Archive for January, 2008

Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class

January 31, 2008

Link

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On war, hate, and terrorism

January 31, 2008

Link

The following is an email in response to the above link.

I didn’t enjoy it, but I agree with it. I tend to have to learn something to enjoy it.

It’s not exactly accurate, since it took the indigenous people a while to realize the animosity of the incomers. But that’s too confusing for use on a poster.

I don’t agree with the line of argument (not expressed by the poster, but commonly said) that it’s all about white supremacy. It’s just about war. War is about theft and subjugation. There always needs to be a group to steal from and subjugate. The best group to select for that purpose features a combination of wealth and military weakness (think Iraq with it’s oil, strategic usefulness, and minimal military). The indigenous americans, with vast access to land and almost no military development (by european standards), were ideal.

What are called “hate crimes” in America are actually war crimes. Hanging a noose is an extension of terrorism and oppression of blacks. It has nothing to do with hate – it has everything to do with theft, subjugation, and exploitation. Hate is an outcome of war, an emotional response to the condition of war that makes it easier to kill. It’s never a cause of war.

Whites have no problem killing other whites, including genocide, when that is convenient. They do so with just as much brutality as when they kill any other race.

It’s not particularly difficult to end or at least severely curtail war. The people of the world do not want war – the elites want it because they are the ones who gain the wealth and power that result from war. Once the people gain power they can set up a global peacekeeping force (a true peacekeeping force, not one used by an empire) that intervenes anywhere in the world when necessary. War is proof of a lack of democracy. The American military, for example, is not controlled by the people. It’s controlled largely by one man (and his contingent), and the accomplices in the legislative. The people are totally cut out of the process. That’s not democracy, not in any form.
Democracy is the only solution. We’ll keep having monstrous wars where a few get rich, many get dead or injured, and the rest get impoverished until democracy is attained.

What I like best about the poster is “terrorism”. That’s completely accurate. When one’s friends and relatives are getting killed and injured, fleeing from their homes, etc. one is in a state of terror. War is terrorism, as anyone who has ever experienced a war can tell you. New Yorkers on 9/11 were in a state of terror for a short time in response to experiencing just one act of war. And that was without the torture, the kidnappings, the could-happen-at-any-time roadside bombs, the indiscriminate Blackwater shootings, the militias, and all the other monstrosities that Iraqis face daily. Americans have the nerve to debate whether or not troops should leave. It’s not their call to make. The only just process is for the Iraqi people to decide whether or not American troops leave. Yet what American, who claims to be “against the war”, ever wonders what Iraqis think?

You call me bitter. You have no idea. I live in a world of ignorance, cowardice, monstrosity, bloodlust, greed, and despair. I’ve experienced all of those things myself and I can see it on the faces of everyone. The torture rooms that began to be used in the 1970s had a devastating effect on the psyche of Americans. They didn’t even need to know about them – they knew what was happening. But because they didn’t know about them, they couldn’t fight them. Knowledge needs to be in one’s head, not in one’s bones, to be useful. Not coincidentally that was the beginning of the age of mass distraction, the age of entertainment. Empires always need entertainment, don’t they?

Americans seem to believe they are good people. I disagree. However, they can become good people if they have a good political reality in which to live. The only way to achieve that good reality is to seize power from the elite. In a good world there are mostly good people, and in a bad world there are mostly bad people. It’s quite possible for bad people to create a good world and thereby become good. It’s not only possible, it’s exactly what we need to do.

The most tragic argument Americans make for their own righteousness is “I haven’t done anything wrong”. Well, if you haven’t joined forces in seizing power from the elite yet then you’ve done something very wrong. This failure has recently led to over a million Iraqis dead, several million losing their homes, nearly the entire country impoverished. Many of the 11,000 people who die each day from poverty are caused by the global economic system controlled by the American empire. And in this world the ignorant American who maintains his own ignorance intentionally says he “hasn’t done anything wrong”. So yeah, I’m bitter. Seeing an American who “hasn’t done anything wrong” watching American Idol while their own government kills a few hundred more innocents has a tendency to produce that effect. Inaction is the most common form of evil. The phrase “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” is false. The truth is, doing nothing proves you are evil. Seizing power from the elite is an act of redemption. The process by which power is seized from the elite is the transformation from evil to good.

There are many countries that have vast populist movements and grassroots organizations. Yet I can’t find a single such organization anywhere in the South Bend area. That will happen eventually. It’s better to start now, but they’ll start once the United States disintegrates further. Hopefully by that time it won’t be too late. In an age of nuclear annihilation and global warming, there is such a thing as too late.

Anti-labor garbage

January 31, 2008

From http://www.in.gov/qualcheck/ControllerServlet:

“Some people may not be able to get Food Stamp benefits. These people include:

* People on strike
* Immigrants without papers
* College students”

That’s fucking wonderful. A strike, which is completely within a worker’s rights, makes him uneligible to receive the food stamps that he may very well need given the shitty pay that caused the strike! What a repugnant aspect of class war.

The Democrats aren’t timid – they are corporate

January 31, 2008

Link

It’s a very popular myth, that the Democrats are bullied by Bush. I suppose that’s more comforting than the understanding that they do what they do because they feed from the same corporate trough.

The Democratic presidential candidates raised more money from corporate America than did the Republicans. Most corporations contribute heavily to both parties.

Yet there’s this yearning, this longing, for the Democrats as the “opposition party”. And sure, they are an opposition party – just like the Republicans they oppose the American people.

The few decent Democrats out there are like a teaser, holding together what is otherwise a monolithic oppressive political consensus in Washington.

Third parties are the only hope for electoral politics, at least in the short term.

A very fun platformer

January 31, 2008

Link

Academic Freedom – Norman Finkelstein

January 31, 2008

Link

Critique and Proposed Revision of the Educational System

January 30, 2008

Effective teaching is one part learning and one part communication. It’s a combination of learning things (so that you can teach them) and translating that knowledge to someone who doesn’t yet have it.

Most teachers teach the same thing year after year. They are bored, they are incurious, and hence are bad teachers. Instead of teaching a single pre-determined subject, the teacher himself would be a dynamic subject-producer. That is to say, the teacher would seek to learn as much as possible that was important for students to know and would then teach that. As his knowledge changed and his focus, so would the content of the instruction.

In order for schools to be organized, administrators would evaluate the content of the teachers’ instruction so as to make sure teachers were not duplicating each other excessively (so as a situation doesn’t develop where Teacher A, Teacher B, and Teacher C all teach the same thing).

A reason that schools are organized by subject is to control learning. That is to say, they make sure that students only learn what they want them to learn. By freeing teachers to become catalysts of knowledge that all goes away.

One obstacle here is that the administrators, instead of merely seeking to avoid duplication in teaching, could of course guide the instruction itself toward certain topics or away from others. If this is a problem, the teachers themselves could do that job, but they are already both learning and teaching so their job functions start piling up at some point.

Another big problem with education is it’s role as state and cultural indoctrination. While the former revision does a lot to address that as it gives teachers more control over their content it may not be enough, considering that the state funds the educational system. Probably the best situation is for the governance in the U.S. to become democratic. At that point the elite no longer controls the content of education and there is no longer a doctrinal focus.

Looking back on my educational experience, the most I ever learned was in Drivers’ Ed. I learned how to drive in just a few hours (of driving time). Driving is a lot more complicated than algebra, yet it takes the educational system multiple years to teach algebra. The difference is that driving is practical, it’s not doctrinal, hence the state actually wants to teach people how to drive, rather than control the learning so that things aren’t taught just as much as other things are.

Consider computer or video games. Some are very complicated. Yet all can be learned in a matter of hours. Even chess, a very complicated game, can have the basics taught and learned in a few hours. (Chess, just like driving, can only be mastered with vast study and practice.) Yet again, it takes multiple years to teach algebra, geometry, english?, social science, etc. Most of the time I felt was absolutely wasted. Yet, ironically, students are supposedly “hard workers” when they do english homework yet are “lazy” when they intensely learn a video game in a few hours. Orwell would be weeping. It’s funny that video games are called an escape. They are, perhaps, but they aren’t so much escaping education as actually getting one. An escape from the poverty of the state.

This knowledge has not hit the mainstream. Whether left, right, or center, the vast majority of Americans don’t have any critique at all of education. Until they do, they’ll only have ignorant solutions and we’ll only have horrible results.

Suharto’s death and the US role in Indonesia

January 29, 2008

Part 1

Part 3

Part 4

I’ll put Part 2 up when I see it.

Racism and Politics in America

January 29, 2008

Link

Chalmers Johnson on the Myth of Free Trade

January 29, 2008

Link

Bill Gates and Kinder Capitalism

January 29, 2008

Link

Robert Fisk on the Middle East – from Mar. 2007

January 28, 2008

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Why Bush Wants to Legalize the Nuke Trade with Turkey

January 26, 2008

Link

You might be a propaganda victim if…

January 26, 2008

You agree with what the talking heads in the corporate media are saying.

You think the educational system is about education.

You think Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly want what’s best for America.

You think capitalism is all about working hard.

You think without capitalism everyone would sit around and get high, like Cheech and Chong.

You think free markets lead to a utopia.

You think Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are sincere.

You think Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee are sincere.

You think police officers are there to protect you.

You think corporations should be private because it’s nobody’s business what they do.

You think corporate lobbyists are just fine because “it’s their money and they should do with it as they please”.

You think poor people are lazy.

You think people starving to death is fine because “those who are dying deserve to die”.

You think the American military liberates the people of other countries and brings them “democracy and freedom”.

You call desperate, hungry people in a flooded city who loot stores to survive “scum” and say they should be “shot on sight”.

You think George W. Bush is a noble cowboy who wants to protect Americans from terrorists.

You think Dick Cheney is grim because he takes the task of saving America so seriously.

You think the Democrats in congress will save America, so you voted for them in 2006.

You think you can change the system from within.

You think George Orwell had mental problems and Noam Chomsky is a “bleeding heart”.

You think Oprah Winfrey is wonderful, and deserves her fortune.

You think most people in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere are terrorists and deserve their torture.

You think anyone who criticizes the policies of the Israeli government is an anti-semite.

You think anyone who criticizes the Neoconservative commander-in-chief at a time of Neoconservative war is a terrorist sympathizer, or maybe a terrorist.

You think anyone who criticizes capitalism needs to work more hours – they obviously have too much time on their hands.

You think Judge Judy is on TV in order to give good advice, and Jerry Springer is just showing us real Americans.

You think Dana Perino’s constant condescension is because the press is so silly and deserving of it.

You think American Idol is the true face of America.

You think Bill Kristol is a liberal mugged by reality, instead of a sad empty man mugged by ideology.

You think Fox News is the antidote to the liberal media.

You think reality TV shows are about reality.

You think the War on Terror is about fighting terror.

You think TV executives make the decisions they do primarily out of the profit motive.

You think Milton Friedman is a hero.

You think Ronald Reagan is a hero who ended Communism.

You think everything would be just fine if government got out of the way and allowed businesses to do as they pleased.

You like Disney movies because they evoke a “simpler” time.

You like the funny sidekick in films because the hero always needs someone to amuse him and play second fiddle.

You think Disney is about entertaining children.

You think the Disney-themed town is wonderful, safe, and “the way America should be”.

You think people are worth as much as their paycheck plus their wealth.

You call this blog entry “bullshit”.

The Bush Administration’s self-delusion about the Iraq war

January 26, 2008

Part 1

Part 2

Palestinians flood Egypt for food- US candidates opinion

January 26, 2008

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

What’s wrong with GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)? – from The Pinky Show

January 25, 2008

Link

Recession and the modern American economic system

January 25, 2008

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

How the service economy fuels white supremacy

January 24, 2008

White people (by and large) like being served by other white people, especially when that service requires frequent communication or other intimacy. White people have the money, and therefore are the ones being served. Therefore white servants are “better” than blacks or latinos or otherwise. Therefore whites get the jobs, therefore minorities are unemployed, therefore white supremacy is served.

The wisdom of Grace Lee Boggs on MLK ,economy, and obama

January 24, 2008

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Kucinich Banned, no Real Debate

January 23, 2008

Link

War and Peace

January 23, 2008

Link

Melissa Harris Lacewell and Gloria Steinem debate Democratic presidential issues

January 23, 2008

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

This is a perfect example of elite debate in the United States and shows why nothing good ever happens here. These people are perfect representatives of Clinton and Obama.

Israelis and Palestinians working together for peace

January 23, 2008

Part 1

Part 2

A reply to Mike Sofaer on Uwe Boll

January 23, 2008

I’m not against Uwe Boll. I’m against the ironists who support Uwe Boll and enjoy mocking things like boxing matches which include him as well as his movies.

Mockery requires something to mock. Mockery gives birth to media constructs like Uwe Boll.