McCain As Metaphor

Some people are living symbols, sheer embodiments of a concept that fits their persona as snugly as their skin: e.g. the Dalai Lama personifies Contemplative Piety, Harvey Weinstein is the incarnation of Brazen Vulgarity, and John McCain’s very person exudes the sweaty blustery spirit of Empire. His entire history – born in the Panama Canal … Continue reading “McCain As Metaphor”

Trump: Rhetoric vs. Reality

With Donald Trump in the White House, merrily tweeting whatever disruptive and disturbing sentiments erupt from his consciousness in the early morning hours, hysteria has become the default condition of our pundit class. Trump tweets that “only one thing” can stop Korean despot Kim Jong-un’s nuclear pyrotechnics, and the editorialists swing into action, while the … Continue reading “Trump: Rhetoric vs. Reality”

The Campaign To Rein In the Internet

The latest “news” about Russia-gate is the contention that “Russian-linked” ad buyers purchased $100,000 worth of targeted Facebook ads during the 2016 presidential election. For the most part these ads didn’t urge support for any particular candidate, but, we’re told, they were “divisive,” “controversial,” and definitely Not Very Nice. So what did the ads say? … Continue reading “The Campaign To Rein In the Internet”

Catalonia: What’s Next?

As the Spanish government reveals the true nature of its “democratic” pretensions, injuring hundreds in an effort to stop Catalans from voting, one thing is clear: Catalonia is no longer Spanish. In the very effort to prevent the referendum Madrid has handed the victory to the separatists: this is what the sight of Spanish police … Continue reading “Catalonia: What’s Next?”

Propaganda and the Catalonia Referendum

The laziness of journalists is legendary. Especially these days, when the line between journalist and propagandist has been blurred, the many ways in which these scribblers take shortcuts and otherwise seek to make their jobs less strenuous have been greatly increased. While outright plagiarism used to be the favored method, with the advance of technology … Continue reading “Propaganda and the Catalonia Referendum”

Trump at the UN: The Politics of Rodomontade

What will go down in history as the “Rocket man” speech underscores the confusion, the contradictions, the dangers, and even some of the virtues – however attenuated – of the Trump presidency. Despite the flamboyant rhetoric – or, perhaps, because of it – it’s hard to take Trump’s threat to “destroy” North Korea seriously. Trump … Continue reading “Trump at the UN: The Politics of Rodomontade”

In Catalonia: A Spanish Tiananmen Square?

One of those crises that no one saw coming is about to rear its head in a very unlikely locale: Catalonia, Spain’s richest province, where the local government has scheduled an independence referendum on October 1.  Of course, some observers – e,g, Julian Assange – did see it coming, but the current trend to find “fascists” … Continue reading “In Catalonia: A Spanish Tiananmen Square?”

Rand Paul’s Comeback

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has learned his lesson, and it is this: it’s better to be bold. He’s exchanged the mealy-mouthed equivocations of his ill-fated presidential run – when he actually met with Bill Kristol, presumably to negotiate getting a break from his neoconservative nemeses – with a full-on frontal assault against the War Party. … Continue reading “Rand Paul’s Comeback”