Open Thread

Here is the basic idea of an open thread. This is where a comment, idea, link, or whatever can be posted when it doesn’t necessarily fit the subject matter of any available post. This also can be where people can lodge their complaints or make suggestions, including possibilities for future posts.

Plus, this would be a good place for rants, as I’ll be less discerning in my moderation of comments here. I encourage open discussion. But there are limits. If your comment creates a negative atmosphere or simply lessens my happiness, then it will not be approved. I will use my discretion. Make sure your comment is worthy of your time and my own.

11,784 thoughts on “Open Thread


    WASHINGTON—Tossing and turning while the noise continued virtually unabated, the nation was kept up all night by the incessant sound of its creaking infrastructure, sources said Thursday. “I honestly couldn’t tell if it was coming from the power lines down the block or the overpass a few miles away, but, Jesus Christ, that was rough,” said Portsmouth, NH resident John Laslow, echoing the sentiments of all 323 million Americans, many of whom reportedly attempted in vain to muffle the groans, squeals, and clattering from the nation’s public works system by wrapping a pillow around their ears. “I mean, I’d doze off when the racket stopped for a second, but then I’d get woken up all over again by something else—squeaky cables from the suspension bridges in the region, dripping at a water treatment facility, or this scraping sound I think was coming from the interstate railway network. Oh well, I’m sure they’ll send out workers to fix this soon.” At press time, the populace was sleeping soundly as overnight power grid disruptions had brought much of the nation to a halt.

  2. One of my predictions is that Trump wouldn’t just take down himself but the entire GOP agenda. Right-wingers have always argued that if we just had a businessman as president all problems would be solved. That is exactly what Trump promised.

    As a plutocratic businessman and longtime political donor with close ties to professional politicians, Trump represents our corporatist system in a way that few presidents could ever do. Trump is the full embodiment of our failed corporatist system.

    “Trump’s continued decline in popularity so early on into his presidency could soon jeopardize the insurgent, conservative agenda he promised his base throughout the 2016 presidential election: building a wall, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, vastly increasing immigrant detention and deportations by the millions.”


    About one in eight people who voted for President Donald Trump said they would not do so again after witnessing Trump’s tumultuous first six months in office, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll of 2016 voters.

    While most of the people who voted for Trump on Nov. 8 said they would back him again, the erosion of support within his winning coalition of older, disaffected, mostly white voters poses a potential challenge for the president.

    Trump, who won the White House with the slimmest of margins, needs every last supporter behind him to push his agenda through a divided Congress and potentially win a second term in 2020. […]

    To be sure, most presidents lose support among core supporters the longer they are in the White House. According to the Gallup polling service, former President Barack Obama saw his popularity dip among Democrats and minority voters, though it did not come until later in his first term. But Obama, who won the Electoral College with greater margins than Trump, was not as reliant on retaining his core supporters.

    The minority of Trump voters who said they would not vote for him again gave varying reasons in interviews for why they had changed their minds.

    Some were tired of his daily trolling of Democrats, the media and the judiciary. Some were disappointed that the Trump administration has not yet swept illegal immigrants out of their communities. Others said the president has not ended the mistrust and hyper-partisanship in Washington as much as they had hoped.


    On July 19, Fox News reported that Wasserman Schultz is finally cooperating with the investigation. She provided U.S. Capitol Police with access to a laptop they possessed from her office, though it has not been confirmed that this is the same laptop Awan hid. The police have possessed the laptop for months but have been unable to access it. This week, Wasserman Schultz’s counsel began negotiating with investigators to provide them access. Wasserman Schultz has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but her stonewalling has elevated her role in the investigation. In March 2017, Politico reported, “In addition, Meeks and, to a larger extent, Wasserman Schultz, are said to have a friendly personal relationship with Awan and his wife, according to multiple sources.”

  5. I mean that’s kind of the problem that it’s not seen as evil not representing your constituents. Journalism has become so bad that politicans can make choices that kill thousands without ever getting in trouble for it or being held accountable.
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    [–]Ob101010 22 points 23 hours ago
    Journalism has become so bad
    This is intentional.
    Imagine how hard it would be to go up against a unified voice of say, 80% of Americans.
    Now imagine how hard it would be to go against a set of fractured groups, where no group has more than 2% of Americans on their side.
    Napoleon used the same tactic, so did the romans, in defeating larger forces. Sow confusion and engage the smaller groups.
    Confusion is sown by the media for the same purpose. Heres an example : Go into /r/politics and say Trump is doing a good job. Now watch the bickering among the sides commence.
    The truth is, the masses are far, far more powerful than all the elietes. Proof : we can survive without them. They can not survive without us. They know this and take great pains to keep us fractured.

      • I wouldn’t be surprised if Russia was in US news media more than the US in Russian news media. I’m thinking the Russians aren’t feeling particularly impressed by the US at the moment. Most Russians probably have more important things to worry about than Trump.

    • The Pentagon has been warning about existential threats to the US for a long time. Pentagon officials tend to take threats more seriously than politicians who only worry about wealthy donors, corporate lobbyists, and winning elections

  6. The greatest threat to Western liberal democracies in the future is more likely to come from extreme inequality than from Islamic extremism. This is because inequality erodes two foundation stones of modern society — openness to new ideas and opportunities, and a conviction that all citizens are morally equal.

    For the first three decades after World War II, openness and equality constituted a virtuous circle. Openness generated unprecedented levels of prosperity. That prosperity allowed America and the citizens of other modern nations to invest in excellent schools and universities, basic research, modern infrastructure and social insurance. These investments, in turn, made it easier for people to adapt to change, and fostered ever greater equalities of income and opportunity. The result was a high level of trust in the fairness of the political and economic system.

    But by the 1980s, the virtuous circle had stopped working. Economic and technological dynamism was upending jobs, convulsing communities and splintering families. At the same time, inequalities of earnings, wealth and job security were widening. After the financial crisis of 2008, many Americans, along with the citizens of other nations affected by the crisis, began to doubt the fairness of the system. Some came to feel neglected, disadvantaged, powerless or otherwise left behind. Within the decade they became easy fodder for demagogues who rejected openness and blamed “others” — immigrants, foreign manufacturers, the news media, racial or ethnic or religious minorities — for what had happened to them.

    Enter Donald Trump, who promised to “make America great again” by erecting walls, slowing immigration, withdrawing from free-trade agreements, cutting science budgets, attacking the free press and retreating from security alliances the United States has maintained since 1945. Meanwhile, Britain has pulled out of Europe. Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front, has been mounting a challenge to the French establishment. Hungary’s Viktor Orban and others of his ilk are emulating closed-society dictatorships. The result is likely to be less prosperity and widening inequality. The old virtuous circle is in danger of becoming a new vicious cycle. […]

    Viewed from either Emmott’s or Waldron’s point of departure — the necessity of preserving an open society or of respecting the moral equality of human beings — the surge toward widening inequality is endangering the West. The culprit is not economic inequality per se. It is the political inequality that economic inequality can spawn. How will the vicious cycle we are now experiencing come to an end? These two insightful books suggest that if we don’t recommit ourselves to political equality, we will become ever more closed, authoritarian societies. Economic elites should understand this. As Emmott notes, without openness, the West cannot thrive. But without equality, the West cannot last.


    Jerry, Millar and Cunningham all acknowledged that, as white men, they can fly under the radar of those who associate unauthorised immigrants with Mexico and Central America.

    Cunningham recalled local police and immigration officials not questioning his status during stops. He felt that he was given a pass because of his Irish accent. He wondered if the officers would have treated him differently if he were black or brown.

    As a whole, white and other non-Latino immigrants are targeted for arrest and detention at disproportionately lower rates, says Randy Capps of the Migration Policy Institute.

    “It’s the Latino immigrants from Mexico and Central America that are overrepresented in terms of arrests and deportations,” said Capps.

    Accusations of unequal treatment and racial profiling among immigrant communities have also sparked criticism in Boston about local media attention to Cunningham’s arrest. Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, said that for every one story of a white immigrant who faces deportation, there are many other stories of non-white immigrant experiences not told.

  8. It’s funny how in America parents can get in trouble for unsuitable living conditions if they’re raising two kids with a one bed room apartment they all share, but my friend’s khrushchevka is literally a tiny two room flat consisting of a small kitchen and a main room with the bed behind a curtain. And entire extended families live in conditions like it all throughout former USSR


    Imprisonment in America is concentrated among young, poor—dominantly minority—men and (to a lesser extent) women who come from impoverished communities. The way these young people cycle through our system of prisons and jails, then back into the community, leaves considerable collateral damage in its wake. Families are disrupted, social networks and other forms of social support are weakened, health is endangered, labor markets are thinned, and—more important than anything else—children are put at risk of the depleted human and social capital that promotes delinquency. After a certain point, the collateral effects of these high rates of incarceration seem to contribute to more crime in these places. Crime fuels a public call for ever-tougher responses to crime. The increasing way in which the face of criminality is the face of person of color contributes to an unarticulated public sense that race and crime are closely linked. The politics of race and justice coexist malignantly, sustaining an ever-growing policy base that guarantees new supplies of penal subjects in a self-sustaining and self-justifying manner (Clear, 2007, 175).


    The Pentagon recently released a report, “At Our Own Peril: DoD Risk Assessment in a Post-Primacy World,” which details its concerns about losing access to resources and “resistance to authority” both at home and around the world as governments lose legitimacy. Faced with these changes, the United States could embrace them, become a cooperative member of the world, transition to a lower-waste lower-energy sustainable existence and draw back the military to use those resources to meet domestic needs.

    Sadly, that is not what the Pentagon has in mind. There is a saying, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The US is the biggest empire in the world; therefore, the Pentagon’s solutions are “more surveillance, more propaganda (‘strategic manipulation of perceptions’) and more military expansionism.”

    • I read the whole discussion thread. Rameses got all the white supremacists in a tizzy. Some of the responses were along the lines of, I like you Rameses and we’ve had some good discussions but quit complicating my white supremacy because the nuanced historical facts make my head hurt.

      As always, I’d clarify a point. Rameses wrote, “The 1924 Immigration Act halted immigration for 40 years, and allowed the new immigrants to assimilate to American culture.” Well, much of that assimilation was forced through xenophobic fear-mongering, sometimes violent oppression, and anti-ethnic laws that destroyed most of that earlier diversity that in many cases had existed since the colonial era.

      Like other minorities, some European immigrant populations experienced employment prejudice, redlining, internment camps, etc. Also, as Nixon used the war on drugs as an excuse to attack blacks and hippies, an earlier generation of social conservatives used Prohibition to attack hyphenated Americans.

      This was made clear in how the Second Klan, primarily centered in the whitest regions of the North, feared these hyphenated Americans more than they feared blacks. This is why the Second Klan were big supporters of Prohibition as a law and order tactic to maintain dominance of the WASP social order, similar to their support of universal public education as a strategy to destroy Catholic schools.

      • Now that I’m in the former Soviet Union for a few days, I’m not sure American racial ideas apply here much at all. Even in east Asia, I think “race” is still more ethnicity based. And in the case of FSU the gradient nature of human looks is really appearent.

        There are a lot of ethnic Russians here but people here can easily tell a white westerner here apart, based both on looks (western Europeans do have different facial structure despite similar skin color than Russians) and mannerisms. For me likewise, even though I Asian, both my mannerisms and looks make me instantly different from local Kazakhs and central Asians.

        • I’ve never read or thought much about issues of ‘race’, ethnicity, and diversity in the former Soviet Union. It’s not something I come across, not even in Cold War histories. That is kind of odd, actually. It would be nice to see a comparison between the capitalist United States and the previously communist Soviet Union.

      • I think you said it before but rameses is kind of pathetic the way he tries to engage so much with these people

  11. It’s funny, speaking of race, I’m in Kazakhstan right now and I’m sure racial concepts are totally different here. As it is in other parts of the world. The America white black asian just doesn’t apply in the old world.,

    Kazakhs themselves are mixed from different tribes so ethnic kazakhs span a wide range of looks, generally they are a Mongol-Caucasian mix and most have the signature North Asian huge cheekbones that many Russians have as well. It’s very common to see people with mongol facial shape but light eyes and hair, and to see families spanning the looks.

    Struggles in the former Soviet Union are still quite based on lower Maslow level struggles, like poverty and corription. My friend worries because her mom may lose her job (due to curriotiom, since in Soviet Union, it’s common that if a rich guy with connections wants the job just to do something they will just suddenly “test” a current employee with actual reason to fire her to make room for rich guy)

    • It’s maybe because America has been so wealthy for so long that our society could obsess over something so meaningless, wasteful, and destructive as an oppressive racial order. Many have argued that it was no accident that the racial order by way of racialized slavery was originally created by the plutocracy to divide the poor so that they wouldn’t join forces in riot or revolution. Less wealthy countries seem more obsessed over other kinds of divisions, not Western style racial categories.

  12. To be honest, it’s a bit refreshing to get away from American social dynamics right now. Everywhere has shit but in different forms and it’s just that I’ve jumped from American BS to former Soviet Union BS. I’m not resting from BS but resting from a certain BS towards another form.

    • It at least gives you perspective. Maybe you’ll have newfound admiration for American BS. There is a certain comfort in being surrounded by the BS you were raised in. It offers reassuring familiarity. American BS is, if nothing else, predictable. You know what you’re getting with it.

      • To be honest, speaking different BS’s in the world, I’m now really confused. Because honestly, leaving the USA and even the developed world has been the best thing for my mental health so far. And a trip that isn’t that materialistic (I didn’t buy much, there wasn’t much fancy shopping, etc etc) and in a developing country in an alien culture, I don’t know why but it literally did wonders for me.

        There are many problems, like corruption, low quality healthcare, etc, but it seems in other ways, I was happier to be away from American type BS.

        When I was driving to JFK airport, I stopped in what looked like a working class Brazilian/Latino town to fill up on gas, and walking around town, despite the poverty, it blew my mind when I was realizing I felt a sense of content and peace mentally that I never felt in my middle to upper middle class white town, nor did I feel in a middle-upper middle class LA suburb, etc. Same when I stopped in Jamaica, NY for a bit. Of course, I liked the walkability and density, but I can’t exaplin what it was that made me feel good versus the suburban middle-upper middle class white towns I’m used to

  13. lol Russians take one look at me and switch to English when they see me, even though there are many Asian-looking russophones around that they don’t switch to English for. It’s because of my American mannerisms probably, but also because I don’t look north Asian as much, as I lack the big cheekbones etc. I find that people in Russia and Central Asia can tell apart people better than Americans as they instantly see I’m East Asian. I even had two Russian-Chinese girls ask me if I was Chinese, speaking Chinese.

  14. The Sochi Olympics reeked of corruption that I’m not sure exist in America but might. When they build the facilities, they tore down many homes and promised the residents they would get money or new home: so far, nothing, so they basically made a bunch of people homeless for the games. Locally, people resent the governments for spending on “show off” things like olympcis and expo while, as they say, robbing the people. Literally robbing them, since the lavish spending on these events is taken from average people’s pensions, wages, etc, while leaving them with nothing.

  15. It’s an issue in Kazakhstan as well, and even Russia. I never walk alone here especially not at night. And being young and petite I’m the perfect candidate for bride kidnappimg.

    • That would suck. A coworker of mine had family from Mexico. She would visit there sometimes, but she couldn’t go anywhere by herself for the same fear of bride kidnapping. Mexico isn’t Islamic, of course. I wonder how such practices become tradition.

      The Scots-Irish had a practice of kidnapping brides, although it had become a symbolic act at some point. In parts of the Upper South, the symbolic act is still part of the wedding ceremony. The couple decides to get married prior to the symbolic kidnapping.

    • My WordPress page for stats shows what presumably are your views originating from Kazakhstan. I’m not sure I’ve had any views of my blog from that location before, but I do get views from a variety of countries.

  16. “I think we would agree to describe the reality that flows from this corporate power as anti-democratic, anti-community, anti-worker, anti-person and anti-planet…Given our relative consensus on this situation, what should we be asking and doing about the corporation?…To effectively begin the work of countering what amounts to global corporate tyranny, we’ll need to do two kinds of defining: what we wish to see in the future, and what we are seeing in the present…We’ll never move these corporate behemoths out of our way with the poking sticks and thin willow reeds available to us through regulatory action…Nor will we gain their everlasting mercy with pleas for social responsibility or requests to sign a corporate ‘code of conduct,’ or the pitiful pleading for side agreements on free-trade pacts…Our colonized minds make it difficult to cut through our experience and envision real democracy. We’ve got a ‘cop in our head,’ and the cop comes from corporate headquarters…What must be done?

    “When those of us who believe in an empowered citizenship see corporations spewing excrement and oppression with ever greater reach, we need to ask, ‘By what authority can corporations do that? They have no authority to do that. We never gave them authority.’ And we must work strategically to challenge their claims to authority…”

  17. “We have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks. Some people think the Federal Reserve Banks are U.S. government institutions. They are private credit monopolies; domestic swindlers, rich and predatory money lenders which prey upon the people of the United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers…The truth is the Federal Reserve Board has usurped the Government of the United States by the arrogant credit monopoly which operates the Federal Reserve Board.”
    ~Congressman Lois T. McFadden (R-PA), Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, 1934


    Washington, DC

    Today at 8 a.m., the National Archives released a group of documents (the first of several expected releases), along with 17 audio files, previously withheld in accordance with the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. The materials released today are available online only. Access to the original paper records will occur at a future date.

    Download the files online:

    Highlights of this release include 17 audio files of interviews of Yuri Nosenko, a KGB officer who defected to the United States in January 1964. Nosenko claimed to have been the officer in charge of the KGB file on Lee Harvey Oswald during Oswald’s time in the Soviet Union. The interviews were conducted in January, February, and July of 1964.

    This set of 3,810 documents is the first to be processed for release, and includes FBI and CIA records—441 documents previously withheld in full and 3,369 documents previously released with portions redacted. In some cases, only the previously redacted pages of documents will be released. The previously released portions of the file can be requested and viewed in person at the National Archives at College Park (these records are not online).


    The re-review of these documents was undertaken in accordance with the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which states: “Each assassination record shall be publicly disclosed in full, and available in the Collection no later than the date that is 25 years after the date of enactment of this Act, unless the President certifies, as required by this Act, that continued postponement is made necessary” by specific identifiable harm.

    The act mandated that all assassination-related material be housed in a single collection in the National Archives and defined five categories of information that could be withheld from release. The act also established the Assassination Records Review Board to weigh agency decisions to postpone the release of records.

    The National Archives established the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection in November 1992, and it consists of approximately five million pages of records. The vast majority of the collection (88 percent) has been open in full and released to the public since the late 1990s. The records at issue are documents previously identified as assassination records but withheld in part or in full. Federal agencies have been re-reviewing their previously withheld records for release, and will appeal to the President if they determine that records require further postponement.

  19. Here is a quote claiming no one predicted fascism. Giuseppe Borgese writes that (“The Intellectual Origins of Fascism”):

    “Not a single prophet, during more than a century of prophecies, analyzing the degradation of the romantic culture, or planning the split of the romantic atom, ever imagined anything like fascism. There was, in the lap of the future, communism and syndicalism and whatnot; there was anarchism, and legitimism, and even all-papacy; war, peace, pan-Germanism, pan-Slavism, Yellow Peril, signals to the planet Mars; there was no fascism. It came as a surprise to all, and to themselves, too.”

    Is that true? It sounds improbable.

    There was nothing about fascism that didn’t originate from old strains of European thought, tradition, and practice. Fascism contains elements of imperialism, nationalism, corporatism, authoritarianism, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, folk religiosity, etc.

    Corporatism aligning business and labor to government, for example, had been developing for many centuries at that point and had been central to colonial imperialism. Also, racism and eugenics had been powerfully taking hold for centuries. And it’s not like there hadn’t been demagoguery and cult of personality prior to Hitler.

    If communism and syndicalism were predictable, why not fascism? The latter was a reactionary ideology that built on elements from these other ideologies. It seems to me that, if fascism wasn’t predictable, then the New Deal as a response to fascism also couldn’t have been predicted. But the New Deal took part of its inspiration from the Populist movement that began in the last decades of the 19th century.

    What about fascism was new and unique, unpredictable according to anything that came before?


    WASHINGTON—Telling the Senate Intelligence Committee that he had no choice because saying anything else would be incredibly stupid, Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner testified Monday that he did not collude with Russia during the campaign, but pretty much had to say that. “I did not in any way conspire or collaborate with any foreign government, but even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you because I would likely go to jail,” said Kushner, adding that if he had to choose between lying to a panel of legislators—plenty of whom were happy to take his excuses at face value—or openly admitting to being a criminal, he’d lie every single time. “At this point, with no real pressure to admit I committed a felony or participated in any illegal activity whatsoever, I suppose I’ll just keep saying I did nothing wrong. Honestly, the only smart move here is to stand up and say the one thing that doesn’t destroy my life, so I’ll be sticking with that for the time being.” Kushner went on to say that he had no knowledge of collusion on the part of anyone else involved with the Trump campaign because, come on, what would you say if you were him?

  21. You described rural crime being greater than urban, but it seems that has been true outside the USA for a while. Here in KZ crime, including kidnappijgs robberies and such are much more problematic in rural and suburbs. The safest areas are the denser and more urban areas. Bride kidnappijgs are also more prominent in rural areas worldwide

    • There is one pattern of demographic change.

      Urban areas have increased social problems, including violent crime, when there is a large influx of rural populations. In the 19th century, rural areas were violent. Even the first lead-toxicity rise of violent crime began in rural areas, because of lead paint used on barns. So there were reasons rural areas were violent back then. That isn’t always the case. During periods of stable economies and communities, rural areas would have been non-violent places. But any kind of disruption leads to social problems.

      That is what happens when there is a population shift, whether farm families moving to cities for factory work or drought-caused refugee crises. European countries saw this early on with urbanization. Mass urbanization in England became a major factor in the 17th and 18th centuries, because of sheep herding destroyed feudal agriculture and caused privatization of the commons. A large-scale influx of people into the cities was destabilizing. It involved not just violence and crime but also food riots and labor conflict.

      The US was late to this game. Small family farming was maintained in the US for centuries after it became uncommon in Europe. Majority of whites didn’t become urbanized until around 1900. And the majority of blacks didn’t become urbanized until around 1970. These are the two periods of increased urban violence, the earlier one primarily among whites and the latter primarily among blacks. But in the following generations, the social conditions restabilize. But with the rural areas depopulated and impoverished, the problems worsen there as they improve in the cities.

      It’s a predictable pattern. It’s not like no one noticed the development of rural problems over the 20th century. It’s just that those in power didn’t care, except when it disrupted their own plans. In the past, the ruling elite had to pay attention to rural areas such as when Appalachian miners took up arms to fight oppressive mining companies. But now these rural folk are getting blamed for Trump, despite such an accusation being ludicrous. It’s more of a sense that something has gone wrong in our society and no doubt it involves what is going on in rural areas.

      There is one universal problem of rural areas. They’ve always been difficult places to maintain order and enforce laws. People live more spread apart. So, they are more dependent on protecting themselves and taking care of their own problems. That leads to a certain kind of mentality and culture, of each to their own, of communities maintaining their own standards (maybe why sundown towns were more common among small rural towns).

      My dad knows a guy who grew up in rural Kentucky. This guy spoke of his father killing his brother who challenged his authority and then burying the body without police or any other officials getting involved. Eastern Kentucky is still a violent place, although violence in Kentucky has dropped immensely over the past century, unlike Tennessee for some reason.

      I’m not sure why people are surprised to hear that urban areas are safer than rural areas. Urban areas have higher concentration of police, public services, community organizations, churches, healthcare, etc. These are all of the things that build social capital and maintain social fabric. And I also always find it odd that Chicago gets constantly stereotyped as dangerous, even though it is one of the safer big cities in the country. Public perception as shaped by news media often has little correspondence to reality.

  22. “An oligarchy of private capital cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society because under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information.”
    ~Albert Einstein


    It is not enough simply to set oneself up as a person who distrusts majority taste as a matter of principle or perhaps conceit; that way lies snobbery and frigidity. However, it will very often be found that people are highly attached to illusions or prejudices, and are not just the sullen victims of dogma or orthodoxy. If you have ever argued with a religious devotee, for example, you will have noticed that his self-esteem and pride are involved in the dispute and that you are asking him to give up something more than a point in argument. The same is true of visceral patriots, and admirers of Plutocrats and idiocracy. Allegiance is a powerful force in human affairs; it will not do to treat someone as a mental serf if he is convinced that his thralldom is honorable and voluntary.


    WASHINGTON—As legislators gathered Tuesday for a critical vote that would go a long way toward finally repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) was reportedly struggling to weigh the interests of her entire constituency against absolutely nothing. “Honestly, it’s a tough call—on one hand, you have opposition to the repeal from a majority of Republicans, virtually all Democrats, and the entire healthcare industry, while on the other, you have not one sound argument or credible opinion,” said Capito, admitting she was, even now, having difficulty balancing her desire to keep as many West Virginians insured as possible with there being no reason whatsoever to do otherwise. “This is an agonizing decision. Sure, there are sound justifications for voting no on ‘repeal and replace,’ but then there’s emptiness, literal emptiness, when you look for reasons to vote yes. All I know is, I have to get this right somehow.” At press time, Senator Capito had resigned herself to the fact that both sides had valid points and she would just have to go with her gut when the time came.


    New research suggests that chemicals in many household products, which enter the body via dust, can cause cells to store excess fat and lead to weight gain. What do you think?

    “I’m always open to having something new to blame on my housekeeper.”
    Kirsten Williams

    “It’s just not realistic for me to cut household dust out of my diet right now.”
    Trevor Cloyd

    “Why can’t trace amounts of toxins seeping into my body ever improve my health?”
    Jim Eakin


    As part of a plan to replace 25 percent of its officers with robots by 2030, Dubai has introduced a robotic policeman that can identify suspects and collect evidence. What do you think?

    “This is just going to lead to robot criminals getting even faster CPUs.”
    Anthony Lamarre

    “At least when a robotic police officer shoots me to death, it’ll be because of cold, hard logic instead of panic or racial bias.”
    Carl Smreker

    “The nice thing about a plan like this is that there’s absolutely no way anything could go wrong with it.”
    Denise Wilkes

    • The 50’s were a great time… as long as you weren’t a racial, ethnic, or religious minority… as long as you weren’t an immigrant, non-English speaking, woman, LGBT, poor, homeless, mentally ill, etc… and as long as you weren’t a victim of sexual abuse, bullying, police violence, or government oppression. Other than those few exceptions, it was practically a paradise on earth.

    • That said they definitely don’t meet western standards by any means and I don’t see them being built except as student housing maybe in the USA. Americans I don’t think would want to move to them, as even many studio apartments are bigger and in America these apartments would violate CPS standards if you are raising your kids in one.

    • I’ve lived in minimal conditions on many occasions in my life. I lived in my brother’s walk in closet at one point, as a temporary place for a few months. I lived in a one bedroom where I shared kitchen and bathroom, and I lived in another one bedroom where there was a kitchenette in that one room along with a shared bathroom.

      Right now, l have my own kitchen and bathroom but I still only have one main room that serves as my bedroom. I doubt my present apartment is larger than those described in that article. My main room has three doors on thee separate walls and two large windows on two walls, which makes arranging furniture difficult. It does have high ceilings that are nice, but it doesn’t add any usable space and increases heating costs.

      I like where I live now. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest to live in a small apartment. There is enough room for my furniture and some book shelves. It’s all crowded together and I sleep on a futon couch that pulls out into a bed, but it seems nice to me. If I lived with a family, I’d want a little more space such as bedrooms separate from the main room. Still, I’ve known families that have lived in fairly small apartments.

  27. “If we can abstract pathogenicity and hygiene from our notion of dirt, we are left with the old definition of dirt as matter out of place. This is a very suggestive approach. It implies two conditions: a set of of ordered relations and a contravention to that order. Dirt, then, is never a unique, isolated event. Where there is dirt there is system.”
    ~ Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger


    A senior official of the Centers for Disease Control has raised the alarm on the spread of a dangerous memory-sapping virus in Washington.

    “All the signs have been pointing in this direction, but I wanted to wait until the evidence was firm,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    First son-in-law Jared Kushner’s amnesia on disclosing more than 70 financial assets, in excess of $10 million, was the final confirmation he needed.

    “There is, without doubt, a rapidly spreading virus emanating from the White House,” the official said. “Its early symptom is an unaccountable loss of memory, followed by panic, incoherence and often belligerence.”

    President Donald Trump was an early victim, exhibiting signs well before his election. But within his close circle, others have been seriously affected.

    Pressed for examples, the official said they were “alarmingly numerous,” including widespread inability to recognize foreigners or remember conversations with them.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ failure to recall meetings with a key Russian official — or their content — was an obvious sign, as was former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s memory blank about accepting more than $500,000 for representing Turkish interests. But former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s lapse in reporting $17 million earned as a foreign agent for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine was also worrying.

    Some victims suffer long-term memory loss from the virus, including former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who remarked that Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons” on his own people. And Housing Secretary Ben Carson — who is black — exhibited severe symptoms when he described captive African slaves as “immigrants” who came to pursue the American dream and so “worked even longer, harder for less.”

    Energy Secretary Rick Perry was already infected when he accepted his job, the official concluded. “He forgot that he wanted to abolish the department. Then he forgot that it oversaw the security of US nuclear weapons.”

    “It’s a troubling feature of the virus that the victims don’t realize how sick they are,” the official added. “Unfortunately, many are beyond help.”

    He declined to discuss the effects of the virus on Trump, saying the details were “too mind-boggling for any single scientist.” But he warned, it would be best if Trump, his family and close associates, were removed from Washington and quarantined until they no longer posed a danger to the population.

    The president, now 71, should make “a public-spirited gesture” and bequeath his brain to science when he passes on, the official urged. However, “by that time we may find nothing there to see.”


    He aimed, in short, to save capitalism from democracy.

    In 1980, he was able to put the program into action. He was invited to Chile, where he helped the Pinochet dictatorship write a new constitution, which, partly through the clever devices Buchanan proposed, has proved impossible to reverse entirely. Amid the torture and killings, he advised the government to extend programs of privatization, austerity, monetary restraint, deregulation and the destruction of trade unions: a package that helped trigger economic collapse in 1982.

    None of this troubled the Swedish Academy, which through his devotee at Stockholm University Assar Lindbeck in 1986 awarded James Buchanan the Nobel memorial prize for economics. It is one of several decisions that have turned this prize toxic.

    But his power really began to be felt when Koch, currently the seventh richest man in the US, decided that Buchanan held the key to the transformation he sought. Koch saw even such ideologues as Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan as ‘sellouts’, as they sought to improve the efficiency of government rather than destroy it altogether. But Buchanan took it all the way.

    …The papers Nancy MacLean discovered show that Buchanan saw stealth as crucial. He told his collaborators that ‘conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential.’ Instead of revealing their ultimate destination, they would proceed by incremental steps. For example, in seeking to destroy the social security system, they would claim to be saving it, arguing that it would fail without a series of radical ‘reforms.’ (The same argument is used by those attacking the NHS). Gradually they would build a ‘counter-intelligentsia,’ allied to a ‘vast network of political power’ that would become the new establishment.

    Through the network of think tanks that Koch and other billionaires have sponsored, through their transformation of the Republican party, and the hundreds of millions they have poured into state congressional and judicial races, through the mass colonization of Trump’s administration by members of this network and lethally effective campaigns against everything from public health to action on climate change, it would be fair to say that Buchanan’s vision is maturing in the US.


    Sen. John McCain, in the middle of treatment by some of the country’s best health professionals, flew across the country to vote on a process that, if successful, will deny that same health care to millions of Americans. The Senate “motion to proceed” passed, with the help of a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence, even though neither McCain nor his 49 Republican colleagues who voted for the motion have any idea what is being proceeded to. McConnell cajoled his caucus into beginning a debate without revealing the text of all the bills that will be considered. Whatever the bills are — and there will be several — we can be sure they will not have passed through a single hearing, a single committee markup, and in most cases nobody yet knows what the Congressional Budget Office will say about them. That didn’t stop McCain from giving a long speech right after his vote about how the Senate must return to its procedural norms.

    The pure absurdity of this situation is largely by design. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs confusion to get an Obamacare repeal over the line: confusion about what’s being voted for, who is supporting what and what the legislation will do to people. (The House of Representatives is already moving to gut the CBO and replace it with a small agency that will simply aggregate the findings of DC think tanks, many of which are funded by deeply ideological conservative interests.) McConnell also needs to rely on procedural radicalism — this level of chicanery and deceit has never been seen before in the Senate.


    On the one hand, I can’t think of anything more American than responding to a mass shooting with a bill that suggests that everyone should remember to say “please” and “thank you.” But on the other, Ryan’s plea that we all just calm down—that we not “base our arguments on emotion” and instead “have a great debate on ideas and principles”—feels like a willful misunderstanding of the stakes that this administration has created. […]

    Politeness is a luxury, and it’s one that most Americans cannot afford. Polite people can raise their hand and wait quietly, confident that they will be called on and have their voices heard. But most of us never get called on. So what Paul Ryan is seeing—what is bubbling to the surface in the absence of politeness—is anger.

  32. I don’t know what to make of it all. But at the very least, it is quite interesting. The leaks and revelations just keep coming, almost on a regularly scheduled weekly basis. Every time a Trump-related figure denies something or someone dismisses the whole situation as a conspiracy, something yet worse comes out and the damning evidence continues to accumulate. It’s one secret and lie after another.

    Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller at WaPo report from a US intelligence source that former Russian ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, told Moscow that he had discussed campaign-related matters with Jeff Sessions twice in the summer of 2016. This revelation directly contradicts Sessions’ testimony before Congress. If the allegation is correct, Sessions is guilty of a crime, perjury, the same crime of which the Republicans in the House of Representatives impeached Bill Clinton. Only, like, Sessions may actually have committed, like, a crime.
    Me, I’m angry. I’m angry because the US intel community had this information in summer of 2016 and they’re only leaking it now. You mean they could have blown the whistle on the Trump gang over the Russian contacts and they didn’t bother? It is too late now. Getting rid of Sessions won’t change anything. Trump will just appoint another stealth white supremacist.

    Now, their bosses are Trump appointees and most of this stuff will be ordered suppressed.
    Second, let’s acknowledge the hypocrisy of all the condemnations of Ed Snowden over leaking the illegal activities of the National Security Agency, and the acceptance of this leak about Sessions. Nobody is threatening the WaPo journalists with jail for publishing the information on Sessions, and nor should they. But tell me how all this is different from the Snoweden affair in form (Snowden obviously released lots more information).

  33. It sounds like there might be a new show about an alternative history where the Confederacy won the Civil War:

    I don’t know anything about this proposed HBO show. But I would point to a comparative example, Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle”. It’s based on a Philip K. Dick Novel about an alternative history where we lost WWII, with the US being divided between the German Reich and Japanese Empire.

    It in no way romanticizes the Nazis, although PKD’s interest in it was partly his own German ancestry. PKD considered doing a sequel but was too depressed by studying the Nazis. The point is that both the novel and the show explore difficult issues through alternative history. It also helps us see authoritarianism in a new light, by bringing it into our own world of America.

    I’d also note that timing was a major issue for “The Man in the High Castle”. Many of those dark ideas from the early 20th century feel like they are gaining new life in the present sociopolitical environment. The populist and reactionary right-wing is organizing, in a way maybe not seen since those earlier dark days. That is all the more reason to imaginatively explore what the Nazis meant back then and still mean today.

    I’m not sure why anyone would assume the HBO show is going to be slavery fan fiction. That is unless those involved have at some point given voice to support for the Confederacy, slavery, white supremacy, etc. Otherwise, it’s a judgment based on a projection. So it seems to me.


    To the student body of Germany:

    History has taught you nothing if you think you can kill ideas. Tyrants have tried to do that often before, and the ideas have risen up in their might and destroyed them.

    You can burn my books and the books of the best minds in Europe, but the ideas in them have seeped through a million channels and will continue to quicken other minds. I gave all the royalties of my books for all time to the German soldiers blinded in the World War with no thought in my heart but love and compassion for the German people.

    I acknowledge the grievous complications that have led to your intolerance; all the more do I deplore the injustice and unwisdom of passing on to unborn generations the stigma of your deeds.

    Do not imagine that your barbarities to the Jews are unknown here. God sleepeth not, and He will visit His judgment upon you. Better were it for you to have a mill-stone hung around your neck and sink into the sea than to be hated and despised of all men.


    “Accepting that a crash is more or less inevitable is a big step, psychologically speaking. I call this toxic knowledge: one cannot “un-know” that the current world system hangs by a thread, and this understanding can lead to depression. In some ways, the systemic crisis we face is analogous to the individual existential crisis of life and death, which we each have to confront eventually. Some willfully ignore their own mortality for as long as possible; others grasp at a belief in the afterlife.”


    The Mind Over Reality theory explains the:

    singular emergence of an intelligent social species with an extended theory of mind
    uniqueness of humans
    success of humans
    belief in life after death and why humans are the only species with Gods and religions
    denial of human overshoot and other unpleasant realities (aka optimism bias)
    existence of similar or higher intelligence will be rare and fleeting in the universe


    SAN FRANCISCO—Threatening to undermine the social media company at the highest levels, a report released Wednesday found that bots now make up 22 percent of all Twitter executives. “While bots are by nature difficult to tally, the data suggests that about one in five members of Twitter’s upper management are computer algorithms programmed to respond with hot links and spam based on key terms spoken in meetings,” said lead author Craig Anders, explaining that Twitter’s lax oversight of bots since the site’s inception has left it with virtually no protocols for removing the fake senior executives. “There have also been several instances of the bots trolling fellow board of trustees members with anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks, as well as heckling CEO Jack Dorsey himself with the derogatory term ‘race cuck.’ Twitter would obviously like to crack down on these automated executives, but given their ability to be rapidly generated, not to mention the generous golden parachutes written into their contracts in case of termination, it’s hard to imagine anything being done for the foreseeable future.” According to sources, the bots are projected to hold a majority on Twitter’s board within the next three to five years.


    WASHINGTON—Saying the government was committed to helping military personnel reinforce their existing outward identity, Pentagon officials announced a plan Wednesday that would cover the cost of hormone treatment for servicemembers doubling down on their biological sex. “Effective immediately, the Defense Department will begin financing the hormone therapy of armed forces members who wish to recommit to the sex they were assigned at birth,” said Defense Secretary James Mattis, adding that it was only right to provide assistance to soldiers who made the difficult decision to intensify the characteristics of the body they currently possess with a protocol of testosterone injections. “U.S. military health plans will now fully compensate any serviceman who would feel more comfortable—indeed, feel truly themselves—if his body hair was twice as thick and his voice was twice as deep as it is currently.” Mattis went on to say that female soldiers, meanwhile, were ineligible for the plan but could occasionally take a dose of testosterone if they wanted.


    WASHINGTON—Citing today’s announcement that transgender individuals would be banned from serving in any capacity in the United States armed forces, numerous sources within the Trump administration expressed a deep sense of concern Wednesday that the president was burning through minority scapegoats at an unsustainable rate. “I was hoping we’d be able to keep the transgender community in our back pockets for at least another year, but we’re barely six months into the first term and the president goes and wastes that card on military overspending and unpreparedness—we just can’t keep up this kind of pace,” Chief of Staff Reince Priebus reportedly told top advisors in a closed-door meeting this morning, sharing his concern that President Trump had already used the nation’s Hispanics and Muslims as targets of blame for all of the country’s criminal problems and terrorist threats, respectively. “We’ve got to make it through three and a half more years, and there are only so many minorities we can pin the country’s issues on. At this rate, we’ll be holding gay parents responsible for our cultural decline by October and targeting Jews for economic stagnation by the end of this year. Who the hell are we going to hit after that when we get into another crisis? Christ, this is bad.” Priebus reportedly took some solace, however, upon being reminded that the nation’s black community was always available as a suitable fallback scapegoat for any conceivable social or political ill whenever the Trump administration needed one.


    WASHINGTON—Saying their benefactor sways their positions on everything from healthcare to the environment to economic policy, a new report released Thursday by the Center for Transparent Government found that the Koch brothers are increasingly falling under the influence of a mysterious, high-powered trillionare. “We uncovered evidence suggesting that Charles and David Koch have become nothing but mouthpieces for an unknown multi-trillionaire donor who orchestrates every one of their political activities,” said co-author Leah Romero, adding that it was impossible to imagine the Kochs maintaining any independence whatsoever while regularly receiving massive contributions from a patron whose wealth is rumored to rival the GDP of France. “It’s pure corruption. And it’s happening all across the political spectrum—we found that every one of George Soros’ moves is dictated almost to the letter by the beliefs of his own quintillionaire donor.” Romero went on to say that the report underscored the need for greater transparency and financing reforms, without which a few trillionaires will continue to drown out the true will of the nation’s billionaires.


    WASHINGTON—Needing a pick-me-up to shake his glum mood, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly scrolled through some statistics about minority incarceration rates Thursday to cheer himself up. “African-Americans: 13 percent of overall population, 40 percent of population in jails or state or federal prisons,” said Sessions, the tension slowly draining from his neck and shoulders as he read that about 75 percent of drug offenders in federal prison were either Hispanic or black. “African-Americans are approximately five times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. Hispanics are twice as likely to be incarcerated as whites—only twice? We can do better than that, but I’m not going to get all stressed out again.” At press time, Sessions was reportedly feeling so refreshed, he decided to save the statistics on police shootings of minorities for another time.


    Concerns over fraudulent voting have grown since the 2016 election, with President Trump himself claiming that millions of people voted illegally. The Onion debunks some common myths about voter fraud.

    MYTH: There are thousands of documented cases of people voting under fake names
    FACT: There are thousands of documented cases of people voting under Hispanic names

    MYTH: On Election Day, people are bussed in from different states in order to vote multiple times
    FACT: No bus has ever achieved speeds high enough to accomplish this

    MYTH: It’s easy to vote using a deceased person’s name
    FACT: While it’s actually quite difficult, voting under the name of a deceased person can be a touching and poignant tribute to a loved one who has passed

    MYTH: Fraudulent votes are delegitimizing our elections
    FACT: Fraudulent candidates are delegitimizing our elections

    MYTH: After voting, many people get back in line wearing a big cowboy hat and handlebar mustache
    FACT: Three children covered by a long overcoat pretending to be an adult is a much more common technique

    MYTH: Voter ID laws reinforce a racist system
    FACT: Most things reinforce a racist system

    MYTH: Widespread voter fraud is one of the most pressing issues facing the United States
    FACT: Widespread belief in voter fraud is one of the most pressing issues facing the United States

    MYTH: Thousands of dead people voted in last year’s election
    FACT: We are all much closer to death after last year’s election


    In an interview with The New Yorker earlier today, White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci leveled harsh criticism against the FBI and members of the Trump administration. The Onion fact-checks Scaramucci’s claims.

    “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock.”
    TRUE: Scaramucci understands that true inner peace comes from accepting one’s flaws and only very rarely sucking oneself off.

    “I’ve done nothing wrong on my financial disclosures, so they’re going to have to go fuck themselves.”
    TRUE: Scaramucci’s financial records appear accurate, so under U.S. federal statutes his detractors are required by law to go fuck themselves no later than 10 business days from the date of filing.

    “What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers and I want to get the president’s agenda on track.”
    PARTIALLY TRUE: He omitted that he also wants to fuck the leakers’ bitches in front of their kids and then carve a nice 6-inch souvenir on their face for their trouble.

    “They’re trying to resist me, but it’s not going to work.”
    TRUE: The Mooch is hot, baby! Sizzling! Nobody can stop this kid!

    “Yeah, let me go, though, because I’ve gotta start tweeting some shit to make [Reince Priebus] crazy.”
    FALSE: Priebus was driven far beyond the point of mental insanity by members of this administration many months ago.

    “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac. ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’”
    TRUE: If you or someone you love is currently abusing cocaine please call this toll-free addiction hotline: 1-888-988-7934.

    “Okay, the Mooch showed up a week ago.”
    FALSE: The Mooch has been slowly developing in Scaramucci’s troubled subconscious since his tender childhood.

    “Get this through your head, you Jew motherfucker, you. You only exist out here because of me. That’s the only reason.”
    FALSE: Sorry, this is Joe Pesci in Casino. We got confused.

    “I’m going to fire every one of them…the entire place will be fired over the next two weeks.”
    OH, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE BE TRUE: Seriously, please.

    “This is a major catastrophe for the American country.”
    TRUE: This is the most accurate statement yet made by an administration official.


    While most customers have hailed the convenience and speed of Amazon’s ordering psychics, some shoppers—wary of the intrusiveness of preconscious buying—have expressed skepticism.

    “I just don’t know if I like these big corporations having my personal data before I even have it,” Chicago resident Willard Moser said. “It’s definitely creepy, and I’m sure there’s a million ways this could be abused.”

    “Then again,” added Moser. “This new food processor they sent me is amazing.”

  45. The thing about getting quality produce at farmers markets in USA though is that they tend to be more expensive.

    It kind of blows my mind that in developing countries, farmers market like places where stands are outside are high quality and cheap. The produce is arguably even more natural than stuff you find at “natural” stores in the USA

    • This is because big ag in the US has been heavily subsidized by state and local governments. There isn’t a function free and fair market of agricultural goods. This forces small local farmers to compete on a playing field tilted toward big ag. This subsidization of big ag wasn’t accidental and it goes back to the New Deal, having originated in California (along with televangelical mega-churches and Nixon’s Southern Strategy).

    • That makes me feel uneasy. When I can no longer trust the info I’m able to access or rather trust that I’m getting access to the info I need, that is a seriously troubling situation. Full authoritarianism could so easily take hold when there is no longer a functioning media system for citizens to communicate and connect.

    • That kind of thing happens all the time. Suicide rates, like homicide rates, increase along with rates of poverty, debt, and inequality. Most people don’t leave suicide notes behind explaining their reasons, assuming they even know their reasons beyond feeling overwhelmed by life. A lady here in town drowned herself in the river, after leaving a medical appointment and supposedly she was facing financial costs she couldn’t afford. These are among the many victims of the American healthcare failure.

  46. “Fake news” was always going to end up concentrating media power into fewer hands – intentionally or unintentionally. There will always be a tension between using vetted sources and living in a bubble. Use alternate search engines to keep from being trapped in a bubble. Duckduckgo for example. Use your own mind to vet your own sources.
    permalinkembedsavereportgive goldreply
    [–]realzacct [score hidden] an hour ago*
    The attack on “fake news” wasn’t just a war against lies or disinformation. Because even the MSM lies and perpetuates disinformation.
    It was always to ensure that the Jeb Bush to HIllary Clinton range of “acceptable opinion” remained dominant.
    And I understand that there is value in common culture and shared realities, there absolutely is. In this post-modernist, existentialist reality with a balkanized culture and an ever increasingly fractured but polarized political landscape.. I feel we as a people are just fucking lost in some ways. But those days of a mono-culture (politically or otherwise) are in the past. There’s no putting the toothpaste back in that tube.
    How do you determine that it’s ok when CNN or the NYTimes lies, but not ok when Fox does? Or it’s ok when Breitbart does, but not when Alternet does? Any attempt to curb that will be biased and will be exploited for an ideological power grab over the public’s consciousness. Instead of a war against lies, it turns into a war against ideas, very quickly.

    • It’s interesting to watch how different societies go about accomplishing media control, censorship, propaganda, and public perception management. The elite in the US are doing it differently than it China, but it’s all heading in the same corporatist direction. The main difference is that the US government is controlled by corporations while the Chinese government controls corporations, but that is more of a difference of where the power is located and not so much a difference in the power being wielded. Still, the location of power does alter how it is used.

  47. You’ve talked about anti-intellectualism in america, but even elite american universities engage in that BS.

    • American society has never valued intellectuality on its own terms. Intellectuality is only valued to the degree it serves some other purpose. This is even true for the upper classes where education is simply a way of establishing one’s position within the plutocracy and technocracy. An Ivy League degree is simply a symbol of privilege. What an elite learns in an elite college is largely irrelevant. Even within academia, intellectuality is largely a game of success. Original and radical thought isn’t exactly encouraged.

  48. I used to think I’m anti-intellecutal but maybe I just resent the striving elite school culture. Who knows.

  49. I was talking to a friend at Ivy League who talked about a similar gaslighting effect where these places present themselves as these progressive social justice places but are entrenched in privilege, social hierarchy, where “good old boys” old money rich white guys are on top, so that when you inevitably notice the shit, you instead learn to blame yourself for being low-status and put in boxes since the place is progressive right??

    • I’m not a disadvantaged and impoverished minority. Yet the bullshit I was taught about American ideology really fucked with my mind growing up. Everything about this society told me that anything wrong with my life was my own fault. Even the progressive church I was raised in taught me this. I didn’t need to an Ivy League to experience this. It’s integral to the entire society.

  50. “This problem began with the birth of psychoanalysis, with Freud’s deliberate denial of the fact that many of his patients had been sexually abused. Freud’s Oedipal theory accused people who had been sexually abused as children of fantasizing, and encouraged them to feel responsible for their abuse. But in the actual story of Oedipus, his fate (killing his father, sleeping with his mother, & his ensuing lifelong homelessness & suffering) was determined by the fact that his father, motivated by vanity & selfishness, had tried to kill him as a child.”

  51. “To some degree whaat you are coming to terms with as a therapist is that people are not people with individual problems but often mental health difficulties are related to the systems in which people function, their ability to adapt to the system, whether the system itself is abusive, and what can be done on an individual and systemic basis to help relieve the suffering. Mistakenly much of our mental health industry is focused on individuals. And, while the individual who seeks help is certainly the most important part of the equation to a therapist, they are not the entire equation. Welcome to systems theory!”

  52. Is ‘mental health’ a completely internal construct (how we respond), or a social/economic/political (external) construct (what we respond to)? Or is it both? I would guess that in many cases, it’s both.
    Now let’s take that a step further.
    How much control do we have/could we have over the internal AND the external?
    I think our current learned cultural understanding is that we only have the power to change ourselves, and that we ‘can’t fight city hall.’ But is that really true?
    A well-written, thought-provoking column.

    • A major contributing factor to mental illness is such things as toxicity. It just so happens that those in power making the decisions mostly locate toxic dumps in communities that are mostly poor and/or minority, the very people who have the least amount of power to fight back. What is a therapist going to do about a toxic dump poisoning entire communities?

  53. Some mental health ‘experts’ would do well to consider the profoundly positive effects on clients who successfully take on, and win, efforts to change harmful, dehumanizing, often oppressive circumstances in their lives. Second wave feminism decades ago identified depression in women as anger turned inward (clearly this tenet needs, & has seen, many qualifiers); and the Radical Therapy movement astutely identified ways psychiatric professionals were undeniably- usually unintentionally- agents of social control (see Woman on the Edge of Time, Marge Piercy). Brouilette is spot on, and I would add, as many trauma specialists know, that therapist neutrality has very personal, as well as systemic implications, & that failing to explicitly support mistreated, victimized clients can replicate harmful early experiences.This dynamic is inevitable at times, but should not be practiced gratuitously. Life is difficult enough.

    • In the end, mental health inevitably plays the role of social control. It can’t be any other way. If there was a therapist encouraging her patients to seriously challenge the social order to an extent that they posed a real threat, that therapist likely would have her license revoked. It must not be forgotten that those who give out the licenses that allow therapists to work are part of the social order that maintains itself through such authority figures as therapists. Ultimately, a therapist is more likely to help her patients by quitting her job as a therapist and starting a revolution.

  54. The idea that psychotherapy, psychiatry, the mental health professions in general, are arms of the state, tools of social control, is not new, although it is welcome to see the proposition so openly acknowledged by a practitioner. I wish that it would not have taken so long, and would not have required that the injustices of society become so acute that not to acknowledge them would threaten the continuing credibility of the mental health professions. The denial of the external world (talk about denial) as a crucial factor that contributes to mental health, or the lack of it, and the refusal of the mental health professions (except perhaps social workers) to recognize in practice that mental health is as much, if not more, a product of moral and social conditions as medical ones, were the main reasons I quit psychotherapy. I saw that I could only benefit from it so much, that is, not enough to make it worth while. But this denial is a tradition that dates back to Freud, who established it, and did not touch upon the possibility that there was any connection between the internal world and larger external political and social worlds, except perhaps at the end of his life, in Civilization and its Discontents, where he characteristically mentioned it briefly (in relation to socialism and communism) and then cruised right by. More of the type of thinking that this article presents, instead of obsessively focusing on the brain, might get us somewhere.

    • It’s part of a larger paradigm shift. Many fields are embracing a larger context of environment, culture, embodiment, intersectionality, etc. This is seen in how epigenetics has gained greater interest within the biological sciences. And it is seen in how social science research has validated linguistic relativity that was dismissed earlier last century.

      This past decade has seen hundreds of books challenging the paradigm that has dominated for several generations. Many don’t realize how immense this paradigm change. In many ways, it’s even older than just recent history, as the roots of it go back to early modernity with the rise of individualism. This is shacking the foundation of modern civilization, specifically that of WEIRD societies.

  55. In 1997, I earned a Ph.D. in history from Iowa State University. In my first job posting – at Texas Tech – I made a whopping $2,000 for a 3 credit, one semester course. In a later job – at the University of Northern Colorado – I calculated that I made $10.00 per hour for a 3 credit, one semester course, while the university earned $65,000 from the 65 students in the class. Injustice within academia is rampant, but because the academy is run by self-proclaimed “progressives” the exploitation is rarely brought to public attention. Most adjuncts and assistant profs I knew were suffering from either anxiety, depression, or drug and alcohol addiction. My hunch, and it’s a hunch because I don’t have the statistics, is that tens of thousands of grad students, adjuncts, and asst. profs have been traumatized by the corporate university system. I got out of academia, but the experienced damaged me – it was a real nightmare.

    • Anything that is directly related to the public good should never be run like a for-profit corporation, especially not like a corporatist big biz.

      Such things as healthcare, emergency services, infrastructure, etc fall into this category of clear public good. But I’d argue that education at all levels, along with professional training, is one of the most important areas of public good.

      Two masters can’t be served. We have to treat these as either public or private. It’s a severely bad idea making them hybrids with public facades with minimal public funding that hides concentrated wealth and power benefiting private interests.

  56. These are essentially the tenets of the Femenist Theory, the person is political. It’s more about empowerment and the idea that all issues are not internal. Yes you need to address how the person is affected by the outside issues but it takes into account there are situations you did not set up, that you can’t change but affect your psychological health. This theory has been around for awhile only its hidden from most therapist because the word “feminist” is in the title. :-). The theory works for gender discrimination, disability, race and even a bad economy. It isn’t blaming anyone/thing. It’s just acknowledging there are unfair factors of life outside of your control. Teaching people how to navigate those issues should not be outside of the scope of counseling.

    I would agree completely, almost. I have for many years found this to be a flaw in therapy. I have a tendency toward depression which is definitely exacerbated by what’s going on in the political world. But I would disagree that the therapist does her job simply by helping the patient acknowledge that “there are unfair factors of life outside of your control.” Sometimes there is little one can do, but how about empowering the patient to participate in activities which might, just might, change the conditions that she finds depressing? Sure, it helps to relieve the patient of self-blame. But working to change the world can be exhilarating.

    • The data shows a strong correlation between poverty, inequality, party in power, etc and rates of social problems such as homicide and suicide.

      Some psychologists have researched this (e.g., James Gilligan), but it puts therapists into an uncomfortable position. If a therapist admits to this, they are forced into a moral position of having to challenge the entire social order in order to help their patients.

      It isn’t enough to just acknowledge it or tell their patients to do something about it, as the therapist is an authority figure within that very social order. By doing nothing, the therapist justifies the status quo and helps to scapegoat their own patients.

    • Most of human relationships don’t involve hate, conflict, violence, etc. It’s just that negative incidents get almost all of the corporate media reporting and they easily go viral on social media. A million acts of basic human kindness, consideration, and caring are simply background noise. But a single act of the cruelty, harm, or indifference can become the obsessive focus of an entire news cycle.

  57. One of the reasons I’m skeptical about CBT is because the aim is to identify your unreasonable negative thinking and reason you out of mental health problems such as agoraphobia (eg if nothing bad happens to you x% of the time you’re outside, it’s irrational to think bad things will always happen when you leave the house etc). This approach ignores the fact that some people are disproportionately subject to hostility and exclusion (not to mention aggression and harassment) enough of the time to discourage them from going out, which make the fear less of an irrational phobia and more of a reasonable reaction to an actual problem. After all, how long can we reason away the disproportionate incidence of mental health problems in women and people of colour?

    • Also, how long can we reason away the disproportionate incidence of mental health problems in the entire populations of WEIRD societies? We know we are dealing with a serious problem when even the wealthiest, most powerful and privileged people of a society have higher rates of mental illness than seen in societies that are some combination of non-Western, non-industrialized, etc. For example, why is depression seemingly unknown to the Piraha and suicide unimaginable?

  58. Thank you for this cogent, important essay. I will insist that every therapist I know reads it.

    I’ve been in therapy for depression for 35 years. In that time I’ve watched our society grow sicker than I ever was, and that is a political statement.

    My first job (corporate mailroom type) provided comprehensive health insurance I can’t even dream of today, and we were reasonably sure we could go home within an hour or two after “closing time.” We also didn’t live in constant fear of losing our jobs; we even complained on occasions when we were treated unreasonably. And it wasn’t so long ago that a professional could still get hired (or promoted!) in his/her forties.

    I’m grateful to the therapists who acknowledge these changes in American life and how psychologically unhealthy they are. It’s really hard to keep one’s self together when our corporatized culture is so obviously deranged (but please don’t tell the NYT; the news would be just too shattering.)

    • Hello fellow traveler. I could not agree with you more! Many good therapists have been taught to help the clients become more resilient, less reactive, less upset – to help them feel better. But what if in today’s world that is not enough? Like you, I agree that therapists can be of tremendous help when we locate distress and emotional pain where they are, namely, in the world! We can make use of the understanding that we humans are both determined by this culture and its creators. I believe that the methodology of helping people grow and develop beyond themselves entails relating to our patients as having the capacity to create a new and better world. It means empowering them to utilize their human creativity to create new emotions and new ways of doing their relationships, including with their therapists!
      At a moment when the world is spinning out of control, history raises new challenges for what psychotherapy needs to be. Let’s empower! (and let’s talk, Richard).

    • That is why I gave up on therapy. I never met a therapist who could simply tell me that the society we live in is fucked up, that depression was a normal response to a depressing social order. When rates of mental illness keep increasing in a society, any morally honest and compassionate person is forced to admit that it isn’t about the individual alone. But how does a therapist treat a sick society? Most therapists, like most others, are afraid to face this dark reality.

  59. Agree with this author that looking inward for solutions to external problems can lead to the quiet perpetuation of social and political injustice, and blaming the victim rather than advocating for change.

    The mental health industry profits from this, and reinforces it as soon as we label our fellow human being in this circumstance a “patient.” This is not unlike the tactic used by some religions when they label their people “sinners.” Find people when they are vulnerable, make them feel like there is something wrong with them that only you can fix, then take control and manipulate them as you wish — get them to follow you, devote themselves to you, pay money for over-priced services with little to no valid evidence behind them, etc.

    • Whenever a cost is externalized, the consequences of it are internalized elsewhere. We have a system that allows big biz to shift the costs onto the public, the wealthy to shift the costs onto the poor, Westerners to shift to the costs onto the rest of the world.

      The scapegoats are simultaneously entire populations and the individuals therein. And that is the only explanation offered to why the oppressed suffer the most in an oppressive social order.

      The reason that the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, etc suffer more mental and health problems, more social and criminal problems is because they are inferior. How do we know they are inferior? That’s simple, because they have higher rates of these problems.

      The rich and powerful are individuals in terms of their success. But they are a collective in terms of their superior culture, upbringing, moral values, and population genetics. Everything that is good about society is because of them, as they are the meritocracy.

      Only those in the lower classes are ever “patients” and “sinners”. Those at the top are simply humans, that is to say subjects worthy of respect and care. The system doesn’t need to be changed for the privileged who control and benefit from the system tell us that the system is perfect or else the best of all possible worlds. Only the problematic people need to be changed, either that or eliminated.

      The beauty of it is that so many of the losers in society come to believe the propaganda. They submissively accept their role as losers, because everything about the system tells them that they are losers and proves that they are losers. It must be true for what else is there. This is capitalist realism, the dominant theology of plutocracy.

      • My more inner peace might actually be due to status diffrentials. Whatever prejudices and BS’s exist all over, I feel like perhaps, I am around and interacting with people in a way in which, well, I’m not inherently the low status person to me mocked, with that lower status being a systemic and institutionalized thing that is subtle and gradually wares you down. This is be despite being middle class, there’s just this sense of despair for me dealing with well-off ivy-league suburban type white american, that dosent’ exist as much with others.

        I dunno anymore. ALl my life, I felt like I was to be aiming for the gentrified, American yuppie type, suburban, white, whatever lifestyle, aiming for the Upper East Side, West Hollywood, Williamsburg, Whole Foods, Cambridge, MA (where Harvard and MIT are) those type of places, that it’s kind of throwing me for a loop that I feel more genuine contentment elsewhere, instead. That I might be happier moving to the ghetto-reputation Oakland, CA rather than the yuppie Marina neighborhood of San Francisco.

        • Like, I think I want to live in the village, tribeca, “trendy” areas of NYC, and yet I feel genuinely happier in Jamaica, Flushing, other working class “ethnic” areas, whereas when I lived in a dorm in the trendy East Village and going to class downtown in the “best” part of NYC, that was the closest I ever got to being suicidal?

        • It’s not just you. I’m fond of pointing out that the data shows that even the rich are worse off in high inequality societies.

          That is simply because social problems are more pervasive and there is nowhere to fully escape them. It becomes an atmosphere of tension, anxiety, fear, stress, etc. It’s a constant low level trauma, a repeated picking at a wound so that it never heals.

          As inequality grows, I bet it’s the middle class that feels it the most directly because it is the middle that is being pulled apart at the seams. The middle class is what holds a healthy society together, as Aristotle pointed out millennia ago.

          In a low inequality society, the middle class is a the symbol of stability and an expression of collective wellbeing. But in a high inequality society, the middle class is a point of stress and a battleground of competing forces.

      • Sometimes I think growing up surrounded by the passive-aggressive, indirectly shitty elite-school-striving affluent white culture has given me a weird mild PTSD, hence I’ve been ranting for years but it seems like the “wound” and “resentment” is always there, just gets less consuming over time, the more I rant and speak out. I think it’s especially the indirectness of the shittiness that threw me for a loop.

        Most of all I think it’s more an internal anger my myself for not picking up on the BS earlier, for not seeing it for what it was earlier. I’m beating myself up, basically

        These types, basically:


    Maybe it’s just this ability to both see and not see that is at the heart of our American system of grotesquerie, our inability to accept the truth of how much havoc, horror, ugliness we’ve perpetrated upon the world at large that haunts us into our nightmares and is even now bringing about the very thing we’ve all feared most: the grotesque installation of the horror we’ve all feared and dreaded in the collapse of our nation into the Abyss.

    One will always discover certain stock features provide the principal embodiments and evocations of cultural anxieties. Tortuous, fragmented narratives relating mysterious incidents, horrible images and life-threatening pursuits predominate in the eighteenth century. Spectres, monsters, demons, corpses, skeletons, evil aristocrats, monks and nuns, fainting heroines and bandits populate Gothic landscapes as suggestive figures of imagined and realistic threats. This list grew, in the nineteenth century, with the addition of scientists, fathers, husbands, madmen, criminals and the monstrous double signifying duplicity and evil nature. Gothic landscapes are desolate, alienating and full of menace. Decaying, bleak and full of hidden passageways, the castle was linked to other medieval edifices—abbeys, churches and graveyards especially— that, in their generally ruinous states, harked back to a feudal past associated with barbarity, superstition and fear.6

    As Leslie A. Fiedler once said in his classic Love and Death in the American Novel, only the exponent of fantasy and melodrama is equal to life at its moments of catastrophe, and this even the exponents of realism dimly perceive. For better or worse, then, Charles Brockden Brown established in the American novel a tradition of dealing with the exaggerated and the grotesque, which impose themselves on us, not as they are verifiable in any external landscape or sociological observation of manners and men, but as they correspond in quality to our deepest fears and guilts as projected in our dreams or lived through in “extreme situations.” Realistic milieu and consistent character alike are dissolved in such projective fictions, giving way to the symbolic landscape and the symbolic action, which are the hallmarks of the mythopoeic novel. Simply to acknowledge the existence and importance of such a tradition is embarrassing to some readers; for it means, on the one hand, a questioning of the sufficiency of realism, which justifies art by correlating it with science; and on the other, it suggests a disturbing relationship between our highest art and such lowbrow forms of horror pornography as the detective story, the pulp thriller, and the Superman comic book, all of which are also heirs of the gothic.7

    Yet, unlike its parent genre, Southern gothic uses the Gothic tools not solely for the sake of suspense, but to explore social issues and reveal the cultural character of the American South – Gothic elements often taking place in a magic realist context rather than a strictly fantastical one.

    Warped rural communities replaced the sinister plantations of an earlier age; and in the works of leading figures such as William Faulkner, Carson McCullers and Flannery O’Connor, the representation of the South blossomed into an absurdist critique of modernity as a whole.

    There are many characteristics in Southern Gothic Literature that relate back to its parent genre of American Gothic and even to European Gothic. However, the setting of these works are distinctly Southern. Some of these characteristics are exploring madness, decay and despair, continuing pressures of the past upon the present, particularly with the lost ideals of a dispossessed Southern aristocracy and continued racial hostilities.

    Southern Gothic particularly focuses on the South’s history of slavery, a “fixation with the grotesque, and a tension between realistic and supernatural elements”.

    Similar to the elements of the Gothic castle, Southern Gothic gives us the decay of the plantation in the post-Civil War South.

    Villains who disguise themselves as innocents or victims are often found in Southern Gothic Literature, especially stories by Flannery O’Connor, such as Good Country People and The Life You Save May Be Your Own, giving us a blurred line between victim and villain.

    Southern Gothic literature set out to expose the myth of old antebellum South, and its narrative of an idyllic past hidden by social, familial, and racial denials and suppressions

    So if you want to know America now, take the low road into those “lowbrow forms of horror pornography as the detective story, the pulp thriller, and the Superman comic book” along with noir, crime, Southern gothic and gothic horror tales, else be led into the sublime fantasies of our vanity media pundits and the liberal press that would whitewash the dark spheres of the American psyche and purify us of the grotesque and ugly truth. Maybe it’s time for America to own up to its dark history, the inherited guilt and shame at the death, ugliness, and grotesque pain and suffering we’ve perpetrated upon all those we deemed unhuman. For if the truth be told we are ourselves the unhuman writ large upon the stage of history and time like rabid beasts who have sewn discord and mayhem across the world. And like any inherited guilt the haunting time is here again… as is the judgements of the dead upon the living unto the “seventh” generation.


    After treatment for a woman suffering from leukemia proved ineffective, a team of Japanese doctors turned to IBM’s Watson for help, which was able to successfully determine that she actually suffered from a different, rare form of leukemia than the doctors had originally believed.

    Watson managed to make its diagnosis after doctors from the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science was fed it the patient’s genetic data, which was then compared to information from 20 million oncological studies.

    This analysis found a different diagnosis for the type of leukemia from which the patient suffered, and it suggested a different form of treatment, which proved far more effective than the original methods doctors had been using up to that point.


    While speaking at a community college in Long Island about the administration’s efforts to take on immigrant gangs, Trump joked that officers should be rougher with suspects and suggested letting them hit their heads on police cars.

    “When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, and I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice,’” Trump said.

    “Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody,” he added. “Don’t hit their head, I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’”

    His comments elicited cheers from the audience of officers.

    • It does make one wonder. Certain countries are regularly seen higher up in the rankings of numerous measures of social problems. I’m sure inequality is a major contributing factor. But there has to be more going on than just that.

  63. My grandmother, after being born in Texas, moved to Oklahoma as a young child. She was in Oklahoma by the time of the 1920 census, but the last record of her in Texas was in 1914. She was somewhere between the age of 2 and 6 years old when she arrived in Oklahoma and her family stayed there for a decade or so, until 1929.

    The Tulsa race riot happened in 1921. It was only a short distance from where she lived. It had to have been on the local news, although she might have been too young to understand what was happening in that nearby city. She never talked about. Then again, she never talked about spending her teenage years in a major center of the Second Klan or raising her children in a sundown town.

    (Also, as an interesting side note, the last battles of the Indian wars were fought in that part of the country. The very last battle happened in 1924. That means my grandmother spent the first 12 years of her life with Native Americans still fighting for their freedom in nearby states.)

    Still, Oklahoma wasn’t only known for that dark history of racial oppression and violence. It also supposedly was the the state where agrarian socialism was most popular. As often is the case, reactionary and radical politics are found in nearby proximity, sometimes overlapping. It’s strange to think of the world my grandmother grew up in, but it all became suppressed history in a short period of time. It was easy to suppress this history because apparently those like my grandmother didn’t want to talk about it.

    “Why was Oklahoma, of all places, more hospitable to socialism than any other state in America? In this provocative book, Jim Bissett chronicles the rise and fall of the Socialist Party of Oklahoma during the first two decades of the twentieth century, when socialism in the United States enjoyed its golden age.

    “To explain socialism’s popularity in Oklahoma, Bissett looks back to the state’s strong tradition of agrarian reform. Drawing most of its support from working farmers, the Socialist Party of Oklahoma was rooted in such well-established organizations as the Farmers Alliance and the Indiahoma Farmers’ Union. And to broaden its appeal, the Party borrowed from the ideology both of the American Revolution and of Christianity. By making Marxism speak in American terms, the author argues, Party activists counteracted the prevailing notion that socialism was illegitimate or un-American.”

    • Why are “the ten most unsafe metro areas in which to walk” all located in the South that is warm enough to make walking possible the entire year? I live in a walkable city here in the Midwest. I remember walking to school, even in deep snow. A good portion of the year is far from pleasant in Iowa, either too cold or too humid, but it doesn’t stop people from walking here year round.

      Unsurprisingly, the most unwalkable place I’ve ever lived in was located in the South. It never snowed there and was decent weather much of the time (not particularly more humid than Iowa, as cornfields put off immense amounts of moisture into the air). I spent much of my time outside when I lived there, but walking was more difficult for simple reasons such as many streets didn’t even have sidewalks. Only poor people walked in South Carolina. Well, poor people and displaced Yankees.

      It’s not just a difference between the US and other countries. Even within the US, there are vast differences of walkability, specifically in comparing regions.

    • That is odd. I can’t think of too many examples of that here in this town. At the moment, only one sidewalk comes to mind, but it stops for a good reason as it runs into what appears to be someone’s backyard. There are other sidewalks that end because of ongoing construction, a temporary situation and so understandable.

      There are sidewalks all over the place in this town and they all connect together. There are few places you can’t get to around here by way of sidewalk. On my last long vacation, I spent an entire day walking all over town on sidewalks that went along streets, connecting streets, between houses, behind houses, along waterways, through parks, etc.

    • This following part grabbed my attention because it is so bizarre. What the fuck does this ‘confidence’ mean? Is it simply an indication that these average Russians don’t see Trump as a threat to their country? Is their confidence an expression of their perception of Trump as weak and ineffective? Otherwise, it makes absolutely no rational sense. The majority of no population on the planet earth could watch videos of Trump or read his Tweets and feel confident that he was going to do the right thing according to the American people and in terms of global concerns.

      “Still, Mr. Trump remains uncommonly popular among ordinary Russians. A June poll by Pew Global Research found that only Russians and Israelis – among 37 countries where research was conducted – had “confidence in the U.S. President to do the right thing regarding world affairs.” Although Israelis had the highest level of confidence in Mr. Trump, at 56 per cent, that was only seven points higher than the share of Israelis who trusted Barack Obama when he was in office. The swing in Russia was far more pronounced, with 53 per cent of respondents expressing confidence in Mr. Trump, versus just 11 per cent who answered the same way when they had been asked about Mr. Obama.”

    • That isn’t something that came to my mind. But maybe I can sense the connection. The Beatniks were expressing a sense of rootlessness and unease about American society. There was a perception that something was wrong or false, a rot at the core of it all. There were many reasons for this, such as obvious socio-cultural changes, but it was also a time of Cold War oppressiveness. We are maybe at a similar point in this era of the War on Terror which might end up lasting as long as the Cold War.

  64. To be honest, speaking of different BS’s in the world, I’m now really confused. Because honestly, leaving the USA and even the developed world has been the best thing for my mental health so far. And a trip that isn’t that materialistic (I didn’t buy much, there wasn’t much fancy shopping, etc etc) and in a developing country in an alien culture, I don’t know why but it literally did wonders for me.

    There are many problems, like corruption, low quality healthcare, etc, but it seems in other ways, I was happier to be away from American type BS.

    When I was driving to JFK airport, I stopped in what looked like a working class Brazilian/Latino town to fill up on gas, and walking around town, despite the poverty, it blew my mind when I was realizing I felt a sense of content and peace mentally that I never felt in my middle to upper middle class white town, nor did I feel in a middle-upper middle class LA suburb, etc. Same when I stopped in Jamaica, NY for a bit. Of course, I liked the walkability and density, but I can’t exaplin what it was that made me feel good versus the suburban middle-upper middle class white towns I’m used to

    • You can find communities like that all over the country. You just have to get out of the gentrifying big cities and middle class suburbs. The smaller decent communities are becoming less common, but they do still exist in significant numbers. There are many communities like that around here, including some with sizable minority populations. A friend of mine lives in a quiet small town with a Hispanic population and it’s a really nice place.

  65. My more inner peace might actually be due to status diffrentials. Whatever prejudices and BS’s exist all over, I feel like perhaps, I am around and interacting with people in a way in which, well, I’m not inherently the low status person to me mocked, with that lower status being a systemic and institutionalized thing that is subtle and gradually wares you down. This is be despite being middle class, there’s just this sense of despair for me dealing with well-off ivy-league suburban type white american, that dosent’ exist as much with others.

    I dunno anymore. ALl my life, I felt like I was to be aiming for the gentrified, American yuppie type, suburban, white, whatever lifestyle, aiming for the Upper East Side, West Hollywood, Williamsburg, Whole Foods, Cambridge, MA (where Harvard and MIT are) those type of places, that it’s kind of throwing me for a loop that I feel more genuine contentment elsewhere, instead. That I might be happier moving to the ghetto-reputation Oakland, CA rather than the yuppie Marina neighborhood of San Francisco.

  66. I don’t want to disrespect Black Americans and their history by saying what I am about to say, as me specializing in US literature and culture is mostly due to African American accomplishments, but I believe Obama won because he was black enough for black ppl (he wouldn’t have been without marrying Michelle Obama), but also ‘white’ enough for many whites. He sprang from a white woman’s uterus, was raised mostly by his white grandparents, and acted culturally ‘white’. And of course there is the fact that, one drop rule aside, he is genetically as white as he is black. He does look different from a pure black African and he wouldn’t pass as ‘black’ in Latin America and pretty much outside the Anglosphere. He of course would be seen as part black, but not as black. It is not a coincidence to me that the first US ‘black’ president did not spring from the true soul of black America, a black woman (and what did he do to gain legitimacy to black people? Marry a true black woman). Black women, not black men, are those who are hurt the most by the one drop rule as all the Halles and Beyoncès and Alicias are propped up as the best examples of ‘black’ femininity while they are part white (and it shows, if it didn’t- they wouldn’t have rosen to the same fame). If lately there is one agent who is trying to sliver some white into th

    • I sometimes come across the claim that blacks can’t be racist because they have no power. That is bullshit. First of all, research has already proven that blacks do internalize racism against blacks. This is seen most clearly in how blacks are more racist against darker skinned blacks. So, yes, lighter-skinned blacks can be racist against darker-skinned blacks. And this has everything to do with class, as wealthier blacks tend to be lighter-skinned.

      This gets to the second point. The original racism wasn’t against blacks but against poor whites. During feudalism, the aristocracy literally believed the peasantry was a separate race and that their own superiority was based on good breeding. Poor whites were the original oppressed race. Blacks simply were pushed into that position with colonialism. But it didn’t begin with blacks nor does it end with blacks. Many wealthier whites such as Charles Murray still talk about poor whites as if they were a separate race, i.e., a genetically distinct sub-species and breeding population.

      Unless we understand what racism is and where it originated, we can’t hope to counter it. It’s not just racism against dark-skinned blacks that allows a light-skinned black like Obama to be elected president. It’s also the racism of a light-skinned black like Obama that allows him, when in power, to distance himself from the problems of blacks. Obama could have done more about the problems of blacks, specifically dark-skinned blacks, but he chose not to because he wasn’t a dark-skinned black.

      That is racism. And it very much is about power. Anyone who claims blacks can’t have power over other blacks and over poor whites is fooling themselves. I have no doubt that Obama, like any other professional politician, felt superior to poor whites. Our entire social order is built on this mixing of racism and classism.

    • I’m sure there is much truth to what he says. But my concern about media is about the larger history of propaganda model, public perception management, US government infiltration of media, etc. He does discuss some of it in talking about the big biz media consolidating power into an oligopoly.

  67. I still don’t get this. I’ve been more critical of the Clinton political dynasty than have been of everything Trump-related. But the fact remains that the Clinton’s shady connections to Russia in no way lessens Trump’s and his cronies’ shady connections to Russia. Trump has a longer history of business dealings with Russian oligarchy than do the Clintons. It all looks bad.

  68. It’s nice to see this data. I always assumed this was true, just by comparing polling data of public opinion with what gets reported on corporatist media. But it’s useful to have it confirmed. So now we have proof that the media elites are disconnected from the American public.

    We can add that to the research that proves political elites are also disconnected from the American public. Is it surprising that the media elites and political elites collude through cronyism and the party duopoly? No.

  69. I was aware of other links, but not this particular one. It’s more reason to avoid refined sugar (and corn syrup) as much as possible. Our bodies simply weren’t designed for it.

    Consuming high levels of sugar is equivalent to alcoholism and drug addiction. It messes with your mind and body in multiple ways. And like any other addiction it has a large social component. It’s not hard to observe how our entire society is based on and fueled by various addictions, sugar most of all.

    “In addition to being linked to conditions like obesity, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, eating high levels of sugar has been associated with mental illnesses like depression. In a study published July 27 in Scientific Reports that followed over 8,000 adults over 22 years, researchers from University College London found that men who reported consuming foods that contained 67 grams of sugar per day or more were 23% more likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression after five years from when the study began.”

  70. Obviously, a major factor would be toxicity. We are flooded by toxins. A recent study found that toxins breathed in through house dust increases obesity, as the body stores toxins in fat cells. But there are probably many factors such as stress and diet. The research on sugar shows how it messes with our biology in numerous ways. There is no greater consumers of sugar than the Western world.

  71. What this kind of thing ignores is that none of us are born liberal or conservative. These are social constructs, like race. They are used for divisive social control.

    My brothers and I are far on the political left, my parents are staunch conservatives (my mother more of a progressive New Deal conservative and my dad more of a semi-neo-libertarian conservative, but both moderate religious social conservatives), and my extended family is also all over the political map. The biggest factor seems to be environmental, such as when people were born, where they were raised, the places they’ve lived, the college they attended (or not), etc.

    This environmental factor is seen clearly in comparing societies. Not all populations show an American-style conservative/liberal divide. This divide is primarily based on stress, anxiety, and fear. It’s worthy to note that societies with little poverty, low inequality, less segregation, high trust, and similar factors tend to not to have as much stress, anxiety, and fear. It’s also worthy to note that stress, anxiety, and fear are the primary tools of social control in authoritarian societies.

    Division and divisiveness aren’t accidentally created. They are intended results. Most importantly, this severely tilts the playing field to one side. As I’ve often argued, liberalism simply can’t function under such unhealthy conditions, whereas conservatism thrives such that even liberals become more conservative. This isn’t an equal fight. It’s not just a political spectrum being shifted right by an SDO elite in an authoritarian system. The collective psychology of the public gets shifted right, in that the political left gets crippled.

    In articles like the following, the analysis of the data is telling. But there is never stated the ultimate conclusion of what it means for our society. The false equivalency ends up promoting system justification. Analysis stops short of what is most obvious and most important.

    It’s not about individuals but about the social order and the social control that maintains it. Liberal vs conservative largely becomes another false debate like nature/nurture, pro-life/pro-choice, and gun rights/gun control. Such false debates, as I explain with my theory of symbolic conflation, are always a distraction from some deeper issue that must never be acknowledged for it threatens the status quo. In this case, that other issue involves different debates that rarely if ever get discussed in the ‘mainstream’ big biz media and corporatist politics: authoritarianism/non-authoritarianism, oligarchy/democracy, etc.

    What gets lost as the two parties fight is that most Americans no longer trust the political system and the social order it is part of. Both the media hacks and professional politicians have become disconnected from the population… and the public knows it. This constrained ideological spectrum that is controlled framing of public debate is part and parcel of the entire social order. The wider field of ideology and public opinion is excluded from view.

    “Psychologists have found that conservatives are fundamentally more anxious than liberals, which may be why they typically desire stability, structure and clear answers even to complicated questions.”

    “Liberal right-ness vs. conservative righteousness is a heated debate in our society. But, if we trim the fat of differing viewpoints, we see the obvious. Generally, republicans are notorious for redistributing wealth to those already on top. This cannot be argued. But lets keep the level of focus on the individuals and their nature…

    “A great study by Erik Peterson clearly showed that a) those who become rich are likely to become more conservative/republican-leaning, even if they weren’t prior; b) naturally, the rich are more opposed to dealing with things like taxes or any sort of invasion (e.g. red states being famous for “Keep your hands off my medicare…or whatever is mine”); c) the rich are far more likely to favor cutting out broadly designed benefits for others.”

  72. My parents are Pakistan-origin and I even spent some years in Pakistan in my late 20s (otherwise born and raised in NYC/LI).
    Never considered myself anything but American or sometimes “Muslim American” (because religious labels are still relevant), but never even thought “Pakistani American”. People in Pakistan referred to me as American. They were always nice because I was of the same ethnic stock and religion, but they viewed me as a foreigner (and that’s not unusual, they’re nice to foreign Muslims or, if in Punjab, non-Muslim Punjabis like Sikhs who sometimes make pilgrimages to holy sites in Pakistan…. most of the country hasn’t been overrun by this Taliban-esque religious nationalism yet).
    Then Trump’s campaign happened and I, along with many others, were basically told we weren’t actually Americans or as American as others. Realizing the election-winning half of the country thinks this way was an existential crisis. I can only imagine how rough it was on kids going through this, it was hard enough as an adult.
    Up until the travel ban and its fallout, I stopped thinking of myself as “American” for a while there and just as an ambiguous North American. After the backlash against Trump, I welcome the “Muslim American” identity back. We still exist. We’re not fake Americans, he’s the fake President.
    FWIW, even terrorist groups refer to Western Muslim recruits by their Western nationality (i.e, “Al-Amriki”, “Al-Brittani” or whatever). And their religion-over-race narrative is compelling in societies suffering from racism (compelling enough to make people think terrorism is a legitimate means to an end anyway, and actually the lesser of two evils).

    • The usefulness of the Trump administration is in reminding the public how close to the surface in American society is to be found racism, xenophobia, support of police brutality, etc.

      These things aren’t in the past. For all the areas of life that have improved, such as the ending of Jim Crow, we should never forget how quickly an authoritarian regime could take over this country.

      And if the US did become fully authoritarian, the results could be far worse than anything seen in other places where this has happened in the past. When Germany and Italy turned fascist, neither of them was the dominant global superpower with military bases in multiple countries on every continent.

  73. I lived in San Antonio for 10 years while in the Army. South Texas is majority Hispanic, but they are still heavily segregated because the Anglo powers that be do their very best to ensure that happens. Even though many of those Hispanic families have been on their land longer than the land has been under a US flag. They speak wonderful English. They are civically active. They are proud members of their communities, but they are still systematically discriminated against and marginalized with great frequency — from ensuring that the predominately Hispanic schools are underfunded compared to the wealthy all-anglo schools; to gerrymandering districts so that Anglos have majorities everywhere . . .
    Being able to speak English well is a low bar that nearly every immigrant family meets after a few generations. Being able to assimilate is something that requires the cooperation of the people in power — who rarely give it to non-Europeans.

    • That is what many Americans don’t understand. There is a larger areas of the US, including much of the South, that was formerly territory of the Spanish Empire and later Mexico than was formerly territory of the British colonies when the country was founded.

      Even ignoring the Native Americans already here, North America was not first settled by the English. Even many of the colonies such as New York and New Jersey weren’t English. The political traditions of New York City have their roots in Dutch classical liberalism.

      There are many US citizens who have ancestry that has been here longer than the US has existed. They are more American than the majority of whites who have ancestors that only showed up in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Most US blacks have older American ancestry than most US whites.

      So, why are minorities treated as second class citizens?

    • It’s amusing that so many whites claim ownership of the United States. The historical reality doesn’t support this claim.

      The majority of whites probably don’t have a single ancestor that fought in the American Revolution or maybe even in the Civil War. The largest mass immigration of Europeans came relatively late in American history, about three centuries after the first British colonies were established in North America. Blacks have done more to build the US than have whites. They literally built this country. Large swaths of the Deep South were majority black from the colonial era to the Civil War. Many areas have been continuously minority majority for centuries.

      My own family history is atypical in going so far back. I had ancestors in the early colonies when those colonies had tiny populations, smaller than the small town I now live in. But that doesn’t give me much reason for pride. Pretty much right from the start, my ancestors were killing Native Americans and enslaving people. Besides, my ancestors were far from being the earliest European settlers in present US territory.

      I don’t get the whole pride thing. I have as much reason to feel shame as pride. But ultimately I can’t take credit or blame for what people now dead did centuries ago. My oldest American ancestor had some wealth that stayed in some lines of the family for centuries. Still, I didn’t inherit any of it. It’s not like I had a choice of where and into which family I was born. Even the cultural inheritance of my ancestors was long ago lost or destroyed. Other than some paper documents, there is little that connects my life to theirs.

      There is one thing I did inherit. I’ve often noted the historical amnesia of my parents and grandparents. They couldn’t even see what was going on in the world right around them that connected back to a long history. Or else they conveniently ignored it. My family was right in the middle of the history of slavery, genocide, racist terrorism, Klan strongholds, sundown towns, etc. I inherited the collective ignorance of all that. No one told me about and, if I hadn’t done genealogical and historical research, I would have retained my inherited state of ignorance.

      Whether or not any particular ancestry goes back to the colonial era, why should descendants of the British, Germans, Italians, etc be considered more American than the descendants of Spanish, Portuguese, Africans, etc? And in discussions like this, why do Native Americans get ignored? Many Hispanics/Latinos have native ancestry and so their American ancestry goes even further back. Also, what about Jews, Chinese, and other similar groups, many having been in the US for as long as most whites?

      The US is built on stolen land. What does it mean to take pride in claiming what has been stolen? When a Native American states they are a proud patriot, I take that seriously. But otherwise, I don’t see how randomly being born as part of a privileged demographic in a post-colonial territory should make anyone special. Instead of taking pride, I wish Americans would take responsibility. If they want to claim this country, then they need to act accordingly which means it is their duty to confront national problems, instead of sticking their heads up their asses.


    Lurking underneath the scandal derisively termed “Fanniegate” is a monstrous struggle for future profits. The fight here is not just about the profits generated by the GSEs, but what to do about them generally. Finance lobbyists have successfully forged a bipartisan consensus that the companies need to be privatized. Essentially, Wall Street wants to step into the shoes of Fannie and Freddie.

    In most versions of GSE reform currently winding their way through Congress, the same too-big-to-fail banks that blew up the mortgage markets in 2008 would assume most of the responsibilities of Fannie and Freddie. Crucially, securitized mortgages would continue to enjoy government backing under many of these proposals.

    Privatized profits, socialized losses. Who doesn’t love that formula?

    It would be the ultimate triumph for Wall Street, and the ultimate shocker ending to the crash era. After nearly blowing up the planet with a mortgage bubble and getting bailed out by taxpayers, banks would now be handed control of the real estate markets and granted permission to reap massive profits trading government-backed mortgages until the end of time.

    Even worse: legislative concepts like Corker-Warner and Crapo-Johnson would not just privatize Fannie and Freddie, but eliminate the affordable housing component of their original missions.

    The GSEs are essentially huge piles of money that buy mortgages. They do this ostensibly in service of a utility-like function to keep the real estate markets liquid. Part of their mission has always been to invest in low- and middle-income mortgages, to give the private sector an incentive to create and lend to those who need affordable housing.

    That mandate is likely to disappear once the reform is finished. “Access to affordable housing for millions of people is at stake,” says John Taylor of the National Community Reinvestment Council. “Even a lot of Democrats seem unaware of this.”

    It should be noted that despite legends to the contrary, Fannie and Freddie’s affordable housing mission did not cause the 2008 crash.

    In fact, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission concluded that delinquency rates for GSE loans were “substantially lower” than those of the private banks and mortgage companies that were lending subprime loans to anyone with a pulse during that era.

    The crash was caused by greed, not social policy. The problem was that banks were using derivative tricks to successfully disguise toxic subprime loans as good investments. All that housing credit was available because it was profitable for banks to offer it, not because they were forced by Fannie/Freddie or anyone else to lend it.

    But probably because Fannie and Freddie were so unpopular after the crash – deservedly, in part, because of numerous scandals involving its executives – the companies were treated very differently than other bailout recipients.

    While other Wall Street firms that needed taxpayer or Fed rescues were allowed to quickly repay their debts and get out from under additional restrictions, Fannie and Freddie were specifically barred from ever repaying their obligations.

    By 2015, the GSEs had paid $228 billion to the government, or $41 billion more than the $187 billion bailout. This prompted a letter from Sen. Chuck Grassley asking why the companies had not been released from debt.

    The Treasury Department answered, in essence, that the bailout had not been a loan, but an “ongoing financial commitment.”

    This was not a debt that could be paid back. Like a restaurant owner who accepts protection from the mob, the GSEs were and are in an unseverable relationship.

    As of today, Fannie and Freddie have paid $130 billion to the government above and beyond its original rescue, at least according to some calculations. The ongoing seizure of such gigantic sums continues to be one of the weirder subplots of the post-crash era, and these newly released documents only add to the mystery.

    Jarvis210 • 8 hours ago
    Above the law Banksters CONTINUE to get away with fraud every day in courtrooms across the country. There is a double standard in this country where the small time crook pays for his crimes while the hardened gold collared. suit wearing criminals are allowed to steal and pilfer without any consequences.
    The courts across the country are being handed, as evidence… forged and fabricated legal instruments, to be used to steal homes in fraudulent foreclosures. Legal instruments authenticate ownership , but when banks resort to fabrication and forgery to create the illusion of ownership the entire system breaks down.
    CORRUPT bank of america (or as they prefer in their falsified assignments: fka Countrywide), KNOWINGLY LIED to the District Attorneys about modifications in regards to their ponzi scheme loans , and instead underhandedly, bundled up the loans AGAIN, but not before forging owner’s signatures and adding falsified stamped “ta-da” endorsements, fabricated assignments and then handed them over to others, such as Dirty Ditech (FKA GreenTree), Everbank, Citibank, etc, who then handed the fabricated documents over to their substitute trustee attorneys…. who have been and continue to submit the fabricated documents to the courthouses across the country to foreclose on countless more homeowners, who were NOTHING , but bamboozled from the start. But it’s ok because evil bank of america dished out pennies, anywhere from $300-$2000 per homeowner a few years ago as their hush hush punishment. (knowing they would then foreclose and recoup that pathetic pittance.) Then the games began…lies about modifications, lies about trial payments, lies about lost modification applications….all to stall and then bundle them up again with the newfound forgeries and falsifications. But it’s ok because after Fannie Mae(hiding behind their criminal substitute trustees) kicks the defrauded homeowners to the curb, they’ll make up for it by selling the home to minorities or small time investors (flippers), many who are even bankruptcy attorneys turned LLC’s, for pennies on the dollar. Sorta like if a child molester rapes a child and then on the way home stops by the candy store to buy a gumball for a kid on the street. How pathetically evil! Anyone who believes the wall street bailout ended in 2008 is sadly and sorely mistaken.

    Eugene Daniell Louise Grace • 12 hours ago
    The GSEs did not buy toxic loans. They bought toxic MBSs that the banks put together because the banks had taken so much of their business by selling sub-prime loans to people who would have qualified for prime loans, and the structure of their upper management compensations was such that the top management of the GSE was seeing their bonuses decrease. It was all about one group of rich people gaming another group of rich people, with the taxpayer getting stuck with the tab.

    RealityAlwaysBites Louise Grace • a day ago
    No defaults by any one… it was all just fake loans between corrupt banks and corrupt brokers. No such thing as no doc loans, just made up fake news to cover the crimes of the banks.
    No poor people got loans…. what a joke. Rich parasites take not give.

    KinersKorner • 4 days ago
    Matt, you left out that FN and FH made their money by selling debentures with the implied backing of the US Gov. They could not make a penny without that implied backing. It enabled them to sell debentures at a small spread to treasuries and not at the Corporate rate. This produced huge spreads to MBS and big profits to FH and FN. It was socialized costs and private profit. The Feds merely took their implied obligation and made it real. Holders of Agency debt were then covered. Obviously if you are covering that side why wouldn’t you make it a Government agency and take the profits? That is the main reason no one can figure out how to spin it off, keep it profitable and have it serve the housing market. It’s actually likely best to keep as a real formal Agency. BTW, i say this as preferred stock holder from pre- 2008 days.

    DMC General Contractors • 6 days ago
    A. They never needed a bailout, forensic accounting proves this. What was done was done by the fascist government as a backdoor bailout of the tbtf banks that were culpable for creating and exacerbating the 08 crisis. 16 plus settlements with these big banks for 150B which was only pennies on the dollar. Gses were forced to take 187B via accounting gimmicks where the market value of their loans was written down enormously under new Basel 2 standards. Prior to that accounting change, they didn’t have to value to market their book of loans as they were contractual income streams already underway. The fed reserve also stepped in and bought the best of the loan portfolio from the gses and made so much money doing so, they had to turn money over to treasury. The gses have always been hated by wall st because they are enormous cash cows with a large diverse group of private shareholder owners. The companies are so safe that almost every mutual fund and pension fund, community bank etc had them. When they fraudulently took down the gses, almost everyone got hurt except those hedge funds who Paulson tipped prior and then shorted them down from 60 to 2. That illegal nugget has long been whitewashed from history. The gses have been the scapegoats and the victims of the crisis and continue to be without merit.

    Jimbo Larry McMasters • 2 days ago
    Check out the comment above about the guy who owned preferred shares in F/F but thinks it’s right that the government’s getting the profits because they’re the one taking the risks.

    RichardBroderickJr • 6 days ago
    “all the company’s profits”?
    This is the BS advanced by those who would grab profits while they can but stick the taxpayers when there is a loss.

    inklenotrump • 6 days ago
    You need to correct the part that says Timothy Howard is culpable. He was cleared and his accounting treatment of securities is now the standard used in FASB accounting across the board. That ‘scandal’ was the beginning of the attempted coup by the TBTF banks. This is a long con and you need to make sure you are placing the blame on the right people. Read his book if you think you have the right guy on that. You don’t. If you would like to know how I know feel free to reach out to me directly. Note I am not him.


    Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz seemingly planned to pay cyber-probe suspect and IT aide Imran Awan even while he was living in Pakistan, if the FBI hadn’t stopped him from leaving the U.S. Monday. Public statements and congressional payroll records suggest she also appears to have known that his wife, a fellow IT staffer, left the country for good months ago — while she was also a criminal suspect.

    In all, six months of actions reveal a decision to continue paying a man who seemingly could not have been providing services to her, and who a mountain of evidence suggests was a liability. The man long had access to all of Wasserman Schultz’s computer files, work emails and personal emails, and he was recently accused by a relative in court documents of wiretapping and extortion.

    Records also raise questions about whether the Florida Democrat permitted Awan to continue to access computers after House-wide authorities banned him from the network Feb. 2. Not only did she keep him on staff after the ban, but she also did not have any other IT person to perform necessary work that presumably would have arisen during a months-long period, according to payroll records.

    Wasserman Schultz employed Pakistani-born Awan and his wife Hina Alvi, and refused to fire either of them even after U.S. Capitol Police said in February 2017 that they were targets of the criminal investigation. She said police wouldn’t show her evidence against the couple and, without it, she assumed they might be victims of anti-Muslim profiling.

  76. Alex Jones has gotten crazier over the years. I’ve come to the opinion that he is likely just playing a role. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he is getting rich doing it. He is useful to certain powerful interests and they probably ensure funding flows in his direction.


    So Malcolm and Nichelle, take me back to how David and D.B. first came to you with this. How did you decide to get involved?

    MS: They first called me and said they wanted to take us to lunch and talk about a project they had. They took me and Nichelle out to a restaurant and told us the history of it: They had this script, the movie version, but they felt taking it to TV would be better. And they knew they needed black voices on it. There was already a comfort level between all of us. I feel like me and Nichelle, both separately, have a great pedigree — her particularly — and so it made sense.

    For me and Nichelle, it’s deeply personal because we are the offspring of this history. We deal with it directly and have for our entire lives. We deal with it in Hollywood, we deal with it in the real world when we’re dealing with friends and family members. And I think Nichelle and I both felt a sense of urgency in trying to find a way to support a discussion that is percolating but isn’t happening enough. As people of color and minorities in general are starting to get a voice, I think there’s a duty to force this discussion.

    Nichelle Tramble Spellman: When we initially sat down, we made the joke, “Oh, this is going to be a black Game of Thrones spin-off! This is gonna be awesome.” And then [Benioff and Weiss] got into what the story was about, and I just remember being so excited — and absolutely terrified at the same time. I can’t remember the last time I approached any story like that. So Malcolm and I left the lunch and couldn’t stop talking about it the entire way home. And immediately that night, this chain of emails just started. Like, “Have you read this? Have you read that? What about this piece of history? How can we bring this all into a present-day story line.”

    And immediately what the conversation turned into is how we could draw parallels between what has been described as America’s original sin to a present-day conversation. In this futuristic world, you could have this conversation in a straightforward manner without it being steeped in history: “What does this look like now.” I think what was interesting to all of us was that we were going to handle this show, and handle the content of the show, without using typical antebellum imagery. There is not going to be, you know, the big Gone With the Wind mansion. This is present day, or close to present day, and how the world would have evolved if the South had been successful seceding from the Union. And what was also exciting to me was the idea that in order to build this, we would have to rebuild world history … Okay, if this had happened here, how did the rest of the world change? That was another huge bonus factor for me — the idea of rewriting some of the history of, like, the French Revolution. What happened in the entire world if that one event had ended differently?


    NEW YORK—Calling it an everyday struggle for millions of young dudes, a new report released Friday by researchers at New York University found that those suffering from buddy dysmorphia experience a skewed, deeply negative perception of the shapes of their friends. “It doesn’t matter if I’m at home, at the gym, or at a bar—every time I look at my buddy I’m disgusted,” said Mike Oscoff, 19, a study participant who said he was ashamed to admit it, but half the time, he wished he could just keep his embarrassing buddy covered up. “I mean, we live in a society that constantly tells us our buddies aren’t good enough. After living your whole life with buddy-shame issues, it’s no wonder some of us just sit home alone.” Oscoff added that he’d like to be proud of his buddy because, after all, he only has one.

  79. Thomas Paine was the most radical of the main founding fathers. He was close friends with many of the other founders and they respected him. Some of them even saw him key to the success of the Revolution. Even John Adams, in criticizing Paine, acknowledged his importance — referring to the “Age of Paine”.

    Most Americans don’t realize how radical was the American Revolution. Originally, the word ‘revolution’ just meant a cycle, as it was referred to astrology and astronomy. Civilizations rose and collapsed, in cycles. But the American Revolution didn’t just demonstrate a cycle for it created something entirely new. That is how the word ‘revolution’ gained a new meaning.

    I’ve had a prediction. I don’t make too many predictions. But this one I’ve been saying maybe since the Bush administration. Here it is. If there is ever a major Hollywood movie or cable series (like the HBO series about John Adams), it will be a sign that the US is on the verge of revolutionary-scale changes.

    We haven’t yet seen such a major production about Thomas Paine. But I did notice a smaller production. Sadly, few people probably have heard about it, much less watched it. I can only hope that it might inspire someone else to do something further with the story of Paine’s life. He wasn’t just the most radical of the founders, as he also led the most interesting life. If excruciatingly boring John Adams can be made into a successful HBO series, then an HBO series about the adventurous, rabble-rousing and wide-traveling Paine would be pure entertainment.

    This Paine film below apparently was just this month broadcast on PBS. I’m not sure how many people watch PBS these days.

    • Most of the Western world has spent centuries under imperialism, colonialism, and the legacies that followed. It’s the filter through which so many Westerners understand all of human nature and society. Even much of Northern Europe was part of vast empires with colonies in Africa and the Americas. The idea that not every country has a history of colonial imperialism is foreign to the Western mind.

      • I think there’s just something about elite culture that fosters it really. And given that it’s not as socially acceptable to be openly bad towards black players (these people tend to be “liberals”) people gotta project their BS on an easier target.

      • Anecdoctally, when I was in grade school, I’d gone to ice rinks in bumfuck Appalachia and others and interacted with rural redneck-y whites and they’ve never gave me grief about playing hockey. It was kids striving for elite colleges as well as current students that made the “that’s not what Asians do!” “You’re genes aren’t for it” and more cynically “wow an Asian playing hockey that would help you get into college so you aren’t a stereotype”

        • There can be something about being lower class that makes many people more accepting of those who are different. It depends on context, of course. But sometimes even isolated people can be rather accepting.

          I was thinking about Everett’s experience of the Piraha, a tribe that didn’t seem to be particularly judgmental of non-Piraha. It didn’t bother them that Everett’s family lived in their village and according to a different lifestyle. All the Piraha cared about is that Everett would shut up about trying to convert them to Christianity, but other than that the Piraha accepted him as someone who was living there.

          Maybe isolation can play a role. The Piraha had interacted with outsiders for a couple of centuries at that point and they didn’t have bad experiences. It’s possible that the wealthy elite in certain ways live more isolated lives than even an Amazonian tribe or Appalachian rednecks.

  80. “The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.” – Marcel Pagnol

    • I’m a depressive realist. I don’t see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, or the future less resolved than it will be. What was, is, and will be are more intimately connected than is typically acknowledged. The past tells us much about where we are heading and our visions of the future speak to the present.

  81. PTSD is much more prevalent in society than this article states. Basically, wherever you find depression (the numbing of uncomfortable feelings that arise from abuse), you find PTSD. Our humanity is actively repressed in a performance based culture to serve the needs of capitalism. Traumatized cultures become conservative (hyper vigilant to threat), change averse (fearful) and enraged. They fluctuate between grandiosity (Exceptionalism) and self-hatred (repression of internal scapegoats) to regulate their poor self-image. The digital age magnifies both foreign and domestic threats, making perpetual war against internal and external enemies a way of life. Welcome to the USA.

    • That is my view. I see the US as a severely traumatized society. Inequality, permanent underclass, job insecurity, personal debt, mass incarceration, Social Darwinism, racial oppression, fear-mongering, scapegoating, police brutality, security state, military empire, and such. That is not a healthy society.

    • NAFTA has boosted big ag in the US while devastating small family farms in both the US and Mexico. Many migrant farm workers in the US used to be small family farmers in Mexico, until they could no longer make a living. So, they are here because NAFTA has done such harm to the average Mexican worker, although big biz is likely doing well in Mexico. If Mexicans were able to make a living in Mexico, they wouldn’t come to the US looking for work. This isn’t rocket science. The point is big biz, largely transnational at this point, simply doesn’t give a fuck one way or another about any workers, local or migrant.

  82. “I see many comments about how these jobs must be open because they are paying so poorly. These people clearly didn’t read the article. This farm is paying $19 an hour and housing the farm workers. The issue is that mexicos economy is booming, and they have universal health care, between 2000 and 2014, more Mexicans left the United States than came to the United States, and lazy white Americans don’t want to do this work. Why aren’t the West Virginia coal miners coming here? Why isn’t there a comprehensive infrastructure bill that includes helping to relocate the workers?”

    At Limoneira, workers are paid an average of about $19 an hour—which is 30-35% higher than three or four years ago, says Mr Teague. Still, his workers sometimes get poached by nearby farmers willing to pay more so that their fruit and vegetables do not rot in the field.”

    • That actually isn’t very good pay. So, $19 an hour is probably on the highest end, with many getting paid far less, depending on changing growing conditions of weather and such.

      But this kind of work only lasts a few months of the year. Migrant farm workers have to make enough money to last the rest of the year, assuming they can’t get any other kind of work outside of the harvest season. Plus, such jobs offer no sick days, no healthcare insurance, no pension, no social security, They not only have to save money to live on for the rest of the year but also to pay for sickness, injuries, old age, etc.

      Many migrant farm workers would be barely making ends meet, likely living far below the poverty line.

  83. I can’t find the article, but it was about a Swedish physicist working on a nuclear thing and honestly I remember thinking she looked like a blonde Asian XD

    I know scandinavians are supposed to be ultimate Nordic aryan but I actually notice slight “Asian” looks in quite a few, not just the eyes but also cheekbones, nose, despite them being paler than most other Europeans

    “The epicanthic fold appears in Eastern Europe and the arctic circle (in Scandinavia) because of overlap with Siberian groups. Scandinavia has a surprising amount of Mongoloid admixture. That’s why it’s funny when white nationalists hold up Scandinavia as an example of “iconic whiteness”. Because Europe’s greatest admixture does NOT come from the south (with Africans). It comes from the North, with Asians. (4% of Norwegians, for instance, have DNA haplogroup Q–a Siberian haplogroup.)”

    • That is why I’ve always thought it absurd to categorize northern and southern Europeans as the same race, while treating other populations as separate races. If North Africans, Middle Easterners, and Asians are separate races from Europeans in terms of genetic differences, then Europeans should be divided up in at least two races and probably several races.

      From this perspective, maybe the English were right that the Irish are a separate race, in that they are related to the Basque, a genetically and linguistically distinct population. And maybe earlier American WASPs were correct in perceiving southern Europeans as a separate race, as they are connected to non-European populations in the Mediterranean region.

      Either way, the category of ‘white’ or ‘Caucasian’ is obviously bullshit. If humans are to be divided into genetically distinct sub-species, we would be forced to create entirely separate racial categories.

  84. For the past hour, all of Google’s services seem to be down: search engine, Gmail, Youtube, etc. I used Yahoo search to check what was going on. Google apparently is down for other people as well. That is highly unusual. In a country like the US, Google is the most used search engine and a large part of the internet.


    WASHINGTON—Noting that the resignation of Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director marked the ouster of the third top administration official in less than two weeks, a worried populace told reporters Monday that it was unsure how many former Trump staffers it could safely reabsorb. “Jesus, we can’t just take back these assholes all at once—we need time to process one before we get the next,” said 53-year-old Gregory Birch of Naperville, IL, echoing the concerns of 323 million Americans in also noting that the country was only now truly beginning to reintegrate former national security advisor Michael Flynn. “This is just not sustainable. I’d say we can handle maybe one or two more former members of Trump’s inner circle over the remainder of the year, but that’s it. This country has its limits.” At press time, the American populace was wearily hoping it had even 48 hours before it had to figure out how to take back Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


    Making it the first major city with such a law, Honolulu’s mayor has signed a bill banning texting while crossing the street, as well as other forms of distracted walking. What do you think?

    “If this law works there, maybe we should try it in America.”
    Damien Cantor

    “But it’s my constitutional right to have no idea what’s going on around me.”
    Will Lang

    “That’s okay. I do most of my texting while driving anyway.”
    Bethany Floyd

    • But this is inevitable. Prospective employees have to make themselves stand out. There are simply more people seeking jobs than there are jobs. People are going to do anything to get an edge over others, no matter how much it costs. The alternative to not doing so might mean being unemployed, lower pay, or less career advancement. It’s only going to get worse. Many are predicting unemployment to keep on increasing as the economy changes. Computers and robots are going to eliminate entire job sectors. And these changes will happen quickly.

    • We always could use improvement in our education system. A good start would be to do what some other countries do by ensuring teachers get the best training possible and are paid highly to attract the most talented into the field. But we should acknowledge that education in the US is far better than it was a few generations ago. It is improving, even if too slowly for what we should be doing.

    • We live in a Social Darwinian society. There is immense pressure, especially as inequality increases and the middle class shrinks. Those who can afford it are investing immensely in their children’s success. In general, kids are being taught to the test. But they aren’t being taught a love of learning, curiosity, critical thinking skills, etc.

      For a long time, generations of Americans have been raised and educated to be a workers to fit into the corporate system. And this is getting worse with each generation. What kids aren’t being taught is how to be good citizens, much less how to be good human beings.

    • It is those kinds of demographic shifts that get my attention. It’s hard to know what they’ll mean in the long term. Many of those people moving are older and sometimes retired, mostly not young parents. What happens when they die? It’s unlikely that this necessarily represents a permanent change beyond the immediate generations.


    Here’s a breakdown of the biggest unanswered questions about Wasserman Schultz and the Awan scandal:

    1. How many Democratic lawmakers are involved?
      According to Rosiak, the family members worked for at least 80 House Democrats in their decade-plus on the Hill. Though Wasserman Schultz is certainly the highest-profile House member ensnared in the scandal and did herself no favors by keeping Awan on her payroll long after everyone else canned him, she’s far from the only lawmaker who could have been the target of data theft or, as Rosiak claimed in a later story, blackmail. The Daily Caller released a handy chart showing how many other Democrats were tied to the Awans: The list includes South Florida’s Ted Deutch and Frederica Wilson, and Lois Frankel.
    2. What is the actual extent of the Awans’ alleged data theft?
      Here’s where things also get muddy. So far, there’s no indication as to what the Awans might have downloaded from Democratic networks. According to Rosiak, the Awans might have been funneling someone’s data to an offsite server, but the public still has no clue who might have been victimized. BuzzFeed News reported that after six months, charges still have not been filed against the family.

    3. Why did Wasserman Schultz refuse to fire Imran Awan when everyone else did, threaten the Capitol Police, and then continue paying him?
      Here’s where Wasserman Schultz’s dreadful media presence, along with what appear to be some true red flags, really comes into focus. Once the Awans were outed as targets of a Capitol Police criminal probe, every other Democrat in Washington immediately kicked them to the curb. (According to federal data, Imran Awan earned $164,000 in 2016, and his wife, Hina Alvi, earned $168,300. That’s a lot of cash for government IT employees.)

    Also: Who in hell hires an entire family of IT employees? If, say, a local lawmaker or someone like Gov. Rick Scott handsomely paid a husband, wife, and two of their brothers to run, say, janitorial services, every newspaper in the nation would cry nepotism.

    Likewise, while multiple mainstream outlets, including the Washington Post and BuzzFeed, have published “explainers” about the burgeoning scandal, they’ve glossed over major legal red flags that Rosiak uncovered in court records, including allegations made in court that the Awans threatened to kidnap their own family members. Rosiak also reported that the family members seem to have filed false financial disclosures in order to obtain their government jobs and either misreported or outright lied about their debts to foreign businesspeople.

    Anonymous sources also told Rosiak that the FBI seized smashed hard drives from Imran Awan’s house, which certainly doesn’t look good.

    The Awan family was banned from the House IT network February 2, but Wasserman Schultz kept Imran on her payroll until he was arrested last week. Infamously, when Capitol Police seized a laptop from Wasserman Schultz’s office, she later threatened the cops with “consequences” at a hearing if the police didn’t return the device.

    1. Are the bank fraud charges and data theft allegations connected?
      This is where the case really gets confusing. Despite the brouhaha over the Capitol Police investigation, that case hasn’t resulted in any charges yet. Awan was arrested last week for simple bank fraud, which doesn’t appear to be a smoking gun pointing to WikiLeaks or blackmail. According to the criminal complaint, Awan and his wife are charged with attempting to defraud the Congressional Federal Credit Union by receiving a $165,000 loan by claiming one property was their primary residence when, in fact, they were renting the place out. (The Awans have pleaded not guilty.) That’s bad, but it’s not exactly House of Cards-level political material.

    2. Why are the Democrats so hush-hush about all of this?
      This, more than anything, is the classic Wasserman Schultz flaw: hubris in the face of negative press. In the face of adversity, she tends to double-down and dig in her heels, which has rarely helped her (or any lawmaker) when confronted with legitimately negative news. The Awan case is no different: She has shied away from TV appearances and has neglected to explain why the family was hired a decade ago. So has every Democrat tied to the family. Granted, it’s difficult to say much to the media during an open criminal investigation, but the public deserves more answers than it has gotten.

    • It’s called ignorance.

      “The country’s government makes sure areas with low income levels and property values get good teachers too.”

      Other countries with some of the best education systems in the world do the same. I remember reading this about Finland, for example.

      “Actually, the U.S. has had a lot of programs to send more money to schools with poor or nonwhite students since LBJ, such as Title I.”

      That is incomprehensibly stupid. Either that or he is being dishonest. Any halfway intelligent, halfway informed person knows that public and private schools in upper class communities get vastly more funding than do schools in lower class communities.

      “Alternatively, you could say that almost all schools in Japan are racially segregated, which would imply that, because Diversity Is Our Strength, Japanese schools should be doing badly compared to integrated American schools. So that just intensifies the mystery of why Japanese schools do well.”

      That is also bullshit. In countries with high quality education systems, even the schools with greater diversity do well. That is seen in the immigrant areas of Nordic countries and in extremely diverse countries like Singapore.


    “Beware of testing too many hypotheses; the more you torture the data, the more likely they are to confess.”
    —Stephen M. Stigler, “Testing Hypotheses or Fitting Models?”

    That is a warning to HBDers and others massaging cherrypicked data to tell just-so stories. Some HBDers can be brilliant in their ability to speculate and gather data to support their speculations, while ignoring data that contradicts them.

    They are so talented at speculating that they come to treat their ideologically-driven interpretations as factual statements of truth, even when they deny this is the case. Just as they deny the consequences of such ideologies being enforced for centuries through social control, political oppression, and economic inequality.

    When one starts with a hypothesis that one assumes is true, it’s easy to look for evidence to support what one already wants to believe. There are few people in the world who couldn’t offer what they consider evidence in support of their beliefs, no matter how weak and grasping it might appear to others. This is even easier to accomplish when looking for correlations, as anything can be correlated with many other things without ever having to prove a causal connection, and it’s easy to ignore the fact that most correlations are spurious.

    None of that matters to the true believer, though. Torturing the data until it confesses is the whole point. The validity of the confession is irrelevant.

  89. “Look at the tyranny of party — at what is called party allegiance, party loyalty — a snare invented by designing men for selfish purposes — and which turns voters into chattles, slaves, rabbits, and all the while their masters, and they themselves are shouting rubbish about liberty, independence, freedom of opinion, freedom of speech, honestly unconscious of the fantastic contradiction; and forgetting or ignoring that their fathers and the churches shouted the same blasphemies a generation earlier when they were closing their doors against the hunted slave, beating his handful of humane defenders with Bible texts and billies, and pocketing the insults and licking the shoes of his Southern master.”
    —Mark Twain – “The Character of Man”

    ““The two real political parties in America are the Winners and the Losers. The people don’t acknowledge this. They claim membership in two imaginary parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, instead.””
    —Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

  90. It is sad to hear such anti-immigrant sentiments, although we should be used to it by now. Still, this article misses the point. There is a reason a blustery fool like Trump was elected.

    Obama could say pretty words, but they were bullshit. The reality of Obama’s administration is that he deported more immigrants than any president in recent history. Neither Bush jr nor Reagan deported as many. Reagan actually gave amnesty to large number of immigrants.

    His comments and the White House’s position stand in stark contrast to President Barack Obama, who hailed the statue and the poem while discussing the plight of Syrian refugees alongside the president of France in 2015:

    “On the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France, there are the words we know so well. “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.” That’s the spirit that makes us America. That’s the spirit that binds to us France. That’s the spirit that we need today.”

    The words of Trump’s adviser puts his administration in direct opposition to the Statue of Liberty and what she has represented at the gateway to America for over 131 years.

  91. My plans for teaching in Korea in the fall kinda fell through lately so I’m Applying for so many jobs/internships for this fall/year and it’s discouraging as fuck

    So far the only work I’ve been able to get is temporary service jobs.

    I’m probably having a bad day too because I’m struggling with resentment towards my parents since part of the reason korea fell through is due to my parents not wanting me to be away a year/worrying even though I know it’s common to do and I can handle it. Since I don’t make much currently Im basically controlled by them. They are lenient in small ways but in big ways they’re stifling.

  92. Thanks for sharing your story. I feel like the way race relations are politicised in the US is so deep that you can never reach the bottom. It’s pretty overwhelming to read many of the stories here but I probably shouldn’t complain because experiencing it must be far, far wors

  93. “I grew up on the East Coast in an area with a lot of Asians. I didn’t really experience any racism until I went to college (an Ivy League school) and also began dating a white girl. In college, I found that many white people didn’t respect Asians, believed they were competition for grades and jobs, believed stereotypes about Asians (such as penis size), thought all Asian men were ugly and Asian women were easy. When I was dating a white girl, people would stare at her or at me, and I had one older woman tell my girlfriend that she “shouldn’t be dating me”. I’m currently dating an Asian woman that I’m very happy with. However, Asian women tend to be more ignorant of these issues, because they often are treated nicely by both white women and especially white men.”

    • I’m only speaking for myself, but speaking of racism, I grew up in a pretty white suburb like place with a college and it was the liberal elite striving type kids that were the shittiest to me and made the casual racist shit some complain about. Ironically, the redneck-y kids from the outlying areas were more chill towards me.

      I’ve been to ice rinks in bumfuck appalachia and not been given trouble by the people there, gone to gun ranges with my dad with no one bothering us, but it was kids who were obsessed with getting into harvard at my school who were like “but that’s not for Asians” “Asians don’t do that” or more cynically “wow you’re different, put that in your college application so you stand out from other Asians”

  94. Anecdotally, I grew up in an ~80% white town with a college and the most racist people to me were… the elite school striving type. I’m not kidding. Even rednecks from outlying towns were more chill

    • I’m only speaking for myself, but speaking of racism, I grew up in a pretty white suburb like place with a college and it was the liberal elite striving type kids that were the shittiest to me and made the casual racist shit some complain about. Ironically, the redneck-y kids from the outlying areas were more chill towards me.

      I’ve been to ice rinks in bumfuck appalachia and not been given trouble by the people there, gone to gun ranges with my dad with no one bothering us, but it was kids who were obsessed with getting into harvard at my school who were like “but that’s not for Asians” “Asians don’t do that” or more cynically “wow you’re different, put that in your college application so you stand out from other Asians”

    • My mom thinks that my youngest niece has what is called failure to thrive. Her doctor has worried about her. She wasn’t eating much of anything, wasn’t gaining weight, and wasn’t growing. There is no obvious physical problem. It appears to be psychological. But that could just mean the physical cause is going undetected.

      That article points to a larger problem. Americans haven’t grown in height in a half century. Many countries have overtaken the US in average height. Even many countries with historically short populations are catching up with the US, the wealthiest country in the world. A major difference in many cases seems to be the shitty healthcare system in the US.

      I also suspect worsening inequality in the US is playing a role, as inequality as lessened in many countries. In the article, the author wrote that, “As more and more Americans turn to a fast-food diet, its effects may be creeping up the social ladder, so that even the wealthy are growing wider rather than taller.” I automatically see that in terms of inequality. One of the main factors of inequality is that problems worsen for everyone, even the upper classes.

      The connection between bad healthcare, unhealthy diet, and growing inequality is neoliberal corporatism and all that goes with it.

    • In my way of thinking, I’m always considering what is unexpected. We try to make sense of changes according to the past. But the changes happening right now might be unpredictable in their results. I don’t see the alt-right as representing something permanent, at least not in its present form. If anything, I suspect their will be a left-wing backlash that will go in entirely new directions. Or else the left-right paradigm might make less and less sense over time.

  95. As a millennial I just have to ask, What do you want from us? I mean seriously. As a child in the 90s and early 00s all I heard constantly from adults was stern warnings: Don’t do drugs, Don’t drink, Don’t smoke, Don’t have sex, Don’t get pregnant, Don’t talk to strangers, Don’t drive recklessly if you have to drive at all. We were shown graphic pictures of genital STDs, car crashes, films about the harms of drugs and self-harm all to scare us from doing any of these risky behaviors. The amount of horrible things we were told could happen to us was endless. So as teens and adults we’ve generally done less of these things which is exactly what older people wanted us to do. And the statistics show that. Youth crime, drug use, pregnancy, smoking, homicide, and yes suicide are lower than they were in the 90s. But all of the sudden this is treated as a negative thing! Now we’re blamed for being “soft” and “coddled” and not wild enough. Unbelievably, this article cites these stats as if they were a bad thing. Older generations need to decide what they want because they can’t have it both ways.

    And yes, over exposure to technology is a problem (for everyone), but come on let’s have some perspective.

    • The rates of problems for Millennials are as low or lower than they were for any other living older generation. If the 1950s are the ideal, Millennials are living up to everything that was expected of them. They are a well-behaved generation that spends more time with family than has been seen in generations. They are doing everything right and yet still being blamed for everything that has gone wrong, most of which has been worsening for a long time. Many of these problems have been on a downward trend for longer than even GenX has been around.

  96. If we don’t strive to radically alter the daily demands on most Americans (expensive health care, education, etc) and keep blaming them for their problems, therapy will be used as it was in the USSR, as a social device to “reprogram deviants” who are clearly “self-destructive” because they don’t try to succeed in the outside “rational” world.

  97. I’m only speaking for myself, but speaking of racism, I grew up in a pretty white suburb like place with a college and it was the liberal elite striving type kids that were the shittiest to me and made the casual racist shit some complain about. Ironically, the redneck-y kids from the outlying areas were more chill towards me.

    I’ve been to ice rinks in bumfuck appalachia and not been given trouble by the people there, gone to gun ranges with my dad with no one bothering us, but it was kids who were obsessed with getting into harvard at my school who were like “but that’s not for Asians” “Asians don’t do that” or more cynically “wow you’re different, put that in your college application so you stand out from other Asians”

  98. In his study of Jewish “self-hatred,” Sander Gilman (1986:2–5) describes how ideologies win compliance by inspiring a desire among the subjugated to be like the oppressors. He uses the example of the liberal myth that social categories marking difference, such as race and ethnicity, are mutable and all can join the powerful if they abide the rules and behave like the dominant group. The more the subjugated identify with the powerful, the more they accept the ruling values and structural arrangements that keep them down. Gilman calls this a classic double bind situation. The empty promise that the oppressed can escape their “otherness” by shunning their difference lures them into supporting the very rules that define them into existence as the “other” — as those who are not allowed to share power. “Become like us and you will be accepted into our group.” But they never are.

    • For all of history, most people were excluded from privilege and power. The ending of feudalism and the creation of a racial order didn’t stop most poor in the Western world being white, as has always been true. All that changed is the diversity within the oppressed permanent underclass, such that along with poor whites there are also poor non-whites. Even most middle class whites have limited privilege and power. The US, in particular, has always been ruled by a small elite. Gaining personhood, citizenship, or even white status hasn’t helped most people to gain access to much in the way of upward mobility along with equal rights and representation. Most of the population is divided into various gradations of powerlessness and oppression.

  99. I despise affirmative action and what it does to Asian Americans, but having white people all of a sudden pretend to care about Asian Americans makes me suspicious. Makes me suspect that all they want to do is use Asians as an excuse to give all the seats that went to Blacks/Hispanics under affirmative action to whites, while keeping “holistic” admissions in place to make sure Asians in the end don’t benefit at all. The end result would be re-entrenchment of institutional white supremacy, and then Blacks/Hispanics hating us for going against them, while eventually whites throw Asians under the bus by making us the scapegoats, by saying “see? it was Asians who did this.” I’m very very suspicious.
    permalinkembedsavereportgive goldreply
    [–]AsianBossPhd 2 points an hour ago
    Correct, especially when you consider that disproportionally (76%) scholarships go to whites, white students are 40% more likely to win private scholarships than minority students, and the biggest recipient of affirmative action are white women (proven over and over again). Plus, white people benefit from countless instances of favoritism, nepotism, and benefits from various types of social connections. Only a few instances of these do we actually have a name for, such as “legacy status”. If we named all the other ones, it is clear that affirmative action is a tiny current traveling against the tsunami white privilege. Abolishing affirmative action could cause untold amount of harm to people of color for decades to come, even if it temporarily benefits asians people (before whites restore the balance through some other means, of course, such as some immigration plan whose goal is to reduce immigration by 50%,

  100. Yep

    There was another news article put out a while back that dove into Harvard’s admissions process “formula”. The conclusion was that rather than heavily taking into account scores, grades, or even race, it took more into account supposed characteristics the contrived formula deemed to be telling of ones who would not only be high-earning but also high-giving individuals (and hence would profit the university either financially or by association). Their conclusion: white outspoken males with large egos. Let’s not be naive as to what this is really about in the end for them – money. It’s a sad truth.

    • It’s obvious when education is operated as a for-profit business, then profit will become more important than even education. The product doesn’t matter in itself. It’s just a product to be sold. But a product that can be sold (college education) and lead to continuous profit (later donations) is the greatest business model imaginable.

  101. I’ve always found alien those who are in love with a ‘voice’ alone or the sound of words. I do appreciate something said well, but it only matters to the degree something worthy is being communicated or expressed. I started writing and continue to write because I have something to say. Otherwise, silence would be more appropriate.

    “The fact is I wanted to write long before I had anything to say. I don’t find this condition at all unusual in young writers, good or bad. A sort of attuned restlessness. Often it is simply an overriding need to talk. A sort of transcribed logorrhea, worse than decent gossip. I’ve taught these people, forever blasting away in wretched detail, solidly in love with their own noise. I must say, I was never infatuated with my own voice. It was the ideal inner voices that took me, and they came from everywhere, especially Hemingway, Joyce, Henry Miller, and later, Flannery O’Connor. Like many Mississippians, I shied away from Faulkner, who was at once remote and right there in your own backyard, the powerful resident alien. Having read a little of him, I sensed I would be overcome by him, and had a dread, in fact, that he might be the last word. That I would wind up a pining third-rate echo, like many another Southerner. Then T.S. Eliot, especially “Prufrock.” But the earliest great howler who made me want to make the team was the badly forgotten Dylan Thomas, whose voice seemed available everywhere in English departments in the ’50s and ’60s. It seemed to me a fine thing to get drunk and just start being Welsh and crowing surrealism, as I perceived it. Put that against the sullen bitchery of Holden Caulfield, which charmed almost everybody my age, and you would be cooking. Miles Davis might one day shake your hand. He was God, and that would be very nice.”


    Scientists had begun to warn electric utilities about climate change by 1968, and by 1988 the industry’s official research and development organization had acknowledged that, “There is growing consensus in the scientific community that the greenhouse effect is real.”

    Despite this early knowledge about climate change, electric utilities have continued to invest heavily in fossil fuel power generation over the past half a century, and since 1988 some have engaged in ongoing efforts to sow doubt about climate science and block legal limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

  103. “Of all emotions, anger is probably the most political one: without it, one can hardly think of revolutions, demonstrations and social protest. Yet, angry people are told overwhelmingly by the surrounding culture that their anger is their private problem, that it has a psychic cause, that it can and should be managed and that failure to do so only shows one’s incompetence.”

    • This happened because vehicular infrastructure primarily benefited big business. There was massive profits to be had with car culture and with externalizing costs onto the public. Big biz that used the infrastructure the most gained control of the government so that they didn’t have to pay fully for what they were using. Plus, making the citizenry dependent on their vehicular-related products was a massive bonus. This system was created on purpose because it serves the interests of those who hold power over the government.

    • What this seems to miss is the larger context of global empire, police-intelligence state, military-industrial complex, CIA covert operations, drug wars, mass incarceration, privatized prisons, neoliberal corporatism, regulatory capture, pay-for-play politics, etc.

      The reason all of this happened because the upper classes were benefiting from it, as wealth and power became concentrated. Many academics and media hacks were relatively comfortable and so identified with this social order. It’s that simple.

      All the analysis of a cultural left vs a reformist left overlooks that too many of those involved were complicit. The debate between culture and reform too often was a distraction. Our society was being radically remade by authoritarian forces. Neither culture nor reform was the issue. What was needed was revolution or something equivalent to it.

    • That is important info to keep in mind. But there is a lot of mixing up of correlation and causation, along with the problem of direction of causation.

      When one positive factor is seen in a kid with greater neurocognitive development, there are likely to be found hundreds of thousands of other positive factors. It’s the entire environment of conditions, of opportunities and resources that determine how a kid turns out.

      Kids who play string instruments are better at math and kids who are better at math are more likely to play string instruments. But what are the other factors that correlate to both string instrument playing and math?

  104. “Being a citizen in the American corporate state is much like playing against a stacked deck: you’re always going to lose.

    “The game is rigged, and “we the people” keep getting dealt the same losing hand. Even so, most stay in the game, against all odds, trusting that their luck will change…

    “We are living in a fantasy world carefully crafted to resemble a representative democracy. It used to be that the cogs, wheels and gear shifts in our government machinery worked to keep our republic running smoothly. However, without our fully realizing it, the mechanism has changed. Its purpose is no longer to keep our republic running smoothly. To the contrary, this particular contraption’s purpose is to keep the corporate police state in power. Its various parts are already a corrupt part of the whole.”

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