I first encountered Lori Grinker’s remarkable work as a photographer in her book Afterwar: Veterans from a World in Conflict, where a century of war is represented by and through portraits of individuals and their haunting stories of war.
As production is moved to ever more distant locales, with ever lower labor and environmental standards, the corporations behind these moves want all barriers to the movement of raw materials and finished products removed. Thus the era of so-called “free trade” agreements. These agreements, which are written to elevate corporations to the level of national governments (and in practice, actually above governments), have become so unpopular thanks to the efforts of grassroots activists to expose them to public scrutiny that governments have become cautious about embracing new ones.
Recently, I’ve been listening to The Lost Birds: An Extinction Elegy, by American composer Christopher Tin. [Video below] It is an arrangement based on the poems of Emily Dickinson, Sara Teasdale, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Christina Rossetti. It is sung beautifully by Voces8 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Tin composed this marvelous arrangement as a memorial to various bird species that have been driven to extinction by habit loss, pollution and encroachment. The pieces soar and dive in a powerful rollercoaster of emotion, especially when one has been a student of extinction for as long as I have.
For three days, 30,000 education workers struck the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second-largest in the nation. Bus drivers, special education assistants, custodians, food service workers, and gardeners stayed off the job, joined in solidarity by the 35,000 members of the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA). By Friday, March 24, the workers’ union, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99, had attained a tentative agreement with the district, securing 30 percent wage or more increases for the lowest paid workers.
Last week, before the capitalist crisis of bank failures crowded it out of the headlines, news of a congressional hearing to further investigate the origins of the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic was splashed across the front pages and websites of major U.S. media.
Ralph welcomes economist, attorney, and investigative journalist, James Henry for his expert take on what is going on in the banking system and what we can do to keep it from blowing up. And Professor and former Nader’s Raider, Alison Dundes Renteln, takes on the commercialization of our universities in her book The Ethical University: Transforming Higher Education.
On Monday, the frenetic gossipy world of nonsense and distraction that, rather sadly and shamefully, constitutes most of what passes for news and culture these days paused for a moment to reflect upon the publication of the most significant document that will be published this year — the latest climate change report prepared by the climate scientists of the IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the United Nations body founded in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide “regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.”
More than 150 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000. The case of Regina Martinez, an investigative journalist assassinated in her home in the state of Veracruz in 2012, is emblematic of this war being waged against the press. Katherine Corcoran, former Associated Press bureau chief for Mexico and Central America, joins The Chris Hedges Report to discuss her book on the case of Regina Martinez and the wider context of the killings of journalists in Mexico, In the Mouth of the Wolf.
Overview: This was an impromptu conversation precipitated by former Congressman Dennis Kucinich to have a deep dive discussion with a former economic advisor, Michael Hudson, on the shockingly large recent bank collapses. As the former chair of the powerful Government Oversight Subcommittee, Kucinich had a ringside seat in unraveling the bank collapses after the housing bubble burst. He confronted the players in the field with withering questions in Congressional hearings. Now Kucinich wanted important feedback from a banking insider on how this crisis was different than the one in 2008.
Once again, government socialism – ultimately backed by taxpayers – is saving reckless midsized banks and their depositors. Silicon Valley Bank (S.V.B) and Signature Bank in New York greedily mismanaged their risk levels and had to be closed down. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), in return, to avoid a bank panic and a run on other midsized banks went over its $250,000 insurance cap per account and guaranteed all deposits – no matter how large, which are owned by the rich and corporations – in those banks.
“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
So screamed the character Howard Beale in the 1976 movie “Network,” a prescient commentary on the corporate capture and slow suffocation of America. Howard was a prime-time news anchor who’d had enough.
American workers are stuck in a prison, a prison that they’re kept in through the perpetual threat of homelessness. This isn’t truly a rhetorical point, it’s an empirically proven reality. Nearly two-thirds of the country’s workers are now living paycheck to paycheck, meaning this last year’s inflation has made them easier to coerce. That’s the directly stated goal of the capitalist ruling class at this stage. A Bank of America memo from last year said decreased worker living standards will represent greater leverage for employers. The consequences of this are the destruction of these people’s mental and physical wellbeing. They’re being strained, abused, and exploited while having to choose between this and living on the streets.
In a lively and insightful roundtable discussion, Ralph hosts former Marine company commander, Matthew Hoh, who when not deployed also worked in the Pentagon and the State Department, and independent and unembedded Iraq war correspondent, Dahr Jamail. They mark the twentieth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and discuss the consequences of that misbegotten and illegal war. Plus, we hear a clip from Ralph’s and Patti Smith’s antiwar concert tour conducted in 2005. Continue reading →
“All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory.” — Viet Thanh Nguyen
As mainstream U.S. media outlets pause to remember the U.S. invasion of Iraq, it’s clear that there’s a lot they hope we’ll forget – first and foremost, the media’s own active complicity in whipping up public support for the war.
Who blew up the Nord Stream pipelines? In February, veteran journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Seymour Hersh dropped a bombshell report detailing how President Joe Biden ordered the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines.