Russell Brand Interview

Russell Brand Interview

I found this interview with Russell Brand from Salon very interesting.  That’s not to say that my reposting of it is a rubber stamp for everything he says, but I do find him to be intelligent.  He is willing to look beneath the surface of our, and England’s, national bullshit story.  A sample:

Why do you think it is that your message can get applause on the Letterman show — which is probably American tourists from all over the country — and yet the revolution that we have had most recently is a Tea Party revolution, that essentially started with CNBC and a talking head who was outraged that homeowners were getting bailed out. He blamed all the wrong people, and we’ve not exactly had the equivalent revolutionary movement on the left.

I think I understand. Could I borrow your paper? (starts drawing) I think it’s because of the way the energy must move. I think it’s selfishness. Say that Republicans run on selfishness and greed — which is in all of us — I think the way that that energy travels is fast and in short journeys. I think altruism might have a longer journey. I think it might move more slowly. So I think if you’re trying to fire people up on this sort of fear circuit – these ancient systems of anatomical survival, of selfishness and greed, they’ve been functioning for a long, long time. Now we have a culture that is predicated on those things. We’ve acculturated aspects of our nature that are required only for our survival. And if they are overstimulated, fear and desire create a kind of primeval prison.

So I think why it’s easier to get a Tea Party message, a Republican message, across is because they function on fear and desire. These are fast-moving circuits. It’s very hard for me to motivate myself to meditate and do yoga. It’s very easy to motivate myself to eat chocolate or pursue attractive women. There is a lot of fire for those things. So I suppose what we have to do is look at the methods of communication. That’s why I have to go on “Today.” That’s why I have to talk a certain way. That’s why, I suppose, I haven’t yet left, entirely, this aquarium or arena. Because it’s not time yet.

In Defense of Obama

Krugman in Defense of Obama

Recently I posted an article where Cornel West criticized President Obama from the perspective of the left.  The right wing is not serious in its criticism of Obama as they have pretty much been against everything Obama has done since day one of his presidency.  The above article is from Rolling Stone Magazine and it is an article by Paul Krugman who defends Obama’s presidency.  It’s worth a read as it may give you a different perspective on recent political events.  I personally go back and forth how I feel about his presidency.  At all times I support him over the opposition, because well, the opposition seems nothing short of insane to me.  However, that does not mean that I support everything he has done.  I am troubled by our use of drones among other policies.  Anyway, if you don’t think Obama is an Islamic communist, then check out the article.  It is definitely an interesting perspective.

Cornel West On Obama

Cornel West: “The state of Black America in the age of Obama has been one of desperation, confusion and capitulation” http://www.salon.com/2014/10/05/cornel_west_the_state_of_black_america_in_the_age_of_obama_has_been_one_of_desperation_confusion_and_capitulation/

Salon has been pretty terrible lately.  It has slowly been turning into a Huffington Post that seems designed to generate as many clicks as possible through ridiculous headlines.  It might soon be time to delete this app on my phone as well.  But, for the time being, there are still some really great articles there.  I found this criticism of President Obama, by Cornel West, from a leftwing perspective, interesting.  I think criticism of leaders is important, even if you support them over the opposition.  If you understand how politics work, then you know that the people often lead the leaders towards making changes. 

John Oliver On Drones

This is an absolutely excellent on The United States drone program.  While most news is entertainment posing as news, this is news posing as entertainment.  You will see a far more in depth discussion on our drone program than you will see on almost any cable news channel.  It just happens to be delivered by someone that can pepper the information he is delivering with some great jokes.  Our use of drones is one of the moral and ethical dilemmas of our time.  The fact that we are not having a greater discussion on this is troubling.  I have admitted to supporting Obama in the past.  This is one issue that he is terrible on and should be held accountable for.

The Foggy Morality of War

I have been traveling a lot lately and have been ridiculously busy, as well as dealing with some personal things.  Because of this I don’t feel that I have been able to come to any strong opinion if we are taking the right course of action against ISIS.  I feel like the only way you can get a bead with what is going on in the world anymore is to read a host of different opinions and try as best you can to parse the truth out of them piece by piece.  (And don’t watch the TV news ever!)

However, I have had some random thoughts and questions that do speak ill of our times.  I thought I would share them:

1.  What does it mean when we have been at war so long that the fact we are bombing another country doesn’t seem all that odd?  Like I should either be morally outraged or cautiously supportive, but I can’t seem to feel any strong emotion one way or the other.  Is this how peace in our time truly dies?  Little by little, year after year, until we just except the horrible state of things?

2.  What does it say that when we go to war I no longer trust the reasons that we are being given?  I like Obama overall, at least a million times more than his opposition, but I can’t help but feel that any president from either side is at least going to be partly influenced by our ever growing military industrial complex.  The Bush Administration’s bogus Iraq War did a great deal to damage the credibility of our leaders.  However, if you read American history from the end of World War II on, we don’t exactly have a great track record.

3.  Would a group like ISIS even be an issue had we stayed out of the Middle East?  Is our involvement now going to bring a group even worse than ISIS in the future?

Look I am under no illusions that the world would be better off without ISIS.  However, knowing that, how that fact is dealt with is where things start to become murky.  Obama may very well be taking the best approach that he can given the circumstances that he is facing.  I don’t feel that I have read enough to know what to think about our current military approach.  But it does trouble me that we have reached a place, where due to the events of recent years, that the morality of our country at war appears more foggy than ever.

High Speed-Rail

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http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/07/us/delays-persist-for-us-high-speed-rail.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSumSmallMediaHigh&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

This is an article about why we have failed to implement more high-speed rail in our country during the Obama years.  There is plenty of blame to go around as the administration, Republicans, and local governments have either made mistakes or directly opposed progress on this issue.

When I was in Japan last year I was blown away by how great the public transportation was.  In seeing the traffic around most U.S. cities, I will never understand why there isn’t a greater public push for more public transportation.

Sullivan on Torture

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http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/08/03/obama-torture-transparency-and-the-rule-of-law/

 

A pretty powerful post by Andrew Sullivan about the torture.  Although he views Bush and his gang as war criminals, he also finds Obama’s unwillingness to address the issue in any kind of meaningful way deeply unsettling.