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Missive #301


A neighbor saw Nasruddin standing under a tree, scratching his head and looking perplexed.

“Is something wrong?” his neighbor asked.

“I’m puzzled,” said Nasruddin. “I’ve been standing here for hours, and I just can’t figure it out.”

“Figure what out?” asked his neighbor.

“Don’t you see the problem? There’s a fish perching up there on that tree branch. Just look!”

Nasruddin pointed, and his neighbor looked up to see.

“I don’t understand,” said the neighbor. “How can there be a fish perching in a tree that looks just like a parrot?”

“That is exactly what has me puzzled!” replied Nasruddin.

This Tale is from “Tiny Tales of Nasruddin” by Laura Gibbs. The book is licensed under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. © 2019-2022 Laura Gibbs.

A dazzling work of American history from the author of the USA trilogy: Beginning with the assassination of McKinley & ending with the defeat of the League of Nations by the US Senate, the 25-year period covered by Dos Passos in this lucid & fascinating narrative changed the whole destiny of America. This is another very good history book, a genre that Dos Passos began writing in 1954 when he wrote The Head and Heart of Thomas Jefferson. I did not like his earlier novels but his history nonfiction has been very good. This is the story of the war we won & the peace we lost, told with a clear historical perspective & a warm interest in the remarkable people who guided the USA thru one of the most crucial periods. Foremost in the cast of characters is Woodrow Wilson, the shy, brilliant, revered & misunderstood “schoolmaster,” whose administration was a complex of apparent contradictions. Wilson had almost no interest in foreign affairs when he was first elected, yet later, in proposing the League of Nations, he was to play a major role in international politics. During his first summer in office, without any previous experience in banking, he pushed thru the Federal Reserve Bank Act, perhaps his most lasting contribution. Reelected in 1916 on the rallying cry, “He kept us out of war,” he shortly found himself & his country inextricably involved in the European conflict. Dos Passos has brilliantly coordinated the political, military & economic themes so that the story line never falters. First published in 1962, Mr Wilson’s War is one of the great books.

Dialogue works (Nima): when it comes to capitalism, they’re talking about that capitalism is by far the most effective and productive economic system. Ohio Senator, James Vance, just recently said that Russia produces as much ammunition in a day as the U.S. does in a month. what’s the problem with the U.S. economy that they’re not capable of producing enough ammunition to help Ukraine?

Richard D. Wolff: Well, let me begin with a comment. I do not believe it is an exaggeration to say that the spokespersons for every economic system in the history of the world have included people who say that whatever system they are, the spokesperson of is the best and the most efficient and the most equitable and the most and the most fill in the blank with positive adjective.

This is childish, and yet you would imagine that a reasonably mature people would get beyond this kind of cheerleading if they’re involved in a serious conversation. It is actually very easy to show whether you are looking at an ancient tribal economy or village economies or slave economies or feudal economies that they had their areas where they were remarkably efficient side by side with areas where they were remarkably inefficient.

Assuming that there is a standard that enables you to distinguish between them, which frankly, I don’t believe there ever was or is. — Efficiency Is Hilarious by Michael Hudson

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