KMO talks with Dr. Dan Freilich, a Navy veteran and VA doctor who hopes to defeat Vermont's incumbent Representative, Peter Welch, in the upcoming primary election. For Dr. Dan, every problem and every issue that progressives care about comes back to campaign finance reform. He has vowed not to accept campaign contributions from corporations or from special interests of any kind. He says he'll drop out of the race if Representative Welch will make the same pledge. The conversation ranges over many topics, including the F-35 fighter, the opiate addiction crisis, the role of lobbyists and the unworkability of throwing up one's hands and declaring the entire system to be hopelessly corrupt.
KMO talks with B. J. Mendelson, the author of Social Media is Bullshit and Privacy: And How to Get It Back. Is privacy a lost cause? Is there any way to swim against the current of big tech companies collecting, collating and profiting off of the enormous amount of personal data that we generate with the use of our handy electronic gizmos? Is there any point in even trying? If corporations do things that are creepy-yet-legal, do we have a leg to stand on? What role does artificial intelligence play in the future of privacy? Should Facebook pay us for the use of our data? If so, how much could we reasonably expect to get for it? Could this serve as an alternative to UBI? All this plus jokes in this week's C-Realm Podcast.
The profession of writing books has changed in recent decades, and now James Howard Kunstler, the author of many books both fiction and non-fiction, published by mainstream publishers, is relying increasingly on blogging and reader support through Patreon to pay the bills. Jim talks about his days at Rolling Stone and the lofty expectations he had for his first novel and what it was like to have 8 published novels under his belt and still be waiting tables. Later, Jim and KMO compare notes on their disillusionment with the behavior of the Blue Tribe in the Trump years. Jim is a registered Democrat, and KMO is a recovering libertarian, and neither of them was in a position to be disappointed by the Red Tribe's failure to ride the reality bus. Not so with the Blue Tribe.
The new weekly comic strip that KMO mentioned at the end of the episode can be found here:
Charles Hugh Smith is a critic of the idea of UBI (universal basic income), but in order to understand his critique it is necessary to take a deep dive into the nature of work. Any simple formulation of what constitutes work will either over-generalize and capture too much, or it will leave out certain activities which are necessary for the functioning of a healthy society and which create benefits for people other than the one engaged in the activity but which do not generate a profit and so are often unpaid. KMO and Charles Hugh Smith talk about work, leisure, commodification and the effects of information technology and machine intelligence on how we all participate in the web of exchanges and interactions we call "the economy."
We're all familiar with the archetypal alien abduction scenario. You wake up in your bed. You can't move. Short gray humanoids with big black eyes surround you. They whisk you off to some other place for painful and humiliating procedures and then mostly wipe your memory of the event, at least in the short term. People have reported encounters with a whole menagerie of alien types. Some are beautiful and benevolent, others monstrous and hostile. But with the Grays, their intentions seem self-interested, but they're mostly just unfathomable. Larry Lowe describes how this narrative coalesced in the late 80s and early 90s and cemented itself as our cultures dominant schema for contact with alien intelligence.
Additional materials and links supplied by Larry: