Bulletin N° 597
Subject: ON REALITY: IS THERE ONE?
IS THERE MORE THAN ONE?
ARE THERE MANY . . . ?
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Mother Earth is sick –her hair is falling out, her teeth are in decay, her vital organs are weak, her immune system is failing, and her skin is covered with cancerous growths. She is no profligate whore now paying for her past libertine behavior. No, she is the innocent victim of gang rape by the superstars among us, while many of her other children are mindlessly assaulting one another in what appears to be a desperate attempt on their part to forget who they are and what they truely need.
Already 14,000 U.S. Deaths From Fukushima ?
A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal International Journal of Health Services alleges that 14,000 people have already died in the United States due to Fukushima.
A monopoly of power is a dangerous thing –at the least expected moment, it can buckle from within, or be up-ended from without, from some unsuspected angle. And constant vigilance, receding into paranoia, is another destructive force, disintegrating the very foundations of its structure.
Recently, while discussing with my graduate students the importance of formulating a problematic which would govern the kinds of questions that produce new and original understanding, I found an old copy of Gaston Bachelard's 1949 book, “Le rationalism appliqué” (which to my knowledge has never been translated into English). Bachelard, influenced by the philosophy of Bergson, Husserl and Heidegger, was an important inspiration for Deleuze and Althusser. He was an original thinker who redefined epistemology by inventing the word problematique, by which he meant not simply new problems and new questions, but rather new approaches, giving rise to new ‘vectors of structuration’ and new 'correlations'. Bachelard was a physicist and a chemist, and his philosophical writings concerned such issues as ‘scientific objectivity’, and ‘truth,’ and, above all, the limits of ‘reason'.
I mentioned this at my wife's birthday party the other night, where an interesting variety of friends had gathered to celebrate with us –among them were productive artists, dancers, musicians scientists, and writers. One Russian physicist, deeply steeped in the tradition of historical materialism, expressed skepticism; he had seen too often young scientists in western Europe whose methods had been corrupted by ‘philosophy’. They simply were unable or unwilling to apply the rules of scientific theory with any rigor, and they had become trapped in a world of free speculation. It was the consistent application of classic scientific laws, after all, that launched the first Sputnik into outer space, he reminded us. This seemed to contradict Bachelard's "vectors of structuration" methodology, whereby the scientist is producing knowledge by identifying new 'correlations' between elements of the reality he is observing.
Yes, replied a French film-maker sitting at the head of the table, and this reminds me of an old joke:
Russian technicians were having great problems constructing a certain aircraft because the wings of this great plane kept falling off. They tried a variety of techniques, following the principles of physics to construct the wings so that they would not detach from the fuselage of the plane. In utter frustration, the engineers called for an open discussion with all employees at the factory on the best solution to this problem. One employee suggested that the wing be perforated with as series of holes along the fitting to the fuselage. The engineers ridiculed him and asked how he had come upon such a silly idea. He explained that is was obvious: just look at the roll of toilet paper in the WC, when you pull it, it never tears along the perforated line!
Many years later, following Bachlard's insights, Louis Althusser further developed the concepts of 'vectors of structuration' and 'material correlations'. The mixed group at the birthday party all agreed with the view that science must inevitably be seen as one among many cultural constructs within a historical context. We were a committed secular group that evening, and we departed late that night still friends.
My students --many of whom are so concerned with winning the approval of authority figures, writing effective CVs, and conducting successful interviews— would do well to look behind the scenes which are causing such high levels of fear and anxiety today, to see who teaches the teachers, who polices the police, who judges the judges, who governs the governors, and, above all, to recognize the battlefield they have inherited in this world class war, which has a long, long history and which determines so much of what they do, say, and think. . . .
The 9 items below offer CEIMSA readers a glimps of this battlefield; they are no more than a single frame from a movie that is nowhere near its final scene.
Item A., from Truthdig, is an article on the new American Revloution, by Robert Scheer.
Item B., from Truthout, is an article by Greg Palast, who discusses the role model President Obama is providing our children for their future development.
Item C., from Truthdig, is an article Chris Hedges on ‘Banksters’ and how they are harming us.
Item D., from Jim O’Brien of Historians Against War, is a series of recommended recent articles.
Item E., from Professor Edward S. Herman, is a short description of Andrew Bacevich's very important book Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country.
Item F. from Information Clearing House, is a photo essay of American Marines burning the dead bodies of Iraqi resistance fighters.
Item G., from Information Clearing
House, is an article by Nick Turse
on the scores of “secret wars” around the world today that are being fought by
America’s military machine.
Item H., from the Common Dreams, is an article by Julian Borger on “Israel’s Secret Nuclear Arsenal”.
Item I., from San Diego community organizer Byron Morton, is an article by Felix Salmon on who is screwing the American middle class and how.
And finally we invite CEIMSA readers to view with us the video, "We're All *ucked", an interview with Russel Brand at Cambridge University by Leo Kirby.
We're All *ucked: Russell Brand
Russell Brand at the Cambridge Union, in conversation with Leo Kirby :
“All of us have this sense that we are unfulfilled, that we've been lied to.”
Professor of American Studies
University of Grenoble-3
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
From Truthdig :
Dates: 7 January 2014
Subject: The American Revolution revisited.
Like this country’s early revolutionaries, Edward Snowden knows that true patriotism demands a vigilant confrontation with government infamy.
by Robert Scheer
From Truthout :
Dates: 16 January 2014
Subject: What role model is President Obama providing our children to help them become . . . ?
Far more insidious, more corrosive and dangerous than the Governor of New Jersey playing traffic warden is the story of Gov. Chris Christie's secret meetings with a gaggle of billionaires - and the legality of the spending by the front organization set up following these hidden hugger-muggers.
In 2012, a tax-exempt "social welfare organization" called Committee for Our Children's Future, CCF, ran a series of TV ads telling America that Governor Christie has performed more miracles in New Jersey than Jesus did with loaves and fish. The New York Times found some old college chums who said they set up the "Children's" crusade for Christie. But the ads cost about $6 million. The Times didn't ask how Christie's buddies, not wealthy guys, found the six big ones.
Christie and Koch in Cahoots? It's Time to Subpoena the Committee for Our Children's Future
by Greg Palast
From Truthdig :
Dates: 29 december 2013
Subject: The solution which every school child knows to the problem of poverty.
There will never be significant economic reform until megabanks are replaced by a network of state- and city-owned public banks. The revolution must be local.
Overthrow the Speculators
From Jim O’Brien :
Dates: 11 January 2014
Subject: Suggested reading from Historians Against the War.
Links to Recent Articles of Interest
By Andrew J. Bacevich, Los Angeles Times, posted January 12
The author teaches history and international relations at Boston University
By Juan Cole, Informed Comment blog, posted January 11
The author teaches political science at Tel Aviv University
By Jim Lobe, Information Clearing House, posted January 10
By Lawrence S. Wittner, History News Network, posted January 7
The author is a professor of history emeritus at SUNY Albany
By Stanley Kutler, History News Network, posted December 30
The author is a professor of history emeritus at the University of Wisconsin
By CNN Political Unit, posted December 30
By Jeremy Kuzmarov, History News Network, posted December 30
The author teaches history at the University of Tulsa; the book, is about Allen and John Foster Dulles
By Thomas S. Harrington, CounterPunch.org, posted December 27
By William J. Astore, History News Network, posted December 18
The author teaches history at Pennsylvania College of Technology
By Andrew J. Bacevich, The American Conservative, posted December 18
Interview with Robert Neer, History News Network, posted December 16
Robert Neer is the author of a newly published history of napalm
Thanks for Mim Jackson, Rosalyn Baxandall, Steve Gosch, and an anonymous reader for suggesting articles that are included in the above list. Suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Ed. Herman :
Dates: 17 January 2014
Subject: New book on the American way of war.
Friends: The theme of Andrew Bacevich's recent book Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country, stresses how the shift to a volunteer army separated war-making farther from popular decision-making and interests than in the past. But it also led to a much greater reliance on contracting out services that had formerly been carried out in-house. He has some telling pages making the case that this has had deleterious effects on the military itself, vastly increasing corruption and costs, with feed-back effects on war and political processes (chapter 8: Winners and Losers). This has been privatization lunacy and mayhem.
From Information Clearing House :
Dates: 16 January 2014
Subject: U.S. Marines burning bodies of the 'enemy' far away from home.
Posing for pictures with skeletons and even an enemy soldier's remains being eaten by a dog as Pentagon launches probe. The explosive photographs, reportedly taken in Fallujah in 2004, have sparked a Marine Corps investigation. However, many of the 41 shots, obtained by TMZ, are just too grisly to publish.
Pictures Show U.S. Marines Burning Bodies of Iraqi Insurgents
From Information Clearing House :
Dates: 16 January 2014
Subject: The empire and the next generation.
This presence -- now, in nearly 70% of the world’s nations -- provides new evidence of the size and scope of a secret war.
America’s Secret War in
by Nick Turse
From Common Dreams :
Dates: 17 January 2014
Subject: Israel’s Secret Nuclear Arsenal.
Israel has been stealing nuclear secrets and covertly making bombs since the 1950s. And western governments, including Britain and the US, turn a blind eye. But how can we expect Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions if the Israelis won't come clean?
The Truth About Israel's Secret Nuclear Arsenal
by Julian Borger
From Byron Morton :
Dates: 15 January 2014
Subject: What do the ‘Banksters’ really want and how do they get it?
Having a 30 fixed loan at a low interest rate would help me out. So, they make a profit but not big enough. And the middle class gets strangled. Why am I not surprised?
P.S. Our friend Brian mentioned, that if banks could get away with selling you nothing and charging you alot (taking all your money) then they would certainly try to do it.
Why banks aren’t lending to homebuyers
by Felix Salmon