There are many excellent resources in video/documentary/podcast formats. Here is a list of posts that contain commentary and links to such materials.
If you are struggling to get your head around how racism works you will probably find it helpful to have a general framework as a guide. This one hour lecture from 2017 features an overview by Brown University Professor Tricia Rose of the structure of racism and how it works in the US (approx. 29 minutes). Then follows a case study by Samuel Rosen, senior researcher, How Structural Racism Works Project at Brown, of how —>> read more –>>
Back in the early and mid ‘70s both Karen and I worked in various machine shops and other industrial locations. Trichloroethylene (TCE) was used on a daily basis to clean metals parts and other materials. I remember a large tank of slowly roiling hot TCE at Stevens Arnold, Inc. in South Boston. I would use it several times a day to clean parts. Every week or so I would be detailed to drain the tank, —>> read more –>>
Over 90% of plastic materials in consumer items and packaging end up in landfill dumps. Time for industry to take responsibility for their waste.
Recently Noted – Overthrow: 100 Years of US Meddling & Regime Change, from Iran to Nicaragua to Hawaii to CubaAugust 22, 2019
We’ve written quite a bit about the US Empire. A key component of this US foreign policy is regime change. Here is a list of the posts here on this topic. Recently Democracy Now! ran a 22 minute discussion of the history of US regime change actions over the last 100 years plus. It features discussion with Stephen Kinzer the author of many books on the history of American foreign policy.
Once again we return to our comedians for information about what is going on in the world. This time more on the fraud that is our judicial system.
Recently Noted – Robert Reich: Socialism for the Rich, Capitalism for the Rest – a new video presentation
Robert Reich provides us with an accessible, brief analysis of why the rich and corporations are feasting while the rest of us experience the rigors, oppression, and discipline of the capitalist marketplace. Only a bit over 4 minutes long.
Eviction from home is a regular feature of life for the poor and working class, more so for black and brown people. The civil justice system works with the same imbalance of power as the criminal system. Based on the book Evicted by Matthew Desmond.
In our continuing effort to find varied sources to illustrate the power of marketing and the costs of unregulated capitalism we return to John Oliver’s show Last Week Tonight for his segment on sugar in food. The food industry continues to put sugar in nearly every processed food and fights efforts to reveal how much of this dangerous additive is in each bite.
We have written earlier (for example our article The Monopolization of America) about the increasing concentration of market power In the hands of just a few corporations. This is a phenomenon occurring throughout the US economy (really more broadly across the globe). Here is an 11 minute review of the history and current state of monopolies in our economy.
There has been focus on wealth and income inequality for years. It is a pressing problem for more than 80% of the US population. But there is an other inequality, political inequality, that is at the heart of the more talked about inequality. In 2013 Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig provided us with a delightful introduction to how political inequality works – We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim (length 18’14”) in which he —>> read more –>>
- Gilens, Martin, and Benjamin I Page. “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens.” Perspect. Polit. Perspectives on Politics 12, no. 03 (2014): 564–81.
We have written earlier about the fact that effective legal representation and trial by jury is a rarity making one of our cultural icons a complete sham. As Jed Rakoff has noted: In actuality, our criminal justice system is almost exclusively a system of plea bargaining, negotiated behind closed doors and with no judicial oversight. The outcome is very largely determined by the prosecutor alone. In 2013, while 8 percent of all federal criminal charges —>> read more –>>
- Why Innocent People Plead Guilty" by Jed Rakoff in New York Review of Books 11/20/2014 accessed 6/24/2017
Intervention in Iran – 65th Anniversary Iranian Premier Mohammed Mossadegh ca. 1951 On August 19, 1953 President Eisenhower authorized the CIA to support British efforts to launch a coup against the popularly elected government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in favor of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. At immediate issue were plans by Mossadegh to nationalize the British owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and allegations that Mossadegh was in bed with the Soviet Union. Here —>> read more –>>
Corporate concentration of income and wealth are core features of capitalism. From its earliest cheerleaders like Adam Smith, the drive for corporations to get ever larger and in the doing drive their competitors out of the market was noted and warned against. John Oliver provides a thorough and amusing introduction.
Reich’s latest cartoon does a good job of describing the changes in the US economy, weaker on the underlying political campaign by the rich and corporations to restructure the economy to their benefit. Worth the 6 minute viewing time.
Otto Budweiser beer delivery The shape of jobs in the US and around the world it’s changing rapidly. On 11/5/2017 NBC News reported: Self-driving trucks One year ago this week a truck rolled into history as it traveled from a Colorado brewing plant to a warehouse 120 miles away carrying 45,000 cans of Budweiser beer. The early morning run was done using a truck developed by a start-up called Otto, now an Uber subsidiary. Though there —>> read more –>>
This 2015 movie by Chinese director Liang Zhao is filled with great cinematography and sounds. It trades back and forth between scenes of enormous horizon gulping coal mines, under ground mines, iron making, and ends with scenes of a ghost city filled with enormous apartment blocks in a newly developed but vacant city West of Beijing. But, the most arresting part of the movie is its focus on the workers, men and women, in this —>> read more –>>
Park Avenue puts faces to many of the wealthy and the corporations. Do not for a moment think that if we could just rid ourselves of these avaricious individuals that our problems would be solved.
The other day I stumbled on this Tom Lehrer song, “Send in the Marines”. This is as good a summary of American foreign policy as there is, though to update the lyrics for the Obama version just substitute “drones” for “Marines”. Here is a YouTube video performance, perhaps from the That Was The Week That Was (the American version on NBC not the BBC original).
We all have had, some now enduring, experiences in the educational system. Excepting the academic super stars for whom the educational system was designed, most have at best mixed feelings about it. Here is a TED Talk given in 2006 by Ken Robinson: “Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity” It is a compelling critique and most humorous. You will not get through these nineteen minutes without a lot of laughs.
Through our friend Esther Hanig we attended a showing of Errol Morris’s new documentary, The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara at the Kennedy Library in Dorchester MA on December 14, 2003. This documentary is an extended adventure into the historico-biography of Robert S. McNamara, most famous as the Secretary of Defense during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. The movie intersperses close up head shots of McNamara (always shown off —>> read more –>>