I think it’s hopeless, myself, but Ventura is always in there pitching. If you still believe in politics and ideology — let alone “progress” whatever that is — you won’t much like this column. The problem is, it tells the truth.

MICHAEL VENTURA

LETTERS AT 3AM –

OLIGARCHY BLUES

Austin Chronicle – June 27, 2014

The Left: does not exist in the United States – not as a meaningful force. To state the stunningly obvious: Without a serious critique of capitalism, you’re not to the left of anything. If what’s left of your leftness is an earnest wish for reform, you are that most maligned of political entities: a liberal. Liberals of today are nice. They do some good. But liberals of old had lefty visions that changed society’s structure — FDR’s New Deal, Harry Truman’s GI Bill, and LBJ’s War on Poverty. Liberals today believe in social access for all, and beyond that, what? The status quo. No structural political vision. As Proverbs teaches: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

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How We Got Here (40)

June 27, 2014

 

Snapshot: America in 1900

* The population in 1900 was about 76 million, twice the 1950 total of 151 million, and a little more than three times the 23 million of 1850.

* The union had 45 states, as opposed to 48 in 1950 and 31 in 1850.

Backward ho, to the amazing 19th century, which was every bit as revolutionary as the 20th, transforming every aspect of life into something previously unimaginable. America ended that century on the verge of world leadership; a hundred years before, it was in a very different, and precarious, situation. It was an interesting ride.

 

How We Got Here (38)

June 26, 2014

Theodore Roosevelt

Probably something more should be said about automobiles, but I can’t bring myself to do it. They were important, they had a vast influence on everything from warfare to farming, but I don’t even want to read about them, let alone write about them. So we’ll take a look at the presidency and influence of Theodore Roosevelt, and consider that we’ve given the 20th century its due, and shall proceed to the 19th.

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June 25, 2014

How We Got Here (37)

The Wright Brothers

At first, Wilbur and Orville Wright, and their sister Katharine, fascinated the Europeans. They were so modest and unassuming, so businesslike, so down-to-earth, so willing and able to deal with workmen and with kings (literally) in an equally friendly but dignified manner. They seemed the very personification of the best of America’s supposedly classless society. Later, when patent infringement suits seemed to threaten the development of the airplane industry, they came to personify another aspect of America, a less attractive side. Yet the Wrights hadn’t changed. Circumstances had brought out a different aspect of their collective character.

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How We Got Here (36)

June 24, 2014

Movies

Like television later, and like radio at the same time, but to a greater degree, movies were America’s greatest ambassadors and propagandists. Foreigners often mistook American films for reality, and if this sometimes led them to think it was still a land of cowboys and Indians, it also led them to think that this was the land where working people lived in mansions, and rich girls married poor boys, and the streets were paved with gold.

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How We Got Here (35)

June 23, 2014

Woodrow Wilson

Perhaps at some point I will fill in Woodrow Wilson’s place in America’s rise to world power. Suffice it to say here that he kept us out of the war as long as could – certainly longer than nearly anyone else likely would have done – and proposed relatively equitable peace terms. The punitive terms that were finally imposed on Germany in June, 1919, were punitive at the insistence of the French and British, who had, after all, suffered most. (The French lost an estimated 11 per cent of their population, a staggering injury.) Edgar Cayce said much later that the Christ spirit had sat at the peace table, but had not been listened to. Wilson’s League of Nations proposal was adopted by the allies, but ironically not by his own country, for reasons good, bad, and arguable.

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How We Got Here (34)

June 22, 2014

Radio

Radio wasn’t invented in the United States. It rested on the work of many man, mostly Europeans, throughout the 19th century, culminating in Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi. He was awarded the first (British) patent for a radio wave wireless telegraphic system, and he is credited with turning radio into a global business. Brazilian priest Roberto Landell de Moura transmitted the human voice wirelessly in a public experiment in the year 1900, and was awarded fundamental patents by the Brazilian and American governments.

Nor, at first, were Americans particularly in the forefront. The Read the rest of this entry »

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