Alternative Sources of Progressive and Liberal News

HOT: The Guardian

Hats off to:  University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences

Netroots (Progressive Blogs and Podcasts)

Websites for Progressives

Progressive 527 Organizations

Writers

Useful Tools for Understanding the Media

Useful Tools for Understanding Politics

Useful Links for Election Surveys, Polls, and Analysis

Music

Voting and Voting Problems

Voter Registration

Progressive Religious Groups

Other Sites for News and Views

News from Around the World

Monet, 1879

In 1879, Claude Monet moved with his family to the village of Vétheuil on the north bank of the River Seine. For the next three years the town became the artist’s central landscape motif. His style during this period evolved from the blunt, broad strokes of the 1870s to delicate, rhythmic brushwork that reads like a gauze of spun sugar. The poplars in the background appear as twirling configurations of blue and green, while the clouds are painted in a broad and wet manner that suggests the flat quality of the sky at midday.

Climate Change best Bets / 2019 version

Don’t feel like watching that holiday movie you’ve already seen 900 times? Then gather ’round to learn about a topic even more timely than Christmas cookies and the dreidel song: our warming planet.

In addition to the best-known titles, like “An Inconvenient Truth” and its sequel, “Chasing Ice,” and Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Before the Flood” and “Ice on Fire,” here are five documentaries to try. Don’t worry about spoiling the holiday mood: Most of them end on an inspiring note.

“Years of Living Dangerously”

This series, featuring celebrity correspondents like Matt Damon and Olivia Munn, is a favorite of the climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. Not only because it discusses climate impacts and solutions, but also because it tackles two huge myths: first, that climate change is a “distant issue,” and, second, that we can only fix climate change by “destroying the economy or our personal liberties.”

“Merchants of Doubt”

If you’ve ever wondered how the climate debate became, well, a debate, then this intriguing and infuriating film is for you. Based on a book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, it draws a parallel between the tactics of Big Tobacco and Big Oil, revealing the world of politics, spin and public opinion.

“Mission Blue”

Besides highlighting the work of the oceanographer Sylvia Earle, a National Geographic explorer-in-residence, this film also paints a picture of the devastating changes she has witnessed during her decades underwater. Xiye Bastida, a 17-year-old activist and organizer for Fridays For Future NYC, said it “shows the power we have as individuals to connect with nature and speak for nature.”

“This Changes Everything”

Inspired by Naomi Klein’s 2014 book of the same name, this documentary “aims to empower,” rather than scare, viewers into action. “The film tells moving, personal stories,” said Keya Chatterjee, executive director of the U.S. Climate Action Network, “but weaves them into a larger story about how colonialism and greed got us into this crisis, and also how people-power and disruption will get us out.”

“Racing Extinction”

Unless drastic changes are made, some biologists estimate we could lose up to 50 percent of Earth’s species within the next century. That devastating fact — a potential sixth extinction, wherein “humanity has become the asteroid” — is the basis for this fast-paced, wide-ranging film from Louie Psihoyos, who won an Oscar for “The Cove.” While some scenes are tough to watch, they’re balanced with awe-inspiring nature shots that showcase a world worth saving.

Source: New York Times email

Meet the 32-year-old wealth detective who finds the hidden money of the super rich

“Gabriel Zucman started his first real job the Monday after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Fresh from the Paris School of Economics, where he’d studied with a professor named Thomas Piketty, Zucman had lined up an internship at Exane, the French brokerage firm. He joined a team writing commentary for clients and was given a task that felt absurd: Explain the shattering of the global economy. “Nobody knew what was going on,” he recalls.

 
 

At that moment, Zucman was also pondering whether to pursue a doctorate. He was already skeptical of mainstream economics. Now the dismal science looked more than ever like a batch of elaborate theories that had no relevance outside academia. But one day, as the crisis rolled on, he encountered data showing billions of dollars moving into and out of big economies and smaller ones such as Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He’d never seen studies of these flows before. “Surely if I spend enough time I can understand what the story behind it is,” he remembers thinking. “We economists can be a little bit useful.”

Bloomberg article.

Satellite Shootdown Fraud

The Defense Department claims it is planning to shoot down a rogue ultra-secret spy satellite because the fuel onboard poses a danger to people on the ground.

This explanation is so transparent it is almost laughable. The likelihood of being injured by the satellite has been calculated as something like one in a trillion, whereas being hit by lightning is somewhat more likely: one in 1.2 million.

The real reason for the shootdown attempt?

1) Components from the ultra-secret spy satellite could survive the re-entry and be recovered by bad guys.

or

2) It is a perfect opportunity to test the U.S. missile to satellite intercept capabilities.

or

3) Both

We’ve learned a lesson starting back in 1960, when President Eisenhower lied to the American people and to the world that the crash of Gary Power’s U2 over the USSR was a “weather balloon.”

Ike got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Ever since then, we’ve come to the realization that sometimes we have to take what our government says with a very, very large grain of salt

Congress Breaks Congress by Taking Too many Breaks.

Senator Arlen Specter once said something intriguing when asked what recommendations he would make for improving Senate procedures. He suggested, sotto voce, that Senators should work longer.
By his account, Senators start their week mid-day Tuesday with luncheon meetings and by Thursday afternoon they are itching to get back to their home states. By Friday most of them have fled the Capital City for Reagan Airport.
To backup this plaint, the official numbers are now in: The Senate met for a meager 126 days during the past legislative year; the House met for a paltry 93 days.
We shan’t say this is a “Do Nothing” Congress reminiscent of President Truman’s complaint made decades ago. (Shall we?)
But it seems true indeed that legislators have been presiding over a “Do little, in very little time” Congress.

Internationalism overtakes isolationism – International Relations

Beginning with the U.S. entry in the Spanish-American War, America experienced a shift of diplomatic and military isolationism from European affairs to one of internationalism and brief imperialism. It is important to note that no single event or person can explain U.S. foreign policy behavior entirely. American foreign policy is the result of a combination of causes and events, including the influence of several sources. These influences include five major categories to the making of U.S. foreign policy, including the following: external sources, American societal norms, the make-up of the U.S. government, the roles of individuals and institutions and lastly, the effect that individual people have in contributing to the foreign policy making process.

America’s “splendid little war” with Spain in 1898 provided the US with a colonial empire almost overnight. These newly acquired, or annexed, foreign lands, and the accompanying responsibilities thereof, included the Phillipines, Puerto Rico, Guam, Hawaii, and Cuba. One of the primary reasons that America went to war in 1898 was Spanish meddling in the affairs of Cuba, contrary to the Monroe doctrine. This American doctrine, however, did not preclude America itself from meddling in Caribbean affairs, or meddling in the affairs of any Western Hemisphere country for that matter. Spain had a massively larger army, but its navy was in disrepair. The U.S., on the other hand, had modernized its Navy under the direction of Alfred T. Mahan. This naval supremacy was the tipping point in the Spanish-American war between the two nations – the New World vs. the Old World.

When the US defeated the Spanish navy at Manila the victory propelled the US onto the world stage as a true and tested global actor. Up to that point, the US had been isolationist in nature, still recovering from the horrific American Civil War in the 1860’s. Some scholars believe that once U.S. western expansion was completed in 1880 and industrialization had come full bore after the Civil War, the American capitalist machine turned its eye to new markets in Latin America and the Far East.

The first openings of the Chinese market in the Far East put the U.S. in direct competition with the European powers, particularly Britain, Spain, France and Russia. There was a rush by the great powers at this point into the Chinese markets. The U.S. did not want to be left behind because this was a large market for U.S. industrial goods and source of seemingly infinite raw materials. John Hay, President McKinley’s Secretary of State summed up the U.S.’s awkward position at this juncture in history: “…we do not want to rob the Chinese ourselves, and our public opinion will not permit us to interfere, with an army, to prevent others from robbing her…”

The US, therefore, developed an Open Door Policy toward China, meaning that the US would not tolerate the division of China into “spheres of influence,” insisting that its territorial integrity be respected. This was a bold move on America’s part because it had little more than morality on its side, not a vast army, and only a small navy compared to European powers. This American “policy” had little effect because the United States was not prepared to support the Open Door policy with force. Successive administrations to the 1940s, however, considered it the cornerstone of their Far Eastern policy.

At the same time, the US was active in the external affairs of many Latin American countries. Of particular interest to US foreign policymakers was Panama and the isthmus canal project there. The US became directly responsible for Panama’s break from Columbia. Panama’s independence from Columbia secured America’s ability to connect the Atlantic and Pacific markets via the Panama shipping canal – a triumph of American economic and foreign policy.

Other external sources that influenced the U.S at this time included continued warfare between the great powers: The Russo-Japanese War; the British, German and Italian blockade of Venezuela; the clashes between Germany and France over French North Africa; the British-German naval arms race for control of the seas and the world’s commerce; and the growing tensions in the Middle East, where oil had been discovered. These were all inputs into America’s foreign policy decision-making process which pulled it from isolationism to internationalism. America was now vying with Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and Japan for what future U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt called “the domination of the world.”

Societal sources also had their unique impact on American foreign policy. Domestic beliefs were transferred to the international sphere. For example, America has always had a sense of exceptionalism – the belief that America is a superior country in every way and that American beliefs and forms of government should be exported to other nations. One scholar put it this way: “The United States (s)hould transform other nations into communities that shared America’s political and social values and also its religious beliefs.” This is reminiscent of Democratic Peace Theory, which is still in vogue today as seen by America’s continuing attempt to export liberal democracy and free markets to other nations.

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre … the falcon cannot hear the falconer;

The Second Coming
By Yeats
(frequently quoted by Joseph Campbell)

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

By Wordsworth

(Stanza V often quoted by Joseph Campbell)

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore –
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young lambs bound
As to the tabor’s sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
And I again am strong.
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;
I hear the echoes through the mountains throng,
The winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
And all the earth is gay;
Land and sea
Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every beast keep holiday –
Thou child of joy
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy shepherd-boy!

Ye blessed creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fullness of your bliss, I feel -I feel it all.
O evil day! if I were sullen
While Earth herselfis adorning
This sweet May-morning;
And the children are culling
On every side
In a thousand valleys far and wide
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the Babe leaps up on his Mother’s arm: –
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
– But there’s a tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have looked upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature’s priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a mother’s mind
And no unworthy aim,
The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster-child, her inmate, Man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.

Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A six years’ darling of a pigmy size!
See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses,
With light upon him from his father’s eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learned art;
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral;
And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song:
Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
But it will not be long
Ere this be thrown aside,
And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his `humorous stage’
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,
That life brings with her in her equipage;
As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation.

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
Thy soul’s immensity;
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal Mind, –
Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
On whom those truths do rest
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like a day, a master o’er a slave,
A Presence which is not to be put by;
Thou little child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being’s height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lies upon thee with a weight
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!

O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
That Nature yet remembers
What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest,
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast: –
Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise;
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings,
Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts, before which our mortal nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
But for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
Uphold us -cherish -and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
Nor man nor boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
Hence, in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither;
Can in a moment travel thither –
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

Then, sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young lambs bound
As to the tabor’s sound!
We, in thought, will join your throng
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts today
Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

And O ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forbode not any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquished one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway;
I love the brooks which down their channels fret
Even more than when I tripped lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born day
Is lovely yet;
The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.