Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bay of Pigs remembrance, sent to

Remembering Bay of Bigs
Hal Pepinsky,,

Hal Pepinsky (ProfessorHal) wrote:

Enough of revisionism. Fidel Castro asked the US for support and only turned to the Soviet Union after US rejection. Also, note that the boats that landed in the Bay of Pigs were named the Barbara J and the Houston, having sailed out of a Bush Sr. oil refinery in Southern Mexico. The problem was that propertied Cubans were diappropriated, and that Castro challenged the Monroe Doctrine. Please be a little more nuanced and balanced about coverage of a botched CIA operation on behalf of US corporate interests. Check history out a little further please, npr

Sunday, April 17, 2011 5:21:11 PM

Monday, April 11, 2011

the energy debate

Hal Pepinsky,,
April 11, 2011
Today the global debate on energy is whether to mine coal or uranium, over which fuel source is cleaner. I think the framing of the debate is ass backwards. Never mind how safe a nuclear plant in your backyard is, or how little pollution gets out into our atmosphere. Either way, we choose to lay mother waste to human waste. Framed thus, I compare obliterating a mountain or polluting an aquifer for coal and gas to “safely” storing waste humans dare not get near, nor drink its water waste, nor eat its plants nor the animals who have consumed them, for half a million years.
A friend asked me recently: so Hal, how are you going to meet our energy demands? My Darwinian answer: people will survive longest who among their nearest and dearest evolve ways to feed, clothe and celebrate their lives together in more creative and diverse ways, who become members of self-sustaining ecosystems. I realized long ago that what to me is this truth of Darwinism is, if you will, the ass end of Spencer’s social Darwinism, that the stuff we accumulate among those who remain the richest and most powerful on the earth’s surface depletes and poisons our mother’s capacity to renew earth and sustain life as we value it.
I’ll just throw out one example of the kind of human invention that might reduce people’s household and business consumption of energy: In windswept places, why not use principles of intermediate technology created by E. F. Schumacher to build windmills that as few as three people at a time could use to create and store energy, say for cooking, or for construction work? In Schumacher’s utopia, the average business would employ no technology more costly than the average worker’s triennial income, and the ideal workforce would be worker owned that would grow no bigger than 300 members before it split. This stuff cannot be engineered from on private or public high, but it happens all the time now and no matter how the toll of humanity on humanity, privately and publicly, from inexorable forces of human growth and destruction. Don’t ask me to predict whether any of our children’s children will exist on this planet by the time it becomes safe for their children to live in the vicinity of nuclear waste, but I feel obliged to decentralize and humanize and localize the scale of ownership of our work, our waste and the richness of our lives together as a contribution to future generations as best I can imagine.
Our whole energy debate ought to be framed about the shit we leave behind rather than about how safely and conveniently we “grow” the stuff. Love and peace--hal

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Koran burning

Hal Pepinsky,,
April 2, 2011
The only difference I can see between burning a cross on African American property and burning a Koran in Florida is that in the latter case, the incitement to hatred is advertised globally rather than in a neighborhood. I do not believe in punishment, but I recognize international outrage that the US does not nationally treat Koran burning on a par with KKK cross burning. If there is such a thing as a hate crime, public Koran burning qualifies…doesn’t it? Love and peace--hal

the new enslavement

Hal Pepinsky,,
April 2, 2011
Privatization in my country began in earnest with the 1865 war-victor 13th anti-slave amendment to the US. As Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow and with lead spokesperson Angela Davis have noted: The prison-industrial complex that now for instance supplies Victoria Secret is founded in the convict lease system that was set up in the US south after the civil war to maintain the plantations against carpet baggers from the US north who wanted to profit from capture of labor in the wake of the US civil war.
Now we are engaged in a great global war testing whether workers can maintain hard-won protections against publicly unaccountable absentee private employers interested only in making profits can reduce public employees to desperate competition for jobs whom private corporate investors choose to favor with employment in a global crap shoot.
A legacy of WWII In my country was reinforcement of the conviction that a winner of a major war had the formulation for prolonging life itself. JFK’s secty of defense Robert McNamara came to Washington as a “whiz kid” president of Ford, who instituted scientific analysis of “operations” to indicate that we could escalate “boots on the ground” to 500,000 by the time he left the cause of pursuing “light at the end of the tunnel” in Vietnam in 1969. Robert McNamara made “operations research” the core of his national security science, which by the time I hit grad school in the late sixties, had become the heart of the social “science” that dominates academic discourse to this day.
Today unemployment data came out. Unemployment is down. It’s a cross section slice of human life. It’s like taking your blood pressure in a doctor’s office: a cross section of anyone’s life doesn’t speak to the trend and opportunities for gaining control of the situation. This leaves aside consideration of where trends in “employment” are taking us.
In his Wealth of Nations in 1776, Adam Smith warned that the greatest threat to the “invisible hand” of free economies was chartering private for-profit corporations for limiting the liability of absentee owners to what money they chose to put into and take out of workplaces at private whim. The current assault on public employees’ rights is the current version of substituting convict labor for slavery. Now as in cities and states in the US public workers are laid off and forced into competition for private jobs like prison guards where their employers have no duty even to let the public know about what was previously public business like how prisoners are cared for, I see a renewed assault on workers. It’s ironic. In my home state of Ohio, governor Kasich came into office promising to create jobs. In fact, he is paving the way to laying off public employees to enslavement in an uncontrolled private job market. Whew! I’m just lucky I survived as a public employee with rights before this wholesale of public jobs to foreign control took control or my own job. Love and peace--hal