Monday, December 31, 2018

School of Life Monday: SOCIOLOGY - Max Weber

Max Weber explained that modern capitalism was born not because of new technology or new financial instruments. What started it all off was religion.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Universal healthcare could save America trillions:
what’s holding us back?

from The Guardian
opinion Adam Gaffney

A slew of studies are confirming that America can afford real universal healthcare, but some call it economically infeasible
If you can’t undercut a popular proposal as undesirable, make it sound impossible. That, in any event, has been the tack of opponents of single-payer healthcare, also called improved “Medicare-for-all”.

“[W]e got to get away from these falsehoods and start talking about the truth …” opined billionaire Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on CNBC last June, while contending that single-payer healthcare was economically infeasible. “I think a lot of the analysis has shown it’s unaffordable,” claimed Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, last summer, quoted by Kaiser Health News.

Yet casting Medicare-for-all as an economic impossibility is becoming a sisyphean pursuit: a slew of studies – including one released just the other week – are confirming that, yes, we can afford real universal healthcare in America. But if that’s the case, why haven’t we already achieved it? Well, the real stumbling block is not that single-payer advocates’ arithmetic is poor, it’s that American politics are dominated by the rich.

Still, the numbers matter. On 30 November, a team of economists with the Political Economy Research Institute (Peri) at the University of Amherst published a highly credible, nearly 200-page economic analysis of Senator Bernie Sanders’ single-payer bill. The Peri study received essentially none of the media coverage lathered on the last such analysis – a flawed piece of work published by the conservative Mercatus Center last summer. But here’s the funny thing: though these two analyses came from economists from opposite ends of the political spectrum, they shared a similar finding: single-payer would reduce our nation’s healthcare spending bill by trillions of dollars over a decade (around $2tn and $5tn, respectively).

The numbers are big, but they shouldn’t come as a surprise. Yes, single-payer imposes some new costs: when people don’t have to worry about ruinous medical bills or ravenous debt collectors, they tend to use more healthcare, increasing costs. But such rises in utilization are likely to be modest (even more modest than these analyses predict). There are only so many doctors and hospital beds, which limits theorized surges in utilization. Anyway, there are hundreds of billions in potential savings in moving to single-payer, such as slimming down on the massive administrative bloat of the privatized American healthcare system and bringing down our sky-high drug prices.

Going back decades, studies have found that, at worst, these costs and savings will balance out under a Canadian-style single-payer reform. “In Canada, each provincial plan provides for universal insurance coverage with no deductibles or copayments, controls on provider reimbursement, and administration by a single, public payer,” the United States General Accounting Office noted in an analysis of a single-payer bill way back in 1992. “We found that if these features were applied in the United States, the administrative savings could offset the added costs.”

In a review of the Peri study that I co-authored with Professors David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler at the City University of New York, we commended the robustness of the team’s much-needed and highly thorough analysis, while offering differing opinions on some of the specific assumptions. We also contended that it would be prudent to cautiously assume that overall healthcare spending would remain roughly stable (rather than fall) shortly after implementation.

But here’s the thing: a single-payer system allows cost growth to be directly controlled over time in a way that’s not possible with a privatized system. So even if a Medicare-for-all system only allows us to keep overall healthcare spending where it is today (as a proportion of the US economy), a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation using figures from the National Health Expenditures accounts shows that it would still save some $2tn over a decade.

To be clear, even as we reduce overall health spending by trillions, new taxes will be needed to replace most of the private spending – eg premiums, copays, and deductibles – that suddenly and permanently evaporate. To this end, the Peri analysis proposes a sensible mix of taxes, including payroll taxes paid by businesses, a sales tax on non-essentials, and a wealth tax on the richest among us. It would also treat capital gains like ordinary income. In exchange, we would have a healthcare system that covers everyone in the nation, without copays or deductibles, with comprehensive benefits, with no insurance networks or interruptions in coverage – and a permanent end to the soul-sucking hassle of medical bills.

There is another benefit of this system, albeit one that helps explain why we haven’t achieved it yet. A more progressive system of healthcare financing can, over time, reduce inequalities not only in health, but in wealth, helping to close our nation’s disastrous economic divide. It’s not surprising, then, that billionaires don’t much like it. Nor is it unexpected that the corporate behemoths that have the most to lose are already sharpening their swords, pouring cash into a new anti-single-payer lobbying group that, as the Intercept recently reported, is maneuvering to “influence Democratic party messaging and stymie the momentum toward achieving universal health care coverage”.

So as important as rigorous analyses and funding proposals are, we miss the forest from the trees if we see this mainly as a fight among policy wonks or dueling funding proposals. This is a struggle against the “economic royalists”, as Franklin D Roosevelt once termed them, of our day – and for the interests of ordinary working people. Good numbers do not a political movement make.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Syndicated columnist censored for writing about the risks of hedge funds and billionaires buying papers

from Boing Boing:

Jim Hightower is a longstanding, respected columnist distributed by Creators Syndicate -- but Creators refused to distribute his latest column, "Free the Free Press from Wall Street Plunderers," which warns about Wall Street vultures like Digital First Media and GateHouse Media buying up newspapers, including the Austin Statesman.

The Austin Chronicle reports that Creators wouldn't distribute the column because it feared retribution from the Wall Street firms; Creators managing editor Simone Slykhous told the Chronicle that "We have more than 200 columnists and cartoonists, and our job is to make sure that our actions do not negatively impact them."

Thankfully, the Texas Observer has run Hightower's column, the story of which is perhaps more persuasive on the risks that Hightower warns against than his column itself.
The buyers are hedge-fund scavengers with names like Digital First and GateHouse. They know nothing about journalism and care less, for they’re ruthless Wall Street profiteers out to grab big bucks fast by slashing the journalistic and production staffs of each paper, voiding all employee benefits (from pensions to free coffee in the breakroom), shriveling the paper’s size and news content, selling the presses and other assets, tripling the price of their inferior product – then declaring bankruptcy, shutting down the paper, and auctioning off the bones before moving on to plunder another town’s paper.

By 2014, America’s two largest media chains were not venerable publishers who believe that a newspaper’s mission includes a commitment to truth and a civic responsibility, but GateHouse and Digital First, whose managers believe that good journalism is measured by the personal profit they can squeeze from it. As revealed last year in an American Prospect article, GateHouse executives had demanded that its papers cut $27 million from their operating expenses. Thousands of newspaper employees suffered that $27 million cut in large part because one employee – the hedge fund’s CEO – had extracted $54 million in personal pay from the conglomerate, including an $11 million bonus.

To these absentee owners and operators, our newspapers are just mines, entitling them to extract enormous financial wealth and social well-being from our communities.
The Jim Hightower Column They Don’t Want You to Read [Jim Hightower/Texas Observer]

Thursday, December 27, 2018

X-CLAN - "To The East Blackwards"
one of the most underrated Hip Hop Albums ever

if the first player does not play the entire LP then just click on the players below and hear my 3 favorites from the LP.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Institutionalized x 7

I produced the original ;-)
and helped to direct the original video...

All of these are worth listening to, if you got a good sense of humor.

Monday, December 24, 2018

X-mas eve edition
School of Life Monday: Karl Marx

Karl Marx remains deeply important today not as the man who told us what to replace capitalism with, but as someone who brilliantly pointed out certain of its problems. The School of Life, a pro-Capitalist institution, takes a look.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Meet the Bottomless Pinocchio, a new rating for a false claim repeated over and over again

from the Washington Post:

President Trump's false and misleading claims that have been repeated more than 20 times led us to create a new Pinocchio rating. (Meg Kelly/The Washington Post)

It was President Trump’s signature campaign promise: He would build a wall along the nation’s southern border, and Mexico would pay for it.

Shortly after becoming president, Trump dropped the Mexico part, turning to Congress for the funds instead. When that, too, failed — Congress earlier this year appropriated money for border security that could not be spent on an actual wall — Trump nevertheless declared victory: “We’ve started building our wall,” he said in a speech on March 29. “I’m so proud of it.”

Despite the facts, which have been cited numerous times by fact-checkers, Trump repeated his false assertion on an imaginary wall 86 times in the seven months before the midterm elections, according to a database of false and misleading claims maintained by The Post.

Trump’s willingness to constantly repeat false claims has posed a unique challenge to fact-checkers. Most politicians quickly drop a Four-Pinocchio claim, either out of a duty to be accurate or concern that spreading false information could be politically damaging.

Not Trump. The president keeps going long after the facts are clear, in what appears to be a deliberate effort to replace the truth with his own, far more favorable, version of it. He is not merely making gaffes or misstating things, he is purposely injecting false information into the national conversation.

To accurately reflect this phenomenon, The Washington Post Fact Checker is introducing a new category — the Bottomless Pinocchio. That dubious distinction will be awarded to politicians who repeat a false claim so many times that they are, in effect, engaging in campaigns of disinformation.

The bar for the Bottomless Pinocchio is high: The claims must have received three or four Pinocchios from The Fact Checker, and they must have been repeated at least 20 times. Twenty is a sufficiently robust number that there can be no question the politician is aware that his or her facts are wrong. The list of Bottomless Pinocchios will be maintained on its own landing page.

The Fact Checker has not identified statements from any other current elected official who meets the standard other than Trump. In fact, 14 statements made by the president immediately qualify for the list.

The president’s most-repeated falsehoods fall into a handful of broad categories — claiming credit for promises he has not fulfilled; false assertions that provide a rationale for his agenda; and political weaponry against perceived enemies such as Democrats or special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Some of Trump’s regular deceptions date from the start of his administration, such as his claim that the United States has spent $7 trillion in the Middle East (36 times) or that the United States pays for most of the cost of NATO (87 times). These were both statements that he made repeatedly when he campaigned for president and continues to make, despite having access to official budget data.

Another campaign claim that has carried into his presidency is the assertion that Democrats colluded with Russia during the election (48 times). This is obviously false, as the Democrats were the target of hacking by Russian entities, according to U.S. intelligence agencies. (The assertion, also spread widely by Trump allies in the conservative media, largely rests on the fact that the firm hired by Democrats to examine Trump’s Russia ties was also working to defend a Russian company in U.S. court.)

On 30 separate occasions, Trump has also falsely accused special counsel Mueller of having conflicts of interest and the staff led by the longtime Republican of being “angry Democrats.”

A good example of how objective reality does not appear to matter to the president is how he has framed his tax cut. When the administration’s tax plan was still in the planning stages, Trump spoke to the Independent Community Bankers Association on May 1, 2017, and made this claim, to applause: “We’re proposing one of the largest tax cuts in history, even larger than that of President Ronald Reagan. Our tax cut is bigger.”

He reinforced that statement later that day, with similar wording, in an interview with Bloomberg News.

From the start, it was a falsehood, as Reagan’s 1981 tax cut amounted to 2.9 percent of the overall U.S. economy — and nothing under consideration by Trump came close to that level. Trump’s tax cut was eventually crafted to be just under 1 percent of the economy, making it the eighth-largest tax cut in the past century.

Yet Trump has been undeterred by pesky fact checks showing he is wrong. He kept making the claim — 123 times before the midterm elections — and still says it. “We got the biggest tax cuts in history,” he told Chris Wallace of Fox News in his Nov. 18 interview.

Similarly, in June, the president hit upon a new label for the U.S. economy: It was the greatest, the best or the strongest in U.S. history. He liked the phrasing so much that he repeated a version of it every 1.5 days until the midterm elections, for a total of 99 times. The president can certainly brag about the state of the economy, but he runs into trouble when he repeatedly makes a play for the history books. By just about any important measure, the economy today is not doing as well as it did under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson and Bill Clinton — not to mention Ulysses S. Grant.

Trump has 40 times asserted that a wall was needed to stem the flow of drugs across the border — a claim that is contradicted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which says most illicit drugs come through legal points of entry. Traffickers conceal the drugs in hidden compartments within passenger cars or hide them alongside other legal cargo in tractor trailers and drive the illicit substances right into the United States. Meanwhile, Fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid, can be easily ordered online, even directly from China.

Some of Trump’s most repeated claims verge on the edge of fantasy. Thirty-seven times, he has asserted that U.S. Steel has announced that it is building new plants in response to his decision to impose steel tariffs. Depending on his mood, the number has ranged from six to nine plants, suggesting a bounty of jobs. But U.S. Steel made no such announcement. It merely stated that it would restart two blast furnaces at the company’s Granite City Works integrated plant in Illinois, creating 800 jobs. The company in August also said it would upgrade a plant in Gary, Ind., but without creating any new jobs.

Similarly, Trump has repeatedly inflated the gains from his 2017 trip to Saudi Arabia, upping the amount from $350 billion to $450 billion when he came under fire for defending the crown prince believed to have ordered the killing of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.

Separately, he also inflates the jobs said to be created, at one point offering a fanciful figure of 1 million. The Fact Checker obtained detailed spreadsheets of both the military and commercial agreements that showed a total of $267 billion in agreements; we determined that many were simply aspirational. Many of the purported investments are in Saudi Arabia, indicating few jobs would be created for Americans.

Other claims on the list include:

— that the administration has removed thousands and thousands of MS-13 members from the streets, either through deportation or prison. (The group is estimated to have only about 10,000 members).

— that he came just one vote short of repealing Obamacare. (Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) blocked a trimmed-down version, but the full plan was soundly defeated, and there was little consensus on a compromise version.)

— that the United States has “lost” billions of dollars on trade deficits. No economist would agree with that statement, but Trump has said some version of it 131 times.

— that the United States has the worst immigration laws in terms of keeping immigrants out. That’s simply not true. In fact, the United States has among the world’s most restrictive immigration laws.

One other Four-Pinocchio claim by Trump may soon make the list. Fifteen times, the president has claimed to audiences that the Uzbekistan-born man who in 2017 allegedly killed eight people with a pickup truck in New York brought in two dozen relatives to the United States through so-called “chain migration.” But Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov is not even a U.S. citizen, so the actual number is zero.

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*go to the original article for more LINKS within the story.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

'I must continue':
Statue of Liberty climber still protesting
despite facing prison

from The Guardian:

Therese Patricia Okoumou condemned Trump’s immigration policies at the Eiffel Tower ahead of her trial in New York

Therese Patricia Okoumou, the protester who scaled the base of the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth of July in an audacious protest against the Trump administration’s separation of migrant families, faces the prospect of federal prison when she goes on trial in New York next week.

Millions watched Okoumou’s protest unfold on live television on 4 July as she broke away from a civil rights demonstration and began climbing up the towering figure on its small island in New York City.

Helicopters buzzed around the statue and tourists were evacuated as law enforcement officers attached to ropes crawled around the base in pursuit of her, and eventually removed Okoumou from her precarious perch. She later told the Guardian she was afraid she could have fallen if she climbed higher – or been shot by police. But despite her impending trial, Okoumou has continued her protest.

Last month she returned from a trip to Paris, where on Thanksgiving Day she unfurled a banner halfway up the Eiffel Tower reading “#ReturnTheChildren” before being forcibly removed by police.

“The French gave us the Statue of Liberty,” she said, explaining her latest choice of protest location in an interview with the Guardian.

“On 4 July the world was listening … but now a lot of people have moved on even though there is a humanitarian crisis unfolding at the US border with Mexico. Many aren’t taking it seriously,” she added.

The New Yorker faces a bench trial before a judge in federal court in Manhattan on 17 December. She is charged with three federal misdemeanors relating to trespass, disorderly conduct and interfering with the functioning of government. Okoumou has pleaded not guilty.

Each offense carries a maximum of six months imprisonment and Okoumou said there has been no offer of a plea deal by prosecutors. She has legal representation and said: “As far as I’m concerned, we are ready for trial. I haven’t been thinking about the proceedings, I’ve been thinking about the children in cages.”

The Trump administration has continued to separate children from their parents when they cross the southern border unlawfully, despite an executive order last summer officially reversing the policy after widespread uproar. Minors are taken from accompanying adults and detained separately while the government puts the parents through criminal prosecutions, instead of through immigration court as was the norm.

Though the large-scale separations seen earlier this year have been ended, the Associated Press reported last week that the Trump administration continues to separate children from their parents if they slip across the border.

Several thousand migrant children are also detained at an expanding detention camp in the desert at Tornillo, near El Paso, Texas. And children, many sick or disabled, are among hundreds of Central Americans now crowded in squalid conditions on the Mexican side of the US border as Trump cracks down on asylum applications and further militarizes the border amid rhetoric about a so-called “invasion”.

“These are concentration camps, pretty much. These children are detained against their will and against the will of their parents and they are being used as political bait,” said Okoumou said.

A resident of the city’s Staten Island borough, where she has lived since immigrating from the Republic of Congo more than two decades ago and gaining US citizenship, Okoumou had been working as a personal trainer until her protest at the Statue of Liberty was beamed around the world.

Now she is a full-time activist, she said, supporting herself via crowdfunding, and is still involved with the direct action campaign group she initially demonstrated with on 4 July, Rise and Resist.

Okoumou described the incident last month where migrants, including young children, were teargassed by the US at the border as “an atrocity”.

“When they can do this and they get away with it, it makes me realize I must continue with acts of civil disobedience. It’s cruel, it’s reprehensible,” she said of US policy.

The banner she unfurled on the Eiffel Tower at Thanksgiving read “Abolish Ice”, referring to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. It also said: “Christopher Columbus did not discover America! End patriarchy” and “#ReturnTheChildren”.

Okoumou said she would like to take her campaign of civil disobedience to the US southern border itself, but she feared for her safety there. Besides, after her trial she may not be at liberty for a while.

She said she “will have no choice” but to tolerate prison if found guilty and given a custodial sentence. She vows to continue her campaign until all children held in detention in the US after crossing the border are united or reunited with family members.

“I find it hard to sleep while they are in cages,” she said. “This is not how you treat your neighbors.”

*go to the original article HERE at The Guardian for Links and Videos

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Court cites Dr Seuss's The Lorax
in rebuke to US Forest Service

from The Guardian:

Federal court in Virginia says officials were trusted to ‘speak for the trees’ as it tosses out pipeline permit
A federal court in the US has cited the classic Dr Seuss children’s book The Lorax as it lambasted the US Forest Service for granting an energy company permission to build a natural gas pipeline across two national forests.

“We trust the United States Forest Service to ‘speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues’,” the three-judge panel of the fourth US circuit court of appeals in Virginia wrote this week as it threw out the permit.

The government agency had granted permission for the Atlantic Coast pipeline to be built through the George Washington and Monongahela national forests and have a right of way across the Appalachian Trail, NPR reported.

The Lorax, written in 1971, chronicles the efforts of the titular small, furry creature to save a forest of “Truffula trees” from the capitalist predations of “the Once-ler”, who is seeking to chop them all down in the name of industry.

The book is seen as a clarion call for the environmental movement and has previously come under attack from the logging industry.


Monday, December 17, 2018

School of Life Monday:
How Much Does Luck Decide Our Lives?

Believing that many of the big things in our lives come down to luck is, in a way, a rather insulting thought. We put so much effort into controlling our own destinies. Nevertheless, a wise life is one in which we accept how much lies outside of our control, for good and ill - and where we make a gracious accommodation with the terrifying power of Luck.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Don't blame democracy's decline on ignorance.
The problem lies deeper

from The Guardian:

Shining a light on authoritarians’ actions is not enough – the media need to focus on trends behind the day-to-day news
Democracy is in crisis and, for some, ignorance is to blame. Take the slogan of one major American newspaper: “Democracies die in darkness.” It represents a simplistic answer to the rise of authoritarian and populist forces around the globe. The reason for its popularity is, undoubtedly, its appeal to an Enlightenment logic, in which knowledge means power and progress. Hence, the argument goes, if people would only know how bad politicians like Donald Trump are, they will turn away from them, and democracy is saved.

There is no doubt that transparency is vital for liberal democracy to flourish, but that does not mean that it creates liberal democracy, nor that its absence kills liberal democracy – as centuries of national, and decades of European, democratic rule show. The problem of this idea is that it is based on a broad range of false assumptions, most notably that just shining light will lead to enlightenment.

In reality, few democracies have died in darkness. Even the paradigmatic case of Weimar Germany, in which Adolf Hitler came to power by democratic means to subsequently abolish democracy and throw the world into the most deadly abyss in history, did not happen in “darkness”. Everyone knew, or should have known, what Hitler stood for. His bestseller Mein Kampf (My Struggle), which he wrote in prison after a failed coup d’état, might have been badly written, but it repeated his antisemitic and antidemocratic ideas ad nauseam. And he dismantled the democratic system while independent media were still alive and kicking.

More recently, authoritarian leaders have rarely abolished liberal democracy overnight. Rather, they slowly but steadily chip away at its liberal foundations first, and its electoral foundations later. From Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Vladimir Putin, and from Niclás Maduro to Viktor Orbán, liberal democracies are carefully and often cautiously dismantled, piece by piece, in the spotlight of, at least initially, a relatively free and independent media. These leaders openly express their authoritarian impulses, their disdain for (the) opposition, and their intent to fundamentally change the political system.

In many cases, authoritarian leaders defend every individual “chip” by pointing to similar policies in other western democracies. The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, is a master at this, taking individual institutions and rules from a broad variety of EU member states to build, what the US sociologist Kim-Lane Scheppele has aptly called, a “Frankenstate”. Just like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein monster, which is created from all human body parts, the Frankenstate is made up of democratic rules. Each individual rule is, or can be, democratic, but the specific combination of them, creates an undemocratic regime.

Shining light on each individual component, in isolation, will therefore not expose the Frankenstate. As long as the individual components are not connected, each measure is also, in and by itself, not enough to create a sense of alarm, let alone urgency, among the citizenry and internal organizations. Look at the hapless responses of the European Union to Orbán’s near-decade of attacks on democracy in Hungary, or the lukewarm responses to voter suppression in many US states (including my state, Georgia).

Democracies can as easily die in the spotlight as in darkness. Media that simply “report the news”, rather than analyze it, miss trends, and only see the real threat when it is too late. That is why the media critic Jay Rosen has been arguing for a new media logic for several months now, as authoritarian leaders have mastered the old one, and play it to their strength. This is one of the reasons why he, like me, supports a new media initiative from the Netherlands, The Correspondent, which promises to bring “unbreaking news” and focus on trends behind the day-to-day news.

We need the media to break out of its mutually beneficial addiction with mediagenic authoritarians like Trump, and shine its spotlight on the real threats to democracy, rather than the deflections offered by the authoritarians. But even if the media do that, democracies will still die when mainstream elites – cultural, economic, political and religious – continue to collaborate with authoritarians rather than openly oppose them. And they will continue to die, if democratic politicians do not offer better alternatives than the authoritarians.

The best example of this sad state of affairs is Hungary, which this week took the final step towards a (competitive) authoritarian regime, by abolishing independent judicial control on the government. While it is true that this step was taken “in darkness”, at least within the country, as Orbán’s cronies control practically all Hungarian media, most previous steps were taken in full light, scrutinized by various still independent media.

Moreover, international media have covered Orbán’s creation of an “illiberal state” in detail, but complicity of foreign elites, from the German car industry to the European People’s party (EPP), has left the EU unable, and unwilling, to act. Both hide behind the false excuse that collaboration leads to his moderation, while exclusion will further radicalize him. But they also rightly note that Orbán is the most popular politician in the country, and that the heavily divided, and partly complicit, opposition offers no viable alternative.

Perhaps the media can shine more light on all these factors, and connect them in enlightening analyses. We need to look at trends that underlie the “news of the day”, and not be distracted by every Trump tweet or focus almost exclusively on the low-hanging fruits (like the latest raucous White House press conferences or palace intrigues). After all, while democracies cannot flourish in darkness, autocracies cannot flourish in the light.

Friday, December 14, 2018

How to create a leaderless revolution
and win lasting political change

from The Guardian:

O p i n i o n
by Carne Ross
In an age of insurgency, from gilets jaunes to Extinction Rebellion,
non-violence is key to harnessing the energy of protest
The gilets jaunes movement in France is a leaderless political uprising. It isn’t the first and it won’t be the last. Occupy, the Arab spring and #MeToo are other recent examples of this new politics. Some of it is good. Some of it is not: a leaderless movement, self-organised on Reddit, helped elect Donald Trump. But leaderless movements are spreading, and we need to understand where they come from, what is legitimate action and, if you want to start one, what works and what doesn’t.

The Arab spring began with the self-immolation of one despairing young man in Tunisia; the revolt rapidly spread across the region, just as protests have proliferated in France. In highly connected complex systems, such as the world today, the action of a single agent can suddenly trigger what complexity theorists call a “phase shift” across the entire system.

We cannot predict which agent or what event might be that trigger. But we already know that the multiplying connections of our world offer an unprecedented opportunity for the rise and spread of leaderless movements.

Leaderless movements spring from frustration with conventional top-down politics, a frustration shared by many, not only those on the streets. Polls suggest the gilets jaunes are supported by a large majority of the French public. Who believes that writing to your MP, or signing a petition to No 10 makes any difference to problems such as inequality, the chronic housing shortage or the emerging climate disaster? Even voting feels like a feeble response to these deep-seated problems that are functions not only of government policies but more of the economic system itself.

What such movements oppose is usually clear, but what they propose is inevitably less so: that is their nature. The serial popular uprisings of the Arab spring all rejected authoritarian rule, whether in Tunisia, Egypt or Syria. But in most places there was no agreement about what kind of government should replace the dictators. In Eygpt, the Tahrir Square protests failed to create an organised democratic political party that could win an election. Instead, the Muslim Brotherhood, long highly organised and thus prepared for such a moment, stepped into the political vacuum. In turn, this provoked further mass protest, which eventually brought to power another dictatorship as repressive as Hosni Mubarak’s.

When the demand is for change in social relations– norms more than laws – such as the end of sexual harassment, the results can be as rapid but also more enduring and positive. The #MeToo movement has provoked questioning of gender relations across the world. The British deputy prime minister, Damian Green, was forced to resign; in India, a cabinet minister. The effects are uneven, and far from universal, but sexual harassers have been outed and ousted from positions of power in the media, NGOs and governments.

Some mass action has required leadership. The race discrimination that confronted the US civil rights movement was deeply entrenched in both American society and its laws. Martin Luther King and other leaders paid exquisite attention to strategy, switching tactics according to what worked and what didn’t. King correctly judged, however, that real and lasting equality required the reform of capitalism – a change in the system itself. In a sense, his objective went from the singular to the plural. And that is where his campaign hit the rocks. Momentum dissipated when King started to talk about economic equality: there was no agreement on the diagnosis, or the solution.

The Occupy movement faced a similar problem. It succeeded in inserting inequality and economic injustice into the mainstream political conversation – politicians had avoided the topic before. But Occupy couldn’t articulate a specific political programme to reform the system. I was in Zuccotti Park in New York City, where the protest movement began, when the “general assembly” invited the participants to pin notes listing their demands on to trees. Ideas were soon plastered up, from petitioning Washington DC to replacing the dollar – many of which, of course, were irreconcilable with each other.

This is why a leaderless response to the climate change disaster is tricky. It’s striking that in Emmanuel Macron’s fuel tax rises the gilets jaunes opposed the very thing demanded by Extinction Rebellion, Britain’s newly minted leaderless movement: aggressive policies to reduce carbon emissions to net zero. Macron’s proposals would have hit the poorest hardest, illustrating that resolving the crises of the environment and inequality requires a more comprehensive, carefully wrought solution to both. But leaderless movements have largely proved incapable of such complicated decision-making, as anyone at Zuccotti Park will attest.

Conventional party politicians, reasserting their own claim to legitimacy, insist that such problems can only be arbitrated by imposing more top-down policy. But when most feel powerless about the things that matter, this may only provoke further protests.

Ultimately, to address profound systemic challenges, we shall need new participatory and inclusive decision-making structures to negotiate the difficult choices. An example of these forums has emerged in parts of Syria, of all places. Rightly, this is precisely what the Extinction Rebellion is also demanding.

Inevitably, leaderless movements face questions about their legitimacy. One answer lies in their methods. The Macron government has exploited the violence seen in Paris and elsewhere to claim that the gilets jaunes movement is illegitimate and anti-democratic. Mahatma Gandhi, and later King, realised that nonviolent action – such as the satyagraha salt march or the Montgomery bus boycott – denies the authorities this line of attack. On the contrary, the violence used by those authorities – the British colonial government or the police of the southern US states – against nonviolent protestors helped build their own legitimacy and attracted global attention.

Complexity science tells us something else important. System-wide shifts happen when the system is primed for change, at so-called criticality. In the Middle East there was almost universal anger at the existing political status quo, so it took only one match to light the fire of revolt. Meeting people in colleges and towns across the UK but also in the US (where I lived until recently) you can hear the mounting frustration with a political and economic system that is totally unresponsive to the needs of the 99%, and offers no credible answer to the climate emergency.

There will be more leaderless movements to express this frustration, just as there will be more rightwing demagogues, like Trump or Boris Johnson, who seek to exploit it to their own advantage. For the right ones to prevail, we must insist on nonviolence as well as commitment to dialogue with – and not denunciation of – those who disagree. Messily, a new form of politics is upon us, and we must ensure that it peacefully and democratically produces deep systematic reform, not the counter-reaction of the authoritarians. Get ready.

• Carne Ross is a former British diplomat and author of The Leaderless Revolution

Thursday, December 13, 2018

24 ways to lead an anti-capitalist life in a capitalist world

from The Guardian:
From freecycling to Fairphones: 24 ways to lead an anti-capitalist life in a capitalist world
We asked readers for their thoughts on ‘non‑capitalist living’ and were deluged with replies. Here are their ideas for everyday ways to buck the system
As the new Amazon advert goes, can you feel it? Amid the encroaching dark and increasingly foul weather, December is synonymous with stampedes to the supermarket, endless online clicks and the massed roar of delivery lorries – or, to be reductive about it, capitalism at its most joyful and triumphant.

Clearly, though, such things are only part of who we are, even at this time of year. As the American activist Rebecca Solnit puts it in her short but brilliant book Hope in the Dark: “Vast amounts of how we live our everyday lives – our interactions with and commitments to family lives, friendships, avocations, membership in social, spiritual and political organisations – are in essence non-capitalist or even anti-capitalist, full of things we do for free, out of love and on principle.”

The internet has made these deeply political activities even more visible. From growing your own food, through refusing to buy a car, on to freecycling and volunteering, there are no end of ways that people quietly reject the imperatives of pounds and profit, and thousands of initiatives and organisations that allow them to do so.

When I asked Guardian readers recently for examples of “everyday things that represent non-capitalist living”. I received a deluge of replies, full of very useful advice and an appealing spirit of qualified hope. “I am frequently filled with despair at the way things are going in the world at the moment, and doing this small thing at least makes me feel as though I’m doing something positive,” said one participant, which gets to the heart of the idea, and the responses collected here.

Freecycle as much as possible
Millions of us know the basics of freecycling: when you’re lumbered with something you either don’t want or don’t need, you can connect via the internet with someone for whom it might have a use. Until 2009, the big player in this field was the Freecycle network, founded in Arizona in 2003 – but a disagreement about allegedly heavy-handed management and the stifling of local initiatives saw the birth of the UK group Freegle, which has about 2.5 million members. Both were recommended by scores of readers, who are evidently luxuriating in less cluttered lives, and – to cite a few local odds and ends I found offered online – free beds, pianos, bikes, solitary wing mirrors and propane gas canisters, not to mention a “bag of makeup and toiletries, opened but still usable”.

Chris Everitt lives in Berlin. “There’s a German concept of leaving Sperrmüll – household objects you don’t want – on the street outside,” he says. “People can just take them, but if they’re still there the next day they’re collected as refuse. We have a little covered alleyway just off our high street where people leave things all the time: books, furniture, clothes, knick-knacks, even food. If you see something useful, you can just take it, and when you have something that no longer serves you in your life, you can place it there. Within a few hours it will be gone and part of someone else’s life.”

Make your own clothes
“I no longer buy clothes,” says Clea Whitley, 33, from London. “I’ve spent the past 11 months learning how to make them myself. I do have to buy fabric – organic and natural fibres as much as possible, and only from small, independent haberdashers – and clothing patterns, but I only buy what I need, and there’s hopefully no child labour, toxic chemicals or animal cruelty involved.” If this sounds like too much effort, you can always just cut down the volume of clothes you own.

Stop buying soap
This may not be for everyone, and is certainly complicated. But a reader who wishes to remain anonymous says: “I haven’t bought washing detergent, shampoo or conditioner since June. I wash my hair with soapnut liquid followed by apple cider vinegar. It takes a bit of pre-planning because the soapnut liquid spoils after a week, but it takes no time at all to boil the soapnuts on a Sunday evening or mix the vinegar with water. Essential oils are added to both the mixtures – this part is crucial, otherwise there would be an unpleasant smell. All my clothes washing is done with some soapnuts thrown in a muslin bag with added drops of eucalyptus oil.” In case anyone was wondering, soapnuts come from the Sapindus mukorossi tree, are part of the lychee family and are available online. What are you waiting for?

Don’t use banks
Kevin McCarron is a civil servant. “I have kept my money out of banks since the mid-1980s,” he says. “I keep my money only in credit unions.” Superficially, this may suggest a rather onerous lifestyle involving old-fashioned regular withdrawals of cash. But no: scores of credit unions offer a payment card called Engage, which also works with Google Pay.

Ditch the gym
A 23-year-old sociology graduate who lives in Salford, Greater Manchester, writes: “I once had a gym membership: £25 a month to be breathing in warm air laced with sweat, and listening to extremely loud pop music, forever showing off and promoting the glamorous, indulgent lifestyle that capitalism can provide. I also found that much more pressure was placed on me to obtain an ‘ideal’ weight and body shape because of the functions on machines, such as calorie counts, effort level and speed. I now enjoy jogging in the park, where I can be in a peaceful environment. I allow myself time to breathe and enjoy nature while exercising, in what I believe is a much healthier and productive way. There are no mirrors to show you how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ you look, and no measures of productivity, which may allow someone to put themselves down or pump their ego up. Just pure, natural exercise, which our bodies know how to do without a treadmill.”

Set up a collective bike workshop
“As a volunteer, I co-run a community bicycle workshop, helping people repair their bikes,” said a reader in Essex. “We have built a team of local volunteers and open the workshop twice a week all year round. Anyone can drop in and we’ll help them use the right tools and fix any kind of problem.”

Quit Facebook
“I have no social media accounts, which is a massive help as I don’t find myself lusting after influencers’ latest ‘fashion steals’ or their new ‘favourite items’,” says another anonymous anti-capitalist. “Not having social media minimises my exposure to advertising.”

Root through rubbish
“One thing that gives me perverse joy is finding great stuff in skips,” writes a resident of Manchester. “I have found thousands of pounds’ worth of gear such as radiators, doors, stained glass, tiles and stone flooring, joists and floorboards, which I have used in my own home or passed on.”

Found a community interest company
CICs let you help the community with fewer of the demands that are placed on charities – as Miles Berkley, who lives in Eastbourne, well knows. “I volunteer as a director of a local digital CIC that provides opportunities for seven- to 17-year-olds to develop their skills through projects and work experience,” he says. “Also I’m part of a group that has formed another CIC to take over a theatre, which will combat loneliness in our community. The rewards of stronger connections in the town and people feeling loved are worth it.”

Make your own spreadable butter
A small contribution, perhaps, but creditably ingenious. You just have to mix butter with oil, preferably something without too strong a taste. “It’s easier to spread, and reduces the amount of butter we use,” advises an anonymous Guardian reader from the home counties. “It’s an alternative to spreads in plastic tubs, and those that use palm oil. Although I am concerned about the treatment of cows, I don’t contribute to the destruction of Borneo’s forests, which are the habitat of orangutans. Orangutans are endangered. Cows are not.”

Stop buying Cillit Bang
Not so long ago, one respondent had a look around her kitchen and bathroom and came to a watershed conclusion. “I systematically assessed every single cleaning product as they ran out, then decided what better product I would replace it with, if at all,” she says. “Most household cleaning products have been replaced with a homemade mix of white vinegar and water, 1:3 parts. Bicarbonate of soda works, too.”

Go online, then visit the library
“Search for books on Amazon, read the reviews and then switch to the public library website to make an online reservation for £1,” advises Kath, from Oxford. Obviously, this may be difficult if austerity has done for your local library service, but it’s still a good idea. Libraries, in fact, came up quite a lot in people’s responses. A reader from Austin, Texas, called Sarah got in touch to pay tribute to their non-capitalistic wonders. “Social and civic institutions like libraries are the closest thing Americans have to palaces,” she says. “We can walk among a wealth of riches, being inspired by not jewels, but ideas and stories.”

Allotments are the answer to almost everything
“Keeping fit by cultivating the allotment means no gym fees,” offers a retired art teacher. “The excess produce is handed out to people as we walk home after harvesting. We are up the allotment most days from May to September and probably give out produce to about four people each week, but not always the same people.” She goes on: “In summer we are self-sufficient as far as vegetables are concerned, and in winter we have enough potatoes, squash and onions to use until March. In autumn, jams and chutney are made and passed out to friends and helpers.” As seen with Jeremy Corbyn’s allotment, this is an aspect of 21st-century British socialism that deserves more attention.

Share your food
Rachel Cox lives in Keyworth, near Nottingham, and echoes some of the same themes. “Since 2010 I’ve been involved with a project in my village called Abundance,” she says. “Every year throughout the summer and autumn we go and pick fruit for people from their gardens (generally older people who can’t do it themselves). Whatever they don’t want we then give away to local residents, mainly through a stall on a Saturday morning.”

Share discarded food
“I volunteer for Manchester FoodCycle,” says 42-year-old Jo Harvey. “Once a week we collect surplus food from local shops and supermarkets, then in the evening we make a three-course meal from the ingredients, free for anyone who turns up. We use a local kitchen and hall for free, the meal is cooked by volunteers and the food is free as it would otherwise be thrown away.”

Shop selectively
Obvious, but a big part of anyone’s anti-capitalist armoury. “I’ve actively chosen not to buy from certain companies for several years,” says a reader who wants to remain nameless. “This includes Topshop/Philip Green-owned companies, Mike Ashley companies, restaurant chains owned by big finance companies, Amazon and eBay. I don’t use companies whose tax activity is suspect or who I think dominate sections of business that could be open to others. I won’t go to Starbucks, Costa, Caffe Nero etc. And I use local shops as often as possible.”

If you’re feeling really ambitious, try a smallholding
Basically an allotment on steroids. “We live on a smallholding,” says John Ellis, 71. “Winter heating is mainly log-burners (cut from our own land) with some night storage heaters. We grow our own vegetables and run some livestock, although meat-eating has been reduced considerably.”

Join a climate action group
“I’m part of Sustainable Didcot, one of a network of local carbon action groups,” offers a reader called Emma. “These are grassroots organisations working on anti-capitalist endeavours – edible public planting, composting coffee grounds from cafes, networks of places where you can refill your water bottle, pop-up shops that sell food without packaging and Freecycle events where you can swap unwanted things.”

Don’t drive
“I have never driven a car and aim never to,” says Sara Gaynor. “I decided from 1988, after living in Copenhagen, that I would never be part of car culture and all that goes with it – petrol, pollution, traffic jams, supporting the car, oil and advertising industries. I cycle every day to work. I do my shopping using my bike, and my kids were brought up travelling around by bike and public transport.” She also attends Critical Mass events: the idea originated in early-90s San Francisco, and involves mass gatherings of cyclists who temporarily reclaim the streets, usually on the last Friday of the month.

Try a Fairphone
The manufacture of smartphones often looks like a morass of appalling labour standards and toxic materials. Hence the Fairphone – a Dutch invention that uses the Android operating system, and offers a more ethical product than most mobiles. Charles, a 22-year-old reader from London, is a fan. “The major benefit for me is the phone’s modularity,” he says. “Each individual piece can be sent in to be repaired or updated, something all other phone companies, with their programmed obsolescence, actively discourage.”

Go to the pub when it is live‑music night
“You can make your own entertainment by walking into a pub where a folk session is going on and just joining in,” says Michael, from Oxford. “I only discovered this a few years ago when the young musician in the family turned into a crazy folkie and encouraged me to join in. It negates the whole class divide of overhyped and overpaid celebrity performers versus paying audience – everybody can take part. No money changes hands, except for buying drinks – which also helps saving pubs.”

Always claim compensation for train delays
A reader from Worcester says he claims compensation for “every delay possible” from privatised rail companies. This presumably has the dual effect of undermining their profitability while exacting a polite kind of revenge for their regular uselessness.

Use your TV remote
Someone who wishes to remain anonymous got in touch with a vast amount of advice, much of which concerned making sure you never work too hard. “You should always have the energy when you get home to enjoy the evening,” he says. That’s pretty good, but as a means of sticking it to the Man and stepping outside neoliberalism, there is no beating this pearl of wisdom: “Turn the sound down when the adverts are on.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

We Are Drowning in a Devolved World:
An Open Letter from Devo

from Noisey:

Following the band's Rock Hall nomination, founder Gerald Casale reflects on its dystopian legacy in the age of Trump.
In 2018, 15 years after becoming eligible, Devo was nominated for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. The honorees will be announced a week from today. I was immediately struck by the timing of our sudden recognition: When Devo formed more than 40 years ago, we never dreamed that two decades into the 21st century, everything we had theorized would not only be proven, but also become worse than we had imagined. For me, Devo has been a long journey littered with broken dreams, but the nomination compelled me to put things in perspective. I know that many are called but few are chosen.

Forty-eight years ago, on May 4, 1970, as a member of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), I was front and center being fired on by my fellow Americans in the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University, as we peacefully protested President Nixon’s expansion of the cancerously unpopular Vietnam War into Cambodia without an act of Congress. I was lucky and dodged the bullet, both literally and figuratively, but four students were killed, and nine more were seriously wounded by the armed, mostly teenaged, National Guard troops. Two of the four students killed, Alison Krause and Jeffery Miller, were close acquaintances of mine. Less than a year earlier, as an Admissions/Curriculum counselor to incoming students, I had admitted them to the Honors College program.

May 4 changed my life, and I truly believe Devo would not exist without that horror. It made me realize that all the Quasar color TVs, Swanson TV dinners, Corvettes, and sofa beds in the world didn't mean we were actually making progress. It meant the future could be not only as barbaric as the past, but that it most likely would be. The dystopian novels 1984, Animal Farm, and Brave New World suddenly seemed less like cautionary tales about the encroaching fusion of technological advances with the centralized, authoritarian power of the state, and more like subversive road maps to condition the intelligentsia for what was to come.

As I started working with my Kent State poet friend, Bob Lewis, a philosophy emerged, fueled by the revelations that linear progress in a consumer society was a lie. Things were not getting better. There were no flying cars and domed cities, as promised in Popular Science; rather, there was a dumbing down of the population engineered by right-wing politicians, televangelists, and Madison Avenue. I called what we saw “De-evolution,” based upon the tendency toward entropy across all human endeavors. Borrowing the tactics of the Mad Men-era of our childhood, we shortened the name of the idea to the marketing-friendly “Devo.” We were not left-wing politicos. We were more informed by Jungian principles of duality in human nature, and we realized human flaws spread out across the political spectrum. Hence: “We’re All Devo,” an idea from which we did not exempt ourselves.

Then, and in the decades to follow, we witnessed an America where the capacity for critical thought and reasoning were eroding fast. People mindlessly repeating slogans from political propaganda and ad campaigns: “America, Love It or leave It”; “Don’t Ask Why, Drink Bud Dry”; “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby”; even risk-free, feel-good slogans like “Give Peace a Chance.” Here was an emerging Corporate Feudal State. You were either inside the draw bridge at night, or outside with the gnashing of teeth.

Rebellion appeared hopelessly obsolete. If the message wasn’t sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, there could be hell to pay. More and more, it seemed like the only real threat to consumer society at our disposal was meaning: turning sloganeering on its head for sarcastic or subversive means, and making people notice that they were being moved and manipulated by marketing, not by well-meaning friends disguised as mom-and-pop. And so creative subversion seemed the only viable course of action. We mixed our outrage with equal parts satire and dark humor. What else could a poor boy do?

Prior to the resignation of the nefarious Richard M. Nixon, I partnered with a new collaborator, Mark Mothersbaugh, and with his musical prowess we found the sonic alchemy for the Devo aesthetic. We formed a band of brothers around the philosophy of Devolution, only to be proven all too right.

Presently, the fabric that holds a society together has shredded in the wind. Everyone has their own facts, their own private Idaho stored in their expensive cellular phones. The earbuds are in, the feedback loops are locked, and the Frappuccino’s are flowing freely. Social media provides the highway straight back to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. The restless natives react to digital shadows on the wall, reduced to fear, hate, and superstition. There are climate change deniers, and there are even more who think that the climate is being maliciously manipulated by corporate conglomerates owned by the Central Bank to achieve global control of resources and wealth. If only that James Bond-style fantasy were true, I would be much more excited about the future, which I fear is more of a slow-death conspiracy of dunces like in Mike Judge’s movie, Idiocracy, the movie Devo should have made.

We are drowning in a devolved, WWF Smackdown-style world, with warring, huckster TV pundits from “The Left” and “The Right” distracting the clueless TV viewership while our vile, venal Mobster-in-Chief (who makes Idiocracy’s Macho Camacho look fit for office) and his corrupt minions rob the nation’s coffers in a shamelessly cruel, Grab-'Em-By-The-Pussy Kleptocracy. They reflect the prevailing mentality of the electorate. It’s as if Christopher Nolan wrote the script for America, where Trump is the Joker handing out Cabinet positions to The Suicide Squad: Hey, Betsy! You hate public education? How’d you like to run the Department of Education? Scott, you don’t give a shit about poisoning the environment for your kids and grandkids, right? Here’s your new office, Pal. Don’t forget that soundproof phone booth!

The rise of authoritarian leadership around the globe, fed by ill-informed populism, is well-documented at this point. And with it, we see the ugly specter of increased racism and anti-Semitism. It’s open season on those who gladly vote against their own self-interests. The exponential increase in suffering for more and more of the population is heartbreaking to see. “Freedom of choice is what you got / Freedom from choice is what you want,” those Devo clowns said in 1980.

So, let us not talk falsely now; the hour is getting late. Perhaps the reason Devo was even nominated after 15 years of eligibility is because Western society seems locked in a death wish. Devo doesn’t skew so outside the box anymore. Maybe people are a bit nostalgic for our DIY originality and substance. We were the canaries in the coalmine warning our fans and foes of things to come in the guise of the Court Jester, examples of conformity in extremis in order to warn against conformity. We were certainly not the one-hit wonders the dismissive rock press likes to say we were. We have always been the Rodney Dangerfields of Rock ‘N’ Roll. We were polarizing because we did not “play ball” with the sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll messaging dictum.

But today Devo is merely the house band on the Titanic. With three generations of fans, 10 studio albums, five live albums, scores of singles, scores of music videos (a format which we pioneered), and eight world tours committed to history since our 1978 debut record, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo, we’ve all too chillingly stood the test of time. 2020 will be the 40th anniversary of our Freedom of Choice record. Don’t be surprised to see us on tour then in our iconic, red Energy Domes, careening toward the latest Presidential election/selection. Speaking truth to power is a never-ending battle. In the best-case scenario, we avoid sinking into the abyss and, as a society, scratch ourselves back to square one.

Is there any question that De-evolution is real?

Devo founder Gerald Casale is a director, and songwriter based in Los Angeles.

Monday, December 10, 2018

School of Life Monday:
Why Humanity Destroyed Itself

The real reason we may destroy ourselves isn’t really to do with politics or economics or even warfare. It has to do with our minds.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Pete Shelly RIP
A Different Kind of a Tension

One of my favorite bands of all time and certainly my favorite English punk band.

Pete Shelly the lead singer has passed ....

hit play and listen to the entire 3RD LP - A Different Kind of a Tension


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Pete Shelly RIP

One of my favorite bands of all time and certainly my favorite English punk band.

Pete Shelly the lead singer has passed ....

hit play and listen to the entire second LP

Friday, December 7, 2018

Pete Shelly RIP
Another Music In A Different Kitchen

One of my favorite bands of all time and certainly my favorite English punk band.

Pete Shelly the lead singer has passed ....

hit play and listen to the entire first LP a landmark PUNK and Power Pop album!

Buzzcocks - Another Music in a Different Kitchen
produced by Martin Rushent and released in 1978

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

1977 Slalom in the streets with the infamous B.P.
and 60's Skate Legend Tommy Ryan

View this post on Instagram

BOBBY PIERCY and TOMMY RYAN (Hall of fame inductee 2018) Slalom racing in the streets of Point Loma (San Diego) California circa 1977... PURE 70’s Skateboarding... this was a legitimate form of the day and virtually unheard of now. Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta, Torger Johnson, Jay Adams, Steve Olson, even myself on the first skate team i was ever asked to join. We all rode slalom and DOWNHILL. Because at the time , that was all that was universal and could be rode anywhere in the world equally. Almost nowhere had the banked schoolyards of WEST LOS ANGELES, and very few places on the planet had the perfectly transitioned kidney shaped pools of California, there were a few, but they were rare, even then!!! So this was the main way people competed when they wanted to be competitive. Freestyle honestly took a back seat to slalom back then. Barrel jumping was even considered! Imagine growing up in this era and watching the activity so fundamentally change. If you did not live it, you are not capable. It’s kind of like if you’re under 40, you have no idea in the world what the world was like before Punk Rock or Hip Hop. Imagine being around when these cultures were just being invented or brought slightly of of the neighborhoods where they were created for outsiders to see... YOU CAN’T! And i ain’t mad at you for that, I’m just sayin’ some of us elders have seen some shit! And those before us as well. You don’t need to respect your roots, but if you don’t want to be an ignorant fool you should at least know about them.... ✌🏽👊🏽 . . #SkateBoarding #Inspiration #Integrity #PunkRock #Slalom #Racing #OG #OldSchool #BobbyPiercy #BP #TommyRyan #speed #NeedForSpeed @SkateboardingHallofFame #pointLoma #TurnerSummerSki #LoganEarthSki #kryptonics #GullWingTrucks #LighteningBolt #Bahne #TrackerTrucks #SkateBoarderMagazine

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Monday, December 3, 2018

School of Life Monday: Resilience

The route to greater resilience is to explore how well we would cope if so much of what we think we need were to be taken away from us. We would, almost certainly, manage far better than we think in our timid moments

“One of the characteristic flaws of our minds is to exaggerate how fragile we might be; to assume that life would be impossible far earlier than it, in fact, would be.
We imagine that we could not live without a certain kind of income or status or health; that it would be a disaster not to have a certain kind of relationship, house or job. This natural tendency of the mind is constantly stoked by life in commercial society, which adds to our sense of the number of things that should be considered Necessities rather than Luxuries. This kind of society goes to extraordinary lengths to get us to feel that we really do need to go skiing once a year, to have heated car seats, to fly in Business, to own the same kind of watch as a famous conductor and a jumbo-sized fridge, and to lay claim to lots of friends, perfectly muscular health and a loving, kind, sex-filled relationship…”

Saturday, December 1, 2018