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Showing posts from June, 2019

Petrodollar Warfare: Understanding the US Obsession with Iran

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First invasion of Iraq 1991When the USA was planning its first invasion of Iraq, a young Kuwaiti nurse testified before Congress  describing Iraqi soldiers pulling infants out of their incubators and tossing them on the floor.  The "nurse" turned out to be a princess of the Kuwaiti royal family, and her testimony pure fiction. However, her story created the needed public support for the invasion.

Second invasion of Iraq 2003As the USA was preparing its second invasion of Iraq, Colin Powell was tasked with presenting "irrefutable" evidence that Saddam Hussein was producing weapons of mass destruction.  Powell's presentation together with the totally fatuous belief, held by some Americans, that Hussein was responsible for 9/11 were sufficient to once again garner support for a war against Iraq.  As is well known at this point, the proclaimed purpose of the war was baseless--no WMDs or facilities were found.

USA preparing for war in IranAs the USA once again prep…

Is Education the Answer to Economic Inequality? Not in the USA.

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Education can't solve economic inequality When my guru forwarded Nick Hanauer's article in The Atlantic, "Better Schools Won't Fix America," I devoured it enthusiastically.  Hanauer, a wealthy American philanthropist, with considerable credentials as a patron of education in the USA, was disavowing the dogma that education can erase the income gap--a dogma he calls "educationalism."  Hanauer's criticism of his  cohorts in the 1% is scalding.  "Educationalism," Hanauer writes, "appeals to the wealthy and powerful because it tells us what we want to hear: that we can help restore shared prosperity without sharing our wealth or power."



Global education versus American education The article does not devalue education, but debunks a generalized notion that education alone can solve economic inequality.  His argument, in a nutshell, is that "great public schools are the product of a thriving middle class, not the other way around…

On Reading The National Inquiry Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

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The National Inquiry Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual peopleReactions to Reclaiming Power and Place, the title of the National Inquiry Report, have ranged from angry sarcasm to pious platitudes.  I thought there would be lots of room in the middle ground for a reasoned, dispassionate if sympathetic reading.  I had heard numerous declarations that all Canadians should read and educate themselves from this report.  I, therefore, gave myself the task of reading the 1200-page report, the 300-page Quebec supplement, and the 50-page executive summary.





When I was done, my immediate reaction tended toward angry sarcasm.  I had to remind myself of the experience of working on a large research project (though nothing in the order of magnitude of the National Inquiry) where the end result was a hodgepodge which failed to satisfy anyone's vision of what the project was meant …

What Is Irony?

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What is irony?Irony is the interruption or disruption of an established or expected discourse.  (This definition might not seem immediately helpful, but bear with me.)   Let's begin with a simple example of verbal irony.  You and a friend are looking out the window on a cold and rainy day.  Your friend says, "Beautiful weather."   Your friend is being ironic.  In the context, the "expected discourse" is "what terrible weather!"  You assume that what your friend "really" means is that the weather is terrible because that is what you would expect him to say.  In fact, some people claim that "saying the opposite of what you mean" is a definition of verbal irony.  However, it is rare that the intended meaning of an ironic statement is exactly the opposite of what is said.  Irony is almost always ambiguous (see Do No Harm:  Avoid Irony).


Verbal, situational and dramatic irony There are three different kinds of irony:  verbal irony, sit…