Did Market Leninism Win the Cold War?

Cold War IIllustration: Quick Magazine  bunky's pickle (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cold War IIllustration: Quick Magazine |  bunky’s pickle (CC BY-SA 2.0)

John Feffer writes at TomDispatch:

Imagine an alternative universe in which the two major Cold War superpowers evolved into the United Soviet Socialist States. The conjoined entity, linked perhaps by a new Bering Straits land bridge, combines the optimal features of capitalism and collectivism. From Siberia to Sioux City, we’d all be living in one giant Sweden.

It sounds like either the paranoid nightmare of a John Bircher or the wildly optimistic dream of Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders.
Back in the 1960s and 1970s, however, this was a rather conventional view, at least among influential thinkers like economist John Kenneth Galbraith who predicted that the United States and the Soviet Union would converge at some point in the future with the market tempered by planning and planning invigorated by the market. Like many an academic notion, it didn’t come to pass.

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Mental health care access for teens improving, but less for communities with disparities

infographic_healthcareavailability2014

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University of Michigan Health System via EurekAlert:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Teens in the U.S. have more availability of mental health care than they did two years ago, according to a new survey from the University of Michigan National Voices Project, but access is not equal in all communities.

The University of Michigan National Voices Project was commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to facilitate a five year study to gauge opportunities for children and teens at the local level in communities across the U.S. The National Voices Project surveys over 2,000 adults across the U.S. who work and/or volunteer on behalf of children and teens.

In a 2014 National Voices Project survey, 40 percent of adults said teens in their communities had lots of availability for mental health care. In a 2012 survey, only 30 percent of adults reported lots of availability. In comparison, 59 percent of adults in 2014 said that teens had lots of availability for primary care.

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Greenpeace Staff to Work for Free after India Blocks Funds

Linh Do (CC BY 2.0)

Linh Do (CC BY 2.0)

Rupam Jain Nair writes for Reuters:

Greenpeace is determined to keep operating in India even after the federal government froze its bank accounts, leaving it with no funds to pay wages to hundreds of staff, its country head said on Thursday.

The home ministry blocked foreign funding to the local branch of the environmentalist group in April as part of a wider crackdown against international and domestic non-governmental organizations (NGOs) found to have misreported foreign aid.

Greenpeace took legal action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist government after bureaucrats found holes in its balance sheet and suspended transactions for six months.

“The government has made it impossible for us to operate but our employees are willing to work without pay for one month because they see that the larger commitment has always been to fight against injustice,” said Greenpeace India head Samit Aich.

Greenpeace workers – who have campaigned against genetically modified crops, nuclear power and toxic waste management – said their activism did not hurt the country’s economy.

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Anger Management Failures: Problem Anger vs. Ordinary Anger

Tommaso Meli (CC BY 2.0)

Tommaso Meli (CC BY 2.0)

The problem anger formula: Anger (frustration, irritability, attitude, etc.)  + Lowered self-value + Blame.

Steven Stosny writes at Psychology Today:

Angermanagement works fine for managing ordinary anger, but it’s not so successful when it comes to the self-defeating behaviors of problem anger.

Ordinary anger arises from impediments to:

  • Task performance (The screw repeatedly drops out of the picture hanger before you can tighten it.)
  • Interest or relaxation (Someone is talking while you’re trying to read or a lawn mower wakes you up too early.)
  • Enjoyment (Someone is reading when you would like to talk.)
  • Status maintenance (You feel insulted.)
  • Territorial integrity (Someone takes something from you or violates a boundary.)
  • Protection (of valued others or valued objects).

In contrast, problem anger makes you act against your long term best interest or keeps you from acting in your long term best interest.

Examples of the former: You bang the picture with the screw driver or shout at the talker to shut up and thereby make it harder to concentrate on reading, or you make someone irritable by interrupting, which lowers the likelihood that you will enjoy your talk or, when insulted you insult back, i.e., react to a jerk like a jerk, or you devalue the people you most value.

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Why You Should Ignore Politics and Politicians

Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Stephen Mills, writing at the Rat Race Trap:

This article is going to suggest that participating in politics at any level is generally not a good idea.  Many, maybe even most of you are going to disagree with this.  I also know that people will tend to take it as a categorical statement and offer counter-examples. You will notice that I said “generally” because I don’t mean it in a categorical way.  I can think of scenarios or places where I would not apply my general advice, but those are increasingly rare.

I can’t help but absorb a little bit of what goes on in politics through the media (my wife watches the news and the morning shows) or through reading some political satire, but I treat it mostly as a little bit of entertainment.  I’m not participating in any real way.

Here is the basic question you need to ask yourself. 

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The Civil Rights Movement and the Politics of Memory

The Doll Test

The Doll Test

The civil rights movement is being increasingly referenced in our media culture as an example of how to actively seek change in society. But we have to be aware of opinion molders lying about or distorting historical facts.

The most common lies, or false depictions, are those which romanticize the movement. The civil rights movement was made up of people, not prophets nor angels. The most offensive example of this type of lie is the out-of-context quote inscribed on the side of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington DC.

We are also lied to about how people felt about the issues then. Many of the people who supported segregation were themselves black. Worries about the end of segregation stemmed from blacks having to fear their children going to school with violent whites. Others feared the education of their children being controlled by the white man. We are told lies through omission of the white supremacists.… Read the rest

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Learning from Limbaugh

(Photo: Brett Tatman/cc/flickr)

(Photo: Brett Tatman/cc/flickr)

Christopher Brauchli writes at Common Dreams:

“At length I recollected the thoughtless saying of a great princess, who, on being informed that the country people had no bread, replied, ‘Let them eat cake.’’” Jean Jacques Rousseau, Confessions

In 2008 Rush Limbaugh was paid $38 million. In 2014 Rush Limbaugh earned $66 million. For terrestrial navigation he drives, among other things, a Mayback 57S that costs $450,000 fully loaded. For celestial travel he flies in a Gulfstream G550 that cost $54 million.

April 2015 was noteworthy for reasons having nothing to do with the income tax. On April 19, 2015, Dan Price, the CEO of a company called Gravity Payments, a credit card processing company located in Seattle, Washington, announced that he was cutting his own salary and raising the minimum annual salaries for everyone in his company to $50,000 immediately and over the next three years, years, to $70,000.

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Kylie Jenner Just Outed Herself as a ‘Chemtrail’ Truther

I suspect that among disinfonauts there will be more people wondering who Kylie Jenner is than what a chemtrail might be, but here anyway is Fusion‘s explanation of chemtrails and the shocking news that one of the Karsdashian clan is into them:

Even celebrities find time to get sucked into horrible Internet wormholes.

At least that’s what seems to have happened to Kylie Jenner, who tweeted an image last night that parrots the worst of the worst of the most outlandish and unscientific of all conspiracy theories: the theory of the “chemtrails.”

jenner

The theory basically boils down to people claiming that the typical condensation trails left behind by an airplane dissipate very quickly, so when there are trails that do not dissipate quickly—leaving a “chemtrail” in the otherwise blue sky—there must be some sort of sinister, hidden agenda at play. Namely, a plan to control the weather and our minds.

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Philosophy Recap: Darwinism

Bryan Wright (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Bryan Wright (CC BY-ND 2.0)

via The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Darwinism designates a distinctive form of evolutionary explanation for the history and diversity of life on earth. Its original formulation is provided in the first edition of On the Origin of Species in 1859. This entry first formulates ‘Darwin’s Darwinism’ in terms of five philosophically distinctive themes: (i) probability and chance, (ii) the nature, power and scope of selection, (iii) adaptation and teleology, (iv) nominalism vs. essentialism about species and (v) the tempo and mode of evolutionary change. Both Darwin and his critics recognized that his approach to evolution was distinctive on each of these topics, and it remains true that, though Darwinism has developed in many ways unforeseen by Darwin, its proponents and critics continue to differentiate it from other approaches in evolutionary biology by focusing on these themes. This point is illustrated in the second half of the entry by looking at current debates in the philosophy of evolutionary biology on these five themes.

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