Joanna Macy

Joanna Macy:

For the last 36 years, since the advent into power of Ronald Reagan, public education and the public school system has been gutted. It’s criminal that we’ve seen how two whole generations have grown up with shamefully limited understanding of the world, history and geography. People in this country now have great difficulty in critical thinking and being able to express themselves.

The public mind has been shattered, fragmented.

Remember reading Macy’s book in the 80s, in the slide into darkness that was the Reagan Administration. Giroux’s got another piece analyzing US destitute thinking on truthdig.org. His hope placed in women’s marches, or Hedges’ calling for protesters to “make America ungovernable” remind me of Jacobin Magazine’s article on the”general strike” coming up, in which those “who can do so without being fired” should go on strike. I think people in this country now have great difficulty in critical thinking.

 

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Novels of Mass Destruction

We subsequently found out, as the U.S. military prepared to invade Iraq, that Saddam was sending the latest draft of a novel he was writing to Tariq Aziz to critique. This was not a man bracing for a pulverizing military attack.

—John Nixon, Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein, (New York: Penguin Random House, 2016), 40.

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Understanding Things

The BBC covering Trump’s meeting with police chiefs today:

Mr Trump also said: “I was a good student. I understand things. I comprehend very well. OK? Better than, I think, almost anybody.”

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Tillerson

BBC: Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil, has been confirmed by the US Senate to become President Donald Trump’s secretary of state.

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First they came for the Muslims

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Bad Acid

Watching Democracy Now‘s coverage of Saturday’s Women’s March I have to echo a Guardian article:

And when Ashley Judd gave her speech – a mangled, rambling, beat poetry thing, where she amped up her southern accent and likened modern-day micro-aggressions to black slavery and the Holocaust – I felt a little like I’d taken acid (bad acid).

I think I’m not a pink knitted cat ear hat wearing kind of guy.

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American Carnage

From the BBC: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” President Trump said on the steps of the Capitol.

American carnage.

President Trump.

 

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It is not feasible to treat the American public as if they were intelligence analysts being trained in a classroom to acknowledge and overcome their mindsets. Probably no one has ever won an election in the United States by telling citizens how ignorant or biased they are.

—Paul Pillar, Why America Misunderstands the World, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016), 166.

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Orthogenesis

This afternoon I am wondering what Teilhard de Chardin would think about Donald Trump.

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It’s 2017

It’s 2017, and questioning the recent report on Russia hacking the DNC has in the last couple days gotten me told by an old history teacher friend that I’m taking Trump’s position, told by someone I don’t know on Facebook “if you believe that Putin is so pure, there’s nothing stopping you from moving to Russia.”

I’m pondering that statement this morning. It’s 2017, and questioning the veracity of US intelligence prompts the suggestion that I can move to Russia. So much of my hair is white now. It’s a cool, gray morning here. The sky turning from gray to blue, quiet morning sounds bring back memories of GE’s Re-entry Division, Rockwell International, SAC, the Pentagon, the Nevada Test Site, ignorant angry Americans, men and women of various ages telling me I can go to Russia.

I’m enjoying Paul Pillar’s Why America Misunderstands the World. Pillar’s analysis of the historical factors behind American exceptionalism seems to me accurate.

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