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Books

Books
The Criminal Justice System Is Not Broken. It’s Doing What It Was Designed to Do.
Alice Speri: Alec Karakatsanis’s “Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System” ... ultimately an abolitionist book that calls on people to imagine a world with fewer laws and in which jails and prisons aren’t the default response to all social problems ... The American legal system has never been an institution of radical social change. To the contrary, it has been an instrument of ruling class oppression. The legal system, from its founding, was about preserving distributions of wealth and property and white supremacy. ... We need to build a movement that changes the power dynamics so that our society demands that our legal system create different rules... Because if you don’t attack the underlying systems of oppression that lead to a problem, a court ruling isn’t going to solve them.... Visit Website ]
Nov 9, 2019, 4:03pm

Books
How meritocracy harms everyone — even the winners
Sean Illing: A new book by Yale Law professor Daniel Markovits, The Meritocracy Trap, is a fascinating attempt to poke holes in our conventional understanding of meritocracy ... We typically think of meritocracy as a system that rewards the best and brightest. For Markovits, it is merely “a pretense, constructed to rationalize an unjust distribution of advantage.” ... Meritocracy is the idea that people get ahead based on their own accomplishments rather than, for example, on their parents’ social class. And the moral intuition behind meritocracy is that it creates an elite that is capable and effective and that it gives everybody a fair chance at success. ... The problem, of course, is that elites cheat and they game the system... Visit Website ]
Oct 21, 2019, 4:29pm

Books
Obama: the Greatest War President
Ron Ridenour: Jeremy Kuzmarov has written a seminal book, Obama’s Unending Wars: Fronting the Foreign Policy of the Permanent Warfare State (Clarity Press, August 2019), on the US Military Empire led for eight years by a black-faced president residing in the African slave-constructed White House. ... Kuzmarov’s impeccable and extensive research reveals the reality of Obama’s eight presidential years favoring the rich class’ economic and military-warring interests. ... Obama, the drone president, stood for seven aggressive wars at once, more than any other US president. ... Obama provided a liberal front for policies that exacerbated internal inequalities and setback movements for progressive change, keeping us locked in the Cold War, and setting the basis for a new Cold War.... Visit Website ]
Oct 10, 2019, 4:40pm

Books
My Indigenous Culture Is an Act of Resistance
Siku Allooloo - excerpt from “Caribou People”: Two generations saw our Inuit and Dine homelands in Northern Canada nearly destroyed. Now my way of life is one of cultural repair. ... The desire to dominate and exploit peoples and lands to create wealth—this is the driving force of colonialism and also the lifeblood of this country. ... It is no exaggeration to say that Canada is built on racism, genocide, violence, and theft. ... We are caribou people, and the widespread decline of this ancestral relation is a source of deepening loss across the North. .... There are many stories of the generosity and benevolence of caribou, how they offer themselves in times of need. Dene and Inuit peoples would not exist without the caribou... Visit Website ]
Sep 26, 2019, 4:15pm

Books
From mind control to murder? How a deadly fall revealed the CIA’s darkest secrets
This is an edited extract from Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Contro ... Frank Olson died in 1953, but, because of clandestine US government experiments, it took decades for his family to get closer to the truth. ... Frank Olson had been one of the first scientists assigned to the secret US biological warfare laboratories at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland during the second world war. ... Olson’s speciality was “the airborne distribution of biological germs”, according to one study. “Dr Olson had developed a range of lethal aerosols in handy sized containers. They were disguised as shaving cream and insect repellants. They contained, among other agents, staph enteroxin, a crippling food poison; the even more deadly Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis; and most deadly of all, anthrax ... Five days after being dosed with LSD, Olson was still disoriented. ... (Suicide or murder?) ... He died because of concern that he would divulge information concerning a highly classified CIA interrogation program in the early 1950s, and concerning the use of biological weapons... Visit Website ]
Sep 8, 2019, 10:43am

Books
The Bold New Plan to Stop Wars: A Peace Advocate Makes Her Case
Scilla Elworthy: What drives this enormously expensive engine of destruction? Partly, profits. There is a vast global industry with a vested interest in promoting armed violence. ... As I discuss in my 2017 book The Business Plan for Peace, you start by scaling up 25 tried-and-trusted initiatives that can prevent local conflict from escalating into war. ... At national levels, when women are included in peace processes, there is a 20 percent increase in the probability of an agreement lasting at least two years, and a 35 percent increase in the probability of an agreement lasting at least 15 years. Why? Because male negotiators (often previous combatants) are primarily concerned with territory, resources and positions of power, while women bring to the table the concerns of orphans, the injured, the bereaved and the traumatized. The result is that the cycle of violence can be interrupted and turned around... Visit Website ]
Jul 13, 2019, 3:24pm

Books
The Flawed Food Dependency - A Book Review: Food or War by Julian Cribb
Robert Hunziker: Dr. Jane Goodall - "Someday we shall look back on this dark era of agriculture and shake our heads. How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons?" ... 2,000 and 4,000 different chemicals and pesticides are used in farming, and more than 2,500 chemicals are intentionally added to foods to modify flavor, color, stability, texture, and costs. ...(Many, if not most, of these chemicals over the decades have not been properly analyzed for toxicity to humans.) ... chemicals are implicated in a global pandemic of (1) cancers, (2) brain damage, (3) sexual dysfunction, (4) allergies, (5) hormonal and developmental disorders on a level of which humanity has never experienced... Visit Website ]
Jul 12, 2019, 4:14pm

Books
US Imperialism from Manifest Destiny to the New American Century
David William Pear: Roberto Sirvent and Danny Haiphong have explored the albatross of myths, legends, lies and damn lies around America’s neck in their book American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News—From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror ... Over the centuries the US has developed an illusion of grandeur. It imagines itself as indispensable and exceptional, unlike any nation that has ever existed. ... To enforce its exceptionalism the US has built a mighty military. The price for its grandiose military has been the neglect of the American people. ... Critical thinking shows that US wars are for the benefit of corporations and cronies of the power elites. US foreign policy is not for the benefit of the American people. ... The US cannot escape its history, but it can change the future... Visit Website ]
Jul 6, 2019, 12:28pm

Books
Dockworkers Show Us How Unions Can Be a Powerful Force Against Racism
Peter Cole: Dockworker Power: Race and Activism in Durban and the San Francisco Bay Area ... From its inception in the 1930s, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), and particularly its San Francisco Bay Area chapter, Local 10, have preached and practiced racial equality. ... First, the union committed itself to equality by desegregating work gangs and openings its ranks to African Americans, whose numbers drastically increased during the World War II-induced Great Migration. ... In addition to working towards racial equality inside the ILWU, longshoremen and their leaders, in Local 10 and at the international level, participated in myriad intersectional social movements from the 1940s to the present. ... In 1942 the ILWU condemned the interment of 125,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans ... Due to the union’s many efforts to fight racism, in 1967 Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Local 10 where he became an honorary member, like Paul Robeson before him. ... The day after his stunning murder ... Longshoremen shut down the ports of San Francisco and Oakland for their newest (honorary) member, as they always do when one of their own dies on the job... Visit Website ]
May 28, 2019, 3:00pm

Books
How Obama Failed
Branko Marcetic: Review of A Crisis Wasted (Rosetta Books, 2019) by Reed Hundt. ... he’s written a book witheringly critical of not just the Obama administration’s handling of the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath, but of the Democratic establishment’s response to it — an insider’s step-by-step account of all the mistakes, false assumptions, and timidities that, over Obama’s eight years, helped deliver the electorate into the hands of Trump. ... Obama’s outsourcing of his administration’s transition process to Clintonites, combined with his lack of commitment to a progressive political vision, hemmed him in ... But he faults the cool, calm, collected Obama for not using the bully pulpit more aggressively to sell the public and Congress on his agenda ... What we might consider Obama’s most admirable personal qualities — his preternatural calm, his even temper — ended up being his greatest weaknesses in the field of politics... Visit Website ]
May 23, 2019, 3:03pm

Books
Big Tech and the Rise of Surveillance Capitalism
Mark Kernan: Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. by Shoshana Zuboff ... The very thing that was suppose to set us free and serve us, as internet creator Tim Berners Lee had hoped, has now evolved as Lee said “into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas.” ... The capture & commodification of our data, the predatory construction of user profiles and surveillance is in the DNA of surveillance capitalism. ... once we searched Google, now Google (and the rest) searches us ... even when you turn off tracking, Facebook still tracks you. Likewise, it follows you across the internet via code implanted in your browser ... Big Tech’s business model isn’t compatible with our rights, human values and even our democracies... Visit Website ]
May 6, 2019, 1:29pm

Books
The CIA Takeover of America in the 1960s is the Story of Our Times
Edward Curtin: A Quasi-Review of A Lie Too Big To Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy by Lisa Pease ‘We’re all puppets,’ the suspect [Sirhan Sirhan] replied, with more truth than he could have understood at that moment. ... ... The assassination of the top four leaders of the political left in the five year period – President John Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968 – represented nothing less than a slow-motion coup on the political scene. ... Anyone who has looked closely and honestly at the evidence has realized that more than one person was involved in Robert Kennedy’s death. So why can’t reporters see this? Why can’t the media explain this? Because the media and the government are two sides of the same coin, and those who challenge the government’s version of history, as numerous reporters have found out, all too often lose status and sometimes whole careers... Visit Website ]
Apr 3, 2019, 4:18pm

Books
Cold War in the Land of Oil
Ron Jacobs: Ever since oil became the defining energy source for wartime militaries during World War Two, the world’s politically and economically dominant nations have done their best to control those nations where oil is located. ... By placing the nations of Iran and Saudi Arabia at the center of his book Cold War in the Islamic World, author Dilip Hiro provides the reader with a perspective rarely found in most texts regarding the Middle East. ... It is a history not just of two nations and their governments, but of those two nations’ power over their neighbors—friends and enemies. ... While Hiro’s history of Iran is one of coups and revolutionary upheaval, his history of Saudi Arabia is more or less a narrative of palace intrigue... Visit Website ]
Mar 30, 2019, 11:41am

Books
Emily Post’s Great-Great-Granddaughter Explains the Proper Way to Get High
Jackie Flynn Mogensen: Lizzie Post, the great-great-granddaughter of American etiquette legend Emily Post, wrote a book to help even a cannabis novice navigate the social environment of legal weed. The book, Higher Etiquette: A Guide to the World of Cannabis, from Dispensaries to Dinner Parties ... “It’s safe to say that cannabis culture is baked in etiquette, has been for a long time” ... 1. First of all, it’s “cannabis,” not “marijuana.” ... “[Marijuana] doesn’t have the kindest history” ... reefer madness, during which authorities used anti-immigrant sentiment to cultivate fear of cannabis throughout the country... Visit Website ]
Mar 29, 2019, 4:34pm

Books
The Right Book at the Right Time: Ron Ridenour’s Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert
Randy Shields: Chronicling US crimes and obstructions against peace for over 100 years, this Tsar Bomba of a book ranges over the 1918 US invasion of Russia, US capitalism’s neverending collaborations with fascists and takfiris, the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK’s assassination, Soviet involvement in Afghanistan and the momentous year 2001 when Vladimir Putin offered to align Russia’s foreign policy with the US only to get repaid by the US serving notice that it would withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, setting off a new arms race. ... Russia and the US are contrasted in their foreign policies and dealings with each other. ... The chief takeaway is that Soviet and Russian leaders from Stalin to Khrushchev to Brezhnev to Gorbachev to Putin were/are a whole lot more cautious, practical and less ideological than their US counterparts... Visit Website ]
Mar 22, 2019, 11:41am


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How meritocracy harms everyone — even the winners
Obama: the Greatest War President
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