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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 64,701

Journal Archives

Chris Hedges: American Socrates (Noam Chomsky)


from truthdig:


American Socrates

Posted on Jun 15, 2014
By Chris Hedges


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Noam Chomsky, whom I interviewed last Thursday at his office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has influenced intellectuals in the United States and abroad in incalculable ways. His explications of empire, mass propaganda, the hypocrisy and pliability of the liberal class and the failings of academics, as well as the way language is used as a mask by the power elite to prevent us from seeing reality, make him the most important intellectual in the country. The force of his intellect, which is combined with a ferocious independence, terrifies the corporate state—which is why the commercial media and much of the academic establishment treat him as a pariah. He is the Socrates of our time.

We live in a bleak moment in human history. And Chomsky begins from this reality. He quoted the late Ernst Mayr, a leading evolutionary biologist of the 20th century who argued that we probably will never encounter intelligent extraterrestrials because higher life forms render themselves extinct in a relatively short time.

“Mayr argued that the adaptive value of what is called ‘higher intelligence’ is very low,” Chomsky said. “Beetles and bacteria are much more adaptive than humans. We will find out if it is better to be smart than stupid. We may be a biological error, using the 100,000 years which Mayr gives the life expectancy of a species to destroy ourselves and many other life forms on the planet.”

Climate change “may doom us all, and not in the distant future,” Chomsky said. “It may overwhelm everything. This is the first time in human history that we have the capacity to destroy the conditions for decent survival. It is already happening. Look at species destruction. It is estimated to be at about the level of 65 million years ago when an asteroid hit the earth, ended the period of the dinosaurs and wiped out a huge number of species. It is the same level today. And we are the asteroid. If anyone could see us from outer space they would be astonished. There are sectors of the global population trying to impede the global catastrophe. There are other sectors trying to accelerate it. Take a look at whom they are. Those who are trying to impede it are the ones we call backward, indigenous populations—the First Nations in Canada, the aboriginals in Australia, the tribal people in India. Who is accelerating it? The most privileged, so-called advanced, educated populations of the world.” ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/american_socrates_20140615



Chris Hedges: The Rules of Revolt


from truthdig:


The Rules of Revolt

Posted on Jun 9, 2014
By Chris Hedges


There are some essential lessons we can learn from the student occupation of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, which took place 25 years ago. The 1989 protests began as a demonstration by university students to mourn the death of Hu Yaobang, the reformist Communist Party chief who had been forced out by Deng Xiaoping. The protests swiftly expanded to include demands for an end to corruption, for press freedom and for democracy. At their height, perhaps a million people were in the square. The protests were crushed on the night of June 3-4 when some 200,000 soldiers, backed by tanks and armored personnel carriers, attacked. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of unarmed demonstrators were killed.

Lesson No. 1. A nonviolent movement that disrupts the machinery of state and speaks a truth a state hopes to suppress has the force to terrify authority and create deep fissures within the power structure. The ruling elites in China, we now know from leaked internal documents and the work of a handful of historians, believed the protests had the potential to dislodge them from power. Monolithic power, as we saw in China, is often a mirage. Some of the internal documents that exposed the fears and deep divisions within the ruling elite have been collected by the Princeton University Library.

Lesson No. 2. An uprising or a revolution usually follows a period of relative prosperity and liberalization. It is ignited not by the poor but by middle-class and elite families’ sons and daughters, often college-educated, whom Mikhail Bakunin called déclassé intellectuals, and who are being denied opportunities to advance socially and economically.

This is what happened in China. Chairman Mao Zedong’s death in 1976 saw Deng Xiaoping assume leadership. Deng instituted political and free market reforms. The reforms created a new oligarchy. It led to widespread corruption, especially among the party elites. For workers there was a loss of job security and social benefits, including medical care and subsidized housing. University graduates were no longer guaranteed jobs, and many could not find employment. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_rules_of_revolt_20140608



Richard Wolff: "The rising wages? It's over. .... The rising standard of living? It's over."





Sea Rise Threatens Oakland's Sewer System


Oakland Local/New America Media, News Report, Barbara Grady, Posted: Jun 12, 2014

OAKLAND, Calif. --The shoreline along Oakland is a checkerboard quilt of cement, steel and wetlands, with grassy estuaries sandwiched between walls of cement where old terminal buildings rise from the shore, steel pipes send effluent to the Bay and massive containership berths receive their payload.

Just inland from this quilt lies a broad north-south strip of railroad and highway.
Only after all that, nearly a mile from the shore, lie residential neighborhoods, block after block of shoebox size houses in an area known locally as the flatlands.

Their distance from the shoreline leads many residents here into thinking of sea level rise as a remote issue not likely to affect them, based on random interviews when a question about flooding caused people to laugh or raise an eyebrow and point to the scorching sun in drought-worried California.

But it is precisely these flatland neighborhoods that are likely to be flooded – and not only with water but also with a toxic stew of industrial runoff and sewage – when the Bay’s sea level rises or a global warming -induced storm occurs, say ecologists and area planners who have looked at the problem. .........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://newamericamedia.org/2014/06/oakland-at-risk-of-severe-floods---not-just-water-but-sewage.php



$6 Rides for BART's Oakland Airport Connector


CA: $6 Rides for BART's Oakland Airport Connector

MICHAEL CABANATUAN ON JUN 13, 2014
SOURCE: SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE


June 13--BART riders will have to pay $6 to ride the Oakland Airport Connector, but they'll need to wait another couple of years to find out if new rail cars will have ceiling-to-floor poles for standing passengers and bike racks.

At a meeting that lasted more than six hours Thursday, BART directors tackled two of the biggest issues they've faced since last year's extended labor dispute. But it wasn't easy.

It took more than three hours of public comment and board discussion before directors voted to wait until a prototype train is put into passenger service in 2016 before deciding what to do about the poles and bike racks. BART will test two configurations before deciding on the final design for the 775 cars it has ordered.

Few speakers remained for the discussion of the fare for the Oakland Airport Connector, an automated rail link that will carry passengers between the Coliseum Station and Oakland International Airport beginning this fall. But they staked out positions that left the board divided. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11520381/6-rides-for-barts-oakland-airport-connector



Seattle's Elected Socialist, Kshama Sawant,- Left Forum 2014





Richard Wolff: "The rising wages? It's over. .... The rising standard of living? It's over."




Why boarding schools produce bad leaders


Why boarding schools produce bad leaders
The elite tradition is to send children away at a young age to be educated. But future politicians who suffer this 'privileged abandonment' often turn out as bullies or bumblers. A psychotherapist explains why

Nick Duffell
The Guardian, Monday 9 June 2014


In Britain, the link between private boarding education and leadership is gold-plated. If their parents can afford it, children are sent away from home to walk a well-trodden path that leads straight from boarding school through Oxbridge to high office in institutions such as the judiciary, the army, the City and, especially, government. Our prime minister was only seven when he was sent away to board at Heatherdown preparatory school in Berkshire. Like so many of the men who hold leadership roles in Britain, he learned to adapt his young character to survive both the loss of his family and the demands of boarding school culture. The psychological impact of these formative experiences on Cameron and other boys who grow up to occupy positions of great power and responsibility cannot be overstated. It leaves them ill-prepared for relationships in the adult world and the nation with a cadre of leaders who perpetuate a culture of elitism, bullying and misogyny affecting the whole of society.

Nevertheless, this golden path is as sure today as it was 100 years ago, when men from such backgrounds led us into a disastrous war; it is familiar, sometimes mocked, but taken for granted. But it is less well known that costly, elite boarding consistently turns out people who appear much more competent than they actually are. They are particularly deficient in non-rational skills, such as those needed to sustain relationships, and are not, in fact, well-equipped to be leaders in today's world

I have been doing psychotherapy with ex-boarders for 25 years and I am a former boarding-school teacher and boarder. My pioneering study of privileged abandonment always sparks controversy: so embedded in British life is boarding that many struggle to see beyond the elitism and understand its impact. The prevalence of institutionalised abuse is finally emerging to public scrutiny, but the effects of normalised parental neglect are more widespread and much less obvious. Am I saying, then, that David Cameron, and the majority of our ruling elite, were damaged by boarding?

It's complex. My studies show that children survive boarding by cutting off their feelings and constructing a defensively organised self that severely limits their later lives. Cameron, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Andrew Mitchell, Oliver Letwin et al tick all the boxes for being boarding-school survivors. For socially privileged children are forced into a deal not of their choosing, where a normal family-based childhood is traded for the hothousing of entitlement. Prematurely separated from home and family, from love and touch, they must speedily reinvent themselves as self-reliant pseudo-adults. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jun/09/boarding-schools-bad-leaders-politicians-bullies-bumblers



Richard Wolff: It's time for a powerful unified left organization in the United States





Richard Wolff: It's time for a powerful unified left organization in the United States





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