An Open Letter to Myself – Richard Falk

I have a politically active liberal friend who in the aftermath of the Trump victory believes rather fervently that ‘clarity,’ not ‘hope,’ is the opposite of ‘despair.’ To be awake to unpleasant, even dire, realities and resist the temptations of denial demands increasing resolve in the face of the mounting evidence that the human species is facing a biopolitical moment threatening civilizational collapse and species decline and fall as never before. Wakefulness can give rise to mindfulness, encouraging radical choices of right action individually, and even possibly collectively. My friend’s clarity was more narrowly focused—limited to recovering and carrying on in America after the unexpected electoral victory of Trump. For those of us living here, the fear of what Trump will do ‘to make America great again’ is overwhelming and deeply depressing without taking the slightest account of the biopolitical crisis threatening the future of the human habitat as well as already producing the extinction of many species that are being swept away by forces beyond their, and more often, our control.

https://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2016/12/30/an-open-letter-to-myself/

‘How Propaganda Works’ Is a Timely Reminder for a Post-Truth Age – NYTimes

In “Mein Kampf,” Hitler argued that effective propaganda appeals “to the feelings of the public rather than to their reasoning ability”; relies on “stereotyped formulas,” repeated over and over again, to drum ideas into the minds of the masses; and uses simple “love or hate, right or wrong” formulations to assail the enemy while making “intentionally biased and one-sided” arguments.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/12/26/books/how-propaganda-works-is-a-timely-reminder-for-a-post-truth-age.html

Pedagogy or profiteering? Chinese students in Australia’s higher education sector

“Higher education is fundamental to Australian society. But universities must balance their desire to increase Chinese international student numbers with maintaining academic standards. They must also be cognisant of how overreliance on one source country exposes them to substantial financial risk. Finally, universities must improve Chinese students’ engagement with Australian society and the university community, lest they risk a threat to social cohesion within university communities.”

http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2016/12/24/pedagogy-or-profiteering-chinese-students-in-australias-higher-education-sector/

NYTimes: Australia’s Brave Whistleblower Nurse

From the start of its “offshore processing” program that has seen more than 2,000 asylum seekers and refugees dumped on two remote Pacific islands, Australia has relied on draconian nondisclosure contracts to keep the extent of its brutality secret. But this month Lynne Elworthy, an Australian mental health nurse employed on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, defied the gag clauses and a federal law against whistle-blowers to tell me the policy was an exercise in “absolute cruelty.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/20/opinion/australias-brave-whistleblower-nurse.html