Parallax Views w/ J.G. Michael
Earth A.D. The Poisoning of The American Landscape and the Communities that Fought Back w/ Michael Lee Nirenberg

Earth A.D. The Poisoning of The American Landscape and the Communities that Fought Back w/ Michael Lee Nirenberg

November 25, 2020

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If you appreciate Parallax Views and the work of J.G. Michael please consider supporting the show through Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/parallaxviews

On this edition of Parallax Views, filmmaker and writer Michael Lee Nirenberg joins us to discuss a tale of two American environmental disasters and the communities that fought for justice against those they deemed responsible for the incidents. Earth A.D.: The Poisoning of the American Landscape and the Communities That Fought Back is a tour-de-force oral history that chronicles the environmental devastation resulting from American Superfund sites at Tar Creek in Oklahoma and Newton Creek in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY. Nirenberg paints a picture that involves citizens, activists, politicians, and corporate leaders through hundreds of interviews that reveal not only the ways that wealth and racism intersect with how environmental disaster are dealt with in different communities but also how the urban-rural divide plays a role in this regard as well. Recalling the style of music journalist Legs McNeil, Nirenberg's oral history brims with a punk rock verve that extends far beyond its title referencing The Misfits.

In this conversation we discuss a number of topics including the horrors of lead poisoning, environmentalism as an issue that should transcend the left/right divide, environmental racism, Michael's film work and his documentary on Hustler's Larry Flynt (as well as his interview with the controversial pornographer Al Goldstein of Screw Magazine infamy!), the Native American communities like the Quapaw tribe who are negatively impacted by environmental disasters and grassroots activists like Tar Creekkeeper Rebecca Jim and Don Ackerman, class and race as they relate to who is harmed most by environmental catastrophes, local corruption and how it effects the response to environmental disasters, nuclear power and energy needs, the difference between the Newton Creek and Tar Creek disasters, ecohorror, the influence of punk and metal on Michael's work, and much, much more.

On the Edge of Globalization w/ Brian Francis Culkin

On the Edge of Globalization w/ Brian Francis Culkin

November 23, 2020

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If you appreciate Parallax Views and the work of J.G. Michael please consider supporting the show through Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/parallaxviews

On this edition of Parallax Views, globalization has led to culture shocks in societies around the world. What to make of this phenomenon, its interactions with culture and the way we live our lives, and what it means for the future? Critical theorist Brian Francis Culkin, co-author with Shipibo shaman Ricardo Amaringo of The Ayahuasca Dialogues: Globalization, Plant Medicine, and the Healing of the Human Heart, joins us to unpack the topic of globalization and it's relationship to what philosopher Byung Chul Han calls "The Burnout Society". In the first part of our conversation we focus on the aforementioned burnout is producing in citizens of various different nations as well as the ways in which globalization may be altering our social lives. In particular, Brian hones in on how the ever accelerating techno-society we are creating is moving away from the nuclear family unit as its foundation for society.

Additionally, we delve into Brian's experiences with the indigenous Shipibo-Conibo people of the Amazon rainforest in Peru. This leads to a discussion of his collaboration with the previously mentioned healer Ricardo Amaringo and Brian's thoughts on the psychedelic plant drug ayahuasca. In this regard we discuss the the different perspectives on ayahuasca, ayahuasca tourism and its problems, ayahuasca as not merely a drug but also a medicine, and the importance of indigenous cultures. We also chat about ideas related to the apocalypse and End times, Byung-Chul Han's concept of "the autistic performance machine", the opening of the heart and seeing the other, neoliberalism and production, the human as a cosmic phenomenon and man as stardust, spirituality and materialism, Catholicism and Christianity, the humility of Carl Sagan vs. science and atheism as a theology, the value of friendship, and much, much more.

Post-Election: No Blue Wave, Joe Biden, & The History of Neoliberal Democrats w/ Thomas Frank

Post-Election: No Blue Wave, Joe Biden, & The History of Neoliberal Democrats w/ Thomas Frank

November 20, 2020

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On this edition of Parallax Views we wrap up our post-election analysis series by welcoming back Thomas Frank, author of such books as What's the Matter With Kansas, Listen, Liberal, and The People, No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism. Frank recently penned an op-ed for The Guardian entitled "Ding-dong, the jerk is gone. But read this before you sing the Hallelujah Chorus" which warned against Pollyanna-style beliefs  that all is well and good in America now that Donald Trump was defeated by Joe Biden in the U.S. Presidential election.

In this conversation we delve into why the Blue Wave didn't happen this year and how Frank was confident that it wouldn't occur as many had hoped it would. Additionally, he offers his historical research to unravel the history of the "Neoliberal" Democrat from the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) onward. We even manage to work a critique of the antiwar Democratic Presidential candidate George McGovern in this regard. Believe it or not McGovern, despite his left antiwar stances, was not labor Democrat. Frank unravels the whole history of how the Democratic Party went from the "Party of the People" to the "Party of the Democrat" as well as making clear, in his lucid style, underlying ideology and aesthetics of this political formation that declares itself as being "post-politics". Moreover, Frank and I discuss Joe Biden, why the AFL-CIO endorsed Biden, and, perhaps most importantly, what Biden must do during his time in the White House. Trumpism, Frank warns, is not dead yet even if the Donald isn't in the White House.

Post-Election: Fixing the Machinery of Democracy & Other Issues w/ Irami Osei-Frimpong

Post-Election: Fixing the Machinery of Democracy & Other Issues w/ Irami Osei-Frimpong

November 18, 2020

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On this edition of Parallax Views, the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election is over but politics never sleeps. Although many are celebrating the defeat of Donald Trump, the fact is that politics, organizing, and activism won't end with the defeat of Donald Trump. And, as evidenced by the recent scuffles between the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party, intra-party is very much alive and well. Although many have argued that such squabbles should be put aside, the provocative and intelligent Irami Osei Frimpong, also known as "The Funky Academic", joins us on this edition of the program to argue for the merits of divisive politics and what is needed to fix what he calls the "machinery of Democracy". We also discuss matters pertaining to media and particularly left media's blind-spots as well as Irami's critiques of white, upper middle class feminism, his critique of JD Vance's Hillbilly Elegy, Nancy Pelosi and the problem of glass floor/glass ceilings in politics, Pelosi' refusal to debate challenger, incumbent vs. the electorate as an anti-trust problem, the "voter disadvantage", the Defund the Police movement, the need for a communications infrastructure and its relation to production, corporate Democrats "punching left", the need for a federal jobs guarantee, freedom and the Left, the wealthy's distorted view of reality and why it occurs, and much, much more in this fascinating and provocative conversation.

Post-Election: Shift Happens w/ Albert Lanier

Post-Election: Shift Happens w/ Albert Lanier

November 16, 2020

On this edition of Parallax Views we present an election post-mortem featuring journalist Albert Lanier dissecting the 2020 Presidential Election. Albert argues the election can be summed up with the humorous line "Shift Happens". From Albert's point of view the election, when analyzed, indicates big shift for Democratic Party Centrists, the renegade progressive wing of the Democratic Party, and the GOP. He also argues that the Democrats win by "losing". He'll explain what that means in the course of our conversation as well as giving an election autopsy. What led to the outcome of the 2020 election? What of voter turnout and the voter suppression tactics Repulibcans were accused of in past election? And Trump cries of electoral fraud? Where do the progressives and leftists stand in all of this and what can be made of electoral victories made by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and "The Squad"? How did the Democrats manage to pull one over on the Donald? Why didn't the Hunter Biden laptop and Burisma stories work as the GOP's "October Surprise"? How did Trump lose the election? What of the mail-in ballots and what has been called the "Red Mirage" of election night? All that and more on this edition of Parallax Views.

Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography w/ Thomas A. Schwartz

Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography w/ Thomas A. Schwartz

November 13, 2020

On this edition of Parallax Views, Henry Kissinger is perhaps the most-well-known political figures associated with United State foreign policy and geopolitics since the post-WWII period. Reviled as a war criminal by many, such as Christopher Hitchens and Greg Grandin, and lauded as the 20th century's greatest statesman by others, Kissinger is, regardless of what one may think of him obviously someone who has left a lasting impact. Prof. Thomas A. Schwartz, author of Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography, joins us on this edition of the program to discuss the life and legacy of Kissinger. Unlike both Kissinger's detractors and his admirers, Schwartz attempts to come somewhere down the middle in his assessment of the former Secretary of State. We discuss Kissinger's early life, his image as a cold calculating figure politically, the Vietnam War and the Nixon/Watergate era, the harshest criticisms of Kissinger, and much, much more.

Editing Humanity: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing w/ Kevin Davies

Editing Humanity: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing w/ Kevin Davies

November 11, 2020

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On this edition of Parallax Views, last month two female scientists, Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuele Charpentier, won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their revolutionary work on CRISPR-Cas9, a technology that opens the door gene editing in ways previously unimagined. The win has been, rightfully, seen as a pivotal moment for women in science, but what, beyond that, what is the broader story of CRISPR and gene editing? What are the broader implications of gene editing and what does it entail for bioethics (ie: could CRISPR be used for darker purposes such as eugenics or bioterrorism)? What are the potential uses of this incredible technology? And what are the stories of the people involved in this game-changing scientific discovery? Kevin Davis, Founding Editor of Nature Genetics, Executive Editor of The CRISPR Journal, and author of Editing Humanity: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing, joins us to answer those questions and much more.

Among the topics we cover:

- What is CRISPR-Cas9?

- The troublesome story of Chinese scientist He Jiankui, who used CRISPR-Cas9 on two babies and caused a massive backlash in the scientific community as a result.

- Where does the idea of gene editing arise?; The history of gene therapy; James Watson and the Double Helix

- The potential agricultural uses of CRISPR

- Harvard University geneticist George M. Church, who played a pivotal role in the story of CRISPR, and his notion that, theoretically, CRISPR could be used to resurrect the wholly mammoth and address the climate change crisis

- Concerns about CRISPR technology related to misuses for eugenics and bioterrorism; CRISPR, bioterrorism, and COVID

- "Biohacking" and the ready availability of CRISPR kits

- And much, much more!

Post-Election Analysis w/ JP Sottile

Post-Election Analysis w/ JP Sottile

November 9, 2020

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The U.S. Election is finally, it appears, over. It looks as if Joe Biden is the next President Elect of the United States and that Donald Trump and his will be out of the White House by 2021. Kamala Harris will join Joe Biden in the White House as Vice President replacing Mike Pence. Democrats are celebrating in the streets over the victory, believing it represents the defeat of a 21st century fascist threat, while Trump and his supporters accuse the election of being rigged through a voter fraud conspiracy. What will the future hold for a post-Trump America?

Journalist JP Sottile aka the Newsvandal joins us to provide his always insightful analysis. In this conversation JP and I discuss:

- The landscape of mainstream and alternative media; Chris Ruddy and Newsmax; class and making it journalism; what has the effect of the Trump Presidency been on journalism and the press?; Fox News

- The projections of Presidential victories in the media, exit polling, and the 2000 election

- The election as a referendum on Trump and how Trump has created a "distortion field" that obscures what the American people want in terms of policy; the Presidential Election as a Trump "reality show"

- The off-year elections in 2022 and what it will say about what Americans want

- Do Americans want progressivism?; Does progressivism have a messaging problem?; the "Defund the Police" movement; Democratic Party Strategist James Carville and others blaming progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar for Democrats' downballot losses; AOC's New York Times interview; can progressives learn a thing or two from the long game of the evangelical Christian Right over the past half century?

- The Lincoln Project; did it play a role in the election?

- High voter turnout and how the conventional wisdom of higher turnout equaling a Democratic "Blue Wave" didn't pan out

-  Military Keynesianism and demand side economics; can Keynesian be applied to other areas rather than those the benefit what has been referred to as the military industrial complex?; the World Economic Forum and the transnational capitalist class; supply side economics vs demand side economics; is Reaganism/Thatcherism over and did Trump show the cracks in its acceptance?

- Richard Spencer's support of Biden/Harris; is Spencer getting what he wanted in the sense that the focus of the Democratic Party's leadership is shifting toward an even more "law and order" route going forward; the history of "liberal" as an epithet during the Reagan era and how "socialist" has become the new epithet

REPLAY: The Role of Big Money in Politics & 2020 Election Analysis w/ Dr. Thomas Ferguson

REPLAY: The Role of Big Money in Politics & 2020 Election Analysis w/ Dr. Thomas Ferguson

November 5, 2020

I thought this episode would be interesting as we get through the election process this year. Enjoy! - J.G.

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On this edition of Parallax Views, much has been made about the role of money in the outcomes of political elections, at least within . In academic disciplines, however, this has often been seen as heresy. In fact, some view it as nothing more than conspiracy theory. And, truth be told, it would likely be overly simplistic to argue that a small handful of shadowy individuals select the two Presidential candidates every four years in U.S. elections. However, political scientist Dr. Thomas Ferguson, Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Boston,  dispenses with such oversimplifications while also making the case, through his extensive empirical research, that, yes, money in politics DOES, as a matter of fact, influence electoral outcomes.

After receiving his Ph.D at Princeton University, Dr. Ferguson went on to teach, for a time, at MIT. During his academic travels he delved into the history undergirding FDR and the New Deal. In doing so he developed an alternative model to understanding elections that challenged the median voter theorem. This came to be known as the investment theory of part competition, which Dr. Ferguson elaborated upon in his landmark book Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems, he joins us on this edition of the program to discuss this theory, how he came to developing it, and his thoughts on the 2020 Presidential election pitting Republican incumbent Donald Trump against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

In the course of our conversation we also discuss:

- Rahm Emmanuel's declaration that 2020 would be the year of the Biden Republican

- Thoughts on the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wing of the Democratic Party and the development of small donor power in elections

- Why conspiracy theories have become so popular

- The stunning defeat of Joe Kennedy by Ed Markey in the Massachusetts Senate race

- Thoughts on the panic-laden Deutsche Bank report by Jim Reid warning investors of an "Age of Disorder"

- And much, much more!

This Episode Brought to You By:
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The War State:
The Cold War Origins of the Military-Industrial Complex and the Power Elite, 1945-1963
by
Michael Swanson
of
The Wall Street Window

Morris Kight: Humanist, Liberationist, Fantabulist w/ Mary Ann Cherry

Morris Kight: Humanist, Liberationist, Fantabulist w/ Mary Ann Cherry

November 2, 2020

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On this edition of Parallax Views, Morris Kight was a radical antiwar, civil rights, and labor activist, but he's probably most remembered today as a gay rights icon. "Wait," you may be saying, "I've heard of Harvey Milk. I've heard of RuPaul. But I've never heard of Morris Kight." No, folks, I'm not exagerrating. Morris Kight had a long and storied life as an activist, especially within the burgeoning LGBTQ community, on the West Coast during the 20th century. So who was Morris Kight and why isn't he more well-known? Mary Ann Cherry, a friend of Kight in his later years and the author of the Feral House publication Morris Kight: Humanist, Liberationist, Fantabulist, joins us on this edition of program to answer both those questions. Among other things we discuss:

- The charismatic, "dandy"-style of Morris Kight and it's similarities to fellow gay icon Gore Vidal
- Morris Kight's antiwar activism, specifically his actions directed against Dow Chemical during the Vietnam War
- Morris Kight's socialist tendencies and skepticism of the two-party political duopoly
- The infamous homophobic sign at Barney's Beanery in West Hollywood that Morris and other activists protested to get taken down due to its discriminatory nature
- Morris Kight's brush with the Los Angeles gangster Eddie Nash of Wonderland Avenue Murders infamy
- And much, much more!

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