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Category Archives: Political issues

A simple case study: How propaganda works

There are very few exceptions: Right-wingers and the Republican Party cannot win elections or have their way without lying and cheating. Without a sophisticated propaganda system (and, increasingly under Trumpism, the demonization of the responsible media), the right wing would be exposed as what it truly is: A radical minority with a highly unpopular agenda, […]

Environmental justice: The people fight back

Al Gore This is a rather long photo essay. I hope you’ll bear with me. People sometimes ask me why I choose to live in a rural and seemingly backward place like Stokes County, North Carolina, after 18 years in an urbane place like San Francisco. Stokes is a poor county in the foothills of […]

Hiding in the woods indeed

I watched this doe for a good while yesterday. She couldn’t see me. I was at a window facing the orchard gate. She skulked out of the woods and made for the nearest patch of clover. Then she tore at the clover as though she was starving. Though her ribs were slightly visible, I don’t […]

Old Scotland and the modern world

How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The true story of how Western Europe’s poorest nation created our world and everything in it. By Arthur Herman. Random House, 2001. 472 pages. The title and subtitle of this book contain quite a lot of hyperbole. Of course the Scots didn’t create the modern world and everything […]

The paradoxes of purity

Jakub Józef Orliński, YouTube. What is he singing? Please don’t play the video yet. We’ll watch it in a second. Far more than we realize, the idea of purity affects how we see, and how we react to, the world. Yet we’re barely conscious of our reactions based on purity. We can’t talk about purity […]

The eve of self-destruction

Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, Paige Patterson, Paul Presslar Slogging through the news each morning (and afternoon, and evening) is increasingly dangerous to the mental health of rational, morally sane people. Yet I hold my nose and continue to do it. Whether we acknowledge it or not, Americans really are living through a Manichaean period of […]

J.B. Priestley

“An Inspector Calls,” BBC, 2015 J.B. Priestley had never particularly been on my literary radar screen. He should have been. I will work on that. Last night, with quite a few gigabytes of satellite data to use up before my account does its monthly reset, I was determined to find something good to stream, which […]

Taking a look at the Facebook propaganda

On May 10, the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released information on 3,500 Facebook ads that were posted by Russian agents to influence the 2016 election. Here is the Washington Post story. Here is a link to PDF files of the ads on a House web site. Every reasonable American should look at these […]

Ken’s third book is out

Ken’s third book is out. You can buy it in bookstores tomorrow (April 10, 2018) or you can order it from Amazon now. I hardly need to say how proud I am of Ken, with his third book published at the age of 34. Here’s a link to the Kirkus review. And here’s a link […]

What’s wrong with conservatives?

In my rather long lifetime, the depravity of the conservative mind has never been more on display than it is today. Never in my lifetime has conservatism been more aggressive or used viler tactics in its efforts to remake the world in its own repugnant image. We see it in the vilification of the poor, […]