Putin and Pablo

Diary, 4/4 to 4/5/22; watching the news; threat of violence; Pirate TV shows; Marx; peaceniks; ageing printer; minimum wage; Scott Horton; Greg Palast.

Photo by Katie Godowski on Pexels.com

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{4/4/22} Continued.

Regarding watching MSNBC for “four hours at a stretch,” this is certainly an error.  What I used to do was to watch Democracy Now! for fifteen minutes up to an hour, then perhaps go to MSNBC for an hour, and later catch Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow both.  They are generally good on what they cover; but they don’t cover a lot of what I’m most interested in, i.e., protests, corporate and government corruption and malfeasance, and progressive politics, peace movements (like CodePink) and above all, you guessed it, the climate crisis.

The expression “Putin apologists” is useful for only one thing:  getting people to ignore inconvenient facts.  Watching news with Pablo, the news being full of “genocide” and “war crimes” and the like, led me to push back, asking whether they might mention US war crimes and genocide—it “triggered” Pablo and led finally to threats of violence against me.  I reminded him of my “nuclear option”; I have told him in the past that if he ever physically attacks me, that will mark the end of our friendship.  But today’s tiff is not something I want to experience again, ever.  What to do?

The obvious answer is, “Talk it over with him.”  Blech.  We did actually talk some more and he again got heated, while accusing me of being “triggered.”  I probably was, but not at the time of the accusation.

I’m quite hungry after a reduced-calorie day, but it’s 10:00 pm so I’m not going to eat until breakfast.  I’ve got to try harder with my weight.

Another great show on Pirate TV (on Free Speech TV) tonight.  This was organized by CodePink, covering mostly the suppression of dissident media.  Participating were Jodie Evans (host), Chris Hedges, Lee Camp, and the very impressive but new to me Abby Martin.  The names of Caitlin Johnstone and Eleanor Goldfield came up.  I regularly watched Goldfield’s show on FSTV (I think) and sent her $20, but she enraged me by urging people not to vote in the 2016 Presidential race.  That was intolerable and I wrote her an angry note and ignored her thereafter (my loss).  Johnstone’s name is very familiar, but I don’t know why; probably I was a reader of hers at one time.  I’ve bookmarked her on Substack and subscribed to her newsletter (free, it seems).

People Chris Hedges (not Chris Hayes) relies on for quotes (my description):  “Karl Marx, Max Weber, Rosa Luxemburg, W.E.B. Du Bois, Reinhold Niebuhr, Walter Benjamin, Sheldon Wolin, Hannah Arendt, Antonio Gramsci, Sigmund Freud, George Orwell, and James Baldwin.”  I have not read all these people; it’s interesting that he doesn’t list Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, or Tocqueville.  From his Substack welcome page.  I just subscribed to his content, $6/month.  I am also subscribed to Truthout.org.  I can’t really afford these things right now, but I can’t wait for July, either (my back rent will be paid off by then, or possibly August—$400/month).

Hedges mentioned a “yearly joint program” with Cornel West and Richard Wolff, both favorites of mine.  A You Tube search for the three names turned up a program with Laura Flanders, whom I also like, about a paper of Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte; this is a ninety-minute video that I’m not prepared to get into just yet.  I’ll want to read the 68-page PDF if I can (a 36-page excerpt is in The Portable Karl Marx and I’ll try that first).  I’ve previously found Marx intolerably dull, but Hedges in today’s broadcast said that Part 1 of Capital is essential reading, so I may give it a try (again).  Alas, the Portable has only six chapters (of 30+).  It’s available in the GBWW (Great Books of the Western World of Encyclopedia Britannica), thus Part 1 is a whole long book by itself.  I’m not going to buy it, expecting that it’s futile.

I could say that the invasion of Ukraine has brought out the “peaceniks”; I count myself in their ranks.  I’ve been energized by the Ukraine invasion, the consequent Pirate TV videos, and quick-reading Our House Is on Fire, all in quick succession.


About four pages of the prison diary dictated and cleaned up.  These pages had some good quotes from classic authors from The God Delusion and some good thoughts on writing descriptions, but I spent most of the morning watching TV, eating, and napping.  It’s now 1:30 pm.  I don’t feel satisfied with this level of work.  I’ve been wanting to write something on TLC, but haven’t.

Installed a new printer cartridge, hoping that it would clear up the admittedly rather minor problem with the printing (“random” black dots).  It’s possible, I believe, to get a “replacement roller,” which perhaps might fix the problem; but given that the printer cost me a hundred bucks and has served me well for five years, I could just replace it.  Of course, that’s not environmentally friendly.

“If the minimum wage had kept pace with rising productivity, as The New York Times pointed out, workers would be earning $20 an hour.”  From a column by Chris Hedges on the formation of a union in an Amazon warehouse.  It’s a good overview piece on the suppression of unions in the US.  I call it an “overview piece” because it provides few “receipts” for its factual claims.  I recognized that to provide adequate documentation would multiply the work in a way that might be appropriate for a book, but hardly for an opinion piece of the type he writes every three or four days.  I knew about the depressed state of the minimum wage, of course, but I wanted this factoid in this semi-permanent form, for future quoting.

Interesting 48-minute discussion (audio only) from 3/31 between Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio and the Libertarian Institute and Lyle Goldstein of Defense Priorities and a visiting professor at Brown University.  “Among the topics covered are the global dangers posed by reductions in Ukrainian farming, Washington’s alleged interest in supporting a long-term insurgency, and the intentional drought in Crimea— which Goldstein says is an often omitted reason behind the invasion. They also talk about the danger of nuclear war, which both agree is higher than many seem to believe. Lastly, they touch on how China has reacted to the invasion, and how much President Xi may have known about Putin’s plan to invade.”  Recommended.  When I lived in Los Angeles, I listened to Scott Horton’s show on KPFK FM for several years.  Also bought a copy of his Fools Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan (Libertarian Institute, 2017) but found it too depressing to read the whole thing.

Perhaps even more interesting is Scott Horton’s interview of Greg Palast (on the day after the invasion) with a good review of the history of the Ukraine regions, Crimea and Donbas.  However, I should point out that the comments on You Tube are very negative about what Palast is saying.

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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