Posts

Why Does the U.S. Support Israel? | Noam Chomsky | Excellent and brief overview

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An eight minute overview of the US-Israel relationship from Chomsky. For depth and breadth, Chomsky has no peer, as far as I am aware.  I've yet to discover any error of fact in his work and have little, if any, difference of opinion with his moral reasoning.  Chapters and transcript available at YouTube: Noam Chomsky - Why Does the U.S. Support Israel?

Israel and Palestine | Noam Chomsky | Clark University, Worcester, MA | April 12, 2011

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This is a more thorough overview of the Israel-Palestine conflict than my prior post on the topic but it's worth repeating that the role of the US is crucial and that for depth and breadth, Chomsky has no peer, as far as I am aware, and I've yet to discover any error of fact in his work and have little, if any, difference of opinion with his moral reasoning on this and most topics, for that matter.  Chapters available at YouTube: Noam Chomsky: Israel and Palestine (Full Lecture)  

The Occupation of Palestine: A Short History | Noam Chomsky | December 10, 2003 | Harvard

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This overview of the Israel-Palestine conflict may be of value to anyone interested in the history preceding current atrocities.  The role of the US is crucial.  For depth and breadth, Chomsky has no peer, as far as I am aware.  I've yet to discover any error of fact in his work and have little, if any, difference of opinion with his moral reasoning.  Chapters and transcript available at YouTube: The Occupation of Palestine: A Short History  

What a Victory for Ukraine Should Look Like | Anatol Lieven, Feb 20, 2023, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

"Differences are growing within the Biden Administration over what kind of victory for Ukraine the United States should support. On the outcome of these discussions could depend not only the outcome of the war in Ukraine, but even conceivably the future of humanity."   Article at Quincy Institute

After Fourth Quarter GDP, Economy Looks Solid, Unless Fed Derails It | Dean Baker, Jan 26, 2023

While the media keep touting the prospects for a recession, it is difficult to see why there would be one in the immediate future. To start with the basic picture, growth in the fourth quarter was a very solid 2.9 percent, following a slightly stronger 3.1 percent in the third quarter. This is very far from the negative growth we see in a recession. When we look at the individual components, the picture is somewhat mixed. Inventory accumulation accounted for half the growth, adding 1.46 percentage points to growth in the quarter. This obviously will not be sustained, and after the rapid growth in the fourth quarter, we are likely to see inventories as a drag on growth in future quarters. However, the flip side is that some of the items dragging growth down in the fourth quarter will have less of a negative impact in future quarters. Housing stands out here, and the drop in residential investment knocked 1.29 percentage points off the quarter’s growth, after lowering third-quarter growt

Is the Ukraine War moving toward a ‘Korea solution’? | Lyle J. Goldstein, Responsible Statecraft, January 30, 2023

"The bloodletting in Ukraine continues with no end in sight.  The risks of continued casualties, now numbering likely well over half a million, along with the attendant escalation spiral, must be firmly rejected by responsible leaders."  *** "Would the leaders of Russia and Ukraine come to the table for such a Korean-style armistice? Putin, as the leader bearing the greatest responsibility for this tragedy, surely realizes that his whole legacy is in grave jeopardy, so that he must end the unpopular war as soon as possible.  Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was elected originally to seek peace with Russia, knows that his country has been bled white in this struggle and it is well past time to turn to the arduous task of rebuilding. As there has been most likely well over half a million casualties in the present conflict, humanitarians across the whole world must hope courageous leaders will step forward to mediate and encourage Putin and Zelensky

My Brief Encounter with Right-Wing Twitter Accounts of the Self-Proclaimed "Card-Carrying LGBT" Variety | kjl, Dec 5, 2022

From the beginning of time non-heterosexuality has typically been treated by "civilization" with extraordinarily cruel contempt. This population (to acknowledge those who remain alone I hesitate to use the word "community") is a group who, from birth, have always comprised a substantial percentage of world population, although even if there were only one, the elementary moral recognition of their fundamental equality should be assumed. Yet maybe we don't all know that throughout history non-heterosexuals have endured every conceivable slander and violent abuse that one can imagine human beings perpetrating upon one another, including mass murder, and that defenders of universal human rights are also targets. In the US a lot has changed in many places in the past few decades. Still that ugly tendency, sometimes lone and sometimes organized, to condemn, to suppress, to lash out verbally and with physical violence and even to take the lives of the alienated persist

The Case for the Trumpers' Anger | Dean Baker, CEPR, Nov 8, 2022

At this point, a large majority of non-college educated whites (especially white men) are willing to follow Donald Trump off any cliff. They have open contempt for more educated people (a.k.a. the “elites”) and their institutions, such as universities, mainstream media outlets, and science. There is no justification for the racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and other forms of bigotry that Trump has cultivated since he entered politics. But there is a reason why it suddenly has so much appeal, and it’s not just that a Black guy (who many of them voted for) became president. I will again make the case here. Let’s Imagine a World Where the More Educated Screwed the Less-Educated We know the data on what has happened to income distribution over the last four decades. To take a simple point of reference, in debates on the minimum wage we often talk about how if it had kept pace with inflation since its peak real value in 1968, the national minimum wage would be over $12 an h

Crises of Immigration | text and video of talk | Noam Chomsky, Nov 5, 2016

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United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility 2016 Annual Guest Lecture Barcelona, Spain | 5 November 2016 Crises of Immigration Professor Noam Chomsky Pope Francis captured the essence of “crises of immigration” in simple words: “Migrants are not a danger — they are in danger.” The implication is clear. The crises of immigration are, in significant measure, moral crises in the wealthy countries of the world, the societies that have the resources and the capacity to help those who are in severe danger and to mitigate or resolve the circumstances that lie at the roots of their plight – rich societies that furthermore often have significant responsibility for creating the crises in the first place and that have, in many ways, benefited from the circumstances that lie behind the plight of refugees, considerations that deepen the moral crisis of the rich and privileged. Reflection on these matters is, I think, essential if we are to face the moral crises honest

A Response to Objections to My Claim that MAGA is an Authoritarian Ideology and that Democracy Should Prevail | kjl, Sept 19, 2022

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Recently I posted these to Twitter:         These were among the replies I got: I said I'd respond when I had time. I couldn’t condense a thoughtful reply into a tweet and didn’t want to try to write a long series of tweets so I've published my response here and to a PDF that can be downloaded or viewed online. The link is at the bottom of this post. For the record, I don't monetize my social media account nor the website and I've set the website to collect the minimum possible data that the host, Google's Blogger, allows. I take seriously that we all have a general default right to privacy in what we think about, read, and talk about. What I do see is anonymous information like the number of users, their or their VPN's general location, time spent on the site, etc. Google, the NSA, Putin, or others might surveil online activities but I don't see IP addresses nor do I want to. I’ll defend the assertion that MAGA is an authoritarian ideology. And I’ll respond

Labor Day: Unions Have a Stake in Ending Minority Rule in the United States | Mark Weisbrot, published Sept 1, 2022

"Never mind that Republicans have consistently opposed legislation that would strengthen workers’ rights , increase their income (including increases in the minimum wage), or even provide them with health care (Medicare and Medicaid ). Many unions are also multiracial organizations and cannot stomach the Republican Party’s growing commitment to racism. But at present, there is another reason for the partisan divide that labor — like it or not  — must deal with. As many political experts have recognized, the current political system is one of minority rule . Republicans are able to capture and hold political power through elections and institutions in which the majority of the population is effectively sidelined. Republicans also now control the Supreme Court by a 6-3 majority; this is perhaps the most obvious example where labor cannot ignore how difficult it will be to organize unions within a judicial system stacked by Republicans." full article at CEPR

21st-Century US Foreign Policy Is Shaped by Fears of China’s Rise, Chomsky Says | interview published August 4, 2022

"It’s useful to recall the experience of our predecessor in global dominance. An island off the coast of Europe, Britain’s primary concern was to prevent unification of Europe into a force beyond its control. Similarly, though magnified far beyond, the U.S. and its western hemisphere domains can be regarded as an “island” off the coast of the Eurasian land mass — which is the basis for world control according to the 'heartland theory' of Halford Mackinder, a founder of modern geopolitics, whose thoughts are now being revived by global strategists. Extending the logic of imperial Britain, then, we would expect the U.S. to be seeking to prevent unification of the “heartland” as an independent force, not subject to U.S. domination. The self-defense operations at the western and eastern ends of the heartland also fall into place." full interview at Truthout

CEPR Statement: Inflation Reduction Act is Historic Progress | Aug 16, 2022

A good, brief summary of the bill's effects, including criticisms. kjl “'The tax provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act denote a historic turn in tax policy towards greater fairness,” said Co-Director Eileen Appelbaum , addressing how the act will rein in Wall Street profiteers. 'The near doubling of Internal Revenue Service staff, plus resources to upgrade IT capacity, means the agency will be able to investigate potential tax fraud in complex Wall Street firms. IRS campaigns to crack down on private equity firm’s improper use of management fee waivers for investors and monitoring agreements with portfolio companies will no longer be stymied by a lack of resources." full article at CEPR

Talking Sense About A "New American Civil War" | Richard E. Rubenstein | CounterPunch, August 12, 2022

"We need to talk sensibly about the potential of a nation like the U.S. for serious political violence, but this isn’t easy to do so.  'It can’t happen here' is obviously too glib and complacent, while 'It will happen here' is alarmist and demoralizing.  The questions that most need thoughtful discussion are these:  What are the most important causes of serious political violence in wealthy nations like the United States?  Can these conditions be altered so as to make civil war less likely?  If so, how do we go about preventing the violence?"   full article at CounterPunch.org

We don't need a recession - which would be devastating - to solve our inflation problem | Mark Weisbrot

"At his press conference Wednesday, Powell said that 'having a soft landing is what we’re aiming for' but added: 'At the beginning we said it was not going to be easy. It was going to be quite challenging to do that. It’s unusual. It’s an unusual event. It’s not a typical event, given where we are.' But the Fed has not explained why a 'soft landing' — avoiding a recession — would be so difficult. We do not have a giant real-estate bubble as in 2006, or a stock-market bubble as in the late ’90s. Both of these were so large that it could be shown in advance (and it was shown ) that they were unsustainable and capable of causing a recession when they burst." Opinion: It will be the Fed's fault if the economy crashes into recession By Mark Weisbrot Updated: July 30, 2022 published at MarketWatch and CEPR

Even some of the bosses at CBS see the critical urgency of averting imminent climate collapse | brief comment and video

Inherent to right-wing economic doctrine is the subordination of everything, including the fundamental well-being of society, to quarterly earnings. We are faced with imminent catastrophic climate collapse which is reasonably expected to lead to growing chaos and conflict around the the globe due to the disruption of agricultural production and of economic activity in general, and the widespread displacement and dispossession of human populations. The public favors immediate, large-scale transition to non-destructive energy systems. Those obstructing the implementation of this historically critical transition must be removed from power and replaced by rational policymakers. Even some of the bosses at CBS see the urgency and allow the broadcast of a very strong statement by Adam McKay on imminent catastrophic climate change. (kjl)  

Washington Post Goes Full Looney Tunes in Whipping Up Recession Hysteria | Dean Baker, CEPR, June 19, 2022

"If Washington Post reporters and editors had access to the Washington Post, they would know that the Federal Reserve Board was ostensibly worried about the economy growing too rapidly, thereby triggering inflation. The data in this column are more supportive of the too rapid growth story than the recession story it’s trying to push on readers."   Washington Post Goes Full Looney Tunes in Whipping Up Recession Hysteria Dean Baker | Senior Economist Center for Economic Policy Research June 19, 2022  The media look to be switching rapidly from their full-fledged inflation hysteria to recession hysteria. The Washington Post is leading the pack with an article headlined, “Americans are starting to pull back on travel and restaurants.” The one clear substantive item in the piece supporting the headline is the drop in retail spending the Commerce Department reported for May. However, the May retail sales report actually showed restaurant spending was up 0.7 percent for the

You Heard Him: Get a Rope - Civilization, Donald Trump, and the Death Penalty | Ken Levy

This commentary is being rewritten for clarity and because I need to learn a little HTML.

On "Moral Relativism" and Evidence of a Biological Basis of Morals | Chomsky, et. al | short video with downloadable transcript

" For example looking just at the very examples that are given here, it's been a long battle, but over time, in fact the last couple of centuries, there's been a very consistent change. And the change is not without conflict. But it's going in a particular direction. And I think you can even understand the direction. The direction is of more tolerance of variation and more opposition toward coercion and control. I think that's a very definite tendency. And I think it suggests something pretty strong about what our fundamental moral values are."   Video and transcript of excerpt of a discussion with Noam Chomsky. The topic is cultural and moral relativism with reference to Michel Foucault. Date, event and other participants’ names are unknown to me. Transcript has very minor edits for clarity. Transcript by Ken J. Levy - any errors are mine. Excerpt is from a longer video at Noam Chomsky on Moral Relativism and Michel Foucault , retrieved June 19, 2022.   Speak