Democracy Now!’s not-so-good interview with Stephen Cohen on the Ukraine

Update, August 28, 2014: Those who have persisted in seeing the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization as the sole aggressor in Ukraine surely now have some explaining to do as it now appears that Russian troops have invaded. Russian President Vladimir Putin is “not even making a good-faith effort to come up with explanations that anyone in the United States or Europe could believe,” Stephen Long, an international security expert at the University of Richmond in Virginia, told McClatchy News. “No matter what Russia calls it, it’s been obvious for a long time that Russia is actively involved.”[1]

Update, February 21, 2014: A systematic refutation of Stephen Cohen’s and others’ points maligning the Ukrainian opposition may be found in a New York Review of Books article by Timothy Snyder.[2] I strongly recommend it.

One of the interesting things about the Democracy Now! program is that they will occasionally allow their guests to hang themselves. It is essential interview technique to not superimpose your own understanding upon that of the person you are interviewing,[3] and it is to Amy Goodman’s, Juan González’s, and the other Democracy Now! anchors’ credit that, at least insofar as I have observed, they abide by this rule very strictly. Read more

  1. [1]Stephen Long, quoted in Matthew Schofield, “Russia appears to invade Ukraine, opening 2nd front,” McClatchy, August 28, 2014, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/08/28/238054_russia-appears-to-invade-ukraine.html?rh=1
  2. [2]Timothy Snyder, “Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine,” New York Review of Books, February 19, 2014, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/mar/20/fascism-russia-and-ukraine/
  3. [3]Ruthellen Josselson, Interviewing for Qualitative Inquiry: A Relational Approach (New York: Guilford, 2013).

Saving the state

I am sometimes reluctant to write on topical events, such as those in Burma/Myanmar, in Venezuela, and North Korea. It’s not that I’m not paying attention, but rather that I’m not satisfied with the quality of information I’m getting. It’s all too easy for an outsider, particularly one whose heritage is that of a colonizer, to say what people who are actually there, who are actually experiencing a situation, should do, and this is, in itself, another manifestation of a colonizer’s attitude. Read more

Waking up to more idiocy

I’ve gotta quit waking up like this. This morning, in my mailbox, I find yet another diatribe, archived here, from the so-called “Coordination of Anarchist Groups,” claiming that anti-speciesism is a false solution to the environmental crisis.[1] (I dealt with their argument placing anarchism in a hermetically-sealed museum case yesterday.[2]) Read more

  1. [1]Coordination of Anarchist Groups to a-infos list, “(en) France, Coordination of Anarchist Groups – The antispecism a false solution to environmental problems (fr, pt) [machine translation],” February 18, 2014, http://ainfos.ca/en
  2. [2]David Benfell, “If this is anarchism, then I am not an anarchist,” So I’m Vegan. Now, What? February 17, 2014, https://vegan.parts-unknown.org/?p=124

If this is anarchism, then I am not an anarchist

If this is anarchism, then I am not an anarchist:

Anarchism as we understand it is a continuation of the socialist labor movement, specifically the anti-authoritarian tendency of the International Workingmen’s Association. This is important in the sense that if it recognizes the existence of anti-authoritarian revolts and movements in human history before that period, as the existence of libertarian ideologies, it is anarchism as an ideological current steeped in history, not as a philosophical trend universally present in human history based solely on the refusal of the principle of domination.[1]

I received in my email this morning a post on the a-infos list, which I have archived here, containing these words. It is a lengthy post, poorly translated (presumably by Google), but clearly relying on cherry-picked authorities and incorrect definitions and stylistically claiming to speak for all anarchists. Read more

  1. [1]Coordination of Anarchist Groups to a-infos-en list, “(en) France, Coordination of Anarchist Groups – Anarchism and antispecism (fr, pt) [machine translation],” February 17, 2014, http://ainfos.ca/en

PETA needs to sit down, shut up, and go away

I have previously condemned People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for its mass “euthanasia” of adoptable companion animals, accusing it of “tak[ing] on the role of a god.”[1] The organization still hasn’t taken the hint, even as yet more evidence has come to light, even as people who oppose animal rights gleefully point to its supreme hypocrisy.[2]  Refusing to discontinue what, given an anti-speciesist premise, can certainly only be compared to the Holocaust or other genocides, it has instead sought to suppress opponents with frivolous lawsuits.[3] Read more

  1. [1]David Benfell, “PETA is a lousy god,” So, I’m Vegan. Now, What?, May 30, 2009, https://vegan.parts-unknown.org/?p=54.
  2. [2]Alexandra Myers, “Documents: PETA kills more than 95 percent of pets in its care,” Daily Caller, February 24, 2012, http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/24/documents-peta-kills-more-than-95-percent-of-pets-in-its-care/; Nathan J. Winograd, “Shocking Photos: PETA’s Secret Slaughter of Kittens, Puppies,” Huffington Post, April 2, 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-j-winograd/peta-kills-puppies-kittens_b_2979220.html
  3. [3]Julia Marsh, “Claws come out as PETA goes after anonymous online commenters for shelter kill claims,” New York Post, May 24, 2013, http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/claws_come_kills_shelter_peta_goes_rkK9NKluuT53huumRp4L5K; Mark R. Whittington, “Now PETA Wants to Sue People Who Leave Anonymous Comments,” Yahoo!, May 25, 2013, http://voices.yahoo.com/now-peta-wants-sue-people-leave-anonymous-comments-12153950.html

Nothing to worry about

In the seemingly endless battle between conservatives and the White House over Obamacare, that is, the health insurance reform that is, however pathetic, Barack Obama’s most significant accomplishment.[1] the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report which, after the dust settled,[2] appears to mean that some workers will no longer be as desperate for work, because Obamacare means that they no longer need to be employed full-time to obtain health insurance.[3] Read more

  1. [1]Brad Jacobson, “Obama received $20 million from healthcare industry in 2008 campaign,” Raw Story, January 12, 2010, http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/01/12/obama-received-20-million-healthcare-industry-money-2008/
  2. [2]Erik Wasson, “CBO: O-Care slowing growth, contributing to 2.3M job losses,” Hill, February 4, 2014, http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/197365-cbo-o-care-slowing-growth; Justin Sink, “White House pushes back on CBO report,” Hill, February 4, 2014, http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/197402-white-house-pushes-back-on-cbo-report
  3. [3]Matthew Yglesias, “The Media Is Blowing It on Obamacare and Jobs,” Slate, February 5, 2014, http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2014/02/cbo_on_obamacare_people_won_t_be_as_desperate_for_work_and_nobody_s_going.html