Set the Night on Fire: the LA Free Press – LA Review of Books

The underground press of the Sixties is often described as self-indulgent; critics said it “trampled the tenets of accuracy and fairness,” while the mainstream media of the era is often portrayed as bland and cautious, and as practicing a phony objectivity. That was not true of the newspaper landscape in Los Angeles. The LA Times was firmly and loudly right-wing, while the LA Free Press (the “Freep”), the first underground paper of the era, and the most successful, was often a voice of reason, albeit a passionate one. A simple comparison of the coverage of the 1965 Watts uprising reveals a great deal.. . .
Excerpt from “Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties,” continued at the LA Review of Books HERE

The Problem of Pundits and the Promise of Big Data: L.A. Times op-ed

It’s been another tough political season for the pundits. Take Super Tuesday. On the Monday before the vote, a typical headline read something like this one from The Hill: “Sanders Poised for Big Super Tuesday.”
On Wednesday, those headlines were replaced by ones like this from CNBC: “Super Tuesday results: Joe Biden shocks the world.”
Predictions gone wrong are nothing new for the punditocracy, of course. . . .
. . . continued at, HERE

The White Power Movement From Reagan to Trump

Jon Wiener: El Paso,Christchurch, Charleston: the attackers have all been described as loners. You say they are all connected. How?
Kathleen Belew: We’re talking here about the White Power movement, a coalition that includes Klan groups, neo-Nazi groups, skinheads, and other activists.  One of their key tactics is called leaderless resistance—a few people work in a cell without direct communication with other cells and without direct orders from leadership. This strategy was implemented to stymie infiltration efforts and prosecution. But there’s been a much larger and more damaging legacy: It has effectively erased this entire movement as a movement, so what we see instead are a series of stories about lone wolf attackers, acts of violence that are inexplicable and unrelated to each other. . . . continued at, HERE   9/3/19

Reading the Mail of the Ruling Class: From the Old Mole in 1969 to Wikileaks today

Fifty years ago this spring, Harvard students occupied the school’s administration building, demanding that the university end its complicity in the Vietnam War by kicking ROTC off campus. The student demands also included creating a black studies program and ending evictions of working-class people from property the university wanted to develop.
We didn’t realize at the time that we were also raising another issue that continues to resonate today: whether the 1st Amendment protects the publication of “stolen” documents — a question back in the headlines today with the Trump administration’s indictment of Julian Assange, publisher of WikiLeaks, for espionage.
. . . continued at, HERE  5/23/19

The Other Ruined Cathedral of Notre Dame—in Haiti: Amy Wilentz

JW: Paris isn’t the only place where a cathedral of Notre Dame is in ruins and awaiting rebuilding. There’s another Notre Dame—in Haiti, destroyed in the earthquake of 2010. Remind us first of all why we care about Haiti, including those of us who’ve never been there.
Amy Wilentz: We should all care about Haiti, because it was the first black republic ever established on the globe. It had the only successful slave revolution, which began in 1791, and eventually created the Republic of Haiti.
. . . continued at, HERE

Bill McKibben: The ‘Debate’ Over Global Warming Was Always Phony

The fossil fuel industry knew everything there was to know about climate change back in the 1980s. And they believed what their scientists were telling them. Exxon started building all its drilling rigs to compensate for the rise in sea level it knew was coming.  But of course the thing they didn’t do was tell any of the rest of us. Just the opposite. They’ve spent billions of dollars building the architecture of deceit and denial and disinformation that has spread with relentless efficiency the lie that science was unsure about climate change. . . .  4/25/19
continued at, HERE  4/25/19

David Cay Johnston: What Is Trump Hiding in His Tax Returns?

Jon Wiener: The chair of the House Ways and Means Committee formally requested six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns earlier this month. Trump, of course, refused to comply, and said the law is “100 percent” on his side. Does the IRS have to hand over Trump’s tax returns to the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee?
David Cay Johnston: If they follow the law, they absolutely have to hand them over. . . .
continued at, HERE   4/23/19

Stacey Abrams: ‘Open That Door’ The continuing fight for the right to vote

Q. Everybody I know says that if there’d been a fair count in the Georgia election, and no voter suppression, you would be the governor of Georgia right now. But you did accomplish some amazing things in that race.
Stacey Abrams: We received more votes than any Democrat in Georgia history, including President Obama, or Secretary Clinton, or any Democrat who’s ever run. We tripled Latino turnout, we tripled Asian Pacific Islander turnout, we increased youth participation rates by 139 per cent, we increased black turnout by 40 per cent.. . .
. . . continued at, HERE

Political Action: A Practical Guide to Movement Politics, by Michael Walzer

Introduction by Jon Wiener.  A how-to book for activists written at one of the darkest moments of the Nixon years, it remains relevant and useful today.  The book takes up the question of what we can do, what we should do, about a president who fills us with dread and rage.  “What is to be done?” is of course the classic question for leftists facing oppressive regimes and long odds.  Walzer’s book is “an invitation to commitment and participation,” to get together in groups, to argue at meetings, and then to go out and talk to people.  The book has been republished in 2019 by New York Review Books at the suggestion of some high school students in Los Angeles.