10 Hours of Noam Chomsky

Didactic SynCast #82: Trading Through The Puke

This episode has a gross title, but it’s a real quote from Dark Pools, the book I’m reading right now about high-frequency trading. Also this episode: stabbing people with letter openers, psychotic robots that follow you into the bathroom, killer super weeds, and cinder blocks to the face! Enjoy.

 DS #82: Trading Through The Puke

Top 3 Links of the Week

Current Events

Economics

Education

Killer Robots, Etc

Hip-Hop

Snoop Lion on Tavis Smiley (Sorry, the PBS embed isn’t working.)

Gathering

The American Scholar featured a potent — and lyrical — article today called “Afghanistan: A Gathering Menace” by Neil Shea. He writes disturbingly about what he’s seen during his trips to Afghanistan with US troops.

Since 2006 I have written off and on about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nearly all of my work in those countries has been done embedded with NATO, mostly American military units. Many times I have watched soldiers or Marines, driven by boredom or fear, behave selfishly and meanly, even illegally, in minor ways. In a few searing moments I have wondered what would come next, what the men would do to prisoners or civilians or suspected insurgents. And I have wondered how to describe these moments without reporting melodramatic minutiae or betraying the men who allowed me in.

I worry about how soldiers deal with the stresses of combat, and — especially in light of the Panjwai shooting spree — what suffering might be dished out to the people ostensibly being helped by our presence overseas.

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez interviewed the author today on DemocracyNow!

What I saw with these guys in Afghanistan when I was with them was that several of them had already been through multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they had reached a point where they hated Afghans, they hated the country, and they were really not interested in doing any of the hearts and minds stuff anymore that’s a crucial part of the mission. So by the time I reached these guys, they had already been sort of—they had been building up anger and aggression in strange ways for a number of years.

And, of course, when these guys return home, they often have trouble returning to civilian life. I worry that we’re dropping the ball as a society when it comes to taking care of our soldiers.

And if — as seems likely — our presence is making things worse (“It was like a week-long Taliban recruiting drive”), shouldn’t we get the heck out of Afghanistan already?

DS #51

Deviant SynCast #51: Drones and Thrones

Episode #51 of the Deviant SynCast is now available for your listening pleasure. I’ve submitted it to iTunes, but apparently it hasn’t been approved yet, so downloading it here is your only option for now.

I went a little long this week — 45 minutes. Many thanks to everyone who sent feedback last week. Please respond with thoughts or questions!

Here are the links:

Syria

Economics

Hip-Hop

Education

The War You Don’t See

John Pilger is one of the world’s most important journalists (alongside Amy Goodman and Robert Fisk). He was instrumental in alterting the world to the genocide in East Timor, and he has spent decades reporting on the victims of powerful military machines.

In his latest film, available to watch in its entirety on YouTube (embedded below), he examines the role of US and UK media in the wars and occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel/Palestine, and beyond. Some of you have seen these issues examined in great detail, but I still encourage you to watch this. He provides a large-scale context that is absolutely essential, and offers interviews you won’t see anywhere else.

Please watch this.