More opinion than history lesson, but a good reminder

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 10.32.49

For this reason, Jews are the only “white people” obsessively targeted by white supremacists. So are they really white, not at all or something in between? After Charlottesville, it’s clear we no longer have the luxury of debating the finer points of this question. For the time being, the racists have settled it for us.

pub. 08/2017

A better lesson is here.

Suggestions for progressives to counter the idea that supporting Trump is supporting the US

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 15.11.45

“Leaks.” The “leak” frame is about national security leaks: truths that could harm national security is revealed to the public or enemies of the nation. Under the metaphor, “leaks” become truths that could harm the security of the President. Since national security leaks are crimes against the nation — unpatriotic and un-American, so under the metaphor, “leaks” threatening Presidential security become crimes against the nation that are unpatriotic and un-American, matters for the Justice Department and the FBI to look into and for the Justice Department to prosecute.

pub. 07/2017

The endless disappointment of wanting to like John McCain

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 10.59.16

[I]t’s “nice” Republicans like McCain who provide cover for evil swine like Mitch McConnell, allowing them to gut the American security net and fuck over anyone who doesn’t live behind an iron gate.

But that didn’t stop McCain from having the gall—the unmitigated, repulsive GALL—to stand up in front of the Senate today and put on his Maverick jammies and deliver a sermon bashing the very non-legislation that, only minutes earlier, he had flown cross-country to help will into being[.]

pub. 07/2017

In turning the ship around, a challenge to progressives

Screen Shot 2017-07-09 at 15.33.18

For Rorty, a Left that neglects victims of economic selfishness will not only fail; its neglect of class will trigger a terrible backlash that ultimately ill-serve the very groups that Leftist identity politics are intended to help. “The gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will very likely be wiped out,” he worried. “Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. The words ‘nigger’ and ‘kike’ will once again be heard in the workplace. All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come flooding back. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.”

pub. 07/2017

Philosopher Peter Singer on global capitalism and revolution

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 11.05.02

The French Revolution was both bloody and world-altering enough that it is still inspiring new books today. More recently, the Cuban revolution showed how socialist idealism can devolve into dictatorship. In both cases, many innocent civilians lost their lives in pursuit of a greater cause. Yet a utilitarian like Singer—judging actions by their collective impact on all living things over time—says that even those messy revolutions may be justifiable. “The question is, do they have to go wrong? Is it inevitable? Is it part of human nature that they go wrong?” he asks. “Maybe in spite of all the bloodshed and things that went wrong, the revolution did lead to the spread of greater equality, of civil rights, of the rule of law throughout Europe. And that was undoubtedly a good thing. Chou En Lai was famously asked whether he thought the French revolution was a good thing and he said ‘It’s too early to tell.’ I’d be prepared to hazard a guess and say it was a good thing.”

pub. 10/2016

 

The jobs are out there, but culture is in the way

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 10.15.57

About 20 million men between the prime working ages of 20 and 65 had no paid work in 2015, and seven million men have stopped looking altogether.

The rage and despair of some of them helped propel Donald Trump to the White House. They may be waiting for him to deliver on his promise to bring back well-paid manufacturing jobs. Economists fear a long, fruitless wait.

In the meantime, the jobs most in demand — like nursing and nurse assistants, home health care aides, occupational therapists or physical therapists — sit open.

pub. 06/2017

A short meditation on US propaganda and politics in the 20th century

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 08.11.29

“Democracy is never a thing done,” MacLeish said. “Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing.”…

…Critics called MacLeish naïve: winning a war requires deception. F.D.R., to some degree, agreed. In June, 1942, he replaced the Office of Facts and Figures with the Office of War Information.

pub. 06/2017

Published in the paper edition as “The Strategy of Truth”; audio version here.