Articles, excerpts Jan 11 to 26, 2015

Worldview – contrast

Can Science Explain the Rage, Reality-Denying and Distorted Thinking Patterns of Tea Party Radicals? Posted by: Josh Kilburn  January 17, 2015 Liberals place a high value on mitigating harm towards others, while conservatives don’t really care, and they’re more worried that someone is going to cheat welfare, cheat disability insurance, or cheat SNAP, to get something they “don’t deserve.”  

Environmental crisis

In Just 60 Years, Neoliberal Capitalism Has Nearly Broken Planet Earth By Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, January 16, 2015 Pair of new studies show how various forms of human activity, driven by a flawed economic system and vast consumption, is laying waste to Earth’s natural systems. The conclusion that the world’s dominant economic model—a globalized form of neoliberal capitalism, largely based on international trade and fueled by extracting and consuming natural resources—is the driving force behind planetary destruction will not come as a shock, but the model’s detailed description of how this has worked since the middle of the 20th century makes a more substantial case than many previous attempts. Humanity’s rapacious growth and accelerated energy needs over the last generation—particularly fed by an economic system that demands increasing levels of consumption and inputs of natural resources—are fast driving planetary systems towards their breaking point, according to a new pair of related studies. “It is difficult to overestimate the scale and speed of change. In a single lifetime humanity has become a geological force at the planetary-scale.” —Prof. Will Steffen  

‘Doomsday Clock’ Ticks Forward: Climate Change, Nuclear Weapons Push Humanity Closer Towards Global Catastrophe By Andrea Germanos, staff writer, Common Dreams, January 22, 2015 Runaway climate change and the ongoing threat of nuclear weapons have pushed the world closer towards irreversible catastrophe, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced Thursday, as the group pushed the symbolic Doomsday Clock forward to three minutes before midnight.

Mourning Our Planet: Climate Scientists Share Their Grieving Process By Dahr Jamail, Truthout, January 20, 2015

Generational justice

The Most Entitled Generation Isn’t Millennials. It’s Baby Boomers By Ross Pomeroy & William Handke – January 8, 2015 For the first time in America’s history, an entire generation of her citizens is poorer, more indebted, and less employed than the preceding generations. That generation is the Millennials – our generation…

America

Is This Country Crazy? Inquiring Minds Elsewhere Want to Know It’s past time to wake up, America, and look around By Ann Jones, TomDispatch, posted on alternet.org,  January 11, 2015

Culture wars

Culture wars, old and new by E.J. Dionne, New York Times, Jan 25, 2015

Corporations

The Corporate Strategy to Win The War Against Grassroots Activists: Stratfor’s Strategies By Steve Horn, www.mintpressnews.com, July 29, 2013

Economic justice – race

Black Wealth Matters by Chuck Collins, January 11, 2015 Truth-out,  For generations, white households have enjoyed far greater access to wealth and security than their black counterparts…As protesters march through our cities to remind us that black lives matter, grievances about our racially fractured society extend far beyond flashpoints over police violence…. you have to look at wealth and net worth — that is, what people own minus what they owe…The racial wealth gap has persisted for decades. It widened following the Great Recession….“It is time for all of us to tell each other the truth,” Dr. King wrote in 1967, “about who and what have brought the Negro to the condition of deprivation against which he struggles today.”

Capitalism

Don’t Buy the Hype: 20 Years of Data Reveals ‘Free Trade’ Fallacies By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer, Common Dreams, January 15, 2015  Fast-tracked international trade deals have led to exploding U.S. trade deficits, soaring food imports into the U.S., increased off-shoring of American jobs, and an “unprecedented rise in income inequality,” according to new data released Thursday by the watchdog group Public Citizen.

In Just 60 Years, Neoliberal Capitalism Has Nearly Broken Planet Earth By Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, January 16, 2015 Pair of new studies show how various forms of human activity, driven by a flawed economic system and vast consumption, is laying waste to Earth’s natural systems

Inequality

Super Bowl for the Rich: Upper-Class 91, Middle-Class 9 By Paul Buchheit, Common Dreams, January 26, 2015…Making money is all a game to the super-rich—redistribution toward the top, trickle-down delusions, tax avoidance, and even, for some of them, dabbling in criminal activities…$2 of every $5 owned today was created in the last five years, most of it from the financial markets, and almost all of it going to the richest 10%… People with stocks are happy, but the news is a lot different for middle America, which has seen its pay drop a stunning 23 percent since 2009, and its median wealth plummet by about 40 percent… Even though corporate profits are at their highest level in 85 years, corporations aren’t pumping it back into the economy. Instead they’re holding it. S&P companies last year spent an incredible 95% of their profits on stock buybacks to enrich executives and shareholders.  Meanwhile, as the rest of us dutifully pay our taxes, we get blind-sided by wealthy individuals and corporations who defer their taxes, stash income in tax havens, enjoy a special capital gains tax rate, invest their money in tax-free foundations, or simply don’t pay. Boeing, Ford, Chevron, Citigroup, Verizon, JP Morgan, and General Motors, with a combined income last year of $74 billion, paid no taxes, and instead received a combined refund of nearly $2 billion…

Richest 1% Percent To Have More Than Rest of Humanity Combined By Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, January 19, 2015  New Oxfam report shows the scale of global inequality is ‘simply staggering’ In less than two years, if current trends continued unchecked, the richest 1% percent of people on the planet will own at least half of the world’s wealth. That’s the conclusion of a new report from Oxfam International, released Monday, which states that the rate of global inequality is not only morally obscene, but an existential threat to the economies of the world and the very survival of the planet. Alongside climate change, Oxfam says that spiraling disparity between the super-rich and everyone else, is brewing disaster for humanity as a whole.

Communications

Bring back the Fairness Doctrine, repealed during the Reagan area, to bring parity and responsible reporting back to our airwaves so that we have a better-informed citizenry casting better-informed votes., Big Ideas Project, December 2014 

History

Americans Should Embrace Their Radical History by Harvey J. Kaye, Campaign for America’s Future Blog, BillMoyers.com, October 8, 2014

Democracy

No. Sorry. You’re Not a ‘Constitutional Conservative’ By Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo, January 15, 2015 The central belief of the men who spearheaded the constitution was that only a strong central government could make America great and strong and thus safe….the constitution, the aims, beliefs and goals of the constitution-makers are the polar opposite of what the Rand Paul types and Tea Partiers believe

Searching for Radical Democracy in the Ruins of Capitalism’s Economic Depravity -interview with Henry Giroux By Chuck Mertz, truth-out.org January 17, 2015 The future demands a new political consciousness. We can’t just wait for neoliberal economics to tear apart society and then build from scratch.

Military-industrial complex

We Are a Chickenhawk Nation, Blindly Worshiping the Military; Wasting Enormous Amounts on Useless Military Hardware by Allegra Kirkland / AlterNet, January 9, 2015  

We Are a Chickenhawk Nation, Blindly Worshiping the Military; Wasting Enormous Amounts on Useless Military Hardware A new fleet of F-35 fighter jets will cost the equivalent of the entire Iraq war. By Allegra Kirkland / AlterNet, January 9, 2015  It’s common knowledge that the U.S. devotes more money to our defense budget than any other industrialized nation. But just how much we spend is remarkable. This year, we’re on track to spend over $1 trillion on national security, after factoring in nuclear weapons funding, military pensions and “overseas contingency funds,” in addition to the Pentagon’s $580 billion operating budget. In total, this figure accounts for about 4 percent of the United States’ income—double what most other countries spend.

Politics

The Empty Center: Challenge and Opportunity for Progressives by Robert Borosage, Campaign for America’s Future Blog, January 15, 2015

In U.S., New Record 43% Are Political Independents by Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup Poll, January 2015 n

The root of U.S. political paralysis is intolerance By Clive Crook, Bloomberg News, Jan 26, 2015

Democrats

As Top Democrats Embrace a Robin Hood Tax, It’s Time for Activists to Go Big by John Nichols, The Nation, posted on Progressive Democrats of America, January 12, 2015  Americans who are serious about addressing income inequality have long recognized that the United States needs a Robin Hood Tax—a charge on financial transactions proposed by campaigners who have argued since the Wall Street meltdown of 2008 that “banks, hedge funds and the rest of the financial sector should pay their fair share to clear up the mess they helped create.”

Money in politics

250 Years of Campaigns, Cash and Corruption By Asawin Suebsaeng, Andy Kroll, and Aaron Ross, Mother Jones, Aug. 9, 2012

Right wing’s unholy alliance

The Angry Right’s Secret Playbook Confessions of a former conservative blowhard. By Edwin Lyngar / Salon, posted on Alternet.org January 12, 2015 

 Neoconservatives

Walter Berns, Whose Ideas Fueled Neoconservative Movement, Dies at 95 By SAM ROBERTS JAN. 14, 2015  

Right wing extremism

You call these “moderates”?! How the far right hopes to fool America (again) By Heather Digby Parton,  Salon.com,, Jan 15, 2015         

Message machine

Forget Lobbyists: Big Business Wants To Control American Minds, Not Just Their Lawmakers By Erin Quinn, Center for Public Integrity, posted on Common Dreams, January 15, 2015 When Washington, D.C.’s biggest trade associations want to wield influence, they often put far more of their money into advertising and public relations, according to a new Center for Public Integrity investigation…37 percent, went toward advertising, public relations and marketing services, more than any other category. The second-highest total…20 percent of the total, was directed toward legal, lobbying and government affairs. By industry sector, the biggest clients of PR, marketing and ad services were energy and natural resources associations. The public relations industry is on a growth tear while the number of federally registered lobbyists is actually shrinking. Public relations work, unlike lobbying, is not subject to federal disclosure rules, and PR and advertising campaigns can potentially influence a broader group of people.

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