Chomsky Wednesday

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NOAM CHOMSKY: The U.S. isolation at Marrakech is symptomatic of broader developments that we should think about pretty carefully. They’re of considerable significance. U.S. isolation in the world is increasing in remarkable ways. Maybe the most striking is right in this hemisphere, what used to be called “our little region over here”—Henry Stimson, secretary of war under Roosevelt, “our little region over here,” where nobody bothers us. If anybody gets out of line, we punish them harshly; otherwise, they do what we say. That’s very far from true. During this century, Latin America, for the first time in 500 years, has freed itself from Western imperialism. Last century, that’s the United States. The International Monetary Fund, which is basically an agency of the U.S. Treasury, has been kicked out of the—of South America entirely. There are no U.S. military bases left. The international organizations, the—the hemispheric organizations are beginning to exclude the United States and Canada. In 2015, there was a summit coming up, and the United States might have been excluded completely from the hemisphere over the issue of Cuba. That was the crucial issue that the hemisphere—on which the hemisphere opposed U.S. policy, as does the world. That’s surely the reason why Obama made the gestures towards normalization, that were at least some step forward—and could be reversed under Trump. We don’t know.

@ DEMOCRACY NOW

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Tasteless Tuesday

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Last year, some subway riders were startled when they stepped into 42nd Street shuttle trains which were plastered in Nazi imagery to promote Amazon’s drama series, The Man in the High Castle, based on Philip K. Dick’s novel that imagines a world where the Axis powers were victorious after World War II. The ads were removed (Governor Cuomo asked the MTA’s chairman to yank ’em), but the show was renewed for another season, which meant that more advertising would come… which it has.

Uri Katz spotted this huge block-long billboard on Broadway, between 51st and 52nd Street, on his way to work this morning. “Because of traffic, the first thing I saw was Lady Liberty and the Nazi salute and my heart missed a beat,” he told us.

“I know the show, and watched the first season myself, but I can think of a million better ways to promote this show, and I can’t even imagine how a Holocaust survivor who lives in the city would feel if they saw that,” Katz continued. “This is tactless in so many ways.”

@ THEGOTHAMIST

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A Better Monday

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Standing Rock Sioux siblings Austin, Mani, and PJ, stand in front of a police-guarded barricade. Photograph: Joe Whittle for the Guardian

‘We opened eyes’: at Standing Rock, my fellow Native Americans made history.

Joe Whittle

As an Indigenous American, there was never any question of whether I should travel to Standing Rock or not. I needed to witness firsthand what was happening there, and wanted to offer solidarity to those fighting for the right of tribes to exercise agency over their own futures.

Only one problem remained: I had to find a way to go.

I am not a man of means. I weighed obligations, such as bills and work, and considered travelling expenses. I glanced at my vehicle, already knowing it was hardly suited for the 1,100-mile drive from my home in north-east Oregon, and resigned myself to staying home. I just couldn’t afford the trip.

But as police use of force escalated and news came out of private oil company security contractors using dogs against protesters, more and more people began to reach out to me, expressing a desire to help.

In early November, I was contacted by my good friend Jamie Stone, who said he wanted to go and offered his truck and trailer to haul supplies. Jamie also happens to be a former oil worker on the North Slope of Alaska. His uncle is an oil executive, and his brother works for oil companies around the globe, but he also has family members who are farmers in the midwest and have had easements forced across their own land for oil pipelines.

“This issue brings a lot of people together for a lot of reasons,” Jamie told me, “whether it’s eminent domain, protecting water rights, or just people sick of ‘profit over people’. These corporate terrorists need to get the point that people are changing, and we aren’t going to be their sheep for much longer.”

@ TG

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Sunny Sunday

LARGE CORONAL HOLE TURNING TOWARD EARTH: A large hole in the sun’s atmosphere has formed and it is turning toward Earth. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory took this extreme ultraviolet image of the structure on Dec. 3rd:

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This is a “coronal hole”–a region where the sun’s magnetic field has opened up, allowing solar wind to escape. A stream of solar wind emerging from this coronal hole could reach Earth as early as Dec. 7th and influence the near-space environment of our planet for several days. G1-class geomagnetic storms and high-latitude auroras are possible when the solar wind arrives.

@ SPACEWEATHER

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Saturday Must Reading

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The Dangerous Deception Called The Trump Presidency

By F. William Engdahl

December 01, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – The project called the Trump Presidency has just two months before its formal beginning. Yet already the hopes and fantasies of much of the world are making him into something and someone Donald Trump most definitely is not. Donald Trump is yet another project of the same boring old patriarchs who try again and again to create a one world order that they control absolutely, a New World Order that one close Trump backer once referred to as universal fascism. Ignore the sometimes fine rhetoric in some of his speeches. Talk is cheap. If we consider rather the agenda that’s taking form even in these very early days of cabinet naming, we can see that Donald Trump is the same agenda of war and global empire as Obama, as Bush before him, as Bill Clinton and Clinton’s “tutor”, George H.W. Bush before him. There is no good side to what the world is about to experience with President Trump

‘Ladies and gentlemen, It’s Showtime!’ Today we give you Donald Trump. He will tell you just what many of you want to hear. Trump the showman will tell you he will make America great again; Trump will say he will ship at least 3 million illegals back across the Rio Grande; Trump will introduce a bill to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization; Trump will bring jobs back to America from China and other low wage countries; Trump will sit down with Putin and work out some kind of a deal to calm things down; Trump will scrap the Iran nuclear deal of Obama…

Often during this election campaign, which was more a Hollywood “D” grade movie than any honest debate of policies and ideas candidate Trump made statements that resonated with the “silent majority” of not only so-called blue collar workers, but also the disenfranchised middle class whose earnings have been declining in real terms since the 1970’s. Trump, like an earlier actor-President named Ronald Reagan, has a talent to make himself sound sincere.

@ ICH

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Mark Fiore

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Terrifying Thursday

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Theft by proxy

Yes, Donald Trump’s politics are incoherent. But those who surround him know just what they want, and his lack of clarity enhances their power. To understand what is coming, we need to understand who they are. I know all too well, because I have spent the past 15 years fighting them.

Over this time, I have watched as tobacco, coal, oil, chemicals and biotech companies have poured billions of dollars into an international misinformation machine composed of thinktanks, bloggers and fake citizens’ groups. Its purpose is to portray the interests of billionaires as the interests of the common people, to wage war against trade unions and beat down attempts to regulate business and tax the very rich. Now the people who helped run this machine are shaping the government.

I first encountered the machine when writing about climate change. The fury and loathing directed at climate scientists and campaigners seemed incomprehensible until I realised they were fake: the hatred had been paid for. The bloggers and institutes whipping up this anger were funded by oil and coal companies.

Among those I clashed with was Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). The CEI calls itself a thinktank, but looks to me like a corporate lobbying group. It is not transparent about its funding, but we now know it has received $2m from ExxonMobil, more than $4m from a group called the Donors Trust (which represents various corporations and billionaires), $800,000 from groups set up by the tycoons Charles and David Koch, and substantial sums from coal, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies.

George Monbiot @ TG

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