PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: “Undercover Patriots: Trump, Tulsa, and the Rise of Military Dissent” / Danny Sjursen ☮

As both the Covid-19 crisis and the militarization of the police in the streets of American cities have made clear, the imperial power that we veterans fought for abroad is the same one some of us are now struggling against at home and the two couldn’t be more intimately linked. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

It was June 20th and we antiwar vets had traveled all the way to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the midst of a pandemic to protest President Trump’s latest folly, an election 2020 rally where he was to parade his goods and pretend all was well with this country.

We never planned to go inside the cavernous arena where that rally was to be held. I was part of our impromptu reconnaissance team that called an audible at the last moment. We suddenly decided to infiltrate not just the perimeter of that Tulsa rally, but the BOK Center itself. That meant I got a long, close look at the MAGA crowd there in what turned out to be a more than half-empty arena.

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INTELLECTUALISM: “Your Mind is an Excellent Servant, but a Terrible Master” / David Foster Wallace ☮

David Foster Wallace (February 21, 1962 – September 12, 2008) was an American writer and university professor in the disciplines of English and creative writing. This speech is from his graduation address at Kenyon College in 2005.

The most profound ideas are the most difficult to articulate because they express thoughts that transcend words. Many of us struggle through life because we are stuck in our “default setting”, where we unconsciously see ourselves as the absolute center of the universe. David Foster Wallace presents an alternative way to see the world in this timeless speech.

INDEPENDENT GLOBAL JOURNALISM: “Study Debunks Claims That Led to Bolivian Coup” / truthdig / Eoin Higgins ☮

A new study released by a pair of MIT researchers Thursday reveals that, contrary to claims from the U.S.-backed Organization of American States, there was no fraud in Bolivia’s October 20, 2019 elections—an accusation used by the OAS and others as a pretext for supporting the coup in the country that deposed President Evo Morales and replaced him with an unelected right-wing government.

Our results were straightforward. There does not seem to be a statistically significant difference in the margin before and after the halt of the preliminary vote. Instead, it is highly likely that Morales surpassed the 10-percentage-point margin in the first round. …

There is not any statistical evidence of fraud that we can find—the trends in the preliminary count, the lack of any big jump in support for Morales after the halt, and the size of Morales’ margin all appear legitimate. All in all, the OAS’ statistical analysis and conclusions would appear deeply flawed.

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POLITICAL COMMENTARY: “Racism and the Soul of America / Eddie Glaude Jr. / 09.13.2016” ☮

Eddie Glaude Jr. is the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University and Chair of the Department of African American Studies. He is the author of the award-winning book In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America and co-editor with Cornel West of African American Religious Thought: An Anthology. His latest book is Democracy in Black: How Race Still Governs the Soul of America. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Morehouse College, a master’s degree in African American studies from Temple University, and a PhD in religion from Princeton University. His scholarly pursuits and public service have been informed by his years growing up in the coastal town of Moss Point, Mississippi.

PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: “War With Iran” / Chris Hedges ☮

The assassination by the United States of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, near Baghdad’s airport will ignite widespread retaliatory attacks against U.S. targets from Shiites, who form the majority in Iraq. It will activate Iranian-backed militias and insurgents in Lebanon and Syria and throughout the Middle East. The existing mayhem, violence, failed states and war, the result of nearly two decades of U.S. blunders and miscalculations in the region, will become an even wider and more dangerous conflagration. The consequences are ominous. Not only will the U.S. swiftly find itself under siege in Iraq and perhaps driven out of the country—there is only a paltry force of 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq, all U.S. citizens in Iraq have been told to leave the country “immediately” and the embassy and consular services have been closed—but the situation could also draw us into a war directly with Iran. The American Empire, it seems, will die not with a whimper but a bang.

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INDEPENDENT GLOBAL JOURNALISM: “The Bolivian Coup Comes Down to One Precious Mineral” / truthdig / Vijay Prashad ☮

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales was overthrown in a military coup on November 10. He is now in Mexico. Before he left office, Morales had been involved in a long project to bring economic and social democracy to his long-exploited country. It is important to recall that Bolivia has suffered a series of coups, often conducted by the military and the oligarchy on behalf of transnational mining companies. Initially, these were tin firms, but tin is no longer the main target in Bolivia. The main target is its massive deposits of lithium, crucial for the electric car.

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HUMANITY: “The Pale Blue Dot” / Carl Sagan ☮

 

Find the following transcript on, “The Folly of Human Conceits,” blog:

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. Continue reading

INDEPENDENT GLOBAL JOURNALISM: “Nixon’s Dark Legacy” / truthdig / Danny Sjursen ☮

He was corrupt. He was petty, angry and resentful. He was also one of the most astute politicians in the annals of the American presidency. Time after time he overcame obstacles and defeats to rise again. His genius, ultimately, was this: He envisioned a new coalition and knew how to channel white resentment over the civil rights and antiwar movements into political triumph. This was his gift, and his legacy. Americans today inhabit the partisan universe that Richard Milhous Nixon crafted. Republican leaders to this very day speak Nixon’s language and employ Nixon’s tactics of fear and anger to win massive white majorities in election upon election. Indeed, though Nixon eventually resigned in disgrace before he could be impeached, the last half-century has been rather kind to the Republican Party. Only three Democrats have been elected president in that period, and Republicans have reigned over the White House for a majority of the post-Nixon era.

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