Tag Archives | Politics

A Carnival of Militarism and the Enucleation of San Francisco

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core:

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Beyond Vietnam

The annual Fleet Week event took place in San Francisco last weekend.  For this event six U.S Navy ships (a guided-missile destroyer, frigate, and cruiser, a Coast Guard Cutter, and two amphibious assault ships, whose collective costs exceeds $4 billion) were docked along the Embarcadero piers for civilians to climb aboard and tour the vessels which were constructed at tax-payer expense and presumably for their defense, while six Blue Angels fighter jets ($21 million apiece, unweaponized) tore through the skies above San Francisco.  Flying at over 650 miles per hour, the jets screamed over the city, setting off car alarms as they performed their synchronistic aerial acrobatics before soaring away over the Pacific Ocean only to curve back around toward the city and execute their maneuvers and stunts yet again. … Read the rest

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Say You Want A Revolution

movementFrom Rebel News

For a movement to have integrity, everyone must be true to themselves, yet for that to come about, it needs solidarity of purpose. This is a dilemma. We need one another for critique, for diversity, for sustainability. We need each other to build the myth of a movement.

Without an alignment of collective and mutual best interest, a movement cannot survive. It will collapse in on itself before it attains any sort of critical mass. This seeming paradox is part of what keeps many creative individuals disenfranchised, biting at each other’s ankles. They’re arguing about the wrong things, and focusing their energy and attention in the wrong place. Movements only occur when people learn to work together towards common goals, to hell with the labels.

Living movements require no closed manifestos, no party lines, no armbands, tattoos or uniforms. What is needed is space to meet up and share ideas and collaborate, a means of making the relevancy of our work evident outside the insular and seemingly elitist circles that form around such groups and the ability to eat and pay rent without completely shilling the underlying premise; space, resources, an understanding of mutual benefit, and a determination that goes far beyond any benefit that aesthetic posturing could possibly provide.

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US Violence Breeds a Language of the Grotesque

'If the first casualty of war is truth, the second might be language.' (Image: via homedefensegun.net)

‘If the first casualty of war is truth, the second might be language.’ (Image: via homedefensegun.net)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams.

Another week, another series of school and university shootings in the US, and another chance to hear phrases such as “active shooter” and “campus lockdown” repeated over and over by police, school administrators and journalists. These phrases – chilling in their clinicalness – are not only stark examples of the militarization of the language of everyday life, but also reminders of how the language used to describe actual US military aggression has been influenced by the neutral, image-conscious world of public relations.

What makes expressions such as “active shooter” and “campus lockdown” so disturbing is not just the regularity with which they are now uttered and written, but the huge disconnect between their militaristic tone and the contexts of their use. These are phrases you would associate with war, not university campuses dedicated to the enlightenment of our youngest residents.… Read the rest

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Elvis Has Left the Building: a Reply to Slavoj Žižek

Andrew Stewart writes at CounterPunch:

In a September 9, 2015 column published in The London Review of Books, philosopher Slavoj Žižek masked a series of relatively conservative positions in his typical confection of psycho-analytic vocabulary and post-Soviet reflections on Marxism. The man who was once called the “Elvis of cultural theory” has some interesting suggestions:

First, in the present moment, Europe must reassert its commitment to provide for the dignified treatment of the refugees… Second, as a necessary consequence of this commitment, Europe should impose clear rules and regulations. Control of the stream of refugees should be enforced through an administrative network encompassing all of the members of the European Union (to prevent local barbarisms like those of the authorities in Hungary or Slovakia). Refugees should be assured of their safety, but it should also be made clear to them that they must accept the destination allocated to them by European authorities, and that they will have to respect the laws and social norms of European states: no tolerance of religious, sexist or ethnic violence; no right to impose on others one’s own religion or way of life; respect for every individual’s freedom to abandon his or her communal customs, etc… Third, a new kind of international military and economic intervention will have to be invented – a kind of intervention that avoids the neocolonial traps of the recent past… Fourth, most important and most difficult of all, there is a need for radical economic change which would abolish the conditions that create refugees… When I was young, such an organised attempt at regulation was called communism.

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Climate Skeptic’s Fossil Fuel Funding Exposed


Andy Rowell writing at Oil Change International (from Feb.):

For nearly two decades avid researcher, Kert Davies, has been hunting climate deniers and exposing their links to the fossil fuel industry.

Davies, who used to run Greenpeace USA’s Research Department, developed Exxon Secrets a decade ago which highlighted many of these links. It remains an invaluable tool today.

Last year, Kert decided to move on from Greenpeace and set up the Climate Investigations Center, whose remit is to “monitor the individuals, corporations, trade associations, political organizations and front groups who work to delay the implementation of sound energy and environmental policies that are necessary in the face of ongoing climate crisis.”

For anyone who has followed how climate sceptics have distorted the debate on climate science, there are a few key names on the list. And one of those is Wei-Hock Soon, more commonly known as Willie Soon, who is an astrophysicist from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics.

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Trevor Noah’s master class: It’s not just Fox News — this is the topic that needs Noah, Oliver, Stewart


Sophia McClennen via Salon:

For some time now our nation has counted on satirical comedians like Jon Stewart to entertainingly inform us of major issues we would otherwise ignore.   In an era when mainstream news media constantly fails in its watchdog role and when most politics seems like a circus, satire has played a major role in providing the public with much-needed information in a format that is fun and engaging.  When CNN asks whether Ebola is “the ISIS of biological agents,” we have the perfect proof that mainstream news is more about hype, fear, and spectacle than about information.

We can thank our satirists for helping the public understand the role of Super PACS in funding elections, for exposing the sleaze behind tax-exempt churches, and for consistently hammering Fox News on its lies.  But there is one major news story the satirists have mostly ignored and it’s time to ask why.

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‘It’s Like I Forget I’m in Prison’: Simple idea that could change solitary confinement

Prisoners Growing Sagebrush
Terrence McCoy via Washington Post:

It began with a painting, a biologist and an idea to disprove the widely-held axiom that trees are static. The biologist first affixed a paintbrush to a tree branch, set it to a canvas and watched it sketch. She then multiplied the length of that tree’s stroke by every branch in its crown. In the course of a year, the biologist learned, the tree would move 187,000 miles — or seven times across the globe. This seemingly immobile thing was actually in constant motion.

The drawing and its implications would ultimately spark a program that has infiltrated some of the most impenetrable prisons in the nation, attracted international attention, and earned a spot on TIME Magazine’s list of best inventions. Called the Nature Imagery Project, it transports the soothing elements of nature into supermax prisons to help ease the psychological stress of solitary confinement.

The project is rooted in an idea that even the most static entities — like trees, like inmates in solitary confinement — have the capacity for change.

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The Godly Colonel Kurtz



I’m cruising east up Market, away from downtown. It’s just me and Citizen’s Cab #137 fishing for fares, as we cross the brink into the Loin…

There’s a dude flagging me up at the corner of 7th, at a red.

Olive skinned with broad shoulders, in his mid 30s, my potential fare is semi-buff and sports an expensive black leather motorcycle jacket unzipped over a Hawaiian print shirt unbuttoned low enough to boast two highly-toned pectorals. Dude’s neck is ringed by a white coral choker framed by semi-greasy dark, wavy shoulder length locks that are pinned back from his face by a pair of wrap-around sunglasses sitting perched atop his head. He is semi-good looking, despite the badly faded navy blue shorts and worn white tennis shoes.

Dude’s casual.

Why not?

I pull over.

But before entering my taxi, my passenger bends humbly into my shotgun window to verify that I am actually agreeing to pick him up.… Read the rest

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No one should ever work. Workers of the world… *relax*!


Bob Black, “The Abolition of Work” via Primitivism:


No one should ever work.

Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you’d care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working.

That doesn’t mean we have to stop doing things. It does mean creating a new way of life based on play; in other words, a *ludic* conviviality, commensality, and maybe even art. There is more to play than child’s play, as worthy as that is. I call for a collective adventure in generalized joy and freely interdependent exuberance. Play isn’t passive. Doubtless we all need a lot more time for sheer sloth and slack than we ever enjoy now, regardless of income or occupation, but once recovered from employment-induced exhaustion nearly all of us want to act.

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Meet Augustus Invictus, the Florida Libertarian Who Loves Paganism, Civil War, and Goat Sacrifice

Augustus Invictus. Screencap via YouTube

Augustus Invictus. Screencap via YouTube

Over at Vice, Drew Millard profiles August Invictus, the Libertarian running for Marco Rubio’s Senate seat. Invictus is so controversial that Adrian Wyllie, the chairman of Florida’s Libertarian Party, resigned after “the party’s executive committee refused to tell Augustus Invictus…that he couldn’t be a Libertarian anymore.”

Millard via Vice:

There are a few reasons why Wyllie finds Invictus such a distasteful character. “Mr. Invictus has repeatedly vowed that it is his destiny to start a second civil war in America,” Wyllie wrote in a Facebook post announcing his resignation. He continued, “He has described himself as an American Fascist… He has expressed support for a eugenics program… Many of his supporters are known members of Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.”

While the Florida Libertarian Party didn’t out-and-out eject Invictus from its ranks, it did issue a press release Monday condemning the Senate candidate’s views.

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