• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal


Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.

Aspirational vs Pragmatic: Why My Radicalness is Getting More Radical

Setting aside the pain and suffering of the infected for a moment, the most amazing part of the pandemic is its pulling back the curtain on the fragility and venality of the economic/political system in the “greatest country on earth”. Yah, sure. Some of those hybrid “planned economies” had better resources, and quicker responses, when their nationally supported professionals did the jobs they had trained lifetimes for; So What? We have better bombers. In fact, a bipartisan committee (that means Dems are in on it) is insisting, in the midst of the health crisis, the Marines buy another dozen or so of the most expensive planes ever built (that don’t work well) at a time when that service is seriously wondering why it has any, especially because it is having a very hard time getting people who want to fly them (and a few could be traded in to buy a whole lot of other stuff, like PPE) (and for all of us Bernie fans, he bought them too)

Setting aside the leftist rhetoric, which is so easy and appropriate to apply these days, about socialism for the rich, we need to look at how the entire market concept is itself a smokescreen for picking the low hanging fruit and then collapsing when it’s time to pick the tough ones, (or clean up the mess from the picking). The fact that the biggest, most capitalized organizations go broke in a week after a natural disaster (implying that they will again after the next disaster) and then are propped up, instead of being allowed to follow the dogma of weak actors failing in the Pantheon of Amerikan Competition, proves for everyone to see, that we are living a lie. The very core of our Amerikan mythology is that when times get tough we hunker down, or pick up stakes and find an new place, or grab our bootstraps and jump into the next opportunity to prosper. Ha Ha Ha. Not the corporate person. He needs a bailout to maintain his stock portfolio. He needs government stockpiles released to resell to public institutions at a profit. That’s how it’s supposed to work! How can we trickle down anything, without pouring the gravy on the top?

But we know all of that stuff.

What the current crisis is really exposing (and please, do understand that we are experiencing merely the preface to a rapidly increasing number of bigger brother/sister chapters in the book we are writing together) is the inability of the “liberal party”, and its supporters,to understand their culpability, or their power, to find an off-ramp from our trajectory into the abyss. That’s a shame, because it is stuff we all have learned about since we were babies The solutions are all around us.

Since we have learned from the very beginning that competition is good, and cheating is bad, and winning is no more important than playing a good game, and communities do things together for the common good, and (if you want be Christian about it), you are a good Samaritan, and if a bunch of people are hungry you divide the loaves and multiply the fishes.

What the Heck? I learned that stuff in Sunday School in my coloring books.

But I am being accused of being Aspirational. I should be Pragmatic. Accept what is, and work to change it by electing people who want to buy more bombers.

Really? Is that what we need to do when, for example:

M4A costs half as much as Insurance, does a better job, encourages health over letting problems fester, and covers everyone. Let it Win the Competition.

250,000 solar installers, in one state, make union money and benefits; have better, healthier jobs that improve air quality and offer a long term, sustainable solution to energy requirements. 50,000 coal miners nationwide have black lung, lost their unions, have a hard time getting paid, and their product is wrecking the Eco-system. Pick the best solution (that costs less).

If there ever has been a moment in our lifetimes when being Aspirational is required,

Now Is The Time.

To fix a broken system with broken tools, co-opted workers, bad bosses, and inferior materials breaks the rules we learned as toddlers.

To design a new system with false pretenses and assumptions breaks the cardinal rule of all design: being open ( a good definition of liberal) to what the needs are, and instead justifies presumptions.

The “liberal” impulse to let the folks who wrecked the system fix the system (think Obama/Geitner) is not Aspriational, it’s also not Pragmatic. Pragmatic means “ dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical considerations”. Exactly. Why would you let the robbers run the court? What’s practical about selling PPE the government bought with taxpayer money to corporations, to then sell it back to the taxpayers through their co-pays on their ripoff insurance plan?

So here’s the rub: Pragmatic is aspirational, doh! We have been lied to about what is possible because attached to the “possible” is an impossibly complex, expensive, wasteful, destructive paradigm that any Sunday School kid can see is absurd. The dialectic is artificial.

In the words of Robert Piersig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Lila) “Good is a Noun”. You have to make it (pragmatic). You have to want it (aspirational). At the same time (power).

See you in the streets (next week?)

More articles by:
June 01, 2020
Joshua Frank
It’s a Class War Now Too
Richard D. Wolff
Why the Neoliberal Agenda is a Failure at Fighting Coronavirus
Henry Giroux
Racial Domestic Terrorism and the Legacy of State Violence
Ron Jacobs
The Second Longest War in the United States
Kanishka Chowdhury
The Return of the “Outside Agitator”
Lee Hall
“You Loot; We Shoot”
Dave Lindorff
Eruptions of Rage
Jake Johnston
An Impending Crisis: COVID-19 in Haiti, Ongoing Instability, and the Dangers of Continued U.S. Deportations
Nick Pemberton
What is Capitalism?
Linda G. Ford
“Do Not Resuscitate”: My Experience with Hospice, Inc.
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Who Are the Secret Puppet-Masters Behind Trump’s War on Iran?
Manuel García, Jr.
A Simple Model for Global Warming
Howard Lisnoff
Is the Pandemic Creating a Resurgence of Unionism? 
Frances Madeson
Federal Prisons Should Not be Death Chambers
Hayley Brown – Dean Baker
The Impact of Upward Redistribution on Social Security Solvency
Raúl Carrillo
We Need a Public Option for Banking
Kathy Kelly
Our Disaster: Why the United States Bears Responsibility for Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis
Sonali Kolhatkar
An Open Letter to Joe Biden on Race
Scott Owen
On Sheep, Shepherds, Wolves and Other Political Creatures
John Kendall Hawkins
All Night Jazz All The Time
Weekend Edition
May 29, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Tim Wise
Protest, Uprisings, and Race War
Nick Pemberton
White Supremacy is the Virus; Police are the Vector
T.J. Coles
What’s NATO Up to These Days? Provoking Russia, Draining Healthcare Budgets and Protecting Its Own from COVID
Benjamin Dangl
Bibles at the Barricades: How the Right Seized Power in Bolivia
Kevin Alexander Gray - Jeffrey St. Clair - JoAnn Wypijewski
There is No Peace: an Incitement to Justice
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Few Good Sadists
Jeff Mackler
The Plague of Racist Cop Murders: Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Joshua Frank
In Search of a Lost Socialism
Charles Pierson
Who are the “Wrong Hands” in Yemen?
David Schultz
Trump isn’t the Pope and This Ain’t the Middle Ages
Andrew Levine
Trump Is Unbeatable in the Race to the Bottom and So Is the GOP
Ramzy Baroud
Political Ambiguity or a Doomsday Weapon: Why Abbas Abandoned Oslo
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
A Growing Wave of Bankruptcies Threatens U.S. Recovery
Joseph Natoli
Conditions Close at Hand
N.D. Jayaprakash
No Lessons Learned From Bhopal: the Toxic Chemical Leak at LG Polymers India 
Ron Jacobs
The Odyssey of Elias Demetracopoulos
J.P. Linstroth
Arundhati Roy on Indian Migrant-Worker Oppression and India’s Fateful COVID Crisis
Melvin Goodman
Goodness Gracious, David Ignatius!!
Roger Harris
Blaming the COVID-19 Pandemic on Too Many Humans:  a Critique of Overpopulation Ideology
Sonali Kolhatkar
For America’s Wealthiest, the Pandemic is a Time to Profit
Prabir Purkayastha
U.S. Declares a Vaccine War on the World
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the Telecom Crisis
Paul Buhle
Why Does W.E.B. Du Bois Matter Today?
Mike Bader
The Only Way to Save Grizzlies: Connect Their Habitats
Dave Lindorff
Pandemic Crisis and Recession Can Spark a Fight for Real Change in the US