Wednesday, February 21, 2018

HORSING AROUND

I think we should try F-bombs before tossing off any real ones.

Mueller Indictments Are A F**king Joke & It's Dangerous
(Redacted Tonight...
 is a comedy show written and performed by Americans, in America covering American news.)

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MSNBC BS. Fuck them, go Jill Stein!
(Jill Stein interviewed about her name's appearance in the Mueller Indictments)


This was a rare dip into mainstream media for me. WOW! Tragic! I think the funniest bit is that after disgorging that grotesque circle jerk MSNBC has the nutsack to invite me to subscribe to more of the same. 

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And now for something more serious.

(Counter Punch.org)

"The Democrats’ choice to blame external forces, e.g. Russian meddling, for their electoral loss in 2016 ignores evidence of that none-of-the-above is the people’s choice. The largest voting bloc in the 2016 election was eligible voters who chose not to vote. In contrast to the received wisdom in political consultant circles, choosing not to vote is a political act. The U.S. has the lowest voter turnout in the ‘developed’ world for a reason."

* * * * *
(The Intercept.com)

"In the wake of last week’s indictments alleging that 13 Russian nationals and entities created fake social media accounts and sponsored political events to sow political discord in the U.S., something of a consensus has arisen in the political and media class (with some notable exceptions) that these actions not only constitute an “act of war” against the U.S., but one so grave that it is tantamount to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Indeed, that Russia’s alleged “meddling” is comparable to the two most devastating attacks in U.S. history has, overnight, become a virtual cliché."


YEARNING FOR LEARNING

(Eva-Maria Swidler at Truth-Out.org)
"As the social services we could expect the state to provide vanished one by one in the wake of elimination of welfare as we know it, radicalism seems to have been in retreat, circling the wagons to protect liberal concepts, institutions and processes that were previously subject to sometimes withering critiques. Emma Goldman's slogan "If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal" used to be found on T shirts and bumperstickers; now those who used to scoff at electoral politics pour their efforts into undoing gerrymandered districts or fighting voter ID laws. Net neutrality campaigns, defending such no-brainer basics as anti-monopolism and free speech, absorb activists who might otherwise have been paying attention to the Congressional January re-authorization of another 6 years of the government surveillance of Americans. Providing immigrants with housing and legal support has far too often displaced the analysis of and resistance to the foreign policy that brings immigrants to our shores.

Without challenging the importance of defending our shrinking services and rights, I believe that we should wonder and worry: are our larger visions at risk of being eclipsed or even bankrupted by the immediate daily, weekly or monthly struggles we are engaged in to defend the most minimal standards? What happens to our thoughts and our conversations when we are preoccupied defending the very institutions and systems that we recently categorized as bourgeois liberalism? Are we maintaining our deeper and more radical critiques, essential to offering real alternatives to capitalism?"

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Why the Right Wing Is So Interested in Narrowing Down Education into 'Skills'
The politics behind the push to expand vocational education.
(Alternet.org)

"In the latest episode of the Have You Heard podcast, AlterNet education contributor Jennifer Berkshire and co-host Jack Schneider explore the push to limit higher education for working-class and poor students to vocational skills."
HOME INVASION

Homer Simpson famously said, "To alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems."

He could have easily substituted the word technology, for alcohol, but it wouldn't have been as funny.

Everyone should think carefully about technology and addictive behavior. Both the psychological and environmental impacts are increasingly alarming.

Here are some examples from the very tiny tip of the iceberg.

___________________________________________

Teens with problematic habits may have an imbalance of GABA to GIX ratios.
(Psychology Today.com)

"To identify the severity of smartphone or internet addiction, the South Korean researchers used a standardized smartphone-internet addiction questionnaire. The questions were designed to elucidate the extent that excessive screen time affects someone's daily activities, face-to-face social connectedness, productivity, sleeping patterns, and feelings.

"The higher the score, the more severe the addiction," Dr. Seo said in a statement. Notably, Seo et al. found that smartphone-addicted teenagers had significantly higher scores in depression, anxiety, insomnia severity, and impulsivity."

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It's Time For a Serious Talk About the Science of Tech "Addiction"
(Wired.com)

"Last came the turncoats. Former employees and executives from companies like Facebook worried openly to the media about the monsters they helped create. Tristan Harris, a former product manager at Google and founder of the nonprofit "Time Well Spent" spoke with this publication's editor in chief about how Apple, Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram—you know, everyone—design products to steal our time and attention."

* * * * *

This Is Not a Tech Detox
(Wired.com)

"You write that your “stomach churns” whenever you read about how tech leaders don’t let their kids use the products they make—Steve Jobs, for instance, famously restricted his kids’ use of gadgets, and you write that it reminds you of “a drug dealer who doesn’t touch the stuff he deals.” How does that color your perception of our relationships with these devices?"

'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia
Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet. Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks alarmed by a race for human attention
(The Guardian.com)

"There is growing concern that as well as addicting users, technology is contributing toward so-called “continuous partial attention”, severely limiting people’s ability to focus, and possibly lowering IQ. One recent study showed that the mere presence of smartphones damages cognitive capacity – even when the device is turned off. “Everyone is distracted,” Rosenstein says. “All of the time.”

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Computers, phones, and other digital devices increasingly are made to be thrown away—which is bad for both consumers and the environment.
(The Atlantic.com)

"And so people replace things: smartphones, tablets, phablets, laptops, LEDs, LCDs, DVD players, portable music players. Whether from breakdown, slow-down, or just the availability of a newer model, people discard electronics at the slightest inconvenience. It’s not just laziness or a lust for the future, either; the economics of gadgets encourages disposal. In some cases, for example, buying a new printer is cheaper than buying a set of new ink cartridges.

The increase in consumption of electronics has two major adverse ecological effects. First, it significantly increases mining and procurement for the materials needed for production of gadgets. And second, discarded devices produce large quantities of electronic waste. That waste could be reduced through reuse, repair, or resale. Whether it ever will be is an open question."

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A smiling, talking fridge might seem fun. But what happens when it has said all it has to say?
(Huffington Post.com)

“Premature obsolescence is an ongoing issue,” he said. “Devices can be difficult to repair or sometimes need upgrading to keep up with new operating systems, leading to extra purchases of new devices.”



MOURNING IN 'MURIKA

or

THE STATE OF THE ONION

(The Onion.com video)

I happened to catch a few minutes of NPR during a discussion of Trump's "State of the Union" speech. As usual I found NPR's political analysis appalling. That a Trump speech was being considered seriously, and not simply a spewing of rhetoric by an obnoxious figurehead reading BS prepared by his sociopathic handlers was disappointing, yet sadly not surprising.

More honest appraisals on the state of the union require a trip outside the corporately-owed propaganda machine. For example:

Max Blumenthal, Phyllis Bennis, and Norman Solomon discuss President Trump's State of the Union. Rather than deliver a serious address, they say Trump offered a simplistic narrative designed to galvanize extremism.
(The Real News.com)

"MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, yeah. I agree with all of the comments by Phyllis and Norman. I sort of regret agreeing to this because I had to watch that, and I now feel like I'm 20 years older. I mean, I'm very glad to be here, but that was one of the most atrocious State of the Unions I've seen. Trump's delivery was lethargic and lugubrious. It was basically a reality show with Trump narrating the heroic stories of various American archetypes held together with a Kulturkampf, with a culture-war demagoguery on nativism like we've seen from no other president, and Norman's right. It's been normalized under Trump. I've heard a lot of pundits say that Trump's speech was surprisingly normal."

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David North, Chairman of the World Socialist Web Site’s International Editorial Board, discusses the capitalist crisis in the United States.
(On Contact video with Chris Hedges)

* * * * *

Trump’s State of Delusion
(WSWS.org)



"Amidst the nauseating spectacle of Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, perhaps the most remarkable feature was the inability of the ruling class—not only Trump, but also the Democratic opposition and the media commentary—to deal seriously with any of the myriad crises engulfing American and world capitalism.

The State of the Union address was, as originally conceived, intended as an occasion for the president to outline to Congress and the American people the overall economic, social and geo-political situation facing the country. However, over the past four decades, and particularly since the Reagan White House, the event has become an increasingly hollow charade, full of bombast and empty boasting, incapable of acknowledging the mounting crisis of American capitalism."

Friday, February 2, 2018

SEEING RED

The U.S. has perfected perception management and perpetrates it relentlessly on its citizens. The powers that be in this fair country thrive on fear and conflict. Things will continue to degenerate until catastrophic change or a cultural awakening occur. I for one think we are sound sleepers.

"The partisan fight over Rep. Devin Nunes' memo is consuming Washington and even leading prominent liberals to question if Nunes is a Russian agent. Russia scholar Stephen F. Cohen of Princeton University says Russiagate has now become "much more than McCarthyism."
(The Real News.com)

Friday, January 26, 2018

CHRIS HEDGES & Co.

(Truthdig.org)

"Are we in an era of new McCarthyism? Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges and fellow journalism experts discussed media and the Foreign Agents Registration Act during a recent panel hosted by the Columbia Journalism School and the Harriman Institute.

Hedges was joined by Maria Snegovaya, a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University; Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation; and Jeffrey Trimble, deputy director of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors. The discussion was moderated by Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia Journalism School."

Thursday, January 25, 2018

ARE VOTING RIGHTS WRONG?

(The Big Picture with Holland Cooke)

"Holland Cooke talks about the systemic suppression of voter rights with Florida Rights Restoration Coalition’s Executive Director Desmond Meade and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP’s Vice President Marty Puckett. Then Holland talks with Jacobs Media’s President Fred Jacobs about baby boomers, the most consequential generation."