1.29.2016 Daily Links

from twitter

– A story about a big split at a major monopoly-media, ‘new-media’ publisher,Politico, a centrifugal sundering in which one of the co-founders–but not he of the moneybags and family legacy, of the name of Albritton–and several other major players at the endeavor have parted ways with what has for at least a few years, with expansion into the European sphere and a White House first-name-basis status, been a model of digital, insider journalism, this take from Nieman Lab an analysis with some background and ideas about future ventures in the works, which, alongside a more typical breaking-news account from CNN, gives scrappy scribes and solid citizens something to cogitate in relation to how the news business is working as things fall apart on a grander and grander scale.


                    This Day in History                  

Twelve hundred fifty-nine years ago, a Tang Dynasty military leader, An Lushan, led a revolt that aimed, unsuccessfully after his own son assassinated him, to overthrow the empire; a single year more than five centuries later on, in 1258, Dai Viet resistance fought off the initial Mongol invasion of what is now Vietnam; forty-three decades subsequently, in 1688, a baby boy came into the world to a wealthy family en route to a storied life as philosopher, scientist, and author by the name of Emanuel Swedenborg; just shy of half a century afterward, in 1737,another male infant shouted out en route to life as the iconic rebel and devotee of reason and rights, Thomas Paine; two dozen years hence, in 1761, a baby male opened his eyes in Switzerland who would rise as the American thinker, writer, and politician Albert Gallatin; two years later exactly, in 1763, the acclaimed French Poet Racine breathed his last; fifty-one years beyond that pass, in 1814, Napoleonic armies defeated a combine of Russian and Prussian forces at the Battle of Brienne; five years later to the day, on the other side of the globe in 1819, British imperial functionary Stamford Raffles first entered Singapore Island, where he founded a key outpost of British Empire there; so-called ‘man-of-the-people’ Andrew Jackson a decade and half further along time’s road, in 1834, ordered U.S. military to aid in suppressing a strike against horrific working conditions of the Ohio and Chesapeake Canal;

Benjamin Haas flickr
Benjamin Haas flickr

Edgar Allen Poe a hundred seventy-one years back published under his name for the first time, with “The Raven’s” appearance in the New York Evening Mirror; five years thereafter, in 1850, Henry Clay brought before the House of Representatives what became known as the Compromise of 1850 to forestall possibly lethal sectional conflict over slavery; a decade henceforth and six thousand miles East, in 1860, a baby boy was born who would grow up as the iconic, if short-lived, short-story aficionado and playwright, Anton Chekhov; three hundred sixty-six days past that instant, back in North America in 1861, Kansas became the 31st State to enter the Union, after years of bloody fighting over slavery; in what is now Idaho two years more down the pike, in 1863, U.S. cavalry and California militia slaughtered untold hundreds of Native Americans in the Bear River Massacre; across the Atlantic three years subsequently, in 1866, a male infant was born who went on to literary fame and a Nobel Prize as Romain Rolland; a hundred twenty nine years ago, benz mercedes luxury car vehicle wealth moneyKarl Benz received a patent for the first engine to power an automobile with gasoline; ten hundred and ninety-six days toward now, in 1889, over six thousand railroad workers went on strike against, among other things, and eighteen hour day, only to face defeat at the hand of hired thugs, police, and so-called militia in the pay of the railway companies; a dozen years after to the day, in 1901, a baby boy uttered his first cry on his way to a life of innovation that included obtaining many patents on television technology and starting a TV network as Allen DuMont; exactly a half dozen years onward toward today, in 1907, Kansas’ legislature selected Charles Curtis as the first Native American U.S. Senator; nine years yet nearer to now, in 1916, German Zeppelins initiated the bombing of Paris; two years farther along the temporal arc, in 1918, Red Army agents helped to provoke an uprising against Ukrainian nationalists in Kiev, and divisions of Communist troops approached the capitol from the East; five years even closer to the current context, in 1923, the baby male came along who would grow up as author and screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky; a mere four years hence precisely, in 1927, a boy child presented himself who after a time initiated a life as Edward Abbey, author and environmental activist; six years more along the road to now, in 1933, the poet Sara Teasdale took her own life, a couple of years after her consort Vachel Lindsay had also committed suicide; three years subsequent to that conjunction, in 1936, rubber workers solidarityconducted a sitdown strike in Akron, Ohio that helped their union gain recognition; eight years afterward, in 1944, progressive journalist and publisher William Allen White died; another four years onward, in 1948,around the globe in Pakistan, the country’s Socialist Party first established itself; another six years further on, in 1954, a girl child opened her eyes who would rise as the thinker and television producer and acclaimed ‘entrepreneur,’ Oprah Winfrey; seven hundred and thirty days more proximate still to the present pass, in 1956, wit and literary master H.L. Mencken breathed his last; seven years later, in 1963, poet-for-the-ages Robert Frost breathed his last; four years farther in the direction of our own light and air, in 1967, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and others took part in the Mantra-Rock Dance in San Francisco; thirty-four years before the here-and-now, Dolly Parton’s paean to working class life, “Nine to Five,” hit number one on the pop music charts; an additional eight years later on, in 1989, Hungary became the initial Warsaw Pact nation to establish diplomatic and regular trade relations with South Korea; two years onward, in 1991, Japanese author and poet Yasushi Inoue drew his final breath; five years further on, in 1996, France definitely ended its nuclear weapons testing programs; two years beyond that across the Atlantic and the Appalachians, to the day, in 1998, Eric Rudolph quite likely detonated a bomb at a Birmingham abortion clinic that killed one and maimed another; four years onward toward our light and air, in 2002, the U.S. President, George Bush, ripped a page from Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbel’s book in declaring as an “axis of evil” weaker nations that were easy to attack and thereby accomplish imperial agendas; three years thereafter, in 2005, China and Taiwan resumed air service between the two places that had not happened since 1949, for fifty-six years; four years hence, in 2009 in Illinois, Rob Blagojevich lost his governorship after a jury convicted him of accepting large bribes to replace Barack Obama in the Senate, and the new President signed one of the few progressive pieces of legislation in his two terms, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which removed procedural obstacles in the way of litigation against discriminatory practices against women and people of color; another four years past that instant in time and space, in 2013, popular contemporary author Ferrol Sams died.

                A Thought for the Day                

typewriter writer write The capability to articulate other than drivel and supercilious narcissism requires an ability to listen as highly honed as one hopes ones thoughts and ideas will be in reply: thus, writing necessitates reading and speaking listening, sets of skills that current educational paradigms not only ignore but also actively debunk with an emphasis on testing and other forms of regurgitation that in practice prohibit any participant’s aptitude for conceptualizing, let alone contradicting, his own oppression or her own enervation, a more or less intentional orchestration of a frailty of capacity that thereby lays a solid foundation for ongoing subjugation of the poor and hegemony of the wealthy.

                  Quote of the Day                       
“I have been called a curmudgeon, which my obsolescent dictionary defines as a ‘surly, ill-mannered, bad-tempered fellow’.  Nowadays, curmudgeon is likely to refer to anyone who hates hypocrisy, cant, sham, dogmatic ideologies, and has the nerve to point out unpleasant facts and takes the trouble to impale these sins on the skewer of humor and roast them over the fires of fact, common sense, and native intelligence.  In this nation of bleating sheep and braying jackasses, it then becomes an honor to be labeled curmudgeon.
        (Along these lines, one might ask), (h)as joy any survival value in the operations of evolution?  I suspect that it does; I suspect that the morose and fearful are doomed to quick extinction.  Where there is no joy there can be no courage; and without courage all other virtues are useless.
        (Thus), (w)ilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.  A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.
        (So too) are (there) some good things to be said about walking.  Not many, but some.  Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling.  Thus it stretches time and prolongs life.  Life is already too short to waste on speed.  I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere.  Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting.  You have time to observe the details.”  Edward Abbey 

book hor2

SEARCHDAYmarcuse OR habermas "marvin minsky" OR "norbert wiener" consciousness OR awareness evolution history OR origins OR background OR genesis analysis OR explication OR explanation = 39,200 Links.

book hor

                       Top of the Fold                       


http://redef.com/original/age-of-abundance-how-the-content-explosion-will-invert-the-media-industry – From among the likely nearly countless tens of thousands of ‘media stories’ from the past week, a tiny sample, a handful, that reveal important ideas about journalism and storytelling as a business, as a mode of creating knowledge and meaning, as an aspect of human culture and evolution, to begin with one of Media ReDEF‘s pieces of original content, which seeks to provide a contextualization and predictive nexus about mediated development based on what the Internet and its manifestation have created in the way of almost infinite output and constant access to this unending stream of ‘information’–in the context of which a few other items seemed particularly apt to ponder, such as a practical assessment from Monday Note about how a combination of production platform and curating tool would be a dandy thing; such as a lengthy Electric Literature interview with Joyce Carol Oates that focuses on her most recent novel, a story about a potent and privileged neuroscientific expert whose ethical codes may be less than stellar; such as another exchange, that appears in Contently that draws forth Glenn Greenwald about journalism as a career, in terms of business or other production models that he sees fit to give a stamp of approval; such as a monumental review via TruthDig originally from the publication where Greenwald has a sinecure, The Intercept, about living in an ‘expository’ age and what it means and might imply about our coming problems and prospects; such as a typically delightful essay from Brainpickings that, among other things, examines narrative and anecdote and story as adaptive advantages, vis a vis analysis and explication as such: “(In a setting that has extended from at least Edison to the Internet and multimodal connectivity, something akin to a democratization of mediation has occurred, at least in terms of access, though control still vests with money and traditional gatekeepers).  However, the next evolution in the media value chain will be the rise of decentralized curation – with individual tastemakers building up mass followings and driving enormous consumption by recommending various articles, videos, shows, films, albums, exhibits and so on.  While there’s no way to effectively do this at scale today, the transition is long in development.  Almost everyone today remixes content they’ve created with 3rd party content (just look at any social feed), reviews and engages in media commentary (ditto) and uses the recommendations of others to decide what to watch, see, listen to or even believe.  Similarly, every social graph includes a handful of node users whose endorsements proliferate across the social web.  The formalization of this influence will therefore represent both a natural and value-add extension of existing user behavior.

(Despite the continuing relevance and power of ‘Martha’ and ‘Oprah’ and ‘Howard,’ others will also have input).  This ability for consumers to tap into specific voices will also be critical as more content and more users come online.  Consumer time (or ‘attention’) doesn’t scale with either the volume or ready availability of content at their disposal.  Discovery functions, too, have a maximum.  The significance of 1,000 likes, 400 ratings or 3.2M plays is very different with 3B Internet users than it was with 500M.  Not only does contextualizing these social cues become impossible, but the demographics of the reviewers continues to change – first in terms of age and income, then geography and culture – making it difficult to understand the personal validity of any crowd based metric.  That’s not to say that a product on Amazon with 1,400 reviews and a 3.8 star rating isn’t good – just that the common review mechanisms found across the web mathematically soften taste out to the average.  This works a lot of the time, but we tend to have very particular tastes in certain categories – and there is a certain staleness created by narrowing these averages down using look-a-like groups and other algorithmic techniques.  Not to mention the fact, that such an approach often lacks the element of serendipity and surprise from discovering something you loved but didn’t expect (especially if you would otherwise have avoided it) . As a result, curators both solve a media painpoint and enrich consumption.

The most likely enablers of the age of curation will be today’s social platforms.  Though rarely viewed as such, these companies – Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram – are already in the business of content creation, remixing and distribution.  As such, the expansion from one-off filters, albums, shares and vlogs to curation would represent an organic evolution of their existing user toolset.  More importantly, however, this change will be critical if these platforms want to continue to grow user engagement and manage the massive influx of user created and user-submitted content

(This complex and multivariate transformation and intensification will be anything but standard or easily manipulated, but it will almost certainly revolve around curation in some way).  As curation’s role in both content discovery and consumption intensifies, content companies will not only see their programming advantage continue to erode, they’ll also need to change much of their existing beliefs, norms and business models.  For most curators (and audiences), the distinction between content type (e.g. art, music, film, TV) and class (‘premium,’ ‘low-grade,’ ‘UGC’) is without value.  They curate according to their voice and interests, not library categorizations.  This, of course, will prove prohibitive for Big Media.   Few will want to acknowledge the competitiveness of ‘less valuable’ content (this claim has been at the core of pitches to marketers and ad agencies, after all), let alone subject themselves to risk of unmanaged content adjacency (‘what if the next recommendation doesn’t align with our brand?!’).  As a result, most content creators will initially resist influencer-based distribution, though its growing importance as a channel will make this retreat only temporary.  If Mindy Kaling ‘owns’ your target audience, you’ve few options other than to distribute through and with her.

(Even as the ‘starmaking’ of rich, white men continues to have an impact), (i)n the decades since the phonograph was invented, technological changes have enabled our tastes to expand, our artists to diversify and our content to swell in abundance.  While the notional shift from programming to curation can feel academic, it represents a crucial step in the democratization of media.  Through thousands of individual curators, each of us will be able to escape the tyranny of averages and the limitations of algorithmic recommendations, as well as benefit from the ability to become tastemakers ourselves.  For once, if we can’t find something good to watch, read, or listen to, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.”—Media ReDEF

Art by Tove Jansson for a special edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

“I do think that looking at journalism as a public service—which is ultimately what nonprofit status is about, finding a rich person or a series of rich people who support the journalism you’re doing—that is a really promising model.  Ultimately, journalism, when it’s done right, is a public service and should be supported in the same way that charities and hospitals or artists throughout history have been.  It contributes to society in a really important and indispensable way, and I think people are starting to realize that more and more.

(In terms of a ‘branded’ approach to such a model), (i)t is dangerous for all the obvious reasons, which is that funders might want to attach stings to the work that you do.  But the same is true of sites that are funded by advertisers.  BuzzFeed has had several pretty serious—I don’t know if they arrived at the level of scandal, but certainly controversies where a lot of people believed they catered the content of their journalism to please advertisers or avoid displeasing them.

With funders—you might even subconsciously want to avoid doing things to alienate your funders.  Even reader-supported sites [have dangers].  I know when I was reader-supported for a long time there were several occasions where I knew what I was writing was going to alienate a large segment of my readership.  Of course, you have that thought—’Should I do this?’—because you know they’re the ones ultimately funding you.

(Still), (t)he only way you’re going to be a valuable journalist is if you follow your passion and preserve your journalistic integrity.  Which means never compromising what you think or say because of money.  The minute you start compromising what you think or say because of money, you’re going to be some shitty Politico columnist or something.  If you want to avoid falling to the level of Politico, which I think every decent person by definition does, you have to be willing to alienate even the people who are funding you.  Most of all, negotiate from the very start with whoever funds you your full and absolute right to have journalistic independence.  Never let anybody interfere with the things you want to do and say.  That’s the number one rule for everything.

(In terms of getting started, what’s) critical (is) to figure out what you’re really passionately interested in.   Because there’s a market for everything.  There’s a huge Internet out there.  Topics that seem really obscure can definitely, if you do it the right way, generate enough attention and interest to sustain you, and maybe even push you beyond that.  It’s critical to just pick a few topics of which you have a great deal of passion, and develop genuine expertise in those so that what you’re producing can’t be found anywhere else except with you.”—Contentlywalking dead advertising film

“And yet, while spectacles and surveillance may be ‘costless’ and ‘practically free,’ the expository society is fundamentally about profit.  On the corporate side, the business models of companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Uber, and Amazon are based on the principle of user enjoyment.  Social media, we all know from experience, is addictive; our pleasure is habit-forming by design.rect3336 space
This is the first crux of Harcourt’s argument: The expository society exploits, rather than represses, our desires.  The second crux is his observation that government and commercial surveillance infrastructures have wholly merged. rect3336 space
One of the book’s more important chapters takes on the seemingly self-evident nature of the term ‘surveillance state,’ which Harcourt argues is misleading.  What we have, instead, is an ‘amalgam of the intelligence community, retailers, Silicon Valley, military interests, social media, the Inner Beltway, multinational corporations, midtown Manhattan, and Wall Street’ that ‘forms an oligarchic concentration that defies any such reductionism.’  Citing Glenn Greenwald, he notes that 70 percent of the United States’ national intelligence budget is spent on the private sector.  ‘Whatever it is that is surveilling us, then, is not simply the state,’ he writes.  A more accurate image, he suggests, is a ‘tenticular oligarchy’ — a ‘large oligopolistic octopus’ enveloping the world, neither fully public nor fully private but both.

(This all creates an environment in which we want to play according to the overlords’ rules, but which also compels obedience, either subtly or not).  Understanding the degree to which we are compelled to participate, as opposed to lamenting the degree to which we desire our own oppression, is important if we want to devise strategies for resistance.  Movements derive more energy from tapping into people’s grievances than chastising them for complacency.

On the final page of the book, Harcourt praises Occupy Wall Street, (from which the best) lesson (to take may be) not its approach, which was imperfectly implemented and produced mixed results, but its willingness to challenge capitalism and inequality directly.  Ultimately, the society of exposure that Harcourt criticizes is a symptom of the oligarchy’s escalating attack on democracy.  The best solution may not be to combat surveillance directly, but to attack the disease: the arrangements that have allowed an unaccountable political and economic elite to emerge.”—The Intercept

CC BY-SA by Elvert Barnes
CC BY-SA by Elvert Barnes

“There are two modes of cognitive functioning, two modes of thought, each providing distinctive ways of ordering experience, of constructing reality.  The two (though complementary) are irreducible to one another.  Efforts to reduce one mode(storytelling methods of one sort or another) to the other(empirical investigation of some kind) or to ignore one at the expense of the other inevitably fail to capture the rich diversity of thought.

A good story and a well-formed argument are different natural kinds.   Both can be used as means for convincing another.  Yet what they convinceof is fundamentally different: arguments convince one of their truth, stories of their lifelikeness.  The one verifies by eventual appeal to procedures for establishing formal and empirical proof.  The other establishes not truth but verisimilitude.

Bruner notes that the Western scientific and philosophical worldview has been largely concerned with the question of how to know truth, whereas storytellers are concerned with the question of how to endow experience with meaning — a dichotomy Hannah Arendt addressed brilliantly more than a decade earlier in her 1973 Gifford Lecture on thinking vs. knowing and the crucial difference between truth and meaning.  One could go even further and argue, after Walter Benjamin, that the product of the analytical mode is information, whereas the product of storytelling is wisdom.

In contrast to our vast knowledge of how science and logical reasoning proceed, we know precious little in any formal sense about how to make good stories.  Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that story must construct two landscapes simultaneously.  One is the landscape of action, where the constituents are the arguments of action: agent, intention or goal, situation, instrument, something corresponding to a ‘story grammar.’  The other landscape is the landscape of consciousness: what those involved in the action know, think, or feel, or do not know, think, or feel.

(In much of this, an author’s intention lies behind his or her skill).  But this matter of intention remains forever mediated by the reader’s interpretation.  What young Sylvia Plath observed of poetry — ‘Once a poem is made available to the public,’ she told her mother, ‘the right of interpretation belongs to the reader.’ — is true of all art and storytelling, whatever the medium.  Bruner considers how the psychology of this interpretation factors into the question of what makes a great story: ‘It will always be a moot question whether and how well a reader’s interpretation ‘maps’ on an actual story, does justice to the writer’s intention in telling the story, or conforms to the repertory of a culture.  But in any case, the author’s act of creating a narrative of a particular kind and in a particular form is not to evoke a standard reaction but to recruit whatever is most appropriate and emotionally lively in the reader’s repertory. …(even if that entails the necessity of the plight of character and event to be)set forth with sufficient subjunctivity to allow them to be rewritten by the reader, rewritten so as to allow play for the reader’s imagination.”—Brainpickings


student writing arm


BAU at Camargo Foundation Summer Arts Residency

Cassis, France
Application Deadline:
February 29, 2016


Caine Prize for African Writing

January 31, 2016

A prize of £10,000 (approximately $15,400) is given annually for a previously published short story by an African writer. Shortlisted candidates will receive £500 (approximately $770) and some travel expenses to attend an award ceremony in Oxford, England, in July. Writers who were born in Africa, who are African residents, or who have a parent who is African by birth or nationality are eligible. Publishers may submit six copies of a story between 3,000 and 10,000 words published after February 1, 2011, along with the author’s bio or curriculum vitae, via postal mail by January 31. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


Seeking creative storytellers
University of Dayton
January 29, 2016
Industry Magazines / Publishing
Dayton, Ohio
Job Status Full-time
Salary Not Specified

The University of Dayton is seeking a creative, multimedia storyteller to edit, write, manage and collaborate as its next associate director of communications. Application process closes Feb. 19, 2016.

The associate director of communications is responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating the effectiveness of high-quality, high-impact print and digital communications that enhance the bond between the University and its audiences by portraying, through a diversity of viewpoints and opinions, the experience of the University of Dayton achieving its mission. Primary responsibilities include: managing editor of University of Dayton Magazine (quarterly, 114,000 circulation); editor of UDQuickly (news blog); and manager of student workers.


Investigating Solitary Confinement

A New Yorker piece that looks at the journalist who has cared enough to document the plight of prisoners: “I wrote about Browder for this magazine in the fall of 2014, but there may be no reporter in the United States who has collected more stories of solitary-confinement prisoners than the veteran investigative reporter James Ridgeway. Since it is virtually impossible for a reporter to gain access to a solitary-confinement unit, Ridgeway came up with another strategy. “I wanted to use the prisoners themselves as reporters,” he told me. “Of course, that’s taboo in the mainstream press, since we all know they’re liars and double dealers and escape artists.” He chuckled. But breaking that taboo “didn’t bother me at all,” he said. “My position was: all we want to do here is, we want to know what is going on inside.””

WRISSMagic Realism in Indonesia

An Electric Lit posting that discusses the latest work of an Indonesian writer: “Eka Kurniawan’s debut novel Beauty is a Wound (New Directions, 2015) begins with Dewi Ayu, a stunning Dutch-Indonesian brothel madam, walking out of her grave twenty-one years after her demise. The novel proceeds with a series of “and thens” and macabre twists that rival those concocted by Scheherazade in One Thousand and One Nights. Up to the book’s very end, where Dewi Ayu’s dysfunctional descendants tie up the family’s saga, Kurniawan dazzles with his looping plots, biting humor, and skewering take on Indonesia’s history.”


New Investigative Journalism 

A TV Newswer article that looks at a new journalistic TV format that will serve the new generation: “Fusion has announced a new cross-platform investigative franchise called The Naked Truth. The effort, like Fusion itself, is aimed at younger, multicultural viewers who grew up watching The Daily Show, not 60 Minutes–and don’t always “watch TV” on TV.

The series debuts Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on Fusion’s cable channel, with The Naked Truth: Death by Fentanyl, a synthetic opiate responsible for hundreds of deaths in New Hampshire, where drug abuse has become an issue in the presidential campaign.”


Milagro Sala (C) participates in a demonstration in 2014. | Photo: Twitter / @SalaMilagro This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: “http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Argentine-Leader-Ordered-Freed-But-Still-in-Jail-on-New-Charges-20160129-0036.html”. If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english

Argentine Leader Jailed

An Tele Sur article about one of the problems that is facing the new Macri government in Argentina, the incarceration and refusal to release Milagro Sala, an indigenous leader, in part for political reasons: “Jailed Argentine Indigenous leader and lawmaker Milagro Sala, who many have called the first political prisoner of President Mauricio Macri’s administration, was still in prison Friday almost two weeks after being arrested, but now for a different reason.

Sala, founder and head of the 70,000 member-strong Tupac Amaru political movement, was in the province of Jujuy on allegations of inciting violence and turmoil. She had been participating in a month-long protest against Jujuy Governor Gerardo Morales before her arrest.”

GENISSInfestation Warning

A Fusion posting that looks at the worry that we must all have now of a potential and harmful infestation that can have dreadful ramifications: “According to a new study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, bed bug populations in Cincinnati and Michigan required concentrations more than 1,000 times greater than non-resistant bed bugs in order to be killed. The implications of the findings are huge, as millions of dollars have been invested in insecticides designed to kill these blood-sucking creatures that infest everything from couches to suitcases.

It’s also a problem of its own making, as the overuse of insecticides is what allows bed bug populations to develop resistance to certain compounds.”


1.28.2016 Daily Links

                    This Day in History                  

Worldwide, LOL-ironically to say the least, today is Data Privacy Day; nine hundred thirty-nine years ago, the Holy Roman Emperor’s walk through Alpine snow and prostration at the gates of a papal palace led to the suspension of his excommunication for refusing to turn bishopric investiture over to the Church; four hundred seventy years into the future, in 1547, Henry VIII died and left the crown to his son Edward, England’s first Protestant regent; twenty-six years subsequently, in 1573,the Warsaw Confederation sanctioned freedom of conscience in Poland;just over half a century later, in 1624, the British installed their first Caribbean colony, on St. Kitts; seventy-seven years henceforth, in 1701,Chinese troops overran Tibetan resistance at Dartsedo and extended Ming dominance of trade and oversight of the two peoples’ relations and trade;twenty-three years yet later on, in 1724, Russia’s emperor Peter(the Great) founded the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg; three decades hence, to the day, in 1754, Horace Walpole invented the neologism, serendipity, in a letter across the Atlantic to Horace Mann; two centuries and three years before the present pass, Jane Austen first published Pride & Prejudice; twenty-

"Pickering - Greatbatch - Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice - She then told him what Mr. Darcy had voluntarily done for Lydia"
“Pickering – Greatbatch – Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice – She then told him what Mr. Darcy had voluntarily done for Lydia”

eight years more along the temporal road, in 1841, a baby boy shouted out who would grow up to become the explorer and reporter Henry Morton Stanley; half a decade past that point, in 1846, in North Central India, British forces won a major victory at Aliwa in their battles to displace the Sikhs; half a world away in Illinois five years following that, in 1851, Northwestern University opened as the first chartered higher education outlet in the jurisdiction; seven hundred thirty days beyond that, in 1853, a baby boy was born who grew up to become the iconic poet and thinker of Cuban liberation, Jose Marti; several hundred miles South and West two years afterward, in 1855, the first run occurred from the Atlantic to the Pacific on the Panama Canal Railway; half a dozen years subsequent to that instant in time and space, in 1861, miners in the U.S. formed the first coalminers union, the American Miners Association; in Paris a decade thereafter, in 1871, the siege of Paris ended with the complete crushing of the commune and France; two more years onward in France, in 1873, a baby girl was born who matured as the renowned storyteller, Colette; five years later over the Atlantic, in 1878, the Yale Daily News became the U.S.’s initial college news outlet; a hundred fourteen years back, the Carnegie Institution opened in the District of Columbia with a $10 million gift from Andrew Carnegie; seven years subsequently, in 1909, U.S. military forces withdrew from their decade-long war in and occupation of Cuba, with the exception of the garrison at cuba GuantanamoGuantanamo Bay, which continues to be a U.S. base and bastion for torture; six years further along exactly, in 1915, the U.S. Coast Guard first came into existence as the fourth branch of the U.S. military; another two years past that moment in time and space, in 1917, one U.S. coastal city, San Francisco, inaugurated a wildly successful experiment in public transportation with its street cars, a process that spread around the country till automakers and oil companies conspired to destroy such ‘socialist efficiency;’ one year to the day in the future, in 1918,Finnish rebels, largely Communist, occupied Helsinki; fourteen years farther down time’s path, in 1932, Japanese troops began their assault on Shanghai in China, and halfway round the world, Wisconsin passed the first unemployment compensation law; a year further on, in 1933, Islamic activists in greater-India agreed on the name Pakistan as the national label for their statehood aspirations in the Western portion of that section of the British Empire; two years beyond that, in 1935, Iceland became the first ‘Western’ venue to permit general access to therapeutic abortion; a single year subsequently, in 1936, a male infant opened his eyes who would rise as the performer, screenwriter, thinker, and public intellectual, Alan Alda; three years afterward, in 1939, iconic poet William Butler Yeats breathed his last; sixty years before the here and now, Elvis Presley made his first television appearance; the elvis presley music rock and rollLego Corporation two years hence, in 1958, issued its first colorful construction blocks for consumers to buy, which remain compatible with today’s output; two years after that, in 1960, writer and thinker Zora Neale Hurston died; four years yet nearer to now, in 1964, an East German MIG-19 fighter shot down a U.S. military training jet that had crossed the border; thirty-four years prior to this juncture, Ronald Reagan lifted ‘energy-crunch’ price controls on hydrocarbons, so that an oil glut quickly followed, much like now; a thousand, four hundred sixty-one days later still, in 1985, a group of diverse artists recorded “We Are the World” to raise funds for African relief; a year hence, in 1986, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated after takeoff, killing the entire crew;seven hundred thirty days more proximate to the present, in 1988,Canada made all abortions a matter of patient-physician determination;eight years even closer to the current context, in 1996, Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel ended his days, and Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky also died; six years later, in 2002, nonogenarian children’s scribe Astrid Lundgren had her last day.

          BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW         
From the wilds of Eastern Oregon, bringing together as many contradictions as one can fit in a single story, a posting from Vice News about the FBI’s release of close to thirty minutes of unedited video of the shooting of LaVoy Finicum in the Bureau’s arrest of leaders of the ‘occupation’ taking place in the area, one of countless thoughtful accounts of what has, for now, ended another confrontation between citizens, however wacko and a federalized police state.


                A Thought for the Day                

The capability to articulate other than drivel and supercilious narcissism requires an ability to listen as highly honed as one hopes ones thoughts and ideas will be in reply: thus, writing necessitates reading and speaking listening, sets of skills that current educational paradigms not only ignore but also actively debunk with an emphasis on testing and other forms of regurgitation that in practice prohibit any participant’s aptitude for conceptualizing, let alone contradicting, his own oppression or her own enervation, a more or less intentional orchestration of a frailty of capacity that thereby lays a solid foundation for ongoing subjugation of the poor and hegemony of the wealthy.

                  Quote of the Day                       
“Perhaps the only misplaced curiosity is that which persists in trying to find out here, on this side of death, what lies beyond the grave. …(In a somewhat similar vein), to be born ugly… is nothing.  Sensibly, the ugly woman comes to terms with her ugliness and exploits it as a grace of nature. To become ugly means the beginning of a calamity, self-willed most of the time.
       (Thus), (b)y means of an image we are often able to hold on to our lost belongings.  But it is the desperateness of losing which picks the flowers of memory, binds the bouquet. …(which is one reason)I love my past.  I love my present.  I’m not ashamed of what I’ve had, and I’m not sad because I have it no longer.
       (Nonetheless), (t)here are days when solitude, for someone my age, is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall. …(In a sense then, I say with conviction), (t)he writer who loses his self-doubt, who gives way as he grows old to a sudden euphoria, to prolixity, should stop writing immediately: the time has come for him to lay aside his pen.”  Collette

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http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/01/26/political-responsibility-nuclear-age – In the context of a Doomsday Clock that indicates three minutes to midnight, a pair of thoughtful essays from among almost countless compelling commentaries that describe the web of domination that the Weapons of Mass Destruction Industrial Complex weaves over society and its possibilities, the first here an account, in the form of a letter from two physicians passionate about the potential for human survival, from Common Dreams that outlines what components are key to political responsibility in the realm of megadeath, the second an analysis from Consortium News about the current trend to defend extending H-bomb holocaust potential hither and yon as a useful and usable martial alternative, the upshot of which, of course, is extinction: “By their purported test of a hydrogen bomb early in 2016, North Korea reminded the world that nuclear dangers are not an abstraction, but a continuing menace that the governments and peoples of the world ignore at their peril.  Even if the test were not of a hydrogen bomb but of a smaller atomic weapon, as many experts suggest, we are still reminded that we live in the Nuclear Age, an age in which accident, miscalculation, insanity or intention could lead to devastating nuclear catastrophe.

Even a relatively small nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, with each country using 50 Hiroshima-size nuclear weapons on the other side’s cities, could result in a nuclear famine killing some two billion of the most vulnerable people on the planet.  A nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia could destroy civilization in a single afternoon and send temperatures on Earth plummeting into a new ice age.  Such a war could destroy most complex life on the planet.  Despite the gravity of such threats, they are being ignored, which is morally reprehensible and politically irresponsible. …
We are appalled that none of the candidates running for the highest office in the land has yet put forward any plans or strategy to end current threats of nuclear annihilation, none has challenged the planned expenditure of $1 trillion to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and none has made a point of the U.S. being in breach of its nuclear disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  In the presidential debates it has been a non-issue, which scandalizes the candidates for not raising the issue in their many public speeches and the media for not challenging them for failing to do so.  As a society, we are out of touch with the most frightening, yet after decades still dangerously mishandled, challenge to the future of humanity.

It is time to end the nuclear weapons era.  We are living on borrowed time.  The U.S., as the world’s most powerful country, must play a leadership role in convening negotiations.  For the U.S. to be effective in leading to achieve Nuclear Zero, U.S. citizens must awaken to the need to act and must press our government to act and encourage others elsewhere, especially in the other eight nuclear-armed countries, to press their governments to act as well.  It is not enough to be apathetic, conformist, ignorant or in denial.  We all must take action if we want to save humanity and other forms of life from nuclear catastrophe.  In this spirit, we are at a stage where we need a robust global solidarity movement that is dedicated to raising awareness of the growing nuclear menace, and the urgent need to act nationally, regionally and globally to reverse the strong militarist currents that are pushing the world ever closer to the nuclear precipice.

Doing all we can to move the world to Nuclear Zero, while remaining responsive to other pressing dangers, is our best chance to ensure a benevolent future for our species and its natural surroundings.  We can start by changing apathy to empathy, conformity to critical thinking, ignorance to wisdom, denial to recognition, and thought to action in responding to the threats posed by nuclear weapons and the technologies associated with global warming, as well as to the need to address present human suffering arising from war and poverty.”—Common Dreams

nuclear radioactive

“At a time when America’s public sector is apparently too strapped financially even to provide safe drinking water for some of its residents, the Obama administration plans to commit the nation to spending at least $1 trillion over the next three decades to improve our ability to fight a nuclear war.  That’s right — an almost unthinkable war that would end up destroying much of the habitable portion of the globe.

How times change(from Obama’s bright ‘promises’ eight years ago).  Today, warns former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry, ‘we are now on the verge of a new nuclear arms race’ based on a return to Cold War thinking.  ‘Moreover, I believe that the risk of a nuclear catastrophe today is greater than it was during the Cold War — and yet our public is blissfully unaware of the new nuclear dangers they face.’

(The underlying empirical reality is of a United States that is the dominant predator in this system, with 28 times the arsenal of China, upgrading and maintaining which will be phenomenally expensive as well as potentially ecocidal).  But cost may be the least of the problems with Obama’s agenda.  One common if disguised element of these ‘modernization’ programs is their ability to make nuclear ‘war-fighting’ more, not less, conceivable by increasing the targeting flexibility of these weapons and, in some cases, reducing their yield so they resemble very large conventional weapons rather than the all-or-nothing nukes of old.

Once policymakers start seriously considering(as, in multiple ways, they most definitely are) ‘limited war’ scenarios in which nuclear weapons might come in handy, the risk of war shoots way up.  At the same time, the acquisition of war-fighting capabilities will prompt the other side to follow suit. …Russia is also gravely concerned about another development that could, in theory, make the United States contemplate a ‘limited’ nuclear war: the expansion of the U.S. ballistic missile defense network in Europe.   President Vladimir Putin called that ‘an attempt to undermine the existing parity in strategic nuclear weapons and essentially to upset the whole system of global and regional stability.’

(In an arena in which a minimum of twenty near-nuclear-conflagration events have happened since 1945,) (t)here’s no guarantee that our luck will hold out, however.  Thanks to growing fears of being wiped out without warning by stealthy U.S. weapons, ‘Russia has shortened the launch time from what it was during the Cold War,’ according to Bruce Blair, a nuclear security expert at Princeton.  ‘Today, top military command posts in the Moscow area can bypass the entire human chain of command and directly fire by remote control rockets in silos and on trucks as far away as Siberia in only 20 seconds.'”—Consortium News


student writing arm


Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild

Woodstock, New York
Application Deadline: February 15, 2016
The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild offers month-long residencies from June through September to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers on a historic 250-acre campus in the Catskill Mountains outside Woodstock, New York. Residents are provided with a private room and work space, but are responsible for their own transportation and meals, though some staples are provided. The residency fee is $650. Fellowships are available based on financial need. Using the online application system, submit  two work samples  of up to 20 pages of prose each, or four work samples of up to 12 pages of poetry each, a résumé, and two references with a $40 application fee by February 15. Please visit the website for an application and complete guidelines.


Balcones Center for Creative Writing

Poetry and Fiction Prizes

January 31, 2016

Two prizes of $1,500 each are given annually for a poetry collection and a book of fiction published during the previous year. Authors and publishers may submit three copies of a book published in 2015 (poetry collections must be at least 42 pages) by January 31. The entry fee for poetry is $25, and the entry fee for fiction is $30. Send an SASE, e-mail, or visit the website for complete guidelines.

Little Tokyo Historical Society

Short Story Contest

January 31, 2016

A prize of $500 and publication in Rafu Shimpo and on the Discover Nikkei website is given annually for a short story that takes place in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles. Submit a story of up to 2,500 words by January 31. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The winner receives $1,000, publication in Evansville Review and an invitation, with honorarium, to read in June 2016 as part of The Hyla Brook Reading Series at the Robert Frost Farm. The reading opens the Frost Farm Poetry Conference, which is devoted to metrical poetry. The winner also receives a scholarship to attend the conference. Deadline is April 1, 2016.

Deadline April 1, 2016. Prize annually honors literary nonfiction that illustrates artistic excellence, sensitivity to place, and desert literacy – with the desert as both subject and setting. Recognizes one writer with a $1,500 cash award, a reading and reception at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon, and a four-week residency at PLAYA at Summer Lake, Oregon
pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


Copywriter/Copy Editor – Part Time/Offsite!
Location OFFSITE
Starts February 3!
Duration Weeks+
Status Freelance
Rate around $35/hr DOE
Marketing and Research Agency is seeking a Copywriter to work with their team!

In this role, you will work closely with the Director of Marketing to create and proof new copy for the agency website re-launch. You will be provided with most of the copy but will be responsible for polishing it to give it the right tone.

The ideal candidate will have 4+ years of copywriting experience. You should have a conversational yet educational tone.

Content Marketing (aka Content Mover)

This is your chance to join a rapidly growing startup that is doing just about the coolest thing with the online sales process that anyone has ever seen- bringing an in-person customer experience to any website! We are looking to hire a fantastic, freelance word wranglers with a knack for business (who can write about startups). This will be someone with the ability to quickly pick up online trends and a sense for writing to engage a target audience. You will have the opportunity to create enlightening content about interactive sales and marketing, helping the company grow as a thought leader in the space.

Technical Writer (St. Paul, MN)

*** Immediate direct hire opening in St. Paul, MN for a Technical Writer (Engineering/Manufacturing) ***The Technical Writer is responsible for developing materials and product information that enhance understanding and ease of use for a highly complex product line consisting of large mechanical assemblies, electronic and electro-mechanical components, control and instrumentation (C&I) systems and software. The manuals include product descriptions, operation and maintenance instructions (O&M). Illustrations, photos, tables, and charts are also included. Manuals also include CAD drawings.

Commercial Real Estate Reporter/Humor Writer (Indianapolis, IN) 

Real Estate People Indianapolis is seeking a commercial real estate reporter with an intelligent sense of humor for it’s email newsletter, published 3x per week. Must be tenacious in seeking out topical stories, highly organized and comfortable dealing with the CEOs, Presidents and other top level executives in the commercial real estate industry, who we write about from a newsworthy human interest perspective rather than a reporting of the facts perspective. Please see our newsletter archives at http://realestatepeople.co/archives/ from 5/20/14 to 8/12/14 to understand the type of humor we are seeking. Must be comfortable using online technology such as Constant Contact and have at least a basic ability to take and edit photos. Previous experience in the commercial real estate industry is not required but will be strongly considered.



media papers horPrimary Sources and Historical Scrutiny

A Library of Congress posting that looks at the wealth and depth and complexity of history when seen from the viewpoint of primary sources:  “One view of exploration, encounter, and exchange is fairly linear. A group or individual designates a location to explore. When the explorers reach their destination, they encounter indigenous peoples, flora, and fauna. In the best-case scenario, these encounters result in a mutually beneficial exchange of goods or information. A close look at the historical record, however, reveals more complex examples of encounters. 

How can primary sources help us examine one cultural or ethnic group’s exploration of the United States as a new home and the ensuing encounters and exchanges with those already living here? This political cartoon published in Puck magazine in 1880 offers one starting place.”

WRISSartInvoluntary Memoirs

A Nation posting that looks at the phenomenom of writing, memorializing, retelling, or otherwise narrating our own lives, through a study of his own self-understanding, creative process, and with the collaboration of a psychoanalyst: “But we cannot fashion our identities as freely as all this might suggest. Coetzee writes in an early draft of Dusklands, his first novel, that “the need of the soul to be relieved of its past remains urgent as ever.” His lifelong preoccupation with guilt, confession, and expatiation—especially apparent in his 1985 essay on “confession and double thoughts” in the work of Rousseau, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy—suggests that we are empowered to compose autobiographies but condemned to compose them in terms we have not chosen, using language that bears the traces of an uncooperative history.”


Rachel Maddow

Liberal Democrat Media’s Sorry Attempts

A World Socialist Web Site posting that looks at the milquetoast apologetics that Democratic party shenanigans has choreographed in order to appease public disapproval of its complicitness in poisoning the people of Flint: “Maddow is lying and she knows it. While there is a deep sense of shared outraged with the people of Flint from workers throughout the US and the world, the American ruling elite, after decades of bleeding US infrastructure to pay for handouts to Wall Street and endless wars, is not about to change its spots and provide the billions needed to restore Flint and working class cities across the United States. All of those Democratic politicians Maddow presents as saviors are implacable enemies of the working class, no less ruthless than their Republican counterparts.”


Negative Interest Rates

A Guardian article that discusses the surprising decision of the Japanese government to push capital out of banks, and discusses some potential far-reaching effects of this decision: “The surprise decision came just days after the bank’s governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, suggested he had dismissed any drastic easing measures to boost business confidence.

It said the move was intended to lessen the risk to Japanese business confidence from turbulence in the global economy, a week after data showed the Chinese economy had grown at its slowest pace for a quarter of a century in 2015.”




The Great Migration

A Pricenomics article that looks at the exodus of African Americans to many parts of the country, as a reflection to negative and external historical forces:  If millions of African Americans had not migrated from the South to northern cities, the modern United States would look completely different. Contemporary American life is, in many ways, a ramification of this far-reaching, but underreported, historical event.”


1.26.2016 Daily Links

           BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW      
http://fusion.net/story/258726/doomsday-clock-approaches-midnight/ – For stalwart citizens and scrappy scribes alike who consider humankind’s survival a topic worth considering an unfolding story, in which Fusion reports in advance about the coming announcement of the Doomsday Clock’s position, which The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists explained would remain at “three minutes to midnight,” an analysis that is also available in PDF format, a topic on which Common Dreams has also already weighed in.

                    This Day in History                  

256px-Australia_stub.svgIn Australia, today is Australia Day; a Spaniard, the youngest of three world-sailing brothers who conquered for loot, was five centuries and sixteen years ago the first European to step on land that is now Brazil;sixty-four years more in the direction of now, in 1564, the Council of Trent issued its conclusions that precluded meaningful compromise between Protestant nascent bourgeois princes and Catholic overseers of empire, foretelling carnage in Europe for centuries to come; exactly one year afterward, in 1565, on the other side of the world, an Islamic victory in India at the battle of Talikota portended a Muslim predominance on the Subcontinent for some time thereafter; another thirteen decades onward, in 1695, again halfway round the globe, privateer and pirate leader Henry Morgan, in the spirit of democracy among plunderers that prevailed in his forces, announced a ‘workers’ compensation scheme,’ 600 Pieces-of-Eight for the loss of a limb or a number of slaves instead; half a decade later, in 1700, scientists have recently proven conclusively that a massive periodic earthquake—plus or minus every two hundred fifty years—struck the Pacific Northwest, with twin tsunamis that decimated both distant Japan and the nearby coast of North America; eighty-eight years subsequently, in 1788, the so-called First Fleet arrived at what is now Sydney Harbor and initiated an English presence ‘down under;’ a Rum Rebellion precisely two decades later, in 1808, resulted in the only takeover—albeit brief—of the Australian government; a hundred seventy-nine years back, the recently Native American lands of Michigan became the 26th U.S. State; a mere three hundred sixty-five days beyond that, in 1838, Tennessee became the first jurisdiction in the United States to attempt to enforce Prohibition of alcohol; England concluded its de facto takeover of Hong Kong three years hence, in 1841, half a drugs-French_opium_denworld away, after its ‘victory’ in the First Opium War and prior to China’s formal ceding of the Pearl; nine years on the dot past that juncture, around the planet in London in 1850, a baby boy was born who would become the U.S. labor leader, Samuel Gompers; eleven years thereafter, in 1861, Louisiana joined the Confederate States of America and seceded from the United States; in the midst of the resulting Civil Warseven hundred thirty days hence, in 1863, the Governor of Massachusetts received permission to raise an African-American militia to fight in the South; half a decade subsequent to that moment, in 1870, Virginia rejoined the union, having ‘reconstructed’ itself; fifteen years later still, in 1885 and eight thousand miles away in Sudan, Mahdist Islamists overthrew Khartoum and slaughtered the British defenders there, including Lord Gordon, whose head was soon enough on display; three decades closer to now to the day, in 1915, the U.S. created Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado; three years later, in 1918 in Helsinki, a Communist-led Finnish Civil War began, and across the wide North Sea and Atlantic, a male child opened its eyes who would rise as the radically inventive writer and storyteller, Philip Jose Farmer; St. Petersburg half a dozen years after that point, in 1924, became Leningrad for nearly the next six decades, and sixty-five hundred miles West, the baby boy entered the world who would grow up as cartoonist Jules Feiffer; a decade nearer to now, in 1934, Harlem’s Apollo Theater reopened after a brief hiatus, this time to serve New York’s growing Black population, who prior to that could not even buy a ticket for a show; also in New

"Interborough Rattled Transit Restored" by Rogers, W. A. (William Allen), 1854-1931, artist. -
“Interborough Rattled Transit Restored” by Rogers, W. A. (William Allen), 1854-1931, artist. –

York ten hundred ninety-six days later still, in 1937, a Brooklyn power plant sitdown strike led to a giant organizing drive among subway workers; two years subsequently, in 1939 across the Atlantic to the East, Fascist troops finally took over Barcelona, ending all Republican hopes in the Spanish Civil War; on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean two years more down the road, in 1941, the infant male called out who would end up a popular filmmaker and screenwriter by the name of Henry Jaglom; another three years farther along time’s road, the baby girl was born who would become revolutionary activist Angela Davis; four years even more proximate to the present pass, in 1948, the acclaimed archivist and musicologist John Lomax drew a final breath; India two years hence precisely, in 1950, inaugurated its modern Constitutional period with the installment of the first non-colonial government under the leadership of Rajendra Prasad; elsewhere in the contracting British Empire two years later, in 1952, Cairo protesters rioted against wealthy English and Egyptian 206px-1953_Egypt_revolution_celebrationsrule in a ‘Black Friday’ outburst; three additional years onward toward today’s light and air, in 1955, a baby boy screamed out en route to a life as the wild rocker and lyricist and crooner, Eddie Van Halen; ten further years down the pike, in 1965, Hindi formally became India’s official language; fifteen years after that day, in 1980, Egypt and Israel exchanged ambassadors and established full diplomatic relations; seven more years along the temporal path, in 1987, the American Federation of Labor issued a charter to the nascent United Food and Commercial Workers to organize every nook and cranny of agribusiness from the exit on the farm to the cash in the checkout line; three years afterward on the nose, in 1990, the iconic thinker and critic, Lewis Mumford, lived out his final scene; Boris Yeltsin announced seven hundred thirty days more proximate to now, in 1992,that Russia would no longer target U.S. cities with its weapons, a favor the U.S. never saw fit to return; four years further on, in 1996, meanwhile, the writer Harold Brodkey breathed his last; a short year past that point, in 1997, the psychic and popular author Jeanne Dixon also died; seven years more in the direction of today, in 2003, the British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper exited this life; still another seven years toward now, in 2010, the chronicler of upper-class life Lewis Auchincloss took a final breath.

                A Thought for the Day                

To heighten our senses and elevate our spirits and raise our voices to praise the magnificence inherent in even the most crazed and depraved moment of existence in All-That-Is necessitates a task at once simple and sublime, as accessibly rigorous as ambling among far-flung aeries to discover a mountaintop fastness for the soul.

                  Quote of the Day                       
“Max Beer, in his History of British Socialism, points out that Bacon looked for the happiness of mankind chiefly in the application of science and industry.  But by now it is plain that if this alone were sufficient, we could all live in heaven tomorrow.  Beer points out that More, on the other hand, looked to social reform and religious ethics to transform society; and it is equally plain that if the souls of men could be transformed without altering their material and institutional activities, Christianity, Mohammedanism, and Buddhism might have created an earthly paradise almost any time this last two thousand years.  The truth is, as Beer sees, that these two conceptions are still at war with each other: idealism and science continue to function in separate compartments; and yet ‘the happiness of man on earth’ depends upon their combination.

(In this regard, the industrial processes of pacifying nature are) doubly ruinous: they impoverish the earth by hastily removing, for the benefit of a few generations, the common resources which, once expended and dissipated, can never be restored; and second, in its technique, its habits, its processes, the paleotechnic period is equally inimical to the earth considered as a human habitat, by its destruction of the beauty of the landscape, its ruining of streams, its pollution of drinking water, its filling the air with a finely divided carboniferous deposit, which chokes both life and vegetation.

Hands solidarity diversity cooperation          If we are to create balanced human beings, capable of entering into world-wide co-operation with all other men of good will — and that is the supreme task of our generation, and the foundation of all its other potential achievements — we must give as much weight to the arousal of the emotions and to the expression of moral and esthetic values as we now give to science, to invention, to practical organization.  One without the other is impotent.  And values do not come ready-made: they are achieved by a resolute attempt to square the facts of one’s own experience with the historic patterns formed in the past by those who devoted their whole lives to achieving and expressing values.  If we are to express the love in our own hearts, we must also understand what love meant to Socrates and Saint Francis, to Dante and Shakespeare, to Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti, to the explorer Shackleton and to the intrepid physicians who deliberately exposed themselves to yellow fever.  These historic manifestations of love are not recorded in the day’s newspaper or the current radio program: they are hidden to people who possess only fashionable minds.

Virtue is not a chemical product, as Taine once described it: it is a historic product, like language and literature; and this means that if we cease to care about it, cease to cultivate it, cease to transmit its funded values, a large part of it will become meaningless, like a dead language to which we have lost the key.  That, I submit, is what has happened in our own lifetime.
         (Having said as much, nevertheless), I’m a pessimist about probabilities, I’m an optimist about possibilities.”  Lewis Mumford

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SEARCHDAY"civil rights" "labor rights" OR "rights of labor" "political rights" congruent OR same OR equivalent OR indistinguishable = 130,000 Linkages.

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https://theconversation.com/five-years-on-the-spirit-of-tahrir-square-has-been-all-but-crushed-53461 – Both for those who recall and those who never knew, for those with some clue and those who remember nothing, an article about the nation now that fifty-five to fifty-eight years ago, under the leadership of Gamal Abdel Nasser, sought to unify Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere in a Pan-Arab Republic, a combination of nascent bourgeois development in the Arab world, strong anti-communism, and an attempt to overcome the complex delicacy and brutality that pervaded former Ottoman territories outside Israel, a Zionist and Anglo-American power project which had changed the architecture and potential of the region–sets of intersecting social and political and imperial and historical factors that five years ago today caused Egypt to explode in rebellion only, half a decade subsequently, to face the most repressive and vicious regime in its modern incarnation, which The Conversation terms the “crush(ing) of the spirit of Tahrir Square” without reference to matters from the past, an ignoring of the key to comprehension that is only slightly less prevalent either in a New York Times news analysis that shows the dangerous futility which appears beneath the fury and ferocity of al-Sisi’s government’s crackdown or in an item from Russophile that more squarely seeks to blame U.S. policy for the depredation and insanity that now prevails; in the event, a more than likely fallacious dismissal of the role of yesterday that, when one looks Northeast toward the UAR’s ‘junior partner’ in Syria, makes even less sense, as observers–solid citizens and scrappy scribes among them–examine the morass of chaos and pain there and try to make sense of it, with its roots even more obviously, upon clear contemplation, in the period of its ‘grand alliance’ with Egypt and before, a nexus of contemporary investigation that is nevertheless ubiquitous, with occasional ‘progressive’ points-of-view among the interlocutors of the Syrian ‘quagmire, such as a review from Countercurrents that delineates some of Seymour Hersh’s recent investigations into a split among U.S. armed forces reps about whether Assad should stay or go, such as a deconstruction from World Socialist Website that views the present pass as clear evidence of an imperial deepening of commitment and expansion of warfare, such as a geopolitical dissection from Moon Of Alabama that sees the makings of an ‘endgame’ in the region; all of which is more reasonable to contextualize, historically speaking, in relation to a just-released article from Information Clearinghouse, which at least implicitly brings in a delving of the annals of the past in terms of Muammar Gaddafi’s warnings about what would transpire when the U.S. and its ‘partners’ blithely massacred yet another ‘experiment in Islamic Democracy’ under the guise and with the pretense of building a more socially just society, the upshot of which is the carnage and cusp of apocalypse that faces us now: “The demands made by Tahrir Square’s revolutionaries haven’t been met – and in some cases they have been downright betrayed.  The uprising was only in part triggered by the first spasm of the Arab Awakenings, Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution.  Rather, it was an outburst of popular grievances that had been building up for decades in a country with a long history of both military authoritarianism and ‘street politics.’ …

Egyptians were not just calling for the fall of the regime: louder than all the other chants was the call for ‘bread, freedom, and (human) dignity.’  It was estimated at the time that about 40% of Egyptians lived below the poverty line; even higher percentages had to rely on subsidised goods and 2.5m aged 20-24 were unemployed. …

(While hopes for rejuvenation, along with ‘bread and freedom and dignity’ have been short-lived), (a)s for ‘the formation of a new, non-military government with the interest of the Egyptian people at heart,’ the regime of al-Sisi is firmly in the country’s tradition of military dictatorships.  Most of his cabinet members and ministers hold the same posts they did under Mubarak.  Al-Sisi has arguably even succeeded in creating a regime even more repressive and brutal than his predecessor’s.  Mubarak’s ‘deep state’ has not only endured, but in fact seems reinvigorated, while Egypt’s former president has also been released from jail despite the fact that he is still facing charges of corruption and murder.

(In the midst of incalculable repression), (f)reedom of speech and expression have never been so tightly policed.  In the aftermath of the trial of three al-Jazeera journalists, Egypt was recently named the world’s third deadliest country for journalists, just behind Syria and Iraq.  The authorities have detained, charged, or sentenced at least 41,000 people between July 2013 and May 2014 alone.  Hundreds more have been sentenced to death and tried in absentia. …

In December 2015, al-Sisi responded to rumours of another ‘Day of Rage’ on the fifth anniversary of January 25 by saying: ‘Why am I hearing calls for another revolution?  Why do you want to ruin Egypt?  I came by your will and your choice and not despite it’-– an eerie echo of Mubarak’s own words before he was removed in 2011.”—The Conversation

Cairo takes to the streets, January 2011. Reuters/Yannis Behrakis

“(In the context of a bitterly contested planned set of negotiations, starting today under the auspices of the United Nations, to figure out how to proceed in Syria), (u)nderlying the bitter disputes over who will attend the so-called peace talks are the sharply divergent interests of the US, which, together with its regional allies, has backed the Islamist militias with arms and funding in a bid to topple the Assad government, and Russia, which counts this government as its principal ally in the Middle East.  For its part, Turkey, while claiming to oppose ISIS, is principally concerned with overthrowing Assad and quelling the rise of a Kurdish territory on its southern border.

(In terms of its imperial agenda, the U.S.) faces being thwarted in these efforts, however, by Russia’s military intervention.  The bombing campaign initiated by Moscow has begun to produce significant military gains by the Syrian army and allied militias against the Islamist forces backed by the US and its allies.

…             The US has responded to the events in Syria with a flurry of visits to its closest regional allies and key sponsors of the Al Qaeda-linked militias in Syria, along with a steady drumbeat of threats.  Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Riyadh over the weekend, barely three weeks after the Saudi monarchy sparked international outrage and revulsion with the mass beheadings of 47 prisoners, including Nimr al-Nimr, a Muslim cleric and leading spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s oppressed Shiite minority.  Uttering not a word of criticism of the savagely repressive and viciously sectarian absolute monarchy, Kerry declared that the US maintained ‘as solid a relationship, as clear an alliance and as strong a friendship with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia as we have ever had.’

(Meanwhile, in a visit to Turkey, Vice President Joe) Biden declared that Washington and Ankara were engaged in a ‘shared mission on the extermination of’ ISIS.  In reality, the Turkish government has been one of the main pillars of support for ISIS and other Islamist militias.  It has directed its fire principally at Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria, the same forces that the US has employed as proxy ground troops in its air war.

(Under the aegis of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter at the World Economic Forum, the point is now irrefutable that the U.S. embraces ‘boots on the ground’ in various guises.)  The Obama administration had repeatedly foresworn US ‘boots on the ground’ in the region, referring to the deployment of large numbers of combat troops.  Now it is deliberately employing the same phrase to justify the steady escalation of the deployment of ‘advisers’ and ‘trainers’ who are becoming ever more directly involved in combat operations. …(As the drive to intervene grows and the insistence on prevailing through military means is more and more the policy du jour), (t)he increasingly frenetic interventions in Syria, Iraq and Libya could provide the spark for a global conflagration.”—World Socialist Website

Pixabay Image 60760

Intervention in Syria once again exposes the Empire.  Not only its imperialist policy is exposed; its inner contradictions and limitations are also revealed.  As an extra output, once again, the Empire’s trustworthiness is going to be questioned by its allies, and by the broader society. Exposure by Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh has done the job.

(As severe, possibly irremediable splits among U.S. powerbrokers continued to show up), the ‘anybody else is better’ (than Assad) issue (derailed) J(oint) C(hiefs of) S(taff) (agreement) with Obama’s policy.’  The Joint Chiefs felt that a direct challenge to Obama’s policy would have ‘had a zero chance of success’.  So in the autumn of 2013 they decided to take steps against the extremists without going through political channels, by providing US intelligence to the militaries of othernations, on the understanding that it would be passed on to the Syrian army and used against the common enemy, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State.’

(Furthermore), ‘American intelligence had accumulated intercept and human intelligence demonstrating that the Erdogan government had been supporting Jabhat al-Nusra for years, and was now doing the same for Islamic State.’  The US (thus) finds its limit with one of its allies – Turkey – and is forced to live with the reality.  It claims of fighting back the IS, but can’t/doesn’t control its ally that aids the IS.  The reality of duality not only exposes the Empire, but undercuts its political position also.  Moreover, it finds its other allies are distanced, which is revealed in (multiple ways).

(As more and more data shows such contradiction and duplicity and outright treachery, a much sought-after foreign affairs) analyst (has said that) ‘Erdogan has been bringing Uighurs into Syria by special transport while his government has been agitating in favor of their struggle in China.  Uighur and Burmese Muslim terrorists who escape into Thailand somehow get Turkish passports and are then flown to Turkey for transit into Syria.’  The conflict-reality widens as it pulls China into the conflict-scene.  (s)In real term, it narrows down the Empire’s scope for maneuver.  With China’s investment and future plans for investment in Pakistan, the Turkey-ally has to follow China.  Europe is not now in a position to get into conflict with China.  Reports from the economic frontier indicate this.

‘The things that are being said about Assad right now,’ (Hawaii Senator Tulsi) Gabbard responded, ‘are the same that were said about Gaddafi, they are the same things that were said about Saddam Hussein by those who were advocating for the US to … overthrow those regimes … If it happens here in Syria … we will end up in a situation with far greater suffering, with far greater persecution of religious minorities and Christians in Syria, and our enemy will be far stronger.’ …(Other countries must study these matters and learn these lessons).  The emerging important factor is (a) desperate condition of imperialism in the face of intensified competition.  The desperate condition allures/provokes imperialism to commit military blunders under the guidance of short-sighted leadership.  But peoples in more than one country pay before the military blunder finds its burial ground.”—Countercurrents


CC BY-SA by joelogon
CC BY-SA by joelogon

        “Gaddafi’s warning(–basically, ‘apres moi, le jihad’–)went unheeded, and NATO, led by the U.S. and France, launched an air war that toppled Libya’s government.  Later that year, Gaddafi (himself a brutal oppressor, like all heads of state) was forced out of a drainage pipe, and then beaten, sodomized, and shot in the street by a mob.  His corpse was then draped over the hood of a car.

Since then, Gaddafi has been proven tragically right.  As Libya descended into civil war and failed-state chaos, jihadi groups connected to Al Qaeda conquered much of the country.  Libya underwent the same American ‘liberation’ that had already befallen Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia — and would soon be visited on Syria and Yemen.  Shortly after Gaddafi’s overthrow, some of the now-rampant jihadis helped the CIA run guns from Benghazi to fellow jihadis in Syria.

And it was not just Gaddafi personally who had been ringing such alarms to the Western powers thirsting for his blood.  His intelligence officers produced reports demonstrating that heavy weapons being sent to the Libyan opposition, with NATO approval and Qatari financing, were being funneled to militants with ties to Al Qaeda.  At least one of those reports was even prepared in English to facilitate its transmission to key members of Congress via U.S. intelligence.

The war in Libya that Hillary Clinton, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, and Samantha Power of the National Security Council were driving toward was so predictably a fiasco-to-come that, behind the backs of the Amazon Warriors Three, America’s top generals conspired with leftie peacenik Congressman Dennis Kucinich to try to arrange a peaceful resolution to the crisis.  But the war-making diplomats triumphed over the diplomacy-making soldiers.  Hillary buffaloed the brass and got her war.

Conservative politicos have long strained to use Benghazi to torpedo Hillary’s bid for the presidency.  But their efforts are crippled by their own fundamental agreement with Hillary’s militarism.  They support the general policy of employing jihadis to overthrow secular dictators (not only in Libya, but Syria too).  So they limit themselves to whining about Hillary’s security measures.  The true Benghazi scandal indicts not just Hillary, but the entire Western power elite, whose wars have, as Gaddafi warned, flooded the world with a Jihadi Deluge and installed a postdiluvian Reign of Terror over us all.”—Information Clearinghouse

              TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                AWARENESS VIDEO                


From Information Clearinghouse, via Leading Britain’s Conversation, an absolutely central presentation and interview with Dr. Julia Svetlichnaya, one of the affiants at the official, and yet almost totally secret, inquest into the death of Alexander Litvinenko and a coworker of his in the years before his death, an absolutely packed twenty minutes in which with logic and facts and analysis she destroys the credibility of the ‘official story’ of Litvinenko’s demise, that it resulted from a Putin-ordered hit on this former KGB enforcer and apparent blackmailer of the rich and powerful among the friendlyoligarchs of his former country and elsewhere equally affable, for instance, Israel.


student writing arm


Demands for Systemic Change Rise as Historic Challenges Confront Capitalism
Friday, February 5th, 2016—7 to 9 p.m.
Choi Auditorium, Occidental College
1600 Campus Road, Los Angeles

$14.18 General Admission (includes fee)
$8.91 for ACLU Members (includes fee)
Free to Occidental Students
Thought-provoking economist Richard Wolff returns to Los Angeles to discuss the mounting global turmoil as capitalism relocates from old centers in Western Europe, North America, and Japan to new ones in China, Brazil, India and elsewhere in what used to be called the Third World.


North American Snowsports Journalists Association East seeks stories, photos, and videos that tell exceptional stories about snow sports for their 1st annual Communications Contest. The winner receives $500.

Little Tokyo Historical Society
Short Story Contest
January 31, 2016
A prize of $500 and publication in Rafu Shimpo and on the Discover Nikkei website is given annually for a short story that takes place in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles. Submit a story of up to 2,500 words by January 31. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
Caine Prize for African Writing
January 31, 2016
A prize of £10,000 (approximately $15,400) is given annually for a previously published short story by an African writer. Shortlisted candidates will receive £500 (approximately $770) and some travel expenses to attend an award ceremony in Oxford, England, in July. Writers who were born in Africa, who are African residents, or who have a parent who is African by birth or nationality are eligible. Publishers may submit six copies of a story between 3,000 and 10,000 words published after February 1, 2011, along with the author’s bio or curriculum vitae, via postal mail by January 31. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.
pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


Writer + Social Media (Victoria, BC)

employment type: full-time
Status: Full Time
Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm
Location: Stocksy HQ, Victoria BC (This is not a remote position)
Application Deadline: Monday January 25thStocksy United is an artist owned cooperative dedicated to creating real, cliche-free images that raise the bar — and the industry’s expectations — of stock photography. The exclusive images you will find at stocksy.com are created specifically for clients who see the difference in Stocksy’s quality and curation. All of the photographers at Stocksy are co-owners who, together with our staff, work tirelessly to offer discerning image buyers the best image marketplace in the world.

Technical Writer (Portland)

compensation: TBD
employment type: full-time

Our firm is seeking a Technical Writer to join our team. Our firm was founded in 1979 and is locally owned and operated. We deliver cost effective, complex and innovative solutions for both horizontal and vertical infrastructure. This individual will perform specifications, documentation for construction projects, report writing and technical & operating manuals. Preferably, this individual would have knowledge of construction components. This individual needs to be able to work in a team environment and also individually. We offer a professional, friendly and collaborative work environment based on our core values of Teamwork, Respect and Integrity.

Ghost writer (St Paul MN)

compensation: I and am willing to pay up to $1,000 cash.
employment type: contract

I am looking for writing talent to help Ghost write my original and some what organized fictional heroine story.
Looking for the following.
A Person with a basic Christian background .
A basic understanding of other religions .
Spiritually awake . Some awareness of Astrology Etc.
Women studies background, helpful.
Philosophical studies helpful.
Screen writing ability a plus.
Creativity and out side the box thinking a must.
I have basic story outline , including characters and setting .
Need a skilled writer to complete and tie it all together .
Only skilled and sincere applicants please. No first timers.
I will need samples of work and basic background biography.
Also looking for help in creating a website for my poetry and photography .
Compensation to be negotiated .


The People Powered Candidate

A Salon piece by a prominent National Writers Union member writer who contextualizes the sense of optimism and possibility that exists in Sanders’ candidacy: “Sure, many progressive old-timers are drawn to his maverick run, as are a cadre of experienced organizers, but the driving force of “Bernie for President” is coming from two encouraging sources: 1) An emerging rainbow of young people dismayed and disgusted by the greed and pettiness of today’s “leaders” who are restructuring America into a plutocracy that callously sweeps the crying needs of the declining middle class, the poor, the planet, and the common good under the rug of laissez-faire Kochism; and 2) a potentially game-changing group of working-class mad-as-hellers who had disengaged from a governing system that has deliberately ignored working stiffs or, worse, cynically used them as political pawns to be demonized and disempowered.”

The Failure of the Draft

A blog by a National Writers Union member that discusses in this installment the trials and tribulations of those who would force young, able-bodied people to die for murky and unclear ends in useless, toxic, and hateful wars: “Nobody has been prosecuted for refusing to register since 1986. But the government has never been able to find a face-saving way to end registration and shut down the Selective Service System without admitting that its scare tactics failed, or dealing with the implications of young people’s insistence on making their own choices about which wars they are willing to fight.”

Explaining Issues to School Age Kids

Another great offering by an NWU member, this Labor Press review  looks at a very necessary children’s book that introduces children to ideas of labor, consumer advocacy, and personal responsibility: “Ms. Berlak is successful in taking what could have been a dry, finger wagging homily, and makes it come alive for school age children by the clever incorporation of matters of importance to them, by something as simple as their parents having enough time to watch them play soccer. Yet subtle references to larger issues like our shrinking manufacturing base open the door for some in depth discussions.”

Fostering Multilingualism

A Small Business Chron article by a fellow NWU member that provides very useful and powerful advise for helping employees hone their English skills: “A multicultural workplace fosters creativity, ingenuity and competition in the global market. The U.S. workplace increasingly has becoming more diverse with new immigrants who offer a valued, professional skill base for growing companies. However, the ability to communicate effectively in English can be a barrier for new English speakers. Employers can help non-native employees learn English in a number of ways that will not only provide a shared, mutual benefit but a greater understanding of language and culture.”

Safety Amid Factory Hazards

A Labor Notes offering by an NWU member that looks at a comprehensive book effectively designed to make the workplace a more secure and empowered place for all: “For plenty of workers, health and safety is about as boring a subject as there is. They don’t want to hear about this “crap,” many will say—they just want to get the job done.

Yet health and safety issues are as important as it gets, and a new book argues that organizers can use them to build power on the shop floor to “encourage” bosses to do the right thing.”


WRISSCensoring Self Published Books

A useful piece by a fellow National Writers Union member’s blog that looks at the refusal on the part of the Library of Congress to accept self-published books in the catalog, an issue which affects a growing number of writers, especially those with a strong social message to impart: “While I’m sure some self-published books are unworthy of the prestigious LOC, I’m also sure that many self-publlished books are extremely good and important works that deserve to be on our nation’s library bookshelves. If the LOC would turn my book down, what else is being “censored” by these bureaucrats who portray themselves as stalwarts of the First Amendment?”

The Grueling Nickel and Dimed Schedule

A grim Medium piece by a fellow NWU member that documents the punishing schedule of a working-class mother: “As part of our working parents publication, Medium commissioned a diverse array of American parents to document a week — four to seven workdays — in their lives. Our hope is that the resulting tally of dinners and bedtimes; playdates and naps; sprints from daycare to work and back again; will reveal some essential truths about parenting in this country.”


The Wonder of Libraries

A Brain Pickings posting that shares the views of a prominent National Writers Union members on the power and majesty that public libraries provide: ““When people don’t have free access to books,” Anne Lamott asserted in contemplating the revolutionary notion of free public libraries, “then communities are like radios without batteries.”

That fertilizing freedom is what Ursula K. Le Guin (b. October 21, 1929) extols in one of the many remarkable pieces in her anthology The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination (public library) — the source of Le Guin’s abiding wisdom on gender, what beauty really means, and the magic of real human conversation.”


Duck & Cover

A Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists updates whose predictions promise to bring us that much closer to a nuclear holocaust: “Because the diplomatic successes on Iran and in Paris have been offset, at least, by negative events in the nuclear and climate arenas, the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board find the world situation to be highly threatening to humanity—so threatening that the hands of the Doomsday Clock must remain at three minutes to midnight, the closest they’ve been to catastrophe since the early days of above-ground hydrogen bomb testing.”




Inspiring Labor Meet

A Counter Currents article by an NWU member that details an inspiring event for worker solidarity in the Philippines: “In a program unique in the world that they call the International Solidarity Affair (ISA), the KMU invites workers and labor leaders from around the world to spend ten days with Filipino workers. The ISA includes both formal programs in Manila and sometimes in different cities across the country,[4]but the heart of the program is that visitors are then introduced to the day-to-day reality of Filipino workers: visitors go to picket lines, educational centers, production facilities and sometimes even stay in people’s homes, getting a first-hand look at their situations.Sometimes, visitors do this all in Manila, but it usually includes visitors getting out into the provinces, which are more rural and poor. The ISA consciously works to build global labor solidarity between Filipino workers and workers across the globe. Established in 1984, this year’s was the 31st annual International Solidarity Affair.”


1.27.2016 Daily Links

                 A Thought for the Day               

The storm clouds that rise on the horizon of tomorrow’s tomorrow, for those with even a modest capacity to forecast the future, indicate clearly, perhaps decisively, that the old patterns of treachery and depredation are afoot anew, with the plutocrats and their aristocratic toadies in the process of creating ‘well-laid plans’ to purchase the lethal skills and willing cooperation of a section of the working class to attack and kill or otherwise spill the blood and treasure of the rest of those toilers whom the masters-of-the-universe have decided will receive the coup de grace in this particular period of carnage and profiteering and plunder, an era of possible apocalypse that serves no other purpose than the enrichment of the handful of families that already own much more than half of everything worth having in the global sphere of what might otherwise be a realm in which our comity and mutual support and compassion came to the fore instead of our extinction.

                     Quote of the Day                     

“A good song reminds us what we’re fighting for. …Songs are funny things.  They can slip across borders.  Proliferate in prisons.  Penetrate hard shells.  I always believed that the right song at the right moment could change history.

Well, (great songs are) one of the things that will (save us). Words are good, and words help us become the leading species on earth to the point where we are now ready to wipe ourselves off the earth.  But I think that all the arts are needed, and sports too, and cooking, food, and all these different ways of communication.  Smiles, looking into eyes directly, all these different means of communication are needed to save this world.   But certainly a great melody (is a great gift that’s hard to beat).

We all go to different churches or no churches, we have different favorite foods, different ways of making love, different ways of doing all sorts of things, but there we’re all singing together.   Gives you hope. …(at the same time that) to learn to talk to people that you disagree with … is a very important thing.
       (That’s part of what says), if there’s something wrong speak up! …(After all), (t)he world would never amount to a hill of beans if people didn’t use their imaginations to think of the impossible.”  Pete Seeger
                  This Day in History                       
San Francisco Holocaust Memorial Wally Gobetz Flickr
San Francisco Holocaust Memorial Wally Gobetz Flickr

Worldwide, today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, with many countries also a part of this with locally designated commemorations; as a forty-five year old professional fighter and leader, a gay upper class man, and an astute administrator one thousand nine hundred and eighteen years ago, Trajan rose to become the emperor who would preside over Rome’s most extensive imperial expansion; in Arabia five centuries, six decades, and three years thereafter, in 661, the ‘Prophet’s’ family’s hold on Islam, via the Rashidun Caliphate’s largest-empire-in-history-to-that-point, ended with the death of Mohammed’s brother; the overseers of Florence seven hundred fourteen years before the here and now exiled Dante Alighieri, who had been serving as one of a half dozen priors in charge of managing the city; just over four decades hence, in 1343, the sixth Pope Clement legitimized the inherent corruption of Papal Indulgences, which continued for nearly two centuries before principled challenges threatened to tear the Church apart over such practices; more or less exactly a quarter millennium later, in 1593, Church leaders at the Vatican initiated the seven year trial and martyrdom of Giordano Bruno; thirteen years yet later on, in 1606, the trial of

36 x 50 cm aquatint with etching of the festivities in Windsor Castle during Guy Fawkes night: one of a group of four prints of Windsor Castle published in September 1776.
36 x 50 cm aquatint with etching of the festivities in Windsor Castle during Guy Fawkes night: one of a group of four prints of Windsor Castle published in September 1776.

Guy Fawkes and other conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot began in London; two hundred ninety-six years prior to today, a baby boy came squalling into the world en route to a life as popular playwright Samuel Foote; eleven years onward toward the present, in 1731, Bartolomeo Christofori, the piano’s inventor, played his final note; just three years beyond that,across the wide Atlantic in Manhattan, maids in New York City organized for higher pay and better working condtions; twenty-two years further along, in 1756 and back across the ocean, a male infant came into the world who would soon begin composing music as Wolfgang Mozart; the U.S.’s first public university opened its doors to students, not quite three decades henceforth, in 1785, at the University of Georgia in Athens; across the Atlantic another twenty-nine years along time’s arc, in 1814, German Romantic philosopher Johann Fichte breathed his last; eleven years later, in 1825, Congress established the Indian Territory out of current-day Oklahoma, which proved a key component of the Trail of Tears and more;seven years after that, in 1832, the male baby was born who would go on to fame as the alice in wonderland fiction book lewis carrollwriter and fabulist Lewis Carroll; fourteen hundred sixty-one days afterward, in 1836, another boy child cried out, this time en route to life as the chronicler and erotic storyteller, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch; a hundred sixty-six years ahead of today, a baby boy came along—according to a different source from yesterday’s—who would mature as labor leader Samuel Gompers; a single year more proximate to the present pass, in 1851, the iconic artist and naturalist John James Audubon exited the world’s stage; in a last gasp for Samurai hegemony in Japan one hundred forty-eight years back, guided by French Advisers, Tokugawa insurgents retreated from the resurgent Meiji Restoration to what would soon enough be the island of Hokkaido; a dozen years subsequent to that conjunction, in 1880, Thomas Edison received a patent for an incandescent light bulb; eight years henceforth from that juncture, in 1888, the National Geographic Society formally incorporated in the District of Columbia; a brief three years further down time’s path, in 1891, a hideous ‘accident’ at a Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania coal mine caused an explosion that immolated over a hundred miners; a year less than three decades afterward, in 1920, the International Labor Organization came into existence, and in Kansas, miners went on strike against compulsory arbitration; intrepid journalist Nellie Bly died two years yet nearer to now, in 1922; Ibn Saud half a decade farther along toward the future, in 1927, took the title King of Nejd; eleven years hence, in 1938, a male baby opened his eyes who would rise, as Roy Bourgeois, to the calling, after service in the Marines in Vietnam, of a priesthood in protest of war and especially of the training of butchers to support empire South of the border; seven hundred thirty days past that point in time, in 1940, six thousand miles East in the Soviet Union, the writer and storyteller Isaac Babel took a bullet in the back of the neck for supposedly supporting Trotsky; two years thereafter, in 1942, a little baby girl sang out who would grow up as the lyricist and crooner Kate Wolf; yet two more years down the pike, in 1944, in the Soviet Winter, the two and a half year

"Bundesarchiv Bild 183-W0506-316, Russland, Kampf um Stalingrad, Siegesflagge"
“Bundesarchiv Bild 183-W0506-316, Russland, Kampf um Stalingrad, Siegesflagge”

siege of Leningrad came to an end as the Red Army broke through, and the Germans began their final retreat, and several thousand miles away in Ireland, the baby girl uttered her first cry on the way to a life and Nobel Peace Prize as Mairead Maguire; a year later to the day, in 1945, Red Army troops liberated the survivors at Auschwitz; three years subsequently, in 1948, a Soviet boy came along who would grow up as amazing dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov;another three years even closer to now, in 1951, in the Southwest desert, the Nevada Test Site hosted the first of many atmospheric atomic tests that spewed cancer and disease all round the region; sixteen years precisely beyond that juncture, in 1967, the U.S., the Soviet Union, and other countries formalized the Outer Space Treaty, which prohibited nuclear weapons in space and designated the moon as a human bastion of peaceful development, as, on a launching pad in Florida three astronauts died in a catastrophic fire that destroyed their Apollo One launch vehicle; seven hundred thirty-one days still more in proximity to our light and air, in 1969, radical autoworkers in Detroit, African Americans who were part of a Revolutionary Union Movement, initiated a wildcat strike against racism and bad working conditions; four years hence, in 1973, the Paris Accords brought the Vietnam War to its

US flag reflexion on Vietnam Veterans Memorial 12 2011 000124 by Mariordo Mario Roverto Durán Ortiz - Own work
US flag reflexion on Vietnam Veterans Memorial 12 2011 000124 by Mariordo Mario Roverto Durán Ortiz – Own work

erstwhile conclusion; a decade further on, in 1983, the Japanese successfully joined their two test tunnels in what would soon be the world’s longest undersea tunnel, at over thirty-five miles from start to finish; Germany thirteen years subsequently, in 1996 first commemorated the Holocaust, an imperially-backed warlord overthrew the first democratically elected President of Niger, Mahamane Ousmane; seven years closer still to the current context, in 2003, the Library of Congress made its first selections for the ongoing National Recording Registry; three years precisely after this point, in 2006, Western Union ended its commercial telegraph service for messaging purposes; critically acclaimed author John Updike took his last breath ten hundred ninety six days later on, in 2009; a year later precisely, in 2010, the constitutional crisis in Honduras ended with a U.S.- backed President’s rise to power as a replacement for his ‘too-radical’ predecessor, and Howard Zinn’s life came to an end, as did storyteller and writer J.D. Salinger’s passage through time and space; insurgents in Yemen three hundred sixty-five days thereafter, in 2011, initiated the so-called Arab Spring on the Arabian Peninsula itself;just three short years past that, in 2014, iconic activist and folksinger Pete Seeger sang his swansong.

          BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW         


http://thinkprogress.org/health/2016/01/26/3742809/gop-response-pp-texas/  –  Of all places!  From among the hundreds or thousands of reports that are emanating from Harris County and Houston, all too many of a whining, caviling sort about the wrong people facing criminal sanctions, a briefing from Think Progress that details the fascist responses of all the Grand Old Party candidates to the rational Grand Jury indictment of the vigilantes who tried to entrap Planned Parenthood through the use of fraud and deception on a massive scale, a point that TP follows up with an account of States’ using these fraudulent and discredited videos to attack Planned Parenthood, while The New York Times proffers a balanced breaking-news article that details the delicacy and complexity of the situation in Texas, an item that the Times follows with an Editorial Board commentary that demands some space for Planned Parenthood now, something that dovetails nicely with a compilation from Pro Publica that orients citizens to the whole video brouhaha and all its obscenities and double-standards, which in turn justifies Salon in its headline that ‘no matter what,’ the fascists will keep trying to destroy abortion rights, access to contraception, and reproductive freedom in the United States of America.

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SEARCHDAYabortion OR "birth control" OR "family planning" "human rights" criminalization OR prohibition OR disallow OR illegal fascist OR nazi OR reactionary OR fundamentalist sexist OR chauvinist OR "male supremacist" = 180,000 Results.

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http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/01/former-bis-chief-economist-warns-of-massive-debt-defaults-need-for-debt-jubilee-fingers-europe-as-first-in-line.html  –  At a juncture when investors seem like nervous bovines before a thunderburst, while ‘mainstream’ brokers and monopoly financial outlets issue calming edicts to ‘stay the course,’ and at the same time that the aficionados of ‘big shorts’ and critiques of capital see a fiscal chasm ahead the bottom of which is not apparent, a selection of the real and the rational for scrappy scribes and concerned citizens about what in hell is going on, with a ‘spot-on’ assessment from Naked Capitalism in the lead about default and equity crashes dead ahead, along with another of NC‘s items about how top-predator financial organizations are loading up on illiquid asset since the lack of reporting requirements in such ‘investments’ means that they can avoid blowing the whistle on how badly they are tanking, as well as a choice set of additional perspectives–such as a simple overview from Salon that shows just how screwed the financial system is; such as a Ted Talk presentation from former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis that poses the entire charade as a juxtaposition of capitalism-&-dystopia versus democracy-&-possible-extrication; such as an opinion-editorial examination at Counterpunch that avers subterfuge and theft in the ‘buyback’ arena; such as a World Socialist Website essay about the coming attack on jobs in this overall cash

"Oil well" Flcelloguy at en.wikipedia - Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
“Oil well” Flcelloguy at en.wikipedia – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

crunch, a position that no doubt flows from such items as this recent PDF from the World Economic Forum, among other ‘established’ sources; such as an explication (Oil’s Reality) of the underlying empirical basis for the world oil market now from Information Clearinghouse; such as a piece of crowing braggadocio from Contra Corner that indicates how extra screwed Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia are, vis a vis the U.S.A., a conclusion that Michael Hudson, In Dandelion Salad, contends is a well planned coup by those atop of the monetary pyramid in New York and elsewhere, all of which might lead a solid citizen or an NWU member to turn to Richard Wolff’s recent discussion in Los Angeles about how regular people might both protect themselves and make a viable future plausible in such a global context: “When you hear an orthodox economist, particularly one who was early to warn of the dangers of real estate bubbles around the world, speaking of a debt jubilee as the best of bad option, you know a crunch is coming.  Here is the key quote from William White, former chief economist of the Bank of International Settlements, in an exclusive interview with Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the Telegraph: ‘The only question is whether we are able to look reality in the eye and face what is coming in an orderly fashion, or whether it will be disorderly.  Debt jubilees have been going on for 5,000 years, as far back as the Sumerians.’ rect3336 space
(White gets a lot right.  Losses are ‘baked in,’ or unavoidable.  Europe will take the blow on the chin first.  Chinese currency freefall is destabilizing.  But he also gets key points wrong.)  White depicts debt as always bad.  This is a crock and here is why: ‘Government accounting, unlike business accounting, fails to distinguish between spending (income statement) and investment (balance sheet).  The next bombing run to Iraq, which does zip to enhance the productive capacity of the US, is treated exactly the same as investing in infrastructure or R&D like basic research (and yes we fund a ton).

(Furthermore), (g)overnment borrowing does not burden future generations.  This is one of the most confused ideas of the debt discussion.  As James Montier of GMO(a wealth management firm) pointed out: ‘At some point in the future, everyone alive today will be dead.  At that point in time the bonds that make up the government’s debt will be held entirely by our children and grandchildren.  That debt will, of course, be an asset for those who own the bonds (just as it is today).  There may well be distributional issues if all of those bonds are owned by, say, the grandchildren of Bill Gates, but these will be intragenerational issues, not intergenerational ones.

What does hurt future generations is lousy management of society and the economy, and for that blame should be assigned to the leadership classes that created and implemented bad policies.  Operating in an ‘apres moi, le deluge‘ manner, such as the rampant short-termism in the business and political elites, is producing bad outcomes for the young, in the form of high unemployment, unstable job tenures, and head in the sand attitude towards management of the environment, both resource scarcity and climate change.  But it’s also a category error to frame this as a generational issue, even if the young are taking it in the chin.  So too are middle aged people.  I have, for instance, a colleague who is a top professional in his field, who has just turned 60, who is terrified of losing his job because he will have no way to support himself, and even at his income, has not been able to save enough (having to live in high cost NYC) to retire at all well.  He regularly says he does not want to live long beyond 70.  I suspect there are many who in his age cohort who are managing to block out what their future looks like once they no longer have a steady income.

(Even in an environment in which many borrowers are either incompetent or crooked, and not forgetting that lenders are at least as culpable), White’s aversion to borrowing of any sort is tantamount to ruling ou(t) more fiscal spending, when that is precisely what the economy will need more of, particularly as credit losses are realized, voluntarily or not.  We’ve said since the crisis that the medicine that was needed was debt restructuring coupled with aggressive deficit spending to counter the economic downdraft.  This formula is not magic, but the same bad orthodox thinking that helped produce the crisis rules it out as a policy option.”—Naked Capitalism


“(When I point out the thievery of everyday stockmarket transactions), I’m talking about the way that corporate bosses are allowed to take the hard-earned money from Mom and Pop investors and divide it among their freeloading shareholder friends via stock buybacks.  You see, buybacks have been driving the market higher for the better part of six years, and every year the amount of cash diverted into this swindle gets bigger and bigger.

(H)ere’s more from an older article at the Wall Street Journal: ‘Last year, the corporations in the Russell 3000, a broad U.S. stock index, repurchased $567.6 billion worth of their own shares—a 21% increase over 2012, calculates Rob Leiphart, an analyst at Birinyi Associates, a research firm in Westport, Conn . That brings total buybacks since the beginning of 2005 to $4.21 trillion—or nearly one-fifth of the total value of all U.S. stocks today.

Whatever the exact figure may be, we’re talking serious money here, something in the neighborhood of a half trillion dollars per year.  And it’s all being used for the sole purpose of jacking stock price so voracious CEOs and their shareholders can make a killing.  Not one dime of this money is going into expanding operations, hiring more employees, Research and Development or improving productivity.  The lone objective of this farce is to inflate stock prices to Hindenburg proportions in order to line the pockets of filthy-rich one percenters.

(Moreover, a primary vehicle for accomplishing these repurchases has been debt).  So let’s do the math: $58 billion in three months translates into $232 billion per year, which means that a heckuva a lot of the money that’s being given back to shareholders is being borrowed from–you guessed it– Mom and Pop, the suckers who’ll be left holding the bag when the whole system goes bust again in the not-too-distant future.

(To top it all off, Federal Reserve policy has forced the vaunted ‘middle class,’ seeking to scrape by with very little capital and so compelled to seek more than 0-1% interest rates, back into the ‘marketplace’ that decimated their sorts last go round).  So, Mom and Pop got into bonds thinking, ‘I don’t trust stocks after the last crash, so I’ll load up on bonds cuz they’re safer,’ right?  Only now they see they’ve been led into a minefield where they might not get out in one piece.  Some bond funds have already suspended redemptions, which means investors can’t withdraw their money.  I’m dead serious.  It’s like the Hotel California, ‘You can check out, but you can’t leave.’  Not with your money at least.  So you can kiss that retirement ‘Goodbye’ and start filling out that job app for Taco Time now before the spot is taken by some other struggling graybeard.”—Counterpunch

By 2bgr8 via Wikimedia Commons
By 2bgr8 via Wikimedia Commons

“(T)he underlying trend in the global economy is slowing growth, outright recession, and major attacks on jobs coupled with the danger of financial turbulence, especially in highly-indebted emerging markets.  In its annual survey of employment, issued last week, the Geneva-based International Labour Organisation (ILO) warned that global unemployment was set to rise over the next two years. …(the consequences of which will be unrest and repression).

(Despite the ILO’s seeking some assistance to vulnerable employees), (h)owever, there is no prospect of the ILO’s call for a ‘shift’ in current to policies to be met.  On the contrary, every report issued by the International Monetary Fund, the OECD and other major economic and financial organisations emphasises the need for further ‘structural reforms’ in the labour market—that is, attacks on employment conditions and job security. rect3336 space
The worsening global economic outlook is being translated into a wave of job cuts in energy-based and mining industries, in banking and finance, and heavy industries such as steel.  Last week Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfields services company announced it was to cut a further 10,000 jobs, bringing to 34,000 the number of jobs it has cut since November 2104, or 26 percent of its workforce.

Debt problems are not confined to particular industries but extend to whole economies.  The level of stressed debt—defined as bonds which are trading at yields of between 7 and 10 percentage points above comparable US treasury bonds—has passed the peak reached during the 2008 global financial crisis.  The combined level of stressed and distressed debt, those bonds where yields are more than 10 percentage points above comparable US treasuries, reached $221 billion this month, compared to the previous record level of $213 billion in December 2008.rect3336 space
While the absolute level of stressed and distressed debt is higher than seven years ago it is has fallen as a share of the total because of the increase in emerging market corporate debt over the past seven years.  But there are fears that this will not count for much if there is a rush for the exits and markets suddenly become illiquid with few buyers to be found.  Earlier this month the Institute for International Finance said that the capital outflow from China and other emerging markets was $759 billion last year, significantly more than had been previously estimated.”—World Socialist Website

credit card debt money monopoly

“(In a global context where ‘development funding’ costs ‘whatever the market will bear), recent moves by Russia and China), (b)y contrast, (offer) government-owned infrastructure (that) provides basic services at low cost, on a subsidized basis, or freely.  That is what has made the United States, Germany and other industrial lead nations so competitive over the past few centuries.  But this positive role of government is no longer possible under World Bank/IMF policy.  The U.S. promotion of neoliberalism and austerity is a major reason propelling China, Russia and other nations out of the U.S. diplomatic and banking orbit.

To avert this prospect, suppose an American diplomat makes the following proposal to the leaders of countries in debt to China, Russia and the AIIB: ‘Now that you’ve got your increased production in place, why repay?  We’ll make you rich if you stiff our adversaries and turn back to the West. …’  That is the kind of scenario U.S. State Department and Treasury officials have been discussing for more than a year.  Implementing it became more pressing in light of Ukraine’s $3 billion debt to Russia falling due by December 20, 2015. Ukraine’s U.S.-backed regime has announced its intention to default.  To support their position, the IMF has just changed its rules to remove a critical lever on which Russia and other governments have long relied to ensure payment of their loans.

The target was not only Russia and its ability to collect on its sovereign loan to Ukraine, but China even more, in its prospective role as creditor to African countries and prospective AIIB borrowers, planning for a New Silk Road to integrate a Eurasian economy independent of U.S. financial and trade control.  The Wall Street Journal concurred that the main motive for changing the rules was the threat that China would provide an alternative to IMF lending and its demands for crushing austerity. ‘IMF-watchers said the fund was originally thinking of ensuring China wouldn’t be able to foil IMF lending to member countries seeking bailouts as Beijing ramped up loans to developing economies around the world.’  So U.S. officials walked into the IMF headquarters in Washington with the legal equivalent of suicide vests.  Their aim was a last-ditch attempt to block trade and financial agreements organized outside of U.S. control and that of the IMF and World Bank.

The upshot – and new basic guideline for IMF lending – is to split the world into pro-U.S. economies going neoliberal, and economies maintaining public investment in infrastructure n and what used to be viewed as progressive capitalism.  Russia and China may lend as much as they want to other governments, but there is no global vehicle to help secure their ability to be paid back under international law.  Having refused to roll back its own (and ECB) claims on Greece, the IMF is willing to see countries not on the list approved by U.S. neocons repudiate their official debts to Russia or China.  Changing its rules to clear the path for making loans to Ukraine is rightly seen as an escalation of America’s New Cold War against Russia and China.

(As a contextualization of the economic storm clouds, the observer must realize that) (t)he world is now at war financially, and all that seems to matter is whether, as U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had put matters, ‘you are for us or against us.’  As President Putin remarked at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly regarding America’s support of Al Qaeda, Al Nusra and other allegedly ‘moderate’ ISIS allies in Syria: ‘I cannot help asking those who have caused this situation: Do you realize now what you have done? … I am afraid the question will hang in the air, because policies based on self-confidence and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.'”—Dandelion Salad
              TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                 AWARENESS VIDEO                 



In the midst of an apparently insatiable appetite for imperial depredation, as here illustrated by an incisive article from Information Clearinghouse, a 2011 video in which former CIA analyst Michael Scheurer destroys the ill-informed pretension of two Cable News Network pretty faces in relation to what has since then transpired in Libya and throughout the Mediterranean and Southwest Asia, predictions that the estimable ‘spook’ made then which have all come true, about social, economic, and political blowback and terror as a result of empire’s impunity, a densely-packed six and a half minutes that ought to be part of the political education of all scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens who have not elected to sell their souls to fascist insanity of one stripe or other.


student writing arm


January 28, 2016 11:00 AM to
January 28, 2016 12:00 PM
NSF Room 110

The phenomenon of Big Data is creating a need for research perspectives that blend computational thinking (with its focus on, e.g., abstractions, algorithms and scalability) with inferential thinking (with its focus on, e.g., underlying populations, sampling patterns, error bars and predictions). There are many grand challenges involving in creating such a blend; indeed, there are foundational problems that span computation and inference that are far from being solved. There are also many implications for research, technology, policy and education.


POLITICO Editorial Internship
Deadline: March 1
Location: Arlington, Virginia
Pay: Not specified
Description: “Editorial interns will be involved in all aspects of content creation and production. Intern duties include research, reporting and editing.”photo essays, cross stitches, polaroids, maps, paintings, etc. – if we can print it, we can publish it. submissions need not be high-res but should we choose them for the issue, we will ask for high-res files. multiple visual submissions will be accepted, but please no more than ten images – and do know that we may pick and choose from each set.

 Black Girl Dangerous Raises Rates and Seeks Submissions Pays $120/story Black Girl Dangerous (est. 2011), known as BGD for short, is a popular non-profit, reader-funded feminist website for people of color who are also queer and/or trans. Led by award-winning writer Mia McKenzie, the editors welcome original, unpublished submissions that are “personal, political and intersectional.” Writers of color who are also queer and/or trans are invited to submit essays, stories, and videos to voice their opinions, viewpoints, and emotions and to express their literary and artistic talents.
Kaleidoscope magazine Welcomes Stories on Disabilities – Pays up to $100/story Kaleidoscope magazine (est. 1979) welcomes material for the July issue and needs writers to submit articles, stories, and poetry that underscore the publication’s mission: to artistically convey the experiences of people with special needs from a personal perspective.
Bitch magazine Invites Stories from Women Writers for the Summer 2016 Issue – Pays up to $200/article Bitch Media, a non-profit feminist organization and media company that publishes the popular Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture magazine, has added more upcoming editorial themes and is now inviting freelance writers to submit stories with a feminist perspective for the Summer 2016 issue. This issue’s theme will interpret “Kids These Days” (Issue #71). This issue will examine childhood as more than a rite of passage or a target audience. The editors want to receive submissions about parenting, youth culture, and generational crossover at present.
Copyright © WritingCareer.com – used with permission
pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


Deadline: March 4
Location: New York City, Denver, Memphis and Indianapolis.
Pay: Between $2,900 and $3,500 stipend, depending on location.
Description: “Chalkbeat, the national nonprofit education news organization covering local public schools, is seeking four motivated undergraduate or graduate students, to serve as summer reporting interns in Chalkbeat’s four bureaus.

NBCUniversal MediaTech Internship
Deadline: Not specified
Location: New York City and New Jersey
Pay: Paid — rate unspecified
Description: “Be a part of this exciting media and technology transformation through our unique Media Tech Internship Program. This is a ten-week paid summer program where students experience firsthand how one of the largest media and entertainment companies in the world operates and delivers strategic, innovative solutions.”

Los Angeles Times
Deadline: Nov. 15, Dec. 1, April 1
Location: Los Angeles, California and Washington, D.C.
Pay: $700 per week.
Description: “Interested in working with some of the best journalists around? We offer 10 weeks of intensive, hands-on experience in a region where big stories are the norm. We place interns throughout the L.A. Times for our summer program: Metro/Local, Sacramento, Sports, Business, Features (Home, Image, Travel, Food, Mind & Body), Arts & Entertainment, Editorial Pages, Washington, D.C., bureau, Photography/Video, Data Desk, Visualization and Data, Design and latimes.com. The deadline for the Reporting and Visual Journalism applications is Nov. 15; Website and Visualization & Data is Dec. 1; and Data Desk and Design are April 1.”

 Copywriter/Copy Editor – Part Time/Offsite!
Location OFFSITE
Starts February 3!
Duration Weeks+
Status Freelance
Rate around $35/hr DOE
Marketing and Research Agency is seeking a Copywriter to work with their team! In this role, you will work closely with the Director of Marketing to create and proof new copy for the agency website re-launch. You will be provided with most of the copy but will be responsible for polishing it to give it the right tone.  The ideal candidate will have 4+ years of copywriting experience. You should have a conversational yet educational tone. This is a part time offsite opportunity beginning next week for approximately 2+ weeks.

Vice Internship

Vice is offering a summer fellowship program for students from “underrepresented communities,” the company announced Wednesday.

Through a partnership with the New York–based nonprofit Center for Communication, two students will spend eight weeks working at Vice this summer. The participating students will receive a $5,000 stipend and their travel and housing expenses will be covered. Vice is also covering the Center for Communication’s administrative costs.



drug drugs bannerDrugs and the Meaning of Life

A Vice article that introduces readers to a philosopher who is unafraid to examine the role of controlled or mind-altering substances, and the role they have occupied in helping people forge a moral and philosophical identity: “Philosophy can tell us more about our drug use than the black and white mediums of science and the law, which is perhaps why research shows it’s also helpful for people trying to recover from drug addiction. A former alcoholic, Peg has been sober for ten years. It was philosophy, she maintains, that enabled her to understand the causes and consequences of her addiction, and what motivates her to stay sober, live well, and “flourish,” in the words of Aristotle.”

Scrutinizing a For Profit Charity

A New York Times article that looks at the work of whistleblowers and discarded previous employees of a charity purportedly backing a very important cause but which seems to walk a very fine line between fulfilling its intended purpose and fraud: “But in its swift rise, it has also embraced aggressive styles of fund-raising, marketing and personnel management that have caused many current and former employees to question whether it has drifted from its original mission….

The organization has also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years on public relations and lobbying campaigns to deflect criticism of its spending and to fight legislative efforts to restrict how much nonprofits spend on overhead.”

Setback to People Power

A Tele Sur posting that looks at the defeats for the people that occurred in South America after many years of successfully resisting neoliberal hegemony:  “The election result is an important gain for Washington as it mounts renewed efforts to restore neoliberal hegemony in Latin America and fracture the new continental alliances (UNASUR, CELAC) that Chávez was instrumental in initiating as alternatives to the U.S.-dominated Organization of American States (OAS).”

Unequal Seat Belt Laws

A Washington Post article by a reporter who seeks to document a trivial yet harmful way that the state persecutes people of color by abusing a trivial little traffic law: “Differences in seat belt use don’t explain the disparity. Blacks in Florida are only slightly less likely to wear seat belts. The ACLU points to a 2014 study by the Florida Department of Transportation that found that 85.8 percent of blacks were observed to be wearing seat belts vs. 91.5 percent of whites. The only possible explanation for the disparity that doesn’t involve racial bias might be that it’s easier to spot seat-belt violations in urban areas than in more rural parts of the state. More stoplights, lower speed limits, and more stop signs give cops more opportunities to peer into car windows. But that’s just speculation. And even if it did explain part or all of the disparity, it still means that blacks in Florida are disproportionately targeted.”

Rogue Candidates in the Face of Mad Establishment Ones

A Consortium News posting that looks at the reasons why Americans are embracing ‘alternative’ candidates, both on the right or left, as opposed to the mediocre same-as-always offerings likely to be on display in November: “A “sane” Establishment, one that truly cared about the interests of the American people, would have undertaken a serious self-examination after the Iraq War. Yet, there was none. Rather than cleaning house and banishing the neocons and liberal interventionists to the farthest reaches of national power, the Establishment rewarded these warmongers, ceding to them near-total

Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a Democratic presidential debate sponsored by CNN.

control of American foreign policy thinking.

If anything, the neocons and liberal hawks consolidated their power after the Iraq War. By contrast, the foreign policy “realists” and anti-war progressives who warned against the invasion were the ones cast out of any positions of influence. How crazy is that!”

WRISS Private Emails as Interesting Source

A Poynter article that looks at the use of faculty email in response to a story: “When news breaks at a college or university, we do what we can to try to get as close to the action as we can. That mostly means the usual stuff — calling sources, going to campus and talking to people — but when it goes down at a public institution we also have the opportunity to request records that might shed light on what’s going on. Emails can be especially interesting because they capture real-time reactions and correspondence without relying on the memories, interpretations, and discretion of the people you would interview after the fact.”

Marcelo Graciolli flickr
Marcelo Graciolli flickr

Electronics Fast

A New Yorker piece by a stalwart writer that, in the spirit of commemorating various disasters occurrring to the chronically ‘connected’, sought to go offline for an extended period of time, and here relates his (mis)adventures, as well as an appreciation for the actual role of these devices in his life: “What I’m learning may not always be of great social value, but I’m at least gaining some new knowledge—by using devices in ways that, sure, also distract me from maintaining a singular focus on any one thing. I still read deeply, and study things closely, and get lost for hours at a time in sprawling, complicated pieces of literature. Since moving to California from Manhattan a couple of years ago, I’m almost certain I’ve paid attention to more sunsets and cloud configurations and blooming flowers than I had in the previous decade. But I also enjoy being able to find out what year Chinua Achebe published “Things Fall Apart” in roughly three seconds. And, while it is true that, as Nicholas Carr, Jaron Lanier, and others have pointed out, my desire to learn in this manner means that I am opening myself up more completely to advertising saturation and affronts to personal privacy, I’ve made the choice to live with and combat such vexations rather than proceed through life overrun with stagnating curiosity.”


Delivering News on Podcasting

A Poynter piece that looks at one hardworking fellow who has made a name and life for himself keeping folks abreast of podcasting news, as part of a larger trend that has sought to monetize from reporting on different aspects of media: “With today’s announcement, Quah joins the ranks of a select group of media entrepreneurs who have struck out on their own to convert scoops and analysis delivered through a newsletter into a steady stream of income. They include Ben Thompson, the consultant behind the tech newsletter Stratechery and Luke Timmerman, a former reporter for Bloomberg News who runs the biotechnology newsletter The Timmerman Report. Both make some of their work available for free — Timmerman at Forbes and STAT, Thompson on his website — and offer subscribers frequent tidbits of analysis and news for a marginal fee.”


The logo for Hot Pod, Quah’s newsletter.


What Can Be Done for Flint

A Michael Moore posting that answers that, sadly, nothing, but then offers petitions and such things as a next step beyond donating water: “No check you write, no truckloads of Fiji Water or Poland Spring, will bring their innocence or their health back to normal. It’s done. And it was done knowingly, enacted by a political decision from a Governor and a political party charged by the majority of Michigan’s citizens who elected them to cut taxes for the rich, take over majority-black cities by replacing the elected mayors and city councils, cut costs, cut services, cut more taxes for the rich, increase taxes on retired teachers and public employees and, ultimately, try to decimate their one line of defense against all this, this thing we used to call a union.”


CC BY-NC-ND by Spartacus007

Head-in-the-Sand Investing

A Naked Capitalism offering that compares today’s run towards illiquid assets as dangerous as such tactics were before the housing crisis, and how these are all inspired by the same pathologies of the market as they were last time around: “The latest “you can’t make this stuff up” ruse on behalf of investors to hide from plunging asset prices is to run for the supposed cover of illiquid assets, where lax valuations allow fund managers to fudge valuations, meaning pretend things are less bad than they are.

Not only is choosing to prefer flattering and misleading accounting over economic reality not a wise idea, but virtually all of the illiquid asset classes, like real estate, infrastructure investing, and private equity, rely on the liberal use of borrowed money. That means they are riskier, in investment terms, than those embarrassing, loss-exposing asset types like stocks and bonds. In other words, if the objective were to be retreating from risk, rather than trying to camouflage it, this would be the last place you’d want to go.”


1.25.2016 Daily Links

                    Thought of the Day                  

CC BY by ToGa Wanderings

In seeking to ‘cure’ our ailments, much more often than not, established nostrums and official approaches have vastly less to do with understanding the causes and improving the outcomes attendant on such afflictions as cancer and other environmental disorders than they do with a guarantee of directing research funding and infrastructure capitalization into the hands of cronies and allies who want their studies and hospitals to garner the cash and support essential to improve the bottom lines of those in charge rather than address the hurts and needs of those who suffer and bleed.

                 Quote for the Day                 

“That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere.  Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place!  And ain’t I a woman?  Look at me!  Look at my arm!  I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me!  And ain’t I a woman?  I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well!  And ain’t I a woman?  I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me!  And ain’t I a woman?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman!  Where did your Christ come from?  Where did your Christ come from?  From God and a woman!  Man had nothing to do with Him.

CC BY-NC-ND by UN Women Gallery

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again!  And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.”  Sojourner Truth

         BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW          



A definitive turn away from ‘liberal’ acceptance of refugees in Europe, asThe Guardian reports on pressures and problems that have accompanied the millions of displaced people on Europe’s borders who are often trying to get in, a situation from which the most accepting jurisdictions, Germany, Sweden, and Austria are backing down from their more of less open-border policies, a context in which today, as RT and others report today, European Commission leaders aare meeting to draft protocols for managing this unfolding human disaster, what Russell Banks in his monumental novel,Continental Drift, called the primary precursor of world war.
                  This Day in History                     
CC BY-NC-ND by UK in Canada

Today is Opposite Day, where things mean precisely their reverse, and among folks of Scottish ancestry, tonight is Burns Night to celebrate the poet Robert Burns, and in the Subcontinent, this date is National Voters Day; twelve hundred sixty-six years ago, Abbasid rebels in early Islamic conflicts emerged completely victorious after the Battle of Zab; eight and a quarter centuries henceforth, in 1575, a Portuguese imperial explorer founded the capital of Angola; just shy of thirteen decades subsequent to that, in 1704, English colonists and their indigenous allies raided Spanish missions and Appalachee villages in Northern Florida, destroying most of the churches and killing scores of Native Americans, some of the survivors of whom acceded to British hegemony; two hundred sixty-one years back, Moscow University came into existence on Tatiana Day; four years onward from there, in 1759, to the West in Scotland, a male child cried out who would mature as the National Poet, Robert Burns; twenty-eight years thereafter, in 1787, four thousand miles to the West, the deadliest encounter of Shay’s

CC BY-NC-ND by bunkosquad

Rebellion occurred at the Springfield, Massachusetts Armory; four years beyond that point in time, in 1791, England’s Parliament split Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada; three hundred sixty-five days farther along time’s arc, in 1792, a British shoemaker named Thomas Hardy and others formed the London Corresponding Society to lobby for an extended franchise despite the dim view of such agitation that England’s rulers had; precisely a year less than six decades later, in 1851, Sojourner Truth delivered her “Ain’t I a Woman” speech to the Black Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio; twenty-three years yet later on, in 1873, a baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the author and dramatist and thinker, W. Somerset Maugham; eight years subsequently, in 1881, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell formulated the Oriental Telephone Company in an attempt to dominate sales of the new devices in East and South Asia; exactly a year after that, in 1882, over the wide Atlantic in England, a baby girl was born who would grow up as the influential writer and thinker, Virginia Wolff; eight years past that conjunction in time and space, in 1890, the intrepid feminist and working class journalist Nellie Bly completed her round the world journey eight days ahead of schedule, and in Columbus, Ohio, the culmination of the United Mineworkers of America founding meeting took place; fourteen years in the future from that, in 1904, the Barwick Mine in

Mining Bituminous Coal in Pennsylvania about 1900
Mining Bituminous Coal in Pennsylvania about 1900

Cheswick Pennsylvania became an eternal tomb for over two hundred miners in an ‘accident’ that, as usual, was mostly a matter of profiteering; another eleven years onward and upward, in 1915, the U.S. Supreme Court in typical fashion in Coppage v. Kansas found unconstitutional any laws against anti-union clauses in agreements, so-called ‘Yellow Dog Constracts,’ meaning that the Justices once again screwed workers, and Alexander Graham Bell was the first user of a transcontinental phone line in a call from New Jersey to California; a thousand ninety-six days hence, in Ukraine in 1918, nationalist forces briefly resisted the popular sentiment for joining the Bolshevik Revolution; eight years nearer to now, in 1926, back in the U.S., well over 15,000 textile workers began their monumental strike in Passaic, New Jersey; half a dozen years farther along, in 1932, half a world away in China, Nationalist troops began their futile defense of Harbin from Japanese incursion during the Second Sino-Japanese War; three years even closer to now, in 1935, basically halfway round the world, an Irish male child first took a breath who would become the anti-colonialist and radical writer, J.G. Farrell; seven hundred radio3thirty-one days along time’s path from that, in 1937, a radio show debuted in Chicago as “The Guiding Light,” which would last over seven decades on radio and television; just under a decade later, in 1946, the United Mineworkers celebrated their anniversary by rejoining the American Federation of Labor; a year more proximate to the present pass, in 1947, the first patent issued for a ‘cathode ray tube amusement,’ the predecessor of today’s video games; two more years down the pike, in 1949, the first Emmy Awards presentation occurred at the Hollywood Athletic Club; eleven years yet further along the temporal arc, in 1960, the National Association of Broadcasters reacted to public distaste for the radio airplay ‘payola scandal’ by threatening to fine any disc jockey who accepted such remuneration; a year hence, in 1961, President John Kennedy inaugurated the first televised presidential press conference; thirty-four years afterward, in 1995, Russian air defense systems nearly called for a massive nuclear strike when they mistook a Norwegian rocket for a Trident missile; eight years further down time’s pathway, in 2003, a group of protesters left England with the intention of forming human shields against murderous attacks on certain ‘targets’ in Iraq; another eight years along, in 2011, protests broke out in Cairo that would bring down the Egyptian government.

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SEARCHDAY"environmental health" grassroots OR "bottom up" OR citizen investigation OR data OR revelations rejection OR accusation OR attack -"san bernardino" -afghanistan = 335,000 Citations.

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                       Top of the Fold                       


https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/afghan – In the context of an overall political economic and sociopolitical environment when asking is apropos as to what exactly in the corporate and imperial spheres is not corrupt and venal, a report from a couple months back in which Pro Publica delineated in detail the abusive explosion of unjustified, unaudited, self-serving, and useless expenditures in Afghanistan, a matter that a defense media outlet suggests is on the Congressional radar and that WhoWhatWhy points out was the focus of erstwhile Congressional oversight as recently as 1/20/2016, and which a Medium analysis  also indicated was a swamp of plunder and profiteering in the name of security and defense, and which a ViceNews investigation demonstrated had blown well over forty million dollars on a dysfunctional gas station, all of which recent assessments take place a full half a decade after the release of a Wartime Contracting Commission briefing that indicated that the money simply disappeared in Afghanistan up to 2010 or so amounted to $30 billion, with practically guaranteed prospects for further depredation and theft in the coming period, which is to say now, the time that recent reports are talking about: “(Hideously), such jaw-dropping waste without a shred of accountability is not an anomaly.  It has happened in Afghanistan again and again, and, you guessed it, again.  Some of the more outlandish examples have briefly seized the attention of the news media, but really, the running tab for the waste has mounted out of sight of the taxpayers footing the bill.

The problem, contrary to popular assumptions, is not unscrupulous contractors.  Follow the long trail of waste and you’ll be standing at the doors of the military, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.  It’s their bad decisions, bad purchases and bad programs that are consistently to blame.

(Despite how grotesque and ubiquitous and fraudulent such practices are), it’s often hard to grasp what this kind of money means to the average American.  Perhaps the most meaningful way to underscore what has been lost is to look at what the money could have paid for at home.  To set the scene, in 2010, as the U.S. was drastically increasing its investment in Afghanistan, a quarter of America’s homeowners — more than 11 million — were underwater on their mortgages, and the country hovered near a 10 percent unemployment rate.  Congress was routinely gutting federal programs.

The $335 million spent on a power plant that the Afghans don’t use?  That could have paid for permanent housing for 37,000 homeless Americans and $250,000 grants to 20 small-business owners to help them commercialize new technologies.  Take the money wasted on those worthless planes, plus that spent on an unused consulate, and fixing the buildings constructed with hazardous materials.  That could have restored the $714 million cut from the National Institute of Health’s budget, which funds scientific research into new treatments for disease.

Ashley Jackson, who worked for Oxfam and the United Nations in Afghanistan, described the reconstruction effort as often feeling ‘super colonial.’  She recalled that in meetings after discussing what the Western forces wanted to do, someone inevitably said ‘put an Afghan face on it.’  One time she was taken aback when the American military dismissed a local NGO in Kunar as unimportant because it was ‘just Afghans working there.’

‘We have a disastrous experiment in Afghanistan to build a First World infrastructure on top of an impoverished nation,’ said(Charles) Tiefer of the wartime contracting commission.  ‘We have to remember Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries on earth.  It’s also one of the most corrupt countries on earth.  You can’t build on top of sand.'”—Pro Publica

“The Task Force for Business and Stability Operations projects in Afghanistan — the TFSBO — was created in 2009 to address economic revitalization efforts in Iraq.  In 2010, the task force began similar work in Afghanistan.  The task force closed in March 2015.

‘S(pecial) I(nspector) G(eneral for) A(fghan) R(econstruction) concluded the TFBSO generally has not delivered on its stated goals.  SIGAR has received more complaints of waste, fraud, and abuse relating to TFBSO activities than for any other organization operating in Afghanistan,’ subcommittee chair Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said.

The committee members also questioned TFBSO’s dealings with the Afghan oil, gas and mineral industries.  The task force invested $175 million in extractive projects.  A total of 215 had little, to no, or partial project achievement, and not a single project was transitioned to the Afghans or to USAID.rect3336 space

(SIGAR investigator John )Sopko noted that the Afghan Ministry of Mines under former Afghan President Hamid Karzai was ‘the most corrupt ministry in a very corrupt government’ and USAID pulled back direct assistance because it was so corrupt.  He argued that the TFBSO did not know enough about where they were working and, because of this ignorance, ‘you are basically asking to lose all your money.’

Ayotte questioned whether the Pentagon was maneuvering to cover up the mismanagement of the TFBSO and noted at the hearing that a colonel who worked for TFBSO was in the room.  She said he has claimed he was reprimanded for being a whistleblower about the waste he observed in Afghanistan.  The senator said Col. John Hope was assigned to the task force and started to raise issues about the TFBSO, such as its lack of operation and financial oversight.  Ayotte said that as a result of speaking out, Hope received a performance review given by McKeon himself that could be seen as a ‘career ender.  Prior to the review, Hope received highly positive feedback in other reviews, including a glowing one from the Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, she added.”—Defense News

Pentagon money pit Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Mariordo Camila Ferreira & Mario Duran / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0) and Andrew Magill / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

“As part of a 2006 agreement between the U.S. and Afghan governments, the American military agreed to ‘improve governance by enhancing the administration of justice and rule of law.’  One element of that agreement was the construction of a $60-million prison and a $2.7-million justice center in Parwan, near Bagram airfield.  Contractors finished the prison, but not the justice center with its offices, housing, meeting hall, laboratories and courthouse.  Contractors built less than half of the courthouse before the military stopped the work ‘for convenience,’ according to the military’s paperwork.

The U.S. Air Force wants to make sure that the Afghan air force can take over once the Americans leave for good at some point in the future.  To that end, the Pentagon has promised to give Kabul four C-130 Hercules transport planes.  The Air Force has already delivered two of the four-engine aircraft.  Total cost so far is just under $80 million.  The military should deliver the other two Hercules before the end of 2014.  The problem is that the Afghans are barely using the two planes they already have.  It’s possible they won’t have the spare parts or pilots for the full fleet of four C-130s.

rect3336 space
Afghanistan’s current crop of planes and helicopters was old and falling apart.  The Pentagon promised to spend close to $800 million on 48 shiny new aircraft for the Afghan Special Mission Wing.  It’ll be really hard for the Special Mission Wing to maintain and fly that many planes.

In 2010, the Pentagon ordered eight patrol boats at a cost of $3 million.  The idea was to give the boats to the Afghan police to help the cops patrol the border with Uzbekistan.  Nine months after the initial order, the Defense Department cancelled the project.  But someone didn’t get the memo.  The boats arrived.  They currently sit unused at a Navy facility in Yorktown, Virginia.

Between 2004 to 2013, the Pentagon ordered $370 million worth of spare parts to repair the Afghan National Army’s vehicles and equipment.  But neither the Afghan army nor the Defense Department agency assisting it are tracking the parts.  Yet the Afghan Army said it needed more.  So the Pentagon ordered parts worth an additional $138 million worth of parts to replace them.  The U.S. military has also donated 747,000 weapons to Afghanistan’s security forces.  That’s $626 million in pistols, rifles, shotguns and grenade launchers.”—Medium

Above—a poorly insulated building goes up in flames at Camp Sayar. At top—an open air burn pit full of garbage in front of expensive and unused incinerators at Shindand air base. SIGAR photos

“Chuck Grassley, a Republican senator from Iowa, was also pissed off reading the SIGAR report.  ‘This is shocking in multiple ways,’ he said after viewing the report.  ‘The cost of an unnecessary gas station in Afghanistan skyrocketed to a ridiculous height.  Now, the Department of Defense is blocking access to documents and personnel that would shed light on how the money was spent.’

What we do know is that the Department of Defense awarded an initial $3 million construction contract to Central Asian Engineering — a multi-national construction firm that describes itself as doing ‘the hardest jobs’ in ‘the toughest places’ with ‘the best people.’  The company failed to respond to repeated requests from VICE News for comment, and the phone in their DC office did not have an answering machine. rect3336 space

When Central Asian Engineering finished the project in May 2014, it turned over operations to Qashqari Oil and Gas Services, a business that is not registered at all with any Afghan government agency and has no discernable presence in Afghanistan. According to SIGAR, the company’s business license has lapsed.

Since SIGAR and the Pentagon were short on details, VICE News called up the filling station in Sheberghan and asked to speak to the manger.  He’d never heard of Central Asian Engineering, or Qashqari Oil and Gas Services.  He said the station is operational and owned by Afghan Gas Company.  The manager estimated that the station now serves around 250 natural gas-converted cars in the province of 500,000.

‘There are methods people use for budget tracking, and budget monitoring, so it’s a fair question: why are those tools not being used?’ said Rukshana Nanayakkara, the regional outreach director for Transparency International, a leading corruption and waste watchdog group.  ‘Are there other external circumstances?  Did you not use those tools because of the complications involved on the ground level?’  In other words, Nanayakkara suspects that the contractors may have paid bribes.  Integrity Watch Afghanistan, the country’s leading corruption watchdog, estimated that 50-90 percent of foreign aid is siphoned off into somebody’s pocket.  ‘You may have to pay intermediaries to have access to certain ground level deals,’ Nanayakkara explained.”—ViceNews


            TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                    AWARENESS VIDEO                 

http://www.propublica.org/podcast/item/how-did-the-flint-water-crisis-happen – A podcast, just under twenty minutes, from Pro Publica, in which the interviewer speaks with a Flint, Michigan veteran reporter whose very balanced and modest account of the realities of what transpired there add up to a damning indictment, revealing and shaming simultaneously rule-by-the-rich, saving money so as to harm the poor, lies that politicians have told to save their skins and evade responsibility, attacks on citizen activists and scientists and others who wanted only to tell the truth and ameliorate possibly lethal harms, and a lot more besides, all of which illustrates ‘getting what we pay for’ with the American way today.


student writing arm


BAU at Camargo Foundation Summer Arts Residency

Cassis, France
Application Deadline:
February 29, 2016

The BAU Institute offers monthlong residencies in July for poets and fiction writers at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, located on the Mediterranean Sea approximately 20 miles from Marseille. Residents are provided with a private apartment and kitchen, and have access to the Camargo campus, including a reference library, gardens, and a theater. Submit three works or excerpts of poetry or fiction of up to three pages each, or one work or excerpt of up to 10 pages; a curriculum vitae; a letter of intent; contact information for two professional references; and a $40 application fee by February 29. E-mail or visit the website for more information.


Tennessee Arts Commission

Individual Artist Fellowships

Up to three grants of $5,000 each are given annually to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers who are financially compensated for their work as professional artists and are current residents of Tennessee. Students enrolled full-time in a degree-granting program are ineligible. Submit two copies of up to 13 pages of poetry or 25 pages of prose, a personal statement, a résumé, and proof of Tennessee residence by January 25. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

Massachusetts Cultural Council

Artist Fellowships

Up to seven grants of $12,000 each are given biennially to Massachusetts fiction writers and creative nonfiction writers. Up to seven finalists will also receive $1,000 grants. Using the online submission system, submit up to 25 pages of prose by January 25. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


Journalism Opening

Through the Cracks: Crowdfunding in Journalism is a news website that shares stories of news startups, photographers, documentary filmmakers and citizen journalists who use crowdfunding to make reporting and storytelling possible. We’re looking for reporters to join our team and help report on how to bring underreported stories to life and fill gaps in the media landscape.

Proofreader (Seattle)

compensation: DOE
employment type: contract

Duties, Responsibilities (daily activities):

Proofread reports, proposals, and other communications materials in accordance with our style guide.

In addition, you will coordinate work by seven contract proofreaders and several part-time staff proofreaders.

Editor (Victoria, BC)

compensation: DOE
employment type: full-time

Status: Full Time
Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm
Location: Stocksy HQ, Victoria BC (This is not a remote position)
Application Deadline: Monday January 25th

Stocksy United is an artist owned cooperative dedicated to creating real, cliche-free images that raise the bar — and the industry’s expectations — of stock photography. The exclusive images you will find at stocksy.com are created specifically for clients who see the difference in Stocksy’s quality and curation. All of the photographers at Stocksy are co-owners who, together with our staff, work tirelessly to offer discerning image buyers the best image marketplace in the world.


water lake river dropWater Watcher

A Pro Publica podcast of interest to anyone interested in how infrastructure and government oversight can go horribly wrong, with an interview with a tireless Flint utility watchdog who has documented the entire water poisoning fiasco from the very beginning: “Ron Fonger, reporter for The Flint Journal and MLive, has been writing about the water contamination since 2014, when the city began using the Flint River as its water source. From covering city council meetings and town hall forums, where almost immediately residents complained about discolored, tainted water, he has had a front-row seat to the crisis. On this week’s podcast, Fonger speaks with ProPublica editor-in-chief Stephen Engelberg about what caused the problem, who dropped the ball, and what happens next.”

More Bang for Your Teachers’ Union

A Salon piece that looks at new voices in teachers’ union that seek to change the union status quo and thus create a new unionism which is more powerful and relevant in the current moment: “The solution WE is offering is part of a national movement that seeks to drastically change the modus operandi of the teachers union from one in which union members pay dues and trust that the big decisions are being made by the leaders and lawyers at the bargaining table to one in which every single teachers union member actively participates in grass-roots educational change. This new approach, called social justice unionism, comes with a track record of success in cities like Chicago, St. Paul, Seattle and Portland.”

The Ugliness that Inspired the Dream

A WhoWhatWhy posting by an indefatigable researcher who curated a shocking and nauseating gallery of hateful and destructive images of the sorts of bigotry and oppression that spurred Martin Luther King to act: “King had guts. Think of the courage it took for him, and for those who were with him, to work the front lines.

… Below we present a brief history, told in eloquent images, of what gave rise to Martin Luther King’s crusade and kindled his dream of a better life for everyone.”

Opening the Doors of Perception

An interesting High Existence article that will provide food for thought for all folks interested in psychology, alternative treatment methods, and the things the ailing status quo tells us ‘are bad’: “There is much anecdotal evidence and now a growing body of scientific evidence suggesting that these breakthroughs can help people overcome depression, addiction, and more.

These powerful substances have enormous potential to enhance your life, but you must remember that psychedelic experiences can vary widely. Luckily, there are many things you can do to help ensure that you have a positive experience.”

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Revolution Thwarted

A Conversation piece that is fundamental reading for all interested in the situation unfolding in the Middle East and who seek as much background as possible, that contextualizes the dismal failure of what appeared to be a promising grassroots moment in Egypt half a decade ago: “The so-called Egyptian revolution of 2011, part of the wider trend of the Arab Springs or Arab Awakening, was seen by many as being as significant as the fall of the Berlin Wall because of its potential implications for both the country and the region. However, five years on, it seems as if little has changed in Egypt – and the country’s proud revolutionary spirit has been almost completely wiped out.

The demands made by Tahrir Square’s revolutionaries haven’t been met – and in some cases they have been downright betrayed.”

WRISSRecent Work for Prolific Writer

A Electric Literature interview with Joyce Carol Oates, on the occasion of the publishing of her most recent novel, and discussing such writerly ideas as inspiration and the nature of reality: “Oates’s latest is a novel called The Man Without a Shadow (Ecco, 2016), which follows the lives of neuroscientist Margot Sharpe and her prize patient, amnesiac Elihu Hoopes (or “E.H.”), who can only remember events for 70 seconds at a time. It’s a fascinating novel that explores the meaning of memory, loss, and the possibility of loving and building a history with someone who can never remember you.”

John E. Branch Jr. / Creative Commons

A Provocative and Challenging Writer

A Chronicle interview with an academic who is not afraid to upset the apple cart in regards to issues of academics and sexuality, which discusses the writer’s creative and literary development, where she draws her conviction and inspiration from, and anything else that might interest a reader: “But many of us were reading Kipnis long before this series of unfortunate events. She’s been writing interesting, provocative, funny, smart, and graceful essays for a long time. I first became aware of her when she published Against Love: A Polemic. Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, called the book a “ragingly witty yet contemplative look at the discontents of domestic and erotic relationships” where Kipnis “combines portions of the slashing sexual contrarianism of Mailer, the scathing antidomestic wit of early Roseanne Barr and the coolly analytical aesthetics of early Sontag.” Who could resist that kind of mash-up?”


Reshaping Content and Branding

An Adweek look at a cpnference that provides fascinatingly important information to all those who care about media, branding, and creative success in a digital world: “In its inaugural gathering Thursday, Digital Storytelling, a newly sanctioned event of the Sundance Film Festival, ambitiously set out to better link brand marketers with digital content creators as well as discuss how return on investment on that content will grow and evolve beyond interruptive advertising models.”


Another Baltic Country About to Explode

A Global Research Centre reposting of an article/video offering from South Front that discusses the dire circumstances  in Moldova, as well as providing background on why this has come about:  “Against the backdrop of the Kiev Maidan of 2013-2014 which ended with a coup d’etat and a prolonged political crisis in Ukraine and Saakashvili’s failure in Georgia, Washington and Brussels felt it important not only retain Moldova under its influence, but present it to Western societies as an example of successful implementation of “principles of liberal politics.” It ignored the absence of reforms and the catastrophic deterioration of the country’s economy accompanied by the establishment of government by oligarchy.

The most important thing was to formalize the “partnership” by signing the Association Agreement, which was done in mid-2014. After that, EU’s officials decided that the Moldovan game was over. “

GENISSPlutocrats Disdain Everyman’s Potential

A Smirking Chimp posting that both discusses the worth of working class folks and demonstrates the specific and general ways that elites crush and disrespect us: “Given the right opportunities, low- and middle-income families could do a lot to improve America. But Congress only listens to the sound of money. As Robert Reich notes, an analysis by Princeton and Northwestern of 1,799 policy issues revealed that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” “


1.22.2016 Daily Links

          BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW           


Student activists placed a billboard advocating for their free speech rights in January 2015, following a prolonged battle between students and the USF administration. (SJP-USF Facebook)

POISONOUS BIGOTRY & PROFITEERING IN FLINT & ISRAEL & SYRIA – http://www.newyorker.com/news/amy-davidson/the-contempt-that-poisoned-flints-water – Regarding the most recent instance of class war and murder in the name of predatory capital’s vaunted ‘bottom line,’ a series of deeper and more nuanced reports about the unfolding horror in Flint, Michigan, with an assessment from The New Yorker in the lead, followed by a story about a pastor who recognized the depredations of the city’s water a year back and began distributing bottled H2O, with an account from Collegiate Times next that examines a Virginia Tech volunteer team that faced calumny and libel for reporting the truth for plus or minus the past fifteen months or so, after which an up-to-the-minute longform piece from Rolling Stone is available, and a call to action by the World Socialist Website appears about a meeting next Wednesday; in the context of all of which, a set of reviews of happening-now political toxins further afield, in relation to Israel and Palestine and Syria, for instance, a briefing from Electronic Intifada about a just passed resolution of the University of South Florida student body to sell off all Israeli investment equities, or a scary and hilarious note from Mondoweiss about the “little jewboy” incident of alienation of U.S. diplomatic staff from Knesset forces on the ground in Israel, or a more measured item from the same source that details the recent National Labor Relations Board decision against a group of Israeli legal bulldogs that had sued the United Electrical Workers for its first-ever union-endorsed boycott of Israel, which the litigants from the East believed was a violation of the National Labor Relations Act prohibitions of boycotts, or a just-now-presented bit of reportage from Global Research about the British Medical Association’s insistence that Israel face expulsion from the world body of such agencies for fascists treatment of Palestinians in Israel, or a hot-off-the-presses brief from FortRuss about a just-confirmed new contingent’s deployment of Special Forces U.S. troops on the ground in Syria.


                    This Day in History                  

Today is Reunion Day in Ukraine; in the Vatican five centuries and one decade ago, the first squadron of Swiss Guard took on the regular duty of protecting the Pope and his environs; eleven years further on, in 1517, Ottoman imperial armies succeeded in driving Mamluk rulers—from Crimea and Georgia—from suzerainty in Egypt; four years to the day following that point, in 1521, the Holy Roman Empire opened a congress in Germany, one of several Diets of Worms over the centuries, at which one of the key tasks was to indict Martin Luther and attempt to nip the Protestant uprising in the bud; four hundred sixty-four years before the here and now, a baby boy gave his first cry on his way to a life as the bard and explorer and all-round adventurer, Sir Walter Raleigh; nine years hence, in 1561, another English boy child cried out who would rise as thinker and scientist and humanist Francis Bacon; two hundred twenty-eight years prior to this day-in-time, another British male infant was born who would go on to the brief intense life of poet, Lord Byron; thirty-six years subsequently, in 1824, on Africa’s Gold Coast, Ashanti fighters temporarily held off British incursions by defeating the European invaders; a quarter century later, in 1849, across the Indian Ocean, English troops successfully ended their siege against Sikh combatants at Multan, Punjab, and, half-a-world away from that, a male child came into the world who would grow up as playwright and philosopher-critic August Strindberg, while across the Atlantic the boy infant opened his eyes who would rise as the labor leader, Terence Powderly; nine years subsequently on the nose, in 1858, a baby girl was born who would become the acclaimed economist and social democrat, Beatrice Webb; one hundred forty-one years back, a male child came into our midst whom destiny had elected to make films and Zulu attackgutt africaright scripts as D.W. Griffith; in and around present-day Kenya precisely four years later, in 1879, the Anglo-Zulu war continued, with African forces’ costly defeat of British troops on one battlefield and successful garrison defense of a hundred odd English fighters against thousands of Zulu at another location; a decade exactly hence, in 1889, Columbia Phonograph incorporated in the District of Columbia; just three hundred sixty-five days subsequently, in 1890, in Ohio’s capitol city, the United Mine Workers came into existence; another year on from that point, in 1891, a baby boy uttered his first cry at the start of the life of philosopher and radical Antonio Gramsci; seven years onward, in 1898, in far off Russia a baby boy drew a first breath en route to life as filmmaker and screenwriter and auteur, Sergei Eisenstein; a single year yet later on, in 1899, leaders of half-a-dozen Australian colonies gathered to comma_radio_stationconsider confederation; another year past that juncture, in 1900, an inventor of the microphone, David Edward Hughes, made his last announcement before exiting; a quarter-world away and half a decade afterward, in 1905, Bloody Sunday in St. Petersburg initiated the 1905 Revolution in Russia; a dozen years closer to the present pass, in 1917, Woodrow Wilson pleaded for “peace without victory” in the carnage that was taking place in Europe as he plotted to enter the United States into the war; two years hence, in 1919, nationalist Ukrainians declared a unified East and West, which soon enough becomes a Ukrainian Soviet Republic; a year after, in 1920, six thousand miles away, the male child took a first breath who would, as Irving Kristol, grow up to publish the National Review and spout reaction and ‘conservatism’ at every opportunity; four years after that to the day, in 1924, back across the Atlantic in England, Ramsay MacDonald became the first Labor Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; three years hence, in 1927, across the Atlantic again, the wealthy, self-taught historian John Ford Rhodes died, while back in England the first sportscast took place, of a soccer match between Arsenal and Sheffield United; four years yet more proximate to the

ca1951rr flickr
ca1951rr flickr

present point, in 1931, the baby boy was born who would go on to pen songs and croon them beautifully as Sam Cooke; just a year henceforth, in 1932, hundreds of tenants in New York City battled police whose assignment was to evict them; just short of a decade and a half further down time’s road, in 1946, in the District of Columbia, the Central Intelligence Group first met en route to the formation of the Central Intelligence Agency, while five thousand miles East in Persia, Kurdish patriots declared themselves the Republic of Mahabad, an act that led to many hangings and the interest of British and American intelligence and British Petroleum; three hundred sixty-five days later precisely, in 1947, the first TV station West of the Mississippi came into being as KTLA in Los Angeles; six years hence, in 1953, a baby male came along who would grow up as the counterculture maven and filmmaker, Jim Jarmusch; nine years thereafter on the nose, in 1962, the United States manipulated the Organization of American States into ousting the nascent communist state of Cuba from membership; another half dozen years farther along the temporal arc, in 1968, the United States initiated an operation in Vietnam, ‘Igloo White,’ the purpose of which was to intercept and interrupt all communications between Communists in Indochina; three years further on nearby, in 1971, British Commonwealth states approved the Singapore Declaration that outlined a ‘liberal’ orientation for former British colonies, and heir and publisher Harry Frank Guggenheim—founder of Newsday—breathed his last; two years down the road from that, in 1973, the Supreme Court issued its -pro-choice women abortiontwin decisions—Roe v. Wade & Doe v. Bolton—that for a brief moment guaranteed mostly untrammeled abortion rights nationally to women in the U.S., and the crew of Apollo XVII addressed a joint session of Congress after their safe return from their program’s final moon landing; eleven years nearer to now, in 1984, Apple first put its Macintosh computers on the market; three years later, in 1987, distraught politico R. Budd Dwyer blew his brains out during a televised interview; a thousand ninety-six days more proximate to our day and time, in 1990, a Federal Court convicted Robert Tappan Morris of crafting the release of the 1988 Internet computer worm; two years to the day after that juncture, in 1992, the first Canadian woman who was also the first neurologist took part in a Space Shuttle mission; Evo Morales fourteen years afterward, in 2006, in Bolivia, became South America’s first indigenous Chief Executive.

                A Thought for the Day                

drawing by hector gomez
drawing by hector gomez

In a context awash in the noise of facile chatter, cluttered with the meaningless and empty mirth of canned laughter, sated with an unending plethora of outrage at the nerve of the ubiquitous other, who would dare, so as to discuss matters of mutual concern, to catch our attention and demand an arena of respectful discourse, in such a world, in other words, as manifests most grotesquely now in the land of the free and the home of the brave, to speak up, to speak out, to participate in conversation and action to heal the psychic and soul-centered wounds of so much superficiality, so much false felicity, so much projected blame for what the pretentiously indispensable rulers of this savage State have brought on all of us together, such giving voice is at once terrifying and necessary, debilitating and liberating, a dreadful dirge and a daunting duty.

                  Quote of the Day                       
“Nature still obstinately refuses to co-operate by making the rich people innately superior to the poor people. …(In fact), the possession of wealth, and especially the inheritance of wealth, seems almost invariably to sterilize genius.

(Along these lines), (w)ork is the best of narcotics, providing the patient be strong enough to take it.  I dread idleness as if it were Hell. …Beneath the surface of our daily life, in the personal history of many of us, there runs a continuous controversy between an Ego that affirms and an Ego that denies. …(Thus), (i)t would be curious to discover who it is to whom one writes in a diary.  Possibly to some mysterious personification of one’s own identity.
zen Sutherland flickr
zen Sutherland flickr

(In relation to our cousins across the Atlantic), (t)he interruptions of the telephone seem to us to waste half the life of the ordinary American engaged in public or private business; he has seldom half an hour consecutively at his own disposal – a telephone is a veritable time scatterer.

        (In Washington), we have not been impressed with any attribute of the Senate other than its appearance and manners.  We have heard the best speakers: they all fire off speeches which deal with the entire subject in general terms and which do not attempt to debate, to answer opponents’ arguments or offer new points for discussion.  And the speeches are constantly degenerating into empty rhetoric; they abound in quotations from well-known authors or from their own former speeches.”  Beatrice Webb

book hor2

SEARCHDAYidiom OR "common speech" OR "figurative speech" metaphor OR representation communication nuance cliche OR trite utility OR necessity linguistics analysis = 7,980

book hor

                       Top of the Fold                       


http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jan/15/wikipedia-fund-future –  A mere sampling of the outpouring of media analysis over the previous period of time, all of which more or less focuses on matters of business models and income, of profit and loss and paying the bills, with an item from The Guardian that deals with Wikepedia’s funding attempts to initiate the chase, after which a sardonic essay from Vice Media delves the, um, ‘ins-and-outs’ of clickbait journalistic practice; and then a piece from Smirking Chimp details how progressive writers can make up new names to call the reactionary madmen who populate political perches; and then a news analysis from TruthOut explains how Jane Mayer got the goods on the Koch Brothers and how they then tried to discredit her; and then a summary and portal from Benton.org that briefs readers about the situation in Tennessee, where Chattanooga’s electric utility still

David Wright CC 2.0
David Wright CC 2.0

hopes to abrogate monopoly media’s profiteering in bringing truly state-of-the-art broadband to consumers; and then an analysis from The New York Times that looks at a new TV series on ‘the dark web;’ and then an overview from Pando about the crashing prospects of Unicorns just now in the mediascape and generally; and then an opinion-editorial from DailyDot about the web’s impact on reading habits and information uptake; and then another bit from Benton.org, this time in relation to crowdfunding and its potential to assist journalism in various ways–all of which comes forth in a context of persistent ‘misinformation,’ distortion, propaganda, balderdash, and bullshit, what a brief imprecation from a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences contends threatens our ability to do business, from no less a source than all the friends of stalwart citizens and scrappy scribes in Davos at the World Economic Forum, which places this warning in a context that those of us who want to do depth reporting and honest analysis had better attend carefully, whether we hope for a ‘fair and balanced’ Wikification of the Net or something ideally even more robust in terms of access to data, knowledge, opinion, engagement, and so forth: “The Wikimedia Endowment has been set up as a ‘permanent safekeeping fund’ managed by the charity Tides Foundation, and could reduce Wikipedia’s reliance on annual donation drives to keep its service running.  The news came on the online encyclopedia’s 15th birthday as the Foundation announced that it now has more than 36m articles and 80,000 volunteers making 15k edits and creating 7k new articles an hour.

The service has weathered questions about its funding, its neutrality and its accuracy over those first 15 years, with Wales and the Foundation regularly involved in wider debates about censorship, trolling and online identity.  ‘Wikipedia has shown how crowd sourcing and open collaboration models can be successful.  It was initially derided as largely selective and inaccurate, but with millions of contributions and editorial input it, has become the single most comprehensive online repository of knowledge,’ said Mark Brill, senior lecturer in digital communication and future media at Birmingham City University.

The Foundation is keen to ensure that it has plenty of local contributors to ensure that articles are not just a western view of these countries.  In 2015, a study by researchers at the University of Oxford found that five countries – the UK, US, France, Germany and Italy – were the source of 45% of edits to articles about places on Wikipedia.  ‘A lot of people are completely missing the point that as people come online in the developing world, they’re doing a lot of the same things we do: they’re getting on Facebook, going on Google, reading and editing Wikipedia,’ said Wales.

A Google search for “death of Wikipedia” yields more than 72k results, with articles from 2006 onwards predicting that the online encyclopedia was on its way out for various reasons.  ‘It’s more fun looking back at those stories than seeing them at the time,’ said Wales.  ‘As a charity, we’ve always been focused on our community and our mission.  We’re not subject to a lot of the external metrics – we don’t have debt, we don’t have investors – that high-flying dotcoms are.'”—The Guardian
unicorn fantasy fiction

“Back in 2013, I worked for a women’s celebrity news website.  I stumbled into the industry at a time when online editors were panicking: Their sites were funded by advertisers who demanded that as many people as possible viewed stories.  This meant writing things readers loved and shared, but also resorting to shadier tactics.  With views dwindling, publications like mine often turned to the gospel of search engine optimisation, also known as SEO, for guidance.

Like making a deal with a highly-optimized devil, relying heavily on SEO to push readers to websites has a high moral price for publishers.  When it comes to female pop stars and actors, people are often more likely to search for the celebrity’s name with the words ‘naked,’ ‘boobs,’ ‘butt,’ ‘weight,’ and ‘bikini’ than with the names of their albums or movies.  Since 2008, “Miley Cyrus naked” has been consistently Googled more than “Miley Cyrus music,” “Miley Cyrus album,” “Miley Cyrus show,” and “Miley Cyrus Instagram.”  Plus, “Emma Watson naked” has been Googled more than “Emma Watson movie” since she was 15.  In fact, “Emma Watson feet” gets more search traffic than “Emma Watson style,” which might explain why one women’s site has a fashion feature called ‘Emma Watson is an excellent foot fetish candidate.’

When keeping your job relies more on you getting people to click on a headline than on producing an interesting article, your goals change.  ‘There are definitely cases where journalists find it extremely stressful,’ says Susan E McGregor, the assistant director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism.  ‘There’s no doubt that having a big blinking red bar visible in the newsroom saying what’s doing well and what’s not could have a very negative impact.’

(All sorts of feminists writers and communicators have had to set aside what they value in such a realm).  (A)nother celebrity journalist who has worked online for popular tabloids explains there are other times when she has had to sex up stories about celebrity women who weren’t even trying to be especially provocative.  ‘You could do a red carpet round-up of ‘all these women look great in these dresses’ but you’d change it to ‘plunging necklines’ or ‘high splits,’ she explains.  ‘Marriage announcements would be sexed up with ‘cleavage enhancing’ or ‘revealing’ outfit descriptions.  You’d add in words like ‘nip slip’ even if nipples are nowhere near having a slip because that’s what people are searching for.  It was literally just for SEO, and it was soul destroying.’

(I don’t apologize for any of this; I was good at it, and transformation may eventually come to pass).  (Such) change is potentially already on its way, but not in the way you’d think.  Tabloid journalist Laura—the writer who talked about sexing up marriage announcements—explains that while the amount of sexualized content about women isn’t decreasing, she’s starting to produce more sexualized content about men.  ‘I wish I could say it was because we were growing up and no longer objectifying women,’ says Laura.  ‘But I think it’s because women just don’t shock anymore.  You see Miley Cyrus in a leotard all the time but you hadn’t seen Justin Bieber’s penis until those paparazzi pictures leaked.  It’s exciting and it’s new.  As long as people click on it, I don’t think publishers care who’s naked.'”—Vice
media papers hor
“In 2010, Jane Mayer published an extensive profile of the billionaire Koch brothers in The New Yorker, exploring their quiet effort to funnel more than $100 million to right-wing causes and undermine President Obama’s policy agenda.  Six years later, Mayer reveals her subjects responded by hiring a private firm to discredit her reporting.  Mayer details the episode in her new book on the Kochs and their right-wing, ultra-rich allies, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.

‘This was something that had never happened to me before, but – even though I’ve covered all kinds of things, from wars to the CIA.   But I suddenly found myself about to be attacked in the press, the right-wing press, on charges that were drummed up by a private eye that had been digging into me.  That private eye was, it turned out – and I report about this in the book – was working with top Koch operatives, who I name in the book.  It’s all been checked.  The Kochs have had their chance to say it’s not so.  They have never denied it, and neither has the detective.  And they tried to plant misinformation about me in the press.  Luckily, it was so false, nobody ran with it.

Keith Kelly, the media reporter (at The New York Post), started asking, ‘Who’s trying to smear Jane Mayer?’  And he started doing a series of stories and floating the idea that the Koch brothers were behind it, because they had been unhappy with the big piece I did about them.  Anyway, it took years – really, three years – but eventually I was able to connect the dots.  And you’ll see the story in this book.  And amazingly, the detective that they hired to do this was the former commissioner of police in New York City, Howard Safir.  And it fell flat.  I mean, I’m glad to say it was – it was ridiculous.  In fact, one of the stories that I was supposed to have plagiarized from, … .'(n)ot only did you not plagiarize from me, (said the author), you credited me in the next sentence and linked to me online.’  And then it turned out my own husband had edited the story.  It was at The Washington Post, so I guess I was supposed to be plagiarizing from my husband.  I don’t know.  It fell apart.  But it was really ugly.”—TruthOut

Desk - Bright Meadow Flickr
Desk – Bright Meadow Flickr

“As a professor of literature, rhetoric, and writing at the University of California at Irvine, I’ve discovered that one of the biggest lies about American culture (propagated even by college students) is that Americans don’t read.  The truth is that most of us read continuously in a perpetual stream of incestuous words, but instead of reading novels, book reviews, or newspapers like we used to in the ancien régime, we now read text messages, social media, and bite-sized entries about our protean cultural history on Wikipedia. rect3336 space
In the great epistemic galaxy of words, we have become both reading junkies and also professional text skimmers.  Reading has become a clumsy science, which is why we keep fudging the lab results.  But in diagnosing our own textual attention deficit disorder (ADD), who can blame us for skimming?  We’re inundated by so much opinion posing as information, much of it the same material with permutating and exponential commentary.  Skimming is practically a defense mechanism against the avalanche of info-opinion that has collectively hijacked narrative, reportage, and good analysis.

It is precisely because we now consume writing from the moment we wake until the moment we crash—most of it mundane, redundant, speculative, badly researched, partisan, and emojian—that we no longer have the same appetite (or time) for literary fiction, serious think pieces, or top-shelf journalism anymore, even though they’re all readily available.  If an article on the Daily Dot shows up on page 3 of a Google search, it might as well not exist at all.  The New York Times article we half-read on our iPhone while standing up in the Los Angeles Metro ends up blurring with the 500 modified retweets about that same article on Twitter.  Authors aren’t privileged anymore because everyone writes commentary somewhere and everyone’s commentary shows up some place.  Only the platform and the means of production have changed. rect3336 space
Someday, the Centers for Disease Control will create a whole new branch of research dedicated to studying the infectious disease of cultural memes.  Our continuous consumption of text is intricately linked to our continuous forgetting, our continuous reinfection, and our continuous thumbs up/thumbs down approach to reality, which is why we keep reading late into the night, looking for the next place to leave a comment someone has already made somewhere.  Whether we like it or not, we’re all victims and perpetrators of this commentary fractal.  There seems to be no way out except deeper inside the sinkhole or to go cold turkey from the sound of our own voices.”—Daily Dot

                 TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                               AWARENESS VIDEO               


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNEpojtXotE&list=TLQNwqdjhJF_ExNTAxMjAxNg  – From The School of Life, a charming ten minute tour on the life and literature and ideological insights of Johann Wolfgang Goethe, whose oeuvre encompasses the practical, the poetic, the narrative, and the nuances of knowledge, in a way that ought to resonate powerfully with soulful citizens and scrappy scribes of the current context, who are also trying to be powerful, expressive, happy, and engaged in the real deal of challenging the future to follow a human course.


student writing arm


Ethics of Journalism Course Overview

Title: Ethics of Journalism
Type: Self-Directed Course
Cost: $0.00

Ethical decision-making is as essential to a journalist’s craft as interviewing, writing, editing, photography and design. As a journalist, you can — and should— hone this skill.

This course will help you develop a process for making ethical decisions — before you’re faced with a tough call on deadline. It will help you identify and understand the ethical questions that can arise in any story you are working on. And it will give you the confidence to make those tough calls and defend your decisions to your editors, your colleagues and your audience.


Deadline January 15, 2016. The residency supports a poet who desires a quiet, beautiful location in which to further his or her work, and it lasts four weeks, from June 15 to July 15. Designed for poets who have at least one full length book (either published or under contract) and no more than two books. Chapbooks are not full length books. The SpiR receives housing, a travel reimbursement, and an honorarium of $3,000 thanks to the generosity of The Department of English, The College of Liberal Arts, and the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education. In addition, the SPiR will receive ten broadsides of his or her work, designed by Jan Murray. The residency is designed to provide ample writing time to the SPiR while also allowing the University of Mississippi’s summer course offerings to be enriched by the presence of a active poet on campus. To this end, the SPiR will be involved in the campus community and the University of Mississippi MFA program by giving a poetry reading and making 1-2 class visits a week. The SpiR will also be invited to serve as judge for the Yalobusha Review’s Yellowwood Poetry Prize. As judge, the SPiR will be given ten finalist poems by the editorial staff and will select the winner and any honorable mentions.

We are looking forward to engaging a diverse group of students who are interested in studying — and changing the world through — the Internet and new technologies; who are driven, funny, and kind; and who would like to join our amazing community in Cambridge this summer for 10 weeks of shared research and exchange.  Visit the Berkman summer internship page to learn more about the program and to apply!

 Welcome to Alderworks Alaska Writers and Artists Retreat on the banks of West Creek in beautiful Dyea, Alaska.  Our retreat is located nine miles out the Dyea Road from historic Skagway and is within the Dyea-Chilkoot Trail unit of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.  Skagway may be accessed via the Klondike Highway from the north or the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system and flights from Juneau and Haines from the south. The application period opened on November 15, 2015 for two 4-6 week residency periods in the summer of 2016. The deadline for applications has been extended to February 15, 2016. There is no application fee for our first year. Applications are handled through our Submittable account. Please review the information below before clicking on the button. You will then be directed to the Submittable site to set up your Alderworks Alaska application account.
pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


Editorial Director for Business Growth Publisher (Charleston, SC)

compensation: Commensurate with experience.
employment type: full-time

Advantage is a publisher of business, self-improvement, and professional development books and online learning.
The mission of the Editorial Director is to lead Advantage’s editorial team and facilitate growth from 120 Authors to 1,000/year by December 31, 2018. The ED will be responsible for growing the editorial team in quantity and quality of people and will be THE responsible party for ensuring the department meets its annual editorial goals. We are a data and process driven organization.

Editor/Journalist for German-language Magazine (Florida)

employment type: full-time
telecommuting okay
Florida Sun Magazine, Florida’s premier German language travel & lifestyle magazine, is seeking an editor/journalist with native German language skills to join our team either full or part-time.

Experienced Writer for Ad/Digital/PR Agency Industry (Ballard)

compensation: TBD – Competitive
employment type: full-time
We’re looking for a full-time, Seattle-based, experienced writer to join our company. We’re a dynamic, energetic and fun group. But most importantly, we’re a close-knit team, so expect to make a mark and have your voice heard.

The position will consist of writing blog-like articles that are posted throughout the week, inspired by research done online. Some writing is 100% original, and some based upon an article located elsewhere (that we’re adding additional context to), but all is written for a dynamic client audience that is both creative and innovative.


Radical New Health Care Idea

A New York Times glimpse at a revolutionary way to fund healthcare that actually worked for all Americans, by promulgating an idea that has long been out of fashion but which probably represent the only way out of this impasse of sickness and poverty that exists:  “This is key to the Sanders argument. His plan isn’t just a big new government program paid for by big new taxes. It would replace private spending on health care, which is currently a huge burden on employees and employers. Yes, employees would pay some new taxes, and employers would pay a new payroll tax that would eat into wages, but it wouldn’t eat into wages as much as health insurance premiums do now. Employers would have extra cash to hand out raises, more than offsetting the new taxes employees would have to pay.”sick-banner cancer health

Sabotaging the People’s Will

An Op Ed posting by a watchdog for the people who are looking to finally elect a candidate who actually seems to represent the will of the people: “The Democratic party has a built-in system to eliminate popular candidates with the populace but not as favorable to party leaders by the way of Super Delegates. Super Delegates carry just about 20% of the voting power in the nomination of a Democratic presidential candidate. These Super Delegates do not have to answer to a voting public. They do not have to follow what the people have voted and they can make a choice solely on their personal discretion or relationship with the candidates.”

palestine israelThe Toxic Brand

A Mondo Weiss piece that contextualizes the difficulty selling the ‘Zionism brand’ in the wake of vast human rights abuses, and how an awakening is ocurring even in this nation in which the press has yet to catch up on a growing sentiment that the lies will not be easily tolerated any more: “The flap demonstrates an important sociological trend: American Jews, even mainstream ones indoctrinated to love Israel, are breaking more and more publicly with the Jewish state. The Netanyahu government is proving to be embarrassing to American Jews; they do not want to be associated with rightwing apartheid policies.

The Netanyahu documentary on PBS was very mild, but a shot across the bow. The divorce that we have long predicted on this site is now on the horizon; and in years to come this separation will yield an even bigger reward: mainstream American Jews will declare themselves anti-Zionist.”

Technology, Innovation, and Gap

A Washington Post article whose writers discusses findings that link capitalism, the current technological revolution, and the sickeningly widening gap of inequality: “However, there’s at least one aspect of the Oxfam report that should be troubling for technologists — and that’s the relationship between capital and labor. “One of the key trends underlying this huge concentration of wealth and incomes is the increasing return to capital versus labor,” says the report. “In almost all rich countries and in most developing countries, the share of national income going to workers has been falling. This means workers are capturing less and less of the gains from growth.””

CC BY by

Clueless Rich Idiots

A Naked Capitalism article that shares one example of how clueless and useless and out of touch with reality the wealthiest are, due to the self-created bubble they created, a bubble that seeks to shut everyone out: “Read his statement again, or listen to the segment. “What is the vein…that is being tapped into…that is making people so unhappy?” has a bizarre lack of agency. And it also suggests that the the unhappiness is somehow being created or cultivated aso opposed to is a long-standing, genuine sentiment that has finally found political outlets. As Clinton said, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Yet Schwarzman blandly intimates that populists on both sides of the aisle have managed to stir up such malcontent. Something must have failed on the messaging front.”


Running Away from Data

An interesting Medium opinion piece that looks at the way data has become so enmeshed in our lives that at times we have to curate our own algorithmic existence: “Seven years later, I use private browsing not to avoid prying human eyes, but to hold back data points from a machine. I use these features to stop the accretion of every term searched, every profile clicked, every video viewed, every blog to the platform’s representation of me.

I’m not hiding from my coworkers when I go Incognito, I just don’t want whatever silly thing I tap to change who Google thinks I am. I’m limply asserting the right to define how the machine sees me, not climbing the high horse of some Victorian notion of “privacy.””eye spy security data information

Obituary for Founder of Education Foundation

A Benton obituary announcing the death of the founder and chairman of the organization which has done much to bring knowledge and connectivity to the most needy:  “Anyone who met Charles soon learned he cared about people and the impact that education and communications have on improving lives and making the world a better place. As all of us at the foundation dealt with our personal loss this year, we moved forward together to honor Charles’ lifetime of work.”


The Dark Web

A New York Times review of a recent movie that contextualizes the perils and possibilities of technology, the internet, and interconnected data: “And at first, this seems to be a feel-good story: The man was overweight, and examining his personal data helped him to change his behaviors and drop more than 100 pounds. But later we see him on an awkward first date that suggests that his data obsession has affected his ability to interact with actual humans. (His icebreaker is to measure his companion’s heart rate.)

“For me, relationships are difficult,” he admits. “I see people as just a pile of information.” He compares data to heroin: Having it only makes you want more. The same technology that made him physically fit is dehumanizing him.”



EPA Resignation in Face of Gross Neglicence and Incompetence

A Hill brief describing the resignation of the EPA agent responsible for the region whose neglectful and criminal officers recently sanctioned the poisoning of an entire town: “The regional Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief responsible for Michigan is resigning amid charges that she did not do enough to prevent the Flint, Mich., drinking water crisis.

Susan Hedman, regional administrator for the EPA’s Chicago-based region 5, submitted her resignation Thursday, effective Feb. 1, the EPA said.”

GENISSApathy and Fanaticism Two Sides of Same Coin

A New Geography article that looks at the phenomenom of American political involvement which pairs the most shameful apathy with the most rabid, illogical forms of fanaticism: “A Princeton study claims that political polarization has been a frequent occurrence as inequality has increased in the United States, and extremism has been a regular response to economic woes. Another study by UC Berkeley places the blame not on the parties or society, but on the voters themselves, who political scientist David Broockman argues have spontaneously become fanaticized, even more so than their representatives.”



1.21.2016 Daily Links

         BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW         
https://pando.com/2016/01/21/asian-venture-capital-2016-could-get-ugly/ – A pair of offerings about the wild plunge into equity’s abyss around the world, the first a breaking news account of Italy’s experience of a nascent run on at least one of its weakest banks, with the potential for a ‘spreading contagion’ more generally, the second a more data-news-analysis report that ties into the plethora of headlines that are showing up this second in regard to the utter panic in many Asian equities marketplaces, where general downturn is accepted reality.

                    This Day in History                  

CC BY-NC-ND by massdistraction

Today is National Hug Day in the United States, as well as being the sixth anniversary of the institutionalization of plutocracy in the Citizens United Decision, and the anniversary of Quebec’s flying its own colors for the first time in Flag Day; in an initiation of thirteen centuries of factionalism, early schisms that followed Muhammad’s death had erupted in civil war and battles throughout the Islamic world, which twelve hundred fifty-three years ago led to a battle in which close relations of the Prophet suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Abbasids who had otherwise consolidated control throughout much of the heart of the Muslim experiment; four hundred ninety-one years before the here and now, the Anabaptist Movement began in Switzerland with a baptism that did not require Church oversight; exactly a decade subsequently, in 1535,in a related development, the Protestant creators of posters the previous November that critiqued Catholic doctrine died in flames in front of Notre Dame; two hundred fifty-four years thereafter, in 1789, William Brown of Boston published a text that many consider the first American novel, a tale of adultery and incest and suicide; shortly after his treason trial found him guilty four years later, in 1793, Louis XVI lost his head on the guillotine in Paris on this particular date; sixty-eight years past that point in time, in 1861, foretelling the political basis for civil war, Jefferson Davis resigned from the U.S. Senate; three years subsequent to that juncture to the day, in 1864 half a world away, Maori uprisings began in New Zealand with the Tauranga Campaign; two decades henceforth on the nose, in 1884, a baby boy was born destined to a long life as author and American Civil Liberties Union co-founder Roger Baldwin; nine years later and seven thousand miles Southeast, in 1893, the so-called Tati concessions guaranteed Anglo corporate domination of a huge chunk of South African mineral wealth to the Swinburne interests rather than to the people of the place itself; in New York City a decade exactly farther along time’s path, in 1908, the City Council passed an ordinance that prohibited women’s smoking in public, a law that the mayor later vetoed; three years yet later on across the Atlantic, in 1911, the first Monte Carlo Road Race took place; thirteen years henceforth, in 1924, Vladimir Ulyanov, or Lenin, died in the Soviet Union; a year past that conjunction, in 1925, Albania first named itself a Republic; seven years later precisely, in 1932, critic and biographer Lytton Strachey drew his final breath; just shy of a decade past this juncture, in 1941, a baby girl uttered her first cry en route to a life as a feminist and critic whose married name would be Elaine Showalter; nine years hence, in 1950, a jury convicted Alger Hiss of perjury in relation to his testimony that he was neither a Communist nor a Soviet spy, both of which charges Whittaker Chambers disputed, though without criminal liability since he was a ‘cooperative witness,’ and across the Atlantic George Orwell,

Laura Loveday flickr
Laura Loveday flickr

chronicler of Big Brother, lived out his final scene; two years past that moment in time and space, in 1952, a male infant entered the world on his way to a life of ‘comfort’ as an establishment historian and cultural critic known as Louis Menand; seven hundred thirty-one days afterward, in 1954, Amy Eisenhower broke a bottle of champagne over the hull of the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, the Nautilus, which soon enough would carry megatons of megadeath ready to launch; five years hence, in 1959, director and screenwriter Cecil B. Demille died; three hundred sixty-five days further on, in 1960, the National Aeronautics & Space Administration launched a Mercury spacecraft that carried a female Rhesus Monkey on board to help determine the safety of sending pilots, or astronauts, above the Van Allen Belt, and a quarter way round the globe in South Africa, nearly 450 coal miners suffocated or died from crushing rocks when their enclosure for extracting coal collapsed from the typical predatory profiteering of capital, made all the more ‘efficient’ from the perspective of employers inasmuch as only five of the dead were White; eight years nearer still to this day and time, in 1968, at Thule Air Base in the Arctic, a giant B-52 crashed, a process that destroyed its four hydrogen bombs as the conventional explosives detonated, initiating a clean-up and accounting for weaponry, parts of which have been secret and controversial to this day, while almost half a Draft_card_burning_vietnam warworld away in Vietnam, the carnage of Khe Sanh began to unfold; thirty-nine years back, President Jimmy Carter issued pardons for all Vietnam War protesters who had evaded the draft and fled the country, mostly to Canada; two decades after that exactly, in 1997, a House of Representatives vote overwhelmingly censured Newt Gingrich for ethics violations; a Coast Guard interceptor seven hundred thirty days later, in 1999, captured a ship whose cargo was nearly 10,000 pounds of pure cocaine; just a year onward toward today, in 2000, more than 600 police attacked picketing dockworkers, members of the longshoremen’s union, in the city’s harbor; another two years even closer to the current context, in 2002, the sweet crooner and talented lyricist, Peggy Lee, sang her swansong on her way out.

                A Thought for the Day                

Love and friendship’s clement crescent envelopes our mutual relations and forms a rugged wedge that supports partnership and both undercuts error or weakness or dissolution and forestalls the arrogance of a righteous insistence that mistaken and impotent pathways represent our best interest or true calling, in the achievement of all of which encouraging an amicable social phalanx that cannot take shape in the glare of television’s hidden agendas or tricky deceptions, a set of marketing miracles at the behest of those who would sell the people anything excepting their own empowerment and agency for a better world that they build themselves.

                  Quote of the Day                       
“Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it.  Our civilization is decadent and our language — so the argument runs — must inevitably share in the general collapse.  It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes.  Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.

Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer.  But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely.  A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks.  It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language.  It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.  The point is that the process is reversible.  Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble.  If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers.grammar language english teach

(Most passages with more content than a cooking show or a football match share twin faults.)  The first is staleness of imagery; the other is lack of precision.  The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not.  This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing.  As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse.

As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer.  It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug.  The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy.  It is easier — even quicker, once you have the habit — to say In my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that than to say I think.  If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don’t have to hunt about for the words; you also don’t have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious.

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.  Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties.  Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.  Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification.  Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers.  People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements.  Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.”  George Orwell: “Politics and the English Language”

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SEARCHDAY"private property" history OR origins OR beginning OR evolution land OR capital analysis OR explication OR deconstruction critique OR objections OR inequities OR arbitrariness radical OR marxist OR "social democratic" OR socialist = 548,000 Linkages

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https://consortiumnews.com/2016/01/15/mh-17s-unnecessary-mystery/ – In a geographical, geopolitical, historical, and contemporary context in which, from Crimea to the borders of Russia, Austria, and Poland, that place on the planet that we know as Ukraine has played centrally important roles in most transformative moments, a single article, even though the reader could easily find dozens essays of mete and merit to survey, fromConsortium News–expert investigators and journalists many of whose patriotic bona fides are unquestionable, inasmuch as they retired with honors from long service in the diplomatic, ‘intelligence,’ and other Federal agencies of the United States–one contextualization that is absolutely critical for soulful citizens and scrappy scribes to read and understand, inasmuch as it creates a nearly incontrovertible circumstantial web that indicates that the U.S. has undertaken a duplicitous, profiteering, nefarious, and illegal course in the service of imperial plunder and plutocratic geopolitical aims, an inference that is especially powerful given what has happened in relation to the butchery of hundreds of passengers and crew aboard Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17, and even more potent given what has not transpired regarding that act of murder and war and terror, to wit the release of U.S. intelligence data about precisely what took place on that day two years ago this Summer: “Immediately after the crash, senior Obama administration officials showed no hesitancy in pointing fingers at the ethnic Russian rebels who were then resisting a military offensive by the U.S.-backed Kiev regime.  On July, 20, 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry appeared on TV talk shows claiming there was a strong circumstantial case implicating the rebels and their Russian backers in the shoot-down.

WAR plane russia(As time passed, however, more formal and evidence-based assessments contradicted or undermined such early confidence).  (A) Los Angeles Times article said: ‘U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile.  U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 [the designation for a Russian-made anti-aircraft Buk missile] was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.’  That uncertainty meshed somewhat with what I had been told by a source who had been briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts shortly after the shoot-down about what they had seen in high-resolution satellite photos, which they said showed what looked like Ukrainian military personnel manning the battery which was believed to have fired the missile.
          (Moreover, the integrity of a Government Assessment such as that in this case was substantially less than that of an Intelligence Assessment, which is another category of information.)  ‘The key difference between the traditional ‘Intelligence Assessment’ and this relatively new creation, a ‘Government Assessment,’ is that the latter genre is put together by senior White House bureaucrats or other political appointees, not senior intelligence analysts.  Another significant difference is that an ‘Intelligence Assessment’ often includes alternative views, either in the text or in footnotes, detailing disagreements among intelligence analysts, thus revealing where the case may be weak or in dispute.’  In other words, a ‘Government Assessment’ is an invitation for political hacks to manufacture what was called a ‘dodgy dossier’ when the British government used similar tactics to sell the phony case for war with Iraq in 2002-03.
          (Rather than own up to these contradictions and uncertainties and nuances, and to offer real evidence in any case, the U.S. Government merely stopped communicating, so as to let the accusations against Russia and Putin fester.)  But the intelligence source who spoke to me several times after he received additional briefings about advances in the investigation said that as the U.S. analysts gained more insights into the MH-17 shoot-down from technical and other sources, they came to believe the attack was carried out by a rogue element of the Ukrainian military with ties to a hard-line Ukrainian oligarch.
           (This has all resulted in a situation where so-called ‘citizen journalists,’ sporting web-based ‘evidence,’ had amplified the attack on Russia and its leaders, evidence and analysis that the Dutch prosecution has shown an interest in reviewing.)  Not that the prosecution team has asked or appears interested, but one could also give the sleuths a list of Americans who almost certainly have knowledge about who fired the missile and from exactly where: CIA Director John Brennan, DNI James Clapper, Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama.  Any one of those officials could end the strange silence that has enveloped the U.S. government’s knowledge about the MH-17 shoot-down since five days after the tragedy and – by doing so – perhaps they could finally bring some clarity and justice to this mystery.”

               TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                 AWARENESS VIDEO                


https://news.vice.com/article/the-us-is-making-military-promises-it-may-not-want-to-keep – A quite ‘middle-of-the-road’ set of responses here about scenarios just ahead that could spell a spiral of doom for imperial pretenses of ‘protecting American interests’ hither and yon, come one and all to Uncle Sam’s “gangster for capitalism” road show, a frank and calm and not-at-all radical call in show from Vice News that centers on the recent ‘show of force,’ via B-52’s that plausibly carried loads of Hydrogen Bombs, on the Korean Peninsula, and other matters that connect to what’s happening in Korea, a topic that could conceivably interest sturdy citizens and scrappy scribes who have an interest in such arcane topics as thriving and survival.


student writing arm


Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild

Woodstock, New York

February 15, 2016

The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild offers month-long residencies from June through September to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers on a historic 250-acre campus in the Catskill Mountains outside Woodstock, New York. Residents are provided with a private room and work space, but are responsible for their own transportation and meals, though some staples are provided. The residency fee is $650. Fellowships are available based on financial need. Using the online application system, submit  two work samples  of up to 20 pages of prose each, or four work samples of up to 12 pages of poetry each, a résumé, and two references with a $40 application fee by February 15. Please visit the website for an application and complete guidelines.



Fascinating Opportunity in Seattle

Every poet needs a garret. If you’re in the market, and you’re a Seattleite, one just opened up in the northwest tower of the Fremont Bridge.

The city is hiring “an established writer or poet living within 100 miles of Seattle” to shack up in the bridge and write for a year, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Said writer will be given $10,000 and access to studio space in the tower.

 Journalist Opportunities in Africa

Africa’s first data-driven investigative journalism initiative launches today with $500,000 in grants and technical support for reportage that changes lives.

The new impactAFRICA initiative will seek to support pioneering data journalism that tackles development issues, such as public healthcare, in six initial African countries: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.

pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


Financial Copywriter (Remote)

compensation: Salary
employment type: full-time

An established multi-million dollar publishing company is seeking an experienced Direct Response Copywriter to join its team. Our ideal candidate will be tapped to write the promotion of the decade for the launch newsletter for financial guru — David Bach. Or even push Harry Dent’s blockbuster newsletter to 100k subscribers.

Junior Book Writer and Researcher (King of Prussia)

compensation: Entry level
employment type: full-time

The American Reading Company’s ARC Press Publishing Department is looking for a Junior Book Writer and Researcher to add to our team.
We are looking for a motivated individual to assist in researching and writing interesting and exciting children’s books for the kindergarten through 3rd grade reading levels based on our leveling system. In addition to research and writing, this entry level position involves the print process from pre-press to quality check of finished materials once they are received in-house. A drive to learn and grow as well as a motivated attitude will create great success in this position.

Editor (Charlotte)

compensation: Contract work
employment type: contract

SouthPark Lifestyle Publications produces a community-based magazine on a monthly basis. The magazine is for, by and about the residents of each South Park community. We focus on beautiful homes in the neighborhood, fresh local restaurants, events going on, local places of interest and much more.As an independent publisher for Lifestyle, we are looking for an editor that is responsible for managing the editorial themes for SouthPark Lifestyle. This person will have a variety of responsibilities. Most editor’s work a 5-8 hours a week to start and can move into more.The Editor is responsible for supervising the magazine’s freelancer’s writers and photographers as well as organizing all editorial content for the monthly publication.


Getting Real About the Police State

A Jacobin posting that looks at the role of the war on drugs, the mass incarceration in America, and how the ruling classes benefit from the fascistic prison industry: “The growing unpopularity of the War on Drugs and the number of bipartisan moves to, supposedly, roll back mass incarceration have led some leftists to believe that, finally, the prison-state is about to be cut down to size.

Yet a new book by University of Pennsylvania political scientist Marie Gottschalk, Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics, makes it clear that the problem is far worse than commonly suspected, and that the reforms on the table are unlikely to even make a dent in the forces that keep millions behind bars.”

Seeking Expression for the Voiceless

A New York Times look at a growing movement of artists and musicians adopting a universal musical form to give voice to France’s poorest youth: “For more than 30 years, since rap made its way here from America, France has had a subculture of hip-hop artists like Médine, often referred to as “rappers with a conscience.” Most of them are of Arab or African descent, and they pride themselves on giving voice to the millions who make their lives in isolated low-income housing projects. They are now clashing perhaps more than ever with the country’s expanding far right and its vituperative denunciation of migrants and relentless hostility toward Muslims.”

CC BY-NC-ND by Martin McNicholas

How The Democratic Party Failed the People

A Truth Dig article that discusses the ways in which the party that was ostensibly ‘for the people’ failed the people it supposedly represented, giving truth to what radicals have known for ages regarding the ReDemopublican party: “Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama ardently pushed for free trade agreements, for example, without providing the millions of blue-collar workers who thereby lost their jobs any means of getting new ones that paid at least as well.

They also stood by as corporations hammered trade unions, the backbone of the white working class. Clinton and Obama failed to reform labor laws to impose meaningful penalties on companies that violated them, or enable workers to form unions with a simple up-or-down votes.”

Teachers Striking Out Against Neglect

A Think Progress article that discusses teachers’ acts in the face of mounting neglect and decay of school resources, all occurring in a generalized climate of government neglect and malfeasance:   “The ongoing Flint water crisis, in which residents’ drinking water became contaminated with lead after the city changed its supply source, is inextricably linked to the Detroit Public Schools sickouts. Teachers are angry that Darnell Earley — the same person who served as emergency manager for Flint from 2013 until just earlier this month — recently assumed office as the school system’s emergency manager. Earley’s move caused acrimony among teachers who are already concerned about school conditions.”

In a photo from May 16, 2013 at Crosman School in Detroit, water pools on the warped tile of what was once a basketball court. CREDIT: Carlos Osorio, AP

What’s In Your Medicine Cabinet

A Truth-Out piece that forces readers to take a look at what’s behind – in terms of health, and legislative oversigh – of four common medications, all perpetuated by direct-to-consumer advertising: “Looting tax dollars and raising health premiums is only one result of DTC advertising. To sell drugs, the ads raise awareness of conditions people never worried about before and probably don’t have. Some conditions are so rare the ads appear to be selling the disease itself. How many people, for example, suffer from “Non-24,” a condition that mostly affects blind people yet is currently advertised on TV? How many people suffer from “exocrine pancreatic insufficiency” and need to ask their doctor about their “poop” as other ads currently suggest?

Nor are the drugs even clearly safe. Many of the aggressively advertised drugs have risks that have surfaced after their ad campaigns expire. (Others like Vioxx, Bextra, Baycol, Trovan, Meridia, Seldane, Hismanal and Darvon were removed from the market altogether.)

Here are some heavily advertised drugs that are not necessarily safe.”

WRISSChecking on Science Facts

A Poynter posting that shares some important tools and tricks that make research easier: “Got a new science report that seems a little too good to be true? It just might be. Here’s how you can sort fact from fiction in scientific studies.”

Protesters blame Governor Javier Duarte for the assassination of journalists in Veracruz, the most dangerous state in Mexico to be a media employee. | Photo: AFP This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: “http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Impunity-The-Beast-That-Keeps-Killing-Journalists-in-Mexico-20160121-0013.html”. If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english

Death of Journalists

A Tele Sur article that looks at the impunity with which journalists are being killed during the narco wars: “A year later, three more Veracruzan journalists have been murdered along with three others in other regions of Mexico. The majority of Moises’ kidnappers, murderers and intellectual authors roam free. Adding insult to injury, the government has declared that he wasn’t targeted for being a journalist since he primarily made a living as a taxi driver. A week before Moises was kidnapped he had been threatened by the local mayor who it is believed had ordered the hit on him, as Moises was often critical of his governing. The mayor was released from prison after he got a legal stay to prevent his incarceration. Two local police officers are awaiting charges of omission for not responding to the family’s calls for aid and one officer for confessing to the crime.”


New Media Possibilities

A New York magazine article that introduces possibilities of new media collaborations in the wake of the end of venerable old ones:  The New Republic’s onetime, longtime literary editor, Leon Wieseltier, wants to run a learned journal again, according to multiple sources in TNR‘s orbit. Despite what happened last time with Facebook’s Chris Hughes, Wieseltier is throwing his high-minded lot in with another tech-money billionaire: Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of the late Steve Jobs. ””


Water Access as Human Rights Disaster

Thought of often as only an issue in other countries, City Lab looks at a circumstance where the economics of using water as a commodity clashes with actual poverty and social engagement in a given area, creating an unbelievable health disaster very close to home: “So thinking of water as a commodity is dangerous territory in smaller, economically distressed cities, where there’s little cash to subsidize the costs of treating and moving water, and few customers to spread out the expense. People can wind up forced to pay through the nose for water, like in Detroit and other cities in Michigan. To make matters worse, Flint’s water was completely unsuited for its intended purpose—and still, customers are forced to pay unaffordable rates for it.”

A view of former General Motors assembly plant in Flint is seen. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

GENISSElevating Fascistic Profiling to a Science

A Pacific Standards that introduces an initiative that seeks to lock up the presumably guilty before they even have a chance to commit a crime, a policy which other districts will try to adopt in the name of ‘safety’: “It’s worrisome,” says Andrew G. Ferguson, a law professor at the University of the District of Columbia who studies and writes about predictive policing. “You don’t want a cop arresting anyone when they haven’t done anything wrong. The idea that some of these programs are branching into child welfare systems—and that kids might get arrested when they haven’t done anything wrong—only raises more questions.””


1.20.2016 Daily Links


A pair of events half a world away from each other and yet subtly connected by empire, reactionary ideology, and the apparently irresistible utility of violence, something that another recent items(http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-pakistani-dystopia) delves in greater depth in relation to Pakistan’s place as a prime outlet of British empire.

                  This Day in History                  

In Presidential election years in the United States, today is Inauguration Day, and frequently the State of the Union speech that the Constitution mandates occurs on or around this day as well, and furthermore, a century ago two days ago, the iconic lyrics for Solidarity Forever first issued from the International workers of the World; in Rome seventeen hundred sixty-six years ago, Decius issued imperial orders to capture and execute practicing Christians, mandates that resulted in the martyrdom of Pope Fabian and countless others; more or less a millennium and fifteen years afterward, in 1265, the English Parliament for the first time included representatives from large towns and urban areas that did not require blood ties to specified royal or noble families; across the Atlantic three centuries and two years later, in 1567, French imperial hopes in Brazil came to an ugly end as Portuguese forces decisively defeated France’s colonial contingent; the English King, Charles Stuart, three hundred sixty-seven years prior to the present pass began the trial for his life for high crimes such as treason; two hundred thirty-two years back, Great Britain signed a peace treaty with France and Spain that ended the American Revolution; seven hundred thirty-one days hence, in 1785, on the other side of the globe, Vietnamese forces executed a surprise attack on invading Siamese troops on the Mekong River, annihilating the entire army of the interlopers; half a century and a year more than half a decade subsequently, in 1841, as part of its

"French opium den". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -
“French opium den”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –

spoils of victory in its success in forcing Opium on the Chinese in the First Opium War, English forces occupied Hong Kong for the first time in what would end up a century-and-a-half ‘lease;’ thirty-two years thereafter, in 1873, a male child was born who would claim fame as Nobel Literary Laureate Johannes Jensen; just four years after that conjunction, in 1877, a ‘Great Powers’ conference in Constantinople continued carving up the faltering Ottoman Empire with a compromise disposition of Bulgaria and other parts of the Balkans that represented a compromise between Britain and Russia; a decade subsequent to that, to the day, in 1887, half-a-world away in environs where another empire was flexing its young muscle, the U.S. Navy received permission to lease Pearl Harbor as its Eastern Pacific naval base; seven years henceforth, in 1894, a baby boy came along who would mature as the cartoonist Harold Gray, creator of Orphan Annie; twenty-six years yet later on, in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union first came into existence, and the baby boy was born who  would grow up to direct and write films as Federico Fellini, along with another male child who would become the performer and screenwriter Deforest Kelley; a year to the day afterward, in 1921, Turkey adopted its first Constitution, which inaugurated post-Ottoman rule; seven hundred thirty days even closer to now, in 1923, a baby male entered our midst whose fate was to croon and write lyrics as Slim Whitman; another two years to the day later, in 1925, the male child entered the world who would become poet, priest, and Liberation Theology leader Ernesto Cardenal; In Old Arizona fourteen hundred sixty-one days nearer to now, in 1929, became the first completely ‘sound-tracked’ film to appear nationwide in theaters; thirteen years hence, in 1942, German Nazi leaders at the Wannsee Conference engaged in extensive planning to carry out the so-called ‘final solution,’ exterminating Jewish people, Communists,

San Francisco Holocaust Memorial Wally Gobetz Flickr
San Francisco Holocaust Memorial Wally Gobetz Flickr

and other ‘undesirables;’ four years more proximate to the present passage, in 1946, over three quarters of a million steelworkers went on strike in a loud proclamation of discontent over half a decade of wage controls and war profiteering, and a male infant first opened his eyes who would rise as the film auteur and screenwriter, David Lynch; three years hence across the Atlantic, in 1949, Harry Truman announced in his inaugural address the establishment of a four part plan to aid poor countries with credits, cash, and commodities, an aspect of U.S. imperial plans at that juncture; a year later to the day, in 1950, a baby boy squalled loudly for the first time, eventually maturing into critic and poet Edward Hirsch; forty radio stations four years exactly past that point in time, in 1954, joined to create the National Negro Network to broadcast messages favorable to civil rights and more; three hundred sixty-five days down the road, in 1955, Pulitzer Prize poet Robert P.T. Coffin breathed his last; four years beyond that instant, in 1959, a male infant was born who would go on to wildly popular acclaim as a science fiction writer by the name of R.A. Salvatore; a ‘California poet,’ Robinson Jeffers, three years farther along the temporal arc, in 1962 died near his home in Carmel, California, where he had for years celebrated nature and self-reliance and opposed war; two years later still, in 1964, a baby boy drew his first breath on his way to a life as journalist and accused plagiarist Zareed Fakaria; half a decade and half a world onward, in 1969, East Pakistan police shot and killed a Bangladeshi activist, inciting uproar at least partially responsible for civil war and the creation of the nation of Bangladesh; three years after that, in 1972, Pakistan itself secretly inaugurated the program that led it to the acquisition of a sizable thermonuclear arsenal; ‘miraculously,’ within a half-hour of his inauguration nine years

roberlan deviantart
roberlan deviantart

henceforth, in 1981, Ronald Reagan received ‘credit’ for the release of the remaining hostages that Iran had held after ousting the Shah; five years later on the nose, in 1986, the U.S. first celebrate Martin Luther King Day; another five years hence, in 1991,seven thousand miles away in Sudan, the ruling government practically guaranteed civil war by declaring Sharia Law throughout the country, including in the Christian South; eight years closer to today’s light and air, in 1999, the China News Service instituted restrictions and penalties against untrammeled Internet access, especially in so-called Internet Cafes;thirteen more years in the direction of the here and now, in 2012, the iconic singer and gifted songwriter, Etta James, gave her swansong and died.

                A Thought for the Day                

What tragedy!  What farce!  Here we find ourselves in the midst of a veritable paradise for those with even a significant fraction of the knowledge and capacity that humanity collectively possesses in the present pass, and rather than bask in the joyous ecstasy that could belong to most of us, most of the time, we kowtow to those whose only calling is to have all so that others may have none, thereby making inevitable everyday mayhem and murder, persistent rapine and plunder, and, in the end, an ultimate annihilation of all our kind in a hell of artful technique in the service of a profiteering holocaust.

                  Quote of the Day                       
“All the movies are about strange worlds that you can’t go into unless you build them and film them.  That’s what’s so important about film to me.  I just like going into strange worlds.
         (Still), (t)he worst thing about this modern world is that people think you get killed on television with zero pain and zero blood.  It must enter into kids’ heads that it’s not very messy to kill somebody, and it doesn’t hurt that much.  That’s a real sickness to me.  That’s a real sick thing.

(At the same time, quite honestly,) I’m not a political person. … I don’t understand politics, I don’t understand the concept of two sides and I think that probably there’s good on both sides, bad on both sides, and there’s a middle ground, but it never seems to come to the middle ground and it’s very frustrating watching it and seemingly we’re not moving forward.  Some change, simple, simple really, relatively speaking, and we’re going forwards somewhere, you know?  It could be a beautiful place.  There’s many little obstacles and there’s many, many people that are just opposed and we’re not going forward.
         (On the other hand, as a storyteller), (b)eing in darkness and confusion is interesting to me.  But behind it you can rise out of that and see things the way the really are.  That there is some sort of truth to the whole thing, if you could just get to that point where you could see it, and live it, and feel it … I think it is a long, long, way off.  In the meantime there’s suffering and darkness and confusion and absurdities, and it’s people kind of going in circles.  It’s fantastic.  It’s like a strange carnival: it’s a lot of fun, but it’s a lot of pain.”  David Lynch

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http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/bernie-sanderss-big-night – As the season of distraction and sleight-of-hand electioneering begins its long slog toward November, a spate of material here, mainly about the ‘left’ Democratic wing of the ReDemoPubliCratiCan phalanx, with a ‘well-done’ for Bernie Sanders from New Yorker at the head of the queue that a Guardian piece  supports, a briefing  from TruthDig about one of Sanders’ endorsements, an assessment from In These Times about grassroots discomfiture with one of Hillary Clinton’s slew of backers, a pitch from Greg Palast for a biography of Sanders, a Salon panegyric for the Vermont Senator that calls him our “spirit animal,” an analysis from OpEd News of the way that Sanders echoes Occupy Wall Street work and ideas, a breaking news report from Common Dreams about a Sanders rally in arctic weather in Birmingham, a congruent explication from The Times that details the Sanders Campaign strategies to engage African American voters, and a critique from Counterpunch that calls into question Sanders’ bona fides as any sort of ‘socialist’–all of which ought to be part of what solid citizens and scrappy scribes consider in the wider context of such materiel as a prediction that appeared yesterday here as well that protests will swell, come what may; as well as such contentions as an aggregation from DailyKos of five magnificent and truly radical speeches or sermons from Martin Luther King; along with such examinations of the life and effort of MLK that The Intercept has just released, to illustrate his trenchant savaging of both capitalism and imperialism; and, finally, such as a finger’s crossed assertion, once more from the pages of Counterpunch, that the global working class might get some semblance of an act together and united to fight for our class’ rights: “From my living room, in Brooklyn, I could almost hear the folks at Clinton H.Q., which is about half a mile away, screaming at their screens: ‘He wouldn’t win!  He’d lose fifty states!’  But Sanders didn’t get flustered.  ‘The Democratic Party needs major reform,’ he said calmly, then went on.  ‘Instead of being dependent on super PACs, what we need is to be dependent on small, individual campaign contributors.  We need an agenda that speaks to the needs of working families and low-income people, not wealthy campaign contributors.’  After a brief interjection from Holt, Sanders continued.  ‘I am very proud that, in this campaign, we have seen an enormous amount of excitement from young people, from working people.  We have received more individual contributions than any candidate in the history of this country up to this point,’ he said.
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I looked up that claim, and it’s a fact.  By mid-December, the Sanders campaign had received 2.3 million individual campaign contributions.  According to an article in the Huffington Post, that is more contributions than President Obama had received by the same time in 2011.

For now … Sanders is in his element, and, as always, he is on message.  ‘We’ve got to get rid of super PACs; we’ve got to get rid of Citizens United,’ he said in his closing statement.  ‘And what we’ve got to do is create a political revolution which revitalizes American democracy; which brings millions of young people and working people into the political process.  To say loudly and clearly that the government of the United States of America belongs to all of us, and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors.'”—New Yorker
CC BY by brendan-c
CC BY by brendan-c
         “Fifty-five rank-and-file union members from over 50 different A(merican) F(ederation of) G(overnment) E(mployees) locals signed on to a letter developed by Labor for Bernie sent to AFGE leaders on November 16 that urged the union ‘to oppose an early primary endorsement for Hillary Clinton’ and expressed support for Senator Bernie Sanders.  In response to the petition and the demand that the union refrain from issuing an early endorsement, National Vice President Gerald Swanke, from District 11, responded via email: ‘We’re not.  I don’t expect an endorsement until at least the legislative conference.’ …(even though three weeks later AFGEdid give Clinton its official thumb’s up).

According to AFGE’s November/December 2015 issue of theGovernment Standard, the questionnaire(that was one aspect of the union’s decision-making process) was sent to all the presidential candidates, including Republicans, and only Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton responded in a timely manner.  From the questionnaire, it was clear that Bernie stood with AFGE union members on every issue; Clinton, on the other hand, avoided giving direct answers to many of the questions, though she did proffer a few platitudes.

(In regard to the other element of AFGE’s choice of Clinton, a poll), (b)reaking down the polling numbers, out of over 300,000 dues-paying members, assuming these are who were polled, AFGE contacted 800 members.   Out of these 800 members, 424 said conclusively that they would vote for a Democrat.  Of those 424, 178 said they would vote for Clinton while 106 said they would vote for Sanders—not at all the ‘2 to 1 margin’ AFGE claimed in their initial release.  The AFGE leadership apparently believes that a poll of 800 people with only 22% supporting Hillary Clinton is enough to make an endorsement for their entire union.

In the meantime, the rank-and-file AFGE members refuse to be silenced.  We are standing firmly behind Bernie Sanders.  Less than a week after the national AFGE announcement, AFGE Local 3369 in New York endorsed Bernie Sanders for president.rect3336 space
It’s unfortunate that the national leaders of AFGE and a number of other unions have endorsed Hillary Clinton.  Yet it becomes clearer with each passing day that union members support the candidate who best represents their interests.  That candidate is Bernie Sanders.”—In These Times
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addressing supporters at a town meeting. (Gage Skidmore / Flickr / Creative Commons)
         “Sanders has often stated that he is a ‘democratic socialist’ and, last November, he defined that term for the American people.  Shortly afterwards, Forbes Magazine published an article that stated, ‘What he’s talking about, whatever the heck it is, isn’t socialism of any type or form.’  And, for once, Forbes was right.  Sanders is not a socialist in any shape or form.  At least not according to the content of his public statements and campaign platform.  But if Sanders is not a socialist, then what is he?  He is a social democrat; which is radically different from being a democratic socialist.

Government policies that redistribute the wealth generated by the private sector in the form of social programs constitute social democracy, which is still capitalism.  The fundamental pillar of capitalism is the right to private property, which means the right to establish a private business, or a corporation, and to produce for the market in order to generate profits.  Social democracy does not challenge the principal of private property; it leaves the fundamental pillar of capitalism intact and only seeks to redistribute some of the wealth generated by the private sector.  In short, it is regulated capitalism.

Under socialism, workers—the overwhelming majority of people—would all have a meaningful democratic voice in how their workplaces operate (i.e. determining wages, hours, benefits, production and distribution of goods, etc.).  In other words, democracy would exist in both the economic and political spheres of society rather than only in the political sphere, which is the reality under capitalism.  Furthermore, under democratic control, the economy would more likely be managed in a way that ensures the basic needs of everyone are met rather than prioritizing profit generation for a small minority.

The description of democratic socialism provided by Sanders more closely reflects the social democracy that came to prominence in the United States under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Keynesian-inspired New Deal than anything espoused by Marx.  For example, as Sanders has stated, ‘Democratic socialism means, that in a democratic, civilized society the wealthiest people and the largest corporations must pay their fair share of taxes.’  Actually, in democratic socialism, those private corporations wouldn’t exist.  They would be turned over to the workers to manage either as worker-owned cooperatives or as worker co-managed state enterprises.  Either way, the workers would have a democratic voice in the workplace, which would not only more fairly distribute the wealth generated, it would also redistribute power.”—Counterpunch
Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders marked Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at Birmingham’s Boutwell Auditorium. (Photo: Bernie Sanders campaign)
         “Focusing overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, on Martin Luther King’s civil rights activism), (t)he last few years of King’s life, by contrast, are generally overlooked.   When he was assassinated in 1968, King was in the midst of waging a radical campaign against economic inequality and poverty, while protesting vigorously against the Vietnam War.

(In a courtship letter from decades before, he wrote of his true feelings).  ‘I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic.  And yet I am not so opposed to capitalism that I have failed to see its relative merits.  It started out with a noble and high motive, viz, to block the trade monopolies of nobles, but like most human systems, it falls victim to the very thing it was revolting against.  So today capitalism has outlived its usefulness.  It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes.’

In 1966, King told staff at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference that ‘there must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.  Call it what you may, call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.’

In April 1967, Kinggave a speech at Riverside Church in New York City where he called the U.S. government the ‘greatest purveyor violence in the world’ and denounced napalm bombings and the propping up of a puppet government in South Vietnam.  The establishment responded bitterly to King’s speech.  The New York Times editorial board blasted King for linking the war in Vietnam to the struggles of civil rights and poverty alleviation in the United States, saying it was ‘too facile a connection’ and that he was doing a ‘disservice’ to both causes.  It concluded that there ‘are no simple answers to the war in Vietnam or to racial injustice in this country.’  The Washington Post editorial board said King had ‘diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country and his people.’  In all, 168 newspapers denounced him the next day.

With the Poor People’s Campaign, launched in 1968, King escalated this campaign, aimed at providing good jobs, housing, and a decent standard of living to all Americans.  Decades before American protesters took to the streets of New York City and other locales to ‘occupy’ space to protest inequality, King proposed a massive tent encampment in Washington, D.C., to demand action on poverty. …He never saw it come to fruition.  He was assassinated that year while organizing striking Memphis sanitation workers.”—The Intercept

               TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                 AWARENESS VIDEO                


A just brilliant interview with the articulate and polished and oh-so-persuasive Jill Stein, via Pacifica Radio and TruthDig, a powerful audio-only exchange that focuses on the nature of elections and how the ‘lesser-evil’ always defaults to the ‘greater evil,’ according to the well-laid plans of plutocrats who set up the system that way.

WRISSElder Writers and their Work

A Literary Hub article that introduces readers to an elite group of over-75 writers who are still going strong: “All of the authors on this book list qualify as “OAPs,” but not only are they all revered—they’re all still producing strong work (hence no Philip Roth, here, since he has famously retired). When I saw that Diana Athill and Herman Wouk had new books out this month, I knew it was high time someone called attention to writers who have lived before paperbacks, after ebooks, and experienced everything in between.”



1.19.2016 Daily Links

                      Quote of the Day                     

“There are but two roads that lead to an important goal and to the doing of great things: strength and perseverance.  Strength is the lot of but a few priveledged men; but austere perseverance, harsh and continuous, may be employed by the smallest of us and rarely fails of its purpose, for its silent power grows irresistibly greater with time.
       (Moreover, since) (a) man sees in the world what he carries in his heart. …(a)s soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live. …(Nevertheless), (w)ild dreams torment me as I lie.  And though a god lives in my heart, though all my power waken at his word, though he can move my every inmost part – yet nothing in the outer world is stirred.  Thus by existence tortured and oppressed I crave for death, I long for rest.
       (For) (w)hen scholars study a thing (like me), they strive to kill it first, if it’s alive; then they have the parts and the’be lost the whole, for the link that’s missing was the living soul.”  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Faust

                A Thought for the Day                

Caspar David Friedrich - Wanderer above the sea of fog
Caspar David Friedrich – Wanderer above the sea of fog

In every context of the wildernesses and jungles that people face, literally or figuratively, traversing a swollen, frigid flood and ascending the sheer precipice that may rise beyond that may lead further along to either the verdant fecund valley or the seared and lifeless dune: we can only control our own intentions and choices as we make our way toward hoped for salubrious results.

                  This Day in History                      
Giovanni Paolo Panini (Italian, Piacenza 1691–1765 Rome) - Ancient Rome
Giovanni Paolo Panini (Italian, Piacenza 1691–1765 Rome) – Ancient Rome

In addition to the general U.S. celebration of Martin Luther King Day, a few jurisdictions—such as Texas and Mississippi and other bastions of White Supremacy—also celebrate Robert E. Lee or Confederate Heroes Day of something similar on this date; as an attempt to resuscitate the imperial imprimatur of Rome, a thousand six hundred thirty-seven years ago, Flavius Augustus became the last Roman Emperor to oversee both the Eastern and Western sections of the empire; more or less a millennia and four decades subsequently, in 1419, Henry V’s soldiers captured Rouen and with it reinstituted British control of Normandy; three hundred fifty-five years before the here and now, Thomas Venner, a skilled craftsman recently returned from two decades in New England, died by hanging,

Benjamin Haas flickr
Benjamin Haas flickr

drawing, and quartering for his part in leading a rebellion in London against the accession of Charles II; two hundred eighty-seven years ahead of now, British playwright and wit William Congreve died; seven years later, in 1736, a male infant came into the world who matured to be scientist and inventor James Watt;twenty-eight years later, in 1764, writer, Radical Bourgeois, libertine, and Member of Parliament John Wilkes lost his seat on charges of seditious libel; twenty-four years after that, in 1788, the second part of the initial British fleet to claim Australia dropped anchor in Botany Bay; a decade hence exactly, in 1798, a boy child was born who would grow up as thinker and theorist Auguste Comte;  eight years thereafter, in 1806, England first occupied the Cape of Good Hope, initiating more than a century of dominance of South Africa; three years later on, in 1809, and plus—or-minus eight thousand miles away, a baby boy was born who would grow up to create marvels as Edgar Allan Poe; crossing the Andes from Argentina eight more years further along, in 1817, plus or minus llama chile andes5,500 soldiers under the leadership of Jose San Martin succeeded in separating first Chile and then Peru from Spanish suzerainty; a dozen years hence precisely, in 1829, Goethe’s first installment of Faust had its premier performance in Berlin; a decade later exactly, in 1839, a small detachment of Royal Marines secured Aden for the British East India Company, and eventually for British imperial and British Petroleum imprimatur, rule that would officially cover the next thirteen decades and in effect manifest hegemony in what we now know as Yemen through the present moment; three hundred sixty five days afterward, in 1840, in the height of the Southern Hemisphere Summer, Charles Wilkes finished a circumnavigation of Antarctica that caused him to claim the entire continent for the United States; twenty-one years subsequent to that day, in 1861, Georgia became the fifth Southern State to secede from the United States, portending bloody Civil War; four years to the day hence, in 1865, French thinker Pierre Proudhon died across the Atlantic; with a victory at St. Quentin in the Parisian suburbs half a dozen years beyond that, in 1871, Prussian forces moved closer to crushing the French in their war; a dozen years into the future from that instant in time and space, in 1883,Thomas Edison oversaw the first urban use of overhead wires to deliver electricity in Northern New Jersey; a decade after on the dot, in 1893, Henrik Ibsen’s Master Builder had its premier performance; another six years along the temporal arc, in 1899, the United Kingdom’s colonial project elicited the formation of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan; sixteen years after that point, in 1915, German Zeppelin’s initiated a century of bombing of civilians from the air, and, based on a patent to George Claude, neon first entered the marketplace as signage, and company gunmen shot a score of strikers in Roosevelt, New Jersey, while across the continent in Utah, constables arrested Joe Hill for a killing he never committed, en route to a judicial murder of the union leader twenty-one months later; five years henceforth, in 1920, the U.S. Senate rejected U.S. entry into the League of Nations, and over five thousand Japanese agricultural workers in Hawaii joined 3,000 Filipino laborers in their strike against inhuman and exploitative working conditions in the fields and packing houses; a year later exactly, in 1921, a baby girl uttered her first cry en route to a life as novelist Patricia Highsmith; twenty-two more years past that moment, in 1943, a baby girl was born who would write and belt out songs as Janis Joplin; ten hundred ninety-six days onward toward today, in 1946, Douglas MacArthur initiated War Crimes Tribunals against Japanese war criminals, and the female infant gave voice who would thrive as the crooner and lyricist, Dolly Parton; three years further on, in 1949, Cuba recognized Israel; four years subsequently, in 1953, nearly three-quarters of U.S. televisions tuned to Lucille Ball’s birth pangs on her show with husband and Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz; seven years subsequently, Japan and the U.S. swore allegiance to each other in a formal declaration; forty-three years back, a California jury found a grower guilty of the grotesque crime of murdering over twenty migrant farmworkers whom he had employed to pick his crops; Iran and the U.S. eight years even closer to the current context, in 1981, agreed to arrangements to release the remaining hostages whose incarceration had followed on the ouster of the Shah of Iran’s police state; seven hundred thirty days along from that juncture, in 1983, Apple Computer issued its first personal work station, the Lisa, and authorities arrested Nazi Klaus Barbie in Bolivia; three years later precisely, in 1986, the first ‘wild’ computer virus entered the virtual ecosphere from Pakistan, and Bruce Springsteen showed up, unannounced, at a benefit for laid-off 3M workers in New Jersey; both the Czech Republic and Slovakia

GWB : 0930-1250 North Atlantic Council (NAC) Summit. Prague, Czech Republic
GWB : 0930-1250 North Atlantic Council (NAC) Summit. Prague, Czech Republic

entered the United Nations as full members seven years yet more proximate to the present day, in 1993; four years hence, in 1997,writer James Dickey lived out his final chapter; three years more on time’s road, in 2000, noted performer, thinker, and math wizard Hedy Lamarr died; the National Aeronautics & Space Administration six years down the pike from that, in 2006, launched its first New Horizons explorer that NASA intended as a vehicle to explore Pluto and the outer Solar System, and renowned singer and songwriter Wilson Pickett sang a swansong; a half-dozen years after that, in 2012, Megaupload went down in Hong Kong as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies closed in.

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SEARCHDAYscientism OR scientistic definition OR analysis OR explication defense OR defenders critique OR critics OR refutation OR deconstruction radical OR marxist OR "political economy" = 89,700 results

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                       Top of the Fold                       

On a topic always of critical import, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, about which on any given day one might gather hundreds or even thousands of key reports and powerful witnesses and central analyses, a foundation for pondering what is to come from The Conversation, an explication in the form of an essay from a lifelong scholar of the region that lays the basis for understanding choices and parameters by examining demographic and political facts that one simply cannot wish away, no matter one’s good intentions: “During the five years I spent researching the conflict in Israel and Palestine for my recent book, The Two-State Delusion: Israel and Palestine, it became increasingly clear that while talks over the past 25 years have focused on borders, settlements, Jerusalem, and the right of return of refugees, demographic changes may have made the idea of a two-state solution obsolete even before such a solution could be worked out.rect3336 space
Much is made of the fact that within a few years there will be more Palestinians than Jews ‘between the River and the Sea.’  Without a Palestinian state, Israel will either have to give the right to vote to Palestinians or become an apartheid state like South Africa once was.

CC BY-NC-ND by fanz

As I report in my book, other demographic changes that have received little attention but may be of far more consequence are taking place within Israel’s Jewish population.  The birth rates of Haredim, or ultra-Orthodox Jews, and of Palestinian-Israelis exceed those of Orthodox and secular Jews.  This is creating some fundamental structural changes in Israel.  Between 25 percent and 33 percent of Israeli schoolchildren now attend religious Haredim schools.  These are schools where no math or science is taught.  They graduate pupils with few of the skills necessary to live in the modern world.  The Bank of Israel concludes that unless the Haredim receive more higher education, Israel will fall from 16th to 26th among 34 member countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Moreover, a comprehensive survey conducted on behalf of Germany’s Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Foundation, in cooperation with the Macro Center for Political Economics in Tel Aviv, of youth aged 15-18 and 21-24 suggest this age group is far more right wing than their parents. In particular, these young people are less tolerant of Palestinian-Israelis.  When given a choice between an Israel that is more democratic and less Jewish or less democratic and more Jewish, they chose the latter.
        (Possibly still more pertinent), (a)s the Christian Science Monitor recently observed, ‘The percentage of officer cadets who are religious has grown tenfold since the early 1990s.’  Ten years ago, Orthodox Jewish men accounted for 2.5 percent of military graduates.  Today, that figure has grown to more than 25 percent.  In some combat units, Orthodox men now make up 50 percent of new combat officers – four times their share in the population.  There are now entire units of religious combat soldiers, many of them based in West Bank settlements where an implicit alliance between some settler communities and the IDF are commonplace.  These religious combat soldiers answer to hard-line rabbis who call for the establishment of a greater Israel that includes the West Bank.   These changes are paralleled by a decline in the number of combat soldiers and officers coming from secular families.”
                  TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                 AWARENESS VIDEO              


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll11ZXpbDKg – A presentation from Chris Busby about the skullduggery that has transpired in England’s Ministry of Defense’s handling of Great Britain’s Nuclear Test Veteran’s cases, an analysis that indicates that the country’s established authorities have committed consistent perjury and obfuscation in relation to cancers and sickness that have afflicted the military personnel from the era of nuclear testing, and in so doing presents both a powerful set of arguments and extensive and various evidence that nuclear weapons history on the British front is often, or even largely, fabrication or even fraud, a pretense of faked concern and derisive dismissal that ignores orders-of-magnitude increases in birth defects through the second generation afterthe original exposure during the erstwhile H-bomb tests.


student writing arm


Cuttyhunk Island Writers’ Residency

Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts
Event Date: June 7, 2016
Application Deadline: February 1, 2016

The Cuttyhunk Island Writers’ Residency for fiction and nonfiction writers will be held from June 7 to June 15 at the Avalon Inn on Cuttyhunk Island, seven nautical miles off the coast of southeastern Massachusetts. The residency offers workshops, readings, nightly salons, and time to write. The faculty includes Pulitzer Prize–winning fiction writer Paul Harding. The cost of the conference ranges from $1,750 for a triple room, $1,900 for a double room, and $2,500 for a single room. The cost includes lodging, all workshop fees, meals, and round-trip transportation on the ferry from New Bedford, Massachusetts. E-mail a completed application form, a brief writers statement, and a sample of up to 20 pages of prose by February 1. One scholarship, which covers the entire cost of tuition, is available. Registration is limited to thirteen participants. Registration is first come, first served. E-mail or visit the website for more information.


Ohioana Library Association

Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant

A prize of $1,000 is given annually to an Ohio fiction writer or creative nonfiction writer age 30 or under who has not published a book. Writers born in Ohio or who have lived in Ohio for a minimum of five years are eligible. Submit up to four stories, essays, or excerpts of longer works of fiction or creative nonfiction totaling 10 to 40 pages by January 31. There is no entry fee. Call, e-mail, or visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

Massachusetts Cultural Council

Artist Fellowships

Up to seven grants of $12,000 each are given biennially to Massachusetts fiction writers and creative nonfiction writers. Up to seven finalists will also receive $1,000 grants. Using the online submission system, submit up to 25 pages of prose by January 25. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

Tennessee Arts Commission

Individual Artist Fellowships

Up to three grants of $5,000 each are given annually to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers who are financially compensated for their work as professional artists and are current residents of Tennessee. Students enrolled full-time in a degree-granting program are ineligible. Submit two copies of up to 13 pages of poetry or 25 pages of prose, a personal statement, a résumé, and proof of Tennessee residence by January 25. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


Copywriter / Web Content Coordinator (Denver) 

compensation: Salary TBD on experience. Health plan, 401k and PTO included.
employment type: full-time

In-house advertising agency searching for a Copywriter/Web Content Coordinator for online department. This position will involve a heavy amount of ‘from scratch’ product descriptions for both web and print as well as proofing of multiple mediums, online content management, digital image manipulation, social media interactions, and other miscellaneous web related projects.

Part-time standardized test and academic tutoring positions available (Greenwood Village)

compensation: $60/hr to start

employment type: part-time

Highly respected national tutoring group has upcoming part-time openings in our new Denver office for qualified tutors. 

Freelance Writer/Photogapher

compensation: $250 per completed profile
employment type: contract

U.S. News & World Report is looking for freelance writers/photographers to help create content for the new Best Places to Live rankings product. U.S. News has earned a reputation as the leading provider of news and information that helps consumers make decisions, including Best Colleges, Best Hospitals, Best Diets and, soon, Best Places to Live. This unique ranking will leverage U.S. News’ renowned data and couple it with high-quality to provide potential new residents with the insights they need to make an informed decision on where to move — be it to a new city or a new neighborhood.




A Poynter offering that brings ideas for generating income and running a tight ship: “Diversify revenue streams. Train from within. Make the most of metrics. Sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most effective.

A small group from Poynter visited a dozen nonprofit and for-profit news organizations in 2015 to gather information to share at this week’s Nonprofit News Exchange. Here are 25 ideas, observed at many of the places we visited, that anyone can apply to his or her own newsroom.”


Debut Novel 

A Paris Review posting that looks at a debut novel that gives an unflinching gaze into the realities of sex, desire, and the perils of society: “Greenwell’s debut novel, What Belongs to You, out today, dilates those same concerns: over three sections, the book’s unnamed narrator plumbs the feelings of exploitation, loneliness, and overwhelming desire that are produced by his complicated, compulsive affair with a bewitching male prostitute named Mitko. The first section is a revised version of a novella, Mitko, which won the Miami University Press Novella Prize in 2011 and marked Greenwell’s first foray into fiction. It follows the young American teacher, new to Bulgaria, as he engages Mitko for sex in the bathrooms under Sofia’s National Palace of Culture. The second section comprises a single unbroken paragraph that reflects back to the narrator’s childhood, and the third returns to his troubled relationship with Mitko.”


art light darknessTrading in the Garret for LinkedIn

A fascinating Atlantic article that contextualizes the important sea change in what it means to be ‘an artist’ in the world that exists today, a phenomenom that has followed the vagaries of the marketplace: “The new paradigm is also likely to alter the shape of the ensuing career. Just as everyone, we’re told, will have five or six jobs, in five or six fields, during the course of their working life, so will the career of the multiplatform, entrepreneurial artist be more vagrant and less cumulative than under the previous models. No climactic masterwork of deep maturity, no King Lear or Faust, but rather many shifting interests and directions as the winds of market forces blow you here or there.

Works of art, more centrally and nakedly than ever before, are becoming commodities, consumer goods. Jeff Bezos, as a patron, is a very different beast than James Laughlin. Now it’s every man for himself, every tub on its own bottom. Now it’s not an audience you think of addressing; it’s a customer base. Now you’re only as good as your last sales quarter.”


Progressive Rally in Red State

A Common Dreams posting that views the success of an ultra progressive candidate in the state of Alabama: ““There must be a mistake,” Sen. Bernie Sanders joked to the diverse crowd of 7,000. “Somebody told me Alabama is a conservative state.”

The presidential hopeful marked Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at Birmingham’s Boutwell Auditorium, where he delivered an impassioned speech on inequality, the challenges that working class Americans face today, and how he hoped to carry out King’s vision for this country.”


True Costs of Austerity

An L.A. Progressive article about a city that chose to poison its residents in the name of budgetary measures in lieu of reinvesting into a community that severely needs it, all as just a symptom of the larger disinvestment of communities: “or residents trapped in these neighborhoods, it is more than a denial of resources; living in concentrated poverty exacts a tax on residents who suffer it, with more crime, less peace of mind and emotional safety, and fewer amenities and community resources. While this is true generally across the nation, the sad case of Flint, Mich. illustrates it only too vividly. For a city that needs more services and investment rather than less, the austerity measures enacted by the state could hardly be expected to help. In fact, the disinvestment results in fewer resources to expand opportunities and invest in the next generation, contributing to inter-generational poverty.”



1.18.2016 Daily Links

                 A Thought for the Day                

Just as the accumulation of vast swaths of our common Earth’s surface in the hands of a few plutocrats makes inevitable the crushing rents that the landless hordes of the future—a tomorrow that lives all too harshly in the here and now of this day forward—must face and somehow bear lest they have nowhere to find cover for their heads than under a bridge or in a sewer culvert, so too must a bureaucracy of barbaric butchery, based on bombs and bombast, fatten the death merchants while it either starves all others into a sullen submission or pulls forth from even the most pedestrian and gentle souls a sense of radicalism that is capable of rousing uprising and raucous revolution: a seemingly unavoidable dynamic of depredation, an apparently inescapable dialectic of exploitation that must, because of this stubborn insistence on corrupt and soulless nepotism, end, not with any gradual stipulation of mutuality or other social reformulation, but in the utter destruction of the ways of profiteering and plunder that rulers maintain as their God-given birthright, as if All-That-Is came into existence to garner all goods and grace in the hands of the high and mighty while the downcast, dark, and dirty masses slaved away and died in timely, quiet, and unobtrusive fashion.

                   Quote of the Day                    

war planes Flugzeuge Junkers Ju 87“Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war.  Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world.  Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path.  At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King?  Why are you joining the voices of dissent?  Peace and civil rights don’t mix, they say.  Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people, they ask?  And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling.  Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.
(A) very obvious and almost facile connection (exists) between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America.  A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle.  It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program.  There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings.  Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube.  So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.
       helicopter war vietnam(One of many) reason(s) (for my stand) moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers.  As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems.  I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action.  But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam?  They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted.  Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.  For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.
       Somehow this madness must cease.  We must stop now.  I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam.  I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted.  I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam.  I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken.  I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation.  The great initiative in this war is ours.  The initiative to stop it must be ours.”   Martin Luther King, Jr.: Beyond Vietnam; a Time to Break Silence
                  This Day in History                      
"Family-bible" by David Ball - Original work. -
“Family-bible” by David Ball – Original work. –

In what ought to be a cause for jocularity among our fractious clannish sorts, today is a Day of Prayer for Christian Unity among erstwhile proponents of the Nazarene around the globe, while in 2016, Americans commemorate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr.; in the Andes four hundred eighty-one years ago, Spanish interloper and plunderer Francisco Pizarro oversaw the ‘creation’ of what became Lima, modern day Peru’s capital; a century and thirty-six years subsequent to that imperial venture, in 1671, British privateer Henry Morgan capped years of plunder of Spanish treasure with a sacking of Panama City, the second largest town in the Hemisphere; eighteen years later, in 1689 back in Europe, a baby boy cried out who matured as the renowned thinker and philosopher, Montesquieu; just short of nine decades hence, in 1778, James Cook claimed the credit for ‘discovering’ what he termed the Hawaiian Islands; one hundred forty-nine years back, a male infant was born in Nicaragua who became the acclaimed poet and iconic thinker of liberation, Ruben Dario; half a dozen years thereafter, in 1873, the writer whom critics credit with the worst opening line in English, Edward Bulwer Lytton, drew a final anguished breath before departing forever; nine years yet later on, in 1882, a British infant boy opened his eyes who would rise as the poet and writer, of ‘Poohish’ tales, A.A. Milne; seven hundred thirty days onward from that, in 1874, a Mexican baby girl entered our midst who would grow up as the famed feminist and human rights advocate, Elena Arizmendi Mejia; twenty-two years subsequently, in 1896, a professor at Davison College in North Carolina demonstrated the first prototype of a fluoroscope, or x-ray machine; a century and three years prior to the present pass, a Greek fleet of battleships defeated an Ottoman flotilla and gained control of the Northern Aegean for Greece; two years after that, around the world in 1915, Japan issued a set of twenty-one demands to China that sought to place the mainland, especially Manchuria, under Japanese hegemony; four years PARIS eiffelhenceforth, in 1919, back around the world again, the corrupt and venal Versailles ‘Peace Conference’ opened outside Paris, laying a
solid foundation for more global carnage a generation down the road; three hundred sixty-five days beyond that conjunction, in 1920, New York State approved banning teachers who joined or identified with communist organizations and thinking;five years past that juncture, in 1925, back again in Paris, a male child took a first look around on his way to a philosophical life as thinker and writer, Gilles Deleuze; seven more years along the temporal arc, in 1932, the baby boy came along whom fate had selected as the writer, storyteller, and mystic, Robert Anton Wilson; four years nearer to now, in 1936, the English Nobel Literary Laureate, Rudyard Kipling, breathed his last; seven years even closer to today, in 1943, Jews in Warsaw rose up against Nazi forces in control of their community; across the Atlantic a single year after that, in 1944, the first jazz concert took place at the Metropolitan Opera house, replete with Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman and others; a further year along time’s path, in 1945, the resurgent Soviet Red Army liberated Krakow in Poland and Budapest in Hungary on the same day; just shy of three decades afterward, in 1974, Israeli and Egyptian negotiators reached an accord for disengaging their combatants from the Yom Kippur War; four years still more proximate to the present, in 1978, Johnny Paycheck’s song, “Take This Job and Shove It,” reached number one on the Billboard charts; a decade and a half henceforth, in 1993, all fifty states commemorated the loss of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the same day for the first time, ten years after the passage of Federal legislation that declared the third Monday in January as such a day, and a quarter century after his assassination; six years ahead of our moment in time, the beloved Canadian folksinger, Kate McGarrigle, sang her swan song; two years even farther along, in 2012, online outbursts against the Stop Online Piracy Act showed the potential of dissenters to shut down the web in their stand against SOPA and monopoly media.

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SEARCHDAYcapitalism OR "bourgeois economy" OR "free market economy" OR "world economy" crisis OR meltdown OR recession OR deflation periodic OR recurrent OR persistent OR cyclical repression OR depredation OR warmongering OR fascism OR "class war" cause OR correlation OR interconnection = 546,000 Connections.

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http://priceonomics.com/how-police-officers-seize-cash-from-innocent/  –  In a socioeconomic environment that seems to come closer to collapse every day and a sociopolitical environment in which oppression and depredation have become as common as corn, a profferal from the data specialists and deep thinkers at Priceonomics that fits seamlessly with such environs, which in fact details the corrupt and barbaric practice of seizing the property and money of citizens who have committed no crime and never face charges, to the tune of plus or minus ten billion dollars over the last couple of decades and some several billion in the fifteen years prior to that, an “unjust taking” much worse than the “taxation without representation” that led to the American Revolution, a predatory police-state’s fascist routine that will either eviscerate democracy and citizenship or lead to an uprising that could easily bring all out civil war, a factual and analytical report about an omnipresent situation that corporate media rarely covers and yet that alternative outlets document meticulously and prolifically, one of many arenas in which capital’s ongoing collapse for any purpose other than war and profiteering is showing up among intrepid journalists’ accounts, such as many assessments of the horrific environmental injustice that has unfolded in Flint Michigan, a nightmare that both the Chief Organizers Blog and Michael Moore, via Common Dreams have analyzed; such as a recounting in Truth Out about the resurgence of black lung among coal miners in Appalachia; such as anonymous essay in L.A. Progressive about fraudulent housing practices in Southern California that have combined with general economic decline to threaten untold thousands of ‘consumers’ with a choice between homelessness and suicide essentially; such as a data-rich entry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review about the general convergence between technical advances and rising inequality; such as a briefing from Paul Craig Roberts that evinces the status of our epoch as a “century of fraud;” one upshot of all of which is the result that a research abstract from Countercurrents demonstrates, a falling life expectancy except among the plutocracy and its minions, which, obviously is also a perfect match for the warmongering and mass murder that has for well over half a century been the actual policy of the United States Government, despite frequent popular outcries against such practices, as what Martin Luther King,

(Photo: Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press)

here via Information Clearinghouse, spoke about in Beyond Vietnam, what the World Socialist Website reports as cash-cows for killing and bankruptcy for everything else, what David Stockman in his Contra Corner Digest calls the “warmongers brawl” in the ‘Grand Old Party’ that used to be his under Ronald Reagan, what an Inter Press Service news analysis terms a murderous impunity on the part of the United States in relation to attacks on civilians–an overall likelihood of the entirety of all of which upheaval and carnage and decline is what Popular Resistance  promises, that protest from below will grow and grow and grow until something, somewhere, somehow, gives: “(From the beginning of such practices in circa 1983), (a)side from its abuse of civil liberties, civil forfeiture posed a major conflict of interest: the police got to keep whatever assets they seized.  This gave them tremendous incentive to, in the words of one cop, ‘up the seizure game.’  A 1993 Los Angeles Times article harps on some of these abuses

… .

(S)ince only a presumption of guilt was necessary, it was not unusual for innocent people — often minorities — to be ‘legally robbed.’  In one case, in 1989, authorities broke into a computer retailer’s safe and took $120,000 in cash.  A few months later, a motorcycle shop owner had his Harley-Davidson possessed.  Neither man was ever charged with a crime; all the police needed was a ‘hunch’ that they’d acquired these items through illicit means.  There was no burden of proof.

Today, (this) fear (of predatory police) is more prevalent than ever.  While civil forfeiture laws were originally intended to take down multimillionaire drug kingpins, they are increasingly manipulated by — in the words of one Florida police chief — ‘street cops [looking] to take a few thousand dollars from a driver by the side of the road.


As The Post writes(in a series at the end of 2015), a ‘thriving subculture of road officers…now competes to see who can seize the most cash and contraband.’  Some officers are so good at sniffing out cash that they make a living as consultants, traveling to different agencies and ‘coaching’ them on the best approaches to utilizing civil forfeiture.  One of these men, Joe David, who runs a ‘stop-and-seizure’ firm called Desert Snow, single-handedly brought in $427 million over a five-year period — 25% of which his firm was permitted to keep.  Eddie Ingram, an Alabama-based deputy, purports to have brought in $11 million over a similar span. …
For local and state police departments, civil forfeiture continues to be a big business.  According to the Institute for Justice, the laws in most states allow police to keep 80% or more of what they seize — sometimes as much as 100%.  For many departments, civil forfeiture makes up a considerable portion of annual revenue. …Currently, the Institute for Justice, a law firm that seeks to ‘protect simple American freedoms, is assisting (some of the tens of thousands of victims of police predation).  But once civil forfeiture money is seized, it can be incredibly challenging to get back — even with good legal counsel.  (Anyone in this pass), like the thousands of others in (t)his predicament, faces an uphill battle.”—Priceonomics

“Scientists first noticed a troubling trend in 2005, when national surveillance conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) identified regional clusters of rapidly progressing severe black lung cases, especially in Appalachia.  These concerns were confirmed in followup studies using a mobile medical unit providing outreach to coal mining areas, with later research showing that West Virginia was hit particularly hard.  Between 2000 and 2012, the prevalence of the most severe form of black lung rose to levels not seen since the 1970s, when modern dust laws were enacted.

It’s the smaller respirable dust particles, though, that create the damage most associated with CWP.  Because of their small size—often 2.5 microns or less in diameter—they can easily travel beyond the bronchi, into the bronchioles and alveoli.  Any small particle this deep in the lungs, whether from cigarette smoke, car exhaust, or coal mine dust, can create irritation in the site where it lands.  The body’s immune system attacks the particles, creating inflammation in the surrounding region.  Although this inflammation can help kill invading pathogens, it can’t remove components of coal mine dust such as coal and silica, which remain in place and cause lung tissue damage.  The body then doubles down on its efforts, which further damages the delicate lung tissue.  The result is chronic inflammation that ultimately scars the lungs, creating patches that radiologists can see on X rays and CT scans.

In some patients, the disease progresses to complicated C(oal) W(orker’s) P(neumoconiosis), a condition also known as progressive massive fibrosis (PMF).  As its name suggests, PMF is characterized by large, dense masses of fibrous tissue more than 1 cm in diameter, which often appear in the upper lungs.  The lung itself often appears blackened.  The presence of fibrosis impairs the ability of the lungs to bring oxygen to the blood, which leaves sufferers chronically short of breath and may result in death.

(That coal is the almost exclusive cause of these conditions) came as no surprise to the tens of thousands of coal miners working throughout Appalachia and across the rest of the country, who for decades had observed and experienced the devastation caused by black lung.  By the late 1960s, the crisis had come to a head.  In 1968 the members of United Mine Workers of America went on strike to create better working conditions, including protection from coal mine dust, and to set up a fund for miners disabled by black lung.

The miners believe that, whatever the cause for the increase (recently), stronger labor laws and dust protections will help keep their fellow miners from getting sick.  Their desire came to pass in 2014, when the Mine Safety and Health Administration issued updated rules for dust exposure.  Among provisions set to go into effect in 2016, the allowable overall dust level was tightened from 2.0 mg/m3 to 1.5 mg/m3, and mine operators are now required to continuously monitor dust levels and take immediate action if dust levels are high.”—TruthOut

CC BY-NC-ND by firexbrat Lead Poisoning

“This week it was revealed that at least 10 people in Flint have now been killed by these premeditated actions of the Governor of Michigan.   This governor, Rick Snyder, nullified the democratic election of this mostly African-American city — where 41% of the people live below the ‘official’ poverty line — and replaced the elected Mayor and city council with a crony who was instructed to take all his orders from the governor’s office.

rect3336 space One of those orders from the State of Michigan was this: ‘It costs too much money to supply Flint with clean drinking water from Lake Huron (the 3rd largest body of fresh water in the world).  We can save a lot of money doing this differently.  So unhook the city from that source and let them drink the water known as ‘General Motors’ Sewer’ — the Flint River.’  And, lo and behold, the Governor was right.  It was a lot cheaper!   Fifteen million dollars cheaper!  And for saving all that money, it is now estimated that to repair the damaged water system in Flint, it will cost at least $1.5 billion.  Someone had suggested to the governor, before he did this, that the river contained many toxins.  He ignored that.  One of his own people said maybe they should add a safe-to-drink ‘corrosive protector’ to the water so that the toxins in said water wouldn’t leach the lead off the aging water pipe infrastructure and into the drinking water.

My city has been pummeled by General Motors, Wall Street and the State and Federal governments.  It’s no surprise that the Republicans who control our State Capitol in Michigan didn’t have to worry about any push-back from the residents of Flint because, to them, that’s just a bunch of eviscerated black people who have absolutely no power, ‘don’t vote for us any way,’ and have NO means to fight back.

And, as if things couldn’t get any worse, the news of 87 people with Legionnaires Disease happened this week.  Ten Flint residents have been KILLED by this disease which is caused by tainted water.  Not by gun violence, not in Afghanistan, but by an act of racism and violence perpetrated by the — I’m sorry to say — white, Republican governor of Michigan who knew months ago the water was toxic.”—Common Dreams

“The President said ‘The United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world. . . Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.’  Each line receiving applause.rect3336 space
These lines will come back to haunt the President as he uttered them at a time when the United States seems to be entering its third economic collapse in 15 years.  The very next morning, numerous sources reported that any way you measure it the markets were having the worst ever start to a year.

The reality is known by all: deep corruption throughout that chamber and a dysfunctional government unable to confront the multiple crises the nation and globe face.  From what the President said and the applause he received, it seemed one reason they can’t confront the problems is because they do not see them.  (At the grassroots, the people see) a broken system.

The struggles people face in the economy are so bad, (with as many as fifty million living in poverty), that they are causing shorter lives from alcohol, drug abuse and suicide.  And research shows that shorter lives are not only of those who struggle at the bottom but shortening lives for those with wealth at the top.  Last April when a 22-year old Illinois man, Leo P. Thorton, shot himself with a note that said ‘Tax the 1%’ attached to him, no mass media outlet asked: Why?  People in the United States are literally dying from the unfair economy and screaming to be heard, but Obama says we peddle fiction.

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(Anomalously, all the braggadocio will have the opposite effect from its intention).  Ignoring movements and their demands will not make them go away.  Instead, describing a fantasy vision of the United States to people who (cannot help but) see (the) reality will make movements grow.  Pr(e)scribing failed non-solutions to critical issues facing the country will mobilize people.  Obama, (paradoxically) accomplished all of that in his State of the Union.”—Popular Resistance

                TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                AWARENESS VIDEO                

http://www.salon.com/2016/01/13/democracy_in_black_a_conversation_about_race_in_america_with_eddie_glaude_jr/ – A must-read article here, from Salon, in which a Princeton thinker warns of increasing depredation and democratic decline unless stalwart citizens and scrappy scribes stand up for themselves and each other in greater solidarity and with greater awareness than is occurring now, an appeal to humanity and reason that ends with a perfect video briefing to hammer these points home to all but those who have consciously decided to ally themselves with fascist rulers and their varied hit-men, roughly five minutes of police action in Atlanta, at the behest of a White bank manager against a millionaire client who happened to be Black and dressed in street clothes.