Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week
Peter thiel  51875325807

Watch out, because [tech companies and the Pentagon] don't have your interests or mine at heart. It's an unholy fusion of people who basically want to control us just for the sake of making even more money for themselves. It's a very dangerous development and we should really be on the alert because if we're not in hell already, we are heading there.

Harper's Andrew Cockburn returns to This Is Hell! to talk about his March cover story, "The Pentagon’s Silicon Valley Problem: How Big Tech is losing the wars of the future." "The Moment of Truth" with Jeff Dorchen follows the interview.

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Posted by Alexander Jerri
Biden mending corporate flag

I was fascinated to read in a social media post that Biden had shown no evidence of mental decline throughout his term in office. Had my eyes and ears deceived me? Was he not having more trouble than in the past following complex sentences and ideas to a comprehensible end? Had he not, during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, tried to encourage a recently deceased colleague to rise from the audience and be recognized? Was he not slower and less confident than even at the beginning of his term?

 

Had he not been falling down more than a person with full cognition and coordination would be expected to? A fake showed him bumping his way face-down the full length of the Air Force One debarkation stairway, leaping to his feet at the bottom none the worse for wear. The right wing has collected all his real stumbles and tumbles with Shapiro and Carlson voiceovers mocking him, whereas I’m sure Trump would’ve burst like the sewage-filled balloon that he is on contact with the ground, but are falls themselves something we should complacently accept? The public’s perception is important, as the public has been vouchsafed the key task of voting. If they worry, I worry about them worrying.

 

The last president who fell a lot, Gerald Ford, ended up pardoning Richard Nixon, an act of abject mendacity that has redounded to crisis proportions in the present day. I’m not saying there was a direct relation between Ford’s falling and his utter paucity of moral, ethical, and civic judgment, but even not having sustained a brain concussion, an elder person’s tendency to fall can both indicate and exacerbate cognitive debility.

 

Should one dare ask these questions, one is not only barraged with rationalizations, but accusations of agism and ablism on top of it all. So be prepared for that. I wasn’t. For some reason the lessons of 2016 and its aftermath had faded into the vanishing point of my rearview. I forgot how practiced doctrinaire Democrats are at denying reality. They’re almost a good at it as GOP supporters and fossil fuel cheerleaders.

 

I had forgotten how Hillary had infused them with self-delusion, leading by example: having sabotaged her own chance to win in three key swing states with her refusal to heed her campaign staff on the ground in those localities, she had limped off into the woods to contemplate her humiliation by a... read more

Sep 13 2023
Posted by Alexander Jerri
Rockin the casbah

Everyone okay out there? Have you laid in a supply of necessities, just in case of disaster? All of us here in LA have earthquake bags filled with things that might be in short supply in an emergency: fresh water, water purifiers, first aid kit, matches, dry goods, abortion rights, voting rights, police accountability. The recent earthquake in Morocco, which killed about 3000 by current count as of this writing, brought all this to mind.

 

Ouarzazate City, if you can call it a city, is the capital of Ouarzazate Province in Morocco. The province is part of the area that most suffered destruction from the earthquake, though less so than neighboring al-Haouz Province, in which the epicenter in the High Atlas Mountains was located. I spent about a month in Ouarzazate thirty-four years ago. These are some memories.

 

Preceding that I enjoyed my set up in Marrakesh: a rundown shack on the rooftop of a two-story apartment building off Marrakesh’s Jemaa el Fna, run by a matriarch named Mina, which turned out to be a common name for Moroccan matriarchs. But a few annoying run-ins with locals, cops, and, worst of all, tourists led me to seek a less trafficked home base. This was one of those weird years when the Hijri calendar landed the beginning of Ramadan in early April, so I’d already endured a week and a half of the Islamic Holy Month and its effects on Moroccan psyches. Laborers in Marrakesh abstained from food and water from sunup to sundown, and from sex, alcohol, and tobacco all month, around the clock. Not a recipe for a contented working class in a busy city.

 

I decided to go southwest, over the High Atlas Mountain range, into the Sahara to Ouarzazate. I was told it was far less touristed there and very quiet. In Ouarzazate, the pace of life was supposed to be much more relaxed. Farmers walked almost imperceptibly slowly as they tended their fields. Most of the other business in town took place out of the sun, in shops, cafes, or administrative offices.

 

It was the year 1989. I arrived in Ouarzazate in mid-April. When I got to town I was immediately greeted by a friendly man who wanted to know where I was from, where I was staying, what was my good name, and what I planned to do there. I had often been greeted this way, and to my surprise it was rarely because anyone had something they wanted to sell me. They might of course have a relationship with a small hotel or... read more