New Zealand Stuff that presents the data surrounding the breakdown of peace negotiations in Gaza and the outbreak of carnage anew.

Immigration Issues / Deportation

http://thinkprogress.org A Think Progress piece about recent deportations of children to Central America who have since died violently, murdered or otherwise killed: "Still, deportations — and sometimes certain death — will likely not stop. Especially jarring comes recent news out of a New Mexico immigration detention center where multiple lawyers representing women claim that the Honduran consulate is advising immigrants ‘to forego legal counsel and consent to deportation,’ according to a Santa Fe affiliated public radio station."

Michael Brown Murder

  • http://www.buzzfeed.com A BuzzFeed analysis, thanks to Media REDEF, of the role of ‘race’ in Ferguson’s upheavals over the murder of Michael Brown: "Regardless of the geographic region, the community response follows a predictable script: White residents almost always find themselves surprised by the simmering discontent of their black neighbors. And why wouldn’t they be? They usually live in a different part of town, no longer segregated by law but by history, custom, and sometimes policy. What’s more, the police and other arms of government treat them with respect. Many white residents don’t think there’s much racial discontent because they just don’t see it."
  • http://www.propublica.org/ A sobering Pro Publica briefing about what autopsies of Michael Brown will attempt to show with their findings, by a journalist who has reviewed over a thousand such reports, most of which involved police killings of civilians.
  • http://www.washingtonpost.com A WaPo essay that analyzes Michael Brown’s murder in terms of recent thinking on such issues as this brings up by Malcolm Gladwell, in which earlier instances of ‘gangsterism’ served as a "crooked ladder" into polite society that is rarely if ever available to non-European minorities in the way it was to Irish, the Jewish, and the Italian mobsters who preceded them: "These policing policies do not simply deny young men of color the time to transition into the licit economy as entrepreneurs or business owners. They make it exceptionally difficult for them to enter it at any level. These policies interacted with cultural narratives that suggested people of color were uninterested in the path trod by others before them, preferring criminal activity or welfare to work."
  • http://www.theguardian.com/ A Guardian opinion essay which puts Michael Brown’s murder in the context of violence-in-the-street’s having its source in the violence-of-the-State.


Economy & Politics of War
http://www.globalresearch.ca A Global Research analysis, at least as important now as on its original release six years ago, that distinguishes between imperial strategies–military-driven versus market-driven, esentially–and the necessary manipulations of events and consciousness essential to deploying a warlike imperial machine such as that the U.S. has manifested for decades: "Military-driven empire building against existing nation-states was not an easy sell to the US public or to the market-driven empire builders of Western Europe and Japan and the newly emerging market-driven empire builders of China and Russia. Washington needed to create conditions for a major provocation, which would overcome or weaken the resistance and opposition of rival economic empire builders. More particularly, Washington needed a ‘catastrophic event’ to ‘turn around’ domestic public opinion, which had opposed the first Gulf War and subsequently supported the rapid withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in 1990. The events, which took place on September 11, 2001, served the purpose of American and Israeli military-driven empire builders. The destruction of the World Trade Center buildings and the deaths of nearly 3,000 civilians, served as a pretext for a series of colonial wars, colonial occupations, and global terrorist activities, and secured the unanimous support of the US Congress and triggered an intense global mass media propaganda campaign for war."

Immigration Issues
http://www.unhcrwashington.org A United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights report, Children on the Run, that examines the flow of young people toward the U.S. from Central America and the reasons for this migration and the social and political background of the arrival of these youth here.


  • http://www.citylab.com A brilliant historical contextualization of police uniforms as an aspect of the political economy and social impact of militarizing police forces at the behest of U.S. policy and ‘surplus-equipment,’ from Atlantic’s CityLab portal.
  • ttp://www.propublica.org/article A Pro Publica compilation of gateways to revealing and potent reporting on police militarization.
  • http://www.thecrimereport.org A briefing and interview from The Crime Report, with a former director of the National Institute for Justice, that indicates that ‘shock-and-awe’ policing will always fail, short of escalation to civil war.
  • http://washingtonexaminer.com A news analysis from the Washington Examiner that warns of further devolution of police-citizen relations in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson: "Last week, I found myself musing darkly, ‘Just wait till Ferguson’s cops get federally funded drones.’ If you think paramilitary policing looks dystopian now, just wait till you see what’s being cooked up in defense contractors’ labs. For decades now, as Radley Balko makes clear in his indispensable 2013 book, Rise of the Warrior Cop, federal subsidies have encouraged the proliferation of military ordnance on the home front — from M-16s to grenade launchers to 30-ton armored vehicles. Since 2002, the Department of Homeland Security has accelerated police paramilitarization with more than $7 billion in Urban Areas Security Initiative grants."

http://www.nytimes.com A Times "Room-for-Debate" melange, in this case an investigation of the practice of sentencing children to life without parole, a practice which half the participants justify and half oppose-on-principle, with barely a whisper of class or color or the oppressive purposes of reactionary policing.

http://blogs.loc.gov/law An overview from Library of Congress of infrastructure-economics-and-policy, on the heels of LOC’s comparative examination of this topic cited a month ago in Daily Links, with LOC’s profferal here in the form of an annotated bibliography and guide to resources on this important topic, including a recent Congressional Budget Office Report–http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/45416-TransportationScoring.pdf.

http://www.marketplace.org/topics A MarketPlace briefing about the artificially lower estimate on unemployment that results from what statisticians label involuntary part time employ–affecting a minimum of five percent of the workforce, which, as the article notes, is quite often the case for writers: "(Such a wage-earner)is what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls a part-time worker ‘for economic reasons.’ It means that he is looking for full-time work but can’t find it. His situation is invisible if one looks only at the unemployment rate (6.2 percent), but it’s still important because it’s a glimpse into job quality, as opposed to quantity."

A GovExec offering about the tendency for U.S. ‘small business contracts’ to go to front-firms that are actually companies from the upper-reaches of the corporate world: "The Petaluma, Calif.-based American Small Business League’s new study of fiscal 2013 procurement data concluded that of the top 100 companies receiving the highest-valued small business federal contracts, ’79 were large companies that exceeded the SBA’s small business size standards, five were anomalous and 16 were legitimate small businesses.’ The group’s annual studies also show that the number of top-100 contracting companies that are large firms has risen steadily, from 60 in fiscal 2009 to 84 in fiscal 2013."

http://www.dailydot.com A DailyDot news analysis, thanks to MediaREDEF, that examines Google’s intervention in Chicago’s schools as a particular case of a general trend and ponders the implications: "Before educators and those in charge of education willingly hand over the financial responsibility of providing laptops and library books to our students to a company who was once sued by The Authors Guild over its Google Library program, they must ask themselves what are the true benefits of this. How do these partnerships with private companies help both parties in the short and long run? What happens when this separation of church and state begins to become difficult to see, or is knocked down and there is no point of return?"

http://www.kftc.org/blog/transition-stories-eastern-kentucky-social-club-binds-lynch-community A Kentuckians for the Commonwealth report about an Eastern Kentucky social club that is pulling together citizens to participate in their communities politically, socially, and in terms of networking about local issues.

Education & Race
https://www.indypendent.org/2014/08/13/changing-ed-reform-narrative An Indypendent review-essay about This Is Not a Test: a New Narrative on Race, Class, & Education, and Badass Teachers Unite: Reflections on Education, History, & Youth Activism, both from Haymarket Books: "This toxic state of affairs is sparking a torrent of critical writing by teachers and educators who know their way around a classroom much better than the corporate reformers. Out of this ferment come two important new books that tell a different story about what teachers do, what parents want, and what children need."

8.18.14 Daily Links

A Thought for the Day
Expertise amounts, as often as not, to a fetish for answers that require no investment on one’s own part, especially inasmuch as any useful knowledge and wise policy have collective roots rather than individual authority at their base.

Quote of the Day

"Little minds need to practise despotism to relieve their nerves, just as great souls thirst for equality in friendship to exercise their hearts. Narrow natures expand by persecuting as much as others through beneficence; they prove their power over their fellows by cruel tyranny as others do by loving kindness; they simply go the way their temperaments drive them. Add to this the propulsion of self-interest and you may read the enigma of most social matters." Honore de Balzac; http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Honor%C3%A9_de_Balzac.

This Day in History

In a precursor to Shiite and Sunni factionalism, one thousand three hundred and thirty years ago, Ibn al-Zubayr lost his life and control over what is now Syria to his clan’s Ummayad enemies; four hundred forty-two years back, a Huguenot King and Catholic Princess wed, a la the magnificent film Queen Margot, so as to attempt to divert bloody conflict between religious factions; four hundred twenty-four years before the here and now, John White returned from England to the Roanoke settlement of which he was leader, on what would have been his granddaughter’s third birthday, to find the encampment utterly deserted; four hundred two years back, infamous English witch trials started at Lancaster Assizes; three hundred eighty years ago, Urbain Grandier, convicted of sorcery, burned at the stake in France; two hundred forty years before now, the male childe who became explorer Meriwether Lewis came into the world; one hundred sixty-six years prior to the present pass, an upper-class Argentinean woman—Camila O’Gorman—who was eight months pregnant, and her priest consort died at the hands of a firing squad for morals violations; a hundred sixty-four years ago, French author Honore de Balzac died; one hundred forty-six years ago, a French astronomer discovered helium; ninety-four years ago, the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution occurred and women throughout the U.S. could vote; eighty-one years ago, the baby who grew into controversial director and filmmaker Roman Polanski was born; sixty-four years back, assassins murdered the chairman of the Dutch Communist Party; fifty-six years before this moment, Vladmir Nabokov’s Lolita first hit U.S. bookstores to both accolades and controversy; fifty-three years ago, the child who became television journalist Bob Woodruff uttered his first cry; fifty-one years ago, James Meredith graduated from University of Mississippi as its first Black alumnus; forty-three years back, Australia and New Zealand withdrew their troops from Vietnam; thirty-seven years before the here-and-now, anti-Apartheid activist Steve Biko fell into the hands of South African police thugs, who proceeded to beat him to death over the next few days; thirty-five years ago, assassins gunned down Colombian Presidential hopeful, Luis Galan; four years back, Pakistan’s President Musharraf resigned under threat of impeachment; three years ago, American journalist Robert Novak died.

shiite sunni conflict origin OR history OR background "divide and conquer" analysis OR investigation OR "political economy" = 107,000 citations


http://www.nytimes.com A Times breaking-news update about events in Ferguson, Missouri, full of the contradictions and complexities that have followed in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s murder, albeit the ‘establishment’ view–as one might anticipate–does get top billing and more ‘column inches,’ leaving the ‘best for last,’ as it were: "The American Civil Liberties Union, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund said in a statement that the governor’s action ‘suspends the constitutional right to assemble by punishing the misdeeds of the few through the theft of constitutionally protected rights of the many. We need more protest, expression, discussion and debate — not less,’ the statement continued."


  • http://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2014/08 A Library of Congress Folklife blog that introduces the Texas group, the Qwebe Sisters, who perform in concert at LOC this Wednesday.
  • copyright.gov/about/special-programs An open invitation for newly-minted attorneys to apply for the 18=24 month Barbara Ringer Fellowship program through the Copyright Office.
  • http://www.themainereview.com/submit.htm A free contest with modest but real cash prizes, from ‘down east,’ no less.
  • Newark, DE – Seeking an experienced Technical Writer with instrument validation and testing documentation experience.
  • Miami, FL – We are seeking an up and coming Junior Copywriter to work at one of Miami’s hottest digital design agencies!
  • Wordpool Press is currently seeking fiction and non-fiction manuscripts for publication in either print or electronic form. We are a traditional publishing house. Accepted manuscripts are usually taken on for a 10% author royalty for every copy sold. For our complete submission guidelines, please visit: http://wordpoolpress.com/
  • Ann Arbor MI – We are seeking a qualified experienced writer that can help us tell our story to our current clients and prospects.
  • Nashville, TN – As a Digital Copywriter at iostudio, you will work on a collaborative, creative team developing innovative web and mobile applications and digital campaigns. Our work supports impressive regional and national clients in the government, not-for-profit and healthcare industries.
  • Alaska – Are you a local parent interested in sharing your creative ideas and solutions to everyday parenting challenges? Alaska Parent magazine is currently accepting the following submissions, written in first-person: www.alaskaparent.com/submissions.html


  • http://www.truthdig.com

    A TruthDig profile of Lawrence Hamm, whose Peoples Organization for Progress focuses on social justice and people power issues, in this case presenting background and analysis of the intensification of police violence against working people–particularly young and ‘dusky-hued’–and the inevitable rise of protest against such lethal force, from areas where such outbursts have not come before, i.e., the suburbs: "Being the object of unwarranted deadly force by police officers is part of what it means to be black and poor in America. But, as Hamm said, no matter how much blacks raise their voices against indiscriminate police violence ‘the killings keep coming.’ ‘The police are the primary instrument of social control,’ Hamm said. ‘But after the rebellions in American cities in the 1960s the [federal
    government under President] Nixon realized that the police were not enough. Nixon began to link the local police with the state police and the National Guard. During the rebellion in Detroit in 1967 the [federal] state had to deploy the 82nd Airborne. Nixon set up this seamless connection between local police units and the military. It was then that we began to see a change in training, the acquisition of military equipment and the arrival of SWAT teams in black uniforms. In April 1999 when we marched in Orange [N.J.] to protest the torturing to death by the police of Earl Faison the police deployed SWAT teams on the roofs of the post office and department stores. These teams had their automatic rifles pointed at us. And we were nonviolent marchers. The real criminals [those who killed
    Faison] were within the ranks of the police.’"

  • http://thesouthlawn.org/ A critique from SouthLawn of the Alabama AFL-CIO’s endorsement of reactionary candidates who are indistinguishable from anti-union and anti-citizenship elements in many cases.
  • http://www.counterpunch.org An essay, the better part of a decade old, from Counterpunch, in which Atlanta writer, researcher, and media activist Heather Gray contemplates place and land and memory and community as issues that underlie what is transpiring now in Gaza: "The land holds the stories, the history. The land holds the roots. The land embraces the ancestry of thousands of years. The Palestinian people will preserve this no matter what. This is the most powerful weapon of all. You cannot bomb it away. Middle Eastern Jews also have this history, but it’s a shared history with Palestinians. The Israelis have tried to erase the Palestinian history in any number of ways. Destruction of records is one example."
  • http://www.tomdispatch.com/post An introduction to Eduardo Galeano from TomDispatch, which presents the Uruguayan historian-&-journalist-&-essayist’s materials as crucial documents for understanding the present pass, by way of excerpting Galeano’s most recent tome, Mirrors, which consists of close to 400 vignettes that contextualize human existence.
  • http://www.southernstudies.org/2014 An Institute for Southern Studies report about New Orleans’ new civil rights upsurge, in defense of immigrant workers whose labor rebuilt the city after Katrina but whose presence is often enough no longer welcome.
  • http://action.cwa-union.org/ A portal to the Newspaper Guild’s(Communications Workers of America) petition to end attacks on journalists and increase the degree of official protection that reporters have.


  • http://digiday.com/brands/brands-as-pubslishers/ A DigiDay essay from an advertising executive about the ‘fear-and-loathing’ response to most marketing tactics, the result of which is, according to the author, a more-or-less thoroughgoing reconceptualization of how to proceed, which would put capable writers at the head of the class: "In short, brands should look for ways to be niche publishers, not broadcast advertisers. Talk to a smaller, more relevant and engaged group who will take your content, share it and integrate it into their relevant conversations on their platforms of choice for you. This is a bottom-up content strategy versus a top-down interruptive one. Be more like HGTV, not NBC. That means committing to producing more unique content – even great content ideas can die on the terrifying mountain of frequency – and shifting the storytelling away from the one-off, campaign varietal marked by a formal start and end date."
  • http://www.govexec.com/management A GovExec profile of National Counterintelligence Executive Director William Evanina, a longstanding FBI agent whose new job is to prevent future Edward Snowdens, a stance that arguably flies in the face of citizenship, journalism, and more that scrappy writers would want protected: "As of this summer, this administration has brought eight prosecutions of agency leaks under the 1917 Espionage Act—more than all other administrations combined, according to Jesselyn Radack, an attorney who works national security and human rights issues for the nonprofit Government Accountability Project. Her group and others warn that crackdowns on leakers and agency overreliance on classification inhibit the free pursuit of journalism in a democratic society. ‘Instead of getting carried away with the concept of leakers as heroes, we need to get back to the basics of what it means to be loyal,’ Evanina says. ‘Undifferentiated, unauthorized leaking is a criminal act. If you want to call yourself a whistleblower, there are methods in place,’ he said. ‘A security clearance is considered sacred, a privilege and an honor. We need to ensure that both the employees and the individuals doing the background checks are solid.’"
  • http://blog.bl00cyb.org/2014/08/ A dyslexic’s experience of reading and writing, and the melange of issues–about communication, language-processing, human capacity, and more–that arise when we consider a narrative such as this: "At Wikimania, I’ve been surrounded by incredible, intelligent people… all of whom place a huge value in cataloging, expressing, and defending through the written word. They use copyright to protect copy. It’s been like visiting an alien world I know I can never emigrate to, where my methods of expression are valued but not import-able. Something you’d see in a museum, but never purchase a gift for your loved one as you exit through the shop."
  • http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com The Public Editor’s Journal at the Times that proffers the litany of woes facing journalism and reportage but maintains optimism despite all: "Not all of the old institutions or methods will survive, and the old model is definitely broken. I’m hardly the first to say it, but I think it bears repeating: What matters is the journalism, not the medium. It’s happening before our eyes, and while there’s clearly reason to worry, there’s reason to hope, too."
  • http://www.phillymag.com/news/2014/08/ A PhillyMag briefing, thanks to Pew Research, about media mergers in the city-of-brotherly-love and how these will affect investigative reporting, the number of jobs available in local media, and more.
  • http://pando.com/2014/08 Another lovely, lively installment from Pando Daily, in this case about a long-buried internal style guide from the New Yorker–death to most adverbs, imprecations against modifying the verb "said," and loads more of interest and possible utility to bloggers, reporters and others.
  • http://www.theguardian.com/world/ An article from the Guardian in which James Risen calls the Obama Administration the greatest threat to democratic journalism in the past generation, sobering thoughts from a reporter who may quite soon end up in prison: "Speaking to his colleague Maureen Dowd, Risen accused the president of aggressively pursuing journalists, including himself, who report sensitive stories that reflect poorly on the US government. Risen faces jail over his reporting of a botched intelligence operation that ended up spilling nuclear secrets to Iran. The Justice Department has long been seeking to force him to testify and name the confidential source of the account, which is contained in his 2006 book State of War."
  • http://www.journalism.co.uk/news A profile and analytical essay from Journalism.co.uk about Italian bastion of reportage, Stampa, and the models that the organization is creating to contextualize reporting in the present period: "And I understood how important it is to break the wall between the traditional work flow of the paper edition and the website.’ This ‘breaking of the wall’ involved restructuring on a number of levels internally – from La Stampa’s content management system to a new office building, complete with a newsroom of concentric circles and video studio, start-up space and museum – but Calabresi said that, despite the changes, the mental hurdle is the hardest to overcome. ‘Now we have to change our behaviour and way of thinking because our behaviour is in part the same behaviour of a news organisation of the last century,’ he said."
  • http://gawker.com/over-4-000-buzzfeed A report from Gawker about the disappearing content on BuzzFeed, where close to 5,000 pieces at a minimum have ‘gone up in smoke’ over the past weeks, in all likelihood because of ‘issues’–ranging from weak evidence to possible plagiarism–with the materials, but still, that’s a lot of text.
  • http://op-talk.blogs.nytimes.com One of the Times’ irresistible op-eds about writing, in this case a defense of bot-based text, as in computers might be able to solve the coming tidal wave of dislocation and marginalization that cannot help but result from the next phase of automation: "If Ms. (Jess) Zimmerman’s right, asking a robot to consider these problems might lead to more egalitarian solutions than humans are likely to come up with, especially if those humans are currently in positions of power and thus have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Maybe robots themselves could figure out a way to mitigate the inequality-widening effects of their own ascendance."


  • http://digiday.com/sponsored/pulsepointbcs-84397/ A DigiDay instance of ‘sponsored content,’ which shows that such material can indeed be interesting and informative, in this instance by presenting both a ‘progressive’ perspective about advertisers’ needing to commit to ‘conversations’ with ‘consumers’ instead of obsessing about funneling every visitor to a ‘buy-me-now!’ funnel and a handy listing of concepts and ideas important in this realm.
  • http://www.nytimes.com A Times breaking news article about an agreement between New York’s Metropolitan Opera and two unions representing its workers, roughly a month prior to the season’s slated opening.
  • http://america.aljazeera.com An Al Jazeera opinion item that focuses on the mediation of Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, Missouri, and concludes that a huge level of media bias is present in many cases, with at least some distortion–almost universally in favor of ‘calm’ and imprecations against ‘mob violence–in a substantial majority of reports and depictions: "Many press reports characterized the ensuing protests as a mob reaction instead of a justifiable outpouring of community anger and grief. An officer was overheard referring to the protesters as ‘f—ing animals.’ Commentators were critical of the heavy-handed police response, which inflamed instead of defused the tension. That included the deployment of police dogs, given the memories they evoke of intimidation during the civil rights protests of the 1960s, and the use of riot gear, tear gas and rubber or wooden bullets. These complaints echo the concerns outlined in a report by the American Civil Liberties Union on the excessive militarization of policing, bolstered by the repurposing of military gear no longer needed for war to police forces."
  • https://medium.com/message In a similar vein, from Medium, an essay that views what has happened through a ‘net-neutrality’ lens.
  • http://digiday.com/platforms/ A DigiDay brief, and embedded video, about Linked-in’s ‘transition’ from platform-to-publisher, which brings up all sorts of issues for writers and citizens about information, journalism, and the purposes of text and media.
  • http://www.stuff.co.nz/ A New Zealand Stuff profile of Tom Spano, whose ‘cutting-edge’ knowledge of and faith in social media is the basis for thoughts about the inevitable directions and boundaries of mediation and society in the coming period.
  • http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/16/lucy-a16.html World Socialist Website’s review essay about French director Luc Besson’s most recent movie, Lucy, and what its antics convey about media-making and the current establishment in charge of such things: "Besson (The Big Blue, La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element, etc.) is indulging his facile (and marketable) fantasies about the essential baseness of human beings. The upper-middle class layers to which he belongs view humanity through a selfish, demoralized prism. In this manner, the reality of social life is self-servingly obscured and evaded. The viewer is left with little more to experience than misanthropy."
  • http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation A Library of Congress Digital Preservation blog that summarizes fan-based web cultures like that around My Little Pony and then interviews two scholars whose work revolves around contextualizing this subculture and pondering what its implications are in a wider sphere.
  • http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news A Columbia Journalism Review contextualization of comment moderation and its costs, along with a profile of new software possibilities for managing trolls and the like that would be vastly cheaper and possibly more efficient than current methods.
  • http://pando.com/ A Pando Daily profile of Media REDEF, which combines aggregation with commentary–and soon, original content–in a way that influences those in-the-know in these matters.
  • http://www.npr.org/blogs A National Public Radio All Tech Considered blog about comments that citizens delivered to the FCC recently about net-neutrality, 250,000 of which–about a quarter of the total–researchers recently sampled, demonstrating that the vox populi was overwhelmingly in favor of a free and open, net-neutral web and that half or more of submitted materials were organic rather than derived from any template: "Taken with the entire body of comments sampled, there weren’t enough unique or organic anti-net-neutrality comments to register on the map. Templates are not unusual. As we’ve reported previously, when the public is asked to comment on policy, citizens often engage by sending in a templated or form letter that advocates for a certain position help them create. The Quid analysis shows about half the comments received by the FCC were ‘derived from templates.’ That’s actually low compared to analyses of other rule-making — on financial regulation, over 80% were templates."
  • http://www.pewinternet.org A briefing and a slideshow from the World Future Society’s recent gathering about what is coming down the pike in regard to the world-wide-web, daunting but necessary to ponder.
  • http://en.rsf.org/ukraine A Reporters Without Borders briefing about the Ukrainian Parliament’s no-debate-necessary acclimation of what the RWB termed "draconian restrictions" on the freedom of information and practice of journalism in the land that the U.S. wants to cozy up to on the Western borders of Russia.


Michael Brown Murder

  • http://www.nytimes.com/2014/ A Times breaking news brief about the results of a family-ordered autopsy–after local authorities’ autopsy results had been closely held–which permits inferences that this killing was not in any sense ‘justifiable homicide.’
  • http://www.france24.com/ A France24/Reutersposting about Ferguson, in which the social upheaval attendant on Michael Brown’s murder appears in clearly defined contrasts: "Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, criticized the Ferguson police department for releasing a video on Friday purporting to show Brown taking part in a convenience store robbery shortly before the shooting. Police have said the officer who shot Brown had no idea he was a robbery suspect. ‘I think it had an incendiary effect,’ Nixon said on CBS’ Face the Nation. Police ‘clearly are attempting to besmirch a victim of a shooting,’ he added. At Sunday’s rally at the church, some participants referred to the theft of a box of cigars as shoplifting; police had initially called it a strong-arm robbery. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson defended the release of the surveillance video over the objections of the U.S. Justice Department. Jackson said he was complying with the news media’s requests for information in the case. The decision to release the video while not giving details of the shooting only fueled outrage."
  • http://thehill.com/blogs A briefing from The Hill that focuses on Georgia Congressional Representative, and longstanding civil rights icon, John Lewis, who compared Ferguson to Iraq and insisted on a different set of standards, more liberal and friendly, here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Police State

http://www.govexec.com/defense/2014/08/ A GovExec news analysis of the political muscle behind Defense Department equipment and weapons transfers to local police, which suggests that this process is unlikely to change any time soon: "The response from congressional Republican leadership, however, has been measured or nonexistent, suggesting the issue is unlikely to make the agenda when Congress returns from recess in September. And even if it does, the program that connects police forces to military equipment has well-placed defenders in Congess. At issue is the ‘1033 program,’ a Defense Department program that transfers excess military equipment to law-enforcement agencies through the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency Law Enforcement Support Office, or LESO."

Chattanooga UAW
www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/15 A Reuters report that presents evidence about the growing number of Volkwagen workers in Chattanooga who are joining the United Auto Workers, to the extent that a UAW majority is close at hand.

Union Organizing
https://youpower.democracyforamerica.com A Democracy For America petition briefing about recent legislation that characterizes union organizing as a human rights, civil rights issue, in similar fashion on the one hand as the 1930’s La Follette Senate Committee and on the other hand in a way that emphasizes individual efforts over collective manifestations of power.


  • http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/17 A Guardian update from Ukraine, examining recent fighting and casualty counts as well as providing a diplomatic briefing and notes about the status of the roughly three hundred trucks waiting at the Russian border with humanitarian supplies.
  • http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/ A David Stockman posting about the situation on the ground in Eastern Ukraine, which presents a series of videos, with brief translations, that show the destruction of Ukrainian military equipment and argues that Kiev’s forces are less than enthusiastic in many instances: "Contrary to the unsubstantiated rumor (most likely a blatant lie) that Ukraine destroyed a Russian convoy, the rebels have inflicted serious damage on the Ukrainian military machine. And unlike the zero-proof offered by Ukraine, I have a few videos to show. Descriptions from Jacob Dreizin, a US citizen who speaks Russian and reads Ukrainian."
  • http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/ A World Socialist Website analysis of the hoops through which the Russian humanitarian convoy of trucks have to drive, as it were, as another ratcheting up of the potential for catastrophic war in the region.


  • http://www.france24.com/en/ A France24 update about negotiations to end the present upheaval in Gaza, along with notes about a massive citizen’s rally for peace in Tel Aviv, the largest such gathering in the context of the current conflict.
  • http://972mag.com/special/gaza/ Israel-based +972’s most recent profferals about Gaza.


U.S. Politics

  • http://www.washingtonpost.com WaPo’s opinion piece–decidedly ‘bipartisan,’ as in Bush and Clinton staff–about why mass-collective-suicide must be the policy of the United States, an essential point for working people to ponder and see if they agree.
  • http://thehill.com/blogs/ A Pundits blog from The Hill that profiles research by the author, as well as software that he’s helped develop, which takes a MoneyBall approach to measuring the impact of regulation.
  • http://www.govexec.com/ A GovExec crossposting of a ‘liberal’ defense of ending open government in order to ‘get things done,’ a fatuous bait-and-switch note that cries out for contemplation and response by scrappy writers and citizens.
  • http://thehill.com/policy/h An analysis from The HIll about Republican Party strategy to reduce the negative impact of GOP support for the Hobby Lobby decision, by developing policies that permit ‘over-the-counter’ sales of many birth-control pills.

Defense Department Cuts
http://www.govexec.com/state-loca A GovExec briefing about the impact of Defense Department cuts and sequestration on the State that benefits most from military-and-government spending, Virginia, not a pretty picture, to say the least.

Tax Cuts
, Kleinbard’s paper is titled ‘Competitiveness’ Has Nothing to Do With It’)."


http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/ analysis, like so much ‘libertarian, Austrian-School’ thinking full of useful facts and ideas that lead at best to ‘lightweight’ conclusions, which examines the Federal Reserve’s policies vis-a-vis the stock market and what is at stake–public pensions, basically–if, or as the article posits when another crash comes: "But back to the US: while the 1%’s paper fungible, market-driven wealth has been long converted into other hard asset formats, it is the paper gains for the future retirees that are on the chopping block should the S&P 500 ‘get it.’ As such, it is the fate of future retirement funds, and in fact, the very core of the US welfare state that is at stake should there be a massive market crash. In which case what happened in Ferguson will be a polite stroll in the park compared to the chaos that would ensue should another generation of Americans wake up with half or more of their paper wealth wiped out overnight."
Robots and Death of Jobs
http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com A quarter-hour introduction to the evolving tidal wave of job replacement that will result from new-generation robotic ‘brains-and-muscle:’ (In relation to automobiles),(t)he question is not whether driverless cars will replace human drivers, but ‘how soon?’…seventy million jobs at a minimum."

War on Drugs / Anti Depressants

http://www.alternet.org/drugs/ An essential Alternet monograph that details the background of the development of antidepressant ‘medication,’ which has been ad hoc and opportunistic rather than clinical and scientific, in contrast to a century’s-long legacy of self-medication that now makes up a huge proportion of the ‘War-on-Drugs’ nightmare: "And then, according to psychopharm folklore—maybe because they had nobody left to try it on—they gave fluoxetine to five mildly or moderately (stories vary) depressed people, all of whom then felt much better. Bingo! Therein lie the origins of this little med with the zippy brand name, which set in motion a vast antidepressant empire, as well as the longest, most remunerative gravy train in psychopharmaceutical history. Prozac begat a dynasty of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) with their tongue-twisting generic and user-friendly brand names—fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), escitalopram (Lexapro), and so on. They, in turn, were followed by the ‘atypical antidepressants,’ including bupropion (Wellbutrin), venlafaxine (Cymbalta), and mirtazapine (Remeron). By 2008, 11 percent of Americans (25 percent of women in their 40s and 50s) were taking one of about four dozen brand-name antidepressants. These antidepressants were the most commonly prescribed medications in the country (now, in 2014, they’re a few percentage points behind antibiotics) and brought $12 billion a year to the pharmaceutical companies."

Paradigm Shift / Consciousness

http://www.opednews.com/articles A thought-provoking, and with luck conversation-inducing, essay from Op-Ed News about the coming consciousness revolution toward interconnectedness, a focus on nature instead of humanity, and other developments that will inevitably threaten current power structures and standard-operating-procedures: "We are heading toward the historically held belief that mankind is just a strand in the web of life. We should be caretakers of this world, all of its life forms, and the earth itself, simply holding it in trust for posterity. In no way is this indicating that the scientific revolution was a waste of time nor that we all need to live in small hippie communes. Jumping to these conclusions is just another symptom of extreme polarity, a causal effect created by the anxiety of a paradigm shift. Oddly enough, it is organized religion, especially the Abrahamic traditions, which opposed the scientific revolution (just think about the Inquisition) that are opposing this shift toward an earth centric spiritual/philosophical paradigm. Why? Organized religion is based on a patriarchal hierarchy. In contrast an earth centric paradigm engages in focusing on interconnectedness and the interdependency of interwoven systems, or ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.’"

Racial Equality / Police
http://mxgm.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Operation-Ghetto-Storm.pdf A Malcolm-X Grassroots Movement monograph, Operation Ghetto Storm, that examines the nearly one Black or Hispanic citizen per day gunned down by police, as a matter of policy and SOP policing rather than as error or misfortune.


http://www.globalresearch.ca/wiping-o A Global Research contextualization of Islamic State in Iraq & the Levant and related ‘ethnic cleansing’ outbreaks as congruent with, or even directly resulting from, U.S. and Israeli and European ruling class policies in the region: "The Maronite Patriarchate and the Christian communities of the Levant realized that what was at stake in Syria was much more than the Syrian government. The things that were really at stake were the continuation of the ancient Christian presence and the coexistence of Christians with Muslims, Druze, and Jews, which the Israeli and US governments were trying to demolish with the aim of creating sectarian states that would be line with the so-called «clash of civilizations»."

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/08/ A powerful set of revelations from Consortium News about the historical and contemporary basis for U.S. alignment in Ukraine with a fascist, or even a Nazi, agenda: "Most hilarious was the Times’s May 2014 publication of an (obviously ghost-written, State Department-scripted) op-ed by Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia V. Tymoshenko which quotes Churchill writing to Roosevelt, ‘Give us the tools, as we will finish the job,’ rumbling on about ‘the just and open democracy that is America’s greatest bequest to the world.’ This, from the far right politician who had shortly before that expressed genocidal musings for the millions of Russian-speaking citizens of her country, and who was, during her tenure as prime minister, a prime devotee of the wartime fascist leader Stepan Bandera, whose organization slaughtered tens of thousands (many historians put it at hundreds of thousands) of Polish and Jewish civilians based on ethnicity, in the Aryanist drive for an ethnically pure state precisely on the Nazi model."

Kidnappings in Mexico
www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas A report from New Zealand Stuff about the booming business of kidnappings in Mexico, as a means of understanding, describing, and seeking to put into perspective contemporary social relations in the U.S.’s nearest Latin neighbor.