Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Government for Sale: An Interesting Discovery in the CIA Files on Donald Trump

by Nomad

Newly-released CIA files offer us a bitter look back at what we used to laugh at decades ago. A satirical op-ed piece is a timely reminder of how far we have come along the path to corporatocracy. And under Trump, it's likely to get a lot worse. 


When I heard the news that the CIA had just uploaded around 13 million formerly classified documents, I did what any inquisitive blogger would do. I hastily typed in Donald Trump's name in the site's search engine. What I found was, to put it mildly, not what I was expecting.
No, nothing scandalous, so don't get too excited. There is one rather peculiar find to report.

Among a few other items, there's a photocopied news clipping of a June 1985 article by the then-editor of the monthly, Harper's Magazine, Lewis Lapham.
This article's presence in the CIA file is very likely to do a very brief mention of the CIA head at the time, Bill Casey. As for the Trump reference, you'll have to be a little patient.

The piece itself is a tongue-in-cheek op-ed entitled "Putting the Government Up for Sale: Deals to Ponder." The crux of the article is pretty basic and is summed up in the first paragraph.
"Sooner or later, it will occur to somebody in the Reagan administration to put the federal government up for sale in a patriotic series of leveraged buy-outs. The deficit and the national debt would vanish as if in magician's smoke. The Dow Jones stock averages would gain 4000 points and everybody lucky enough to command the necessary lines of credit and political patronage would make a killing."

Monday, January 16, 2017

Three Inspiring Stories To Brighten a Gloomy Monday

by Nomad


Suffice to say, the recent days haven't done much to bring much happiness in our lives. I don't know about you but I am finding it hard to find much in the way of silver linings in the present fiasco. It's difficult to stay positive when every day there's some new trauma to contend with.

The really unfortunate part is that we currently live in a world where a person like Anne Coulter or Rush Limbaugh (or a hundred others like them) can effortlessly grab the attention of millions with some divisive and discouraging remark.

It's time we took a break and heard a little good news about good people.
*   *   *


Teacher Retires After 38 Years, But Students’ Heartfelt Send-Off Leaves Him Speechless



Last month, the students at College Paul Fort– a junior high school in Courcouronnes, France- decided to give a proper send-off to their teacher who was retiring after 38 years.

The 63-year-old gym teacher, Alain Donnat, was leaving his final class and heading towards the doors of the school to leave, when.. well, I will let you watch the video to learn what happens next.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Russian Journalist to US Media: Congrats on Trump's Press Conference and Get Used to the New Normal

by Nomad


Immediately following last week's press conference, in which President-elect Trump faced off with the reporters, many in Russia were laughing their heads off. Others were totally astounded by what they saw.
Not, however, for the reasons you might automatically assume. Not because of America's abject humiliation on the world's stage.

A report in The Moscow Times points out:
In Russia, the independent media has gradually eroded under a president who seems to share Donald Trump’s disdain for disruptive journalism. But Russian Twitter users who tuned in to watch Trump’s meeting with the press weren’t partying or seething — for the most part, they were laughing.
Many prominent Russian Twitter users seemed to think the most amusing aspect of Trump’s confrontation with the press was the fact that reporters actually asked him tough questions, sometimes quite aggressively. This is a far cry from the tone at Vladimir Putin’s annual press conferences, where a room packed mostly with sycophants pampers the president with praise, disguised as questions, and opportunities to impress the nation, framed as requests for presidential intervention.
Alexey Kovalev, a Russian journalist who writes about propaganda, fake news, and Russian state media, has a message for US new organizations about Donald Trump.
If you think that Trump press conference was a disaster for journalism, you'd better get used to it.
Kovalev says the Russians have been dealing with this kind of thing for over a decade.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Thomas Wolfe's Message to Trump's America: You Can't Go Home Again

by Nomad


Thomas WolfeAmerican author Thomas Wolfe's travels through 1936 Nazi Germany comprised part of his posthumous novel. Excerpts from the book reveal the ways a society can adapt to the unstoppable approach of a brutal regime.



The Shortcomings of "Genius"

Last Saturday night I saw a film called "Genius." It was, to put it as nicely as possible, not as good a film as it should have been.
The germ of the idea was worthy enough, to be sure. The point of the film, I suppose, was that often genius relies on hard and cold self-evaluation. Oftentimes, the artist is the last person capable of this type of hard-nosed discipline.

The other side of genius is knowing what to leave out, what to excise in order to enhance the focus and strength.
Fair enough, but in an age where the only rule of communication is trying to keep it down to 144 characters, it seems to be a bit of lesson too well learned.

To be honest, until I watched the movie, I really hadn't known much about the life of the writer Thomas Wolfe. He never made it on my reading list but I gather that in style he was a forerunner to the later Beat Generation's Kerouac.

Actually, I kept getting him confused with other similar names. Thomas Mann and the author and journalist, Tom Wolfe, a Republican dainty who wears a white tie, white homburg hat, and two-tone shoes.

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