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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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Critical Thinking is a collaborative, educational project relying on contributions from diverse sources.

The unquiet frontier

Today's Daily Pickings comes courtesy of Atmen from last week.

atmen - Porkins Great Game




What is the context? Protest in Iran

In the Pavlovian theatre of geopolitics, we're showed images and told stories without context but accompanied by a narrative which serves the interests of the Structural Elite. We saw it in Libya (the "uprising" in Benghazi), Syria (the "anti-Assad" protests) and now Iran - the context is invariably regime change and yet most are blissfully unaware and opine on events in ignorance. James Corbett doesn't; he gives historical context corroborated by evidence.

We Need to Talk About the Iran Protests by James Corbett
Are these protests in Iran spontaneous, or are they the result of another regime change operation? This week on The Corbett Report, James explores the past, present and future of US and Israeli involvement in Iran, and the attempts to foment unrest in the country.

We can live in ignorance, as we're shepherded into the fold of human servitude or we can look beyond what's put in front of us and think.

Oh despair!

When (if) you read you daily newspaper, watch or listen to the news today (or any other day) spare a thought for those rarely mentioned among the lies and fantasies that are portrayed. What you are presented with, seldom relates to reality in the world. The reality for growing numbers of people is despair, whether from the many conflicts around the world or simply trying to survive.

This next article reflects the reality for those whom the system has failed and punishes accordingly.

A Tale of Two Americas: Where the Rich Get Richer and the Poor Go to Jail by John W. Whitehead
“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” ― Nelson Mandela
This is the tale of two Americas, where the rich get richer and the poor go to jail.

Not only are the victims targeted merely because they are victims but those who try to help those in need are also subject to the law of plunder.

City Tells Man To Stop Sheltering The Homeless from the Cold or They’ll Take His House by Matt Agorist
Chicago, IL — In the land of the free, if you try to help someone from freezing to death in subzero temperatures, you can and will be arrested and have your house stolen from you by state agents. A good Samaritan in Chicago is learning the hard way about the police state who is now forcing him to stop helping homeless people—or they will condemn his home and charge him.

This reality is not confined to the US but has spread, like a cancer, to the UK and beyond.

Paramilitary eviction squads, High Court injunctions, deportations, torched dwellings  – these are the legacy of the 2012 anti-squatting laws, writes TONY GOSLING, reporting from Bristol

We may think, as we sup our morning barista made coffee and tuck into our accompanying doughnut or danish pastry, that this reality has little to do with us but, as the Precariat grows, we are all at risk of being victims of the system. If we don't care for those around us, the system wins and our fate will be sealed.

Safer spaces?

One of the facets of Occupy, at least in London, was the concept of "safer spaces"; in conceptual terms, it is highly commendable to ensure people (particularly the vulnerable and less confident) feel comfortable in group discussions, to be able to speak out without fear of attack or vilification. Dialogue requires respect for others views and listening to each other rather than shouting down those who disagree with us.

But that should not extend to censorship (either by others or ourselves). In days past, "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me" was taught to children when abused verbally. That is not to suggest that calling people names is acceptable - that too inhibits dialogue. However, "safer spaces" have become another weapon in the armoury of those who would control us and are closing down healthy debate, particularly in academia.

A Groundbreaking Speech by the British Minister for Universities and Science – Will Perhaps – Opens Up To Real Education, Real Science and Real Democracy
The British Minister for Universities and Science Jo Johnson held yesterday, 26 December 2017, a remarkable speech titled “Free speech in the liberal university”.

In the immortal words of Steve Hughes "be offended"

Belatedly, here is lively discussion from a Critical Thinking session on political economy from September 2017 in which nobody was "offended".