Category Archives: reblogs

The US Tried to Isolate Venezuela. It has Only Isolated Itself

I’ve been saying for awhile that the USA has sanctions on so many other countries (Israel and Saudi Arabia excepted of course) that at some point it’s only going to wind up turning itself into a pariah state.

Journal of People

by Alan MacLeod

Venezuelanalysis | M

Donald Trump addresses a a Florida audience on February 18, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
Donald Trump addresses a a Florida audience on February 18, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

It is no secret that the United States has long been plotting regime change in Venezuela. For over 18 months President Trump has been publicly floating a military invasion of the country. At a speech in Florida President Trump recently announced “the days of socialism and communism are numbered in Venezuela” ominously stating “one day soon we are going to see what the people will do in Caracas.” Vice President Mike Pence declared President Nicolas Maduro a “dictator” and reiterated that self-declared president Juan Guaidó had the “unwavering support” of the American people. In an attempt to destroy the economy and force Maduro out of power, the US has leveled multiple rounds of punishing (and illegal) sanctions on the country, and encouraged and intimidated others…

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The Ghost of King Leopold II Still Haunts Us

This is a rather astonishing historical study. King Leopold, who is already one of the worst mass murderers in history, contributed to the spread of AIDS.

Media Diversified

Belgium Colonization and the Ignition of the HIV Global Pandemic

by Dr. Lawrence Brown

In an article entitled “The Early Spread and Epidemic Ignition of HIV-1 in Human Populations” in the magazine Science in October 2014, Nuno Faria and his fellow researchers revealed the location of Ground Zero for one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases—HIV. They discovered that HIV-1 originated in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and explain that the deadly virus spread throughout the Congo via the railroad network. HIV-1 was subsequently transmitted by Haitian professionals back to Haiti and then to the United States (1).

Faria and colleagues presented their research findings as follows:

Our estimated location of pandemic origin explains the observation that Kinshasa exhibits more contemporary HIV-1 genetic diversity than anywhere else. It clarifies why the oldest known HIV-1 sequences were sourced from this…

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Casablanca (1942): Pseudo Anti-Fascism, Real Sexism, Genuine Racism

I haven’t updated this blog in awhile (busy with classes and work) but someone took the time (in the comments of the original post) to respond to my contrarian reading of Casablanca. Is he right? Am I full of crap?

Writers Without Money


Originally made to lend the war against the Nazis an air of Hollywood glamour, and directed by the ideologically baffling Michael Curtiz, who shortly thereafter would go onto make the openly pro-Stalinist Mission to Moscow, Casablanca might best be called a “pseudo-anti-fascist romance.” While it has aged better than most movies released in 1942, it is not a great, or even a particularly good film, certainly not one that deserves to be on the same list as Citizen Kane, Battleship Potemkin, or Jean-Pierre Melville’s anti-fascist masterpiece, Army of Shadows. Its enduring appeal, most of which can be attributed to nostalgia for Hollywood’s “golden years,” also has a darker side. Casablanca is not only racist, sexist, and socially regressive, even for 1942. It obscures the real history of the French Resistance.

Let us, for example, look at Sam, the black night-club singer played by Dooley Wilson, and the historical…

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On Being a Failed Writer

A couple of years ago, this essay got “Fresh Pressed” on WordPress. I’m not sure exactly what that means but “On Being a Failed Writer” immediately went from a blog post that dropped off the page before anybody noticed to the second most read piece on this site.

Now someone’s translated it into Spanish.

Writers Without Money

At the age of 50, I am a failed writer. Except for a few articles on CounterPunch, everything I’ve published has been self-published. I’ve worked tens of thousands of hours, written hundreds of thousands of words, and have never made a dime. Had I spent the same amount of time at a minimum wage retail job, I’d be rich, or at least a shift-supervisor at Starbucks. I haven’t been able to find an audience. You probably won’t even read this.

So why don’t I quit?

I tried. From the age of 25 to the age of 50, I had one goal In life, to cure myself of the urge to write. But I failed. Let me explain.

The urge to write should never be confused with the ability to make a living by writing, or even the ability to express yourself by putting words down on paper. T. S…

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Silence of the Lambs (1991) Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

That Silence of the Lambs is propaganda for the FBI posing as a horror movie has always been obvious but now we have the evidence. Even the film’s producer and liaison with the FBI felt some qualms about just how closely they were working with The Bureau.

“The FBI’s self-interest was evident to Ed Saxon, the Silence of the Lambs producer who was the bureau’s point person on the 1991 film. Saxon expressed some misgivings about the consulting arrangement. “We had political qualms about how closely we were working with the FBI and how much we were making the FBI look like heroes when the FBI’s history as an organ of the state has been complicated, to say the least,” he told BuzzFeed News.”

Writers Without Money

A decade after having its reputation damaged by the Church Committee and revelations about Cointelpro, the FBI turned to turned to Hollywood. In films like The Untouchables (1987), Mississippi Burning (1988), and The Fugitive (1993), federal agents no longer spy on anti-war-activists or put microphones under Martin Luther King’s bed. On the contrary, they liberate Chicago from the mob, smash the Ku Klux Klan, and help an innocent man clear his name.

Directed by the gifted Johnathan Demme, Silence of the Lambs (1991) is probably the best of the pro-FBI films that came out in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Jodie Foster, who stars as the plucky young Clarice Starling, puts a feminist face on a government agency better known for conservative white men in conservative dark suits. She not only rescues the daughter of a United States Senator from a perverse, wannabee transgender serial killer, she transcends…

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The Myth of Internet Security

Computer security is big money these days. It’s also quite probably impossible.

The Most Revolutionary Act

Web Warriors

National Geographic (2008)

Film Review

Web Warriors is a documentary about the vulnerability of major computer-controlled power, communication, transport and military grids to attacks by hackers, viruses and worms that have the potential to bring regional and national economies to a standstill.

The goal of the film is to confront viewers with the stark reality that the Internet was never designed to be secure. The World Wide Web was never designed to be an engine of commerce or to safeguard bank and other financial data. At present, it’s still virtually impossible to design a 100% secure computer network.

The video opens by exploring the likelihood that the August 24 blackout that shut down the eastern US and Canada for two days in August 2003 was most likely caused by a computer worm attack, rather than a “programming error,” as claimed by company officials.

It goes own to identify…

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Reading the Landscape: 45

RIP Watchung, NJ Sears.

As unlikely as it was, your Legend of Watchung mural was part of what sparked my interest in history. I hope the town preserves it.

Writers Without Money

DSC05116-001The Sears Roebuck store at the foot of the Watchung Hills near Plainfield, NJ has one of the most interesting murals I’ve ever seen in a nondescript chain store. Beneath the painting is a plaque. The type is too small for a blog sized photo, but I’ll cut and paste the words from the town of Watchung’s website.

Around 1670, a group of Dutch settlers was traveling from the Amboys up an old Indian trail which is now Somerset Street. They were under the leadership of Captain Michaelson. The Watchung tribe of the Lenni-Lenape Indians was traveling the same trail for their summer trip to the ocean to fish and collect shells for wampum.

During the night the settlers were camped near what is now the center of the Borough. Deer Prong, an advance scout for Chief One Feather’s tribe, was shot when he surprised a sentry. During the…

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In Praise of The Gong Show

Chuck Barris, the creator of The Gong Show, has died at the age of 87.

As an early Gen Xer, I remember watching The Gong Show on television when I come home for lunch from school. But, as readers of Writers Without Money know from Daniel Levine’s great appreciation of The Gong Show last year, Chuck Barris also touched the millennial generation.

RIP Chuck. I won’t use that silly “Rest in Power” sendoff the left uses whenever a beloved celebrity dies, but I will say “rest with a paper bag over your head.” We all know you were really the Unknown Comic.

Writers Without Money

As the time spent with the screen approaches or surpasses the time spent outside it, so the parables, overt or otherwise, of men trapped in their own creations or those of others, of individuals trapped in the television pile up in increasing quantities. They pile up without our noticing and the more obvious examples of this phenomena like The Truman Show become less interesting. The Truman Show bores me because its coming at the realization that TV has impacted social relations from the tired and, at the present moment, irrelevant parable of the person seeing their life was a lie and coming to the truth. Ho hum. Very reassuring because it dodges the real issue at hand-there is no escape.

The art that best explores the horror and glee of being trapped in the reflection of the screen is not that which consciously approaches the question as such; as the…

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Money Hates Your Heineken and Wants to Fuck

A perennial favorite, now with the images updated!

Writers Without Money

money-case-163495_1280“You can get money for blood,
Blood money for doing no good,
But they won’t take my love for tender”
-Elvis Costello, Clean Money
“Pimp put on weight from fighting them off,
In the mall, you see it and like it, it’s yours,
Thats a nice fit, you ain’t gotta price, shit,
I pays for it like the mics in The Source”
-J Dilla, Won’t Do
“Defendant testified that even though both Plaintiff and her mother told him that all they wanted was an apology, he called Plaintiff’s home and spoke to her mother to offer money for Plaintiff’s ‘education.'”
“One never could ‘buy’ indulgences. The financial scandal surrounding indulgences, the scandal that gave Martin Luther an excuse for his heterodoxy, involved alms—indulgences in which the giving of alms to some charitable fund or foundation was used as the occasion to grant the indulgence. There…

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Winter’s Bone (2010)

I saw Winter’s Bone when it first came out in 2010 and I’ve been meaning to review it for a while. For some reason I’ve never gotten around to it.

Winter’s Bone (still Jennifer Lawrence’s best film) is a much better introduction to the white underclass than J. D. Vance’s overly hyped Hillbilly Elegy, and a much better movie than any of the films in the blockbuster Hunger Games series. There isn’t a bad performance in the whole film. John Hawkes is especially good as a violent meth cooker who nevertheless manages to find his conscience.

I’m personally not as pessimistic about Ree Dolly’s eventual fate as this review. By shaming her extended family into leading her to her father’s body (and saving her family’s house), Ree (in spite of her youth) takes her fate into her own hands. I see her eventually either escaping the Ozarks or becoming a leader in her community.

I’d also love to see Dale Dickey — who plays an older woman who first attempts to terrorize Ree out of searching for her father, but ends up helping her — get more roles.

She had a brief but vivid part in Breaking Bad (where she kills her husband by pushing an ATM machine on his head) and is one of the best things about Winter’s Bone. She could be the Jane Darwell of this era. Sadly she’ll probably get stuck doing an occasional bit part here and there.