Daily Archives: July 5, 2022

Bridgeside Books – The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon with Bill McKibben 6/18/2022

Jul 5, 2022

Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat, and the CIA / Silent Coup: Watergate 25th Anniversary (1997)

Jul 5, 2022

Read Secret Agenda: https://amzn.to/3R9WJwN Read Silent Coup: https://amzn.to/3NEgxpe

Shortly after Watergate, Dean became an investment banker, author, and lecturer, based in Beverly Hills, California. He chronicled his White House experiences, with a focus on Watergate, in the memoirs Blind Ambition (1976) and Lost Honor (1982). Blind Ambition was ghostwritten by future Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Taylor Branch[20] and later made into a 1979 TV miniseries.

In 1992, Dean hired attorney Neil Papiano and brought the first in a series of defamation suits against Liddy for claims in Liddy’s book Will, and St. Martin’s Press for its publication of the book Silent Coup by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin. Silent Coup alleged that Dean masterminded the Watergate burglaries and the Watergate coverup, and that the true aim of the burglaries was to seize information implicating Dean and the former Maureen “Mo” Biner (his then-fiancée) in a prostitution ring. After hearing of Colodny’s work, Liddy issued a revised paperback version of Will supporting Colodny’s theory.[21] This theory was subsequently the subject of the 1992 A&E Network Investigative Reports series program The Key to Watergate.[22][23]

In the preface to his 2006 book Conservatives Without Conscience, Dean strongly denied Colodny’s theory, pointing out that Colodny’s chief source (Phillip Mackin Bailley) had been in and out of mental institutions. Dean settled the defamation suit against Colodny and his publisher, St. Martin’s Press, on terms that Dean wrote in the book’s preface he could not divulge under the conditions of the settlement, other than that “the Deans were satisfied.” The case of Dean vs. Liddy was dismissed without prejudice.[24] Also in 2006, Dean appeared as an interviewee in the documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon, about the Nixon administration’s efforts to keep John Lennon out of the United States.

Dean retired from investment banking in 2000 while continuing to work as an author and lecturer, becoming a columnist for FindLaw’s Writ online magazine. He resides in Beverly Hills, California.

In 2001, Dean published The Rehnquist Choice: The Untold Story of the Nixon Appointment that Redefined the Supreme Court, an exposé of the White House’s selection process for a new Supreme Court justice in 1971, which led to the appointment of William Rehnquist.[25] Three years later, Dean wrote a book heavily critical of the administration of George W. Bush, Worse than Watergate, in which he called for the impeachment of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for allegedly lying to Congress.[26]

His next book, released in 2006, was Conservatives without Conscience, a play on Barry Goldwater’s book The Conscience of a Conservative. In it, he asserts that post-Goldwater conservatism has been co-opted by people with authoritarian personalities and policies, citing data from Bob Altemeyer. According to Dean, modern conservatism, specifically on the Christian Right, embraces obedience, inequality, intolerance, and strong intrusive government, in stark contrast to Goldwater’s philosophies and policies. Using Altemeyer’s scholarly work, he contends that there is a tendency toward ethically questionable political practices when authoritarians are in power, and that the current political situation is dangerously unsound because of it. Dean cites the behavior of key members of the Republican leadership, including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay, Newt Gingrich, and Bill Frist, as clear evidence of a relationship between modern right-wing conservatism and this authoritarian approach to governance. He places particular emphasis on the abdication of checks and balances by the Republican Congress, and on the dishonesty of the conservative intellectual class in support of the Republican Party, as a result of the obedience and arrogance innate to the authoritarian mentality.[27]

After it became known that Bush authorized NSA wiretaps without warrants, Dean asserted that Bush is “the first President to admit to an impeachable offense”. On March 31, 2006, Dean testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during hearings on censuring Bush over the issue. Senator Russell Feingold, who sponsored the censure resolution, introduced Dean as a “patriot” who put “rule of law above the interests of the president.” In his testimony, Dean asserted that Nixon covered up Watergate because he believed it was in the interest of national security. This sparked a sharp debate with Republican South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, who repeatedly asserted that Nixon authorized the break-in at Democratic headquarters. Dean finally replied, “You’re showing you don’t know that subject very well.” Spectators laughed, and soon the senator was “sputtering mad”.


“Nation Under Siege”: Nina Turner on Highland Park Shooting & Stopping U.S. Gun Violence

Jul 5,2022

Six people were killed and at least two dozen injured when a rooftop gunman armed with a high-powered rifle attacked a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park on Monday morning. The police eventually arrested Robert Crimo III, a 22-year-old white resident of Highland Park and aspiring musician, whose music videos depicted mass murder and school shootings. We speak with Nina Turner, former Ohio state senator and national co-chair of the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign, who says mass shootings in the U.S. are partly fueled by racism, sexism and “toxic masculinity” that equates gun ownership with manhood. “We have neglected to deal with a violent past and a violent present in the United States of America,” says Turner.

Enslaved people and the birth of epidemiology

Maladies of Empire: How Colonialism, Slavery, and War Transformed Medicine Jim Downs Belknap (2021)

“History performs a social task,” wrote George Rosen in his classic 1958 book A History of Public Health. “It may be regarded as the collective memory of the human group and for good or evil helps to mold its collective consciousness.” Rosen’s book grounded modern US public health in the experiences of European immigrants in urban areas. It scarcely mentioned ill health among enslaved or formerly enslaved people — but his words were prescient.

Historian Jim Downs has now given global context to nineteenth-century advances in medicine and public health, beyond the dominant histories rooted in Western Europe and the ancient world. In Maladies of Empire, he centres slave ships, people living in colonized countries, prisoners and wars in the narrative of medical discovery, at the foundation of epidemiology. He barely mentions what is often cited as the field’s origin story, when British doctor John Snow removed the handle from a London water pump and ended a cholera outbreak in 1854.

Downs’s first goal is to “make visible” how epidemiological thinking emerged from imperial conquest and the exploitation of enslaved people. He delves into archival records to recount how Western medical men — they were nearly always men — drew on the transatlantic slave trade. These researchers studied the health consequences of enslavement and thence began to understand disease transmission. For example, the study of ventilation emerged from the holds of slave ships and crowded prison cells. British and other European doctors observed and discussed cholera outbreaks in the Caribbean and elsewhere before Snow stopped one in London.

…(read more).

Globe to gut: inside Big Food

Felicity Lawrence absorbs three books on the illogical route from farm to fork.

Food Routes: Growing Bananas in Iceland and Other Tales from the Logistics of Eating Robyn S. Metcalfe MIT Press (2019)

The Grand Food Bargain: and the Mindless Drive for More Kevin D. Walker Island (2019)

Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food Timothy A. Wise The New Press (2019)

Every year, roughly one-third of food produced for human consumption goes to waste. The booming global livestock population accounts for 15% of human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions. Its more than 20 billion chickens, 770 million pigs and 1.5 billion cattle eat around one-third of all cereals produced. More than 390,000 tonnes of asparagus are flown to rich countries from regions of Peru experiencing acute water shortages and extreme poverty. Some 820 million people go hungry. More than 650 million adults are obese.

That our current food system is not fit for purpose is now a widely accepted diagnosis. The symptoms are severe. In addition to its implications in climate change and water scarcity, Big Food is a factor in crises of soil depletion, biodiversity loss and pollution. The aetiology of the disease remains disputed, however; so, as three new books demonstrate, the proposed remedies differ wildly.

Robyn Metcalfe’s Food Routes argues for total reinvention through technology: with big data’s marriage to Big Food, technology companies and engineers will soon take over from farmers to produce what we eat. In The Grand Food Bargain, Kevin Walker counters that view, warning of our tendency to overestimate short-term benefits of new technology, and to underestimate any damaging consequences. And in Eating Tomorrow, Timothy Wise writes a powerful polemic against agricultural technology that is sold to developing countries as progress towards the common good, but that ends up as a tool of agribusiness oligopoly and profit.

Metcalfe, a food futurist, declares herself a technology optimist. Food Routes is a fascinating catalogue of ‘miracle’ solutions in development. Some — 3D printed pizzas, say — are from the wilder shores of business-school horizon scanning. Others, such as gene editing of seeds, are about to be embedded in our lives, yet we’re mostly oblivious to their unforeseen consequences.

…(read more).


How the peanut trade prolonged slavery

The legume’s history in West Africa is intimately linked with conquest.

Slaves for Peanuts: A Story of Conquest, Liberation, and a Crop That Changed History Jori Lewis The New Press (2022)

The peanuts we devour today, seeds of the legume Arachis hypogaea, originated in South America and spread around the world because of the peanut’s popularity as a snack and a source of oil. But as with many commodities, their expansion is also a story about the conquest of land and of humans.

In Slaves for Peanuts, environmental journalist Jori Lewis reveals how the rise of the peanut crop was intertwined with slavery, abolition and religious conquest in West Africa during French colonization in the nineteenth century. To unearth this history, Lewis pored over archival documents, newspapers and botanical manuscripts stored in Senegal, Gambia and France, along with oral histories and the lyrics of griots — singers revered as historians and poets in West Africa. Her drive to tell the stories of people excluded from history books stems, at least in part, she writes, from her own curiosity as an African American whose ancestors were enslaved.

The hard facts of the material are made lively through a few main characters and Lewis’s imagery as she traverses the land where the dramas of the book unfolded. “We traveled like the people whose steps we were retracing might have in the nineteenth century, in our horse cart that clip-clopped on a dirt trail toward the horizon,” she writes.

The modern peanut dates back more than 10,000 years, to the lowlands east of the Andes Mountains, where it derived from a hybridization of two older types of peanut — possibly thanks to a chance pollination by a bee. By the time Christopher Columbus landed in the New World, people across South America were cultivating peanuts. As waves of European conquerors and clergy arrived on the continent, some returned with peanut plants as gifts for royalty waiting to learn what goods they might gain from foreign lands. It isn’t clear when A. hypogaea reached West Africa, but Lewis suggests that the crop could have been flourishing in the region by the end of the sixteenth century. The peanut succeeded in its new home thanks to the climate and the farmers’ familiarity with another crop that produces small, edible seeds in the ground: the Bambara groundnut, Vigna subterranea.

When the transatlantic slave trade began to wind down in the first half of the nineteenth century, French officials living in colonial outposts in what is now Senegal focused on the peanut in their search for alternative sources of revenue. Demand for vegetable oil and soap was rising in Europe, and peanuts offered a low-cost resource as long as ample supplies could be provided for a low price. Key to this was the availability of free human labour.

Legal loopholes

Lewis delves into the powerful kingdom of Kajoor, which by 1850 was producing the majority of Senegal’s peanut exports. Its peanuts were often grown by people enslaved by Africans, despite France’s formal proclamation that it would end slavery in its colonies. A series of loopholes and justifications allowed the practice to continue. For example, France determined that slavery was permissible if enslaved people were classed as ‘domestics’ or ‘servants’. French officials in the late nineteenth century wrote to their superiors in Europe about the “delicate question of captives”, Lewis reports. One official warned: “If you suppress the supply of these captives to the colonies, you will destroy farming everywhere and in short order.” He grotesquely argued that captive people had volunteered for servitude and that it would be “inhumane” to grant them freedom.

…(read more).

See related:

See related: Slaves for Peanuts’ Tells the Tragic Story Behind America’s Favorite Snack | Civil Eats

What Susan Collins said about abortion and the Supreme Court

Washington Post – May 3, 2022

In 2017 and 2018, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) defended her support for Supreme Court Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, in part, by pointing to their respect for precedent. Read more: https://wapo.st/3vDJjjZ.

BBC World Service – Newshour, Ukraine: Explosions in the southern city of Mykolaiv [Russia accused of weaponizing food and stealing Ukrainian grain supplies].

[On “…using food as a weapon of war…” see excerpt of BBC Newshour broadcast, Saturday, 2 July 2022 in which Russia is accused of “weaponizing food” and stealing Ukrainian grain supplies.]

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See related stories on the vulnerability of the global, hyper-coherent and petro-dependent food system:

Preview trailer: 2020 Reading of Frederick Douglass’s 1852 Oration

Beinecke Library at Yale – Jul 2, 2020

For several years, the Beinecke Library has marked the Independence Day holiday with a public reading in early July of the United States Declaration of Independence and the oration by Frederick Douglass given on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, in which Douglass asked: “What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July?”

These readings have been accompanied by an exhibition of the Beinecke Library’s first editions of both works, providing an opportunity to consider how these powerful words were put on paper to be shared across and beyond the United States.

This year, when public health requires avoidance of such indoor gatherings, the library is offering these readings online. We look forward to resuming this tradition on-site in 2021.

Video of 2020 readings of the Declaration & Douglass’s Oration will be posted July 2 https://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dec…