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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 64,706

Journal Archives

Thinking Dangerously in an Age of Political Betrayal


Henry A. Giroux | Thinking Dangerously in an Age of Political Betrayal

Monday, 14 July 2014 09:57
By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout | Op-Ed


Thinking is not the intellectual reproduction of what already exists anyway. As long as it doesn't break off, thinking has a secure hold on possibility. . . . Open thinking points beyond itself.
- Theodor Adorno

That is, there are no dangerous thoughts for the simple reason that thinking itself is such a dangerous enterprise. . . . nonthinking is even more dangerous.
- Hannah Arendt



Thinking has become dangerous in the United States. As Paul Stoller observes, the symptoms are everywhere including a Texas GOP Party platform that states, "We oppose teaching of Higher order Thinking Skills have the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental control" to a Tennessee bill that "allows the teaching of creationism in state's classrooms."

At a time when anti-intellectualism runs rampant throughout popular culture and the political landscape, it seems imperative to once again remind ourselves of how important critical thought as a crucible for thinking analytically can be both a resource and an indispensable tool. If critical thought, sometimes disparaged as theory, gets a bad name, it is not because it is inherently dogmatic, jargonistic or rigidly specialized, but because it is often abused or because it becomes a tool of irrelevancy - a form of theoreticism in which theory becomes an end in itself. This abuse of critical thought appears to have a particularly strong hold in the humanities, especially among many graduate students in English departments who often succumb to surrendering their own voices to class projects and dissertations filled with obtuse jargon associated with the most fashionable theorists of the moment. Such work is largely rewarded less for its originality than the fact that it threatens no one.

At the same time there are many students who find the esoteric language associated with dangerous thinking and critical thought to be too difficult to master or engage. The latter points to the fact that some theories may be useless because they are too impenetrable to decipher or that there are theories which support bad practices such as high-stakes testing, creationism, faith-based evidence, the spanking of children, incarcerating children as adults and other assumptions and policies that are equally poisonous. Theory is not inherently good or bad. Its meaning and efficacy are rooted in a politics of usefulness, accessibility and whether it can be used resourcefully to articulate frameworks and tools that deepen the possibility of self-reflection, critical thought and a sense of social responsibility. For instance, a theory is bad if it inadequately grasps the forces at work in the world and simply reproduces it as it is. Theory is also injurious when it is used to legitimate modes of inquiry and research that are bought by corporations, the military and other state and private institutions to legitimate dangerous products, policies and social practices.

Theory has no guarantees, and like any other mode of thought, it has to be problematized, critically engaged and judged in terms of its interests, effects and value as part of a broader enhancement of human agency and democratization. At their best, theory, thinking dangerously and critical thought have the power to shift the questions, provide the tools for offering historical and relational contexts, and "push at the frontiers . . . of the human imagination." (1) Moreover, theory functions as a critical resource when it can intervene in the "continuity of commonsense, unsettle strategies of domination" and work to promote strategies of transformation.(2) As Theodor Adorno observes, "Theory speaks for what is not narrow-minded - and commonsense most certainly is."(3) As such, theory is not only analytical in its search for understanding and truth, it is also critical and subversive, always employing modes of self and social critique necessary to examine its own grounds and those poisonous fundamentalisms in the larger society haunting the body politic. As Michael Payne observes, theory should be cast in the language of hints, dialogue and an openness to other positions, rather than be "cast in the language or orders." ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/24869-henry-a-giroux-thinking-dangerously-in-an-age-of-political-betrayal



Thinking Dangerously in an Age of Political Betrayal


Henry A. Giroux | Thinking Dangerously in an Age of Political Betrayal

Monday, 14 July 2014 09:57
By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout | Op-Ed


Thinking is not the intellectual reproduction of what already exists anyway. As long as it doesn't break off, thinking has a secure hold on possibility. . . . Open thinking points beyond itself.
- Theodor Adorno

That is, there are no dangerous thoughts for the simple reason that thinking itself is such a dangerous enterprise. . . . nonthinking is even more dangerous.
- Hannah Arendt



Thinking has become dangerous in the United States. As Paul Stoller observes, the symptoms are everywhere including a Texas GOP Party platform that states, "We oppose teaching of Higher order Thinking Skills have the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental control" to a Tennessee bill that "allows the teaching of creationism in state's classrooms."

At a time when anti-intellectualism runs rampant throughout popular culture and the political landscape, it seems imperative to once again remind ourselves of how important critical thought as a crucible for thinking analytically can be both a resource and an indispensable tool. If critical thought, sometimes disparaged as theory, gets a bad name, it is not because it is inherently dogmatic, jargonistic or rigidly specialized, but because it is often abused or because it becomes a tool of irrelevancy - a form of theoreticism in which theory becomes an end in itself. This abuse of critical thought appears to have a particularly strong hold in the humanities, especially among many graduate students in English departments who often succumb to surrendering their own voices to class projects and dissertations filled with obtuse jargon associated with the most fashionable theorists of the moment. Such work is largely rewarded less for its originality than the fact that it threatens no one.

At the same time there are many students who find the esoteric language associated with dangerous thinking and critical thought to be too difficult to master or engage. The latter points to the fact that some theories may be useless because they are too impenetrable to decipher or that there are theories which support bad practices such as high-stakes testing, creationism, faith-based evidence, the spanking of children, incarcerating children as adults and other assumptions and policies that are equally poisonous. Theory is not inherently good or bad. Its meaning and efficacy are rooted in a politics of usefulness, accessibility and whether it can be used resourcefully to articulate frameworks and tools that deepen the possibility of self-reflection, critical thought and a sense of social responsibility. For instance, a theory is bad if it inadequately grasps the forces at work in the world and simply reproduces it as it is. Theory is also injurious when it is used to legitimate modes of inquiry and research that are bought by corporations, the military and other state and private institutions to legitimate dangerous products, policies and social practices.

Theory has no guarantees, and like any other mode of thought, it has to be problematized, critically engaged and judged in terms of its interests, effects and value as part of a broader enhancement of human agency and democratization. At their best, theory, thinking dangerously and critical thought have the power to shift the questions, provide the tools for offering historical and relational contexts, and "push at the frontiers . . . of the human imagination." (1) Moreover, theory functions as a critical resource when it can intervene in the "continuity of commonsense, unsettle strategies of domination" and work to promote strategies of transformation.(2) As Theodor Adorno observes, "Theory speaks for what is not narrow-minded - and commonsense most certainly is."(3) As such, theory is not only analytical in its search for understanding and truth, it is also critical and subversive, always employing modes of self and social critique necessary to examine its own grounds and those poisonous fundamentalisms in the larger society haunting the body politic. As Michael Payne observes, theory should be cast in the language of hints, dialogue and an openness to other positions, rather than be "cast in the language or orders." ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/24869-henry-a-giroux-thinking-dangerously-in-an-age-of-political-betrayal



The Criminalization of Black Youth and the Rise of Restorative Justice


The Criminalization of Black Youth and the Rise of Restorative Justice

Sunday, 20 July 2014 00:00
By Max Eternity, Truthout | Interview


In the spring of 2014, on two separate occasions, African-American teenagers - a 15-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy - were pushed through windows by police. Fortunately, both teens survived their encounter, though it was a very close call for the boy. No reports of white teens being pushed through windows by police have been discovered. These violent incidents are just a couple of examples of how, for many African-Americans, youth offers little hope and few niceties.

"Black children are dehumanized to such an extent that they aren't perceived as children at all," writes Margaret Kimberly in "Police Target Black Children." Citing a new report published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Kimberly says African-American children "are assumed to be older, less innocent and inherently guilty."

Along with racial profiling and other legal harassment, like stop-and-frisk, being pushed through a window by police has apparently become a new reality for brown-skinned kids. Yet how is such aggression and violence justified by law enforcement, and are these incidents to be imagined as mere coincidence - or explained as reflective of black pathology rather than police pathology?

Among extrajudicial deaths at the hands of police and white vigilantes, the tragic stories of Travon Martin and Oscar Grant have garnered media attention, but are also highly contested narratives. Less talked about is the institutionalized climate of fear that has been normalized for brown-skinned youth - the daily domestic terror by police. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/24816-the-criminalization-of-black-youth-interviews-with-kai-wright-and-allen-nance



Richard Wolff: "We can't even discuss public banking? We can't discuss converting banks into coops?"


Listen: http://rdwolff.com/content/economic-update-economic-realities


by Richard Wolff.
PUBLISHED ON JULY 19, 2014


Updates on big bank fines, Tracy Morgan sues Walmart, highway trust and taxes, extreme wealth inequality in the Hamptons. Major discussions of workers self-directed enterprises and Oxfam's data on extreme global wealth inequality. Response to listeners on relation of wages to prices and on economic "value" of solar, wind and green energy vs coal, oil, gas and nuclear.


British PM Cameron Enabling Wall Street’s Takeover of National Health Service


via truthdig:



The U.K.’s cherished public health service is in danger of being sold off to private corporations via a trade deal that would create a single market between the European Union and the United States and open future British governments to massive lawsuits in international courts should they attempt to reverse the decision.

The proposal is another example of a country’s elite selling out institutions that are necessary to the public welfare for the sake of maintaining and increasing its own wealth and power.

Embedded in a pact called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the deal was being negotiated in Brussels last week. Len McCluskey of Unite the Union, Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union, wrote on Thursday in The Guardian:

The government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 opened the floodgates to the NHS sell-off. The act has massively increased the number of private providers in the NHS. Since this act came in to force, 70% of health services put out to tender have gone to the private sector.

Many of these companies are US-based or have Wall Street investors. Serco, for example, is involved in the provision of health services within the NHS and is owned by big Wall Street investment firms such as Invesco, Fidelity and BlackRock. Now Cameron is set on giving these US investors new powers to sue any future UK government if it makes changes to health policy that might stop the dollars rolling in.

The deal will mean that American investors will be able to haul any UK government that tries to reverse privatisation to a tribunal – the “investor state dispute settlement” that would operate outside the law of this land. These tribunals will have the power to award billions in damages and compensation for lost profits and the loss of projected future profits, with no right of appeal. Yes, that is right – no right of appeal.


In short, McCluskey continues, the British public would face a massive price hurdle if any government it elected sought to return NHS control to public hands. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/cameron_enabling_wall_streets_takeover_of_national_health_service_20140719



Bill Black on the Citigroup settlement: "Misrepresentations is a fancy way of saying Citi lied"


By William K. Black

The third omission from Attorney General Eric Holder’s press conference announcing the settlement with Citigroup of civil charges was the words “criminal” and “indictment.” The
Department of Justice (DOJ) press conference had a scripted press release.

According to DOJ’s Statements there should have been Numerous Indictments

The DOJ press release contains the following statements that logically should have led to an indictment of a large number of Citi’s officers. Holder states: “The bank’s activities contributed mightily to the financial crisis that devastated our economy in 2008.” Citi “made serious misrepresentations to the public – including the investing public – about the mortgage loans it securitized in RMBS.” Holder’s press release called them “toxic mortgages.” Holder emphasized the “strength of the evidence of the wrongdoing committed by Citi….” Holder stated that Citi’s officers knowingly made false “reps and warranties.”

“Contrary to those representations, Citigroup securitized and sold RMBS with underlying mortgage loans that it knew had material defects.

Citigroup nevertheless securitized the loan pools containing defective loans and sold the resulting RMBS to investors for billions of dollars. This conduct, along with similar conduct by other banks that bundled defective and toxic loans into securities and misled investors who purchased those securities, contributed to the financial crisis.”


The U.S. Attorneys leading the investigation made these statements in the press release.

“‘Our teams found that the misconduct in Citigroup’s deals devastated the nation and the world’s economies, touching everyone,’ said U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch. ‘The investors in Citigroup RMBS included federally-insured financial institutions, as well as a host of states, cities, public and union pension and benefit funds, universities, religious charities, and hospitals, among others. These are our neighbors in Colorado, New York and around the country, hard-working people who saved and put away for retirement, only to see their savings decimated.’”


The Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) even got to play a part in the press release.

“Michael Stephens, Acting Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency said, ‘Citigroup securitized billions of dollars of defective mortgages, after which investors suffered enormous losses by purchasing RMBS from Citi not knowing about those defects. Today’s settlement is another significant step by FHFA-OIG and its law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who committed acts of fraud and deceit in the lead up to the financial crisis….’”


Note that Stephens was the only one to use the “f” word.

.......(snip).......

Holder Ignores the Criminals and Purports to Hold a Legal Fiction “Accountable”

Notice that Holder and his lieutenants did not identify any of Citi’s banksters who led, and were made wealthy by, some of the most damaging financial frauds in history. DOJ, inadvertently, demonstrated that the primary fraud scheme involved Citi’s senior officers “looting” Citi. Holder describes (but does not understand that he has done so) a classic case of accounting control fraud. These fraud schemes were described decades ago in the white-collar criminology literature, the financial regulatory literature, and the classic 1993 article by George Akerlof and Paul Romer entitled “Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit.” They were then described (partially) again in the literature on “tunneling.” ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2014/07/ag-holder-u-s-announces-indictment-citigroups-senior-officers-fraud.html



"Wall Street owns him, just like they own the next person in line -- Hillary Clinton"

&index=6&list=PLrcTxj34M_VZoJoAh2O7iWvZSsTDNkL41


Why Do Banksters Get Help But Not Homeowners? -- Thom Hartmann featuring guest Mike Papantonio


"Run Liz Run"


The chants at Netroots Nation just now as Elizabeth Warren is walking up to the podium.


Hidden Detroit Gems: Jefferson East


from Model D:




Jefferson East is coming together with new million-dollar riverfront housing, plenty of infill family homes and town homes and a reviving commercial district.

The up-and-coming area boasts active, close-knit neighborhoods, a yacht club, canalfront living and riverfront parks, plus new shopping centers filled with amenities.

Its big event is Jazzin' on Jefferson in June, which brings thousands to the district for two days of music and merriment each year.


http://www.modeldmedia.com/cities/jeffeast/default.aspx



How the rise of electricity transformed urban life in Detroit


from Model D:


How the rise of electricity transformed urban life in Detroit
AMY ELLIOTT BRAGG | TUESDAY, JULY 15, 2014




Here's a famous story: Alex Dow, manager of the Edison Illuminating Company of Detroit, saw promise in his young chief engineer, and in 1896, he invited the engineer to join him at a conference in New York. One night, at a dinner with Thomas Edison, Dow introduced his chief engineer thusly: "There's a young fellow who has made a gas car."

Dow said it laughingly -- A gas car! At the dawn of the electric age! -- and related a story about the engineer's prototype "pop-pop-popping" along the street in front of the station. But after some discussion about the car's technology and the engineer's development of an improved sparked plug, Edison banged the table and said to the engineer: "Young man, that's the thing. You have it. Keep at it."

The chief engineer, of course, was Henry Ford, and this story is famous because it's about following your dreams and pursuing your genius in the face of a doubting world. But hidden inside of this platitudinal story is another more surprising one, a story we take for granted: In pioneering a gas-powered automobile, Ford was out of step with the innovation of his time. We know the story of Ford. We don't know the story of the step. And the step was epic. On a scale of one to "changed everything," the world-transforming rise of electricity competes pretty capably with the Model T.

"We like to think that our generation has lived through the greatest technological transformational change," says Jeff Horner, a lecturer in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Wayne State University. But in the late 1800s and early 1900s, "we figured out how to harness electricity as a serious source of power in a very short period of time -- 10 or 15 years."

"It was much bigger than the internet," he says. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/detroit-energy-history071514.aspx


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