Roger Baker :
OK, deflation has arrived. Now what?

The global situation is in its deflationary, cascading-default phase, where entire countries can go broke from bad petrodollar-denominated debt.

Deflated train

By Roger Baker | The Rag Blog | January 27, 2016

“Every time history repeats itself, the price goes up” — Anonymous, as quoted in Tainter, The Collapse of Complex Societies

The deflation monster has arrived onstage, and is playing out its role as an influential actor in our history right now. Hang out on Zero Hedge for daily news of the important details.

This global situation is in its deflationary, cascading-default phase, where everything, including entire countries like China, can go broke because of the mountain of bad petrodollar-denominated debt haunting their balance sheets. We can see a global tendency to cash out going right now. Not at all what the Fed had in mind, but the logical outcome of delaying structural reform in an era of falling profits and slower growth, which are actually rooted in global resource depletion.
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Harry Targ :
Break up the banks and the military/industrial complex!

What Hillary Clinton calls ‘American leadership’ is more about militarism than statesmanship.

hillary and kissinger

Hillary Clinton says Henry Kissinger helped make the world a better place. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/Slate.

By Harry Targ | The Rag Blog | January 27, 2016

Hillary Clinton recently declared that she was the only candidate who had the knowledge and experience to preserve the national security of the United States. However, Senator and Secretary of State Clinton voted for Iraq war authorization, advocated war on Libya, warned against significantly improving relations with Iran, and recommended establishing a so-called “no-fly zone” in Syria.

She initiated and supported the “Asian Pivot,” developing a greater political, economic, and military presence in Asia. In addition, during her term as Secretary of State, Clinton defended the overthrow of the elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, in 2009, and challenged other Latin American leaders to support a new election that would give legitimacy to his ouster.
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Thorne Dreyer :
RAG RADIO PODCASTS | Documentary photographer Ken Light; Author & sociologist Aldon D. Morris

Light discusses the turbulent ’60s and Texas’ Death Row;  Morris tells us how W.E.B. Du Bois founded modern sociology but was marginalized due to race.

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Interviews by Thorne Dreyer | The Rag Blog | January 27, 2016

The following podcasts are from recent Rag Radio shows. 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.


Documentary Photographer Ken Light About His Books on the ’60s and Texas Death Row

Ken Light is the Reva and David Logan Professor of Photojournalism at the Graduate School of Journalism at U.C. Berkeley. We discuss Ken’s new book, What’s Going On? Photographs from 1969-1974, which features work that reflected his “young radical vision” in the late ’60s-early ’70s, when he was a photographer for Liberation News Service (LNS) in New York. We also talk about Ken’s experiences in producing his earlier book, Texas Death Row. Light was the first photographer ever to be given access to Texas’ infamous death house, including the prisoners’ cells — when Death Row was at the Ellis Unit in Huntsville.

Read the full show description and download the podcast of our January 22, 2016 Rag Radio interview with Ken Light, here — or listen to it here:


Aldon Morris, Author of Groundbreaking Work About W.E.B. Du Bois

aldon morrisAldon D. Morris is Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University. Morris’ newest work is The Scholar Denied: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology, a groundbreaking book that helps rewrite the history of sociology in acknowledging the primacy of W. E. B. Du Bois’ work in the founding of modern scientific sociology. Du Bois was also a historian, civil rights activist, and the author of The Souls of Black Folk, a seminal work in African-American literature. Aldon Morris is also he author of the award-winning Origins of the Civil Rights Movement: Black Communities Organizing for Change.

Read the full show description and download the podcast of our January 15, 2016 Rag Radio interview with Aldon Morris here — or listen to it here:


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Kate Braun :
Candlemas honors Lord Sun & Brigit, the festival’s patron saint

The Wheel of Life clicks one more spoke in its ever-shifting circle.

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Candlemas image from Wells Cathedral.

By Kate Braun | The Rag Blog | January 27, 2016

Tuesday, February 2, 2016, is Candlemas, also known as Imbolc, Feast of Lights, and Groundhog Day. This is a fire festival honoring the reemerging power of Lord Sun and Brigit, the patron saint of Candlemas. Brigit is a Celtic goddess. She is also the patroness of poets and artists, blacksmiths, and midwives. Shepherds and cattle herders honor her. Her Roman and Greek counterparts are Minerva and Athena.

Use the colors white, yellow, pink, light green, and light blue in your dress and decorations. Serve your guests a feast that may include pumpkin and sunflower seeds, all dairy products, poppyseed cakes, a variety of breads (muffins and scones included), peppers, onions, garlic, poultry, lamb, pork, spicy foods such as curry and chili, spiced wines, herbal teas. The spicy foods encourage Lord Sun’s continuing growth. The seeds, breads, dairy foods, and meats serve to honor Brigit.
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Alan Waldman :
FILM | The 20 best films I saw in 2015

Alan’s eclectic picks range from Academy Award nominees ‘Spotlight’ and ‘Trumbo’ to biopics about Nina Simone and comic Barry Crimmins.

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Cast of the Oscar-nominated Spotlight.

By Alan Waldman | The Rag Blog | January 21, 2016

For the first time in many years, more than half of the top films I saw in 2015 were American. Five were documentaries, nine were dramatizations of historical events, three were British, two were Israeli, and one each were French and German. As in the past dozen years, I saw more better-quality productions on TV than on the big screen. (See list at the bottom of those I can remember today.)
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Carl Davidson :
My two cents on the Democratic debate

This time around, I think Sanders defined the agenda and dominated the discussion.

Bernie, Hillary & O'Malley

Bernie, Hillary, and O’Malley. Caricatures by DonkeyHotey / Flickr.

By Carl Davidson | The Rag Blog | January 19, 2016

The three Democratic contenders — Senator Bernie Sanders, Secretary Hillary Clinton and Governor Martin O’Malley — all sharpened their swords in a clashing debate in their last round prior to the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. When those results are in, we’ll have a much better idea of the lay of the land, the one delivered by the primary voters themselves, unfiltered by polls and pundits.
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Ken Wachsberger :
Ken Light’s photographic journey through
the chaos and the calm

In ‘What’s Going On? 1969-1974,’ Light captures the marches, the rallies, the protests, the guerrilla theatre performances, and the police riots.

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Photo ©Ken Light from What’s Going On? 1969-1974.

By Ken Wachsberger | The Rag Blog | January 18, 2016


853px-Rag_radio2Ken Light disscussed his experiences as a social documentary photographer and his new book, What’s Going On? 1969-1974 — as well as his work photographing on Texas’ Death Row — with Thorne Dreyer on Rag Radio, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, 2-3 p.m. (CT), on KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin. Listen to the podcast of this show.


I was called a sixties’ burnout one time. An actual sixties’ burnout was the name-caller so I didn’t take it personally. And, after all, it was the late seventies-early eighties and I still had long hair and a beard, no respectable career prospects, and a hyperactive thumb that took me cross-country and back on the strength of a whim and a clever slogan hand-scrawled on a shopping bag (“Whichever way the wind blows”; “Home to do laundry”; “I am unarmed”; “I’ve got the matches”).
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Bert Garskof :
Listen to Bernie, then take to the streets

Sanders can’t bring about his exciting progressive program without what he calls a revolution.

Bernie and capitalist

Bernie with member of the billionaire class. Image from Occupy.com.

By Bert Garskof | The Rag Blog | January 18, 2016

It seems obvious to me that the programs espoused by Bernie Sanders, if implemented, would help ordinary people, hurt big banks, work toward significant re-distribution of income, divert resources to peaceful cooperation internationally, help the environment, hurt global warming, help renewables, and hurt big oil.

Hell, we get it. Not that he is a socialist or communist or anarchist. You don’t elect what would be my vision: anarchy/community/freedom/equality. That’s a different story and an exciting one, but Sanders is a legitimate Social Democratic, as people in Europe would name him. In America he is really a New Deal Democrat. Alone in the current set of options, his policy if adopted would really do some good.
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Steve Russell :
‘Y’all Qaeda’ militia musters at Oregon bird sanctuary on land claimed by the Paiutes

Unwelcome armed militants are occupying an empty building on federal land considered sacred by a Native American tribe.

Go Home Bundys 5

Go on now. Git. Image from Daily Kos.

By Steve Russell | The Rag Blog | January 13, 2016

When I was an active trial court judge in Texas, I had a lot of contact with the posse comitatus, understood as a self-directed band of gun-toters rather than the common law “hue and cry” raised by a law enforcement officer to pursue a felon. They also call themselves “militia,” pointing at the Second Amendment for authority and conveniently overlooking the words “well-regulated” that modify “militia” in that document.

The reason I used to see a lot of them is that they do not believe the government has the authority to require a license to drive — let alone liability insurance — or to require registration of cars. Automobiles, they believe, are subject to a human rights analysis — based on documents written before automobiles — and trying to regulate automobiles is almost as treasonous as trying to regulate firearms, but not quite.
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Thorne Dreyer :
RAG RADIO PODCASTS | Interviews with Philip Russell, Jonah Raskin, and Roy Casagranda

We discuss the sad state of Mexico under Enrique Peña Nieto; we reflect on the lives of Jack London and Dalton Trumbo and do some California dreaming; and, in a two-parter, we look at Iraq, Syria, and the U.S. role in creating ISIS.

Philip Russell & Alice 2016 sm

Philip Russell with The Rag Blog‘s Alice Embree on Rag Radio Jan. 8, 2016. Photo by Roger Baker / The Rag Blog.

Interviews by Thorne Dreyer | The Rag Blog | December 13, 2015

The following podcasts are from recent Rag Radio shows. 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.


Author & Historian Philip Russell on Mexico’s National Crisis Under Peña Nieto

Philip Russell studio 2016 sm crpRead the show description and download the podcast of our January 8, 2015 Rag Radio interview with Philip Russell, here — or listen to it here:


Jonah Raskin on Dalton Trumbo, Jack London, and the California Drought

Jonah Raskin studio 2 - 12-2015 - Roger smRead the show description and download the podcast of our December 18, 2015 Rag Radio interview with Jonah Raskin here — or listen to it here:


Roy Casagranda: How U.S. Actions in Iraq Set the Table for ISIL

Roy Casagranda studio crp2 flipRead the show description and download the podcast of our December 11, 2015 Rag Radio show with Roy Casagranda here — or listen to it here:


Roy Casagranda: ISIL and the Origins of the Syrian Crisis

Roy Casagranda and Dreyer crpRead the show description and download the podcast of our December 4, 2015 Rag Radio interview with Roy Casagranda here — or listen to it here:


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David P. Hamilton :
How Bernie Sanders wins

The key to the Sanders campaign is motivating people to participate in greater numbers and more actively than they have ever done before.

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Bernie Sanders, Austin, March 31, 2015. Photo by Alan Pogue / The Rag Blog.

By David P. Hamilton | The Rag Blog | January 12, 2016

 
Part A. Winning the nomination

Essentially, Bernie Sanders wins by recognizing the potential for the conventional wisdom of presidential elections to be changed by creating a new campaign model based on popular participation. Some have called it the “Alinsky model” on a national scale; that “power is derived from two main sources — money and people. ‘Have-Nots’ must build power from flesh and blood.”

For example, conventional wisdom is that the 2016 presidential campaign will cost a couple of billion for each major party candidate, most of which must necessarily come from the very rich. The .04% of the population who make maximum contributions provide the bulk of campaign funds for both parties. Considerably less than 1% contribute as much as $200 to any presidential political campaign.
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Shepherd Bliss :
FILM | Robert Bly: Tribute to a radical poet

Robert Bly has made a big difference in the lives of many, bringing a contentious, creative presence into his prophetic work.

Robert Bly film

Poster for Haydn Reiss’ film about the radical poet, Robert Bly.

By Shepherd Bliss | The Rag Blog | January 6, 2016

Poet Robert Bly, now 89 years old, is a radical, by which I mean he returns to the roots. Haydn Reiss has captured him in his new, moving film “Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy.”

Watching the film was a trip down my memory’s lane, dating back to meeting the National Book Award-winning poet in the sixties. I was in boot camp training at Ft. Riley, Kansas, home of the Army’s First Division, the Big Red One. I intended to follow our family tradition, which gave our name to Ft. Bliss, Texas. I was on my way to the American War on Vietnam.
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