Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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1003andrewhartman

It's a good thing if more and more people are moving to the left, especially those who might 10 or 20 years ago voted for centrist Democrats. In that way, I welcome polarization, but I think we need a clearly defined polarization that takes into account class division, and seeks common ground on some of the culture war issues, or at least seeks to put those issues secondary, as we try to go back to a 99% vs 1% division. To me that's the number one priority.

Historian Andrew Hartman visits the new Trump front of American culture wars of the 1980s and 90s (and 60s and 70s) - as longstanding divisions around class and identity remap themselves onto a new cultural and economic landscape in the decade after the 2008 financial crash, and increasing polarization presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the left.

Andrew wrote the article The Culture Wars are Dead: Long live the culture wars! for The Baffler.

 


Posted by Alexander Jerri

Toward, But Not Directly Toward, A Thermodynamic/Information Theory of History

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

There's a framework for thinking about evolution in terms of thermodynamics, and I'm here to misunderstand it for you. Complex thermodynamically open systems, such as living organisms, but not only living organisms, but in this case, yes, living organisms, tend to want to redistribute the energy going into them by discharging it in the most entropic way possible. So, if you eat a lot of fuel, such as a pizza, you're going to be able to stomp around, breaking stuff and kicking up dust. On top of that, you'll be able to make machines that will take in energy and smash stuff and give off heat, destroying more organization than if you hadn't made the machine, and creating greater entropy than otherwise.

I'll be honest: I don’t think that's a very good illustration of the theory. Oh! That's because I forgot to say that the organization isn't just thermal energy, it's information. Information wants to be free, somebody said. I have the vague recollection it was a lawyer. But what information wants is beside the point. Energetic input helps cajole information to organize itself into complex systems. That's why there's something instead of nothing. Maybe. And information forms complex systems to more efficiently transform energetic input into entropy.

Without a shadow of a doubt, I am doing great violence to this theory. But maybe that's my purpose: to redistribute my breakfast into nonsensical misinterpretations of popular science articles in Quanta magazine, thereby turning organized chemical energy, as well as well-organized information in plain English, into froth and ado and evenly-distributed confusion.

This is why it is almost one hundred percent certain that the listenership of the This Is Hell radio program is going to continue to grow: broadcasting the information to more listeners distributes it over a greater area, therefore more evenly, in the cosmic scheme of things. Nature wants This Is Hell to have more listeners. It's only natural. And the listeners, absorbing this information, will mess up the world around them, creating entropy more efficiently.

I've slept through most of the past century's philosophical trends, so I don't know if people are still as pumped about dialectical materialism as they were back when I was a boy in the late 19th Century.... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...


In 1555 — (462 years ago) — the English Protestant clergyman John Rogers was executed for heresy on the order of Queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII. The new queen resented her father’s break with the papacy and was now keen to reestablish Catholicism in England. During her five-year reign she would have more than 280 Protestants executed, thus earning the nickname “Bloody Mary.” Rogers was the first of those Protestant martyrs. Like the others, he was burned alive at the stake.     

In 1899 — (118 years ago) — units of the US military based in Manila, having taken possession of the Philippines from Spain the previous year in the Spanish-American War, found themselves in armed conflict with Philippine nationalist insurgents who were just as eager to get rid of the Americans as they had been to get rid the Spaniards. A few minor skirmishes escalated into large-scale fighting that continued through the next day. The Philippine president, Emilio Aguinaldo, tried to broker a cease-fire, but it was rejected by the top American general. More than five hundred Philippine soldiers were killed, along with some fifty to sixty Americans. The so-called Battle of Manila thus became the first and most deadly episode of the Philippine-American War, which lasted more than three years and solidified the United States’ colonial domination of the islands. It also killed some eighteen thousand Philippine soldiers and six thousand Americans — along with an estimated two hundred thousand Filipino noncombatants who died of violence, famine, and disease.

In 1977 – (40 years ago) – during the evening rush hour in the Loop area of downtown Chicago, the operator of a Lake–Dan Ryan elevated train missed a signal and allowed his train to plow into the one ahead. Instead of hitting his brake when the “el” trains made contact, he accidentally applied more motor power, causing the first two cars on his train to jackknife upward until a coupling bar snapped. Both cars fell off the elevated track and crashed onto the street below, along with two more train cars right behind them. Eleven people were killed and 180 were injured. Later it was revealed that the train operator had a bad safety record, including a prior derailment and several citations for reading and talking to passengers while operating his... read more

Episode 938

Dataism

Feb 6 2017
Posted by Alexander Jerri
938lineup

Listen live from 9AM - 1:00PM Central on WNUR 89.3FM / stream at www.thisishell.com / subscribe to the podcast

 

9:15 - Economist Geoff Mann outlines the history of Keynesianism's attempts to save capital from capitalism.

Geoff is author of the new book In the Long Run We're All Dead: Keynesianism, Political Economy, and Revolution from Verso Books.

 

10:00 - Live from Standing Rock, Dr. Sarah Jumping Eagle reports on DAPL resistance in the Trump era.

Sarah is a pediatrician and water protector, we've spoken to her twice in 2016.

 

10:35 - Journalist Michelle Chen examines Obama's mostly symbolic legacy on labor and trade.

Michelle wrote the Labor and Trade section of Jacobin's feature Assessing Obama.

 

11:00 - Legal scholar Marjorie Cohn reviews the dangerous record of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Marjorie wrote the article Trump's Choice of Gorsuch Endangers Civil, Human and Environmental Rights for Truthout.

 

11:35 - Immigration researcher Karina Moreno finds a neoliberal consensus behind the border wall.

Karina wrote the article The Private Deportation Machine for Jacobin.

 

12:10 - Mathematician Paul-Olivier Dehaye profiles the use of psychometrics in political campaigns.

Paul posted the recent Medium article The (dis)information mercenaries now controlling Trump’s databases.

 

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen mangles a thermodynamic theory of evolution.

Jeff previously got thermodynamic in Decmeber of last year.

Posted by Alexander Jerri


Here's what Chuck is reading to prepare for Saturday's show:

In the Long Run We're All Dead: Keynesianism, Political Economy, and Revolution - Geoff Mann [Verso Books]

Assessing Obama: Labor and Trade - Michelle Chen [Jacobin]

Trump's Choice of Gorsuch Endangers Civil, Human and Environmental Rights - Marjorie Cohn [Truthout]

The Private Deportation Machine - Karina Moreno [Jacobin]

The (dis)information mercenaries now controlling Trump’s databases - Paul-Olivier Dehaye [Medium]


And further recommended reading:

If Your Party Doesn’t Appeal To Young People, It Will Wither And Die - Nathan J. Robinson [Current Affairs]

On the Travel Ban: An Interview with Darryl Li - Atreyee Majumder [Cultural Anthropology]

On Borders / Race / Fascism / Labour / Precarity / Feminism / etc. - Angela Mitropoulos [Base]

Refugees are already vigorously vetted. I know because I vetted them - Natasha Hall [Washington Post]

With Muslim Ban, Trump and Bannon Wanted Chaos, but Not Resistance - Laleh Khalili [Truthout]

Beyond Resistance – Defeating Trump’s Burgeoning Dictatorship - Elliot Sperber [Counterpunch]

Police in Chicago Public Schools operate with no special training and little oversight - Yana Kunichoff [Chicago Reader]

Interviews for Resistance series - Sarah Jaffe [In These Times]

Episode 937

Ad Spaced

Jan 30 2017
Posted by Alexander Jerri

 

The Marriage of Schlock And Augustus

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

Imagine you are an ape, living in a vineyard with your small tribe. The grapes growing there are ripe and sweet. Humans have not been seen in these parts for several months. The weather is warm. Are you not delighted?

This is just one of the mental exercises you can employ to rejuvenate and salve your spirit after catching a glimpse of the Thing currently occupying the office of President of the United States.

It happens. You've done your best not to think about it, but it's impossible to avoid an inadvertent reminder now and then that one of schlock-capitalism's most grotesque abominations is right now operating inside the Oval Office – inside one of the most august theatrical settings in our governmental drama – scribbling his shitty signature on morally deformed executive orders like he runs the joint.

It's a jolt to the system to see him there, that weird-ass bullshit piece of shit, with his shitty suit and shitty hair and his puckered ruined horrible face, warped by decades of being wrapped over a tiny, hard little pea-gravel crumb of a soul. Watching him meeting with GOP Senators, as little respect as I have for that bunch, is nevertheless jarring, like walking in on a grumpy cat in a dunce cap using your hotel room toilet.

One of the foundational principles of our government, it always seemed to me, was that the President was to be considered a human being, a citizen among citizens, not a special human being, but a normal human being, not a nobleman, not an aristocrat, not a monarch invested with Divine Right. That he was nevertheless accorded a colonial slave-built mansion with its own bowling alley and other luxuries came off, at least to me, as counter to the egalitarian spirit of the social mission of the USA.

Having so self-indoctrinated, I'd believed myself immune to feelings of undue respect for the office per se. Respect for the man occupying the office could be earned through respectable behavior, but there was nothing particularly sacred about the seal, the desk, the office, the house. Those were only worthy of respect as the accoutrements of a respect-worthy man inhabiting them.

Richard Nixon brought disgrace to his office, but even so, he never seemed unworthy of actually sitting at the desk. It was just a desk. He wore a suit and tie, like any other desk-sitting... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

On This Day in Rotten History...

In 1932 – (85 years ago) – Japanese aircraft began an unprovoked bombing of the Chinese city of Shanghai. Japan had invaded northern China a year earlier and established a puppet state there called Manchukuo, as a base from which it could attack the rest of China. Now it followed up its bombing of Shanghai with an attack on targets around the city by thousands of ground-based troops. The bombardments and fighting between Japanese and Chinese forces continued for several weeks until the League of Nations helped negotiate a cease-fire. Some thirteen thousand Chinese were killed, and about five thousand Japanese. Along with being one of the important precursors to World War II, the battle marked Japan’s establishment of the so-called “comfort women” system, which forced local women into sexual slavery to keep Japanese troops less inclined to revolt against their superiors.  
 
In 1964 – (53 years ago) – an unarmed US Air Force T-39 carrying a flight instructor and two pilots took off from the US air base in Wiesbaden, West Germany, on what was called a routine training flight. Within an hour the airplane flew off course, over the so-called “Iron Curtain” into East German airspace, and the crew did not respond to the air controllers’ frantic calls. The plane was shot down by a Soviet jet fighter and all three crewmembers were killed. The incident sparked an ugly Cold War dispute. Soviet diplomat Giorgi Kornienko called the flight “a clear intrusion” and a “case of gross provocation.” Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Dean Rusk called the downing of the plane “a shocking and senseless act,” and Senator Hubert Humphrey called it “an act of brutality, force, and premeditated slaughter.” But US Senator Barry Goldwater, a former Air Force pilot and a Republican candidate for president, expressed skepticism. He told reporters: “It’s kind of hard to believe that all your navigational equipment would go out at once on that plane.” 

In 1986 – (31 years ago) – at Cape Canaveral, Florida, engineers from aerospace contractor Morton Thiokol urged managers at NASA not to launch the space shuttle Challenger, warning that cold weather and ice conditions at the Cape would prevent key components of the launch vehicle from working safely. But the... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri
937lineup

Listen live from 9AM - 1:00PM Central on WNUR 89.3FM / stream at www.thisishell.com / subscribe to the podcast

 

9:15 - Live from Kabul, journalist May Jeong reports Afghanistan's homegrown peace process.

May wrote the article The Patient War: What awaits Trump in Afghanistan in the February issue of Harper's.

 

10:00 - Civil rights lawyer Flint Taylor explains why the Chicago Police Department is reform-proof.

Flint's latest writing is Chicago's Brutal Example for Jacobin.

 

10:35 - Attorney Brian Foley draws the blueprints for a legal resistance to the Trump administration.

Brian is a lawyer practicing in Philadelphia, we'll also talk about his piece I Have A Scream for Counterpunch.

 

11:05 - Journalist Natasha Lennard makes the case for confrontation and disruption against the fascist threat.

Natasha wrote the recent pieces Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer Got Punched—You Can Thank the Black Bloc and Anti-Fascists Will Fight Trump’s Fascism in the Streets for The Nation.

 

12:05 - Editor Vyvian Raoul outlines strategies for reclaiming the public space from advertising's visual pollution.

Dog Section Press is releasing the book Advertising Shits In Your Head: Strategies for Resistance in February. You can read the first chapter here.

 

12:45 - In a Moment of Truth, Jeff Dorchen defines the Schlock Doctrine.

Hopefully this changes everything.

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Here's what Chuck is reading to prepare for Saturday's show:

 

The Patient War: What awaits Trump in Afghanistan - May Jeong [Harper's]

Chicago's Brutal Example - Flint Taylor [Jacobin]

I Have A Scream - Brian Foley [Counterpunch]

Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer Got Punched—You Can Thank the Black Bloc - Natasha Lennard [The Nation]

Advertising Shit In Your Head: Strategies for Resistance - Anonymous [Dog Section Press]

 

And further recommended reading:

 

Key Trump Donor Stands to Profit from Order to Approve Keystone XL, Dakota Access Pipelines - Steve Horn [DeSmog Blog]

Think the Women's March wasn't radical enough? Do something about it -  Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor [The Guardian]

The decimation of the Democratic Party, visualized - Phillip Bump [Washington Post]

Assessing Obama - Jacobin

Trump Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself - Das Magazin [Antidote Zine]

Inaugurating a New Movement - Michell Chen [Dissent]

Ordoliberalism and the Death of Liberal Democracy - Salvage Zone