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Daily Pickings is a blog on issues and events related to the work of the Critical Thinking project and invariably references videos, articles, books and academic papers. Accumulation of these materials adds to the "Critical Thinking reference library". Use the search facility to find articles on specific topics or you can browse the titles of every Dailly Pickings article since inception via the Site Map for which you need to be registered.
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Systems thinking

In Critical Thinking, we've been exploring "systems thinking" as a means to understand the world and identify levers for change. At next week's session we're revisiting Thwink - although its focus is climate change, the techniques are generally applicable. Bob recently recommended a repository of "systems thinking" reference material including a very readable introduction to the subject: Kauffman_Systems_One_1980-libre.pdf

Extract from the foreword:

...we all need to understand the world around us, just to survive, but we can't possibly become experts in every subject. Is there a way out of this trap? Surprisingly, there is way - and a fairly easy way- to learn how to deal with the world around us in all its complexity without being some kind of mental superhuman. The answer is an approach we can call "systems thinking," and the purpose of this book is to introduce you to it.


Sutton’s Theory of Elite Action

The collusion of interests which dominate the world hide behind layers of deception, with many false trails and diversions to obscure where real power lies. Consequently, protest movements become bogged down over specific issues, fragmenting their unity and reducing their potency. Occupy is a classic example. It came into existence in outrage over Wall Street crimes and the orgy of excess which threatened the financial system, leading to a massive bailout of banks and financial institutions. Yet Occupy quickly devolved into special interest campaigns which didn't enjoy unanimous support, losing sight of the main objective: As Warren Buffet so clearly expressed: "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

Sutton’s Theory of Elite Action by D. Senti

...a well-written piece summarizing Sutton’s theories … and their possible application to the ISIS jihad in the Middle East.


Israel's imperial plan

Yesterday, Daily Pickings described the military, financial and political support provided to Israel and previously explained how Zionism has embedded itself within Washington and Westminster. While politicians and public servants from both left and right are courted and controlled by the pro-Israel lobby, the US neo-conservative right is closely allied to the Zionist cause and Israel's imperial designs.

Arvind sent a selection of links from independent sources exposing the Yinon plan: "...this idea was best articulated, though did not originate, in a lengthy article in Hebrew by Likudnik Oded Yinon in 1982, which Israel Shahak, the perspicacious Israeli dissident, translated in a booklet titled “The Zionist Plan for the Middle East."

The Unfolding of Yinon’s “Zionist Plan for the Middle East”: The Crisis in Iraq and the Centrality of the National Interest of Israel by Stephen Sniegoski


Deadly dance

Daily Pickings highlighted the need to understand the history of Israel if we are to achieve peace in the Middle East. Zionist influence must be removed from the corridors of power in Washington and Westminster. This influence means that Israel has unlimited access to the military might of the US which spends more on arms, intelligence and security than the rest of the world put together. Israel receives a disproportionate amount of this spending, as revealed by Edward Snowden.

Obama's 'helplessness' an act: Snowden reveals scale of US aid to Israel

The Israeli government acts with impunity, knowing the US has "got their back" in terms of arms, financial and political support, particularly at the United Nations (UN) where Israel is in contravention of resolutions passed by a majority of countries. The US uses its power over the UN to block effective action against Israel's crimes. Some Israelis are well aware this situation is unjust and cannot continue.

Eyeless in Gaza by Uri Avnery