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Posts tagged with "Politics"

Popular Economics: A fair economy is a strong economy (all-in-one)

Cutting School in Kansas | Harper's Magazine

by Sarah Smarsh,

"In his State of the State Address on January 15, Governor Sam Brownback declared that Kansas depends “not on Big Government but on a Big God that loves us and lives within us.” The sentiment likely got an amen from Koch Industries, the multibillion-dollar, Wichita-based conglomerate that bankrolls Brownback’s campaigns and profits handsomely from his breathtaking tax cuts. And it likely provoked a groan from public-school districts currently suing the state for underfunding public education. The decision on that case — due any day from the Kansas Supreme Court — has implications for eleven states, including California, New York and Texas, that are facing similar litigation…

In stripping the resources that allow public schools to educate children, the current state administration — which has demonstrated its preference for privatization in nearly every budget column — perhaps reveals its desire to tear the public system down.”

Is the News Replacing Literature?: Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow v. Proust and Kafka

By Lee Seigel,  The New Yorker

"Perhaps falling boundaries between private and public, an old morality increasingly muddled by new laws and new technology, and the dominance of a no-holds-barred media, have made moral conundrums that once never happened, or touched the lives of only a few people, the daily fare of millions.

On some level, and in the face of social problems that are ultimately simple cases of gross injustice, we find these murky ethical situations gratifying, as if they offer us an excuse…not to try to make meaningful changes in our public life. Or maybe our attempts to get at the truth of an imbroglio, like that involving Farrow and Allen, reflect a frustrated aspiration to retrieve some kind of shared, collective truth, period. 

In the early nineteen-nineties, David Mamet’s play “Oleanna,” in which a female student accuses a college professor of sexual harassment, had audiences erupting into screaming matches during the intermission. As with Farrow and Allen, there was no clear answer to the question of what actually happened between professor and student. Almost a quarter of a century later, the impossible complexity is on the other side of the stage. Instantaneous news of what happened, or might have happened, has become our art, and, like the chorus in ancient Greek tragedy, we are all part of the swelling roar.”

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot’s prison letters to Slovenian philopsher Slavoj Žižek
Dear Nadezhda,
I hope you have been able to organise your life in prison around small rituals that make it tolerable, and that you have time to read. Here are my thoughts on your predicament.
John Jay Chapman, an American political essayist, wrote this about radicals in 1900: “They are really always saying the same thing. They don’t change; everybody else changes. They are accused of the most incompatible crimes, of egoism and a mania for power, indifference to the fate of their cause, fanaticism, triviality, lack of humour, buffoonery and irreverence. But they sound a certain note. Hence the great practical power of persistent radicals. To all appearance, nobody follows them, yet everyone believes them. They hold a tuning-fork and sound A, and everybody knows it really is A, though the time-honoured pitch is G flat.” Isn’t this a good description of the effect of Pussy Riot performances? In spite of all accusations, you sound a certain note. It may appear that people do not follow you, but secretly, they believe you, they know you are telling the truth, or, even more, you are standing for truth…
Read more at the Guardian 

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot’s prison letters to Slovenian philopsher Slavoj Žižek

Dear Nadezhda,

I hope you have been able to organise your life in prison around small rituals that make it tolerable, and that you have time to read. Here are my thoughts on your predicament.

John Jay Chapman, an American political essayist, wrote this about radicals in 1900: “They are really always saying the same thing. They don’t change; everybody else changes. They are accused of the most incompatible crimes, of egoism and a mania for power, indifference to the fate of their cause, fanaticism, triviality, lack of humour, buffoonery and irreverence. But they sound a certain note. Hence the great practical power of persistent radicals. To all appearance, nobody follows them, yet everyone believes them. They hold a tuning-fork and sound A, and everybody knows it really is A, though the time-honoured pitch is G flat.” Isn’t this a good description of the effect of Pussy Riot performances? In spite of all accusations, you sound a certain note. It may appear that people do not follow you, but secretly, they believe you, they know you are telling the truth, or, even more, you are standing for truth…

Read more at the Guardian 

Dec 3

While Ms. McKenna “did not ‘abduct’ the child,” the court said, “her appropriation of the child while in utero was irresponsible, reprehensible.”

-

Sara McKenna, a former Marine, became pregnant during a brief relationship with Bode Miller, an Olympic skier. While seven months pregnant, she moved from California to New York to go to school, leading a judge to scold her for “virtually absconding with her fetus.” Now, the fight for custody of their son has become “a closely watched legal battle over the rights of pregnant women to travel and make life choices.”  (via albinwonderland)

(Source: bebinn)

You’re responsible for the predictable consequences of your actions. You’re not responsible for the predictable consequences of somebody else’s actions. The most important thing for me and for you is to think about the consequences of your actions. What can you effect? These are the things to keep in mind. These are not just academic exercises. We’re not analyzing the media on Mars or in the 18th century or something like that. We’re dealing with real human beings who are suffering and dying and being tortured and starving because of policies that we are involved in. We, as citizens of democratic societies, are directly involved in and are responsible for. And what the media are doing is insuring that we do not act on our responsibilities, and that the interests of power are served, not the needs of the suffering people, and not even the needs of American people who would be horrified if they realized the blood that is dripping from their hands because of the way they are allowing themselves to be deluded and manipulated by this system.

- Noam Chomsky - Manufacturing Consent (via theverticalfield)

Oct 9

Malala Yousafzai on The Daily Show

Oct 6

There is a lot to be said for keeping politics out of sport [but] in Qatar 2022, the connection between oppression and sport will be glaring. The world's finest footballers will be running over the bones of the faceless men who died that they might play.


We’ve been talking Orwell in class this week, and somewhere in there, we’ve been talking about the dangers of linking sports and politics, an idea that feels like wading into dangerous territory given the start of hockey season around here. But last week in the middle of the discussion, D. shouted, “Holy shit!” He explained sheepishly that he just was beginning to make all the connections, connect all the dots…

I let the conversation continue between Dallas and his friends, heads huddled, talking animatedly. They were shaking their heads, and I couldn’t tell if it was shock or disappointment in the realization that sports too, are politicized.

In any case, it was a great teaching moment.

America will continue to dominate the world stage for many decades, if not centuries, because it has a unique advantage that has little to do with its economy or military prowess... Unlike other major powers, Americans have one language and one culture, anchored by the American dream. This dream — freedom, equality and opportunity for material comfort — is more rhetoric than real. Nevertheless it is the super glue that binds the nation together and allows its leaders to act without fear of internal dissent.

Lack of internal conflict gives the United States an advantage over its competitors.


 

We witness that there is a relationship between government, media and industry that is evident even at this most spurious and superficial level. These three institutions support one another. We know that however cool a media outlet may purport to be, their primary loyalty is to their corporate backers. We know also that you cannot criticise the corporate backers openly without censorship and subsequent manipulation of this information....For example, if you can't criticise Hugo Boss at the GQ awards because they own the event, do you think it is significant that energy companies donate to the Tory party? Will that affect government policy?

Aug 6

Even if the odds are tough, I became irresistibly attracted to the challenge and excitement of it.

- Linda McQuaig, Canadian journalist, author,

I am deeply cynical about any revolution that excludes women but I notice that most of them do. The second wave of Western feminism was partly fuelled by the realization that men in the 1960s anti-war movement wanted women for sex and sandwiches. Women were going to have to rescue themselves.

Any single-sex group is flawed, its exclusionary base doing damage that only appears under scrutiny. There’s no cause for the West to be smug about the treatment of women in the Muslim world.

Look at the U.S. armed forces, where there were 26,000 sexual assaults reported in 2012 (in an anonymous survey), an increase of about 35 per cent over the two previous years. There were only 3,374 formal complaints, resulting in 238 convictions, as CBC.ca has reported. And look at the wave of stories about decades of sexual harassment in the RCMP.

Is this better than Tahrir Square?

I am wary of alleged triumphs. Women are making great strides in the newspaper industry, yes, now that the industry is in turmoil. Girls are doing better than boys in school, causing an avalanche of faux concern about discrimination against boys.

In the 17th century, Shakespeare’s stages were empty of actresses. Today the British are pondering removing the last female image from their currency.

Females have been erased throughout history and it has to end now. The evidence is before your eyes. A revolution that leaves half the population subjugated isn’t a revolution.

-

From In Cairo, Tahrir Square women fear gang rape,

by Heather Mallick at the Toronto Star

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: 'I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things' – video

Holy Crap.

I just realized Edward Snowden is Winston Smith.

Apr 7

I mean, politically I vote against my own self-interest at every election. I actively ask these people to raise my taxes. But I believe a solid, really strong middle-class is the key to making the country in the best way."

Matt Damon, speaking to The Guardian

Apr 6
Harper Government: 1  Information Commissioner: 0 (for now)
Ohhh.
It feels way too early in the morning to get fired up about science, but seriously. Seriously!
On any good day, I’m volatile and too easily get fired up when I’m told I don’t need to know something for my own good. I call bullshit. But when the Harper Government (formerly known as the Government of Canada) decides to muzzle our scientists from speaking about their research? And thereby violating our Access to Information Act? 
I call bullshit.
(Click the photo to read more)

Harper Government: 1  Information Commissioner: 0 (for now)

Ohhh.

It feels way too early in the morning to get fired up about science, but seriously. Seriously!

On any good day, I’m volatile and too easily get fired up when I’m told I don’t need to know something for my own good. I call bullshit. But when the Harper Government (formerly known as the Government of Canada) decides to muzzle our scientists from speaking about their research? And thereby violating our Access to Information Act? 

I call bullshit.

(Click the photo to read more)