Tag: history


On the dangers of attacking the media in a democratic republic

“The most dangerous 'enemy of the people' is presidential lying--always. Attacks on press by @realDonaldTrump more treacherous than Nixon’s" -- Carl Bernstein, journalist who broke the Watergate scandal "These systematic attacks on the media accomplish two things. First, they fire up the base, which believe that traditional media do not represent their interests or concerns. Second, they provoke the media itself, which feeling threatened, adopts a more oppositional posture. This in turn further fuels the polarization on which the leaders depend and paves the way for the government to introduce legal restrictions. The most dramatic example was in Venezuela, where elements in the media embarked on a campaign of open warfare, engagin...

The Paper Tiger Who Grew Claws

"'I understood the infamous spiritual terror which this movement [the Social Democrats] exerts, particularly on the bourgeoisie, which is neither morally nor mentally equal to such attacks; at a given sign it unleashes a veritable barrage of lies and slanders against whatever adversary seems most dangerous, until the nerves of the attacked persons break down... This is a tactic based on precise calculation of all human weaknesses, and its result will lead to success with almost mathematical certainty... I achieved an equal understanding of the importance of physical terror toward the individual and the masses... For while in the ranks of their supporters the victory achieved seems a triumph of the justice of their own cause, the defeat...

Even Prince Charles is in disbelief

Coming from a monarch who could just as well have long ago checked out from world affairs, these statements should feel more disturbing than they are -- feeling as they do, a confirmation of the state of world affairs, whose shockwaves are reaching us still: "Echoes of the dark days in the 1930s... that nearly 70 years later we should still be seeing such evil persecution is to me, beyond all belief." -- Charles, Prince of Wales https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/dec/22/prince-charles-rising-intolerance-risks-repeat-of-horrors-of-the-past

Why is the cast of Hamilton addressing a white nationalist VP-elect an important story?

Much hay was made this weekend over the fact that the staid global news outlet The New York Times had the audacity to put the story about Mike Pence's well-timed stunt at Hamilton above the fold, while it relegated the story of Donald Trump's hasty settlement of $25 million over the Trump University lawsuits (an amount which lawyer Lisa Bloom called "power evidence of guilt") to past the jump, in the print edition. First of all, who is kidding themselves that people are still reading only the New York Times print edition above the fold?! If someone buys the New York Times they gon' turn that shit over, maybe head on brazenly over to A2. And if they're reading the story online, they didn't come to it from the New York Times front page. ...

Culture is collective neurosis

There's a popular and somewhat understandable misperception of culture as a vehicle of reproducing "normalcy" throughout society. However, each historical era makes the cognitive mistake of assuming its particular version of Normal is, well, Normal. And that all eras which came before -- that were obviously ruled by stupid people who could not understand the kind of objective truths we are now privy to in the New Modern era -- were a series of mass delusions in which people fooled themselves into thinking they had The Answers, when they so clearly didn't. Because The Problems continue apace. The twisted social psychological paradox we have not yet managed to escape is our abject failure to understand that we Moderns, too, are trapped wi...

Social safety net & why we need it

Or: Tightwad capitalism and its stranglehold on both social and economic progress Not everyone is destined to be an alpha overachiever. Even if they aspire to it, not everyone can be a CEO, or successful entrepreneur, doctor, lawyer, coding genius, etc. etc. So, what do "the rest of us" deserve?? How should resources be distributed? Do we all share a responsibility to give back in proportion to the benefits we’ve accrued from a robust public sector? Or is wealth on an endless snowball upwards towards less recently laboring capital and an endless downward spiral further into poverty on the other end of the continuum as the boot that expects you to be grateful digs its heels in sharper? And then the very real and troubling (and often igno...