Orion's picture

    Trump's Cynical Build Up Of Tension

    There's a whole lot of jubilation out there that Donald Trump cut short a military operation that could have started a catastrophic war with Iran. Iran is a massive country with a population of 81.16 million. It is at the nexus of America's tension in the Middle East, from the implementation of the Shah to the revolution during Carter's administration to the Iran-Iraq war and then the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. It is no mistake that so much blood and treasure was spent occupying two countries directly bordering Iran. Iran has ties with most of the world, located as it is at the heart of the nexus between Central and South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It's an ancient and impressive civilization. Everyone seems to get this ... now.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Time is Not on Biden's Side

    Joe Biden looks great on paper. Polling at over thirty percent, he dominates his Democratic rivals by fifteen points or more, and he crushes Donald Trump in head-to-head polls. He has half-a-century of political experience, and his middle-class Scranton roots will appeal in Pennsylvania and other rust-belt swing states. Firmly in control of the centrist vote, he can sit back while his opponents squabble over the left wing.

    But he’s unlikely to become the Democratic nominee for President.

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    Orion's picture

    Everyone's Podcasting! But Who Is Still Reading?

    In Berkeley, there are many copies on display of Slavoj Zizek's "In Defense of Lost Causes." After his debate with Jordan Peterson, it was the book put up in Berkeley to promote him. The book is fantastic and Zizek's analysis is incredible - his writing on Mao, on artificial intelligence, even on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein novel, is all stellar. All of it was clearly written in the 2000s, however, as there are a bunch of references to George W. Bush or Hugo Chavez.

    Since then, he has mostly become known online in videos on YouTube. His persona is being built through various interviews on Russia Today, at college seminars, Vice documentaries, etc. Unlike a lot of people today, he doesn't seem to produce the videos himself, which I guess makes him kind of an outlier.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Hoarding, Archiving, and the Public Domain: Universal Vault Edition

    The New York Times Magazine just dropped a piece on the complete destruction of every master recording in Universal's West Coast vault. I haven't even finished reading it, because it's so terrible I have to digest it in installments and take breaks. Hundreds of thousands of irreplaceable master tapes were destroyed.
     

    Proposition Joe

    Proposition Joe was one of the characters of the HBO series “The Wire”. Proposition Joe would always try to appease  the opposition. Proposition Joe predictably took a dirt nap when he was no longer useful to his rivals.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proposition_Joe

    Proposition Joe came to mind when I heard Joe Biden tell us how Republicans would come to their senses and work across the aisle once Trump was out of office. Did Biden not take notice of what Republicans did before Trump was in office?

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    A Warning from 1992

    Lately, I've been thinking about where things went wrong. Donald Trump is the culmination, not the genesis, of America's nationalistic trend. I suspect that the turn came, ironically, at the moment of the West's greatest triumph, when Gorbachev embraced western values of democracy and capitalism, and the Soviet Union disintegrated.

    Exploring the era, I came across this insanely prescient essay from 1992. I've never been a fan of David Gergen, but damn, he nailed this one. The article is firewalled, so I'll share a few of his predictions.

    Staggered by an economic downturn that has taken a deeper psychological toll than expected and frustrated by a paralysis in its politics, the United States toward the end of 1991 turned increasingly pessimistic, inward and nationalistic...Insistent cries came along that the nation should embrace a new philosophy of putting America first: turn a hard, flinty eye toward economic competitors, said its advocates, and curtail the long tradition of generous idealism in foreign policy.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Shakespeare Wasn't Perfect

    So The Atlantic has seen fit to publish more "Shakespeare authorship" conspiracy-mongering, this time masquerading as feminism by proposing a female candidate. But the piece doesn't quote even a single line of the real poetry that woman wrote. It can't, of course, because that would give the game away.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Ben Shapiro Met A Journalist: Meltdown Ensued

    “This whole thing is a waste of time. Frankly, I don’t care — I don’t frankly give a damn what you think of me since I’ve never heard of you... I think we’re done here.”

     

    When I saw Ben Shapiro trending on Twitter my imagination started running wild. Did he have another college visit canceled? Did someone expose plagiarism in his latest book? Was he subpoenaed to testify by the House Judiciary Committee?

     

    My mind raced from one morbid conclusion to another. What happened that set social media on fire?

     

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Bill de Blasio Would Make a Great President

    Rumor has it that Bill de Blasio will be announcing a run for president some time next week and the response I’ve seen has been all snark and chortles, even from the left.  I get it — in such a crowded field, another candidate almost seems absurd on its face at this point.  Another issue is that de Blasio is not a particularly popular mayor here in New York City, which invites jokes that we residents are trying to export him to the rest of the country.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    How Far Will Trump Go?

    During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump famously invited Russia to hack his opponent’s email. He later claimed that it was just a joke. But when Donald Trump Jr. was told that Russia’s “crowd prosecutor” had dirt on Hillary Clinton, the younger Trump replied, “I love it,” and set up a meeting between the campaign leadership and Russian emissaries. Though nothing apparently came of this meeting, many have wondered why no one from the campaign reported Russia’s operations to Homeland Security.

    Well, President Trump now runs Homeland Security. We should be wondering what he’ll do when Russia tries to get him reelected in 2020.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Should Our Allies Hack Our Elections?

    Two things about the Mueller report are not up for debate: the Russians interfered in our last election, and no one is going to do anything about that. One party is hobbled by the need for bipartisanship, and the other so blinded by partisanship that they'll treat attempts to ward off foreign interference as political attacks on their own side. While we're making this about Trump, out foreign adversaries are preparing to attack our elections again. We haven't punished them or done anything to stop them, so why would they stop? All we've done is give them time to improve their methods.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Never a Lovely So Real: The Life and Work of Nelson Algren

    book cover

    I'm hoping you all remember friend of Dagblog, Colin Asher, who has spent the last seven years working on a literary biography of Nelson Algren, once one of the most famous and celebrating working novelists in the United States and always a solid progressive and friend to the working class.

    I haven't read Colin's book yet, but I have read the article in The Believer that was the genesis of the project.  Colin's onto something big here, perhaps one of the last untold stories of McCarthyism.  He's also a terrific writer and this is going to be a great introduction to Algren's work for a lot of us.  It's not every day you get to discover a lost novelist of quality.

    The book's been getting great reviews, including five stars from Publisher's Weekly and serious treatment from The Nation and The New Yorker.

    You can make Algren spin in heaven by purchasing this book from Jeff Bezos.  Such is life.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Alas for Gene Wolfe

    Gene Wolfe, one of the greatest of science-fiction writers, has passed away. His work was subtle and superb. Wolfe wrote paragraphs you could lose yourself in, like a labyrinth, and come out a changed person on the other side. He thought profoundly about what story-telling means as few other writers have. He was honored inside the genre and sometimes outside it, but deserved far more honor in both places. Any account of 20th-century American literature that omits Gene Wolfe is incomplete.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Your Blog Is Valuable!

     

    Photo Danny Cardwell

    There's more to blogging than writing! For every blogger capable of seamlessly weaving together succinct ideas at blazing speeds there are hundreds, if not thousands, slowly throwing words at a screen hoping they stick. Both groups are part of the same historical, social and cultural epoch. Our blogs, no matter how silly or serious, have the potential to be part of a larger canon. Our words confirm or refute the dominant narratives about the events defining our present and shaping the future. This is valuable. Historians and sociologist of the past would have loved to have access to all of the information we produce.

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    You Can Never Undo Losing an Election

    Picture it... November 2000.  George W. Bush loses the popular vote to Al Gore but is declared President anyway because a Supreme Court made up of key people appointed by George W. Bush’s father decided that vote counting should cease in a state where George W. Bush’s brother was governor.  I was 25 years old.  I thought, for a months, “there’s no way this will be allowed to stand.”

    It was allowed to stand.

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    Trump Appts GOP Partisan Hack to Fed

    Stephen Moore, a total Republican political hack. His economic publishing history below.

    2004, pre-election pro Bush campaign swill:

    Bullish On Bush: How George Bush's Ownership Society Will Make America Stronger (Madison Books, 2004) ISBN 1-56833-261-0

    The next one, from 2014, came out only  in audio, the printing of it apparently cancelled.... as it was, by 2014,  so clear Moore was selling bs.  Obama had saved the economy after "Bush's Ownership Society" which Moore loved so much, had led to the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Is the US Heading for Anti-Hate Speech Laws?

    Was reading this morning about people in New Zealand being criminally prosecuted for downloading, distributing and even making statements in favor of the Mosque shooting.  New Zealand is a free and open society where freedom of expression is protected, but free speech rights are not quite so clear as they are here in the U.S.

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    On Breaking up Google - this is not your Grandma's Monopoly

    Another election and another round of liberal posturing - "how do we beat down the corporates, how do we dismantle their power?" "Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple...," exclaims Elizabeth Warren, "along with their little subsidiary acquisitions". Let's call these The Big Four.

    So let's tear this down - first, are these the monopolists you're looking for? Back in the day of the Robber Barons, we had goons showing up to beat up the competition - quite a bit of heat brought down on anyone who was in competition. This kind of activity is pretty rare these days - mostly it's just that customers are flocking to the big boys, and that's just tough on the rest.

    The IT age truly hit when Microsoft ended up with a practical monopoly on the desktop. Sure, Apple could scrape out 4 million laptop & desktop sales a quarter with a huge comparative margin, and techies could go for Linux or lately Chromebooks, but in terms of units at home and in the workplace, DOS-Windows machines predominated since 1982, and still do. Microsoft went on to do quite well in the Office software and database business - and people howled to break them up. But in the end, they went from a dominant consumer company to a dominant enterprise software company, with the whole industry resigning itself to the fact that the OS is boring, and is best off boring, and all the OS wars in the 70's and 80's mostly led to things not working with each other, whereas the Windows behemoth solved that problem. Until the Web came along and made everything interoperable in a different way, so the Windows monopoly became a "who cares?" We got a little flurry of excitement when Steve Jobs decided to put a knife in the heart of Flash and Adobe itself, pretending to go to a new standard that was far from market ready - and suddenly we saw what we'd avoided for 2 decades - having to choose when we really didn't care. Sure, Excel rolled over Lotus-1-2-3 and M$ killed some other fine mail & database software companies, but it was the 90's, baby - the Internet Age, and if things hadn't just worked, that would have harshed our mellow. 

    I am listening to Trump press conference live from Vietnam summit on CNN

    The chyron says summit cut short, no deal. But I would like to share a little of what Trump is saying.

    He seems in a very friendly and polite mood. Not hyper, calm. Taking a lot of questions.

    Trump says it's all been very productive. But not a good thing to be signing anything right now. He'll let Pompeo explain that later.

    But everyone's been great: Chairman Kim, China, Russia, they've all been great, real helpful. Great leaders! Pres. Moon. yes, another great leader. Real helpful. President Xi, a great leader. Everyone thinks so, especially in Asia. They are all great leaders!

    By the way, in case you foreign reporters didn't know this, you should know it's true: he gets along really well with all world leaders!

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Amazon’s Big Swingin’ Di—

    Well, The National Enquirer seems to have stepped in it by trying to go toe-to-toe with Jeff Bezos and his unlimited wallet.  The lame supermarket tabloid published details of Bezos’ affair (which I do not know because I never got caught up in the story) which has led to an impending divorce and Bezos wanting to know how those losers got information about his private life and having the means to launch his own investigation.

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