All Must Become Zapatistas
item is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This I also find hard
to take seriously. For one thing, there are the Zapatistas
Wikipedia), that "We All", and that includes me, have to
"Become": I'd heard of them, but I did not know much about them, though
there is these days the Wikipedia, that I just linked to, for your and
For another thing,
although Chris Hedges has two pages, he doesn't provide much context or
background, and he starts as follows:
Subcomandante Marcos, the
spokesman for the Zapatistas (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación
Nacional, or EZLN), has announced that his rebel persona no longer
exists. He had gone from being a “spokesman to a distraction,” he said
last week. His persona, he said, fed an easy and cheap media narrative.
It turned a social revolution into a cartoon for the mass media. It
allowed the commercial press and the outside world to ignore
traditional community leaders and indigenous commanders and wrap a
movement around a fictitious personality. His persona, he said,
trivialized a movement. And so this persona is no more.
I say: the death of a
"fictitious personality". One problem I have with this
fictitious personality, apparently depicted in the photography that
opens the article, in which we see a balaclava-clad person on a horse,
in a military dress, in front of a McDonald's, is that he always seems
to have had this balaclava on, and also has not appeared since 2009:
address last month was the first public appearance by Marcos since
Is the 2014 "fictitious personality"
played by the same man as played the "fictitious
personality" in 2009? I
have no idea. (Does it matter? I have no idea.)
In fact, I have found
it hard to get any rational sense out of this, but I suppose Chris
Hedges does mean the following, near the end of his article:
The goal is not to
destroy but to transform. And this is why violence is
counterproductive. We too must work to create a radical shift in
consciousness. And this will take time, drawing larger and larger
numbers of people into acts of civil disobedience. We too must work to
make citizens aware of the mechanisms of power. An adherence to
nonviolence will not save us from the violence of the state and the
state’s hired goons and vigilantes. But nonviolence makes conversion,
even among our oppressors, possible. And it is conversion that is our
Well...I agree that
"revolutionary violence" of small groups is self-defeating, and also
tends to harm many others, and that nonviolence is a much better
policy. But I do not believe in "a radical shift in consciousness", on any significant scale, and I also do not believe
there is much to be gained
by trying to convert "our
And I have
tried to make
sense of this, but this is about the most I could get.
Krugman Utterly Destroys Inequality Deniers and Piketty's Critics
item is an article by Janet Alon on AlterNet:
Let's see...here is paragraph two of the article:
I like the "deju vu", and will kindly suppose that this is what Americans
think is Real French. Also, the "intellecutally dishonest critics" seems new, but this may be a typo. And I
agree the Financial Times article was balderdash, that seems to
underline that only economists deny that there is a rise in inequality.
Krugman points out, it's like deju vu all over again with the scuffle
over French economist Thomas Piketty's bestselling new book “Capital
in the 21st Century,” and the intellecutally dishonest critics of
Piketty's data and conclusions. Most notably, an article by
Chris Giles, the economics editor of the Financial Times, which
attacked Piketty's work on the basis of what Giles called slight errors
in data, went on to claim that this proved there is no such thing as
rising inequality and the accompanying phenomenon of increasing
concentration of wealth.
But Ms Alon gives more: she gives arguments, for she continues:
Krugman. Giles' "crucial assertion that there is no clear trend toward
increased concentration of wealth rested on a known fallacy, an
apples-to-oranges comparison that experts have long warned about — and
that I identified in that 1992 article."
there! A real argument! Already "identified in that 1992 article"!
In fact, she continues with quoting Krugman, and could have better
removed the last paragraph except - perhaps - for the first sentence:
two sources of evidence on both income and wealth: surveys, in which
people are asked about their finances, and tax data. Survey data, while
useful for tracking the poor and the middle class, notoriously
understate top incomes and wealth — loosely speaking, because it’s hard
to interview enough billionaires. So studies of the 1 percent, the 0.1
percent, and so on rely mainly on tax data. The Financial Times
critique, however, compared older estimates of wealth concentration
based on tax data with more recent estimates based on surveys; this
produced an automatic bias against finding an upward trend.
Krugman himself, and he seems right. Does he “Utterly" destroy Piketty's critics? Hm... those
interested in economy may consult
It seems it is not always
true that r>g, but that's all I will say about it here. O, and not
course. (But it is an AlterNet article, to be sure.)
Are Not People. Period.
item is an article by Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap on Common Dreams:
This starts as
Remember back in 2009
before the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court ruling when the U.S
political and legal system wasn’t about prioritizing the interests of
the extraordinarily wealthy, but instead was fair and just no matter
what your social status?
the electoral system wasn’t corrupted by big money, and your average
person had real influence over who could win for political office?
Wait a minute!
You don’t remember that? Yeah… neither do I.
OK - but now there is a
chance to undo it all, or so Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap seems to think, namely by
amending the Senate Joint Resolution 19a:
The plan is that this
amendment will get a vote in the Senate this year -- before election
season. We cannot allow a proposal that doesn’t address corporate
constitutional rights to get traction -- the amendment must match the
demand of our movement: “A Corporation is Not a Person! Money is Not
I say. I agree that “A Corporation is Not a Person! Money is Not
Free Speech!” - but it seems the US Supreme Court has judged
differently, indeed for total bullshit reasons, and in contradiction
with logic, but nevertheless.
So I suppose that the
chances that the amendment will match these demands are as close to
zero as you like.
But yes, even so: "Corporations Are Not People" (but I do not
suppose the present Senate will vote for that).
Mistake, This Case Is a Direct Attack on the Press
item is an article by Trevor Timm on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
The Supreme Court today
rejected New York Times reporter James Risen's appeal of a
4th Circuit decision that ruled the government can compel him to
reveal his source under oath. The case, one of the most important for reporter's
privilege in decades, means that Risen has exhausted his appeals
and must now either testify in the leak trial of former CIA officer
Jeffrey Sterling, or face jail time for being in contempt of court.
Risen has admirably vowed to go to prison rather than comply.
Thankfully, I note this
is neither nonsense, nor incomprehensible, nor stupid - though I would
have said "free press" rather than "press".
This is the
latest victory of the Obama administration in their crackdown on
sources, and in turn, investigative journalism. As the New York
reminded us today, they have "pursued leaks aggressively,
bringing criminal charges in eight cases, compared with three under all
previous administrations combined."
Make no mistake, this case
is a direct attack on the press.
There is more under the last dotted link, but since the same subject is
treated in the next item, I turn to that:
Court Sides with DOJ in Attack on Press Freedom
item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This is a fairly long
and good article, from which I will only quote a quotation from the New
I'd say reporters must
have privileges to refuse to provide direct evidence of criminal
wrongdoing, because the government may be quite wrong about its
diagnosis of "criminal
wrongdoing", and I'd
say that Obama's rule muzzles the press and goes completely and
willfully against the First Amendment:
The court’s one-line
order gave no reasons but effectively sided with the government in a
confrontation between what prosecutors said is an imperative to secure
evidence in a national security prosecution and what journalists said
is an intolerable infringement of press freedom.
The case arose from a
subpoena to Mr. Risen seeking information about his source for a
chapter of his 2006 book “State of War.” Prosecutors say they need Mr.
Risen’s testimony to prove that the source was Jeffrey Sterling, a
former Central Intelligence Agency official.
The United States Court
of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., ordered Mr. Risen
to comply with the subpoena. Mr. Risen has said he will refuse.
The Obama administration
has sent mixed signals in the case and on the subject of press freedom
in general. In its Supreme Court brief in the case, Risen v. United
States, No. 13-1009, it told the justices that “reporters have no
privilege to refuse to provide direct evidence of criminal wrongdoing
by confidential sources.”
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the
press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to
petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I'd say that Obama's
government is abridging the freedom of the press, and very
-- First Amendment