All posts filed under: Ideas & Short Essays

Republican Peter King compares NFL protests to ‘players giving Nazi salutes’

One way that racism persists in America is that non-Whites are not permitted to interpret their own experiences. White America has always reserved for themselves the right to describe the nature of “America,” to define what America means and what it means to be an American — and if your interpretation doesn’t square with theirs, then it isn’t legit. If a non-White person says that their experience in America involves racism, White America cannot take that at face value, cannot engage in a simple act of listening. This brings us to the latest in the White America’s battle for the NFL’s National Anthem.

The Quotable Trump

The Trumpification of the English language: “For instance, I went to Russia for a day or so, a day or two, because I own the Miss Universe pageant. So I went there to watch it because it was near Moscow. So I go to Russia. Now I didn’t go there. Everybody knows. The logs are there, the planes are there. He said I didn’t stay there a night. Of course I stayed there. I stayed there a very short period of time. But of course I stayed. Well his memo said I left immediately. I never said that. I never said I left immediately.” From recent interview on Fox & Friends  

Happy Birthday, Karl Marx — you were right

Marx’s 200th birthday was two days ago. With two centuries in the can, I’d be interested to hear what ole Karl thinks of the state of things, though I imagine it would take him a while to get used to life in the 21st century, what with our smartphones, Netflix, and talk of life extension and artificial intelligence. Even so, I’m sure he’d find that he nailed it, so far as the basics are concerned, those basics being his critique of capitalism. Class struggle is still with us, capitalism is still self-destructive, and we are still told that there are no other options, that capitalism is the only game in town. Or, to put a spin of humor on it, “capitalism is the worst system out there, except for all the others.” (Winston Churchill) The great importance of Marx for us, today, is not so much about adopting “Marxism” (as system developed by Marx’s followers) as it is in uniting against the system of capitalism.  

Facebook: Regulate and Share The Wealth?

Quite the fascinating article today by Chris Hughes, one of the group of plucky young Harvard students who founded Facebook. In response to the recent Facebook fracas, Hughes suggests not merely that we regulate Big Data companies like Facebook but that we find a way to share the revenue with the pubic, with the users. Here’s how Hughes puts it: “the principle underlying it should be clear: companies that benefit from the data we voluntarily provide should be required to protect it and to share that wealth with the people who made it possible.”

Mister Zuck goes to Washington

So pundits and politicians are up in arms about Facebook exposing our data. My question: what did we expect, exactly? Is there anyone still naive enough to believe that corporations are working for the best interest of the public? Did we expect that Facebook would forego the pursuit of profit and make the public good it’s sole priority? I suspect that most of us, the common folk, aren’t as worked up as the columnists and the talking heads on TV. We follow the money. We know why Facebook exists, and it isn’t for some hippie purpose of making the world a better place or to bring the world closer, as Facebook puts it in their mission statement.

Teachers Strike…in The Twilight Zone

So teachers are striking, apparently they want a living wage or something. In any event, it raises a few tricky questions. Why is it that some of the most valuable work has the least monetary value in a capitalist society? Why do so many teachers fail to make a living wage? Why does “the market” (so-called) reward so many who are doing things that do nothing to better society, while so many teachers get crap for wages? These are questions you cannot ask….in the Twilight (of Capitalism) Zone….   http://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Fayette-County-Schools-close-as-teachers-begin-mass-protests-478360303.html