John Michael Greer’s weekly column “The Archdruid Report” has become a regular stop for blog-surfers looking for interesting and challenging perspectives. The people who are still entering pro-Obama and anti-Obama comments on the blog, a full year after I ran someone’s column about him, ought to read this column and do some actual thinking, instead of just reacting. This from  http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2011/07/salvaging-learning.html

Salvaging Learning

The other day, courtesy of the public library system here in Cumberland, I had the chance to curl up on the couch with a copy of Canadian journalist Jonathan Kay’s survey of American conspiracy theorists, Among the Truthers. I’m sorry to say it was a disappointing read. Kay’s an engaging writer and the book has some good moments, but on the whole it was a depressing reminder of the reasons that the word “journalistic” has become a synonym for “facile and tendentious.”

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The accumulated war record of three administrations (two presidents) in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, moved from dismal to futile to criminal to insane. I’m old enough to remember when John F. Kennedy could say in a speech, and be believed, and in fact have nobody even think twice about the statement, “the world knows that America will never start a war.” Even then the CIA was trying to reshape the world regardless of what we children thought about it, but “that America will never start a war” was not only plausible but assumed. Today, nearly 50 years after the coup d’etat that hijacked our country, we have become the country others fear. It isn’t pretty.

Lucky Austin, Texas, to be able to read Michael Ventura without having to go out of its way to find his Austin Chronicle column, Letters at 3 am. I know that sounds like sarcasm, but it isn’t. He’s just a great thinker.

This is from http://www.austinchronicle.com/columns/2011-07-29/letters-at-3am-a-show-of-hands/

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I have a great cynicism about all these studies, vividly remembering when “science” “proved” that eggs were bad for you, or butter. Seems like the latest — especially from what might be called “official medicine” changes every few years, silently contradicting what it advised us to believe previously. But for those who are interested, this latest, from the New York Times, July 18, 2011,via a friend.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/19/health/19brody.html?ref=general&src=me&pagewanted=print

Still Counting Calories? Your Weight-Loss Plan May Be Outdated

By JANE E. BRODY

It’s no secret that Americans are fatter today than ever before, and not just those unlucky people who are genetically inclined to gain weight or have been overweight all their lives. Many who were lean as young adults have put on lots of unhealthy pounds as they pass into middle age and beyond.

It’s also no secret that the long-recommended advice to eat less and exercise more has done little to curb the inexorable rise in weight. No one likes to feel deprived or leave the table hungry, and the notion that one generally must eat less to control body weight really doesn’t cut it for the typical American.

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I have been following Tesla Motors with interest since it was founded a few years ago. Its marketing strategy was right on the money (in all senses of the term) in that it first developed a super-expensive, super-performing toy for the rich. Then, with its cachet and profits in place, it could begin to go down-market. Ultimately its technology is going to revolutionize the automotive industry, which badly needed it. In the process it is going to participate in the retooling of America.

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Via tomdispatch http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175419/tomgram%3A_christian_parenti,_staff_of_life,_bread_of_death/ sent by a friend of mine.

Soaring Food Prices, Wild Weather, Upheaval, and a Planetful of Trouble 
By Christian Parenti

What can a humble loaf of bread tell us about the world?

The answer is: far more than you might imagine.  For one thing, that loaf can be “read” as if it were a core sample extracted from the heart of a grim global economy. Looked at another way, it reveals some of the crucial fault lines of world politics, including the origins of the Arab spring that has now become a summer of discontent.

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Any similarities to our own reality, or at least our own fears of the projected trends already reflected in our reality, are, of course, illusory. We hope.

Fulfilling Orwell’s prophecy: 15 futuristic films you should see

By John W. Whitehead
July 18, 2011

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.”—George Orwell

It has been over 60 years since George Orwell published his novel 1984. Described as political satire, it is, in reality, a political prophecy—one that is being fulfilled in our own times.

1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. And people are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. The government, or “Party,” is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: “Big Brother is watching you.”

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MICHAEL VENTURA

LETTERS AT 3AM –

IN A LONELY PLACE

Austin Chronicle – June 3, 2011

The way things are going, the beginning of The Big Sleep will one day be banned. In silhouette, Humphrey Bogart lights Lauren Bacall’s cigarette then lights his. Smoke swirls round the black, white, and silvery screen. Credits appear, turn to wisps, and disappear. The camera pans to an ashtray. Bogie’s hand places his cigarette on its rim, Bacall’s hand does the same, and from both butts thin grayish trails rise until credits fade out.

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