Author Archive | majestic

The Exponential Benefits of Eating Less

Or, “Eat Less You Pig.” James McWilliams explains why eating less food—whole food and junk food, meat and plants, organic and conventional, GMO and non-GMO—would do a lot more than just better our personal health, at Pacific Standard:

There’s one T-shirt in my drawer that I don’t wear, mainly because I think it’s sort of offensive. It reads: Eat Less You Pig.

A nutritionist gave it to me. She had the shirts made because she was tired of the endless hand wringing over what it meant to eat ethically, eat environmentally, eat to optimize personal health, and so on. Rather than debating the fine points of the carbon sequestration of grass-fed systems or the amount of glyphosate sprayed on GMOs or the yield potential of organic agriculture versus conventional or whether animals suffer on “humane” farms, she simply wanted a few choice words that would cut through the fog and free us from the burden of culinary complexity.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

To Prison for Poverty – Part One

This season reminds us that there are a lot of things to be thankful for.

For instance, not having to go to jail for minor infractions like parking tickets.

But sadly, that’s not the reality for everyone. We live in a world where government and corporations continue to make money off of those who are poor, hungry and desperate.

To Prison for Poverty exposes two private probation companies who exploit and make million of dollars off of people who can’t afford small fines.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The 20th-Century Dictator Most Idolized by Hitler

Ataturk2.JPG

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as a Senior Captain of the Ottoman Army in 1907.

“Historians may credit Mussolini with inspiring Hitler’s rise to power, but the despot called a different contemporary his ‘shining star,'” writes William O’Connor at Daily Beast:

Adolf Hitler’s obsessions, for he was a man prone to unhealthy fixations, were dangerous for the world—whether with himself, with art school, with his dreams of grandeur, with Eva Braun, with his hatred of Jews—or, more obscurely, with Turkey.

To say that the roots of the Third Reich’s rise have been thoroughly examined would be an understatement. Yet one element of Hitler’s power grab has largely been neglected—the importance of Turkey and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (or as Hitler called him, his “shining star”) on the Führer’s thinking.

In his exhaustively researched new book, Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination, Stefan Ihrig charts the outsized role that Atatürk and the New Turkey played in the minds of Germany’s Weimar-era far right—an influence that extended through the Nazi years.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

HBO’s Bombshell Scientology Documentary

Alex Gibney has an excellent portfolio of hard-hitting documentary films including Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005), Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) and We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2013). Now he’s turning the lens on the “church” of Scientology, with backing from HBO, reports the Hollywood Reporter:

THR has learned that Oscar winner Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) is putting the finishing touches on a film that tackles the Church of Scientology and its Tinseltown tentacles. HBO, no stranger to controversy, having ushered such hot-button docs as The Case Against 8 and the Paradise Lost trilogy to the screen, is eyeing a 2015 airdate for Going Clear, which is based on Lawrence Wright’s controversial book that was also exclusively excerpted in THR.

HBO long has championed documentary filmmaking. It commissioned the Scientology project nearly two years ago, right after the book’s January 2013 publication, when frequent collaborator Gibney brought it to the network.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

What Comes After Money?

In a straight to camera monologue, Daniel Pinchbeck asks “A recent article in Foreign Affairs proposes that Central Banks could just print money and give it to the people – particularly the bottom 80%. This is a startling idea, and it points to the need for a broader discussion around money as an instrument humans have created for exchanging and storing value. Do we need different tools for this, going forward?”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Measuring the Impact of the Occupy Movement

Occupy Wall Street, Unofficial LogoLucy Townsend asks “Activists from the Occupy movement held their latest campaign in London this weekend. The protest movement, now three years old, has global recognition. But how can its impact be measured?” at BBC News Magazine:

The campaign started in New York, on 17 September 2011. They camped in Zuccotti Park, near Wall Street, protesting against corporate greed. Celebrities visited – Kanye West and Susan Sarandon among them. Press coverage followed and President Obama said he “understood their frustrations“.

The Twitter handle @OccupyWallSt has 205,000 followers. The @OccupyWallStNYC and @OccupyWallStNY have 185,000 between them. The Facebook page has 660,544 likes.

The initial action spawned hundreds of similar protests around the world. In London, a month later, activists erected tents at St Paul’s Cathedral. Again it was the city’s financial heart. For more than four months they camped, gave speeches, tweeted and networked before being removed forcibly by bailiffs following a court battle.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Godfather of Right-Wing Radio

The Daily Beast tells the tale of Talk Radio Network, “the house that wingnuts built, with its on-air talent peddling radical views. It took over America’s airwaves—until it ran into trouble”:

Talkradionet.jpg

September 6, 2013 is a day that will go down in history, at least in the minds of former staff members of Talk Radio Network. It was a Friday—payday—and for many employees, it would be their last day. At the radio syndication company’s Oregon headquarters, paychecks were distributed alongside pink slips. It didn’t take long for employees to discover that some D.C.-based colleagues, including those who worked for the news offshoot America’s Radio News Network—also owned by their boss, Mark Masters—were being handed a similar fate.

Few could have predicted this hit to Masters’ talk radio empire. During the 2008 presidential election and Obama’s first term, the Talk Radio Network family was home to some of the most popular and conservative personalities on the airwaves, including Michael “America is on the brink of a second Civil War” Savage and Laura Ingraham.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Automation Makes Us Dumb

FANUC R2000iB AtWork.jpg

“Human intelligence is withering as computers do more, but there’s a solution,” says Nicholas Carr in an essay for the Wall Street Journal:

Artificial intelligence has arrived. Today’s computers are discerning and sharp. They can sense the environment, untangle knotty problems, make subtle judgments and learn from experience. They don’t think the way we think—they’re still as mindless as toothpicks—but they can replicate many of our most prized intellectual talents. Dazzled by our brilliant new machines, we’ve been rushing to hand them all sorts of sophisticated jobs that we used to do ourselves.

But our growing reliance on computer automation may be exacting a high price. Worrisome evidence suggests that our own intelligence is withering as we become more dependent on the artificial variety. Rather than lifting us up, smart software seems to be dumbing us down.

It has been a slow process. The first wave of automation rolled through U.S.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Fortune 500 Companies Funding the Political Resegregation of America

rslcReynolds American, Las Vegas Sands, Walmart, Devon Energy, Citigroup, AT&T, Pfizer, Altria Group, Honeywell International, Hewlett-Packard are some of the Fortune 500 companies identified by Mother Jones as major contributors to the Republican State Leadership Committee, which via its Redistricting Majority Project is literally changing the political map to help elect Republicans:

Over the past four to five years, the United States has been resegregated—politically. In states where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans and presidential races can be nail-biters, skillful Republican operatives have mounted racially-minded gerrymandering efforts—the redrawing of congressional and state legislative districts—that have led to congressional delegations stacked with GOP members and yielded Republican majorities in the state legislatures.

In North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, to name just three, GOPers have recast state and congressional districts to consolidate black voters into what the political pros call “majority-minority districts” to diminish the influence of these voters. North Carolina is an especially glaring example: GOP-redistricting after the 2010 elections led to half the state’s black population—1.1 million people—being corralled into one-fifth of the state legislative and congressional districts.

Read the rest
Continue Reading