Korea is back into the news as a possible “new” war. For those who are sketchy on the details- here’s a brief summary. Similarly after the war in Europe, Korea was occupied by the Soviets and Americans after being “liberated” from Japan. The partition divided Korea on the 38th parallel. On June 30, 1950 North Korea overran South Korea resulting in American and South Korea forces occupying a small tract of land on the tip.
Much like the illegal trading prior to 9/11, “Someone had dumped large amounts of soybeans on the Chicago market to force the price down, while holding bigger amounts in soybean futures. The speculation began in mid-June and was targeted specifically for big selloffs at the end of the week before that fateful Sunday, June 25, 1950. The Commodity Exchange Authority later said that by June 30, fifty-six Chinese held nearly half of all open contracts for July soybean futures—all “on the long side,” meaning they were playing for a rise in price.” according to I. F. Stone’s “The Hidden History of the Korean War: 1950-1951.”
Bruce Cumings in the preface asserts “I. F. Stone at the time correctly named T. L. Soong, brother of fabulously wealthy T. V. Soong, and brother-in-law of Chiang Kai-shek. Furthermore, according to several sources, Senator Joe McCarthy profited from the soybean corner. Drew Pearson wrote in his diary, “McCarthy was buying soybeans” at the time when “the Chinese Nationalists did just about corner the market before Korea”; Stone said McCarthy had “a successful flier in soybeans” later on in 1950.”
Note that all of these futures bought were in advance of North Korea’s attack on South Korea, which the United States publicly stated were a surprise.
World War II fascinates many folks as it probably was the last war where there was some justification for so many lives lost, so many civilians killed, and so much destruction in a cause that united a world against total aggression.
Unique among WWII books is the “Desert Air War” by Richard Townshend Bickers. Most war books are a droll recounting of battles in the air, sea and land without any sort of relevance of background. Bickers gives us, at least from a British point of view, a brief history of the Middle East from ancient times to the WWII era. This is important for many reasons as history is not a blank slate, but rather a series of events that affects the future in ways that shape how we understand and digest key moments.
Some background should always be the focus of any author, however brief and tidy. Today it is hard to understand and get perspective on what our ancestors lived through. The one thing we must note is how easy it is to advance warfare technology but even harder to actually bring about social justice.
One anecdote that Bickers cites concerns the background of the air commodore chosen to head British operations in Egypt.
Raymond “Collishaw, a burly and rumbustious extrovert, was not without his idiosyncrasies. As a young squadron commander in Flanders during the First World War he had delighted in a ruinous game played when dining in another squadron’s mess: swinging on the cross beams of the wooden hut and collapsing the roof. In 1917 he had survived a mishap that would have been fatal ninety-nine times out of a hundred. In combat at 16,000ft with three German Albatros fighters, he had made a manoeuvre so violent that his safety strap broke and he fell out of the cockpit of his Sopwith Triplane. He grabbed the two centre struts and hung, with his legs trailing in the slipstream, as the “Tripe” dived with full power until it suddenly nosed up, stalled and began to spin. Managing to get one leg into the cockpit, he hooked the stick back with his foot and, as the aircraft began a sudden climb, he fell back into his seat.”
“Clapton is God” was written all over the world on buildings reflecting the guitarist’s influence on rock, rhythm and blues and other genres of modern music. It’s ironic when each album was released, Clapton wasn’t necessarily recognized as a seminal force or a technical master. Even with the release of Layla- the greatest rock and roll record ever made- didn’t bring the adulation that his contemporaries enjoyed. Part of that had to do with the aspects of Clapton’s low keyed sensibilities as a human being first and a musician who just wanted to play guitar.
The documentary below gives a good hearing to the guitar virtuoso and his influence on the rock world.
What’s always important is to see just what our society promotes. I looked at many definitions of Nazi in multiple dictionaries- about the worst I saw was “inflexible.” There was nothing about an aggressive mindset .to destroy perceived enemies of which war is the most insidious as the Nazis also added planned genocide to the mix. The WWII era Nazis invaded numerous countries by Blitzkrieg in which they destroyed everything military or civilian in their path. Behind their war machine they had special units of the SS who either killed, rounded up civilians for their slave factories or sent the remainder- the aged, women and children to concentration camps. Is this the kind of mentality that we want to promote for freedom of speech, the right to bear arms in the United States?
This documentary touts the legacy of Apple Corporation to the music and counter culture of the 60s and beyond. At the time the idea of signing unknown musical talent to recording contracts was unheard of- the Beatles wanted to share their good fortune with others in the music business. Make no mistake that Apple was a result of them paying confiscatory personal taxes in Great Britain, who’s tax system favored corporations who created jobs. Among the artists they signed included James Taylor and Mary Hopkins.
This is a documentary on David Bowie’s early years. Has the usual interviews with folks who knew him or played in his early bands. Well worth the effort to see it even if Bowie wasn’t a favorite. David Bowie legacy was that you could do anything in the rock world and opened up other bands to many possibilities…
“I see reality as ultimately a great mystery that will never be fully known (and I feel humbled and awed and reverent of this concept). Knowledge is better expressed as experiential knowing, if we really want to learn, and the way to this is through our sensings, feelings, imaginings, thoughts, and ultimately as a personal expression of this knowing,” writes Nancy Ellen Peden in her book, “Who’s in Charge of My Life? Discovering the Magic of Learning with Yourself and Others: An Experiential Education Program for All Ages.”
This treatise is a primer for those who see contemporary educational systems as a regurgitation of facts and tests. Peden views education as something that should be enjoyed, that groups can do to make their learning processes more meaningful.
Many in the educational system view children as “little adults” who should do as their elders want- this becomes not a system of learning but a power play between adults and children.
Peden hopes to change this thinking by proposing making the resistance to learning something children and even young adults a more fun and rewarding experience. She proposes that groups be formed that facilitate simple exercises that are easy to lead for “facilitators” instead of the stodgy “teacher” label used today.
She notes, for example, that “One article recently has suggested that just adding a couple of ten-minute play breaks can assist children who are diagnosed as having ADD or ADHD.” Sitting at a chair staring a blackboard can be very dull for any child.
Many children are rebellious and rightly so of authoritarianism which has permeated our society. “While therapy is OK, I consider mental illness to be rooted in the lack of love, attachment, and abuse as a child, and these can be dealt with in community settings. Unless there is no other choice, I recommend no one ever be drugged.”
She also states that “Life is a process more than a goal. The wisdom is found in knowing our own selves, minds, bodies, and creative spirits and in the ability to interact with others effectively.”
This book is a seminal look at the process of facilitating learning by getting to know the difference between being a test taker and creating an atmosphere of trust, of honesty, of knowledge that should be the goal of every educator.
Nancy Ellen Peden, “Who’s in Charge of My Life? Discovering the Magic of Learning with Yourself and Others: An Experiential Education Program for All Ages” by Nancy Ellen Peden
The alt-right comes up with all kinds of terms designed to make folks think the regressive way of thinking is superior to any other out there. One of those is “snowflakes” which is what the Nazis called the ashes floating in the air from the ovens during WWII when they were incinerating Jews and others.
And then we have “cucks”- which basically is a condescending term designed to make the opposition seem inferior to the “superior” ideology of fascism. In case you just fell off the turnip truck, the idea of subjugating yourself to any ideology that sets up a very small minority as superior goes against every possible principle of democracy and human decency. People who want everyone to have a decent life are somehow “inferior.”
Reality is different. Anyone with a neuron firing periodically should see that the elite and their octopus corporations are stealing the labor and well being of each and every one of us. It’s done through endless wars, pollution of the environment and paying wages that no one can possibly live on. Racism, misogyny and outright hatred are just how all this is accomplished. Yet, there are folks who cheer their own destruction, who see themselves as unworthy of the slightest amount of human decency and respect and who falsely believe they are somehow “superior” because of some ideology.
As many of you have noticed I’m a big fan of Eno. The appeal to me as having once been an artist, somewhat of a musician and numerous other pursuits in my life is that he represented along with Bowie and even Iggy Pop an artistic vision of entertainment and therefore self discovery that is multi-dimensional instead of a one trick pony. This is an important direction for mankind that bleeds over into other areas such as environment, economics and yes, even politics. I think it is important to strip away pre-conceived notions of what a profession and hence what an individual contributes to society. The joke about capitalism is that there is no room for thinkers, for dreamers unless you are making money for your masters. My vision of life is that we are here to enjoy ourselves, our family, our friends, and even others we don’t personally know, not cogs in some machine that grinds up bodies and spits out hamburger. That vision of life colors what I see, what I hear and what I say. In short, achievement is not a profit/debit world but one where the experience of life itself is to be celebrated not looked upon as drudgery…
In the coming weeks, months and years, we can expect to see more trolling taking place by both paid and unpaid trolls. The Trump supporters are fairly easy to spot since they start with a post that is something like “Do you support Trump?” or Trump is the greatest thing since sliced bread or some such. They have been mostly posted by some account in Europe such as Moldavia or whatever. But it would seem they are recruiting Americans to spread their propaganda and infiltrating leftist groups and pages. I’ve encountered quite a few who’s signature thesis is that “libtards are turds” or some such as if calling me a name will make me as angry as they seem to be. They are not interested in discussing issues but more interested in pushing buttons. The modus operandi of the regressives has always been to spread lies and innuendo all based on Fox, Limbaugh, Milo and Brietbart. In turn, these are models based on the Nazi Germany era propaganda machine who whipped up anger towards Jews, gays and whoever else didn’t share in their myopic view of life and is cunningly designed to piss people off.
The neoliberal/neoconservative is a little more difficult to spot in that the message is more positive. A typical approach is to post a picture of a soldier and say something like “Do you support our troops?” A more honest question might be something like “Do you support our troops while they are bombing, killing and injuring and invading countries and cheering on the ruining of innocent peoples’ lives?”
The progressive movement doesn’t have a more prominent face than Bernie Sanders. And before you get all excited one way or another Bernie has many flaws, especially in foreign policy, but his domestic positions are much better than any politician in the country. Bernie has been attacked repeatedly, often unfairly, by both the GOP and Demos who’s agenda should be obvious to anyone with two neurons firing at the same time.
Just this year there was an article on businesses in China where they used 10.000 cell phones at a time to beef up social media stats. This “business” is no doubt here in the United States tucked away in some corporate complex.
So what I am saying is that it is up to each individual to discern what is important to you and judge not only the message but the messenger by the content they post or refer to. We are constantly bombarded with “the lesser of two evils” since no one or nothing is perfect in this flawed universe.