STEVE ALMOND—In a 1906 address at Carnegie Hall entitled “Taxes and Morals,” Mark Twain lambasted plutocrats who advertised their piety while lying about their incomes. “I know all those people,” Twain noted. “I have friendly, social, and criminal relations with the whole lot of them.” He said that word—criminal—knowing that many of these folks were seated in the gallery before him. Twain had this to say about the patriotism of his day: “The Patriot did not know just how or when or where he got his opinions, neither did he care, so long as he was with what seemed the majority—which was the main thing, the safe thing, the comfortable thing.”
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Stranger in a Strange Land: Notes, anecdotes, and memories of a weeklong interview with Paul Bowles in Tangier, Morocco
GAITHER STEWART—A few more words about Paul Bowles and the cinema world: shortly after my interview with Bowles appeared in Rome’s Espresso Magazine – one of the first interviews with the writer published in Italy – I had the privilege of interviewing the film director, Bertolucci  who said he was looking around for ideas for his next film, which he wanted to do in some exotic place. He had Africa in mind. I only mentioned Bowles’ book “Under The Sheltering Sky” and my recent interview with him, so great was my surprise when some time later Bertolucci announced he was going to do a film version of that novel, with Paul Bowles himself as consultant. In the end, Bowles, still active, an unwilling traveler, did travel some with the cast in the Sahara. Unfortunately I can’t say what Bowles really thought of the Bertolucci film entitled “Té nel deserto.” [Tea In The Desert.]
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Since the Industrial Revolution, the techniques of advanced production have spread to every country of the globe. All countries contribute to the production of greenhouse gases and deforestation, which are the main drivers of climate change. As a result, any effort to halt rising worldwide temperatures must be inherently international to have any chance of success. Despite the claims of Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and their allies, no reduction of greenhouse gas emissions within the borders of the United States would bring a halt to rising worldwide temperatures.
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CAILTIN JOHNSTONE—Comedy is meant to lampoon power and call bullshit what it is. Today it’s used at best for mindless escapism, and at worst it’s used to sell products and indoctrinate the public into supporting power and accepting bullshit. The most daring thing you’ll ever see most comics do is make fun of Donald Trump, and ooh, oh my, how brave and groundbreaking.
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MoA—The situation in the U.S. controlled northeast is complicated. The Kurdish YPG/PKK forces the U.S. allied with do not get along with the Arab fighters in the Syrian Democratic Forces and vice versa. Isolated attacks on Kurdish SDF units happen each day. It is unknown if these are by ISIS sleeper cells, local Arabs who despise the new Kurdish overlords, or some third party under Turkish direction. The fight against the ISIS pocket along the eastern Euphrates makes no progress. In the north Turkish artillery sporadically fires across the border and hits Kurdish positions.