Ken Wachsberger :
Reflection on the election: The Yippie
Puke-In of 1972

‘They can’t beat us. We’re having too much fun.’ — Stew Albert


Yippie poster. Image from Gotta Have Rock and Roll.

By Ken Wachsberger | The Rag Blog | December 6, 2016

I’m trying to be positive but I’ll be honest. I get queasy sometimes.

Trump called himself the law-and-order president. He was clear about his intentions. He’s already attacking the First Amendment. If he’s going to bring back the Nixon years, we’ll have to dip back into our sixties’ attitudes and remember how we beat Nixon — because, although it took a long time and a lot of us suffered, we did beat him.
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Margaret Randall :
Fidel Castro, ¡presente!

For half a century Cuba stood as a beacon for
other countries suffering from poverty and neocolonial domination.


Fidel Castro speaks at the International Book Fair in Havana, February 10, 2012. Image from Cubadebate.

By Margaret Randall | The Rag Blog | November 29, 2016

Fidel Castro, longtime leader of the Cuban Revolution, died on November 25th at the age of 90. He withdrew from public office in 2008, when his younger brother Raul took over. Raul has said he will step down in 2018. An era will end, and younger men and women will take the reins of a political process that remains unique in modern times. At the Cuban Communist Party congress in April of this year, Fidel voiced an awareness of his impending death: “Our turn comes to us all,” he told the assembled delegates, “but the ideas of Cuban communism will endure.”
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Alice Embree :
Remembering Richard Jehn

Richard Jehn, 1950-2016, was the founding editor of ‘The Rag Blog’ in May 2006.

Photo from Richard Jehn Memorial page on Facebook.

Photo from Richard Jehn Memorial page on Facebook.

By Alice Embree | The Rag Blog | November 28, 2016

Richard Jehn, founding editor of The Rag Blog, passed away on November 2, 2016, at the age of 65.

Richard was born in Austin, Texas, on November 14, 1950. His father taught meteorology at the University of Texas. In October 1967, Richard was kicked out of McCallum High School for failing to cut his hair short enough to please the school administrators. He made his way down to the UT Student Union where he met staffers from The Rag, Austin’s underground newspaper.
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James McEnteer :
Vultures over Havana

Fidel Castro and the Castration of U.S. Latin American policy.


Fidel Castro. Public domain image.

By James McEnteer | The Rag Blog | November 28, 2016

When Fidel Castro died in his sleep at 90 on November 25 in Havana, American news consumers might have been forgiven for thinking he was slain in battle.

“Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades,” said Donald Trump, according to CNN.

“Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights. While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long…” Trump promised to join with the Miami Cubans toward a future in which “the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty.”
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Mike Davis :
Reflections on the election

Even the Cato Institute believes that the election was Clinton’s loss, not Trump’s win.


Trumpus Electus. Art by DonkeyHotey / Flickr.

By Mike Davis | The Rag Blog | November 17, 2016

We should resist the temptation to over-interpret Trump’s election as an American Eighteenth Brumaire or 1933. Progressives who think they’ve woken up in another country should calm down, take a stiff draught, and reflect on the actual election results from the swing states.

National returns, of course are not yet complete, with millions of California votes remaining to be counted, the pre-election polls were flawed if not worthless, and authoritative statistics on the composition of the turnout must await the Current Population Survey’s reports over the next year or two. Nonetheless the Pew and Edison exit polls (the latter is the supplier of data to the AP and The New York Times) combine a more trustworthy array of survey techniques than the earlier polls and usually yield productive insights.
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Alan Waldman :
TELEVISION | ‘Endeavor’ is compelling Oxford-based prequel to ‘Inspector Morse’

Ancient university town is the site of many murders and other shady goings-on for a bright, young policeman to solve.


Shuan Evans stars in Endeavor.

By Alan Waldman | The Rag Blog | November 16, 2016

[In his Rag Blog column, Alan Waldman reviews some of his favorite films and TV series that readers may have missed, including TV dramas, mysteries, and comedies from Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Scotland. Most are available on DVD, Netflix and/or Netflix Instant Streaming, and some episodes are on YouTube.]

For 49 years lovers of well-written and -performed mystery have adored Britain’s superb Inspector Morse TV series and its outstanding sequel Inspector Lewis. Since 2012, thanks to PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery, American viewers have also been able to enjoy the prequel series, Endeavor, featuring Shaun Evans as young police detective constable Morse.
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Mike Davis :
The undead

Is Trump an improvised, rough-at-the-edges avatar of the Nixon coalition? Ask Pat Buchanan.


Trump the undead? Nixon avatar? Photo by Gage Skidmore / Flickr.

By Mike Davis | The Rag Blog | November 10, 2016

I finally think I’ve understood why we’re so obsessed with zombies.

The discarded shroud, the rustling in the weeds, the vaporous apparitions seen from Pocatello to Lake Wobegone, the ghost army of admirers… we were forewarned that he was back but failed to pay attention.

On Halloween eve the “New” Nixon Library launched an expensive newspaper advertising campaign, inviting us to “discover how Richard Nixon’s legacy continues to shape our world.” He was the hero, the ads claim, who “protected the environment… desegregated schools, ended the Vietnam War.” “Buy tickets now,” the Library urges.
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Jack A. Smith :
The election is over and life goes on

The clouds may be gray, but today we begin the struggle to fight against regression into the past.


Post-election grey clouds. Public domain image.

By Jack A. Smith | The Rag Blog | November 10, 2016

It is a gray overcast day in upstate New York. No sunshine. But the clouds continue to drift, the birds are flying, cars and a school bus pass on our road, the subdued remains of our fall garden are soothing.

Life does go on for all of us even in the midst of profound political/social disaster. The racists and haters of women, and those who are intolerant of immigrants and refugees and Muslims and Mexicans, the KKK and the neofascists and the nativists, the supporters of the ruling class and neoliberal capitalism — all have won the election.
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Marilyn Katz :
Trump won because Democrats have lost touch with the working class

We must go beyond the borders of our cities and beyond the easy coalitions we’ve relied on.


Donald Trump in Reno, January 2016. Photo by Darron Birgenheier / Flickr.

By Marilyn Katz | The Rag Blog | November 10, 2016

Like all progressives, I take no joy in the rise to power of a man who traded on xenophobia, racism, misogyny, and fear to pave a path to the White House. But I was not surprised by his victory. Attacked by my friends for being a “nabob of negativity,” I have long believed that Donald Trump could win.

More than a year ago, I wrote about how Oreo cookie maker Mondolez International planned to ship jobs from Chicago to Mexico, ostensibly, to save money. I called for a boycott. I appealed to elected officials, friends, other Democrats, unions, and others. None responded.
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Rabbi Arthur Waskow :
The election: Heartbreak and beyond

Here’s what we need to do: First, mourn.
Then organize.


“Grief” by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington D.C., a memorial commissioned by Henry Adams to his wife Marian.

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow | The Rag Blog | November 9, 2016

First, heartbreak and mourning.

For the America where we thought at least a majority was too menshlich, too compassionate, to turn its own real pain and fear into imposing nightmare on “the other”;

For Mother Earth, who now without a vigorous defense from the USA is more likely to fall irredeemably into climate disaster;

For the poor, for immigrants, for Muslims, for Blacks and Latinos and the Native Nations, for many women, for many of the sick who will lose their health insurance, for GLBTQ folks, and even for the white blue-collar workers who voted for Trump but will not in fact be redeemed by huge tax cuts for the hyper-wealthy and canceling broader health insurance;
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Thorne Dreyer :
RAG RADIO PODCASTS | Rabbi Arthur Waskow and Carl Davidson, Doug Rossinow and Julia Mickenberg, Alice Embree and Jim Franklin, Geronimo Son and Steve Russell, Harry Hurt III, Jesse Sublett, and Jim Hightower

We broadcast live from the Rag Reunion, pay tribute to Tom Hayden, visit with the armadillo man, learn about the Standing Rock protests, interview Trump’s most hated biographer, enjoy some live music, and talk us some populism.


Historian Doug Rossinow, author of Politics of Authenticity, left; host Thorne Dreyer; and UT-Austin’s Julia Mickenberg, broadcasting live from the 2016 Rag Reunion.

Interviews by Thorne Dreyer | The Rag Blog | November 9, 2016

The following podcasts are from recent Rag Radio shows with host 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.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow & Carl Davidson on the Life & Legacy of Tom Hayden

waskow-and-davidson-twoshotRabbi Arthur Waskow and Carl Davidson discuss the life and legacy of the late Tom Hayden, founding spirit of SDS, principal author of the Port Huron Statement, and arguably the most influential figure in the Sixties New Left, who died on Oct. 23. Arthur and Carl, were both friends of Tom and worked with him since the Vietnam era.

Read the full show description and download the podcast of our Oct. 28, 2016 Rag Radio interview with Rabbi Arthur Waskow and Carl Davidson, here — or listen to it here:

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Joshua Brown :
POLITICAL CARTOON | The Colossus of Rogues


Cartoon by Joshua Brown | The Rag Blog | November 7, 2014

[Joshua Brown is the executive director of the Center for Media and Learning/American Social History Project, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, and is a professor of history at CUNY. Find more of his work on The Rag Blog here and his archives here.]

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