Subject : Science for the People and Fascism for our History Lesson.
2 November 2016
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The sad and hateful times in which we live are perhaps a harbinger for a better future. If we compare today with the days of the Amerindian genocide and the African slave trade (to cite only two of the innumerable crimes against humanity during the history of capitalist expansion), the present is not so terribly different from the past on the scale of human suffering and injustice. Our cynical leaders and their fawning mignons are by no means a new species on this earth; nor are the sadistic, brutal executioners of their self-serving policies. The dialectics of historical development has many surprises in store for all of us. Meanwhile, the least we can do is to stay informed for our own mental health and perhaps for the well-being of our community. Citizenship has been flushed down the tubes, but there remains no doubt that survival instincts will generate collective actions of resistance and at the same time new modes of cooperation among the oppressed and less-oppressed, a new urgency for scientific thought.
The pathetic flop of Bernie Sanders –down with a whimper, and not a bang—is but another reminder of what we, the pro-living people, are up against. The death wish of the ruling classes, who now flagrantly parade their inhumanity before the cameras, will bring the notorious capitalist motive to an ignoble end, which is much overdue. Out of the ashes, we can imagine, will emerge life in new forms, non-capitalist lives which already existed in embryo and will begin to flourish at high speed. By seizing control of science and technology, ordinary people will become local geniuses and inventors of new life styles. All this will occur on the graves of the old capitalist fossils who, when they were alive, devoted their time to accumulating wealth and acquiring power over other people. Soon, in the grave, they will be harmless history.
One source of inspiration which I came across recently is Gaston Bachelard’s book, La formation de l’esprit secientifique. This book was written in 1938, only months before the Nazi invasion of France in June 1940. The impressive German Wermacht was known to the French, and every intellectual felt the intimidation. (This is the period when George Pompidou, returning from a visit to Nazi Germany, destroyed his French Socialist Party membership card and burrowed into his secure job teaching literature in a Paris high school.) Like Jean-Paul Sartre, Bachelard decided to become “compatible” with Fascism and work within the constraints of the system. In our own historical context, it is interesting to read authors who advocated ‘human liberation’ in the darkest hours of social existence.
With this book on the “scientific mind,” Bachelard intends to free the mind for true scientific inquiry. He explains that contemporary humans are now in a third era of mental development. The first period is represented by the pre-scientific state of mind, which existed in antiquity, through the centuries of the Rennaissance and into the 16th and 17th centuries, and even into the 18th century. The scientific mind appeared before the end of the 18th century and flourished through the 19th century and at the start of the 20th century. The third period, the ‘era of the new scientific mind’, began precisely in the year 1905, the moment of the publication of Albert Einstein’s first article on Relativity, which challenged all preconceived notions of reality.
It is in this context that Bachelard, proposes to investigate the contemporary scientific mind of his day, by exposing the obstacles most common to clear scientific thought.
Nous nous proposons, dans ce livre, de montrer ce destin grandiose de la pensée scientifique abstraite. Pour cela, nous devrons prouver que pensée abstraite n’est pas synonyme de mauvaise conscience scientifique, comme semble l’impliquer l’accusation banale. Il nous faudra prouver que l’abstraction débarrasse l’esprit, qu’elle allège l’esprit, qu’elle de dynamise. Nous fournirons ces preuves en étudiant plus particulièrement les difficultés des abstractions correctes, en marquant l’insuffisance des premières ébauches, la lourdeur des premiers schémas, en soulignant aussi le caractère discursif de la cohérence abstraite et essentielle qui ne peut pas aller au but d’un seul trait. Et pour mieux montrer que la démarche de l’abstraction n’est pas uniforme, nous n’hésiterons pas à employer parfois un ton polémique en insistant sur le caractère d’obstacle présenté par l’expérience soi-disant concrète et réelle, soi-disant naturelle et immédiate.(pp.8-9)
. . . Il y a si loin du livre imprimé au livre lu, si loin du livre lu au livre compris, assimilé, retenu ! Même chez un esprit clair, il y a des zones obscures, des cavernes où continuent à vivre des ombres. Même chez l’homme nouveau, il reste des vestiges du vieil homme. En nous, le XVIIIe siècle continue sa vie sourde; il peut –hélas- réapparaître. Nous n’y voyons pas, comme Meyerson, une preuve de la permanence et de la fixité de la raison humaine, mais bien plutôt une preuve de la somnolence du savoir, une preuve de cette avarice de l’homme cultivé ruminant sans cesse le même acquis, la même culture et devenant, comme tous les avares, victime de l’or caressé. . . . . Nous insisterons sur ce fait qu’on ne peut se prévaloir d’un esprit scientifique tant qu’on n’est pas assuré, à tous les moments de la vie pensive, de reconstruire tout son savoir. Seuls les axes rationnel permettent ces reconstructions. Le reste est basse mnémotechnie. La patience de l’érudition n’a rien a voir avec la patience scientifique.(p.10)
This book, then, is a gift to the French nation in the last days of the Front Populaire, before the Fascist tsunami hit France in early summer of 1940.
The ‘true scientific mind’, Bachlard warned, consists of recognizing and formulating important questions.
S’il n’y a pas eu de questions, il ne peut y avoir connaissance scientifique. Rien ne va de soi. Rien n’est donné. Tout est construit.
The chapters of Bachlard’s book are organized along the lines of epistemological obstacles which he finds commonly impede scientific thought --obstacles such as firsthand experience, general knowledge, verbiage and misuse of familiar images, utilitarian and pragmatic knowledge, realism, animism, libido and objectivity, as well as quantitative knowledge. These epistemological obstacles which block scientific thought, according to this author, must be rendered conscious; then overcome if scientific work is to be accomplished. Without this intellectual effort, scientific thought will be continually sabotaged by ontological distortions, heuristic distractions, conceptual deviations, and curious delights. The necessary preconditions are simply not present for scientific work, the mind is not prepared.
This book, in its proper historical context, can be seen as a solemn warning to its readers, that something was going wrong in 1938. The human mind was not functioning at its scientific potential, and for specific reasons. Today, we witness the mindlessness of American political culture, and the violence of ripping words and images out of context in order to manipulate the minds of the masses. Eventually, our so-called ‘understanding’ is determined by our need to feel secure, and nothing else. We are, so to speak, looking out at the world from under the boot of our oppressor, the most secure place in the world that we were able to find. The security produced by rational, scientific thought was never offered as a possible alternative, and panic --the nutrient of Fascism—spreads through society like a plague, homogenizing our lives and regimenting our behavior in an entirely predictable pattern.
The 14 items below represent elements of realities which we must know if we are to begin to think clearly and systemically about our possible futures.
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
‘Turkish Soldiers’ Execute 2 Female Kurdish Fighters
(27 sec. Video)
Camoflauged men are shown throwing one woman off a cliff. They then point an assault rifle in the direction she fell and fire indiscreetly.
Another woman is then forced to her knees and repeatedly shot point blank
Hillary Clinton, FBI and the Real
by Pepe Escobar
"As bad as it is the folks above the President make the decisions. They may have decided on Trump. These things do not happen by accident."
From: "Alan Grayson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, 2 November, 2016 1:23:48 AM
What $10 million buys from the Democratic Party
As many readers of this missive may be aware, I ran against Patrick Murphy in the August 30 Florida Senate Democratic Primary. A few months earlier, a Murphy political operative had an interesting conversation with someone working on my campaign. The operative said that Murphy’s father, Tom Murphy, had promised to give the Democrats’ Super PAC (Senate Majority PAC) and Patrick Murphy’s captive Super PAC (Floridians for a Strong Middle Class) $5 million if Patrick won the nomination, and that Tom Murphy would round up another $5 million from his friends and colleagues. So the Democratic Party could expect to see $10 million if it delivered the nomination to Murphy.
Very interesting, I thought. This explained to me why Sen. Harry Reid, head of the Senate Democrats, had been interfering in my primary and belligerently attacking me personally for months, and why the DSCC had been trying to plant “hit pieces” against me with its inside-the-Beltway pet reporters in the media.
I can’t say that I was surprised by this. Patrick Murphy’s father Tom, a Republican, already had passed around more than $1.5 million to Democratic candidates and organizations to grease the skids for Patrick, including the purchase of several key endorsements by elected officials. I asked one of them why he had endorsed Patrick. He told me, “Alan, if you gave me $20,000, then I’d be your best friend for life, too.”
In fact, without Daddy’s promise of $10 million, it would be very hard to explain why Senate Democrats would give a fig for Patrick Murphy. Murphy won his seat by less than one-half of one percent of the vote, while the Democrat running four years earlier in the same district had won by ten points. Murphy is a second-term Congressman who has accomplished so little that he was named the least effective Member of the House. Completely bereft of any legislative accomplishments, he is forced to point to a GOP bill for which he takes credit, because the GOP author said something nice about him on the Floor of the House. Murphy’s main goal in Congress seems to have been to try to set some kind of record for party disloyalty, by voting for more than 60 times for bills that were so odious than President Obama threatened in advance to veto them, voting seven times to force the President to license the Keystone Pipeline, voting to “condemn” the President over the Bowe Bergdahl swap, and voting (with only six other House Democrats) in favor of the GOP’s Benghazi witch-hunt committee. Murphy also voted (alone among 188 House Democrats) to vote to kill high-speed rail in Florida, even though it passes through his district, after his father’s construction company withdrew its effort to win the bid on the project. And Salon magazine points out that Patrick Murphy was a lifelong Republican who switched parties the month he declared for Congress and then, after election as a Democrat, asked Speaker John Boehner if he could switch back. (Boehner wasn’t interested.)
And me? I’m the only House Democrat to represent downtown Orlando in the past 42 years. I won my 2008 race by just four points. I lost in both 2006 and in 2010. House Democrats have a system for Member of Congress in shaky districts like mine, called “the pass.” If such a Member wants to vote against the party for political reasons, you are supposed to tell the Democratic Leadership ahead of time, “I need to take a pass.”
I have never taken a pass. Ne-ver. And I’ve passed 100 bills and amendments through the House in the last four years, all solid progressive legislation. And I won my last two House campaigns by double digits.
So, if the question is why the Democratic Party would endorse Patrick Murphy in a contested Senate primary, the answer has got to be Daddy’s $10 million. What else could it be?
Now, some might say, “OK, I’m not too thrilled with the idea that $10 million buys a Senate nomination, complete with full support from the party bosses, but we have to fight back against the Koch Brothers’ billions somehow, right?” I’m sorry, but that’s not what that $10 million is really all about. Media commissions are 15%. When the party’s Super PAC spends $10 million, then someone who is on very friendly terms with the party bosses makes a quick and easy (and legal!) $1.5 million.
That’s what that $10 million is really all about. Payola.
Still, that conversation that was conveyed to me is just a story, right? Just one politico talking to another.
No. Because when the Democrat’s Senate Majority PAC actually reserved TV time for that ten-week period between the primary and the general election, the amount of Florida TV time that it reserved was . . . $10 million. Precisely the amount that Tom Murphy promised to deliver.
It’s worth considering how utterly implausible it is that the Senate Majority PAC and the DSCC each would reserve $10 million for the last ten weeks of the Florida Senate race, without Tom Murphy’s promised cash. Last time I looked, the Senate Majority PAC had a grand total of $6 million in the bank. So it reserved almost twice the amount of TV time – in just one race – as it had cash on hand.
What is wrong with this picture?
And the DSCC? It had $31 million in the bank – for 34 different Senate races, ten of which have been characterized as competitive. And in the polls for the Democrat in those ten races, Patrick Murphy is . . . tenth. Why would the DSCC plan to spend one-third of all of its cash on hand on its weakest competitive candidate?
In mid-July, I was up by eight points in my primary. On July 15, the Senate Majority PAC announced a $1 million buy for a TV spot endorsing Patrick Murphy – almost unprecedented Democratic Party interference in a Senate Primary. By August 1, the TV spot had had its intended effect, with Murphy support zooming upward. The average Tampa voter saw that spot almost thirty times, in barely two weeks.
What happened next? Did Tom Murphy deliver on his $10 million to Senate Majority PAC? Did the DSCC then match Tom’s $10 million, buying young Patrick a Senate seat?
No and no. Tom Murphy kicked in a rather pitiful $250,000 to the Murphy Super PAC “Floridians for a Strong Middle Class” on Sept. 27, which has been dutifully trundling its cash over to the Senate Majority PAC. And after that earlier $1 million purchase of the party endorsement ad on Aug. 13, Tom Murphy has given nothing to the Senate Majority PAC directly. Zilch.
So the Senate Majority PAC pulled the last of its $10 million Florida Senate TV reservations three weeks ago, and the DSCC followed suit a week later.
FWIW, at that time, Patrick Murphy had trailed Marco Rubio in 28 out of the last 28 Florida Senate polls posted at Real Clear Politics. Apparently, Florida voters are not as stupid as the Murphy clan thinks they are.
Did Tom Murphy ever intend to come up with $10 million for Patrick’s campaign? I don’t know, but I doubt it. Did the Democratic Party ever intend to match Tom Murphy’s $10 million? I don’t know, but I doubt it.
All I know is that just getting a whiff of $10 million of Tom Murphy’s money, just a glance at that mirage, was enough to turn my party against me – in favor of someone contemptuous of my party and its principles.
I once told a national TV audience, “you have only three friends in life: God, your mama, and the Democratic Party.”
Cross that last one off the list.
Rep. Alan Grayson
“Washington, DC wanted to defeat Alan Grayson as the Democratic candidate for the Senate, and now they’re happy to allow Marco Rubio to resuscitate his political career.”
- Reporter Marc Caputo on WPLG-Miami (Oct. 17, 2016).
From: Bertell Ollman
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2016
Subject: Mindful of Trump.
Here is the best piece I've seen on our elections and another - coming - of a wonderful case study on the power of the Zionist lobby in American elections and how they exercise it.
Hope all goes well.
Dear Liberals: Trump is Right
by Eric Draitser
The Failure of Democracy
How The Oligarchs Plan To Steal The Election
by Paul Craig Roberts
From : http://www.truthdig.com/
by Chris Hedges
We are captive to images and forms of propaganda that make us the most self-deluded population on the planet.
We are driven by manipulated emotions, not fact or reason. And this is why, even now, Donald Trump could become president.
Tom Hayden’s Haunting
by Jim Kavanagh
An interesting piece, not only re Tom Hayden but also the reach of Israel within US Politics.
by John Pilger
Russia Has Called the War Party's Bluff
by Pepe Escobar
hot war is not going to break out after Nov. 8th - thanks to shrewd moves and
preparation by Moscow
The Laura Flanders Show
Laura Flanders interviews former presidential candidate Ralph Nader to discuss what really constitutes "people power" when it comes to the 2016 election.
by John Pilger
From : http://therealnews.com/t2/
FBI Director Comey's Catch-22
Forget the FBI Cache; The Podesta Emails Show How America is Run
by Thomas Frank
The emails currently roiling the US presidential campaign are part of some unknown digital collection amassed by the troublesome Anthony Weiner, but if your purpose is to understand the clique of people who dominate Washington today, the emails that really matter are the ones being slowly released by WikiLeaks from the hacked account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta. They are last week’s scandal in a year running over with scandals, but in truth their significance goes far beyond mere scandal: they are a window into the soul of the Democratic party and into the dreams and thoughts of the class to whom the party answers.
From : http://www.counterpunch.org/
Putin Derailed the West
by Mike Whitney
“Nation state as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state.”
— Zbigniew Brzezinski, “Between Two Ages: The Technetronic Era”, 1971
“I’m going to continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens within Syria….not only to help protect the Syrians and prevent the constant outflow of refugees, but to gain some leverage on both the Syrian government and the Russians.”
— Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Third Presidential Debate