Philip L. Russell :
The election of AMLO: Optimism and skepticism in Mexico

The election leaves in its wake a radically different political landscape.

Mexican President-elect López Obrador. Photo by Eneas De Troya, Mexico City, May 6, 2012 / Wikimedia Commons.

By Philip L. Russell | The Rag Blog | July 11, 2018


Philip Russell will join Thorne Dreyer on Rag Radio, Friday, July 13, 2018, to discuss this article and the ascendance of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico. Rag Radio is a syndicated radio program that first airs on KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin and is streamed live here.


Philip Russell writes about Mexico for The Rag Blog. Read his earlier series about the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto.


“Mexico turned left. No one knows exactly what that means. However, the new Mexico will certainly be different from the one which has existed until now.” — Jorge Ramos Ávalos

By now the whole world knows that Andrés Manuel López Obrador, widely known by his initials, AMLO, won the July 1 presidential election in Mexico with 53 percent of the vote. It was his third time as a presidential candidate. In that aspect, he follows in the footsteps of two twentieth-century icons of the Latin American left — Salvador Allende of Chile and Lula of Brazil — who were both elected president after two failed presidential bids.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bruce Melton :
Alaskan permafrost now emitting more greenhouse gases than it is storing

Alaskan permafrost has flipped from carbon sink to carbon source.

This image is of a thermokarast melt pool, or permafrost melt in Central Alaska. To get there, follow the Denali Highway (all weather gravel) east from Cantwell about 60 miles. Cantwell is about 20 miles south of the entrance to Denali National Park. There’s no gas beyond Cantwell. There are bears though.

By Bruce Melton | The Rag Blog | July 5, 2018

Climate change researcher and Rag Radio environmental reporter Bruce Melton will be Thorne Dreyer‘s guest on Rag Radio, Friday, July 6, 2018, from 2-3 p.m. (CT) on KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin and streamed live here. Bruce will join us live from Yosemite National Park.


Climate Change is here. Alaskan permafrost is now emitting more greenhouse gases than it is storing according to work from Harvard, the Dublin Institute of Technology, Universities of Alaska, Colorado at Boulder, California at Irvine, NOAA, and others in this powerhouse paper. This wasn’t supposed to happen before the end of the century.

It’s irreversible if we keep warming and even the best-case scenario of Paris emissions reductions allows up to triple the warming we have already seen by 2050 and quintuple by 2100. Literally, only technology can save us now — which is really good news because we have the technology. The first time it was industrialized was to keep our sailors safe from carbon dioxide poisoning in submarines during World War II. (see here)
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lamar W. Hankins :
The patriotism platitude

This July 4th we should be conscious of the ‘patriotic’ words used to evoke cheap emotion.

Patriotism at Republic of Texas Biker Rally, June 1, 2006. Photo from Alex Thompson / Flickr / Wikimedia Commons.

By Lamar W. Hankins | The Rag Blog | July 3, 2018

If any word in the English language has ceased to serve a useful purpose, that word is patriotism. As we near the observance of the day we annually observe as Independence Day, the words “patriotism” and “patriotic” will be used to evoke emotion without rationality. It is cheap emotion, devoid of meaningful content and leading to false reality. Its moral base, if it ever had one, has long since vanished.

What I mean, when I use “patriot” words, relates to the best values on which this country was founded. Those values are embodied in the French notions of “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” — liberty, equality, and fraternity — ideas that arose out of the Enlightenment and were as important for our own break from British control as they were for the French Revolution.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Alice Embree :
Activism in the Trump era

10,000 in Austin rally to ‘Keep Families Together’; Many Texas victories to celebrate.

Two babies without borders at the Keep Families Together rally, Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 30, 2018. Photo by
Carlos Lowry /The Rag Blog.

By Alice Embree | The Rag Blog | July 1, 2018

On Saturday, June 30, 2018, a Keep Families Together rally at the Texas State Capitol drew about 10,000 people. With heat reaching nearly triple digits, crowds gathered at noon on the Capitol steps to demand reunification of separated families and justice for asylum seekers.

Sulma Franco, a Guatemalan asylum seeker addressed the crowd in Spanish recounting her nine-year struggle for asylum. She was incarcerated at four detention centers and received sanctuary for several months in an Austin church before being granted a stay of removal. Two immigration attorneys spoke of the ordeals their clients faced. Some had their children separated “for photographs or baths” never to return.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

James Retherford :
BOOKS | Little big meshuganah

Jim Retherford does Pat Thomas
does Jerry Rubin.

Jerry Rubin’s Do iT! and Pat Thomas’ DiD iT!

By James Retherford | The Rag Blog | June 6, 2018

Pat Thomas, author of DiD iT! and The Rag Blog‘s James Retherford, who was the ghost writer for Jerry Rubin’s bestselling DO iT!, are Thorne Dreyer‘s guests on Rag Radio, Friday, June 8, 2018, from 2-3:30 p.m. (CT) on KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin. Stream it here.


CARSLOVESHELL

How can I say
“I love you”
after hearing
“CARS LOVE SHELL”?

Do It! Scenarios of the Revolution


Socrates famously said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” After reading Pat Thomas’ coffee table-sized tome about modern day gadfly Jerry Rubin, I wonder if the same might also be said about an over-examined life.

DiD iT! From Yippie to Yuppie: Jerry Rubin, An American Revolutionary is the first biography about the well-known Sixties media prankster, Youth International Party (Yippie!) co-founder, and (according to Thomas) prophet of 21st century i-Capitalism and social media.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Steve Russell :
Half of an NSA intercept

Little Rocket Man? Dotard here.

Kim Jong Un. Caricature by conescu / Flickr.

By Steve Russell | The Rag Blog | May 29, 2018

I did over half of my Air Force hitch in USAF Security Service, the USAF branch of the National Security Agency. It was our job to hoover up radio traffic from the other side of the Iron Curtain and near the battlefields of the proxy wars. Then we had to translate the untreated sludge and prepare reports that the generals could hand to the civilians running the show.

The Pueblo, that Navy vessel that got grabbed by North Korea in 1968, was part of the Navy branch of NSA. It was putting the Big Ear on North Korea.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jim Simons :
The three state solution

We are complicit in the apartheid and occupation imposed on the Palestinian people.

A Palestinian boy and Israeli soldier in front of the Israeli West Bank Barrier, August 2004. Justin McIntosh./ Wikimedia Commons.

By Jim Simons | The Rag Blog | May 20, 2018

The thing Trump loves best is attention. Perhaps for that reason it has become easy for foreign governments to manipulate our politics. That and a weak right-wing Congress.

If it’s not Putin, it is Netanyahu. In an earlier stunt that failed, Netanyahu spoke to Congress just before the Iran nuclear treaty was ratified, bypassing the president in a breach of protocol. Now he has produced a video purporting to “prove” that Iran was in violation of the treaty, laughable except for the fact that we may be heading toward war.

The likes of John Bolton are likely planning out strikes on Iran now. Netanyahu is more blatant than Putin was in a bald-faced attempt to get such a war going. He has long wanted it. A war for us to conduct, not Israel. On May 1, Amy Goodman reported on Democracy Now! that many experts had exposed Netanyahu’s clumsy attempt to create an illusion of evidence based solely on pre-treaty documents at least 15 years old.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Steve Russell :
Donald Trump and debts to America’s warriors

The dominant culture has a mixed record of looking after warriors when the war is over.

After allegations of misconduct, Admiral Ronny Jackson withdrew his name. Image by Donkey Hotey / Flickr.

By Steve Russell | The Rag Blog | April 29, 2018

Traditionally, we Indians honor warriors. We honor not only our own warriors but also our adversaries when they act with honor as well as courage. We honor courage by offering warriors preferred ceremonial positions, by seeking their advice about the wisdom of going to war, and by devoting resources to tending their wounds and returning their economic losses.

The dominant culture has a mixed record of looking after warriors when the war is over. Trying to put warriors back in the position they would have occupied had they not gone to war is not awarding them an honor. It’s partial payment of a debt.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thorne Dreyer :
RAG RADIO PODCASTS | Interviews with Lamar W. Hankins & Alan Pogue; Christopher Brown & Roddey Reid; Thorne Dreyer & Glenn Smith; Carl Davidson; Alice Embree, Kim Varela-Broxson & Lindsay Rodriguez; Roaul Hernandez; Steve Russell; and Philip Russell

Our guests include authors & activists, political analysts, a music critic and a leftist icon; we talk about guns and feminism; and we bid Mexico’s president bye-bye.

Austin Chronicle music editor Raoul Hernandez in the KOOP studios in Austin, Feb. 23, 2018. Photo by Roger Baker / The Rag Blog.

Interviews by Thorne Dreyer | The Rag Blog | April 16, 2018

The following podcasts are from recent Rag Radio shows with host and producer Thorne Dreyer. The syndicated Rag Radio program, produced in the studios of Austin’s cooperatively-run KOOP-FM, has an international audience and has become an influential platform for interviews with leading figures in politics, current events, literature, and cutting-edge culture.

The show first airs Fridays, 2-3 p.m. (CT) on KOOP, 91.7-FM in Austin, and streams live at KOOP.org and Radio Free America.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chellis Glendinning :
STORY | How to cross the border

Raúl has forged hundreds of miles in thin huaraches through 100-degree saguaro desert.

Saguaro cactus in 100 degree-plus Sonoma Desert. Creative Commons image by NobbiP.

By Chellis Glendinning | The Rag Blog | April 15, 2018

“I came to the U.S. because in my ejido in Chihuahua, there isn’t enough money to buy toilet paper.”– Raúl Solís Salazar, answering Diné/Navajo ethnobotanist Donna House´s question, “Why did you risk everything to come to the U.S.?”

CHUQUISACA, Bolivia — Raúl has forged the border between Mexico and the U.S. so many times that he has the passage down to a craft. “They chase us down in the desert,” he told me. “They put up 25-foot walls, they add airplanes that fly without pilots, they make fences that sting like bees – but we always find a way to get through.”

He and his band of indocumentados in our village were always regaling me with their experiences, ideas, and opinions. They had pioneered the journey north in tight groups and, upon arrival, called their cousins back at the ejido so they too could launch using the same, now-proven routes.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Jonah Raskin :
BOOKS | ‘There may not be answers’

We review Allen Young’s autobiography, ‘Left, Gay & Green: A Writer’s Life.’



By Jonah Raskin | The Rag Blog | April 12, 2018

“Rejection of marginalization is certainly not the same as assimilation.” — Allen Young

Allen Young begins his autobiography in March 1970, with a march on the streets of Manhattan that was sponsored by the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA). It’s a good time and place to begin. After all, as Young himself explains he was “a pioneering gay activist” and New York was at that time, the place where he lived, worked, marched, and protested.

His identity as a gay man is at the heart of this book, though it also explores his life and times in the radical movements of the 1960s and early 1970s, and his experiences in rural, western Massachusetts on Butterworth Farm.
Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Alan Pogue :
My General Theory of Relative Violence

The economic philosophy of violence & the cultural/historical development of violence in the U.S.

The Cross and the M-16. “In 1968, on the Army base in Chu Lai while I was still a chaplain’s assistant. By this time I knew I was in an Imperialist Army of Occupation so I set this photo up and had a fellow soldier take the picture.”

By Alan Pogue | The Rag Blog | April 11, 2018


Alan Pogue and Lamar W. Hankins will be Thorne Dreyer‘s guests on the syndicated Rag Radio show, Friday, April 13, 2018, first airing from 2-3 p.m. (CT) on KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin, and streamed live: http://www.koop.org/listen-now. They will discuss Pogue’s article, below, and Hankins’ recent Rag Blog article, “Arguing about the Second Amendment is a waste of time” — and their somewhat divergent views on gun violence and gun control.


[Noted documentary photographer Alan Pogue is a fifth generation Texan. His ancestors came to the Texas coast, to McKinney’s Trading Post, from Dublin, Ireland, in 1840. The trading post later became Corpus Christi. He attended Catholic schools and was an altar boy for 13 years.

Alan has worked with peace and justice organizations in Austin and around the world since he returned from Vietnam in 1968 where he was a chaplain’s assistant and a combat medic. He is a Texas Department of Public Safety certified instructor for the License to Carry. He has saved several people from rape and murder on the streets of Austin. Once a combat medic, always a combat medic. See Alan’s Rag Blog article, “My history with violence.”]


Continue reading

Posted in RagBlog | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment