3.31.2016 Daily Links

          BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW          

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CC BY by brendan-c


http://lawnewz.com/politics/paperwork-mistake-may-keep-bernie-sanders-off-primary-ballot/ –  Ah, mistakes—what noisome nonsense that their assertion hides, as here in a ‘hot-off-the-presses’ account from LawNewz that the Democratic Party’s District of Columbia organization, forgot to submit Bernie Sanders paid for and formally correct application to be on the ballot in the D.C. primary, an eventuality that may or may not prove material in the context of ruling class insistence that neither participation nor protest is any longer acceptable, that in fact shutting up and doing as they’re instructed is the best that scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens may expect.

                    This Day in History                  

"Camille Cabral pour les Trans" by Kenji-Baptiste OIKAWA
“Camille Cabral pour les Trans” by Kenji-Baptiste OIKAWA

Today is both a day to celebrate the legacy of Cesar Chavez, and International Transgender Day of Visibility; at Medina, thirteen hundred and eighty-nine years ago, a siege began against the forces of the prophet Muhammad; five hundred and nineteen years hence, more or less exactly, in 1146, Bernard of Clairvaux preached a renowned sermon that called for a new Crusade against Islam’s expansive power;three hundred forty-six years further along, meanwhile, in 1492, the same year that Columbus set sail for America, Spain issued its Alhambra decree that required Muslim and Jewish citizens to convert or face expulsion for the crime of having a different religion; a century and four years later, in 1596, a baby boy came screaming into the world on his way to a life as philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes; a quarter century onward in time, in 1621, a male infant entered the world who would grow up as poet and spiritual thinker Andrew Marvel; a decade beyond that pass, in 1631, the beloved English poet John Donne breathed no more;four years less than a century after that, also in England, in 1717, the Bangorian controversy unfolded as prominent English theologians began to defend the idea that neither church, nor Church, authority ought to hold sway in earthly matters, inasmuch as Jesus preached a separation of those realms; two hundred and forty-two years prior to the present pass, English authorities closed the port of Boston and sealed the fate of its loss of its colonial holdings in the Americas; thirty-five years thereafter, in 1809, a Ukrainian family brought a boy into the world who would grow up as the masterful Russian short story writer, Nikolai Gogol; thirteen years past that point, in 1822, Southwest in Europe’s Ottoman domain, imperial troops massacred residents of the Greek

"Kylix by Makron Mainade Satyros Staatliche Antikensammlungen 480BC Kat 94 02"
“Kylix by Makron Mainade Satyros Staatliche Antikensammlungen 480BC Kat 94 02”

island, Chilos, for their temerity in rising up against Turkish rule; three hundred sixty-five days yet later on, in 1823, five thousand miles away in South Carolina, a baby girl first breathed for herself en route to a life as writer and critic of slavery, Mary Boykin Chestnut; an additional fourteen years onward and upward, in 1837, English painter William Constable died; three years subsequently, in 1840, President Martin Van Buren mandated that all Federal employees who engaged in manual labor should work no more than ten hours a day;one hundred sixty-two years back, Matthew Perry signed the agreement that forced Japan to open itself to Western and especially American commerce; just a year after, in 1855, British novelist Charlotte Bronte breathed her last; eleven years subsequently, in 1866, across the Atlantic and the South American continent, Spanish Naval ships bombarded the Chilean port of Valparaiso in the opening stages of the Pacific War; eleven years after that instant, in 1877, the mathematical genius and still influential economic and philosophical theorist Antoine Augustin Cournot lived our his final day; six years henceforth, in 1883, five thousand miles West in Texas, cowboys at five huge ranches, denied access to property and the chance to accumulate their own cattle, went on strike as the wage-earners that their bosses insisted that they were; seven hundred thirty-one days afterward, in 1885, in the opening stages of the Scramble for Africa, England imposed a protectorate on Bechuanaland; four years exactly following that, in 1889, the Eiffel Tower officially opened; a decade more proximate to the present, in 1899, the United States continued its conquest of the Philippines by occupying the independence movement’s capital; seven years subsequently, in 1906, a precursor to the National Collegiate Athletic Association first began to orchestrate the business of ‘amateur’ university sporting events; three additional years in the direction of today, in shipwreck-Stöwer_Titanic1909,  in a precursor of the struggles that would be the proximate cause of World War One, Serbia acceded to Austrian power over Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the unsinkable Titanic readied for its tragic maiden voyage; four years thereafter, in 1913, an audience that preferred melodic music rioted in Vienna at the performance of concerts by Schoenberg and other modernist composers; another year closer to today, in 1914, a Mexican boy entered the world in the usual way, on his path to life as the poet, Nobel Laureate, and humanist, Octavio Paz; three years still further on, in 1917, the United States expanded its imperial footprint with the purchase of Danish ‘properties’ in the Caribbean that became the U.S. Virgin Islands; three hundred sixty-five days in the future from that conjunction, in 1918, over ten thousand Muslim Azerbaijanis died in a massacre by Armenian and Bolshevik forces in the Russian Revolution; a farther half dozen years along time’s path, in 1924, a baby boy was born who would grow up to become the spiritual thinker and writer and teacher, Leo Buscaglia; two years hence across the Atlantic, in Britain in 1926, a male child took his first breath on the path to life as novelist and critic, John Fowles; three hundred sixty-five days subsequently, in 1927, a baby boy was the

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issue of campesino parents who raised him to be the great labor leader Cesar Chavez; three more years in the direction of now, in 1930, the Motion Picture Production Code became the law of the land in relation to the depictions of sexuality, political criticism, religion, and other ‘sensitive’ issues in films, and a West Virginia mountains tunnel project at Hawk’s Nest began which would sicken and kill thousands and hundreds of workers, respectively, with silicosis and otherwise; one year later on, in 1931, a boy child was born who would mature as prolific writer John Jakes; two years after that precise conjunction, in 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps began its operations in the U.S., partially to relieve the ravages of unemployment, and a little girl opened her eyes who would rise to become the beloved singer and lyricist of people’s music, Anita Carter; two years still closer to the current context, in 1935, another female infant entered our midst who would mature as popular writer, Judith Rossner; yet another year hence, in 1936,a girl child became a part of the human clan who would come to write as popular and socially democratic storyteller, Marge Piercy; half a decade more proximate to the present point, in 1941, police attempts to cross Allis-Chalmer picket lines with strike breakers failed; seven years hence, in 1948, a baby boy blinked his eyes en route to a life as the politician and thinker Al Gore; three years yet nearer to now, in 1951, the Remington Rand Corporation installed its first UNIVAC-I computer for the Census Bureau; eight years further down the pike, in 1959, the Dalai Lama fled Tibet to asylum in India; half a decade beyond that moment, in 1964, a coup in Brazil, supported by the U.S., established a fascist state that brutalized its citizens for many years; seven hundred thirty days beyond that, in 1966, the Soviet’s Luna 10 became the first craft to enter a lunar orbit; twenty years henceforth, in 1986, the crooner and songwriter, O’Kelly Isley sang his swansong; a thousand four hundred sixty-one additional days on the road to today, in 1990, more or less 200,000 Londoners went into the street to protest a newly instituted poll tax; four years after that, in 1994, Nature published findings from Ethiopia of the discovery of the first entire skull of the human ancestor Australopithecus aferensis; one year after to the day, in 1995, the U.S. withdrew from its bloody campaign in Somalia, and the wildly popular Mexican-American folksinger, Selena, died from a shooting by an employee whom she had caught embezzling money; a thousand ninety-six days along the path to now, in 1998, the Netscape Corporation made its Mozilla code available to the public as open source software; six years later and six thousand miles East in Iraq, in 2004, four mercenaries of the Blackwater Corporation died at the hands of Iraqi rebels near Baghdad.

                A Thought for the Day                

Looking backward with even the merest modicum of awareness, not to say with the diligence and aplomb with which we should consider the past that has ushered us into the realm of the living, one instantly becomes aware of two things, if one can open one’s eyes to the logic that defines reality as a fundamental aspect of nature and its laws: first that each living woman and man among us owes a profound debt not only to parents, but also to grandparents and uncles and aunts and strangers with whom these nearer kin interacted, stretching back well beyond that point at which such clever artifices as documentation can assign a name or other designation to a particular face and place from all the long ago yesteryears that our forebears have transited en route to this exact instant in time and space; and second that every living representative of this human lineage is a cousin to every other resident on the planet now, unless of course a closer kinship is evident.

                  Quote of the Day                       
“Many psychiatrists think, like Huxley, that these substances [hallucinogens] are neither more nor less dangerous than alcohol.  It is not necessary to entirely accept this opinion — although to me it seems to be not far from the truth — in order to recognize that the authorities prohibit these drugs not so much in the name of public health as in the name of public morality.  They are a challenge to the ideals of activity, utility, progress, work, and similar notions that justify our daily routine. drug drugs banner
Alcoholism is an infraction of social rules.  Everyone tolerates it because the violation confirms the rules.  This case is analogous to prostitution: neither the drunk nor the prostitute and her clientele call into doubt the rules they break.  Their acts are a disturbance of order, not a criticism of it.  The use of hallucinogens, on the other hand, implies a negation of prevailing social values. … We can now understand the true reason for their condemnation and its severity.  The authorities aren’t suppressing a reprehensible practice or a crime.  They are suppressing dissidence. … Prohibition is a battle against a contagion of the spirit — against an opinion.  The authorities reveal, in their ideological zeal, that they are pursuing a heresy, not a crime.

The world stretches out before me, the vast world of the big, the little, and the medium.  Universe of kings and presidents and jailors, of mandarins and pariahs and liberators and liberated, of judges and witnesses and the condemned: stars of the first, second, third and nth magnitudes, planets, comets, bodies errant and eccentric or routine and domesticated by the laws of gravity, the subtle laws of falling, all keeping step, all turning slowly or rapidly around a void.
sky sun cloud celestial god spirituality
Where they claim the central sun lies, the solar being, the hot beam made out of every human gaze, there is nothing but a hole and less than a hole: the eye of a dead fish, the giddy cavity of the eye that falls into itself and looks at itself without seeing.  There is nothing with which to fill the hollow center of the whirlwind.  The springs are smashed, the foundations collapsed, the visible or invisible bonds that joined one star to another, one body to another, one man to another, are nothing but a tangle of wires and thorns, a jungle of claws and teeth that twist us and chew us and spit us out and chew us again.  No one hangs himself by the rope of a physical law.  The equations fall tirelessly into themselves.

Languages are vast realities that transcend those political and historical entities we call nations.  The European languages we speak in the Americas illustrate this.  The special position of our literatures when compared to those of England, Spain, Portugal and France depends precisely on this fundamental fact: they are literatures written in transplanted tongues. Languages are born and grow from the native soil, nourished by a common history. The European languages were rooted out from their native soil and their own tradition, and then planted in an unknown and unnamed world: they took root in the new lands and, as they grew within the societies of America, they were transformed.  They are the same plant yet also a different plant.  Our literatures did not passively accept the changing fortunes of the transplanted languages: they participated in the process and even accelerated it.  They very soon ceased to be mere transatlantic reflections: at times they have been the negation of the literatures of Europe; more often, they have been a reply.

The first basic difference between Latin-American and Anglo-American literature lies in the diversity of their origins.  Both begin as projections of Europe.  The projection of an island in the case of North America; that of a peninsula in our case.  Two regions that are geographically, historically and culturally eccentric.  The origins of North America are in England and the Reformation; ours are in Spain, Portugal and the Counter-Reformation.  For the case of Spanish America I should briefly mention what distinguishes Spain from other European countries, giving it a particularly original historical identity.  Spain is no less eccentric than England but its eccentricity is of a different kind.  The eccentricity of the English is insular and is characterized by isolation: an eccentricity that excludes.   Hispanic eccentricity is peninsular and consists of the coexistence of different civilizations and different pasts: an inclusive eccentricity. In what would later be Catholic Spain, the Visigoths professed the heresy of Arianism, and we could also speak about the centuries of domination by Arabic civilization, the influence of Jewish thought, the Reconquest, and other characteristic features.

Hispanic eccentricity is reproduced and multiplied in America, especially in those countries such as Mexico and Peru, where ancient and splendid civilizations had existed.  In Mexico, the Spaniards encountered history as well as geography.  That history is still alive: it is a present rather than a past.  The temples and gods of pre-Columbian Mexico are a pile of ruins, but the spirit that breathed life into that world has not disappeared; it speaks to us in the hermetic language of myth, legend, forms of social coexistence, popular art, customs.  Being a Mexican writer means listening to the voice of that present, that presence.  Listening to it, speaking with it, deciphering it: expressing it … After this brief digression we may be able to perceive the peculiar relation that simultaneously binds us to and separates us from the European tradition.”  Octavio Paz—various works and his Nobel Lecture

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SEARCHDAY"federal reserve" OR "central banks" OR "monopoly finance" history OR origins OR "jekyll island" analysis OR explication OR documentation critique OR deconstruction OR investigation radical OR marxist = 598,000 Linkages.

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http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Whole-World-Is-Watchin-by-Pepe-Escobar-Brazil-Workers-Party_Corruption_Impeachment_Lula-160330-329.html – In the vein that “politics is a form of corruption that works,” just a single pair of items, which represent the highest sorts of quality analysis of what is presently passing as populism and democracy in Brazil but is actually much more in tune with descriptors such as propaganda and plutocracy, the first from the estimable and incisive commentator on such matters, Pepe Escobar at OpEdNews, the second from a team at The Intercept, with Glenn Greenwald among them from his home base in the country, one of which uses a literary metaphor to deconstruct what is happening in the current context, the other of which assembles a fairly vast array of facts and arguments to show how and why things are unfolding in the way that they are: “As repellent political spectacles go, this compares to toxic events such as the 1973 Pinochet military coup in Chile and the 2003 U.S. Shock and Awe over Iraq.  A woman president in Brazil is running the risk of being expelled from office — to which she was duly elected by 54.5 million people — via spurious fiscal accusations that have not been fully examined in parliament.  The dodgy procedure will be conducted by a politician who graphically impersonates corruption in contemporary Brazil.  In parallel, the Globo media empire — one of the largest in the world — tries to convince Brazilian civil society that what’s going on is not a coup, or an impeachment drive.  Globo, by the way, was fully behind the U.S.-supported 1964 Brazilian military coup.

(A quarter century old ‘Odebrecht List’ names names of corrupt officials, about which reactionary media there and here are salivating in anticipation of a feeding frenzy against the Workers Party.  As the lead investigator in regard to the list notes, however), the merit of the list is to show how the corruption network involving construction companies and politicians has been a fixture all these years.  She added, ‘the way out is a reform, not the demonization of the Workers’ Party.’
Tell that to Brazilian prosecutors.  They are more obsessed with being served Lula’s head on a plate as part of a deal with Odebrecht than in eliminating corruption.  Those politicians that appear in a previous 300-name Odebrecht list, which include a who’s who of right-wing opposition and old elites, may even dream of getting away scot free.  The father of entrepreneur Marcelo Odebrecht — who’s been languishing in jail under a ‘preventive’ provision since June 2015 — was offered a similar deal by theGlobo empire itself; his son will ‘get some help’ if he rats on Lula.  And that brings us closer to the heart of the matter of the much publicized, two-year-old Car Wash investigation machine.  There is absolutely nothing against Lula, from incriminating documents to illegal offshore accounts.  But to ‘get’ him the politicized prosecutors think nothing of destroying, along the way, one of the few Brazilian companies that are competitive on a global scale.

(The so-called case against President Dilma Rousseff is equally fatuous).  The whole sorry spectacle in Brazil is essentially about lobbying and campaign financing.  This is normal practice in the U.S. Lobbies may be eventually punished in an American investigation, but try to find zealous prosecutors bent on destroying a major American company in the process.  They’d be reduced to Beltway road kill.  The young — and vibrant — Brazilian democracy has not been swift enough in legalizing lobbyists.  So what’s left, predictably, is the Wild West of political corruption.  And that led to a ratting-out machine run amok — everything fully politicized, of course.

(In relation to the T.S. Eliot verse with which the essay began), (w)hat we have now is Hollow Man-in-Charge, Vice President Temer, as coup leader, and most of Congress as Hollow Men vassals.  These crooks now truly believe that Rousseff can be easily sidelined, probably by April 19or 20; the Senate will conduct a lot of dodgy bargaining; a neoliberal economic program will be put in place; the Goddess of the Market will rejoice; and Car Wash will die a slow, not painful death because after all the main ‘tumor,’ the Workers’ Party, will have been extracted.  Vulture funds will love it.  Brazil will be ‘investor-friendly’ again.  Who cares about a provisional, illegitimate, regime change ‘government’ that may be even liable to serious ‘crimes of responsibility?’  The judicial/media/old comprador elite combo will be dancing in the dark, recession will refuse to recede; corruption will persist unabated; and the noxious legacy of the Hollow Men will permeate all their actions while the world watches the further putrefaction of an already rotten corpse.”—OpEdNews

The speaker of Brazil’s lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, broke with the government of President Dilma Rousseff (image by Solitude, Channel: Solitude) License DMCA

          “(In the context of a nearly free-fall economic and social crisis that has spilled over to a universally corrupt political sphere), the current version of Brazilian democracy is very young.  In 1964, the country’s democratically elected left-wing government was overthrown by a military coup.  Both publicly and before Congress, U.S. officials vehemently denied any role, but — needless to say —documents and recordings subsequently emerged proving the U.S. directly supported and helped plot critical aspects of that coup.  The 21-year, right-wing, pro-U.S. military dictatorship that ensued was brutal and tyrannical, specializing in torture techniques used against dissidents that were taught to the dictatorship by the U.S. and U.K.  A comprehensive 2014 Truth Commission report (that) documented that both countries ‘trained Brazilian interrogators in torture techniques.’  Among their victims was Rousseff, who was an anti-regime, left-wing guerilla imprisoned and tortured by the military dictators in the 1970s.

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

The coup itself and the dictatorship that followed were supported by Brazil’s oligarchs and their large media outlets, led by Globo, which — notably — depicted the 1964 coup as a noble defeat of a corrupt left-wing government (sound familiar?).  The 1964 coup and dictatorship were also supported by the nation’s extravagantly rich (and overwhelmingly white) upper class and its small middle class.  As democracy opponents often do, Brazil’s wealthy factions regarded dictatorship as protection against the impoverished masses comprised largely of non-whites.  As The Guardian put it upon release of the Truth Commission report: ‘As was the case elsewhere in Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s, the elite and middle class aligned themselves with the military to stave off what they saw as a communist threat.’

(At the heart of the overall situation is the grotesque inequality that characterizes Brazil, on the one hand, and the now quite moderatepresence of Patido dos Trabalhadores (PT), of which Rousseff is the leader and Lula remains a potent force, which has, despite its less than radical program extensively benefited working and poor people).  PT has held the presidency for 14 years: since 2002.  Its popularity has been the byproduct of Dilma’s wildly charismatic predecessor, Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva (universally referred to as Lula).  Lula’s ascendency was a potent symbol of the empowerment of Brazil’s poor under democracy: a laborer and union leader from a very poor family who dropped out of school in the second grade, did not read until the age of 10, and was imprisoned by the dictatorship for union activities.  He has long been mocked by Brazilian elites in starkly classist tones for his working-class accent and manner of speaking.

Though the nation’s oligarchical class has successfully used the center-right PSDB as a counterweight, it has been largely impotent in defeating PT in four consecutive presidential elections.  Voting is compulsory, and the nation’s poor citizens have ensured PT’s victories.  Corruption among Brazil’s political class — including the top levels of the PT — is real and substantial.  But Brazil’s plutocrats, their media, and the upper and middle classes are glaringly exploiting this corruption scandal to achieve what they have failed for years to accomplish democratically: the removal of PT from power.

(Any notion that the protests against the government are ‘grassroots’ is at best false, more likely hypocritical and ridiculous).  Brazil’s corporate media outlets are acting as de facto protest organizers and PR arms of opposition parties.  The Twitter feeds of some of Globo’s most influential (and very rich) on-air reporters contain non-stop anti-PT agitation.  When a recording of a telephone conversation between Dilma and Lula was leaked this week, Globo’s highly influential nightly news program, Jornal Nacional, had its anchors flamboyantly re-enact the dialogue in such a melodramatic and provocatively gossipy fashion that it literally resembled a soap opera far more than a news report, prompting widespread ridicule. For months, Brazil’s top four newsmagazines have devoted cover after cover to inflammatory attacks on Dilma and Lula, usually featuring ominous photos of one or the other and always with a strikingly unified narrative.”—The Intercept

              TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                  AWARENESS VIDEO                  


http://humansarefree.com/search/label/Documentaries – For those with a clearly articulated world view that is rational and defensible, a treasure chest of titles, that cover just about any topical arena imaginable, all of which are free, at the same time that for the more tentative sojourner, one whose awareness is still so amorphous as to amount to little more than doing as instructed, these titles and stories may prove unsettling, discomfiting, even horrifying, none of which, however, counters the actual presence here of dozens of opportunities for enlightenment, entertainment, astonishment, and more.


student writing arm


Eastern Iowa Review is calling for submissions of lyric or experimental/hybrid essays.

Alice James Books will be accepting queries for the AJB Translation Series―to be reviewed by the Translation Committee―between the months of September and March only. Queries sent outside of the reading period will not be answered.

All manuscripts must be complete at the time of query submission.

The Masters Review is accepting submissions of fiction and narrative nonfiction for Volume V of their anthology. Ten writers will be awarded $500 each. The judge is Amy Hempel.

pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


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3.30.2016 Daily Links

          BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW          

!!  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/31/health/abortion-pill-mifeprex-ru-486-fda.html  – An absolutely essential piece of -pro-choice women abortioninformation about what the United States might yet become, which is to say not a fascist kleptocracy, in the form of a breaking news update from the New York Times about the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to update its protocols on a popular prescription abortifacient, which will disallow the actions of the Nazis in places like Texas and Ohio, who still believe that they can criminalize sex and pregnancy, as well as its end, with impunity.

                    This Day in History                  

doctor dr medical stethoscope
Today in the United States marks a commemoration of ‘Doctor’s Day,’ while Palestinians and Israelis of conscience celebrate Land Day;
on the Balkan boundaries that separated ‘barbarians’ from ‘civilized’ Byzantines one thousand four hundred seventeen years ago, Slavic Avars, suffering from a plague epidemic, lifted their siege of a Byzantine fortified town at Tomis; eleven hundred forty-eight years later, in 1746, a male child entered the world in standard fashion who would become the genius of art and expression, Francisco Goya; exactly two centuries and a single year before today, Joachim Murat published the Rimini Proclamation, which was one predecessor to moves later in the century for Italian unification; seven years hence, in 1822, having recently purchased the land South of Georgia from Spain, the United States formed the Florida Territory; two decades thereafter, in 1842, a Georgia surgeon by the name of Crawford Long first used ether anesthesia in an

CC BY-NC by Gilberto Viciedo

operation; two years after that exact juncture, in 1844, across the Atlantic in France, an infant male came into the world who would grow up as wild poet Paul Verlaine;just shy of a decade beyond that, also in France in 1853, the baby boy was born who would mature as the icon of art and soul, Vincent Van Gogh; two years subsequently, across the wide Atlantic in 1855, Missouri pro-slavery gangs swept into Kansas and ‘encouraged’ the election of a pro-slavery legislature; three hundred sixty-six days closer to the current day, in 1856, across the Atlantic in France once more, combatants in the Crimean conflict of the day signed an accord to end their warfare with the Treaty of Paris; another eight years forward in time, in 1864, a German male child took a breath en route to a life as the social theorist and analyst of state formation, Franz Oppenheimer; three years more proximate to the present, in 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward finalized the purchase of Alaska from Russia for roughly two pennies per acre, or $7.2 million; three years after that juncture, in 1870, Texas gained readmission to the Union; another decade and a half onward in time and space,England and Russia nearly went to war over Afghanistan after the Battle for Kushka instigated the so-called Panjdeh Incident, in a conflict redolent of much of the past three and a half decades in the same region; five years beyond that, in 1890, a baby boy was born who would become French author Jean Giono; nine years more proximate to the present, in 1899, the German Society of Chemistry invited other nations to appoint representatives to an international conference on atomic weights; a thousand four hundred sixty days yet later on, in 1904, a male child came along who would become popular writer of musical verse Countee Cullen; double that length of time into the future, in 1912, Morocco became a French protectorate and extended the European Imperial Project through the Treaty of Fez; a single year past that juncture, in 1913, a male American was born who would enjoy long life and fame as the performer and lyricist Frankie Lane; five years subsequently, in 1918, as part of the Russian Revolution, a violent uprising affected much of Baku and surrounding areas, and stockyard workers in Chicago won the eight hour day; a dozen years subsequently on the dot, in 1930, close to 40,000 distressed workers rallied in New York’s Union Square, only to face police harassment and beatings; seven years yet nearer to now, in 1937, a baby boy was born who would make and act in films as Warren Beatty; two years farther down the pike, in 1939, the first issue of what would become the Batman comic series was available for sale; another year thereafter, in 1940, Japan declared Nanking the ‘capital’ of its conquests in China; half a decade after that moment in time, in 1945, a male infant uttered his first cry who would croon and play guitar as Eric Clapton;Icelandic residents of Reykjavik another four years in the direction of today rioted against their country’s joining NATO; a dozen years in the future, in 1961,  the United States imposed a single convention on narcotic drugs in New drug drugs bannerYork City, further solidifying the political economy and police state protocols of what would soon enough become the ‘War on Drugs;’exactly a year afterward, in 1962, the male infant opened his eyes who would rise as the powerful rapper, MC Hammer; an additional seven hundred thirty-one days along time’s march, in 1964, a baby girl drew her first breath who would continue on to write and sing as Tracy Chapman;a year beyond that, around the world in Saigon in 1965, a car bomb exploded in front of the U.S. embassy, foreshadowing the expanding carnage on its way in Indochina; poet Jean Toomer two years still more along time’s road, in 1967, had his final day alive; another three years henceforth, in 1970, the United States finally passed a reasonably comprehensive Coal Mine Health and Safety Act; half a dozen years thereafter, in 1976, the first Land Day celebration took place in Israel & Palestine; three years afterward, in 1979, a little girl was born whose destiny was prodigal, as the singer and lyrical genius Norah Jones; two years subsequent to that, in 1981, the son of close friends of the Bush family shot and wounded Ronald Reagan; a quarter century and a year back, union leader Harry Bridges drew his last breath; fourteen years still closer to the current conjunction, in 2004, English journalist Alistair Cooke spent his last day on Earth; seven hundred and thirty days beyond that point, in 2006, Irish author John McGahern took his final breath; four years following that, in 2010, Bolivian educator Jaime Escalante died.

                A Thought for the Day                

art-Matisse dance joyTo dance through life represents one way of articulating our duty as living creatures who have had the supreme good fortune to land a part in the ongoing tragicomedy that is human existence—after giving a chance for the expression and performance of all that is possible, few are the conscious souls who would elect never to have had a mother who bore them squalling into the world amid blood and pain and glorious ecstasy: in this regard, whether one’s preference gravitates toward tango or waltz or two-step, the way to shake a tail feather through the days and nights of whatever span that destiny deigns, and joyously partake of all that is here and now to experience, is to have a partner with whom to share the glories and agonies, with whom to share a bed and all that love can yield together.

                  Quote of the Day                       
“We have been led as the hip hop generation.  We have been once again led by people who are under qualified.  It’s like they just got a pair of new jeans…(that) (t)hey just started wearing them their belt 2 months ago.
(About all that), we have to realize the truth about the person who is a hip-hop insider.  Most of these people are not really insiders.  They are people who are chosen to do an interview and they will make a statement and say that they are a part of the hip-hop culture, but from an intellectual standpoint, they are not very sharp, because back in ‘1990..’91 one would criticize somebody for doing one type of commercial and say that’s not real hip-hop and then another rapper turns around and sell them malt liquor and say that’s real hip hop.
         (Similarly),Hollywood is in the perception business where you create layers to create mystery.  In Silicon Valley it’s about taking away the layers to get to the substance. …(So what it comes down to?)  (F)ollow who you want to follow.  It depends on what your fantasies are.  You understand?  People have different fantasies in life.  The suburban culture…(they) (a)lways dream of being gangstas.”  MC Hammer

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SEARCHDAYunions organizing "twenty first century" OR contemporary crisis OR difficulty OR struggle OR cooptation OR diversion strategy tactics analysis OR explication history OR origins radical OR marxist  = 673,000 Connections.

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https://www.socialeurope.eu/2016/03/bernie-slanders-how-the-democratic-party-establishment-suffocates-progressive-change/  – In relation to the ongoing ‘drama’ of the primary phase of America’s quadrennial Presidential election circus, a few citations that contrast the two remaining Democrats in the race, commentary that basically doesn’t appear in corporate sources at all, but which various grassroots outlets do deign to ponder, a Social Europe installment to start about the way that the Democratic Party ‘leadership’ has coalesced around crushing Bernie Sanders’ campaign and pushing Hillary Clinton as the real choice of real Democrats, whatever the opinions of democrats might be, an assessment of matters that fits with a plethora of recent pieces, for example an item from PaulCraig Roberts that views the Clintons’ campaign as a criminal coup aimed at the White House; for example a passionate and incisive briefing by Ian Welsh that indicts Hillary Clinton as a monster; for example a pair of analyses about the recent establishment love fest that took place at the American Israeli Political Action Committee meeting, which as Telesur points out Bernie Sanders elected to skip, but which, as DailyKos reports, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton attended in order to deliver almost exactly the same presentation of empire and apartheid and triumphalist fascism, both of which ‘brought down the house,’ as it were, an overview of which is possible to gain by listening to Abby Martin interview Noam Chomsky for her Empire Files program, which is widely available on other sites than its home at TeleSur, an analysis that scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens both ought to attend carefully, about the only possible source of actual transformation, building a movement: “The Democratic Party establishment has recently found itself discomforted by Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign to return the party to its modern roots of New Deal social democracy.  The establishment’s response has included a complex coupling of elite media and elite economics opinion aimed at promoting an image of Sanders as an unelectable extremist with unrealistic economic policies.

from Social Europe

The response provides a case study showing how the Party suffocates progressive change.  Every progressive knows about the opposition and tactics of the Republican Party.  Less understood are the opposition and tactics of the Democratic Party establishment.  Speaking metaphorically, that establishment is a far lesser evil, but it may also be a far greater obstacle to progressive change.

(Joining Paul Krugman’s analytically dubious and uniformly unprincipled attacks on the Senator from Vermont), (t)he slamming of Sanders has also been joined by a gang of past Democratic appointee Chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers.  In an open letter co-addressed to Senator Sanders, Messrs. Kruger, Goolsbee, Romer and Tyson mauled a favorable empirical assessment of Sanders’ economic program conducted by Professor Gerald Friedman.  Without any detailed independent assessment, they simply declared the assessment unsupported by the ‘economic evidence.’

(As in the case of other Ivy League so-called critics), (t)here is legitimate room for intellectual difference.  What is so stunning is the tone of the critique and the fact it sought to diminish an important policy (fiscal stimulus) just because Sanders was using it to his political advantage.  Given their elite professional standing and easy access to elite media, these attacks quickly ramified throughout the mainstream media, illustrating how the elite media – elite opinion nexus works.  The slamming of Sanders reflects an enduring status quo defense mechanism which usually begins with allegations of extremism, then mixes in charges of lack of qualification and realism, and ends with assertions of un-electability.  It is applied in both political and public intellectual life.

November will be a time for Democratic voters to come together to stop whoever the Republicans nominate.  In the meantime, there is a big lesson to be learned.  Today, the status quo defense mechanism has been used to tarnish Bernie Sanders: tomorrow it will, once again, be used to rule out progressive policy personnel and options.  Progressives must surface the obstruction posed by the Democratic Party establishment.  Primaries are prime time to do that, which means there is good reason for Sanders’ campaign to continue.”—Social Europe

Bernie Sanders has been vague on his position toward Israel in the past. | Photo: EFE This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: “http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Sanders-Skips-AIPAC-Criticizes-Absurd-Israeli-Occupation-20160322-0003.html”. If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english

“Has any American previously been able to run for the presidential nomination while being under investigation by the FBI for security violations?  That Hillary Clinton so easily escapes accountability indicates the immunity of those who serve the deep state.  And serve the deep state the Clintons certaintly do as is indicated by the $153 million in ‘speaking fees’—read bribes and payoffs—that CNN and Fox News report the Clintons have been paid by Wall Street, the mega-banks, and corporate America.   This sum does not include campaign donations or donations to the Clintons’ foundation.

Despite the appearance of blatant corruption, Hillary is in the lead for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.  Either American voters are inured to political corruption or something else is going on.  Stephen Lendman reports that Hillary, aided and abeted by the Democratic Party and election officials, is ‘winning’ primaries through fraud.

‘(Amid coin-flip victories and rotten ballot-box benefits that Clinton has gotten), (a) Clinton presidency is the worst of all possible outcomes, a greater nuclear war risk with her in power than any previous nuclear age US leader – especially with neocons infesting Washington, anti-Russian/anti-Chinese sentiment pervasive.  America wants unchallenged world dominance.  Achieving it depends on eliminating both global rivals – by color revolutions or war, the latter risking nuclear confrontation, madness endangering humanity’s survival.

(The ‘fix’ in Arizona was especially blatant and fetid). In the 2012 primary, Maricopa County, Arizona (Phoenix the county seat) with over four million of the state’s 6.8 million population had 200 polling places, 60 on March 22.  The outcome was predictable, rigged to assure Clinton won.  With 1% of the vote counted, media scoundrels declared her victory – thousands still in line unable to vote.  Was Sanders denied victory rightfully his?  In 2008, turnout was 250,000, on March 22 just 83,000. …’
(All of these machinations emanate from plutocratic hegemons, whose only criteria are profits and power). The oligarchs are as insouciant as the voters themselves if the oligarchs intend to put into the presidency a warmonger who has declared the President of Russia to be ‘the new Hitler.’  There is no greater irresponsibility than to aid and abet conflict between heavily armed nuclear powers.  Instead of a warmonger, the United States needs a president who will join with Vladimir Putin in working for peace and cooperation.  The fate of the world is at stake.”—PaulCraigRoberts

              TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                  AWARENESS VIDEO                  


https://vimeo.com/154925564  –  For any scrappy scribe or stalwart citizen who believes that all projects to increase human knowledge are not only worthy but also critically important, a trailer to a film that explores the corporate-sponsored attack on higher education in the United States, a thesis that this documentary proves with evidence from top-tier academics themselves, and a dip into the copious sea of data that elucidate this hypothesis as well.


student writing arm


Hill House Artist Residencies

East Jordan, Michigan
Application Deadline:
April 1, 2016
E-mail address:

The Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (ISLAND) offers year-round residencies of two to four weeks to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers at the Hill House, located near the Mackinaw State Forest in East Jordan, Michigan. Residents are provided with a semi-secluded private cabin with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, work space, a back porch, a full kitchen, and food supplies. For residencies from June to November, submit a writing sample of 10 to 20 pages, an artist statement, and contact information for three references with a $25 application fee by April 1. Visit the website for an application and complete guidelines.


Banipal Trust for Arab Literature

Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation

March 31, 2016

A prize of £3,000 (approximately $4,470) is given annually for a book of poetry or fiction translated from Arabic into English and published for the first time in English during the previous year. Translations of Arabic works of poetry or fiction originally published in 1967 or later are eligible. Publishers may submit five copies of a book published between April 1, 2015, and March 31, 2016, with three copies of the original work by March 31. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

Passaic County Community College

Paterson Fiction Prize

April 1, 2016

A prize of $1,000 is given annually for a novel or short story collection published in the previous year. Publishers may submit two copies of a book published in 2015 by April 1. There is no entry fee. Send an SASE, call, or visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines.

pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


Freelance Editors for Scholarly Materials Tricities TN

compensation: varies
employment type: contract

Currently seeking experienced freelance editors for scholarly book-length manuscripts using the Chicago Manual of Style.Candidates must have a minimum of 1–2 years of university press copyediting experience or its equivalent; proficient knowledge of electronic copyediting in Word; BA/BS from accredited 4-year college or university. 

Technical Writer Greenville TN

compensation: $20 – $25/hour
employment type: contract

Upstate company in need of Contract/Temporary Technical Writer for 6+ month assignment. This is a great opportunity for a qualified individual.The Technical Writer is part of the Manufacturing team and is responsible for organizing, writing, editing, laying out and producing the Assembly Standard Work documentation. In addition, the Technical Writer will encourage others to discover, develop and apply their talents enabling them to reach their full potential. Actively engages in our Lean journey by building and acting on continuous improvement and development opportunities.
Monarch Investment Denver CO

Monarch Investment and Management Group is looking for a technical writer to review, organize, consolidate and produce a finished version of company operational policy and procedures manuals from approximately 750+/- pages of various current policy and procedure documents.

Full time preferred but would consider part time if the main project can be completed within a reasonable time period.

Preferred applicant to be located in Northern Colorado or Denver Colorado but would consider remote contractor.


Conscience Moment for Ex Bush Official

A Salon article that looks at the words of defector from the Bush machine, sharing thoughts on what alternate and international media and organizations have been saying for years: “As the former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Wilkerson played an important role in the George W. Bush administration. In the years since, however, the former Bush official has established himself as a prominent critic of U.S. foreign policy.

“I think Smedley Butler was onto something,” explained Lawrence Wilkerson, in an extended interview with Salon.”

CC BY-NC by caseorganic

Bloated Ads

A Wall Street Journal post by those who know better that states the blame of media-industry-destroying ad-blockers are caused by media itself: “According to many publishers, ad agencies consistently produce oversized, tracking-laden digital ad files and often deliver them at the last minute without enough time for publishers to push back. This behavior is contributing to how slowly some Web pages are loading, encouraging the growing use of ad-blocking software among consumers, they argue.

The Great Liberal Sellout

A book review of a tome by a very talented writer who understands and shares with readers the realities that have brought us Trump: “Listen, Liberal is, in a sense, a history of how, from the Clintonesque 1990s on, the Democratic Party managed to ditch the working class (hello, Donald Trump!) and its New Deal tradition, throw its support behind a rising “professional” and technocratic class, and go gaga over Wall Street and those billionaires to come. In the process, its leaders fell in love with Goldman Sachs and every miserable trade pact that hit town, led the way in deregulating the financial system, and helped launch what Frank terms “the greatest wave of insider looting ever seen”; the party, that is, went Silicon Valley and left Flint, Michigan, to the Republicans.”

Media Rejection

A Tele Sur article whose astute thinkers identify the censorious source of the desire of newly neoliberal Argentine president to cut off progressive media: “The regional Latin American and Caribbean integration body ALBA has rejected Argentine President Mauricio Macri’s efforts to cut ties with teleSUR and effectively remove the station from the air, criticizing the move as politically motivated censorship of the outlet founded by former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.”

palestine israelMore Pandering to Israel

A Counter Punch look at another moment of pandering to Israel by a writer who understands the implications: “But Mrs. Clinton’s speech was newsworthy for its moral obtuseness and the way in which it promised unilateral White House belligerence should she become president. A reader would never know that her condemnation of Palestinian terrorism omitted any reference to the fact that Israel is the occupier of what is left of Palestinian lands, colonizing them, seizing their water and land, brutalizing the natives and continuing the selective blockade of Gaza, the world’s largest Gulag ever since Israel closed its last colony there in 2005.”

WRISSNoble Commons Goals

A Shareable article that looks at Creative Commons attempts to make the world a better place: Creative Commons, the nonprofit organization that enables millions of people to share billions of creative works through a suite of free licenses, recently released its 2016-2020 organizational strategy. The goal of the strategy is to “foster a vibrant, usable, and collaborative global commons, powered by an engaged community of creators, curators, and users of content, knowledge, and data.””

Finding the Non Fiction Muse

A Lit Hub post that humorously explores that dark place between ideas, and that looks at what drives nonfiction writers: “Why this is such a struggle for me, I have no clue. You would think it would be the most pleasant of times, to be between books, sitting in the sun with bees flitting to and fro in my Seattle yard, sipping a cup of tea with a notebook open in my lap, periodically jolting forward to write down my latest bit of brilliance until I have filled an entire page with ideas that I cannot wait to explore, a satisfied life-is-good grin on my face.

When I am between books, however, that is not how my day goes. My day is darker. The bees are yellow jackets. I become snappish, pissy, annoying to be around.”


CC BY by Brett Jordan

Queen of Soul

A wonderful and thorough biographical piece from The New York Times discussing the historied, tumultous and iconic life of a soul superstar:  ““I think of Aretha as Our Lady of Mysterious Sorrows,” Wexler wrote in his memoirs. “Her eyes are incredible, luminous eyes covering inexplicable pain. Her depressions could be as deep as the dark sea. I don’t pretend to know the sources of her anguish, but anguish surrounds Aretha as surely as the glory of her musical aura.””


Imprisoned Journalist

A Salon post that looks at the fate of a journalist in America’s ally country: “Close U.S. ally Saudi Arabia sentenced prominent journalist Alaa Brinji to five years in prison for a series of pro-human rights tweets, according to a report by Amnesty International.

The Saudi absolute monarchy found the journalist guilty on March 24 of “insulting the rulers,” “inciting public opinion,” “ridiculing Islamic religious figures” and “accusing security officers of killing protestors.””

GENISSOccupying the Black Space

A Good post that looks at the politics and aesthetics of occupying a public space – the street: “I write. I argue. I’m equipped to analyze Pope.L generously, across disciplines and through time. There’s the artist as a darkly comic Sisyphus, some assessment of the artist’s inheritance of protest choreography, another one interpreting The Great White Way as grotesque flânerie. I choose the latter.”

3.29.2016 Daily Links

          BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW          


http://www.globalresearch.ca/isis-expands-in-southeast-asia/5517280  –  One of SouthFront’s densely packed briefings, plus a two minute video, which Global Research make available to its readers, a presentation that details the collapse of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq & Syria and its operatives’ concomitant scurrying about for places to light, places where they can work their imperial, aristocratic, fascistic agendas on the world, in this case in Southeast Asia.

                    This Day in History                  

One millennium, five centuries, and fourteen years ago, a pagan king in what is now France issued a codex that mandated the same laws and treatment for Gallo-Romans as for Burgundians; nine hundred twenty-eight years subsequent to that date, in 1430, the early Ottoman rule flexed its muscles with the capture of

Thessalonica from the crumbling Byzantium; two hundred eight years onward in time, in 1638, Swedish immigrants became the first residents of Delaware in British North America;two hundred forty-four years ahead of our day in time, the esteemed Swedish thinker and scientist and scion of great wealth, Emanuel Swedenborg, passed out of this life; three decades and four years subsequently, in 1806, the United States authorized construction of the Cumberland Road, a Great National Pike that marked the beginning of the American love affair with highways; precisely two decades past that point, in 1826, a baby boy cried out en route to a life as the journalist, revolutionary, and thinker, Wilhelm Liebknecht; five years later, in 1831, to the South of Europe, Bosniaks precipitated a massive Balkan and Bosnian uprising against imperial Turkey’s Ottoman rule; sixteen years beyond that juncture, in 1847, Westward over the Atlantic, the United States furthered its imperial designs on the continent with a victory over the Mexicans in the siege of Veracruz; two years hence and half a world away, in 1849,England increased its stranglehold on the Indian Subcontinent with the annexation of Punjab; three more years along time’s arc, in 1852, around the globe again, the State of Massachusetts passed legislation that limited women’s and children’s hours at work to ten hours a day; a half decade further along, in 1857, back in India, the British nearly lost control of their ‘possession’ when Bengali imperial troops rose up and initiated the bloody and protracted Sepoy rebellion; one hundred thirty-seven years back,England’s round-the-clock empire expanded further with the defeat of a force of 20,000 or more Zulu fighters in the Anglo-Zulu War’s Battle of Kambula; three years afterward, in 1882, seven thousand miles Northwest, the Knights of Columbus started out as a small Catholic fraternal organization that sought to provide practical assistance to poor, often immigrant papists; in a backyard almost a thousand miles South in Georgia four years yet later on, in 1886, Dr. John Pemberton brewed the first batch of Coca Cola; three decades thereafter, in 1916, a male child entered our midst in standard fashion on his way to life as the poet and politician of human progress, Eugene McCarthy; thirteen years more down the pike, in 1929, the boy infant opened his eyes who would rise as the monumental radical biologist, Richard Lewontin; seven years nearer to now, across the ocean in Germany in 1936, Adolf Hitler received well over 99% of the vote in a referendum about the German reannexation of the Rhineland, an abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles; another fourteen hundred sixty-one days subsequent to that exact moment, in 1940, many thousands of miles Southwest in Brazil, a baby girl sang out who would mature as the magnificent

CC BY-NC by lee.chihwei

songwriter and singer, Astrud Gilberto; an extra year henceforth, in 1941, the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement took effect and organized a ‘free-trade-area’ for broadcasting on the continent; half a dozen years still closer to today, in 1947, African residents of Madagascar rebelled against French rule in the Malagasy Uprising; another year additionally in the direction of now, in 1948, unionized financial workers caused the ‘Battle of Wall Street’ with their decision to lie down at the entrance to the stock exchange, the first and only strike against Wall Street by financial sector workers; three years past that, on the dot, a jury sealed the fates of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg by finding them guilty of conspiring to commit espionage in order to obtain atomic secrets for the Soviet Union; a decade hence, in 1961, the Twenty-third Amendment to the Constitution took effect, permitting residents of the District of Columbia to vote for the first time; three hundred sixty-five days more along time’s path, in 1962, thousands of miles South in Argentina, military plotters overthrew a democratically elected president who was too liberal and nationalist in order to

"SIG Pro by Augustas Didzgalvis"
“SIG Pro by Augustas Didzgalvis”

install a junta of pro-business and pro-American militarist gangsters; nine years on the nose farther in the future, in 1971, Lieutenant William Calley received a life sentence following his court martial conviction for carrying out mass murder against civilians at My Lai, Vietnam; two years afterward, in 1973, the final ‘combat troops’ in Vietnam abandoned the attempt to stop North Vietnam’s fight to control its own and its country’s future; eight more years nearer to now, in 1981, the renowned radical, philosopher, political economist, and practical politician, Eric Williams, lived out his final day; nine more years forward from that instant in space and time, in 1990, Czechs debated what to call their newly ‘liberated’ country, the so-called “hyphen wars;” yet another nine years past that day, in 1999, the Dow Jones Stock Exchange closing tally rose above 10,000 dollars for the first time, as the dot-com bubble got closer and closer to bursting; three years still later, in 2002, the Israeli Defense Force launched a massive incursion into the West Bank, “Operation Defensive Shield,” following Passover bombings by Palestinian militants; another two years more proximate to the present point, in 2004, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and five other former Warsaw pact nations joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, completely reneging on the U.S. promises to the Soviets that a dismantling of their alliance would not result in NATO’s moving “a single inch Eastward” toward Russia.

                A Thought for the Day                

Lyrics to "Solidarity Forever" from UE song book, 1952 (Helen Quirini Papers)
Lyrics to “Solidarity Forever” from UE song book, 1952 (Helen Quirini Papers)

What no politician can promise, as those with even a hint of honesty bend over backwards to affirm repeatedly, is the achievement of ends that only the power of an organized populace—which is to say an interconnected working class; which is to say a ‘solidarity-forever’ proletariat—can accomplish: this means, without reservation, that decent wages, a livable access to air and water and nature, a sustainable and just economy, an end to predation by one people against another, and social equality among all the different cousins of our kind are just a few of the necessary outcomes and survival skills that are ‘do or die’ propositions, the manifestation of which depends utterly on ordinary citizens’ finding ways to interact, and then conjoin their activities, in favor of social justice and social equality, in a word in favor of the socialism that has its one living alternative whatever fascist barbarism the minds of rulers can substitute for democracy and the power of the masses on which it depends.

                  Quote of the Day                       
death skull-Santa-muerte-nlaredo2“The great attraction of cultural anthropology in the past was precisely that it seemed to offer such a richness of independent natural experiments; but unfortunately it is now clear that there has been a great deal of historical continuity and exchange among those ‘independent’ experiments, most of which have felt the strong effect of contact with societies organized as modern states.  More important, there has never been a human society with unlimited resources, of three sexes, or the power to read other people’s minds, or to be transported great distances at the speed of light.  How then are we to know the effect on human social organization and history of the need to scrabble for a living, or of the existence of males and females, or of the power to make our tongues drop manna and so to make the worse appear the better reason?  A solution to the epistemological impotence of social theory has been to create a literature of imagination and logic in which the consequences of radical alterations in the conditions of human existence are deduced.  It is the literature of science fiction. … [S]cience fiction is the laboratory in which extraordinary social conditions, never possible in actuality, are used to illumine the social and historical norm. … Science fiction stories are the Gedanken experiments of social science.
          (This appeal to the fantastical, perhaps, results in part from the fact that) (m)any of the most fundamental claims of science are against common sense and seem absurd on their face.  Do physicists really expect me to accept without serious qualms that the pungent cheese that I had for lunch is really made up of tiny, tasteless, odorless, colorless packets of energy with nothing but empty space between them?  Astronomers tell us without apparent embarrassment that they can see stellar events that occurred millions of years ago, whereas we all know that we see things as they happen. … Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural.  We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.  It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.  Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.  The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything.  To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.
           (Along somewhat similar lines), (t)he social scientist is in a difficult, if not impossible position.  On the one hand there is the temptation to see all of society as one’s autobiography writ large, surely not the path to general truth.  On the other, there is the attempt to be general and objective by pretending that one knows nothing about the experience of being human, forcing the investigator to pretend that people usually know and tell the truth about important issues, when we all know from our lives how impossible that is.  How, then, can there be a ‘social science?’  The answer, surely, is to be less ambitious and stop trying to make sociology into a natural science although it is, indeed, the study of natural objects.  There are some things in the world that we will never know and many that we will never know exactly.  Each domain of phenomena has its characteristic grain of knowability.  Biology is not physics, because organisms are such complex physical objects, and sociology is not biology because human societies are made by self-conscious organisms.  By pretending to a kind of knowledge that it cannot achieve, social science can only engender the scorn of natural scientists and the cynicism of the humanists.”  Richard Lewontin

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SEARCHDAYnato imperialism geopolitics "twenty first century" OR "recent developments" expansion OR intervention OR militarism OR warmongering analysis OR explication history OR origins "hidden agendas" OR subterfuge = 26,300 Junctions.

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http://imperialglobalexeter.com/2016/03/29/indias-war-world-war-ii-and-the-making-of-modern-south-asia/#more-3581  – For the legions of the clueless in ‘the West’ who merely see the Indian Subcontinent as a teeming, eternal morass of poverty and privation and nifty profits now, a tiny bit of orientation from Imperial & Global Forum to the origins of contemporary reality, which, as in so many parts of the world, ends up being a story about World War Two, in this case of the martial, imperial, and social consequences of the war for the British Empire–disintegration and attempted continued divide-and-conquer hegemony–and for the establishment of an independent India, behind the scenes of all of which lurked the ‘energy’ and resources of the U.S.A., a grounding in how the world has come to be that ought to be of particular note in the context, reported here by the Indian-centered Countercurrents, of the recent nuclear reactor accident at the Kakrapar nuclear power station in Gujarat Province next door to Pakistan and across the shortest stretch of the Indian Ocean from Oman, an accident that continues despite being ‘under control’ weeks ago, in an aspect of the Modern Nuclear Project that has long been a centrally desirable piece of U.S. foreign policy in that part of the world: “(Srinath) Raghavan, (whose book, India’s War, is under review), has unearthed, through extensive research, a myriad of facts that have been little-known or completely unknown.  His account, for instance, of the factional reactions in India to the outbreak of World War II and to the Viceroy’s declaration of war on Germany, a declaration made without the consultation of a single Indian, is detailed and groundbreaking.kashmir india asia
Also new, certainly to this reviewer, is the revelation of the importance placed by Churchill and his ministers on American views.  Raghavan makes plain that, from almost the start of the War, each major policy decision regarding India was examined in the light of the effect it would have on American public and political opinion.  The British sensitivity to American pressure could only grow with the inexorable increases in American material and human contributions to the war effort in India.  American involvement, Raghavan makes clear, eventually included the takeover of some of the functions in the vast military base area of Assam and Bengal.  Had it not been for American expertise and energy in running railways, for instance, the buildup of manpower and stores in the areas behind Imphal and Kohima would not have made possible the Indian Army’s successful resistance to the Japanese attack.rect3336 space
Of particular value is the fruit of Raghavan’s research into the economic and social effects of the struggle.  He enumerates the cost to India’s population and economy of the tremendous effort the War involved.  When it ended in 1945, over two half million Indians had borne arms voluntarily.  Over 90,000 of these had been killed or had gone missing in action.  Many millions more had been employed in the war effort, in manufacturing, agriculture, construction, services to the military and transport.  This was a catharsis that transformed the attitudes and expectations of India’s people.  The country itself had become much more urban as masses had flocked to the cities to find work and escape the poverty, rampant inflation and famine that the War brought in its train.rect3336 space
In the process of winning the War, the British Raj finally broke itself.  By its end, Britain was virtually bankrupt and owed India huge sums spent to pay for it.  Politically, the conflict had destroyed the political balances of the interwar years.  The prestige on which the Raj had relied to hold its place in the sun had evaporated.  The Empire was left with no real means left to coerce and in any case its rulers, save for a very few like Churchill, could no longer believe in the justice of coercion.  In all respects, the game was no longer worth the candle.  This made both rapid independence and the creation of Pakistan impossible to avoid, but it also made inevitable the horrors of partition which followed.”—Imperial & Global Forum

“(On the day of the “close thing” mishap), (t)he morning shift starts at 7.  People come, show their gate pass, change their gear, go to the canteen to have breakfast; generally get ready to start working.  In the meantime, two people from chemistry and two from health physics are supposed to collect samples from the operating reactor.  Consequently the reactor building was unoccupied.  This is what the management claims.  I wonder what happened to the four people whose jobs did require them to be present at the time of the accident (9AM) and it is interesting to find that the whole shift takes more than two hours just to get ready for work!rect3336 space
At 9 O’clock pressure in the primary heat transport system (PHTS) suddenly fell.  The people in the control room who tried to remotely see what was happening found themselves unable to make anything out since all they saw in the cameras was a blank wall of steam.  The Loss of Coolant Accident (LOCA) had begun.  The PHWR design that is the mainstay of the Indian nuclear programme is a derivative of the Canadian CANDU design.  It uses natural uranium as fuel and heavy water as both the coolant as well as the moderator.  LOCA is serious in any nuclear reactor, but in a CANDU it can be catastrophic. …(because the water that boils away and disappears is separate from the water that slows down neutrons, so the reactor’s fissioning can continue despite the loss of cooling fluid).

There are two independent shutdown systems that work automatically on a signal from the reactor.  First, there are Cadmium control rods that fall into the reactor and absorb neutrons.  Secondly there is an injection of Lithium pentaborate that is put into the moderator.  Boron is a very effective absorber of neutrons.  In the absence of neutrons the chain reaction comes to a halt.  If both these shutdown systems had not automatically worked for any reason, it would have been goodbye to South Gujarat.  Thankfully both these systems did work and the reactor was shut down.rect3336 space
However, shutting down of the reactor is not the end of the story.  The reactor during its operation produces many fission products.  These fission products continue to give off heat.  The halting of the reactor just puts a stop to the production of new fission products.  It does not in any way affect the heat being given off by the fission products already in existence.  The amount of this heat known as the decay heat is about seven percent of the heat that was being produced while the reactor worked.  Unless this heat is somehow cooled, there can still be a disaster as happened in Fukushima.  Shutdown reactors can and do explode unless cooling continues

. …
(“Of course,” not following the mandated ’emergency plan’), (t)he head of the Department of Atomic Energy Sekhar Basu set a shining example to the rest of the team by saying that ‘radioactivity was confined within the reactor building itself and no radiation escaped outside the plant.’  This despite the fact that venting was done to remove radioactivity from the confines of the containment building.  Radioactive particles in India know their place.  Outside the plant premises they disappear into a dimension undetectable through radiation monitors.  Even ten days after the incident, the accident is not fully under control. …The future implications of this ‘small leak’ are unfortunately many and generally unpleasant to the cushy world of nucleocrats.  First of all they need to unambiguously fix the cause of the break.  Why was there no indication of a leak before the break?  Is their monitoring at fault?  Was the material used in the Zircalloy Niobium tubes up to par?  Or does this same problem exist in all the other CANDU type reactors in India?  And so on and on…What one needs at such a time is a tough regulator who can ask the nuclear establishment to halt operations so that answers to such questions can be explored. …What we have instead is Mr Shiv Abhilash Bharadwaj who made a surprisingly sensible comment when he said that, ‘until the exact cause of the leakage is pinpointed and till AERB is convinced whether the failure is specific to the Kakrapar atomic reactor or is it a generic problem all caution has to be exercised.’  He of course, immediately followed this up saying that ‘As of now he is not ordering an all-out shutdown of Indian heavy water atomic reactors simply because the backup safety systems worked ‘perfectly’ at Kakrapar.’  The country would be safer giving such people money to exercise their gambling skills at established places like Las Vegas or Macau instead of in the AERB office at Mumbai.”—Countercurrents

              TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                  AWARENESS VIDEO                  


https://aeon.co/videos/is-the-population-bomb-real-the-statistician-hans-rosling-says-don-t-panic  –  From a passionate and humble and humorous Scandanavian population biologist, via Aeon, a magnificent interlude of analysis and optimism in regard to the growth of human population, a presentation in which, among many other key insights, one comes to know at the most basic and irrefutable level that empowered women are the core bedrock of a stabilizing and sustainable process of procreation and continuity among our kind.


student writing arm


AWP offers three annual scholarships of $500 each to emerging writers who wish to attend a writers’ conference, center, retreat, festival, or residency. We encourage writers of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction to enter. The scholarships are applied to fees for winners who attend one of the member programs in AWP’s Directory of Conferences & Centers. Winners and six finalists also receive a one-year individual membership in AWP.



Granta accepts submissions between October 1 and April 1. Submissions will close over the Christmas holidays. Please submit in only one category at a time. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry and art will be considered for both our print and online editions, unless you specifically state otherwise in your cover letter. We remain open to submissions of photography and art year-round.

Minetta Review

Minetta Review is a literary and arts publication managed by undergraduate students at New York University. If you are a poet, proser, prose-poet, painter, sculptor, photographer, digital illustrator—otherwise an experimenter of combining word and visual art—Minetta Review staff encourages you to submit your work. Though we are an undergraduate-managed journal, we welcome contributors from all around the world and of all ages.

pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


Chicago – In These Times – In These Times is in search of an editor to join a team that currently includes Editor & Publisher Joel Bleifuss, Executive Editor Jessica Stites, and Associate Editors Micah Uetricht and Rebecca Burns. This is the job for you if: you are an individual who is passionate about progressive politics, good writing, provocative ideas, challenging conventional wisdom and building a society that is devoted to—as our masthead reads—“liberty and justice for all.”

This American Life – New York – The public radio program This American Life is looking for an experienced radio producer with strong reporting skills. What makes This American Life different from most broadcast journalism is that it’s a home for narrative reporting; its stories are organized around plot. They have emotional arcs, strong central characters, surprising twists, funny moments and original ideas. Narratives on the show take many forms: interviews, personal essays, investigative reporting, comedy, fiction and audio diaries. The voice and approach of the show are distinctive enough that the American Journalism Review declared it’s “in the vanguard of a journalistic revolution.”

WCQS – Western North Carolina Public Radio, Inc.

WCQS in Asheville, NC is looking for a digitally savvy News Director to manage the expansion of our news operation across our 13-county coverage area. Our next News Director will have the resources to hire more staff and will participate in the creation of a new news/information channel, which will showcase our increased coverage. We’re looking for a senior journalist committed to diversity with intense curiosity and interests that range from science and technology to history, politics, and culture. This position is for someone who wakes up every day and wants to create highly crafted, feature-length audio pieces for a region where storytelling is at the core of its culture.


Policing Police Outreach

A Truth-Out look at the work of an intrepid group of artists and activists who document the abusive acts of police who don’t allow constututional-rights documenting of police acts: “The third episode of Rights Lab, a groundbreaking web series produced in partnership with Scrappers Film Group and Truthout, uses experiments and performance art to explore the gap between what the law says and how recording law enforcement plays out on the ground. Artists Ricardo Gamboa and Steven Beaudion take to the streets of Chicago to film police in a handful of different situations, with shockingly disparate results.”

Havana market. Julia Dorofeeva/Shutterstock

Killing Sustainable Agriculture

A Counter Currents posting by an astute observer that demonstrates the dire danger for sustainable agriculture when  “Cuba took this approach out of necessity when its economic partner, the Soviet bloc, dissolved in the early 1990s. As a result, Cuban farming has become a leading example of ecological agriculture.

But if relations with U.S. agribusiness companies are not managed carefully, Cuba could revert to an industrial approach that relies on mechanization, transgenic crops and agrochemicals, rolling back the revolutionary gains that its campesinos have achieved.”

Still Relying on Government

A Government Executive look at polls that indicate that even among the most vocal anti-government contingent still balks at the idea of eliminating important government agencies: “Sixty-three percent of respondents to a March poll said they disagreed with a proposal from Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz to get rid of the departments of Commerce, Education, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development; 18 percent favored Cruz-style elimination, and 18 percent stated they didn’t know enough to have an opinion. Poll respondents also rejected the idea of doing away with the Internal Revenue Service, historically one of the least popular federal agencies, especially at this time of year.”

Boston City FlowCities and Suburbs

A New Geography glimpse at the work of scholars who study demographic trends of the past decades, and the way they show varying rates of intra-urban migration: “Critically, the most recent patterns confirm longer-term trends. Most of the cities at the top of the list are also the ones that have been growing fastest since 2000, led by Raleigh, Austin, and Las Vegas. Also in the top 10 since 2000 are the other three big Texas cities, Phoenix, Charlotte, Orlando and one California metro, largely exurban San Bernardino-Riverside. The slowest growth also follow a similar pattern, with Chicago, several Rust Belt cities, as well as Los Angeles and New York, all in the bottom quintile in percentage terms.”

Startup Purgatory

A Fortune magazine article by a candid witness to start-up madness, who shows the depths of awfulness that the free-market fantasy can create: “Later I also will hear a story about janitors coming in one Saturday morning to find the following things in the first-floor men’s room: a bunch of half-empty beers, a huge pool of vomit, and a pair of thong panties. The janitors were not happy. They get even more distressed when, one morning, a twenty-something guy from the HubSpot marketing department arrives wasted and, for reasons unknown, sets a janitor’s cart on fire.”

WRISSFuture of Social Justice Journalism

A Poynter article that asks the questions meant to take social justice journalism to the next level: “As part of Poynter’s ongoing series on social justice journalism leading up to the centennial edition of the Pulitzer Prizes, we asked NPR TV critic Eric Deggans, the author of “Race-Baiter,” about the trajectory of social justice journalism in today’s swiftly changing media landscape.”

Grammar Nazi

A Guardian look at the reasons why grammar obsession can be divided along personality lines: “And that’s how the researchers found that introverts were more likely than extraverts to rate people as poor potential housemates if their spelling or grammar was bad. There were other findings – agreeable people, perhaps unsurprisingly, were easygoing when it came to grammos. Conscientious people tended to see typos as a problem. Levels of neuroticism, oddly enough, didn’t predict any kind of penchant for pet peeves. “


pfunked Deviant Art
pfunked Deviant Art

Journalistic Cannibalism

A Bloomberg Business look into the dire world of the business end of journalism: “Newspapers have settled on a strategy to stop withering away: feast on each other for survival.

For the owners of big-city dailies like the Chicago Tribune and Denver Post, buying smaller publications and slashing costs has become a way to buy time while figuring out how to make more money online. That was the logic behind the recent failed attempt by Tribune Publishing Co., owner of the Los Angeles Times, to buy two Southern California newspapers.”


ISIS and Southern Asia

A Global Research Centre look at ISIS actions in the South East, as it strives to expand its influence: “ISIS is struggling to expand its influence in Southeast Asia amid the dramatic series of loses started with the Russian military operation in Syria. Following the ISIS leadership’s logic, this region such as North Afirca could become a new base of the terror group if it loses the territory in Syria and Iraq. It’s known that from 1000 to 1500 citizens of Malaysia and Indonesia are reportedly joined ISIS and Al Nusra in Syria and Iraq.”

GENISSWhy Nukes Are Still Important

A Digg video posting which ingeniously discusses the reasons  why a global nuclear threat is an everpresent danger: “Yeah, nuclear weapons can cause massive amount of damage with their enormous explosions, and can wipe out millions of lives with their nuclear fallout. But they also can cause something much scarier than either of those things.”

3.28.2016 Daily Links

          BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW          

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/28/world/asia/explosion-lahore-pakistan-park.html?emc=edit_na_20160327&nlid=66212615&ref=headline – One of the relatively few immediate responses from monopoly media about the carnage in Lahore, significantly more devastating and at least as terrifying as what recently transpired in Brussels, with similarities of source and method and personnel a characteristic of the way that present pass intersects with terror and empire and mayhem and the impunity of aristocrats of finance and actual royalty at one and the same instant, an eventuality of murder and depredation that scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens should monitor in relation to what the media does, the nature of propaganda, the imprimatur of geopolitics, and more.

                    This Day in History                  

"Heiwa elementary school 18" by ajari from Japan - cc 2.0
“Heiwa elementary school 18” by ajari from Japan – cc 2.0

Both the Czech Republic and Slovakia today celebrate Spring with Teachers Day; on a path to plutocracy and plunder in Rome nineteen hundred seventy-nine years ago, Caligula availed himself of the title of Principate en route to the dictatorial regime that has ever characterized the imperium; a hundred fifty-six years later, in 193, as if to confirm this point, Praetorian guards murdered Pertinax, whom their charge was to protect, so as to auction off the throne to a higher bidder; another six and a half centuries, plus two years, onward in time and space, in 845, a slightly different sort of imperial bribery transpired when a Viking leader extorted a ransom to discontinue his followers’ sacking of medieval Paris;five hundred thirty-three years before the here and now, the male infant cried out who would mature as the renowned artist and architect, Raphael;three hundred eleven years further onward in time, in 1794, the estimable philosopher and theorist Marquis de Condorcet breathed his last;two decades exactly henceforth, in 1814, British naval forces routed American ships in a battle off the Chilean port of Valparaiso; another forty years past that point in space and time, in 1854, France joined England in declaring war on Russia over Crimea; fourteen years thereafter, in 1868, the baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the esteemed thinker and writer, Maxim Gorky; ten hundred ninety-five days yet later on, in 1871, rebels and their sympathizers established the Paris Commune, in opposition to which the French and German military combatants joined forces; in a precursor of the first Sino French War a dozen years subsequent to those precise space-time coordinates, in 1883, around the globe in Vietnam, French imperial forces won a victory at Gia Cuc on the way to their country’s conquest of Indochina; twenty-six years past that instant, in 1909, around the globe in North America, a male baby bounced into our midst who would become the crafty and popular storyteller and author Nelson Algren; a quarter century nearer to now, in 1934,another baby boy took an initial breath on his way to a life as interlocutor of wealth and environmental causes, Lester Brown; three hundred sixty-five days farther along time’s path, in 1935, St. Louis gas plant workers became the first wage-earners to attempt a strike against a utility company;an additional year after that, in 1936, the male child shouted out whom fate had designated as the writer and Nobel Laureate, Maria Vargas Llosa; three additional years henceforth, in 1939, fascist Spanish forces consolidated their control of the country when they overran Madrid’s defenses after a three year siege; two years more proximate to the present pass, in

CC BY by atelier de betty

1941, the iconic storyteller and feminist thinker, Virginia Woolf, lived out her final passage; another year yet further down the pike, in 1942, a baby boy was born who would rock the worlds of philosophy and criticism as Daniel Dennett; a thousand four hundred sixty-one days subsequently, in 1946, the nascent Atomic Energy Commission issued the critically important Acheson-Lilienthal Report that called for international ‘control’ of nuclear matters under the aegis of the United States government that had just incinerated Hiroshima and Nagasaki; another half decade forwarded toward the future, in 1951, on the other side of the planet, French troops won an initial battle in the First Indochina War against Viet Minh fighters; forty-eight years back, fascist police in Brazil escalated their reign of terror against citizens by shooting down a high school student protester in Rio, under the auspices of a coup-formed government that U.S. establishment leaders fully backed, and Martin Luther King, Jr. led a march of sanitation workers in Memphis to which the police responded with brutal impunity a few days before King died from the bullet of an assassin whom the Federal Bureau of Investigation knew was about to strike; just a single year later, in 1969, Greek poet and Nobel Laureate Giorgos Seferis spoke out on the British Broadcasting Corporation’s World Service against the fascist junta that controlled his country; a year less than a decade afterward to the day, in 1978, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Stump v. Sparkman that provided immunity to judges who issued nuclear radioactivesterilization orders against minors without the youngsters’ consent; a year forward in time precisely, in 1979, the accident at Three Mile Island’s nuclear power plant unfolded on its way to a partial core meltdown, breach of containment, billions of dollars expense, loads of official cover-up, and uninvestigated health consequences; eleven years even closer to now, in 1990, the original Bush President posthumously awarded Olympian Jesse Owens the Congressional Gold Medal; four years more along the temporal arc, in 1994, clashing Zulu and African National Congress combatants in Johannesberg caused the deaths of eighteen citizens, and the master of surrealist drama, Eugene Ianesco, played out his final scene; ten years hence, in 2004, the well-respected performer and screenwriter Peter Ustinov died; seven hundred thirty more days in the direction of today, in 2006, over a million French workers flooded the nation’s highways and byways to protest a regressive new employment law which overturned many workers rights; half a dozen years yet later, in 2012, the popular and potent thinker and writer Harry Crews drew a final breath.

                A Thought for the Day                

The circle of our closest relations, among all the stars and stuff and distances of the vast cosmos, includes essentially almost all of the living beings on this fair orb where we live—after all, even slime mold and bakers’ yeast share many of the same key protein synthesizing and deployment functions on their DNA that Homo Sapiens rely on in their own biological chains of life and being—and, closer to home the actual cousins who make up the human race, the only racial thinking about ourselves that is better than ludicrous, prove that the human family is precisely that, so that those who would propagate one set of kin over others don’t understand, or don’t care, or in fact hope that in electing such a discriminatory path the result will be vile and violent conflict among a bunch of kinfolk whose fates are the destiny of a family whose future hopes and dreams and possibly salubrious outcomes intertwine as closely as do those of  a mother with the child at her breast.

                  Quote of the Day                       

“I belong to a small country.  A rocky promontory in the Mediterranean, it has nothing to distinguish it but the efforts of its people, the sea, and the light of the sun.  It is a small country, but its tradition is immense and has been handed down through the centuries without interruption.  The Greek language has never ceased to be spoken.  It has undergone the changes that all living things experience, but there has never been a gap.   This tradition is characterized by love of the human; justice is its norm.  In the tightly organized classical tragedies the man who exceeds his measure is punished by the Erinyes.  And this norm of justice holds even in the realm of nature.

"Kylix by Makron Mainade Satyros Staatliche Antikensammlungen 480BC Kat 94 02"
“Kylix by Makron Mainade Satyros Staatliche Antikensammlungen 480BC Kat 94 02”

‘Helios will not overstep his measure,’ says Heraclitus, ‘otherwise the Erinyes, the ministers of Justice, will find him out.’  A modern scientist might profit by pondering this aphorism of the Ionian philosopher.  I am moved by the realization that the sense of justice penetrated the Greek mind to such an extent that it became a law of the physical world.  One of my masters exclaimed at the beginning of the last century, ‘We are lost because we have been unjust.’  He was an unlettered man, who did not learn to write until the age of thirty-five.  But in the Greece of our day the oral tradition goes back as far as the written tradition, and so does poetry.  I find it significant that Sweden wishes to honour not only this poetry, but poetry in general, even when it originates in a small people.  For I think that poetry is necessary to this modern world in which we are afflicted by fear and disquiet.  Poetry has its roots in human breath – and what would we be if our breath were diminished?  Poetry is an act of confidence – and who knows whether our unease is not due to a lack of confidence?
Last year, around this table, it was said that there is an enormous difference between the discoveries of modern science and those of literature, but little difference between modern and Greek dramas.  Indeed, the behaviour of human beings does not seem to have changed.  And I should add that today we need to listen to that human voice which we call poetry, that voice which is constantly in danger of being extinguished through lack of love, but is always reborn.  Threatened, it has always found a refuge; denied, it has always instinctively taken root again in unexpected places.  It recognizes no small nor large parts of the world; its place is in the hearts of men the world over.  It has the charm of escaping from the vicious circle of custom.  I owe gratitude to the Swedish Academy for being aware of these facts; for being aware that languages which are said to have restricted circulation should not become barriers which might stifle the beating of the human heart; and for being a true Areopagus, able ‘to judge with solemn truth life’s ill-appointed lot,’ to quote Shelley, who, it is said, inspired Alfred Nobel, whose grandeur of heart redeems inevitable violence.

Pippa Wilson / Flickr
Pippa Wilson / Flickr

In our gradually shrinking world, everyone is in need of all the others.  We must look for man wherever we can find him.  When on his way to Thebes Oedipus encountered the Sphinx, his answer to its riddle was: ‘Man.’  That simple word destroyed the monster.  We have many monsters to destroy.  Let us think of the answer of Oedipus. – Giorgios Seferis

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https://www.edge.org/conversation/rebecca_newberger_goldstein-the-mattering-instinct  – From the inveterate proponents of reason and dialog at Edge, another “Conversation” with an otherwise unheralded genius, who delivers a soulful and brilliant disquisition–at once disquieting and uplifting–about the true differences between science and religion and why any hope for a moral life or an ethical society requires philosophical discourse and not merely a commitment to scientific methods and rationale, a beautiful and necessary narrative that complements a recently presented essay from BrainPickings about maintaining hope in dark times; that engages the effort that Atlantic has just made available in a piece on differentiating humans and robots; that intersects palpably with a current installment  from the Farnham Street Blog about the art of negotiation, and that, for good measure, also dovetails with a new graphical interface from High Existence about Isaac Asimov’s commitment to learning as if one would never die: “But here’s the thing.  There are certain statements that we make about ourselves that are already ‘ought’ statements and that are impossible to live without, and certain consequences follow from that.  My claim is that yes, there are ‘ought’ statements among our premises, but those are ‘ought’ statements that make living coherently possible, and so we’re as entitled to assume them as we are, say, the Law of Non-Contradiction, which also can’t be independently justified.  Any attempt at justification is going to end in circularity.  If a coherent life requires certain presumptions that are so constitutive of coherence that they can’t be justified then that’s justification enough.  Skepticism about them is a kind of hollow pose.  The kind of ‘ought’ statements I have in mind concern the commitment to our own lives mattering.

To presume that one matters isn’t to presume that you matter to the universe, nor is it to presume that you matter more than others.  There have been philosophers who asserted that some—for example, people of genius—absolutely matter more than others.  Nietzsche asserted this.  He said, for example, that all the chaos and misery of the French Revolution was justified because it brought forth the genius of Napoleon.  The only justification for a culture, according to Nietzsche, is that it fosters a person who bears all the startling originality of a great work of art.  All the non-originals—which are, of course, the great bulk of us—don’t matter.  Nietzsche often refers to them as ‘the botched and the bungled.’  According to Nietzsche there is an inequitable distribution of mattering.   But I neither mean to be asserting anything religious nor anything Nietzsche-like in talking about our mattering instinct.  I reject the one as firmly as the other.  In fact, I would argue that the core of the moral point of view is that there is an equitable distribution of mattering among humans.  To the extent that any of us matters–and just try living your life without presuming that you do—we all equally matter.

(This truly is instinctual, an adaptation that natural selection has in fact selected).  (For my part), I’m particularly interested in the ways in which the mattering instinct can go terribly wrong—not only psychologically but ethically.  The mattering instinct is so strong in us, and our tendency to want to justify our own mattering is so persistent that it leads us to universalize what individually matters to us into dicta about what ought to matter to everybody.  This is a tendency that ought to be resisted.  When you figure out what matters to you and what makes you feel like you’re living a meaningful life, you universalize this.  Say I’m a scientist and all my feelings about my own mattering are crystalized around my life as a scientist.  It’s quite natural to slide from that into thinking that the life of science is the life that matters.  Why doesn’t everybody get their sense of meaning from science?  That false universalizing takes place quite naturally, imperceptibly, being unconsciously affected by the forces of the mattering map.  In different people the need to justify their own sense of mattering slides into the religious point of view and they end up concluding that, without a God to justify human mattering, life is meaningless: Why doesn’t everybody see that the life that matters is the life of religion?  That’s false reasoning about mattering as well.  These are the things I’m thinking about: What’s justified by the mattering instinct, which itself cannot and need not be justified, and what isn’t justified by it.

(My view of this matter of mattering as an evolutionary issue) leads me to the question of the relationship between science and philosophy and why I think it’s incumbent on me, in laying out my mattering theory, which is ultimately a normative position, to reconcile it with evolutionary biology.  It’s incumbent on all philosophers to keep abreast of science, especially as it impinges on the questions that they’re thinking about.  The picture of philosophers as scientifically ignorant, or even scientifically hostile, is one that’s foreign to philosophy as I know it.  It’s foreign, at least, to analytic philosophy.  In fact, if I had to define analytic philosophy—which is the dominant approach in both England and the United States—I’d say that at least part of its definition lies in the close relationship it sees between science and philosophy.  A great many of the questions it takes up are conceptual quandaries thrown up by scientific progress, and sometimes, in turn, its own conceptual analyses help further scientific progress.  Given this orientation, and as I say it’s the dominant one in Anglo-American philosophy, it’s incumbent on philosophers to be scientifically literate.  In fact, most of the philosophers I respect keep abreast of science.  Many, for example, of the leading philosophers of physics—Tim Maudlin and Dave Albert—have doctorates in physics and they publish in physics as well as in philosophy.  Science is science and philosophy is philosophy, and it takes a philosopher to do the demarcation.  How does science differ from philosophy?  That’s not a scientific question.  In fact, what science is is not itself a scientific question; what science is is the basic question in the philosophy of science, or at least the most general one.

(Science as a collection of tools and approaches notwithstanding, scientists need also to pay attention to philosophy: Einstein did).  Einstein is putting into modern language questions that Spinoza had confronted, and Einstein buys into Spinoza’s fundamental intuition—and it really is the fundamental intuition running throughout the Ethics, the intuition that puts the ontos into the logos—that the universe ultimately explains itself.  When Hawking says at the end of A Brief History of Time, in that last paragraph, something along the lines of ‘Were we to see this, then we would know the mind of God,’ he’s channeling Spinoza.  You know how scientists are always talking about the mind of God as a way of talking about the best theory?  That’s a Spinozistic tic that we could really do without, because it misleads people into thinking these scientists are actually theists.  When scientists talk about the mind of God, or the viewpoint of God, or what God would do, what they’re talking about is the objective view and whether or not we can know it—the form that the laws of nature ought to take.”—Edge

water river lake drip drop

There is no love of life without despair of life,’ wrote Albert Camus — a man who in the midst of World War II, perhaps the darkest period in human history, saw grounds for luminous hope and issued a remarkable clarion call for humanity to rise to its highest potential on those grounds.  It was his way of honoring the same duality that artist Maira Kalman would capture nearly a century later in her marvelous meditation on the pursuit of happiness, where she observed: ‘We hope.  We despair.  We hope.  We despair.  That is what governs us.  We have a bipolar system.’

(Rebecca) Solnit writes in the foreword to the 2016 edition of this foundational text of modern civic engagement(Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities): ‘Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away.  And though hope can be an act of defiance, defiance isn’t enough reason to hope.  But there are good reasons.’  Solnit — one of the most singular, civically significant, and poetically potent voices of our time, emanating echoes of Virginia Woolf’s luminous prose and Adrienne Rich’s unflinching political conviction — originally wrote these essays in 2003, six weeks after the start of Iraq war, in an effort to speak ‘directly to the inner life of the politics of the moment, to the emotions and preconceptions that underlie our political positions and engagements.’  Although the specific conditions of the day may have shifted, their undergirding causes and far-reaching consequences have only gained in relevance and urgency in the dozen years since.  This slim book of tremendous potency is therefore, today more than ever, an indispensable ally to every thinking, feeling, civically conscious human being.

With an eye to such disheartening developments as climate change, growing income inequality, and the rise of Silicon Valley as a dehumanizing global superpower of automation, Solnit invites us to be equally present for the counterpoint: ‘Hope doesn’t mean denying these realities.  It means facing them and addressing them by remembering what else the twenty-first century has brought, including the movements, heroes, and shifts in consciousness that address these things now.’  Enumerating Edward Snowden, marriage equality, and Black Lives Matter among those, she adds: ‘This has been a truly remarkable decade for movement-building, social change, and deep, profound shifts in ideas, perspective, and frameworks for broad parts of the population {and, of course, backlashes against all those things}.’

Solnit’s conception of hope reminds me of the great existential psychiatrist Irvin D. Yalom’s conception of meaning: ‘The search for meaning, much like the search for pleasure,’ he wrote, ‘must be conducted obliquely.’  That is, it must take place in the thrilling and terrifying terra incognita that lies between where we are and where we wish to go, ultimately shaping where we do go.  Solnit herself has written memorably about how we find ourselves by getting lost, and finding hope seems to necessitate a similar surrender to uncertainty.  She captures this idea beautifully: ‘Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.  When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes — you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others.  Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists.  Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting.  It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand.  We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone.

In a brilliant counterpoint to Malcolm Gladwell’s notoriously short-sighted view of social change, Solnit sprouts a mycological metaphor for this imperceptible, incremental buildup of influence and momentum: ‘After a rain mushrooms appear on the surface of the earth as if from nowhere.  Many do so from a sometimes vast underground fungus that remains invisible and largely unknown.  What we call mushrooms mycologists call the fruiting body of the larger, less visible fungus.  Uprisings and revolutions are often considered to be spontaneous, but less visible long-term organizing and groundwork — or underground work — often laid the foundation.  Changes in ideas and values also result from work done by writers, scholars, public intellectuals, social activists, and participants in social media.  It seems insignificant or peripheral until very different outcomes emerge from transformed assumptions about who and what matters, who should be heard and believed, who has rights.  Ideas at first considered outrageous or ridiculous or extreme gradually become what people think they’ve always believed.  How the transformation happened is rarely remembered, in part because it’s compromising: it recalls the mainstream when the mainstream was, say, rabidly homophobic or racist in a way it no longer is; and it recalls that power comes from the shadows and the margins, that our hope is in the dark around the edges, not the limelight of center stage.  Our hope and often our power.[…] Change is rarely straightforward… Sometimes it’s as complex as chaos theory and as slow as evolution.  Even things that seem to happen suddenly arise from deep roots in the past or from long-dormant seeds.”—Brain Pickings

CC BY-NC-ND by Martin McNicholas
CC BY-NC-ND by Martin McNicholas

“(Automata have a long history.  Among these), Eric,(a British, globe-trotting metallic robot), it seems obvious now, did not have the agency his inventor claimed.  It’s likely, the robotics writer Reuben Hoggett says, that Richards coordinated with a hidden person, or possibly used radio technology, to give the illusion that Eric could speak on his own.  This sort of deception was typical.  Ajeeb, a chess player made of wax and papier-mâché, was New York’s favorite automaton in the late 1880s . But Ajeeb wasn’t really an automaton, either; his creator, Peter Hill, hid inside Ajeeb’s body and made him move—a job that entailed certain dangers from infuriated players who lost.  ‘A woman stabbed him through the mouth of the automaton with a hat pin on one occasion and a Westerner shot him in the shoulder by emptying a six-shooter into the automaton,’ according to an obituary for Hill in 1929.

A distrust of machines that come to life goes back at least as far as tales of golems, and this uneasiness has remained persistent in contemporary culture.  In 1970, when the robotics professor Masahiro Mori outlined a concept he called the Uncanny Valley, he was building on centuries of literature.  Mori sought to explain why people are so often repulsed by humanoid robots—machines that look nearly human, but not quite.  He drew on themes from the psychologist Sigmund Freud’s essay, Das Unheimliche, or the uncanny, published in 1919.

While doppelgängers, golems, living dolls, and automata are all ancient, the word ‘robot’ is not even a century old.  It was coined by the playwright Karl Capek in ‘R.U.R.,’ short for Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti, or Rossum’s Universal Robots, in 1921.  ‘R.U.R.,’ which tells the story of a global robot-human war, also helped set the tone for the modern conception of robots.  The play, at the time of its publication, was more of a political statement—on communism, capitalism, and the role of the worker—than it was a technological one.  But ever since then, science fiction has reinforced the idea that robots aren’t just curiosities or performers; they’re likely adversaries, potential killers.

‘Robotics as a technology is fascinating because it represents, even just in the last 20 years, this transition of an idea from something that’s always been [relegated to] pop culture to something that’s real,’ said Daniel Wilson, a robotics engineer and the author of the novelRobopocalypse.  ‘There’s 100 years of pop-culture momentum making robots evil, making them villains—but unlike the Wolfman and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, these things became real.’  After Capek brought ‘robot’ into the lexicon, it quickly became a metaphor for explaining how various technologies worked.  By the late 1920s, just about any machine that replaced a human job with automation or remote control was referred to as a robot.  Automatic cigarette dispensers were called ‘robot salesmen,’ a sensor that could signal when a traffic light should change was a ‘robot traffic director,’ or a ‘mechanical policeman,’ a remote-operated distribution station was a ‘robot power plant,’ the gyrocompass was a ‘robot navigator,’ new autopilot technology was a ‘robot airplane pilot,’ and an anti-aircraft weapon was a ‘robot gun.'”—Atlantic

"MQ-9 Reaper in flight (2007)" by U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson
“MQ-9 Reaper in flight (2007)” by U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson

“How does principled negotiation differ from the traditional kind?  It’s an attempt to create a win-win in a situation that doesn’t obviously offer one.  And as we know, of the four kinds of possible relationships, win-win is the only sustainable one over time.  That’s why we want to learn Fisher’s approach.  Here’s how he describes it: ‘There is a third way to negotiate, a way neither hard nor soft, but rather hard and soft.  The method of principled negotiation developed at the Harvard Negotiation Project is to decide issues on their merits rather than through a haggling process focused on what each side says it will and won’t do.  It suggests that you look for mutual gains whenever possible, and that where your interests conflict, you should insist that the result be based on some fair standards independent of the will of either side.  The method of principled negotiation shows you how to obtain what you are entitled to and still be decent.  It enables you to be fair while protecting you against those who would take advantage of your fairness.

The most wonderful part of Fisher’s ideas on negotiation is that they don’t require any secrecy.  In fact, Fisher thinks it’s just the opposite, saying that Unlike almost all other strategies, if the other side learns this one, it does not become more difficult to use; it becomes easier.  If they read this book, all the better.  That’s our kind of strategy. …Any method of negotiation may be fairly judged by three criteria: It should produce a wise agreement if agreement is possible.  It should be efficient.  And it should improve or at least not damage the relationship between the parties.  {A wise agreement can be defined as one that meets the legitimate interests of each side to the extent possible, resolves conflicting interests fairly, is durable, and take community interests into account.}  The first step of the process is to separate the people from the problem.

There are three areas to manage: Perception, Emotion, and Communication.  Our biggest problem with perception seems to be successfully putting ourselves in the shoes of our adversary, or even seeing them as an adversary to start with.  It’s almost impossible to influence somebody who you don’t empathetically understand, except through brute force… . To be clear, just because you understand someone’s position doesn’t mean you agree with it. …The emotional side is fairly simple: How do you feel during a negotiation and how does the other side feel?  Fisher makes a great point in the book that we don’t need to be afraid to make our own emotions or theirs explicit: I feel like you have not been fair with me thus far, and in order for us to make progress, we will need to establish mutual fairness as a goal.  Otherwise, I think we will run into a stalemate.  The communication problem isn’t hard for anyone in a relationship to understand.  When we’re in a contentious negotiation, both sides feel like they’re not being heard.  Solving that problem requires deep listening skills and as with the perception issue, requires us to understand the person on the other side of the table at their level, not at ours.

(The second point) is the simplest and probably the most important aspect on principled negotiation: What do I really want?  And what does the other guy really want?  It’s the difference between saying you want an open window when what you really want is fresh air.  It’s this basic method of figuring out what you want and what they want, and satisfying each, that leads us to win-win style outcomes.  Viewing a negotiation as something to be ‘won’ is the best way to lose.

The key (to inventing options for mutual gain) is that we avoid being rigid in our solutions,and if we’ve taken the prior step seriously by focusing on interests, we can start getting creative with our problem-solving. …(Before making still further points),Fisher lays out four pretty good reasons we fail to do this: ‘In most negotiations there are four obstacles that inhibit the inventing of an abundance of options: (1) Premature judgment; (2) searching for the single answer; (3) the assumption of a fixed pie; and (4) thinking that ‘solving their problem is their problem.’  Any negotiation can get pretty complex when all relevant interests are brought to the table, but the principle to heed is pretty simple: Where do our interests overlap, and where do they not? In the cases where they don’t, what is a mutually satisfying solution?—Farnham Street Blog

              TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                  AWARENESS VIDEO                  


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2016/03/24/private-eye-turns-justice-crusader/  – From the inestimably brilliant Radley Balko at the Washington Post, one of those little pieces of reality so momentous as to mandate attention and yet so ‘small’ as to miss many people’s inboxes, an interlude at once a testimonial to courage and a conviction for justice on the part of a lone investigator and an indictment of a police state that either borders on or has already entered into the domain of fascism in its vicious and venal and false attacks on innocent citizens who languish in prison or even face the executioner’s needles as a result.


student writing arm


The fund helps professional science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery writers living in the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska deal with the financial burden of medical expenses.

The Writers Emergency Assistance Fund helps established freelance writers who, because of advanced age, illness, disability, a natural disaster, or an extraordinary professional crisis are unable to work. A writer need not be a member of ASJA to qualify for a grant. However, applicants must establish a record of past professional freelance nonfiction writing over a sustained period of years, which means qualifications generally similar to those of ASJA members. WEAF does not award grants to beginning freelancers seeking funding for writing projects, nor does it fund works-in-progress of any kind.

pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


Location Tokyo, Japan. Employer Stars and Stripes publications. Serves as Publishing and Media Design (PMD) Editor for Stars and Stripes Pacific. Specializes in the production of print business products, overseeing four community newspapers – Stripes Japan, Stripes Okinawa, Stripes Korea and Stripes Guam – as well as several monthly and quarterly supplements and three annual magazines. Deadline July 12, 2016.
Duke University Executive Director, Marketing and Communications

This position is responsible for leading university-wide marketing and communications plans that support philanthropic giving to the university. This position reports to the Associate Vice President for University Development and serves as a member of University Development’s senior leadership team. This position also has a dotted line reporting relationship to the Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations (PAGR) and serves as a member of the PAGR senior leadership team.


CC BY-NC by Gao Yi

Plumbing the Depths of a Mystical Tradition

A fascinating Aeon glimpse by a thoughtful an astute traveler into the wonderful, iconic, soulful, and inevitably transgressive world of a remaining mystical Islamic group: “That is why fundamentalists, whether the Pakistani Taliban, the Saudi government or ISIS, have destroyed so many Sufi shrines and places of pilgrimage. The poetry sung at those places celebrates and advances an Islam that rejects political power, an Islam incompatible with the ambitions of religious fundamentalism. It is an Islam antithetical to political Islam, which sees political power as the foundation of religion. Although not all forms of Sufi Islam are non-political, the Sufism of the dervishes renounced political power as the most significant impediment on the long road to their divine beloved. It is a spirit of Islam still very much alive.”

The Wrong Radical Battle

An interesting and sobering first glimpse, from Fusion, by an insightful borders-crossing investigator,  into the rising tide of hate and fascism in the WEstern world: “I must admit I’ve been a bit inured to the whole Donald Trump phenomenon in America.

It’s probably because I find his anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric derivative of the politics that have played for some time on the fringes of the continent where I grew up. Until Trump arrived, America’s two-party system had largely left people with such ideas without a credible platform. In Europe, with its parliamentary systems, minority parties have been trading on this kind of stuff for a while.”


"S&g1" by User:Kosmopolitat -
“S&g1” by User:Kosmopolitat –

Editing Process

A Poynter article that helps aspiring writers grasp the editing process: ” Step A must be done first. Step F is best done last. The others can be done in whatever order you find most productive. Some editors find it better to clean up all the details first and then look at the big picture; others prefer to address the big-picture issues first and then going back to fix the details.”

Poetry Time

A Dodge Foundation video post that introduces readers to the magnificent work of Dave Caserio: “Today’s featured Festival film is a reading by Dave Caserio from the 2014 Dodge Poetry Festival. Enjoy his poem “Forensic Love.””


Japanese Revelation on Film

A Dazed post that introduces readers to an iconic Japanese filmmaker: “Hirokazu Koreeda is a filmmaker who navigates the human condition with such care and insight, there’s no question that he’s the greatest Japanese filmmaker around. If that’s news to you, it’s time to make amends. An arthouse darling and world cinema icon since the 90s, the director – often regarded the new Ozu – is smart and contemplative, favouring subtlety over clichéd outbursts. He creates soulful dramas populated with real humans, not Hollywood sentimentalism.”


Hijacking the One Sad Sliver of Democracy Available to Citizens

A Washington Post piece that lays bare the blatant disenfranchisement of Arizona’s voters, and describes how this trend could continue: “The facts of what happened in Arizona’s presidential primary are gradually penetrating the nation’s consciousness. In a move rationalized as an attempt to save money, officials of Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, cut the number of polling places by 70 percent, from 200 in the last presidential election to 60 this time around.

Maricopa includes Phoenix, the state’s largest city, which happens to have a non-white majority and is a Democratic island in an otherwise Republican county.”


$2 note, The Sandford Bank, Maine

The Working Woman

An interesting Smithsonian look at images of women and labour on currency, which describes the ideologies such notes wished to convey to average people: “Paper currency is not only a symbol of monetary value, it is a form of print media, and consumers look at the images on their paper money every day. Therefore the men who designed the Sanford Bank note made deliberate choices when they selected this image. This isn’t the only example of women depicted as laborers on notes. In contrast to the current American norm of featuring famous people on notes, anonymous women at work have been a popular subject for money starting in the 19th century, and they appear in places as far apart as the United States and French Equatorial Africa.”

3.25.2016 Daily Links

          BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW          

By World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons
By World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons


From Information Clearinghouse an update and briefing about a national leader who has a strategy to support a better society for the people whom he represents, in the event Vladimir Putin in relation to Russia, which has just accomplished the withdrawal of much of its Syrian support apparatus, after also actually accomplishing the dismantling of much of the fraud and front that went by the name Islamic State in Iraq & Syria, despite the also evident fact that the forces behind this ISIS pretense–i.e., such acolytes of the U.S.A. as Israel and Saudi Arabia, not to mention the U.S. itself–continue to exert ‘influence’ around the world, a contextualization of Syria and Russia and warfare that illustrates reality rather than the fantasies of fighting ‘terror’ as such, an assessment that fits with new releases from The Atlantic, and is in sympathetic alignment with new postings from PaulCraigRoberts and Consortium News, all of which ought to cause a scrappy scribe or non-suicidal solid citizen to sit up and take notice, in the vein of the grandmotherly advice that “a word, to the wise, is sufficient.”

                    This Day in History                  

police cops mirrorAround the globe, today most pertinently marks an International Day Against Police Brutality, while it also commemorates World Consumer Rights Day and a World Day of Muslim Culture, Dialog, Peace, and Film, at the same time that, more speculatively, it also delineates World Contact Day in which believers telepathically reach out to alien beings for connection; in the conspiratorial hallways of Rome’s imperial Senate more or less exactly two thousand sixty years ago, Julius Caesar met a bloody end at the hands of numerous upper crust Senatorial assassins, crossing a Rubicon from which no return was possible; three hundred twenty-four years after that, in 280, a different imperial imprimatur took hold when Sima Yan forced the surrender of a final Cao Wei, or Three Kingdoms, ruler so as to initiate the Jin Dynasty; with somewhat typical ferocity another two centuries and thirteen years later, in 493, an Ostrogothic interloper, Theoderic of great greatness, murdered his rival, Italy’s first ‘barbarian’ king, while they were dining at a feast; seven centuries and half a decade before today’s light and air, in the Eastern Mediterranean, mercenaries, often from the Iberian Peninsula in the Catalan Company, overwhelmed a much larger force at the Battle of Halmyros, a contest for control of the Duchy of Athens, which the Spaniards managed to rule for another seven decades; a hundred eighty-two years hence, in 1493, Christopher Columbus_landing_on_Hispaniola_adjColumbus returned to Spain with loot and lore of his depredations in the ‘New World;’ a decade shy of three centuries subsequently, in 1783, a fervent oration by George Washington forestalled action by angry soldiers and officers who had just won the revolution, whe were preparing to stage a coup in the early days of the United States; another three dozen years onward, in 1819 across the Atlantic in France, physicist Augustin Fresnel claimed an Academe des Sciences prize for the entry that could characterize light most definitively as either particles, as Newton believed, or as a series of waves, as Fresnel’s calculations showed was true under many if not all circumstances; eleven years in the future from that point, in 1830, a German baby boy entered the world who would end up as the writer, dramatist, and poet of Nobel Literary fame, Paul Heyse; forty-four years yet later on, in 1874, France imposed the Second Treaty of Saigon on Indochina, further establishing its hegemonic position in the region; ten hundred ninety-six days thereafter, in 1877, a baby boy howled out who en route to a life as organizer, International Workers of the World stalwart, and champion of working people of all colors, Ben Fletcher; a decade further along time’s path, in 1887, thousands of construction craft workers came solidaritytogether to form the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades; a quarter century henceforth, in 1912, a male baby cried out who would grow up as the performer and lyricist, Lightin’ Hopkins; four years more down the pike, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson dispatched nearly 5,000 U.S. soldiers to chase down Pancho Villa’s band of guerilla fighters for an independent Mexico; an additional three hundred sixty-five days past that juncture, in 1917 back in Washington, the Supreme Court, facing a national railway strike, acceded to the 8-Hour Act; four years subsequent to that instant, across the Atlantic and much of Europe in 1921 Berlin, an Armenian militant assassinated the erstwhile architect of Ottoman genocide against Armenia, Talaat Pasha; further South across the Mediterranean next years, in 1922, England permitted an ‘independent’ monarch to take the reins of rule in Egypt as a first King Fuad; a decade and a half down the pike from that, in 1937, a Russian child took a first breath who would mature as environmentalist and writer Antonin Rasputin, whose life and career would span a day shy of seventy-eight years, while six thousand miles Westward, the popular gothic horror maestro, H.P. Lovecraft, was preparing his final exit; another year afterward, in 1938, back in the Soviet Union, the theorist, writer, and activist Nikolai Bukharin died at the hands of Stalinist executioners in Moscow after, to say the least, a tainted trial; another three hundred sixty-five days closer to the current context, in 1939, Germany finalized the dismantling of Czechoslovakia, a brief ‘republic’ took shape in Carpatho-Ukraine before Hungary absorbed it, and a boy child cried out who would become the acclaimed British writer and thinker

„Tennessee Ernie Ford - Sixteen Tons“ von Discogs - Discogs. Lizenziert unter CC BY-SA 3.0 über Wikipedia -
„Tennessee Ernie Ford – Sixteen Tons“ von Discogs – Discogs. Lizenziert unter CC BY-SA 3.0 über Wikipedia –

Robert Nye; two more years nearer to now, in 1941, the baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the crooner and songwriter Mike Love; another seven hundred thirty days onward, in 1943, an infant male entered the world in standard fashion who would grow up as the wild rocker and writer, Sly Stone; four further years toward the present pass, in 1947, another baby boy came along, also destined to perform and write songs, in the guise of the legendary Ry Cooder; six decades back, My Fair Lady had its opening night on Broadway; nine years even more proximate to the present day, in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson intoned, “We Shall Overcome,” while advocating passage of the Voting Rights Act; two decades after that to the day, in 1985, symbolics.com became the first registered Internet domain; half a dozen years farther forward in time, in 1991, the final disposition of Germany’s reunification took effect; seven years more on the path to today, in 1998, the iconic and occasionally controversial ‘Dr. Spock’ took his last breath; fourteen hundred thirty more days thereafter, in 2002, a hideous scandal unfolded as the Wall Street Journal broke a story about insider trading and kickbacks among all but two of the ‘working class’ board members of the United Labor Life Insurance Company, who had stolen millions in real workers’ premiums to line their pockets; nine years past that dark day, in 2011, five thousand miles away in the Levant, imperially orchestrated assault on Syria initiated the still ongoing butchery of civil war in the region.

                A Thought for the Day                

When society’s rulers universally envision continuing predatory impunity in which all but they and a few of their cronies live like serfs and slaves; when erstwhile champions of common people as often as not receive their paychecks from the aforesaid thugs who rule the roost; when the vast mass of citizens would rather on the ides of March follow basketball than ponder political strategy, social history, and other minor matters of human survival; under conditions such as these and more, remaining optimistic or cheerful about the human prospect is difficult: nevertheless, only a personal politics that precludes despair makes any sense to any but those who shrug and say, “What the hell? mass collective suicide sounds fine to me!”

                  Quote of the Day                       
“Don’t let it end like this.  Tell them I said something. …I am not an educated man.  I never had an opportunity to learn anything except how to fight.

My sole ambition is (both) to rid Mexico of the class that has oppressed her and (to) give the people a chance to know what real liberty means.  And if I could bring that about today by giving up my life, I would do it gladly.

Never did I fight (just) for the poor.  I fought against the rich–which of course isn’t at all the same thing.  In any case, the fighting was the point.  You don’t fight to become free–to fight is to be free.  A man with a gun and the will to use it can’t be mastered, he can only be killed.

book hor2

SEARCHDAY"police state" OR dystopia OR dictatorship OR plutocracy armageddon OR holocaust OR "thermonuclear war" likelihood OR possibility OR certainty alternatives = 430,000 Hits.

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                       Top of the Fold                        


https://www.socialeurope.eu/2016/03/bias-ill-will-poverty-todays-historians/ – In the lead position here, a briefing from Social Europe from a thinker who persuasively contends that much of even the most prestigious historical scholarship and writing now amounts to little more than ideological posturing, presumption essentially that revolutionary potential or transformation will never happen, as proven by the peccadilloes of the revolutionaries and other reformers themselves; a position not so much wrong as insane, since, whatever the pretensions of ruling cadre who want to manage to keep things always the same, evolution will always constitute 90% of revolution, a point that an Afro Caribbean scribe, writing in Global Voices makes in a two part series about the use of language prejudice in her personal and family history, a point that an Intercept article makes in relation to the sham, and shame, of objectivity in corporate American journalism, a point that ViceNews develops powerfully in a news analysis of the fraudulent ‘commitment’ of the Obama administration to a ‘Freedom-of-Information’ culture that they undermined at every opportunity–a sampling of analysis and criticism that fit well with an item from Benton.org that gathers different work that commemorates the life and anti-monopoly-media endeavors of Ben Bagdikian, and that also dovetails beautifully with one of the masterpieces from Edge, in the event an interview with the capacious Howard Gardner about the meanings and possibilities and various important aspects of our thinking about higher education generally and ‘liberal arts’ inculcation specifically, as usual for Friday a melange of material that has some semblance of a theme in relation to media and mediation of import for scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens: “(The author reflected that bookstore shelves were bursting with petty diminution, in the guise of historical scholarship, of every revolution’s leadership).  (W)hat I thought these tabloid historians (many of whom teach at the most prestigious universities) miss out is that it is impossible to explain a movement, whether it is ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ by the personal virtues or vices of their leaders, or by whether they were born rich or poor, in a small or big family.  I was told that Germany was recently transfixed by several months of debates about Hitler’s testicles (whether there is a plural or singular there).  Does this tell us anything about Nazi ideology, the movement, its rise and fall?  Similarly, do the sexual habits of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, or to take also Roosevelt and JFK tell us anything about why people supported and followed them?  Or about the policies and choices they made?

It could be that these ‘histories’ are not really histories of the past but rather histories of the time when they are written, that is of today.  At the time where there are no beliefs and everything is individualized and commercialized, all history needs to be explained as having been the product of the crass self-interest of few individuals.  In the past these few individuals used to be Jews or Masons; nowadays, they are fanatical and sexually perverted revolutionaries.
How these individuals managed to convince millions to follow them, or how, more accurately, the millions found them to make them their champions and leaders, is ignored and left unexplained.  Moreover, the explanation is considered superfluous.  We go back to a view of history where there are no social forces, no classes, but only individuals: leaders and those being led, the lions and the sheep in Pareto’s terminology.”—Social Europe

“It is through language that we incorporate ourselves into the world and learn from songs and stories and myths and religions.  Language allows us to delve into the history and spirituality of our people and teaches us to feel and to live in a certain way.  Language isn’t just the way we enter someone else’s world, but it immerses us into our own worlds by helping us get to know ourselves and recognizing ourselves as part of something.media papers newspaper
On the other hand, language is also a powerful instrument for domination and discrimination and is an effective tool for transmitting and imposing values.  People of African descent like me have been victims of this from all sides.  At the same time, in every language and every territory, Afro-descendants have resisted in various ways in order to preserve part of their hard-won legacy that they were barely able to treasure in the process.

My parents and my community taught me everything I know in different languages and in various accents.  What I didn’t know, I’ve had to gather along the way by collecting bits and pieces of stories and songs and lore, and thus, try to establish associations, create links, and find similarities with others’ lives – transporting myself to other scenarios and continents to build my identity.  With all of that inherited and reconstructed identity, my extended family and my community instilled in me, in various languages and accents, this urge for irreverence and activism that no language can take away from me.rect3336 space
I understand, however, that this reality does bring with it the implicit fact that this language was brutally imposed on us and we were deprived of speaking our own languages.  We were abused for using our names and singing our songs.  I understand that my ancestors were cruelly isolated in order to prevent contact between members of the same tribes and, consequently, prevent communication and insubordination.  However, and more importantly, they attempted to slowly kill the soul and passion of these ancient peoples.  Consequently we began to forget our most sacred forms of communication, affection, and spirituality.  As a result, we had to invent and reinvent ourselves again, through brutal, but creative ways in order to survive.

In spite of myself, Spanish is the language that I profess today.  And despite speaking other languages, Spanish seduces and transports me; it is a tool that helps me break free. …It is this language that gives me poetry.  And although I understand its sins, I can no longer deny it, because with it I can challenge those who are trying to destroy us, those who use hate-speech to oppose our struggles. …This language has given me magic and a voice.  What once angered me today enables me to have contact with others.  With Spanish, I convey love for my children and I’m filled with passion for myself and for my people.  I speak it, I write it, I proclaim it, I declare it, I scream it, and I sing it.  And through it, I try to impart wisdom, culture, spirituality, and most importantly, I cry out for justice for my people.”—Global Voices

CC BY 2.0 Thierry Ehrmann)
CC BY 2.0 Thierry Ehrmann)

“Imagine calling yourself a journalist, and then — as you watch an authoritarian politician get closer to power by threatening and unleashing violence and stoking the ugliest impulses — denouncing not that politician, but rather other journalists who warn of the dangers.  That is the embodiment of the ethos of corporate journalism in America, and a potent illustration of why its fetishized reverence for ‘objectivity’ is so rotted and even dangerous.  Indeed, (Cokie) Roberts herself(who dared to criticize Donald Trump directly) agreed that it was justified for her to speak out only because she’s in the role of NPR commentator and not reporter: ‘If I were doing it in your role’ as a reporter, Roberts told (David) Greene(who was taking her to task), ‘you should be disappointed.’rect3336 space
This abdication of the journalistic duty inevitably engendered by corporate ‘neutrality’ rules is not new.  We saw it repeatedly during the Bush years, when most large media outlets suppressed journalistic criticism of things like torture and grotesque war crimes carried out by the U.S. as part of the war on terror, and even changed their language by adopting government euphemisms to obscure what was being done.  Outlets such as the New York Times, theWashington Post, and NPR refused to use the word ‘torture’ to describe techniques long universally recognized as such — which were always called torture by those same media outlets when used by countries adversarial to the U.S. — because to do so would evince ‘bias,’ lack ‘neutrality,’ and ‘take sides’ in the torture debate.rect3336 space
Contrary to what U.S. media corporations have succeeded in convincing people, these journalistic neutrality rules are not remotely traditional.  They are newly invented concepts that coincided with the acquisition of the nation’s most important media outlets by large, controversy-averse corporations for which ‘media’ was just one of many businesses.rect3336 space
Large corporations hate controversy (it alienates consumers) and really hate offending those who wield political power (bad for business).  Imposing objectivity rules on the journalists who work for their media divisions was a means to avoid offending anyone by forcing journalists to conceal their perspectives, assumptions, and viewpoints, and, worse, forcing them to dishonestly pretend that they had none, that they float above all that.  This framework neutered journalism and drained it of all its vitality and passion, reducing journalists to stenography drones permitted to do little more than summarize what each equally valid side asserts.  Worse, it ensures that people who wield great influence and power — such as Donald Trump — can engage in all sorts of toxic, dishonest, and destructive behavior without having to worry about any check from journalists, who are literally barred by their employers from speaking out (even as their employers profit greatly through endless coverage).rect3336 space
This corporate, neutrality-über-alles framework is literally the exact antithesis of how journalism was practiced, and why it was so valued, when the U.S. Constitution was enacted and for decades after.  As Jack Shafer documented in 2013, those who claim that journalism has always been grounded in neutrality demonstrate ‘a painful lack of historical understanding of American journalism.’  Indeed, ‘American journalism began in earnest as a rebellion against the state:’ citizens using journalism to denounce in no uncertain terms the evils of the British Crown and to agitate for resistance against it.  He cites Judith and William Serrin’s anthology, Muckraking: The Journalism That Changed America, which ‘establishes the primacy of partisan, activist journalism from the revolutionary period through the modern era.’  That is the noble journalistic tradition that has been deliberately suppressed — outright barred — by our nation’s largest corporate media outlets, justifying their meek and impotent codes under the banner of an objectivity and neutrality that are as illusory and deceitful as they are amoral.”—The Intercept


“The documents(that demonstrated the Obama White House’s anti-FOIA bias and action) were obtained by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports journalism in the public interest, which in turn shared them exclusively with VICE News.  They were obtained using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) — the same law Congress was attempting to reform.  The group sued the DOJ last December after its FOIA requests went unanswered for more than a year

. …
Moreover, a separate set of documents obtained by VICE News in response to a nearly two-year-old FOIA request provides new insight into how the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also tried to disrupt Congress’s FOIA reform efforts, which would have required those agencies to be far more transparent when responding to records requests

. …
(This all occurred in the context of the run-up to ‘Sunshine Week,’ when Congress was considering Freedom of Information changes that would have operationalized Barack Obama’s 2009 statement in favor of transparency).  Additionally, the legislation called for the implementation of a centralized online portal, overseen by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to handle all FOIA requests and required government agencies to update their FOIA regulations.  The bill unanimously passed by a vote of 410-0, one of the few pieces of legislation during President Barack Obama’s tenure to receive bipartisan support. …But the administration ‘strongly opposed passage’ of the House bill and opposed nearly every provision that would have made it easier for journalists, historians, and the public to access government records.  The White House claimed it would increase the FOIA backlog, result in astronomical costs, and cause unforeseen problems with processing requests, according to a secret six-page DOJ set of talking points turned over to the Freedom of the Press Foundation along with 100 pages of internal DOJ emails about the FOIA bill.

(This Department of Justice ‘Talking Points’ memo went even further, essentially eviscerating the idea of any Freedom of Information other than what administrators found mete and convenient).  ‘If this memo reflects thinking of the White House, than I have to question their commitment to transparency,’ said Anne Weismann, the executive director of The Campaign for Accountability and a leader in the effort to reform FOIA.  ‘The notion that these changes are going to increase the FOIA backlog, increase costs, and increase problems with FOIA is ludicrous.  The breadth of their objections and lack of evidence to back up their claims and their absolute opposition to codifying Obama’s memo expose the lie that is the administration’s policy…. If the president and this administration believes in their stated FOIA policy they should be supporting an effort to codify it.’  Notably, the DOJ’s talking points also shed light on the ongoing turf war between the Office of Information Policy and the independent Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), also known as the FOIA ombuds office, which provides requesters with mediation services.  Congressional efforts to expand OGIS’s role, as cited in the bill, were interpreted by DOJ to be an encroachment on its powers.  The DOJ went so far as to claim that empowering another agency to improve FOIA administration was unconstitutional.

(The Senate bill was even sterner than the House’s version.  For example it got rid of the most odious exception to compliance, the so-called, ‘I can refuse because I say so’ caveat that dealt with necessities for finalization and more).  The discretionary exemption has been cited to justify the withholding of countless documents, such as a half-century old CIA history of the Bay of Pigs invasion and an internal CIA study on the agency’s torture program, on grounds that they are not ‘final decisions.’  The reform bill would have authorized the release of records that fell under Exemption 5 after 25 years and it would have introduced a ‘foreseeable harm’ standard, requiring government agencies to demonstrate the harm that would result from the disclosure of records; currently, they need only cite a specific FOIA exemption to justify the withholding of records.  It too was unanimously passed by the Senate.  But everything died in the House in December 2014 after then–Speaker John Boehner failed to bring up the final version for a vote.  Rumors soon began to surface that the DOJ, the SEC, and the FTC, prodded by banking lobbyists, worked behind the scenes and lobbied lawmakers not to bring the legislation up for a vote.  The DOJ used the same talking points to sound alarm bells about the Senate bill.”—Vice News


              TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                  AWARENESS VIDEO                  


https://www.laprogressive.com/bernie-promise-of-democracy/  – And here a ‘word-to-the-wise-ought-to-be-sufficient’ memo from L.A. Progressive about why the only even vaguely reasonable choice in the electoral tragicomedy that is unfolding this year is Bernie Sanders, not “even if you’re Black,” but “especially if you’re Black,” a point that a brief video interlude makes passionately, powerfully, movingly, not that all of this put together appears to make enough of a difference; which might lead one to opine, “more’s the pity,” since the deluge indeed is close at hand if something doesn’t emerge as an alternative to the looming threats of both thermonuclear and concentration-camp futures.


student writing arm


MacDowell Colony

Peterborough, New Hampshire
Event Date:
October 1, 2016
Application Deadline:
April 15, 2016

MacDowell Colony offers residencies of up to two months from October 1 to January 31 to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers on a 450-acre estate near Mt. Monadnock in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Residents are provided with a private room and workspace as well as all meals. Travel aid and personal expense grants are available based on need. Using the online application system, submit 6 to 10 poems, or 15 to 25 pages of prose, a description of a proposed project, and a letter of recommendation with a $30 application fee by April 15. Call, e-mail, or visit the website for an application and complete guidelines.


University of Pittsburgh’s Hot Metal Bridge is calling for submissions of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction. Marginalized communities and social justice issues DEADLINE SOON for regular submissions.

The Jim Henson Company is calling for short films inspired by The Dark Crystal. The winner and a guest will get a trip to Hollywood to tour the Jim Henson Studios, meet members of the Henson Family and production executives, and join other finalists for a screening of the selected short films. Films may also be screened in festivals around the world. DEADLINE VERY SOON

pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


News Producer El Paso TX – Make your mark in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Sinclair Broadcast Group and Sinclair Digital Solutions are dedicated to making Sinclair a communications powerhouse! We are the largest and most diversified television broadcasting company in the country today. Sinclair owns and operates, programs or provides services to 162 stations located in 79 geographically diverse markets and our Digital group is focused on bringing the most engaging content to web, mobile and over-the-top broadcasting to audiences all over the country! Our success is the result of extraordinary employees and an exemplary management team who believe in a vision and are dedicated ensuring a great future for our employees. Whether you are an industry veteran or a just starting out, you can find it at Sinclair! We are advancing the world of Broadcasting and we want YOU to join our winning team!

Central Texas Reporter – Community Impact Newspaper is looking for a dynamic reporter for the Lake Travis/Westlake area. Our reporters work hard every day to relay the news that residents need and want to know about. The reporter covers City Council meetings and also writes about business, transportation, health care, events and more. Stories are published in our award-winning monthly, full-color publication and on our website, recently named the best non-daily news website in the country by the National Newspaper Association.


russia church religion orthodox st petersburgRussia and America Over the Years

A Counter Currents post by a very thoughtful writer that examines the long, torturous, and eventful relationship between these two sociopolitical entities: “While the few periods of wide contacts with the West have renewed the country, given it new vigor and skills and broken a chain of reaction tyranny, those purely Russian characteristics—tenacity, endurance, spiritualism, ethnic unity, love for mankind and popular traditions have given the country superhuman strength in periods of crisis. Russians never give up. Resistance is in the national DNA. Russians consider themselves invincible as a nation of which there are many examples: the battles of Moscow, Leningrad, Stalingrad.”

Depleted Uranium Woes

A Global Research Centre post by smart researchers that analyses the ootential destructiveness which is the depleted uranium wastes situation: “It has taken a decade but the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has finally granted the US Army a licence to possess and manage DU weapon residues at 15 US installations. However the domestic regulatory framework imposed by the NRC stands in stark contrast to the absence of obligations governing the management of contamination caused by US military actions in Iraq and elsewhere.”

WRISSBirth of Social Justice Movement

A Poynter piece that pinpoints the rise of social justice journalism, by looking at past Pulitzer prize winners and listing the civil rights stuggles that gave rise to it: “During my research for this event, I noticed the invention and refinement of a powerful form of expression I am calling “social justice journalism.”

I am using that name to describe more than 100 examples of work I have recently studied. Each earned a Pulitzer Prize over the last century, the earliest example dating back to 1919.

When we scan American history for those signature moments that mark progress in civil rights, social justice and equality, certain dates pop into view. Perhaps it is 1863, or 1963.”

typewriter writer writeWorrying Times for Writers

A Society of Authors look at the dire straits of writers seeking a living wage everywhere, as well as at the conundrum that even though we live in a world where the written word predominates and scribes have a vital role, they are earning less than ever: “Over 2,000 writers took part in this survey which found that only 11.5% of authors earn their living solely from writing. In 2005, this figure was 40%.

Whilst the amount of money authors are earning from digital publishing has increased, overall, the survey results show that authors’ incomes are falling in real terms.”



A Humans Are Free look at the very tangible ways that mainstream media is corrupt, manipulated by intelligence interests, and in general is of no service to citizens and workers: “Since the end of World War Two the Central Intelligence Agency has been a major force in US and foreign news media, exerting considerable influence over what the public sees, hears and reads on a regular basis.

CIA publicists and journalists alike will assert they have few, if any, relationships, yet the seldom acknowledged history of their intimate collaboration indicates a far different story–indeed, one that media historians are reluctant to examine.”


Structural Disenfranchisement

A Salon article that exposes the dark acts meant to disenfranchise voters who don’t wish to tow the party line: “On April 5, when voters cast ballots in Wisconsin’s Republican and Democratic primaries, the state’s controversial voter ID bill will face its biggest test since Governor Scott Walker signed it into law in 2011. For the first time in a major election, citizens will be required to show approved forms of identification in order to vote. The law mandates that the state run a public-service campaign “in conjunction with the first regularly scheduled primary and election” to educate voters on what forms of ID are acceptable.”

GENISSOn The Corruptibility of Media

A Global Research Centre look at all the lies and corruption inherent in main stream media, which is something that most folks following the current political situation in the U.S. with even a cursory look below the surface can understand, but which has spread beyond the borders: “I’ve been a journalist for about 25 years, and I was educated to lie, to betray, and not to tell the truth to the public.

But seeing right now within the last months how the German and American media tries to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia — this is a point of no return and I’m going to stand up and say it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do and have done in the past because they are bribed to betray the people, not only in Germany, all over Europe.”

3.24.2016 Daily Links

          BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW          

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxVbuO7xM4g&feature=em-share_video_user – Definitely the best half hour that one might invest in a mediated political conversation so far this election, from The Young Turks, an engaging and charming and completely honest assessment of politics and money and monopoly and media and the requisites of democracy in the here and now, in which Bernie Sanders comes across as not only eminently presidential, but unshakeable in his commitment to integrity and a leadership from below.

                    This Day in History                  

lung lungs  body healthToday everywhere on Earth is World Tuberculosis Day, a note on the human checklist about this dread killer that could easily emerge as a plague of epic proportions; in what is today Syria six hundred fifteen years ago, the vaunted ‘hordes’ of Mongol emperor Timur overran and sacked Damascus; on two island nations two centuries and two years afterward, in 1603, James rose to the throne of England for a brief period of Stuart rule and Ieyasu Tokugawa became shogun in Japan for what would be several centuries of power; six decades later to the day, in 1663, what is today North and South Carolina became the sole ‘province,’ so to speak, of eight powerful men who helped the son of the decapitated Stuart king, Charles II, to resume his family’s perch atop English society; three decades after that moment in space and time, in 1693, a male child entered our midst who would develop into a furniture and clockmaker whose legerdemain transformed history when he, as John Harrison, invented the first workable shipboard chronometer; fourteen years henceforth, in 1707, England’s Parliament passed the Acts of Union that joined Scotland into a Kingdom of Great Britain; one more fourteen year period hence, in 1721, Johann Sebastian Bach dedicated a half dozen compositions to the margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt to add the eponymous Brandenburg Concertos to the canon; another forty-four years in the direction of now, in 1765, England instituted the practice of forcing colonial residents in North America to quarter its troops with room and board, not to mention insult and injury; one hundred eighty-seven years before the here and now, England first permitted Catholics to serve in the modern Parliament; five years closer to now, in 1834, a baby boy uttered his first cries on his way to a life as writer and thinker William Morris; three years thereafter, in 1837, across the Atlantic in Britain’s Canadian provinces, Afro-Canadians gained the franchise; a hundred sixty-two years back, and eight years ahead of the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave,’ Venezuela abolished slavery; six years later and half-a-world away, in Japan in 1860, a troop of Samurai attacked and decapitated the minister who had concluded a treaty to ‘open’ Japan to commercial involvement of the U.S. and ‘the West;’ one decade and four years subsequent to that gruesome point, a happier event transpired when the baby boy was born who would grow up as the magician and entertainer Harry Houdini; half a dozen years more proximate to the present pass, in 1882, Robert Koch proclaimed the discovery of the elusive microorganism responsible for the horrors of tuberculosis, and the sonorous poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow drew his last breath; four years thereafter, in 1886, a male infant was born who would grow up as astounding photographer Edward Weston; a decade hence, in 1896, in Russia, A.S. Popov transmitted the first radio signal; three hundred sixty-five days afterward, in 1897, a baby boy came into the world who would mature as the radical psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich; a thousand ninety-five days afterword, in 1900,  the mayor of New York City and his cohorts turned a few symbolic shovels of earth to break ground for the new York Subway; three years onward in time and space, in 1903, the male child cried out who en route to a life as the journalist, and eventually prominent anti-communist, Malcolm Muggeridge; two years past that juncture, in 1905, prolific science-fiction genius Jules Verne died; two more years after that, in 1907,further East in Europe,  the first issue of a Bolshevik Georgian newspaper was available for readers in the homeland of Stalin; a dozen years yet later on, in 1919,  two male children emerged from their mothers, one to become acclaimed historian and thinker Robert Heilbroner, the other to grow into wild poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti; three years subsequent to that instant, in 1922, English police forces in Northern Ireland murdered six civilians; four additional years in the direction of today, in 1926, a baby boy came along in Mussolini’s Italy who would mature as radical people’s playwright and dramaturge, not to mention Nobel Laureate, Dario Fo; one year after that conjunction, in 1927, imperial navies bombarded a Chinese uprising against Western hegemony in Nanking; seven years thereafter, in 1934, the United States ‘granted’ Philippine independence three decades after its conquest of the islands in the guise of liberating them from Spanish world time watch clockimprimatur; seven hundred thirty-one days later, in 1936, a baby boy was born in Canada whose destiny was to write and proselytize as radical environmental thinker David Suzuki; ten years more proximate to today, in 1946, English imperial representatives met in India with those who would soon rule their own country to arrange ‘an orderly transfer of power;’ thirteen years forward from then and there, in 1959, the Party of the African Federation came into existence, led by philosopher of Negritude, Leopold Senghor; two additional years onward, in 1961, a little Greek Baby opened his eyes who would rise as the controversial gadfly and economist, Yanis Varofakis; a decade and a half farther down the road from that day’s events, in 1976, Argentine military and business and Central Intelligence Agency operatives overthrew the nation’s elected government and instituted seven years of brutal dictatorship and murderous disappearance; four years after that point in time, in 1980, twenty-five hundred miles to the North in El Salvador, imperial assassins murdered Archbishop Oscar Romero as he preached the mass, just days after his public pronouncement against further murders of civilians by soldiers; just shy of a decade nearer still to now, in 1989, the Exxon Valdez ran aground and broke to pieces, spilling plus-or-minus 240,000 barrels of oil in the Arctic waters of the Alaskan Pacific; four years thereafter, in 1993, literary witness of nuclear annihilation John Hersey died; two years after that, in 1995, prominent English thinker about science and China, and science in China, Joseph Needham spent his last day alive; four years hence, in 1999, North Atlantic Treaty Organization planes, under the leadership of the U.S., of course, began their bombings of Kosovo; four more years further on, to the day, in 2003, the Arab League met and voted 23-1 to condemn the U.S. invasion of Iraq and demand the withdrawal of Yankee troops; a dozen years later still, just a year ago in 2015, the first documented anti-depressant mass murder may have occurred when a Germanwings aircraft apparently intentionally plowed into the side of a mountain in the Alps, killing all on board.

                A Thought for the Day                

When the ‘course of human events’ shall call forth the fundamental unity of our species—men and women and children of every tribe and clan are but cousins of even their most distant Homo Sapiens relatives—then, and only then, will the promise of plenty and the succor of surcease that have long been technically feasible enter the realm of practical politics and everyday practice: as things stand, apparently, people prefer the looming inevitability of mass collective suicide.

                  Quote of the Day                       

“Since the decline of the primitive work-democratic organization, the biological core of man has remained without social representation.  That which is ‘natural’ in man, which makes him one with the cosmos, has found its genuine expression only in the arts, particularly in music and painting.  Until now, however, it has remained without any essential influence upon the form of human society, if by society is meant not the culture of a small rich upper crust but the community of all people.rect3336 space
In the ethical and social ideals of liberalism we recognize the representation of the superficial layer of the character, of self-control and tolerance.  The ethics of this liberalism serve to keep down ‘the beast’ in man, the second layer, our ‘secondary impulses,’ the Freudian ‘unconscious(that is universally perverse and selfish and often sadistic).’  The natural sociality of the deepest, nuclear layer is alien to the liberal.  (Liberals) deplore the perversion of human character and fight it with ethical norms, but the social catastrophes of this century show the inadequacy of this approach.rect3336 space
All that which is genuinely revolutionary, all genuine art and science stems from the natural biological nucleus.  Neither the genuine revolutionary nor the artist or scientist has been able thus far to win over and lead masses or, if so, to keep them in the realm of the life interests.rect3336 space
In contradistinction to liberalism, which represents the superficial character layer, and to genuine revolution, which represents the deepest layer, fascism represents essentially the second character layer, that of the secondary impulses (that stem from repression and burst with neuroses and viciousness).  At the time when this book was originally written, fascism was generally regarded a ‘political party’ which, like any other ‘social group,’ was an organized representation of a ‘political idea.’  According to this concept, the fascist party ‘introduced’ fascism by force or by ‘political manoeuvre.’rect3336 space
Contrary to this concept, my medical experience with individuals from all kinds of social strata, races, nationalities and religions showed me that ‘fascism’ is only the politically organized expression of the average human character structure, a character structure which has nothing to do with this or that race, nation or party but which is general and international.  In this characterological sense, ‘fascism’ is the basic emotional attitude of man in authoritarian society, with its machine civilization and its mechanistic-mystical view of life.  It is the mechanistic-mystical character of man in our times which creates fascist parties, and not vice versa.

Since fascism, always and everywhere, appears as a movement which is supported by the masses of people, it also displays all the traits and contradictions present in the average character structure: Fascism is not, as is generally believed, a purely reactionary movement; rather, it is a mixture of rebellious emotions and reactionary social ideas.  If, by being revolutionary, one means rational rebellion against intolerable social conditions, if, by being radical, one means ‘going to the root of things,’ the rational will to improve them, then fascism is never revolutionary.  True, it may have the aspect of revolutionary emotions.  But one would not call that physician revolutionary who proceeds against a disease with violent cursing but the other who quietly, courageously and conscientiously studies and fights the causes of the disease.  Fascist rebelliousness always occurs where fear of the truth turns a revolutionary emotion into illusions.National_Fascist_Party_logo.svg
In its pure form, fascism is the sum total of all irrational reactions of the average human character.  To the narrow-minded sociologist who lacks the courage to recognize the enormous role played by the irrational in human history, the fascist race theory appears as nothing but an imperialistic interest or even a mere ‘prejudice.’  The violence and the ubiquity of these ‘race prejudices’ show their origin from the irrational part of the human character.  The race theory is not a creation of fascism.  No: fascism is a creation of race hatred and its politically organized expression.

Jonathan Davis Follow "It will never end" - Anti-Fascist stencil, Belgrade
Jonathan Davis Follow
“It will never end” – Anti-Fascist stencil, Belgrade

Correspondingly, there is a German, Italian, Spanish, Anglo-Saxon, Jewish, and Arabian fascism.  The race ideology is a true biopathic character symptom of the orgastically impotent individual.
The sadistic perverse character of the race ideology is also seen in the attitude toward religion.  Fascism, we are told, is the … arch-enemy of religion, and a regression to paganism.  On the contrary, fascism is the extreme expression of religious mysticism.  As such it appears in a specific social form.  Fascism is based on that religiosity which stems from sexual perversion; it changes the masochistic character of the old patriarchal religions into a sadistic religion.  It takes religion out of the other-world philosophy of suffering and places it in the sadistic murder in this world.

"SIG Pro by Augustas Didzgalvis"
“SIG Pro by Augustas Didzgalvis”

Fascist mentality is the mentality of the subjugated ‘little man’ who craves authority and rebels against it at the same time.  It is not by accident that all fascist dictators stem from the milieu of the little reactionary man.  The captains of industry and the feudal militarist make use of this social fact for their own purposes.  A mechanistic authoritarian civilization only reaps, in the form of fascism, from the little, suppressed man what for hundreds of years it has sown in the masses of little, suppressed individuals in the form of mysticism, top-sergeant mentality and automatism.  This little man has only too well learned the way of the big man and now gives it back, enlarged and distorted.  The Fascist is the top-sergeant type in the vast army of our sick civilization.  One cannot with impunity beat the tom-tom of high politics before the little man.  The little top-sergeant has outdone the imperialistic general in everything: in martial music, in goose-stepping, in giving orders and obeying them, in the deadly fear of thinking, in diplomacy, strategy and tactics, in uniformed strutting and in medals.  In all these things a Kaiser Wilhelm appears as a poor bungler compared with Hitler.  When a ‘proletarian’ general covers his chest with medals, on both sides, and from the shoulders to the belt, he demonstrates the little man trying to outdo the ‘real’ great general.

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

One must have thoroughly studied the character of the suppressed little man and must have learned to see things as they take place behind the facade, if one is to understand the forces on which fascism is based.  In the rebellion of the masses of abused people against the empty niceties of a false liberalism (I do not mean genuine liberalism and genuine tolerance) the character layer of the secondary impulses was expressed.  One cannot make the Fascist harmless if, according to the politics of the day, one looks for him only in the German or Italian, or the American or the Chinese; if one does not look for him in oneself; if one does not know the social institutions which hatch him every day.  One can beat fascism only if one meets it objectively and practically, with a well-grounded knowledge of the life processes.  One cannot equal it in politics, in diplomacy or strutting.  But it has no answer to practical questions of living, for it sees everything only in the mirror of ideology or in the form of the state uniform.  When one hears a fascist character of whatever hue preach about the ‘honor of
the nation’ (instead of the honor of man) or about the ‘salvation of the sacred family and the race’ (instead of the
society of working individuals), if he lets out a stream of empty slogans, one only has to ask him this:world space planet The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17
‘What are you doing to feed the nation, without plundering or killing other nations?  What do you, as a physician, do against the chronic diseases, or as an educator for the happiness of children, or as an economist for the elimination of poverty, or as a social worker for the mothers of too many children, or as a builder for more hygienic living conditions? Give us a concrete, practical answer or shut up!’Preparing cheeseburgers work labor aseembly line fast food
Clearly, international fascism will never be vanquished by political manoeuvres.  It can only be vanquished by the natural organization of work, love and knowledge on an international scale.  As yet, work, love and knowledge have not the power to determine human existence.  More than that, these great forces of the positive life principle are not even conscious of their strength, their indispensability and their decisive role in the determination of human existence.  For this reason, human society, even after the military defeat of party fascism, continues to hover at the brink of the abyss.  The downfall of our civilization is inevitable
if those who work, and the natural scientists in all branches of life (not death), and those who give and receive natural love, do not become conscious, in time, of their gigantic responsibility.”  Wilhelm Reich: The Mass Psychology of Fascism

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https://globalvoices.org/2016/03/22/cubans-cast-a-critical-glance-on-obamas-havana-tour/ – In the aftermath of Barack Obama’s ‘historic’ visit to Cuba’s half-century of revolutionary resistance to empire and attack, as he has headed South to the Southern Cone, where forty years back CIA-backed military murderers overthrew Eva Peron and initiated the better part of a decade of disappearance and depredation, a tiny slice of the plethora of articles about all of this, beginning with a lovely item from Global Voices that makes clear that the majority of Cubans support the regime and view U.S. ‘visits’ skeptically–one follow-up to which comes from The Conversationpointing out the vast improvements in Cuban life that in many ways make it a superior model of the human prospect to that which the U.S. offers; another offshoot of which, from Counterpunch, argues that American arrogance is front and center in this entire process; another related item of which comes from TeleSur and notes that nowhere in Cuba are human rights abuses nearly as bad as they are at America’s stolen Guantanamo Bay military base; another concomitant piece of which emanates from Global Research and examines the views of Che Guevara’s son on the President’s visit, views that are open but insistent on Cuba’s independence; and a final report in regard to Cuba from TruthDig, first published almost twenty years back, a briefing that looks at the murderous impunity of John Kennedy’s administration in connection with the then-recently arisen regime of Fidel Castro, the aggregate of which Cuban reportage dovetails nicely with multiple recent articles about Obama’s sojourn to Argentina, including a New Yorker reflection about the ‘complexity’ of the U.S. role in this act of Latin mass murder; including an update from TeleSur about marches and demonstrations throughout the country to mark the four-decade anniversary of the coup, which took place forty years ago on the day that the President arrived this year; including a piece from Common Dreams that contends that the promised release of previously classified documents about the coup is an inadequate response to this crime against humanity—the sum total of all of which serves as a powerful juxtaposition to candidate Bernie Sanders’ take on such conflicted terrain, in the speech that he wanted to present to the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee: “Pro-government blogger Iroel Sanchez responded(to Obama’s speech), asking: ‘Obama says that the future of Cuba is a matter for Cubans to decide.  The problem is, which Cubans — the minority that wants to ’empower’ them through dependence on US businesses?  Or all Cubans?

Meanwhile, Cubans on the island (at least those with Internet access) and off are voicing firm critiques of both leaders.  Writing for La Joven Cuba, a collective blog of university students who tend to express support for the Castro government, Jesús López Martínez suggested that rather than allowing Obama to ‘bring a vision of progress’ to Cuba, Cuban leaders should teach Obama the benefits of their system: ‘We can offer our insight on public health, something he can take back to his country, where millions of people have no healthcare.  If he wants to talk about human rights, we can teach him how our police behave, so that he can avoid the manslaughter of black people by their own police forces.’

Ferguson Day 6, Picture 12 by Loavesofbread - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons
Ferguson Day 6, Picture 12 by Loavesofbread –

In a joint press conference between the two leaders — a rare event for Castro — the topic of human rights arose multiple times.  Prominent US television journalist Andrea Mitchell asked both leaders how the two countries would work together given their disagreements on the issue.  Following Obama’s response, Castro said: ‘What country complies with [all human rights]?  Do you know how many?  I do.  None.  None whatsoever.  Some countries comply some rights, other comply others.  And we are among these countries.  Out of these 61 instruments, Cuba has complied with 47 of these human rights instruments.  There are countries that may comply with more, those that comply with less.  I think human rights issues should not be politicized.’  Castro then continued, touting Cuba’s healthcare and education systems and guarantees of equal pay for all genders.

Multiple critics, most of whom are writing from outside Cuba, commented on the meaning of Obama’s political identity and image within the Cuban context. What does it mean, they asked, for Cubans to see a relatively young, black president elected for two terms in the US, while Cuba’s top-level leadership is still dominated by white men in their 70s and 80s?  Recent census numbers indicate that 14% of the US population identifies as black or mixed-race, while an estimated 36% of the Cuban population identifies as black or ‘mestizo’ (mixed race).

Observatorio Crítico, a communist intellectual blogging collective put forth a more nuanced critique of the way Cuban authorities handled the visit, drawing from a Marxist perspective… .mak(ing) a keen observation(that) …(d)espite their disagreements on human rights and social policy, at the end of the day, the rekindling of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the US may stem chiefly from a shared belief that the shift will better serve the economic interests of both parties.”—Global Voices

“Cuba and Obama reestablish relations.” Cartoon via Linhas Livres.
         “Cuba undoubtedly has its problems, as numerous articles attest.  But my experience as a visitor and researcher there shows a different side to the story and there is much the capitalist world can learn from Cuba, too.  According to the UN Development Index, Cuba is ranked as ‘highly developed’ with a life expectancy of 79.4 years – better than that of the US (79.1).  It has also made notable achievements in education, infant mortality, gender and racial equality, and has low crime rates that are among the best in the world, all despite its GDP being a fraction of the US.rect3336 space
Cuba’s health system in particular is the envy of many and the Cuban pharmaceutical sector is punching way above its weight in terms of research, value for money, and innovation into new treatments for important diseases such as the first lung cancer vaccine.  So how has Cuba pulled this off?  On a research trip to Cuba, colleagues and I talked to the top directors of BioCubaFarma, a new umbrella organisation that brings together different branches of the pharmaceutical industry.  The interviews revealed a number of reasons for Cuban pharma’s success – in particular, their strategy, their values, their structure and their business model.rect3336 space
Strategy and values go hand in hand.  The values of the Cuban revolution are solidarity, social justice and equality.  Healthcare and education are key means of achieving these.  As a state-owned entity, BioCubaFarma considers its shareholders to be the Cuban population so its priority is their health needs.  This may sound obvious, but the same does not apply to US or European pharmaceutical companies, where the primary strategic priority is profit.

In the US, the need gap that arises from developing (redundant and often) unnecessary drugs is bridged by marketing and even disease-mongering to encourage people to buy its drugs.  Thus resources that could have gone into research and development into new drugs are channelled into advertising.  There are also inefficiencies arising from competition as many pharmaceutical companies chase the same targets.  Simply put, Cuban Pharma is punching above its weight in innovation and development of important new medical treatments simply because it has health needs, rather than profit, as its first priority.

Cuba dislikes and distrusts American foreign policy, with good reason.  There have been hundreds of CIA sponsored plots on Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s life, and numerous covert attempts at subversion that still continue.  Yet the Cuban people and the leadership welcome open debate and interaction with American visitors and are more confident that they will convince them of the virtues of the Cuban way than vice versa.  Indeed, if efficiency is achieving more for less, then Cuba is one of the most efficient countries in the world.  Cuba has been rated the only sustainable country in the world, whereas if we all consumed at the rate of the US, we would need five planets.”—The Conversation
planets space saturn cosmos
         “You don’t need to rely on Seymour Hersh’s racy new book, The Dark Side of Camelot, to know that John F. Kennedy’s administration tried to assassinate Fidel Castro by using Mafia hit men.  Denials by former Kennedy aides, led by historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and speech writer Ted Sorensen, are simply wrong.  The entire nefarious business is documented in excruciating detail in “Report on Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro,” a 133-page memorandum prepared in 1967 by CIA Inspector General J.S. Earman for Director Richard Helms.rect3336 space
The supersecret report was so hot that after Helms read it, he instructed Earman: ‘Destroy all notes and other source materials’ and ‘Destroy the one burn copy retained temporarily by the inspector general.’  This left only one ‘ribbon copy’ kept by the inspector general for ‘personal EYES ONLY safekeeping.’  Fortunately, that one copy survived; after lengthy lawsuits it was finally declassified in 1993.  When Hersh came under attack last week for his new book, I dug out my copy of the CIA report, and there’s no question he got this point right.rect3336 space
The efforts to kill Castro continued with the clear blessings of the administration.  On Aug. 10, 1962, Secretary of State Dean Rusk convened a meeting of what was called the ‘special group’ and, according to the CIA report, ‘[Secretary of Defense Robert] McNamara broached the subject of liquidation of Cuban leaders.  The discussion resulted in a Project Mongoose action memorandum prepared by [CIA operative] Edward Lansdale.’rect3336 space
Mongoose was the name of a general sabotage campaign against Cuba that, according to the memoir of a subsequent CIA director, William Colby, included the ‘sabotage of Cuban factories and rail lines’ as well as ‘spreading nonlethal chemicals in sugar fields to sicken cane cutters.’  Efforts to kill Castro with poisoned cigars, infected saccharine pills and explosives fit right in.

Last week, President Clinton sanctimoniously justified the continued isolation of Cuba despite his warm welcome for the leader of communist China.  Clinton said that the embargo against Cuba must continue until Cuba could prove that ‘it can turn into a modern state.’  Perhaps it isn’t too late for the Cubans to do a joint venture on gambling casinos with the mob to prove just how modern they are.”—TruthDig
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
         “Earlier this year, when President Barack Obama’s first visit to Buenos Aires was announced, human-rights organizations in Argentina threatened to fill the streets in protest when he arrived.  The visit was scheduled for March 24th, coinciding with the fortieth anniversary of the country’s last coup d’état and the beginning of a brutal dictatorship.   During the junta’s seven-year reign, military hit squads disappeared tens of thousands of people, torturing and killing most of them and abducting hundreds of their children.  As with other military interventions throughout South and Central America in the Cold War era, the Argentine coup and its consequent crimes were made partly possible by the support of the United States.  For the relatives of the disappeared and sympathizers with their cause, American imperialism is as much to blame for their loss as the military itself.

There is a sense of déjà vu in (Obama’s promise to be forthcoming with classified records).  Sixteen years ago, another outgoing Democratic President, Bill Clinton, announced the first-ever declassification of diplomatic records relating to the Argentine dictatorship.  It was the last in a series of such releases during his Administration.  Documents from a wide range of government bodies—the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the N.S.A., the Department of Justice, the National Security Council, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon, and the State Department—had already revealed shocking levels of complicity between the American government and the military regimes in Chile, El Salvador, and Guatemala.  Argentina benefited too late from this declassified diplomacy, and received only a small batch of records.  According to Carlos Osorio, an analyst with the National Security Archive, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., the documents were ready to be delivered by early September of 2001, but then 9/11 happened.  A second attempt was frustrated by the economic and political meltdown in Argentina at the end of that year.  Ultimately, only forty-seven hundred State Department documents were handed over, in August of 2002. .
(As limited as they were), (t)he records provided human-rights groups, judges, and prosecutors concrete evidence to mount criminal cases.  After the amnesties and pardon laws of the late nineteen-eighties and early nineties were declared unconstitutional, around ten years ago, investigations of violations during the dictatorship were reopened, and thousands of former military and police officers were brought to trial.  Ever since then, such groups as the Asociación Civil Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, composed of grandmothers looking for their stolen grandchildren, and the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) have unsuccessfully requested the release of records that were left out of the 2002 declassification.  Obama’s visit presented them with the chance to make a renewed push.  The Argentine government will now work on drafting a detailed list of the files that it wants declassified, though most of the work has already been done by human-rights groups.  Osorio told me that the process usually takes ‘between eight months and a year,’ and he believes that the Obama Administration aims to release the files before the next President takes over. .
The biggest effect of Obama’s decision, though, may have less to do with specific revelations than with a broader move toward transparency.  On Saturday, after a meeting with Pope Francis—himself the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires—Bishop Carlos Malfa, a high-ranking Argentine cleric, announced that the Vatican will release its own classified records on the dictatorship.  Historians have established the Catholic Church’s links to and support of the Argentine military during its reign of terror.  For decades, Church authorities have refused to acknowledge the role they played in those years; on several occasions, they have hinted at the need for ‘reconciliation,’ a coded reference to amnesty.  On Sunday, the Argentine Episcopal Conference released a statement condemning the ‘state terrorism’ of the dictatorship, which it says led to ‘torture, murder, disappearance, and the kidnapping of children,’ and vindicating the path of ‘truth, repentance, and reparation through justice’—strong language never before used by Catholic high authorities.

(One commentator spoke of the ‘bittersweet’ nature of Obama’s presence).  On the one hand, he said, the President’s visit coincides with a bad chapter in Argentina’s economic history and a contentious argument over how the country will handle its creditors, the so-called vulture funds.  ‘Obama is coming to Argentina when our Parliament is debating the country’s submission to Wall Street,’ (human rights leader Horacio) Verbitsky said.  On the other hand, he added, ‘We must celebrate Obama’s recognition and homage to the victims of the dictatorship, which prove there is no going back in the fight for historical memory.'”—New Yorker

              TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                  AWARENESS VIDEO                  


http://fktv.is/future-military-robots-27594 – For anyone who had even a single question about the automation of murder that drones only hint at, a briefing that is available thanks to the folks at Forbidden Knowledge TV, about the money and technology and political thinking that underlies the pending transformation of battlefields and war, a shift that will–if it happens outside the context of a massive upsurge in grassroots participation–guarantee a dystopian concentration camp for as long as humankind manages to persist under conditions of a permanently roboticized culling of the herd.


student writing arm


Community of Writers at Squaw Valley

Lake Tahoe, California
Event Date:
June 18, 2016
Application Deadline:
April 12, 2016
E-mail address:
info@communityofwriters.org The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley offers summer workshops in poetry from June 18 to June 25 and in fiction and creative nonfiction from July 25 to August 1 in Squaw Valley, near the north shore of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Financial aid is available.



Deadline April 30, 2016. For poetry submit up to six poems in a single document. For fiction submit one story up to 10,000 words. Entry fee entitles entrants to a copy of the winter issue. $400 and publication in each category.


We will be awarding twelve $10,000 two-year TWP Science & Religion Fellowships to develop a publishable true story or series of stories. Open to novice and experienced writers, anyone who has a compelling true story or true stories illustrating or exploring harmonies between science and religion is encouraged to apply. Over a two-year period, Fellows will develop, write, and market their creative nonfiction stories. They will be mentored throughout the project by experienced writers, editors and teachers. They and their stories will be featured in a series of regional and national events. As part of the workshop, Fellows will participate in three intensive training workshops. Deadline May 15, 2016. TWP Science & Religion is a project of Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, in collaboration with Creative Nonfiction and Issues in Science and Technology.

pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


American Foundry Society – Our spectacular association is seeking an Associate Editor to write, edit and assist in production management for three manufacturing trade magazines and their digital products in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Requires a bachelor’s degree in journalism/communications and three years of experience in magazine and website writing/editing. Experience in photography and video creation/editing are a plus as we love all media channels. Must be willing to travel (less than 10%) and learn a new industry. Excellent benefits including 401k, health care, great location and positive work environment. Please send resume, writing samples and salary requirements to: aspada@afsinc.org or Ad Manager-MC, 1695 N. Penny Lane, Schaumburg, IL 60173. EOE M/F

Reporter Austin TX

Community Impact Newspaper is looking for a dynamic reporter for the Lake Travis/Westlake area. Our reporters work hard every day to relay the news that residents need and want to know about. The reporter covers City Council meetings and also writes about business, transportation, health care, events and more. This position requires the ability to juggle multiple print and online deadlines, so multitasking capability is a must. We’re looking for someone who has an understanding of the way city government functions. It is essential to be motivated, trustworthy and levelheaded under pressure to be successful in this position.


Popular Activist and Political Distortions

A powerful Common Dreams open letter to a luminary in an identity-politics realm who makes the mistake of leading her constituents and believers down an equivocal electoral path: “Dolores, I am surprised, dismayed, and concerned that you would do your legacy such a disservice by becoming an instrument of the establishment, rather than joining this movement to create a better America like you once inspired us to do.”

WRISS Call for Simpler Prose

A Poynter posting that analyses the necesity for simplifying text so that all people may be able to read and understand which is, after all, the purpose of language: “You cannot make something clear until the difficult subject is clear in your head. That requires the hard work of reporting, research and critical thinking.  Then, and only then, can you reach into the writer’s toolbox, ready to explain to readers, “Here’s how it works.””

Lover of Life

A Salon article that introduces readers to the engaging and life-affirming prose of Jim Harrison: “The characters who populate Harrison stories are as introspective as they are hedonistic, but their hedonism, for all their lusty encounters and impulsive behavior, is rarely, if ever, selfish. In an eschewal of the oversize individualism of American culture, Harrison’s characters feel deeply for other people, and other living things in general.”


Great Play for the Current Context

A Komisar Scoop look at a chilling play that shows a dystopic moment that may be all too real: “Aaron Loeb establishes perfectly the moral conundrum, the slippery slope of the amoral corporate/political project. You don’t really know where to draw the line between the past, present and possible future. You only understand that the kind of morality represented by corporate sleaze and groupthink has seeped into areas where “a modest proposal” for killing is readily accepted by political decision-makers.”


Looking at Recent Brussels Attacks

A Global Research Center look at the recent attacks in Europe, looking at their provenance,  motivations, and what can be learned: “Dramatic loss of life in the terror attacks in Brussels: 34 killed and more than 180 wounded according to the latest reports. 

Prior to the conduct of a police investigation, in the hours following the attacks, the Western media went into overdrive, intimating without evidence that the Islamic State (ISIS) operating out of Raqqa, Northern Syria was responsible for the attacks. “


Clinton as a Politician

An Ian Welsh post that contextualizes the true depths of Hillary as a politician, an indictment that voters ought to take note of: “It is a fact that Clinton is a bad person, who has championed policies which have killed a lot of people, and which have impoverished many others.

No Realpolitik case can be made for these policies: They have clearly made the world a more dangerous place, vastly increasing failed states and terrorism. These policies were unethical both in and of themselves, and massive suffering have been direct results.

I have been told by people who know her that she is a wonderful, concerned friend, and very warm in small groups.

I care about that as much as I do about the fact that Americans thought that George W. Bush was “someone who they wanted to have a beer with.”

3.23.2016 Daily Links

          BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW          

From Common Dreams, a briefing of the hideous obstruction to even the most limited engagement of democracy, i.e., the ‘right to vote,’ in Arizona’s primary yesterday, a series of snafus that included turning away some thousands of legitimate voters, causing anyone who showed up to suffer through four and five hour waits in the desert sun, and more, an imbroglio that inevitably favors the default position, the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, something that an additional account from Daily Kos made perfectly clear, in the event with video inserts in the posting, all of which scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens should ponder deeply, sooner rather than later.

                    This Day in History                  

world space planet The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17Today, the third day of Spring this year, is World Meteorological Day; in England four and three quarters century ago, plus one year, the last monastery to give in to Henry VIII’s rule, at Waltham Abbey, culminated the rise of the Church of England vis-à-vis Roman Catholicism; two hundred nine years thereafter, in 1749, a male infant came into the world who would grow up as statistical innovator and astronomer by the name of Pierre La Place; eight years hence, in 1757, English naval and army forces captured the city of Chandannagar from the French in West Bengal, laying the basis for the commercial ascendancy of Calcutta and the general consolidation of British rule of the Subcontinent; twenty-six years onward in space and time, in 1775, Patrick Henry intoned before his legislative cohorts in Virginia, “Give me liberty or give me death;” just beyond three decades subsequent to that, in 1806, having traversed the continent and arrived at the Pacific in its exploration of the Louisiana Purchase, Louis and Clark’s expedition began its return to the East; a decade and a half subsequently, in 1821, Kalamata fell to nationalist forces in Greece’s War for Independence against Ottoman rule; twenty-two years past that point, in 1843, the monumentally gifted French storyteller Stendhal breathed his last; a hundred fifty-nine years back, the world’s inaugural Otis Elevator first offered visitors a ‘lift’ at 488 Broadway in Manhattan; eleven years more in the direction of today, in 1868, California established its State University system with a campus near Oakland, now Berkeley; another eleven years later, in 1879, Chilean troops in llama chile andesthe country’s war to claim mineral-rich Northern lands from Bolivia stormed and won the town of Topater; seven hundred thirty-one days further on, in 1881, a baby boy was born who would rise from wealthy Catholic roots to write novels of France as Roger Martin du Gard, for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1937; four years after that, in 1885, Chinese forces won a victory in the Sino-French War near Hung Hoa in the Northern reaches of Vietnam; another couple of years more proximate to the present, in 1887, a baby boy took his first independent breath in Lithuania on his way to life as the worker and U.S. labor leader Sidney Hillman; thirteen further years along the temporal arc, in 1900, the male child uttered an initial cry en route to a life as psychoanalyst and thinker about the human condition, Eric Fromm; a year afterward, in 1901, half a world away in the Philippines, U.S. interlopers demonstrated their imperial agenda in capturing Emilio Aguinaldo, the President of the newly proclaimed Republic and yet not apropos for U.S. plans for its newly conquered, or ‘liberated,’ territory; seven years closer still to this point in time, in 1908, several thousand miles to the Northeast, Korean nationalists and opponents to Japanese butchery slew U.S. diplomat Dunbar Stevens, who was a big backer of Japanese hegemony on the Korean Peninsula; two years closer to today, in 1910, one storyteller with pictures died in France, Gaspar Tournachon, better known as Nadar, and, half-a-world away, in Japan, a baby boy gave his first cry on the way to a film movie theaterlifetime of filmmaking and screenwriting as Akira Kurosawa; eight further years on the way to today, in 1918, trials began in Chicago against more than a hundred ‘Wobblies’ for the ‘crime’ of speaking against World War One involvement by the ‘bastion of free speech’ that was about to imprison them for talking; three hundred sixty-five days down the pike, in 1919, in Italy, Benito Mussolini and cohorts founded the modern fascist movement; thirteen years henceforth, in 1932, a decidedly different development took place back in North America as Congress passed the Norris-La Guardia Act that limited injunctions against labor and boosted the rights of unions; another year after, in 1933, back in Europe, the German Reichstag passed the legislation which effectively gave Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers; seven years nearer to now, in 1940, activists in what is now Pakistan passed the Lahore Resolution, calling for the creation of Islamic majority states to the West and East of the British-run Subcontinent; two years yet later on, in 1942, a baby boy came squalling into the world in Guyana, a working class child, who would go on to lead his country and present a credible plan for decolonization and solidarity as Walter Rodney; seven years farther guitar music art performancealong time’s path, in 1949, a male infant called out en route to a life as the crooner and lyricist, Ric Ocasek; four years even closer to the current context, in 1953, another child entered the world in standard fashion who would mature as the rocker and writer, Chakha Khan;  three additional years en route to the here and now, in 1956, Pakistan became the first Islamic Republic on our fair orb; forty-two years in advance of our present light and air, several thousand delegates in Chicago formed the Coalition of Labor Union Women; three years more proximate to the present pass, in 1977, England’s David Frost began the interviews of Richard Nixon that were to define his career; three years later, in 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero gave the speech that sealed his fate at an assassin’s hands, calling on El Salvador’s soldiers no longer to murder and brutalize their fellow citizens; seven hundred thirty days thereafter, in 1982 in neighboring Guatemala, Efrain Rios-Montt oversaw a brutal coup of a democratically elected government en route to further slaughter of his countrymen for the crime of wanting improved social conditions; just another year down the pike, in 1983, Ronald Reagan signed the Strategic Defense Initiative, amplifying further the nuclear arms race and moving humankind closer to annihilation; a decade after that, to the day, the stalwart libertarian thinker and economist, Friederich Hayek, took one final breath; a dozen years hence, in 2005, what investigators soon termed a culture of impunity in regard to safety caused a lethal explosion at the British Petroleum oil refiner in Texas City, sending fifteen workers to early graves and injuring almost two hundred other employees.

                A Thought for the Day                

Since the human kind has ever had a traveling mind, in which the very idea of border or boundary represented a sort of dare that eventually some intrepid sort would successfully challenge, the lines on maps that separate one planetary place from another are at best artificial conventions that have more or less powerful political punch and at worst are absurd and toxic excuses for clannish depredation, which for ten thousand years or so, a la the Old Testament and the Iliad and the Upanishads and more, have permitted those in charge of things to maintain their ascendancy by dividing and conquering those who would otherwise assuredly have overthrown their varied and yet all too similar reigns of terror and error and barely disguised disparity.

                  Quote of the Day                       
"6sided dice" by Diacritica
“6sided dice” by Diacritica

“I present here without the aid of analysis the principles and general results of this theory(of probability), applying them to the most important questions of life, which are indeed for the most part only problems of probability.  Strictly speaking it may even be said that nearly all our knowledge is problematical ; and in the small number of things which we are able to know with certainty, even in the mathematical sciences themselves, the principal means for ascertaining truth — induction and analogy — are based on probabilities; so that the entire system of human knowledge is connected with the theory set forth in this essay.  Doubtless it will be seen here with interest that in considering, even in the eternal principles of reason, justice, and humanity, only the favorable chances which are constantly attached to them, there is a great advantage in following these principles and serious inconvenience in departing from them : their chances,like those favorable to lotteries, always end by prevailing in the midst of the vacillations of hazard.  I hope that the reflections given in this essay may merit the attention of philosophers and direct it to a subject so worthy of engaging their minds.

All events, even those which on account of their insignificance do not seem to follow the great laws of nature, are a result of it just as necessarily as the revolutions of the sun.  In ignorance of the ties which unite such events to the entire system of the universe, they have been made to depend upon final causes or upon hazard, according as they occur and are repeated with regularity, or appear without regard to order; but these imaginary causes have gradually receded with the widening bounds of knowledge and disappear entirely before sound philosophy, which sees in them only the expression of our ignorance of the true causes.

We ought then to regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its anterior state and as the cause of the one which is to follow.  Given for one
instant an intelligence which could comprehend all the forces by which nature is animated and the respective situation of the beings who compose it — an intelligence sufficiently vast to submit these data to analysis — it would embrace in the same formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the lightest atom; for it, nothing would be uncertain and the future, as the past, would be present to its eyes.  The human mind offers, in the perfection which it has been able to give to astronomy, a feeble idea of this intelligence.  Its discoveries in mechanics and geometry, added to that of universal gravity, have enabled it to comprehend in the same analytical expressions the past and future states of the system of the world.  Applying the same method to some other objects of its knowledge, it has succeeded in referring to general laws observed phenomena and in foreseeing those which given circumstances ought to produce.  All these efforts in the search for truth tend to lead it back continually to the vast intelligence which we have just mentioned, but from which it will always remain infinitely removed.  This tendency, peculiar to the human race, is that which renders it superior to animals; and their progress in this respect distinguishes nations and ages and constitutes their true glory.

Pixabay Image 161184           Probability is relative, in part to this (inevitable) ignorance, in part to our knowledge.  We know that of three or a greater number of events a single one ought to occur; but nothing induces us to believe that one of them will occur rather than the others.  In this state of indecision it is impossible for us to announce their occurrence with certainty.  It is, however, probable that one of these events, chosen at will, will not occur because we see several cases equally possible which exclude its occurrence, while only a single one favors it.  The theory of chance consists in reducing all the events of the same kind to a certain number of cases equally possible, that is to say, to such as we may be equally undecided a bout in regard to their existence, and in determining the number of cases favorable to the event whose probability is sought.  The ratio of this number to that of all the cases possible is the measure of this probability, which is thus simply a fraction whose numerator is the number of favorable cases and whose denominator is the number of all the cases possible.

The probability of events serves to determine the hope or the fear of persons interested in their existence.  The word hope has various acceptations; it
expresses generally the advantage of that one who expects a certain benefit in suppositions which are only probable.  This advantage in the theory of chance is a product of the sum hoped for by the probability of obtaining it; it is the partial sum which ought to result when we do not wish to run the risks of the event in supposing that the division is made proportional to the probabilities.  This division is the only equitable one when all strange circumstances are eliminated; because an equal degree of probability gives an equal right to the sum hoped for.  We will call this advantage mathematical hope.

We have just seen(in the past 100 pages) the advantages of the analysis of probabilities in the investigation of the laws of natural phenomena whose causes are unknown or so complicated that their results cannot be submitted to calculus.  This is the case of nearly all subjects of the moral sciences.  So many unforeseen causes, either hidden or inappreciable, influence human institutions that it is impossible to judge a priori the results.  The series of events which time brings about develops these results and indicates the means of remedying those that are harmful.  Wise laws have often been made in this regard; but because we had neglected to conserve the motives many have been abrogated as useless, and the fact that vexatious experiences have made the need felt anew ought to have reestablished them.

There are things so extraordinary that nothing can balance their improbability.  But this, by the effect of a dominant opinion, can be weakened to the point of appearing inferior to the probability of the testimonies; and when this opinion changes an absurd statement admitted unanimously in the century which has given it birth offers to the following centuries only a new proof of the extreme influence of the general opinion upon the more enlightened minds.  Two great men of
the century of Louis XIV. — Racine and Pascal — are striking examples of this.  It is painful to see with what complaisance Racine, this admirable painter of the human heart and the most perfect poet that has ever lived, reports as miraculous the recovery of Mile. Perrier, a niece of Pascal and a day pupil at the monastery of Port-Royal; it is painful to read the reasons by which Pascal seeks to prove that this miracle should be necessary to religion in order to justify the doctrine of the monks of this abbey, at that time persecuted by the Jesuits.  The young Perrier had been afflicted for three years and a half by a lachrymal fistula; she touched her afflicted eye with a relic which was pretended to be one of the thorns of the crown of the Saviour and she had faith in instant recovery.  Some days afterward the physicians and the surgeons attest the recovery, and they declare that nature and the remedies have had no part in it.  This event, which took place in 1656, made a great sensation, and ‘all Paris rushed,’ says Racine, ‘to Port-Royal.’
   code binary computer geek        (Induction, looking for facts and then imagining principles that account for them, must be the way that we proceed if we want to advance logically).  Yet induction, in leading to the discovery of the general principles of the sciences, does not suffice to establish them absolutely.  It is always necessary to confirm them by demonstrations or by decisive experiences; for the history of the sciences shows us that induction has sometimes led to inexact results.  I shall cite, for example, a theorem of Fermat in regard to primary numbers.  This great geometrician, who had meditated profoundly upon this theorem, sought a formula which, containing only primary numbers, gave directly a primary number greater than any other number assignable.  Induction led him to think that two, raised to a power which was itself a power of two, formed with unity a primary number.  Thus, two raised to the square plus one, forms the primary number five; two raised to the second power of two, or sixteen, forms with one the primary number seventeen.  He found that this was still true for the eighth and the sixteenth power of two augmented by unity; and this induction, based upon several arithmetical considerations, caused him to regard this result as general.  However, he avowed that he had not demonstrated it.  Indeed, Euler recognized that this does not hold for the thirty-second power of two, which, augmented by unity, gives 4,294,967,297, a number divisible by 641.”  Pierre Laplace: A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities

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http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/03/michael-hudson-on-debt-deflation-the-rentier-economy-and-the-coming-financial-cold-war.html – In the first of a pair of postings from Naked Capitalism, both of which offer transcripts of recorded sessions with economist Michael Hudson, an analysis of the way that parasitism defines a rentier economy, one which inherently portends inexorable deflationary pressure and that therefore will elicit conditions of fiscal conflict that are warlike if not out-and-out fighting; in the second NC item, a look at the historical, ideological, and conceptual background to this elevation of rentier parasites to controlling places in the political economy, in particular how the present paradigm has more or less completely subverted the thinking and insights of classical economics as well as those of its radical offshoots; both of which help to explain what a Salon article  delineates as a “broken system,” when a nicely profitable ‘going concern’ up and closes its entire operation to relocate so as to take advantage of even cheaper wages, but which the scrappy scribe and stalwart citizen might instead describe as a perfectly functioning predatory and parasitical methodology operating as its operators have long intended, which is to say to foment plunder, support plutocracy, and otherwise emiserate and impoverish the lives of working class people, the upshot of all of which ought to be outrage and an insistence of radical reform if not outright revolution: “The financial sector today is decoupled from industrialization.  Its main interface with industry is to provide credit to corporate raiders.   Their objective is asset stripping.  They use earnings to repay financial backers (usually junk-bond holders), not to increase production.  The effect is to suck income from the company and from the economy to pay financial elites.  These elites play the role today that landlords played under feudalism.  They levy interest and financial fees that are like a tax, to support what the classical economists called ‘unproductive activity.’  That is what I mean by ‘parasitic.’

(In relation to how in nature parasitic predators numb the host from pain and control the infected organism’s brain), (t)he financial sector does something similar by pretending to be part of the industrial production-and-consumption economy.  The National Income and Product Accounts treat the interest, profits and other revenue that Wall Street extracts – along with that of the rentier sectors it backs (real estate landlordship, natural resource extraction and monopolies) – as if these activities add to Gross Domestic Product.  The reality is that they are a subtrahend, a transfer payment from the ‘real’ economy to the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate Sector.  I therefore focus on this FIRE sector as the main form of economic overhead that financialized economies have to carry.

The financial overhead has grown so large that(relatively soon) paying interest, amortization, and fees shrink the economy.  So we are in for years of debt deflation.  That means that people have to pay so much debt service for mortgages, credit cards, student loans, bank loans and other obligations that they have less to spend on goods and services.  So markets shrink.  New investment and employment fall off, and the economy is falls into a downward spiral. …The result is a slow crash.  The economy just gets poorer and poorer.  More debtors default, and their property is transferred to creditors. …not only with homeowners who fall into arrears, but also corporations and even governments.  Ireland and Greece are examples of the kind of future in store for us.  Financialized economies tend to polarize between creditors and debtors.  This is the dynamic that Thomas Piketty leaves out of his book, but his statistics show that all growth in income and nearly all growth in wealth or net worth has accrued to the One Percent, almost nothing for the 99 Percent.

(This complex process, which includes many other aspects and components, might lead to three essential policy prescriptions).  First, tax land rent and other economic rent.  Make it the tax base.  Otherwise, this rental value will end up being pledged to banks as interest on credit borrowed to buy rent-yielding assets.  Second, make banks into public utilities. Credit creation is like land or air: a monopoly created by society.  As organs of public policy they would not play the derivatives casino, or make corporate takeover loans to raiders, or falsify mortgage documents.  Third, do not privatize basic utilities.  Public ownership enables basic services to be provided at cost, on a subsidized basis, or freely.  That will make the economy more competitive.  The cost of upgrading public infrastructure can be defrayed by basing the tax system on economic rent, not wages.

(In the end, the indebtedness that props up a rentier economy is not sustainable, with a ‘clean slate’ or ‘foreclosure’ the traditional ways out of unpayable obligations.  However),  (t)he United States Government has fought against creation of an international court to adjudicate the ability of national economies to pay debts.  If such a court is not created, the global economy will fracture.  That is occurring in what looks like a New Cold War pitting the United States and its NATO satellites against the BRICS (China, Russia, South Africa, Brazil and India) along with Iran and other debtors. …Debtor countries may postpone the inevitable by borrowing from the IMF or U.S. Treasury to buy out bondholders.  This saves the latter from taking a loss – leaving the debtor country with debts that are even harder to annul, because they are to foreign governments and international institutions.  That is why it is a very bad policy for countries to move from owing money to private bondholders to owing the IMF or European Central Bank, whose demands are unforgiving.  In the long term, debts won’t be paid in the way that Rome’s debts were not paid.  The money economy itself was stripped, and the empire fell into a prolonged Dark Age.  That is the fate that will befall the West if it continues to support the ‘rights’ of creditors over the right of nations and economies to survive.”—Naked Capitalism, Ritchie Interview
Pixabay Image 844273
          “Today’s episode is from a teleSUR interview with Chris Hedges that focuses on one of Hudson’s favorite themes: the way that central messages of classical economics have been airbrushed out of the current economic orthodoxy, or worse, turned on their head.  Classical economics was concerned with eradicating the vestiges of feudalism, which led to concerns about deadweight costs like rent extraction as well as distortions caused by monopolies and oligopolies.  While it does not come up in this talk, another concern of classical economics was the productive use of lending.  Classical economists favored usury ceilings because lenders otherwise would fund speculation (in those days, gambling by the rich) as opposed to funding commerce.

I want to open this discussion by reading a passage from your book, which I admire very much, which I think gets to the core of what you discuss.  You write, “’Adam Smith long ago remarked that profits often are highest in nations going fastest to ruin.”  There are many ways to create economic suicide on a national level.  The major way through history has been through indebting the economy.  Debt always expands to reach a point where it cannot be paid by a large swathe of the economy.  This is the point where austerity is imposed and ownership of wealth polarizes between the one percent and the ninety-nine percent.  Today is not the first time this has occurred in history.  But it is the first time that running into debt has occurred deliberately.  Applauded.  As if most debters can get rich by borrowing, not reduced to a condition of debt peonage.

(And this kind of approach dominated in most ‘advanced economies’ in the mid 1800’s, so that) by the time you got to Marx, later in the 19th century, you had a whole discussion, largely in Germany, over “how do we make banks do something they did not do under feudalism?”  Right now we’re having the economic surplus being drained by the landlords and drained by the bond holders.  Adam Smith was very much against colonialism because that lead to wars, because that led to public debt.  And he said the solution to prevent this financial class of bond holders burdening down the economy by imposing more and more taxes on consumer goods every time they went to war was to finance wars on a pay-as-you-go basis.  Instead of borrowing you’d tax the people then he thought that if everybody felt the burden of war, in the form of paying taxes, then they’d be against it.  Well, it took all of the 19th century to fight for democracy and to extend the vote so that instead of the landlords controlling the parliament and the law making and the tax system through the House of Lords, you’d extend the vote to labor, to women, to everybody on the theory that society as a whole would vote in its self-interest, and that it would vote for the 99% and not for the 1%.  And so by the time Marx wrote in the 1870s he could already see what was happening in Germany, that the German banks were trying to make money, in conjunction with the government, by lending to heavy industry, largely to the military-industrial complex. …
Well, the German banking was so successful that by the time World War I broke out, there were discussions in the English journals saying, we’re worried that Germany and the Axis powers are going to win because their banks are more suited to fund industry, and without industry you can’t have really a military.  Whereas the British banks only lend for foreign trade, they’d lend for speculation, and the stock market is a hit-and-run operation; they want a quick in-and-out to make the profits, whereas the German banks don’t insist that their clients pay as much dividends.  The German banks own stocks as well as bonds, and there’s much more of a partnership.  And that’s what most of the 19th century imagined was going to happen.  That the world was on the way to socializing banking.  Towards moving capitalism beyond the feudal level and getting rid of the landlord class, getting rid of the rent, getting rid of interest and really it was going to be labor and capital, profits and wages, with the profits being reinvested in more capital and you’d have an expansion of technology.  And around the early twentieth century, most futurists imagined that we’d be living in a leisure economy by now.

(The big fix to make sure that this would not happen came from America).  The common denominator among all of the classical economists was the distinction between earned income and unearned income.  And the unearned income was rent and interest.  The earned income were wages and profits.  Well, John Bates Clark came and said, there’s no such thing as unearned income.  The landlord actually earns the money by taking all this effort to provide a house and land to renters, and the banks that provide credit.  Their interest–every kind of income is, everybody earns their income.  So everybody who accumulates wealth, by definition, according to his formulas, get rich by adding to what is now called gross domestic product.”—Naked Capitalism, Hedges Interviewjob_unemployment_big
          “A viral video of 1,400 workers at a unionized Carrier air conditioner factory in Indianapolis being told their jobs would be outsourced to Mexico has become a searing example of the destructive power of globalization.  Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have highlighted the video, which surfaced earlier this year, and vowed to fight these corporate practices.  But what most people didn’t understand until a New York Times article this weekend is that Carrier’s air conditioning business has, in fact, been quite profitable. …
(A huge chunk of total profits came from Carrier).  A look at United Technologies’ annual report reveals even more good news: Commercial and industrial products, Carrier’s category, make up over half of UTC’s $56 billion in net sales.  Climate, Controls & Security had 3 percent growth in 2015, the highest in the company; it was the only division to increase its profit margin year-over-year. ‘ Organic sales growth at UTC Climate, Controls & Security was driven by the U.S. commercial and residential heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and transport refrigeration businesses,’ according to page 14 of the report.  In other words, air conditioners – what the workers are making in Indianapolis – drove the growth of the best-performing facet of United Technologies’ business.  So why would a profitable, growing business need to ship jobs to Mexico?  Because their shareholders demanded it.

(Shareholders were ‘demanding’ close to 20% increases in dividends, even though sales were only accelerating at 8% per year.  Mexican workers’ hourly earnings were just over ten percent of those in Indiana).  The responsiveness to shareholders doesn’t end with cutting labor costs.  Last year, United Technologies ‘returned approximately $12 billion to our shareowners in dividends and share buybacks,’ according to the annual report.  Shareholders extracted around 75 percent of the company’s profits, which hampers the company’s ability to stay competitive through investment.  (Research and development went down 13 percent last year.)"EuphoniumAndTuba wb" by Original uploader Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
United Technologies has promised investors they would cut $500 million in costs every year for the foreseeable future.  The president of the Climate, Controls & Security division told investors on a conference call recently that two-thirds of their manufacturing has already shifted to low-cost countries, and that ‘there’s some opportunity there’ to shift more.  This is entirely driven by the stock price, disassociated from United Technologies’ robust sales and profits.  Executive compensation tied up in stock options or stock performance leads to a loyalty to shareholders that far exceeds loyalty to workers.

(Some would say, ‘this is capitalism; get over it.’)  Shareholder value proponents argue they perform a critical role as a watchdog for managers to improve corporate governance.  Indeed, you could point to the analysts recommending the breakup of Citigroup on shareholder value grounds and see the positives in some of their theories.  But in practice, shareholder value has created a race to the bottom.  America’s workers cannot compete in an environment where forcing concessions upon them is the entire rationale for their employer’s existence.  Politics cannot thrive when shareholder pressure leads corporations to seek whatever advantages they can get, on environmental or safety or public health or tax rules.  We need to figure out how to restrain capital flight, and what to do for low- and middle-skill workers abandoned by factory jobs, beyond just giving them a paper McDonald’s hat and a spatula.  We need to be honest about what free trade with China has done to millions of Americans’ job security and career prospects.  But until we rethink the purpose of a company, and put that into action in corporate charters, we won’t get anywhere resisting what corporations see as functional imperatives.”—Salon

              TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                  AWARENESS VIDEO                  


https://www.socialeurope.eu/2016/03/why-should-we-care-about-inequality/ –  From the New Economic Thinking series that Social Europe makes available, a quarter hour well spent for anyone who wants to understand why the issue of inequality is so critical to current outcomes, including having economies that work for all and in general, managing to achieve anything akin to full employment and a boost in the vaunted ‘aggregate demand,’ and a good deal more, all presented in down-to-Earth fashion without a burdensome commitment of time and attention.


student writing arm


Hill House Artist Residencies

East Jordan, Michigan
Application Deadline:
April 1, 2016

The Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design (ISLAND) offers year-round residencies of two to four weeks to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers at the Hill House, located near the Mackinaw State Forest in East Jordan, Michigan. Residents are provided with a semi-secluded private cabin with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, work space, a back porch, a full kitchen, and food supplies. For residencies from June to November, submit a writing sample of 10 to 20 pages, an artist statement, and contact information for three references with a $25 application fee by April 1. Visit the website for an application and complete guidelines.



One Grand Prize winner will receive: An announcement of the winner on the cover of Writer’s Digest (subscriber issues only), $5,000, an interview with the author in Writer’s Digest, one on one attention from four editors or agents, a paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference, a one year subscription to Writer’s Digest Tutorials, a 30-minute Platform Strategy Consultation with Chuck Sambuchino. First place will receive $1,000 in cash and $100 off a purchase from the Writer’s Digest Shop. Second place will receive $500 cash and $100 off a purchase from the Writer’s Digest Shop. Third place will receive $250 in cash and $100 off a purchase from the Writer’s Digest Shop. Fourth place will receive $100 in cash and $50 off a purchase from the Writer’s Digest Shop. Fifth place will receive $50 in cash and $50 off a purchase from the Writer’s Digest Shop. Sixth through Tenth place winners will receive $25 in cash and $25 off a purchase from the Writer’s Digest Shop. Categories: Inspirational Writing (Spiritual/Religious), Memoirs/Personal Essay, Magazine Feature Article, Genre Short Story (Mystery, Romance, etc.), Mainstream/Literary , Short Story, Rhyming Poetry, Non-rhyming Poetry, Stage Play, Television/Movie Script, Children’s/Young Adult Fiction. See each category for word count requirements.


For prose, submit up to 25 pages. For poetry, submit up to five poems. Deadline March 31, 2016. Winners receive $1,000 and publication. Finalists are published as well.

pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


The O9 Senior Editor is an experienced writer, reporter, editor and creative content strategist who can quickly translate a brand’s business objectives into strategic editorial that promotes a product or service and engages a target audience. The Senior Editor leads conversations with prospects, clients and teammates about multi-channel content programs and takes a leadership role in conceptualizing the high-quality branded content/sponsored programs we produce. The Senior Editor is a talented content strategist who knows how to develop a story from multiple angles and spread it across multiple channels. S/he is also adept at editorial management, including sourcing and supervising a diverse external network of writers and contributors, in addition to building and growing a multidisciplinary in-house team. Besides leading O9’s editorial efforts, the O9 Senior Editor plays an active role in people development and business development activities across O9.

Sports Writer Copy Editor

The River Valley Media Group, which includes the national award-winning La Crosse Tribune (32,000 circ.) and Winona Daily News (10,000 circ.) sports sections, has an opening for someone who has strong copy editing skills, a thorough knowledge of design, is highly organized and can work with our regional design center.  This position will work closely with a four-person sports staff in planning daily sections, and while not physically designing the sections, must have a flair for design and understand what eyecatching pages entail.  With a strong emphasis placed on our online sites, which includes our InsidePreps.com, the ability to help maintain our sites also is a must.  There are also occasional opportunities for writing.



99th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, April 2015. Irish Defense Forces / Flickr

Commemorating a Rebellion

A Portside look by an insightful commentator at the anniversary of an Irish rebellion that has much to say about the world we live in today: “It’s a hundred years since some 750 men and women threw up barricades and seized key locations in downtown Dublin. They would be joined by maybe 1,000 more. In six days it would be over, the post office in flames, the streets blackened by shell fire, and the rebellion’s leaders on their way to face firing squads against the walls of Kilmainham Jail.

And yet the failure of the Easter Rebellion would eventually become one of the most important events in Irish history — a “failure” that would reverberate worldwide and be mirrored by colonial uprisings almost half a century later.”

Changing Face of Activism

An Atlantic look at very specific and interesting activists, and at the way that the current crop of civil rights activists is separating itself from the usual confines of the church: “Gill and her peers have already taken leadership roles in Baltimore’s political-organizing efforts; they’re concerned with long-standing issues such as economic inequality and police brutality. Intentionally or not, they’re also experimenting with what new forms of religiosity and spirituality—often framed in political language—might look like. As 21-year-old Kwame Rose, another local activist, put it, “Young black people are pushing the older generation out of the way and saying, ‘This is our movement. This is our time to lead.’””

smartphone twitter social mediaTen for Twitter

A Poynter look by journalists, social media icons, and writers of all stripes at the decade anniversary of the iconic social media tool, along with some fun advice on how to utilize it: “In honor of 10 years of journalists tweeting (and getting into Twitter fights, tweetstorming and tweeting hot takes), here are 10 guides to using the social network from our archives.

These include advice from people such as Craig Silverman, now editor at BuzzFeed Canada, on posting Twitter corrections, Nisha Chittal, manager of social media at MSNBC, on figuring out what’s public and private on Twitter, and David Beard, executive editor at PRI, who suggested eight ways to attract followers.”

Discussing What’s At Stake

A Counter Currents piece by an insightful writer that looks at the toll that comsumer capitalism and the entire social, economical, and political construct that barely manages to prop it up is having on the planet and human prospects:Civilisations’ driving force is to dominate the maximum number of people and land area, as it’s for capitalism, but with fossil fuels; it attained that through violence and deceit. On the other hand, capitalism uses the socioeconomic power as the new supreme controller of oppression instead of relying solely on the sword and a spiritual belief. However, oppressing a section of peopled will oppress all, including nature; one can’t be free if we deny freedom to others. Today the socioeconomic system is the overlord oppressor. It oppresses our mind by confining our thinking within the present day economic needs to exploit the planet and its life. This to satisfy those of us, who are seduced by the competition for power, through wealth, measured and with created money.”

KickingThose Who Are Down

A Daily Kos posting by an astute observer who analyses the speeches that will most likely cause said candidates to win their primaries in spite of vast popular opinion: “For both Hillary and Trump, Palestinians are either terrorists, intransigent politicians, or inciters and terrorist sympathizers. When Clinton did bring up the never-ending two-state peace “process”, she was careful to quickly come back to caricaturing Palestinians as “terrorists” and “inciters”. “

WRISScorcovado_rio_twilight_2Adopted v. Mother Tongue

A fascinating Literary Hub post that looks at the phenomenom whereby someone takes one language for another: “The question about why I chose to write in my second language is probably the one I encounter most when meeting new people. And though I’ve been asked it frequently (in Israel, sometimes with a sense of indignation), I’m often at a loss for words, as if I am still stunned by the transformation myself. I understand the fascination: the act of trading languages is curious, an oddity, a literary magic trick. Our mother tongue is so entrenched in our psyche—the language that flowed in our mothers’ milk—that choosing another seems radical, outrageous, like wearing someone else’s skin. It is an act akin to religious conversion. And like a convert, I initially spent years in a limbo-like state (disguised as writer’s block), trapped in between languages, in between identities.”

Availability of Research Papers

A New York Times article that examines the question of research availability, and looks at yet another Robin Hood of data accessibility: “Her protest against scholarly journals’ paywalls has earned her rock-star status among advocates for open access, and has shined a light on how scientific findings that could inform personal and public policy decisions on matters as consequential as health care, economics and the environment are often prohibitively expensive to read and impossible to aggregate and datamine.”


The Verdict of Sex Tape Verdicts

A Rolling Stone look at the intricacies and consequences of the   “As the trial progressed, the institutional culture of Gawker itself came under scrutiny. The electronic paper trail that Gawker employees left is a defense lawyer’s nightmare, laying bare all the backchannel gossip and cattiness of office life. John Cook, the current executive editor of Gawker Media, was asked why he re-posted an uncircumcised dick pic that he’d seen on Andrew Sullivan’s blog. If anyone should worry about the chilling effect to come from this verdict, it should be Slack and other chat services that journalists use, and whose records can be subpoenaed in future cases.”


“Cuba and Obama reestablish relations.” Cartoon via Linhas Livres.

Historic Cuban Visit Leaves Room for Doubt

A Global Voices post-mortem on the historic Obama visit to the long-ostracized island: “Cubans on both sides of the Florida Straits are watching intently this week as President Barack Obama becomes the first sitting US president to visit the country since 1928. Hundreds of US journalists reporting on the visit appear almost giddy as they tweet and report on everything from trade to AirBnB accommodations to the upcoming Industriales – Tampa Rays baseball game.

Meanwhile, Cubans on the island (at least those with Internet access) and off are voicing firm critiques of both leaders.”

GENISSDrug War Confidential

A Harper’s piece that delineates the unhealthy beginnings of the war on drugs, as well as showing a rational way out: “At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. “You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.””

3.22.2016 Daily Links

          BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW          

From Counterpunch, a rational response to the suicide bombings that have rocked Belgium and Europe in the past day, and thus to the mass-murdering irrationality that imperial sway guarantees–in various direct and indirect ways–will dominate the Earth till citizens find a way to dismantle empire itself, not that the blood sport feeding frenzy in monopoly media and among the ‘established’ candidates in the U.S. primaries will pay attention to this plea for thinking and feeling rather than reacting yet again to violence so as to make absolutely certain its persistence and worsening, something that a peace activist from Brussels has just established forcefully in a recent posting in U.S. Uncut, something that intrepid readers should keep in mind as they recall that only two weeks ago, massive drone strikes in Somalia killed some 150 or so unknown youth with the promise that this would help alleviate what just went down in Belgium, despite the overwhelming evidence that precisely the opposite effect will always transpire.

                    This Day in History                  

water river lake drip dropIn Puerto Rico, this date marks Emancipation Day, which has, of course, yet to occur, while around the globe today is, apropos of warming climes, World Water Day; in the islands that we now know as England a thousand one hundred and forty-five years ago, the indigenous fighters of AEthelred of Wessex drove back Danish invaders at the Battle of Marton; King Ferdinand five hundred eight years ahead of the here and now designated Amerigo Vespucci as Spain’s primary imperial navigator; a hundred thirteen years subsequent to that, in 1621,English Pilgrims in Plymouth Colony negotiated a peace process with the Wampanoags indigenous to the region; three hundred sixty-five days henceforth, in 1622, South in Virginia, Algonquin fighters decimated English colonists in a coordinated attack that killed roughly a third of the colony’s immigrant population, nearly 350 people; eight years past that conjunction, back in New England in 1630, Massachusetts Bay outlawed even the possession of gaming paraphernalia like cards and dice; another eight years onward in the same place, in 1638, authorities expelled Anne Hutchinson for her dissenting ways; three quarters of a century more along time’s arc, in 1713, the Tuscarora War in Carolina Province annihilated the defendants of Fort Neoheroka and ‘opened’ Piedmont and Western regions of the colony to European incursion; twenty-six years later, in 1739, half a world away in the Subcontinent, the Persian conqueror Nader Shah led troops that sacked Delhi, including the Peacock Throne jewels; an additional nineteen years toward today, in 1758, back in New England, the fiery preacher and pamphleteer, Jonathan Edwards, died; seven years after that, across the Atlantic in imperial London in 1765, Parliament passed the Stamp Act, imposing an extractive tax on the colonies that was approximately as popular as random muggings by law; one hundred eighty-four years back, the great chronicler, thinker, and storyteller, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, drew a final breath; not quite four decades subsequent to that juncture, in 1871, the sitting Governor of North Carolina became the first chief executive to leave office as a result of impeachment; a single year thereafter, in 1872, Illinois became the first State in the Union to mandate equal employment rights for women; one more year in the direction of now, in 1873, Spain’s Puerto Rican National Assembly finally banned slavery in the colony; thirteen more years down the pike, in 1886, Mark Twain, a lifetime member of the

CC BY by Boston Public Library
CC BY by Boston Public Library

Typographical Union, delivered a rousing speech in favor of organized labor, “The Knights of Labor: a New Dynasty;” twenty-two years afterward, in 1908, a baby boy was born en route to a life as the storyteller and poet of the West, Louis L’Amour; a dozen years yet later on, in 1920, intermittent conflict among Armenians, Turks, & Azerbaijanis in Nagorno Karabakh escalated to the point that Armenians suffered catastrophic losses around Shushi, part of the slaughter of Armenians both during and in the aftermath of World War One; eight more years pointed toward now, in 1928, a male infant opened his eyes who would rise as the controversial cultural critic and proponent of conservative values, E.D. Hirsch; thirteen years after that moment in time and space, in 1941, the vast construction project at Grand Coulee Dam came to a conclusion, after the employment of thousands of workers, of whom seventy or more lost their lives in the process; four years later, in 1945, as the ‘thousand year Reich’ collapsed, nations and peoples of the Levant and Northern Africa came together to form the Arab League; two years past that exact instant, in 1947, a baby male cried out who would grow up as the prolific novelist from a privileged background, James Patterson; five years farther down the pike, in 1952, the iconic picker and crooner and lyricist, Uncle Dave Macon, called out the music of his swan song; eight years afterward, in 1960, two future Nobel Laureates in physics received the first patent for a “Light Amplified by Stimulated Emission of Radiation” device, or Laser; a thousand ninety-five more days in the future from that point, in

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1963, the Beatles released their first song collection, the ‘monster’ album, Please, Please Me; not quite a decade subsequently, in 1972, the U.S. Congress followed the will of the people and sent an Equal Rights Amendment to the States for ratification, and the Supreme Court handed down a decision which affirmed the right of unmarried people to have and use contraceptives, essentially permitting human sexuality to exist in the eyes of the law; three more years even closer to the current context, in 1975, the Tennessee Valley Authority nuclear power station near Brown’s Ferry, Alabama underwent an almost catastrophic fire that shut down operation for decades at a cost of billions and untold health consequences from radiation venting to the environment; seven additional years on the path to today, in 1982, close to a thousand International Association of Machinists strikers faced wanton police attacks in Rhode Island, for which the governor later apologized, after ‘the damage was done;’ seven hundred thirty-one days afterward, across the continent in 1984 California, hapless workers at the McMartin preschool faced hysterical, absurd charges of abusing their young kindergarteners in ritual, satanic fashion, which, again ‘after the damage was done,’ their accusers dropped as totally without foundation; six years henceforth, in 1990, a nearly five week, Spring Training lockout of professional baseball players ended when owners agreed to a minimum league salary of $100,000 and other player demands; three years yet more proximate to the present pass, in 1993, the Intel Corporation released its first popular and powerful Pentium computer chips; another half a decade onward in time, in 1998, a vicious six and a half year strike against the Caterpillar Corporation ended with an ‘agreement’ that included two-tier wages and other concessions that have bitterly divided the United Autoworkers ever since; seven years yet nearer to now, in 2005, the renowned Japanese architect, Kenzo Tange, who designed the Hiroshima Peace Museum, breathed his last; two additional years thereafter, in 2007, the popular philosopher and guru, U.G. Krishnamurti, lived out his final scene.

                A Thought for the Day                

That data serves as a holy grail for ruling classes makes perfect sense, since, after all, their imprimatur rests on being able to manipulate people, resources, energy, and institutions in a way that matches an empirical reality that their minions in corporate and state bureaucracies describe, more or less accurately and objectively, on a regular basis, aggregations of statistical description, moreover, that for the most part ‘average citizens’ have neither the patience nor the skill, neither the access nor the inclination, to seek to ponder and develop a strategic relation to; nevertheless, to confuse the utility that this evidence provides with social reality is a grave error, for at least two reasons—first, because the chronological appearance of current events has transpired from historical circumstances that by the laws of physics cannot be the same as what has elicited the present pass, meaning that comprehending how past relations have evolved is central to discerning all the data in today’s universe, and, second, also in relation to the annals of yesteryear, because today has, without a single exception ever, developed from deep and never-resolved conflicts of yesterday, meaning that focusing on ‘the facts’ to the exclusion of the social battles that underlie them can have lethal consequences in myriad ways that observers who witness these cases of upheaval would describe as ‘unintended’ but which would in essence be more like blowback from an arrogant ignorance about how reality is more than large number sets that attempt to depict it.

                  Quote of the Day                       
“The Court of Appeals held that the (Massachusetts anti-contraception) statute under which Baird was convicted is not a health measure.   If that view is correct, we do not see how Baird may be prevented, because he was neither a doctor nor a druggist, from attacking the statute in its alleged discriminatory application to potential distributees.  We think, too, that our self-imposed rule against the assertion of third-party rights must be relaxed in this case, just as in Griswold v. Connecticut, supra.  There, the Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut and a licensed physician who had prescribed contraceptives for married persons and been convicted as accessories to the crime of using contraceptives were held to have standing to raise the constitutional rights of the patients with whom they had a professional relationship.
        (The Griswold Court stated that) ‘(t)he rights of husband and wife, pressed here, are likely to be diluted or adversely affected unless those rights are considered in a suit involving those who have this kind of confidential relation to them.’  A similar situation obtains here.   Enforcement of the Massachusetts statute will materially impair the ability of single persons to obtain contraceptives.  In fact, the case for according standing to assert third-party rights is stronger in this regard here than in Griswold, because unmarried persons denied access to contraceptives in Massachusetts, unlike the users of contraceptives in Connecticut, are not themselves subject to prosecution, and, to that extent, are denied a forum in which to assert their own rights. … The Massachusetts statute, unlike the Connecticut law considered in Griswold, prohibits, not use, but distribution.married marriage love
For the foregoing reasons we hold that Baird, who is now in a position, and plainly has an adequate incentive, to assert the rights of unmarried persons denied access to contraceptives, has standing to do so.  We turn to the merits.

         (While States may place people in different categories without abrogating the Fourteenth Amendment), (t)he Equal Protection Clause of that amendment does, however, deny to States the power to legislate that different treatment be accorded to persons placed by a statute into different classes on the basis of criteria wholly unrelated to the objective of that statute.  A classification ‘must be reasonable, not arbitrary, and must rest upon some ground of difference having a fair and substantial relation to the object of the legislation, so that all persons similarly circumstanced shall be treated alike.’

CC BY-NC-ND by UN Women Gallery
CC BY-NC-ND by UN Women Gallery

The question for our determination in this case is whether there is some ground of difference that rationally explains the different treatment accorded married and unmarried persons under Massachusetts General Laws Ann., c. 272, §§ 21 and 21A. … For the reasons that follow, we conclude that no such ground exists.”   Justice William J. Brennan, U.S. Supreme Court; Eisenstadt v. Baird

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https://consortiumnews.com/2016/03/18/behind-the-crimearussia-reunion/ – From one of the founders of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, via Consortium News, an analytical essay that marks the two year anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a contextualization that acknowledges the ability to accuse Moscow of wrongdoing at the same time that the corporate press in the West completely ignores the U.S. leadership role in setting in motion events to which the Kremlin would believe it had zero choice but to respond militantly, in the event one of various recent missives about what’s transpiring in ‘Europe’s breadbasket,’ information about which one will simply never learn from the various ‘papers of record,’ ‘liberal’ or otherwise, that make their profits selling advertising to corporations and serving as mouthpieces for the U.S. government operations that act as a wing of the same business organizations that have staked out Ukraine as their next big profit center, as in a briefing  from Occasional Planet about the corporate backing for the Maidan coup; such as a World Socialist Website examination of the passing of the two year mark of the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Kiev so as to move NATO a few more proscribed ‘inches’ to the East; such as an assessment from Global Research that plausibly compares present pass U.S. maneuvers to German machinations in 1939, all of which provides much needed counterpoint to monopoly journalism’s reportage on this matter, in which Russian evildoers are the only cause of trouble, and a glorious future of ‘freedom’ awaits as soon as patriots of whatever ‘fatherland’ one wants to adhere to manage to sweep the ‘Red Army’ aside, a fantasy that doesn’t have the best outcomes in history attached to it over the years: “Did the Western-orchestrated coup in Kiev violate the undertaking ‘to respect the independence and sovereignty’ of Ukraine?  How about the pledge in the Budapest agreement ‘to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by the Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty.’  Political and economic interference were rife in the months before the February 2014 coup.

Did Ukrainian President Yanukovych expect to be overthrown if he opted for Moscow’s economic offer, and not Europe’s?  Hard to tell.  But if the putsch came as a total surprise, he sorely underestimated what $5 billion in ‘democracy promotion’ by Washington can buy.  After Yanukovych turned down the European Community’s blandishments, seeing deep disadvantages for Ukraine, American neoconservatives like National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland pulled out all the stops to enable Ukraine to fulfill what Nuland called its ‘European aspirations.’  ‘The revolution will not be televised,’ or so the saying goes.  But the Feb. 22, 2014 putsch in Kiev was YouTube-ized two-and-a-half weeks in advance.  Recall Nuland’s amateurish, boorish – not to mention irresponsible – use of an open telephone line to plot regime change in Ukraine with fellow neocon, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, during an intercepted conversation posted on YouTube on Feb. 4.

(Whatever the fantasies of U.S. schemers that Putin would ‘roll over’ about this intervention three hundred miles from Moscow, the upshot was not like that).  In a formal address in the Kremlin on March 18, 2014, the day Crimea was re-incorporated into Russia, Putin went from dead serious to somewhat jocular in discussing the general issue: ‘We have already heard declarations from Kiev about Ukraine soon joining NATO.  What would this have meant for Crimea and Sevastopol in the future?  It would have meant that NATO’s navy would be right there in this city of Russia’s military glory, and this would create not an illusory but a perfectly real threat to the whole of southern Russia. …We are not opposed to cooperation with NATO … [but] NATO remains a military alliance, and we are against having a military alliance making itself at home right in our backyard or in our historic territory.  I simply cannot imagine that we would travel to Sevastopol to visit NATO sailors.  Of course, most of them are wonderful guys, but it would be better to have them come and visit us, be our guests, rather than the other way around.’

(The potential for missiles, and anti-missile defense, in Ukraine is also pertinent.  Not that any American is likely to understand these things since so-called ‘mainstream media’ don’t even allude to what happened in Kiev as a coup).  In Catholic theology, the theory that some people can be ‘invincibly ignorant’ can lessen or even erase their guilt.  Many Americans are so malnourished on accurate news – and so busy trying to make ends meet – that they would seem to qualify for this dispensation, with pardon for not knowing about things like the coup in Kiev and other key happenings abroad.  The following, unnerving example brings this to mind: A meeting of progressives that I attended last year was keynoted by a professor from a local Washington university.  Discussing what she called the Russian ‘invasion’ of Crimea, the professor bragged about her 9-year-old son for creating a large poster in Sunday School saying, ‘Mr. Putin, What about the commandment ‘Thou Shall Not Kill?’’  The audience nodded approvingly.  This picnic, thought I, needed a skunk.  So I asked the professor what her little boy was alluding to.  My question was met by a condescending smirk of disbelief: ‘Crimea, of course.’  I asked how many people had been killed in Crimea.  ‘Oh, hundreds, probably thousands,’ was her answer.  I told her that there were, in fact, no reports of anyone having been killed.

In contrast to Crimea’s bloodless political secession from Ukraine, the Ukrainian government’s ‘anti-terror operation’ against ethnic Russians in the east who resisted the coup authorities in Kiev has killed an estimated 10,000 people, many of them civilians.  Yet, in the mainstream U.S. media, this carnage is typically blamed on Putin, not on the Ukrainian military which sent to the front neo-Nazi and other right-wing militias (such as the Azov battalion) contemptuous of ethnic Russians.”—Consortium News

"2014-02-21 11-04 Euromaidan in Kiev" by Amakuha - Own work. -
“2014-02-21 11-04 Euromaidan in Kiev” by Amakuha – Own work. –
        “It’s important to ignore the BS coming out of the White House and beltway media, and understand the real reason the U.S. is involved in Ukraine.  What is happening in Ukraine is not about supporting ‘freedom,’ ‘independence,’ or ‘democracy.’  It’s not about making the lives of the people in Ukraine better.  It’s not about furthering world peace.  It’s about making Ukraine another profit center for Wall Street.

(One recent chronicler delves into who among corporate sorts has played such a role).  He needs go no further than the Executive Committee of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council headed by President and CEO Morgan Williams.  Williams, for decades, has been a consultant to corporations seeking to do business in Ukraine.  ‘And what a committee it is — it’s a veritable who’s who of Big Ag.  Among the luminaries working tirelessly and no doubt selflessly for a better, freer Ukraine are:

  • Melissa Agustin, Director, International Government Affairs & Trade for Monsanto
  • Brigitte Dias Ferreira, Counsel, International Affairs for John Deere
  • Steven Nadherny, Director, Institutional Relations for agriculture equipment-maker CNH Industrial
  • Jeff Rowe, Regional Director for DuPont Pioneer
  • John F. Steele, Director, International Affairs for Eli Lilly & Company
  • Van A. Yeutter, Vice President for Corporate Affairs, Cargill

Cargill has been involved in Ukraine for over two decades … primarily investing in grain elevators.  The company recently acquired a major Ukrainian animal feed company, and on December 13, 2013, purchased a stake in a Black Sea port at Novorossiysk.

(Why is ‘Big Ag’ so obsessed?)  ‘In many ways, the farmland of Ukraine was the backbone of the USSR.  Its ‘fertile black soil’ generated over a quarter of the USSR’s agriculture.  It exported ‘substantial quantities’ of food to other republics and its farms generated four times the output of ‘the next-ranking republic.’  Although Ukraine’s agricultural output plummeted in the first decade after the break-up of the Soviet Union, the farming sector has been growing spectacularly in recent years. While Europe struggled to shake-off the Great Recession, Ukraine’s agriculture sector grew 13.7% in 2013. . . .According to the Centre for Eastern Studies, Ukraine’s agricultural exports rose from $4.3 billion in 2005 to $17.9 billion in 2012 and, harkening the heyday of the USSR, farming currently accounts for 25 percent of its total exports.  Ukraine is also the world’s third-largest exporter of wheat and of corn.  And corn is not just food.  It is also ethanol.”—U.S. Uncut
Pixabay Image 142482

“(In a regional context of preparation for invasion and war), (i)n September 2014, on a visit to Estonia, US President Obama declared Washington’s ‘unwavering,’ ‘eternal,’ and ‘unbreakable’ commitment to defend the Baltic states, which are ruled by right-wing nationalist regimes hostile to Moscow.  In total disregard for the sentiments of the American people, the US government pledged to go to war with nuclear-armed Russia in the event of a clash between Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania, and Moscow.  In an effort to destabilize the Putin government and provoke the disintegration of Russia, the US and Europe imposed economic sanctions on Moscow that have, coupled with currency speculation and a collapse in the price of oil, pushed the country into recession and dramatically eroded living standards.hoover dam
As for Ukraine itself, in 2015 the country’s economy contracted by 10 percent.  To meet the demands of the International Monetary Fund, Kiev has gutted spending on social programs, frozen wages, laid off public employees and sharply increased what it charges consumers for utilities.  Last year the government hiked the cost of natural gas by 285 percent and water by over 70 percent.  Pensions have been cut by 15 percent, which has amounted to 40 percent in real terms.  Fifteen percent of teachers have been laid off.  Still, the IMF refuses to release the third tranche of a $35 billion bailout, insisting that the government is not moving fast enough to ‘reform’ the economy.Pixabay Image 61672
Under conditions where the average monthly wage is about 1,176 hryvnia ($50), by mid-2015, one-third of Ukraine’s population was living below the poverty line.  Based on World Bank data, this is a nearly four-fold increase over 2013.  As of last year, the youth unemployment rate stood at 23 percent, the highest since 1991, when Ukraine became an independent state as part of the dissolution of the USSR.

The Ukrainian armed forces, which had been disintegrating under the weight of widespread desertions and mass opposition to conscription, is being propped up with the aid of American military advisers and infusions of cash from Washington.  The Ukrainian military collaborates with marauding bands of neo-fascists, which the government is often unable to control.  The regime in Kiev is itself investigating these militias for kidnappings, murder, armed assault and robbery.brain head mental
The government, headed by the ‘Chocolate King’ oligarch, President Petro Poroshenko, remains staffed by a combination of ardent right-wingers, ultra-nationalists, anti-communists and open Nazi sympathizers.  Dmytro Yarosh, a Svoboda party member and leader of Right Sector, serves as a military adviser to the government.  Far-right violence regularly erupts around the country.  To mark the two-year anniversary of Maidan, mobs of Ukrainian nationalists burned and looted Russian banks in Kiev, Lviv and Mariupol last month.  The American private intelligence think tank Stratfor writes of a ‘proliferation of right-wing movements’ in the country.  The post-Yanukovych government is despised by the general population.  Poroshenko’s approval rating has fallen by 30 points since he assumed power in May of 2014, and now stands at just 17 percent, well below that of his predecessor.  The only individual perhaps more hated than Poroshenko is Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, the IMF’s hatchet man on the ground.  He has the support of 8 percent of the population and only just narrowly survived a no-confidence vote last month in parliament.”—World Socialist Website

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CC BY by

“(A look at Ukrainian history, in relation to Germany’s invasion in 1940, does not make for hopeful background of the present past).  As ultimatums and embargoes from the US and the EU continually escalate blaming ‘Russia’s aggression’ without sustainable evidence ever produced, the war-mongering by the corporate media simultaneously increases to foment war fever.  None seem to have processed the undeniable fact that the neutrality and non-arming of Ukraine was promised by NATO and the US  Secretary of State James Baker in 1991.  Still the war party’s favorite liars like John McCain and the New York Times declare unsubstantiated war-pretext accusations daily.  So the question arises: What will be the next big-lie pretext for NATO and US armed intervention?

(One aspect of this is a growing demand for ‘action,’ even for outright invasion.  But that is not all).  The really unspeakable fact is erased altogether, but lies deeper still.  The age-old Russian-speaking minority of Ukraine – almost the same in language but not beliefs – has been subjected to the biggest ethnic cleansing operation of the millennium.  A now estimated 1,500,000 people have been driven from their homes by one-way Kiev bombings and bombardments of even hospitals, schools and public buses while stopping all access to Eastern citizens means of existence as far as possible (not done by Putin even in the height of the US-sponsored war in Chechnya).  The distinction between the millions of Eastern Ukraine’s Russia-speaking victims by US-led Kiev bombing, terror and life means deprivation and those in Kiev-ruled Western territory who are untouched by any rebel bombs and terror is simply abolished.  This is how a genocide of the Eastern Ukraine people stays in motion while all that is reported is ‘Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.’

Certainly the US-orchestrated ‘regime change’ in Ukraine and continuous subsequent war crimes never reported has led to the worst large-scale mass murdering in Europe since the Nazis, already beyond Bosnia – another US-led expansion of transnational corporate rule backed by NATO bombing.  The US-orchestrated ‘regime change’ in Ukraine and its war crimes never reported in the Western media has already executed a very large-scale homicidal planning which none dares to name in public.   Consider the dimensions – one-way aerial bombing and indiscriminate attacks of civilians and infrastructures in the Donbass area alone, mass starvation of millions of mainly Russia-speaking citizens, armed-force land clearances and appropriations, one-way mass murder atrocities by the US-led side, documented torture and rape by neo-Nazi death squads and the infamous Azov battalion, and ever more hundreds of thousands of people forced to flee their homes and region in East Ukraine but nowhere else.  A mounting ethnic cleansing has already happened but is still unspeakable to report in the West.”—Global Research

              TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                  AWARENESS VIDEO                  


http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/the-front-row-taxi – A simply beautiful interlude from Jafar Panahi’s Taxi, one of the filmmaker’s recent movies that he’s managed to make despite a ban on his work by the Iranian government, this briefing about contemporary complexity in Tehran available thanks to the New Yorker, which may as a publication, or not, accede to the necessity of negotiation with Iran now, but which advances a hard-to-refute point of view that the censorship of the likes of Panahi–whatever his privileged life and anti-Sharia beliefs–cannot help but be a crime against human creativity and any possibility of widespread engagement.


student writing arm


New York Mills Arts Retreat

New York Mills, Minnesota
Application Deadline:
April 1, 2016

The New York Mills Arts Retreat offers residencies of two to six weeks to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers in New York Mills, Minnesota. Residents are provided with private lodging and studio space. For residencies from July through December 2016, using the online submission system submit up to 10 pages of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction, a brief work sample description, a résumé or curriculum vitae, a project description, an artists statement, and two letters of recommendation by April 1. There is no application fee. E-mail or visit the website for an application and complete guidelines.


Narratively is calling for submissions of nonfiction, pitches, photos, videos, comics, and illustrations. They want the incredible, the unusual, the unheard of.

The Birch Gang Review seeks poetry, fiction, and photography/artwork for their first issue.

The Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting is an international screenwriting competition established to identify and encourage talented new screenwriters. Early Deadline: March 7, 11:59 pm PT ($45 entry fee). Regular Deadline: April 18, 11:59 pm PT ($60 entry fee). Late Deadline: May 2, 11:59 pm PT ($85 entry fee). Each year, the Academy Nicholl screenwriting competition awards up to five $35,000 fellowships to amateur screenwriters. To enter, submit a feature length screenplay and entry fee via the online application. Up to five fellows in the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition will be invited to participate in awards week ceremonies and seminars in November. Fellowship recipients will be expected to complete at least one original feature film screenplay during the fellowship year.
pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr


Praxis is accepting applications from undergraduates and recent graduates for Future Founders, their eight-week entrepreneurial apprenticeship program that gives hands-on exposure to a Christian-led startup environment.

The Atlantic is seeking an experienced journalist to help edit our Science, Technology, and Health coverage. This person should love every aspect of the editing process, from thinking through a story idea with a writer, to putting the dressing on a piece. He or she will sift out good freelance pitches, see stories through from beginning to end, and help to manage our growing team’s complex workflow. The ideal candidate will be energized by big ideas, with wide-ranging interests in science, technology, and health. Twin enthusiasms for histories and futures are a must.



Wealth and Color in Los Angeles

A UCLA study by a group of dedicated researchers bent on uncovering racial and economic disparities through an exhaustive study: “”The Color of Wealth in Los Angeles” is the first report to compile detailed data on assets and debts among people of different races, ethnicities and countries of origin residing in the Los Angeles area. Researchers from UCLA, Duke University and The New School, with support from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, analyzed data on assets and debts. Assets included savings and checking accounts, stocks, retirement accounts, houses and vehicles, while debts, included credit card debt, student loans, medical debt, mortgages and vehicle debt.”

Pandering to Human Rights Abusers

A Consortium News look at the way certain presidential candidates have sacrificed nuance and compassion in their obvious pandering to Israel, thus indirectly condoning human rights abuses in the area: “At the annual AIPAC convention, the Democratic and Republican front-runners engaged in what might be called a “pander-off” as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tried to outdo the other in declaring their love and devotion to Israel.

Yet, what was perhaps most troubling about the two dueling speeches was the absence of any significant sympathy for the Palestinian people or any substantive criticism of the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

By contrast, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who did not attend the AIPAC convention, delivered a foreign policy speech in Salt Lake City, Utah, that struck a more balanced tone and placed part of the blame for the Mideast problems on the policies of Netanyahu’s right-wing government.”

On Robots and Humanity

A fascinating Atlantic look by a thoughtful writer that seeks to explain the ineffable qualities of our relationship with our own creations:  “In the philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s 1807 opus, The Phenomenology of Spirit, there is a passage known as the master-slave dialectic. In it, Hegel argues, among other things, that holding a slave ultimately dehumanizes the master. And though he could not have known it at the time, Hegel was describing our world, too, and aspects of the human relationship with robots.

But what kind of world is that? And as robots grow in numbers and sophistication, what is this world becoming?”

The Death of Cash Deadly to All

A Guardian article by a thoughtful writer that looks at the dire consequences of allowing the exploitative and exhausted financial system to do away with the one thing that still allows for autonomy in the financial system: “We already live in a world that is, as far as the distribution of wealth is concerned, about as unequal as it gets. It may even be as unequal as it’s ever been. My worry is that a cashless society may exacerbate inequality even further.

It will hand yet more power to the financial sector in that banks and related fintech companies will oversee all transactions. The crash of 2008 showed that, when push comes to shove, banks have already been exempted from the very effective regulation that is bankruptcy – one by which the rest of us must all operate. Do we want this sector to have yet more power and influence?”

Confused Conservative Sad About Cuba

A Salon look by a watchful observer of the political scene at some of the sad reactions of those who really have no idea what is going on and yet feel the need to have a strong opinion: “President Obama began a historic visit to Cuba on Sunday, becoming the first president to do so since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. The trip to the Communist country is, of course, divisive — meaning Republicans flipped a burger over it.”

WRISSSharing is Caring

A Poynter look at sharing, creative commons, and the way that sharing freely can improve bottom line as well as true exposure: “A similar phenomenon has happened in the news industry when organizations have licensed their work with the Creative Commons license. ProPublica, for example, has always encouraged others to “steal its stories” — which has both increased pageviews and resulted in thousands of sites reprinting their pieces. As ProPublica President Richard Tofel and Assistant Managing Editor Scott Klein noted, it’s about impact”

Reading for Those Who Won’t

A New York Times about the prolific modern pulp fiction aficionado, James Patterson, who wants his team of writer to issue shorter and cheaper books so that they can continue to make mega-profits: “Mr. Patterson said the books would be aimed at readers who might not want to invest their time in a 300- or 400-page novel. And he hopes they might even appeal to people who do not normally read at all. If it works, it could open up a big new market: According to a Pew Research Center survey released last fall, 27 percent of American adults said they had not read a book in the past year.



Essential Films

A Dazed look at Spike Lee’s list of films that every aspiring director, writer, screenwriter, filmmaker, and media lover should watch: ” In a post shared on his blog a few years ago, the director revealed his list of “essential” films for students wanting to embark on a career in cinema. This includes gems from Alfred Hitchcock, Jim Jarmusch, Francois Truffaut and Roman Polanski.”


CRM | Shutterstock.com

Contextualizing Recent Events in Brussels

A Counter Punch look at some of the consequences of Western power interventions elsewhere in the world, and some hard lessons for all: “The atrocities in Brussels — and they are horrific, criminal atrocities — are not occurring in a vacuum. They are not springing from some unfathomable abyss of motiveless malevolence. They are a response, in kind, to the atrocious violence being committed by Western powers on a regular basis in many countries around the world. And just as there is no justification for the acts of carnage in Brussels (and Paris and Turkey and elsewhere), there is likewise no justification for the much larger and more murderous acts of carnage being carried out by the most powerful and prosperous nations on earth, day after day, year after year.”


Ongoing Nuke Destruction Ahead

A Counter Punch post that somberly delineates the terrible consequences of playing around with plutonium, which is essentially what the nuclear industry is about: “There’s karmic irony here.  The U.S. dropped the first devastating atomic bombs on Japan, then used its political influence and propaganda prowess to sell the country nuclear power.  Its corporations supplied the faulty reactors that melted down at Fukushima.  Now, the U.S. West Coast is on the front line of receiving the radioactive fallout in the form of ongoing oceanic and atmospheric pollution carried eastward by winds and currents.”

3.21.2016 Daily Links

          BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW          

By Jialiang Gao www.peace-on-earth.org
By Jialiang Gao www.peace-on-earth.org


After a half century and a half decade of one of the world’s monumental social transformations–wealth from the tiny minority to the vast majority; life expectancy’s expansion from under fifty years to nearly eighty; a fighting spirit to hold the world’s largest and most aggressive empire in history at bay all the while sending doctors and soldiers to support social justice and social revolution around the planet–a visit from the imperial center to the recalcitrant island of revolution in Cuba, where, according to the dominant narrative from the likes of Atlantic people have remained benighted and oppressed despite their nation’s astonishing progress, or, as in the New York Times, the emphasis is on the human rights violations of the Marxists while the crimes of empire receive not even a nod of attention  , or, to the credit of the paper of record, the video images of this historic encounter are available–not that more nuanced or critical voices about this situation are not available, far from it, hundreds of triumphant partisans of Cuba’s progress make their points about empire and crimes against humanity and colonial theft and racketeering as business and oppression as politics, as, for instance, in a briefing  from TruthOut about today’s encounters in Havana, all of which suggests that interesting times lie ahead, come what may.

                    This Day in History                  

Charles Tsevis My African star flickr
Charles Tsevis My African star flickr

South Africa on this date marks Human Rights Day, while multiple worldwide events occur on March 21, which is the critically significant Vernal Equinox, as well as the occasion of an International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, International Forestry Day, International Poetry Day, International Puppetry Day, and a commemoration of Down Syndrome; in and around the City of Rome one thousand four hundred seventy-nine years ago, after returning Byzantines had displaced him from within the City walls, Vitiges led the recently gathered Ostrogothic forces that had been administering the Italian Peninsula against the walls of the city, ultimately without displacing the again ascendant Byzantine fighters under Belisarius; ninety-three years more or less exactly past that point, in 630, Emperor Heraclius mandated the return to Jerusalem of the relic that Christians knew as the True Cross; 92.6% of a millennium later, in 1556, Queen Mary ordered that Thomas Cranmer the Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, burn alive at the stake;two hundred and forty-five years in the future, a different set of internecine imperial rivalries rocked Europe as ‘revolutionary’ French forces clashed with English colonial machine in Egypt over suzerainty; three years subsequent to that, in 1804, across the Mediterranean in

"David - Napoleon crossing the Alps
“David – Napoleon crossing the Alps

metropolitan France, officials replaced aristocratic legal norms with the Napoleonic Code; one hundred forty-five years back, one Englishman, Morton Stanley, began his search for another outlier of empire, David Livingstone, when he embarked to the interior of Africa on his trek; forty-eight years hence, in 1919, Hungarians created the first Bolshevik offshoot government; seven hundred thirty-one days yet later on, in 1921,  East in the new Soviet Union the kommisars determined that their orthodox production plans are not working and institute in their stead the New Economic Policy; three hundred sixty-five days further along in the space time continuum, in 1922, a male infant was born who would mature as the gritty filmmaker and screenwriter, Russ Meyer; three years henceforth, in 1925,  seven thousand miles West in the state of Tennessee, lawmakers passed legislation that made illegal the teaching of scientific evolutionary fact; eight years onward from that, in 1933, back across the Atlantic in Germany, the newly installed Nazi regime foretold its genocidal plans with the construction of the first ‘concentration camp’ at Dachau; two years past that instant, in 1935,  an international darling of Southwest Asian aristocracy, Shah Reza Pavlevi, requested that his overlords call Persia by the name that its natives used, Iran; an additional two years forward in time, in 1937, westward across the Atlantic once more,  U.S. colonial administrators oversaw the police state execution of citizens in Puerto Rico’s Ponce massacre; half a dozen years thereafter, in 1943, in Germany once again, a Wehrmacht officer who was plotting to blow himself up in order to kill Hitler managed to defuse the explosive device when the Fuhrer did not show up; half a dozen years farther along time’s path, in 1949, the baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the estimable, if controversial, thinker, Slavoj guitar music art performanceZizek; three years still more proximate to the present pass, in 1952, the first bona fide ‘rock-and-roll’ extravaganza unfolded as Alan Freed orchestrated the Moondog Coronation Ball in Cleveland; eight years additional  towards today, in 1960,  apartheid South African military opened fire on unarmed demonstrators in the Sharpsville massacre, killing scores and wounding hundreds, and initiating a new phase in conflict in the struggle against the fascist South African regime; meanwhile, half a decade subsequently, in 1965, Black freedom marchers seven thousand miles to the north west in Alabama finally managed to conduct their witness from Selma to Montgomery without murder and mayhem on the part of the police; another five years onward in time and space, in 1970, the mayor of San Francisco declared the first widely celebrated Earth Day commemoration; another decade smartphone twitter social media verticalnearer to now, in 1980, United States president Carter sanctimoniously mandated a boycott of the Soviet Olympics because USSR had intervened in Afghanistan; nine years afterwards, in 1989, Pete Rose ran into serious ethical problems when he was betting on baseball outcomes in which he was participating; eight years past that exact point in time, in 1997,  the creator of Thomas the Tank Engine, Wilbert Awdry, had his final run; another nine years even closer to the current context, in 2006, the first tweet became possible as Twitter went live; five more years hence, in 2011, the performer and songwriter of The Caravans, Loleatta Holloway, breathed her last; seven hundred thirty-one days yet more proximate to the present pass, in 2013,  the acclaimed and beloved Nigerian novelist, storyteller, and critic Chinua Achebe died.

                A Thought for the Day                

Unfortunately for the lovers of simplicity, or the feeble minded, the number of axioms that underlie all reality is small—matter turns into energy and vice versa; the golden rule governs decent social life; the surface reveals little of reality’s truth; and so on—yet these ineffable descriptors are at best tangential to the complicated skeins of problems, both everyday and once-in-a-lifetime, that so befuddle and enthrall us, an inapplicability that means that only the capacity to grapple with complexity can deliver useful comprehension or at least plausible methods to achieve understanding, which in turn illuminates the misfortune of either those who detest anything but the elegance of e = mc/Squared or those who, through constitutional or elective limitations, choose to avoid any intricacy whatsoever, no matter what.

                  Quote of the Day                       
“Charity . . . is the opium of the privileged. …(Thus), (w)hile we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary
. …
       (This is especially apt becasue) (n)obody can teach me who I am.  You can describe parts of me, but who I am – and what I need – is something I have to find out myself.

We cannot (abrogate this principle and) trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own.  The Igbo, always practical, put it concretely in their proverb Onye ji onye n’ani ji onwe ya: ‘He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.’
       (In the struggle to honor these ideas,) (m)y weapon is literature … .Storytellers are a threat.  They threaten all champions of control, they frighten usurpers of the right-to-freedom of the human spirit — in state, in church or mosque, in party congress, in the university or wherever.

Writers don’t give prescriptions.  They give headaches! …(For this reason), (p)rivilege, you see, is one of the great adversaries of the imagination; it spreads a thick layer of adipose tissue over our sensitivity.

Some people flinch when you talk about art in the context of the needs of society thinking you are introducing something far too common for a discussion of art.  Why should art have a purpose and a use?  Art shouldn’t be concerned with purpose and reason and need, they say.  These are improper.  But from the very beginning, it seems to me, stories have indeed been meant to be enjoyed, to appeal to that part of us which enjoys good form and good shape and good sound.”  Chinua Achebe

book hor2

"class rule" OR "class war" OR "predatory behavior" profiteers OR predation OR racketeering OR fraud OR corruption bourgeoisie OR capitalist "trust funds" OR "inherited wealth" = 4,390 Connections.

book hor

                       Top of the Fold                        

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/04/07/moral-psychology-an-exchange/ – A powerfully evocative debate from the pages of New York Review of Books, in which two prominent psychological and cognitive-science thinkers, Steven Pinker and Jonathan Haidt, respond to a critical review of their work and others with whom they sympathize, an analysis that Tasmin Shaw presented in a lengthy and challenging essay a bit more than a month ago, a review and assessment that presented evidence and analysis of the vicious depredations that erstwhile psychological ‘humanists’ have facilitated in relation to torture, prisons, and other environments in which a strong moral philosophical position has evolved that behaviorism itself is one of the oppressive forces and thus not only is its complicity in immorality unsurprising but also that such a conjunction of venality and brutality is almost unavoidable so long as these ‘disciplined’ approaches to human consciousness and action have more or less free rein and plenty of resources to operationalize their agendas: “In 1971, the psychologist B.F. Skinner expressed the hope that the vast, humanly created problems defacing our beautiful planet (famines, wars, the threat of a nuclear holocaust) could all be solved by new ‘technologies of behavior.’  The psychological school of behaviorism sought to replace the idea of human beings as autonomous agents with the ‘scientific’ view of them as biological organisms, responding to external stimuli, whose behavior could be modified by altering their environment.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, in 1964 Skinner’s claims about potential behavior modification had attracted funding from the CIA via a grant-making body called the Human Ecology Society.

CC BY-NC-ND by Gwinnett County Public Library
CC BY-NC-ND by Gwinnett County Public Library

Skinner was extremely dismayed that his promise of using his science to ‘maximize the achievements of which the human organism is capable’ was derided by defenders of the entirely unscientific ideal of freedom.  When Peter Gay, for instance, spoke of the ‘innate naïveté, intellectual bankruptcy, and half-deliberate cruelty of behaviorism,’ Skinner, clearly wounded, protested that the ‘literature of freedom’ had provoked in Gay ‘a sufficiently fanatical opposition to controlling practices to generate a neurotic if not psychotic response.’  Skinner was unable to present any more robust moral defense of his project of social engineering. …(a proclivity toward behaviorism which in turn has elicited the popular model of the present pass, so-called Positive Psychology).Pixabay Image 830472
Many of the psychologists who have taken up the dual-process model(the notion that the brain has two channels–one rapid and intuitive, one slower and more rational–to ‘evaluate’ moral contentions) claim to be dismissive of philosophical theories, generally.  They reject (Philosophy grad-student and neuroscience collaborator Joshua) Greene’s inferences about utilitarianism and claim to be restricting themselves to what can be proved scientifically.  But in fact all of those I discuss here are making claims about which kinds of moral judgments are good or bad by assessing which are adaptive or maladaptive in relation to a norm of social cooperation.  They are thereby relying on an implicit philosophical theory of morality, albeit a much less exacting one than utilitarianism.  Rather than adhering to the moral view that we should maximize ‘utility’—or satisfaction of wants—they are adopting the more minimal, Hobbesian view that our first priority should be to avoid conflict.  This minimalist moral worldview is, again, simply presupposed; it is not defended through argument and cannot be substantiated simply by an appeal to scientific facts.  And its implications are not altogether appealing.

(Shaw essentially portrays the founder of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman, as a power broker, before she proceeds to savage Haidt’s work as simplistic justification of ‘conservative’ world views vis-a-vis ‘liberal POV’s, criticizing Pinker’s more nuanced work as still deficient, along with a host of other sources).  In spite of the rhetoric employed by (William) Damon and (Ann) Colby(and others of their ilk such as Haidt and Pinker) concerning the search for higher moral truths, the basic moral principle that is consistently employed in this psychological literature is the bare Hobbesian one of resolving disagreement, or promoting cooperation.  In his bookMoral Tribes, Joshua Greene warns that even those who seek pragmatic agreement need ‘an explicit and coherent moral philosophy, a second moral compass that provides direction when gut feelings can’t be trusted.’  So in addition to questioning whether psychological research can vindicate moral norms, we also have to ask whether the minimal moral norm of cooperation employed by psychologists is sufficient to provide them with a reliable moral compass.Pixabay Image 997563
Recent developments in the profession of psychology have been discouraging in this respect.  In July 2015 a team of investigators led by David Hoffman, a lawyer with the firm Sidley Austin, published a report, commissioned by the American Psychological Association in November 2014, into the collusion of APA officials with the Department of Defense and the CIA to support torture.  The report details extensive evidence of collusion.  The APA revised its own ethical guidelines in order to facilitate collusion over and participation in torture by providing a set of very loose moral constraints on the participation of psychologists in interrogations.  In doing so, the APA leaders were apparently motivated by the enormous financial benefits conferred on the profession in the form of Department of Defense funding.  The episode demonstrates well the fragility of morality.

(Shaw notes that Seligman played a central role in orchestrating connections among psychologists, neuroscientists, and like minded scholars, on the one hand, with Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency and like minded practical torture advocates, on the other hand, after 9/11).  When the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence published its extensive report on official torture in December 2014, Jonathan Haidt tweeted a link to an article by Matt Motyl, his former Ph.D. student, claiming that the report would not change anyone’s views on the morality or effectiveness of torture, owing to the phenomenon of cognitive bias, which distorts people’s assessment of the relevant evidence.  Motyl warned that none of us should assume that our beliefs about torture are based on facts.  Nevertheless, there are established facts.  One of them is that psychologists secured enormous financial gains by collaborating in official torture, while also having clear evidence that it was ineffective.

CC BY-NC-ND by Rick Payette
CC BY-NC-ND by Rick Payette

This should be an important lesson concerning our moral frailty, one that should make us wary of conferring moral authority on sources that have no plausible claims to such authority, such as scientists of human behavior.  Psychological expertise is a tool that can be used for good or ill. This applies as much to moral psychology as any other field of psychological research.  Expertise in teaching people to override their moral intuitions is only a moral good if it serves good ends.  Those ends should be determined by rigorous moral deliberation.”—Shaw’s Original Article

Photograph by Antonin Kratochvil from his series ‘Homage to Abu Ghraib,’ 2006

“In defiance of the best philosophy, Shaw asserts that psychological and biological facts are ‘morally irrelevant’ and ‘can tell us nothing’ about moral propositions.  She insinuates that psychologists, corrupted by their current theories, lack ‘a reliable moral compass’ that would equip them to oppose torture.  And she prosecutes her case by citation-free attribution, spurious dichotomies, and standards of guilt by association that make Joseph McCarthy look like Sherlock Holmes.

Shaw thus repeatedly asserts that researching the moral sense is tantamount to claiming to be an oracle of moral truth.  She then educates us: ‘It is a fallacy to suggest that expertise in psychology, a descriptive natural science, can itself qualify someone to determine what is morally right and wrong.’  It is indeed a fallacy.  That is why Pinker wrote, in a section on morality in the book Shaw claims to have read: ‘The starting point is to distinguish morality per se, a topic in philosophy (in particular, normative ethics), from the human moral sense, a topic in psychology.’  It is why Haidt, near the end of his book, wrote:  ‘Philosophers typically distinguish between descriptive definitions of morality (which simply describe what people happen to think is moral) and normative definitions (which specify what is really and truly right, regardless of what anyone thinks).  So far in this book I have been entirely descriptive.’

In fact it is Shaw’s insistence on the complete irrelevance of moral psychology to normative questions that is a departure from centuries of moral philosophy, and from the practice of the many contemporary philosophers who are avid consumers of and contributors to psychology.   It has long been recognized that findings about moral sentiments, even if they don’t determine the truth of moral propositions, are highly relevant to philosophical inquiry about them.  Utilitarianism alludes to the capacity of humans (and animals) to reason, suffer, and flourish.  Virtue-ethics hinges on traits of character.  Kant, in explicating his deontological theory, famously wrote that ‘the action to which the ‘ought’ applies must indeed be possible under natural conditions.’  As each of these theories is elaborated, it will necessarily make contact with assumptions about cognition, affect, personality, and behavioral flexibility—the subject matter of psychology.

(The complainants advance pointed critiques of Shaw’s language and reasoning in relations to the role of science in moral evaluation).  What about normative moral reasoning itself?  Shaw writes that ‘all of those I discuss here are making claims about which kinds of moral judgments are good or bad by assessing which are adaptive or maladaptive in relation to a norm of social cooperation.’  Actually, none of them do.  Shaw appears to have misunderstood the technical term cooperation, which biologists define as ‘the process where two or more organisms act together for mutual benefit.’  Cooperation gets a lot of attention in psychology because it is rare among nonrelated animals but common in humans, and because the delicately balanced risks and advantages of cooperation help explain how moral sentiments such as trust, sympathy, gratitude, guilt, shame, and anger might have evolved.  But the term is a rubric for a family of morally relevant behaviors, not the criterion by which behavior is judged to be truly moral.

(The plaintiffs here dismiss Shaw’s assessment of the American Psychological Association’s joint involvement with a few ‘bad apples’ who did profiteer and stray off the moral path; they also decry her use of ‘guilt by association’ and other inferential assignments of error and wrongdoing.  They belittle her analysis of some of Haidt’s work).  Haidt, together with five other social psychologists, has documented a loss of political diversity in social psychology and the well-known dangers that this kind of orthodoxy can produce, including bias, error, and groupthink.  Shaw misreads the article as being about a ‘lack of conservatives.’  In fact the authors are not making a political argument (none of them is conservative) but a methodological one: that any field of social science with a monoculture of political belief is intellectually unhealthy.  By tendentiously aligning this concern with the ‘priorities’ of the Department of Defense, Shaw is implying that diversity of opinion is somehow suspicious, something that only the military cares about, as if everyone else should be content with unexamined conformity.  Shaw accuses moral psychologists of being ‘dismissive of philosophical theories,’ but she herself seems dismissive of philosophical norms and standards.  Her tissue of misattributions, confusions, and smears amounts to conduct unbecoming a philosopher.”—Pinker & Haidt’s Complaint
Pixabay Image 740139
          “Moral psychology is an invaluable aspect of human understanding insofar as it sheds light on the moral capacities and limitations of human beings.  And this fact has indeed long been appreciated by philosophers (perhaps by none so much as Friedrich Nietzsche, whose writings have been the primary focus of my own scholarly work).  The findings of moral psychology have also begun to find a place in the public imagination, via prominent editorials and more popular psychology books.  But current research by psychologists in this area has risen to prominence at the same time as an extraordinary moral crisis in their profession, a fact that inevitably lends their reflections a special significance that requires scrutiny.Pixabay Image 1160258
The recent Hoffman report, commissioned by the American Psychological Association, which relates to ethics, interrogations, and torture, revealed both devastating moral failings by a few individual psychologists and a more general vulnerability in broader sections of the profession.  Although the vast majority of the APA’s members were not involved in the defense, design, or implementation of torture and several had worked strenuously to expose what was going on, it was clear that the leadership of their professional association had betrayed its fundamental values, including the principle of doing no harm.  Two CIA psychologists responsible for actually inflicting torture on detainees, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, have been the principal focus of the media’s coverage.  But the Hoffman report draws attention to the involvement of several very senior academic psychologists.Pixabay Image 1052011
Since Jonathan Haidt and Steven Pinker insist that former APA president Martin Seligman was not himself found to have participated knowingly in the torture program, it is worth setting out briefly what the report in fact tells us about his involvement.  Although Seligman was one of only three witnesses out of 148 who refused to speak directly with Hoffman’s investigators, demanding instead that they send him questions in writing, they were able to establish the following.  In December 2001, Seligman convened a meeting at his home to discuss the participation of academics in national security efforts following September 11.  Among those present were CIA psychologist James Mitchell and the chief of research and analysis in the CIA’s Operational Division, Kirk Hubbard.  Unlike Seligman, both Hubbard and Mitchell agreed to be interviewed.  Seligman claimed to remember meeting with Hubbard on one subsequent occasion at his home, in April 2002, to discuss his theory of ‘learned helplessness’ with Hubbard and a female lawyer, and that on this occasion he was invited to speak on the theory of learned helplessness at the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) school, sponsored by the US government.  Hubbard, however, recalled meeting Seligman at his home several times after the initial meeting, including a meeting in April 2002 at which, according the Hoffman report, ‘he, Mitchell, and Jessen met with Seligman in his home to invite him to speak about learned helplessness at the SERE school.’

The Hoffman report twice states that Seligman’s denial of any suspicion that the CIA’s interest in his theories was for use in interrogations is not credible.  Plausible deniability here is strained by the fact that the person in question is an expert on human behavior employed by the military.  A failure to imagine the likely consequences of his actions would seem to call into question his qualifications for that position. …It is therefore in the light of these concerns that the dominant discourse on morality within the profession of psychology, laying claim to that profession’s expertise, must be examined.

There are also many other important questions to be asked about the specific doctrines in Positive Psychology that these moral psychologists have embraced: their insistence on optimism about the future of humankind, which other schools in psychology hold to be strongly correlated with indifference to suffering; their distrust, whether ‘thorough-going’ or not, of moral emotions such as empathy; their promotion of a psychological model of resilience that includes a lack of self-blame.  There is important analytic work to be done in ascertaining the relationships between purportedly moral and nonmoral practical ends, such as ‘resilience,’ in this movement.  And that work should involve addressing the likely practical ends to which their research will be put by those who are funding it.  Pinker and Haidt say they prefer reality to imagination, but imagination is the capacity that allows us to take responsibility, insofar as it is ever possible, for the ends for which our work will be used and the consequences that it will have in the world.  Such imagination is a moral and intellectual virtue that clearly needs to be cultivated.  I have not addressed specifically many of the ways by which Pinker and Haidt distort and misread the claims I make in my article, since I believe that any careful reader will be able to see them for themselves.  As to their claim that I have drawn connections with ‘evident relish,’ that is a groundless psychological assumption.  I can only assure them that there was not a single moment during my writing and researching of the review that I felt any such pleasurable or positive emotion.”—Shaw’s Rejoinder

              TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, &                                  AWARENESS VIDEO                  


http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/hacking_democracy – From documentarians who prove that a prosaic, middle-of-the-road approach to issues can uncover powerful and centrally important stories, a film, Hacking Democracy, that merely wants to make the now incontrovertible point that even if the paltry participatory process of voting, all by itself and isolated from additional practices of political engagement, is all that one cares to consider in contemplating majority rule, the methods and protocols that govern this relatively mundane component of the American way are tremendously liable to fraud and duplicity, to ‘hacking’ of one sort or another, which only persistent vigilance and insistent demands for reform can preclude from ruining even the very meager elements of democratic rule that the United States still manages to muster.


student writing arm



Deadline May 31, 2016. Only full-length works (dramas, comedies, musicals, screenplays) will be considered. One entry per author, please. Scripts must be original and in English. All must concern lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or genderqueer life and be based on or directly inspired by a historical person, culture, work of art, or event. First Prize, $3,000; Second Prize, $1,500; Honorable Mentions, $500. Prizewinners will be announced before the end of the year.

pascal maramis - flickr
pascal maramis – flickr



Location Springfield, VA. Emplkoiyer National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Salary range $64,650 to $119,794 / per year. Editors edit, format, and disseminate various geospatial intelligence reports according to established agency publication policies, the NGA Writers Guide and Style Manual for Geospatial Intelligence Production, and ODNI sourcing standards. They review products dealing with complex analytical intelligence issues and provide guidance to geospatial intelligence analysts and other editors regarding logic, clarity, comprehensiveness, relevance, and brevity. Deadline September 30, 2016.




Drugs in Drinking Water

A Truth Out look at the deplorable condition of most utilities: “The lead crisis in Flint, Mich. has drawn national attention to deadly and often underreported risks in the public water supply. Thanks to the chemical, agricultural and pharmaceutical industries, and antiquated water systems, Americans are imbibing a witch’s brew of drugs and chemicals often without realizing it.”

WRISSJournalist Witness to Cuban History

A Common Dreams piece that looks at the work of a witness to history in the making: “The half-century embargo against Cuba has blocked not only the exchange of goods and services between the two nations. It has stifled the fair exchange of ideas and role models that make for true democracy.

In that latter sense, one of the victims of the embargo has been Marta Rojas. Who is she? She was one of the greatest American journalists during the post-World War II period. I use “American” in the wider sense, to encompass the hemisphere known as The Americas, stretching north to south, Canada to Brazil, with all the French-, English- and Spanish-speaking countries in between.”


Media Incubators

A Matter posting discussing great new media developments: “Matter, the longform publication that started out as a Kickstarter-funded journalism project before being acquired by Medium in 2013, is now moving out on its own: Matter editor-in-chief Mark Lotto announced Monday that what was once an online magazine is now “an independent media company called Matter Studios.””


Cuba Visit

A Truth-Out article that reviews Obama’s recent historical visit to the iconic Caribbean country: “The 54-year-old US trade embargo on Cuba remains in place. The United States has also refused to give up control of its Navy base and military prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. Last year, Raúl Castro said Cuba will not be able to normalize relations with the United States until Washington returns Guantánamo to Cuba. We go to Havana to speak with former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray Treto and Peter Kornbluh, director of the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archive in Washington, DC.”