Treason and/or sedition

Has the 1 Percent Committed Treason?

Voter Suppression Is Treasonous by Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm …It is an affront to our democracy that you need a specific identification to vote for a candidate, but not to finance one. Why is it so easy to buy a government, but becoming so hard to vote for one? Voter suppression laws, overzealous filibuster use, you name it — the Republicans use every tactic they can to stop our democracy from actually selecting the person with the most support. Why do they do this? It seems obvious: when you don’t have winning ideas, you change the rules of the game. When you can’t convince voters that you are the best choice, you restrict their ability to choose.

Are Republicans Committing Treason? By Cliff Schecter, AlterNet, July 20, 2011 – Once upon a time…there was a political party that had a set of core beliefs to which they actually adhered. Among them was that actually balancing the budget…Foreign military adventures should be limited to our national security interests…protecting the economic interests not only of an elite few, but of the great many Americans who toiled in our factories and fields. This party was known as the Republican Party…one could at least see some logic in their beliefs and understand that they…were doing what they thought was right for the United States of America. Today, this once respectable organization…When facing changes to this nation that make them uncomfortable, they choose national hate….When facing a choice of what is good for the US or their personal bank accounts, they inevitably go with the latter. The one caveat is that it’s not Republicans, so much as the forces of the anti-American, gun-toting, religious and corporate Right that have taken over the GOP who are responsible…Charter members of this anti-American Right include the National Rifle Association..the “pro-business” Right’s support for finishing a four-decade quest to hollow out US manufacturing…We used to make big things in the US, often with direct government investment. Whether it was the federal highway system, the Sears Tower, or the Golden Gate Bridge – these were not small undertakings. It was a proven method of creating jobs and wealth, as well as a source of national pride…US slipping in quality-of-life indicators…World Health Organization’s ranking the US in 37th place, our impressive 33rd place in children’s ability to navigate math and science, or 39th place in our environmental quality…Lest one think this list is biased, I have not even gone into the details of the outing of an undercover CIA agent (see Karl Rove) or the Right’s current crusade to make the US default on its debt (and Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s incentive to profit off of this, as he has shorted US treasury bonds in his personal investment portfolio)…

Guilty of Sedition? How the Right Is Undermining Our Government’s Authority and Capability to Run the Country by Sara Robinson,Cam­paign for America’s Future, April 6, 2010 -       Sedi­tion: Crime of cre­at­ing a revolt, dis­tur­bance, or vio­lence against law­ful civil author­ity with the intent to cause its over­throw or destruc­tion — Brit­tan­ica Con­cise Dictionary …When the indict­ments against the Huta­ree [mili­tia] were unsealed last week, the S-word [sedi­tion] was right there, front and cen­ter, in Count One. The Jus­tice Depart­ment accused them of “sedi­tious con­spir­acy,” charg­ing that the defen­dants “did know­ingly con­spire, con­fed­er­ate, and agree with each other and other per­sons known and unknown…to levy war against the United States, and to pre­vent, hin­der, and delay by force the exe­cu­tion of any United States law.” This is very seri­ous stuff. But the Huta­ree are get­ting nailed for sedi­tion only because they crossed the line with inches to spare. They’re by no means the only ones. Advo­cat­ing, encour­ag­ing, and sanc­tion­ing sedi­tion is the new norm on the con­ser­v­a­tive side…a wake-up call for progressives…it’s time to openly con­front the fact that con­ser­v­a­tives have spent the past 40 years sys­tem­at­i­cally dele­git­imiz­ing the very idea of US gov­ern­ment. When they’re in power, they mis­man­age it and defund it. When they’re out of power, they refuse to par­tic­i­pate in run­ning the coun­try at all — indeed, they throw all their energy into thwart­ing the demo­c­ra­tic process any way they can. When they need to win an elec­tion, they use vio­lent, polar­iz­ing, elim­i­na­tion­ist lan­guage against their oppo­nents to moti­vate their base. This is sedi­tion in slow motion, a grad­ual cor­ro­sive under­min­ing of the government’s author­ity and capa­bil­ity to run the coun­try. And it’s been at the core of their pol­i­tics going all the way back to Goldwater…“sedi­tion,” it’s essen­tial that we under­stand the strict def­i­n­i­tion of the word — and use it care­fully and pre­cisely, lest it lose all meaning…Here’s the defin­ing line we need to hold on to. Peo­ple who pro­mote sub­ver­sive ideas, no mat­ter how dan­ger­ous those ideas might seem, are com­pletely pro­tected under the First Amend­ment. Even call­ing for the over­throw of the gov­ern­ment is pro­tected (though not benign, as we’ll see later, because it cre­ates jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, per­mis­sion, and incite­ment to sedi­tious acts). That’s why the con­ser­v­a­tives have been safe — so far. It’s only when those peo­ple start actively plan­ning and imple­ment­ing a gov­ern­ment rebel­lion that it turns into crim­i­nal sedition.…one of the car­di­nal signs these experts watch and lis­ten for is a fun­da­men­tal shift in rhetoric…in the lat­ter stage, the talk turns overtly elim­i­na­tion­ist, and the group starts express­ing its clear desire and inten­tion to erad­i­cate spe­cific enemies…they’ve offi­cially crossed the line into sedition…These nar­ra­tives are cou­pled with a ris­ing us-versus-them blam­ing of pro­gres­sives for all the prob­lems of the country…This sedi­tious intent is expressed even more directly in the increas­ingly overt firearms dis­plays at right-wing events…The right to carry guns in pub­lic is now an essen­tial sym­bol of how the the right defines freedom. These esca­lat­ing armed demonstrations…are a clear sig­nal that these folks …have already decided that democ­racy is futile, and tak­ing up arms is the only appro­pri­ate response to the threats we now face…within the past year…the num­ber of right-wing mili­tias has more than dou­bled to over 500…What these folks are telling us is that they no longer rec­og­nize the government’s sole fran­chise on the use of force; and they’re actively orga­niz­ing to seize at least some of that power for themselves. Most alarm­ing of all: these right-wing war­riors have also advanced to actual tar­get acqui­si­tion. This should worry us, because law enforce­ment and ter­ror­ism experts know that when groups like this get to where they’re set­tling on spe­cific tar­gets, they’re the final stages of gear­ing up for vio­lent confrontation…the first step in stop­ping sedi­tion is mak­ing sure every­body knows exactly what it is when they see it…puts the short-term needs of the Repub­li­can party ahead of the long-term via­bil­ity of the Amer­i­can democ­racy they’ve sworn to uphold… They need to choose whose side they’re on: America’s, or their own. 

 

 

What is government for?

The Mission of Government by MIke Lux, Huff­in­g­ton Post, 01 March 2013 …the fun­da­men­tal debate we should be hav­ing is not the size of gov­ern­ment but what the goal of gov­ern­ment should be: What should government’s cen­tral mis­sion be?  There are four major views on this ques­tion in mod­ern Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, two in each polit­i­cal party. The first Repub­li­can view…government should be as small as pos­si­ble.…the other [is] serv­ing the needs of big busi­ness…the size of gov­ern­ment exploded under Bush’s watch because drug com­pa­nies and Wall Street and other indus­tries wanted sweet­heart deals, sub­si­dies of all kinds, and bailouts…The first of the mod­ern Demo­c­ra­tic Party the­o­ries about the mis­sion of gov­ern­ment is the most com­pli­cated of the 4. This the­ory says the mis­sion of gov­ern­ment should be that it should make some invest­ments in our peo­ple and the econ­omy, that there should be a safety net for the poor, but that (most impor­tantly) gov­ern­ment should work to steady and sta­bi­lize the sta­tus quo…Tim Gei­th­ner, who was pas­sion­ately focused on one big thing through­out the finan­cial cri­sis and the years since: preser­va­tion of the finan­cial sta­tus quo.…The final phi­los­o­phy about the cen­tral mis­sion is that of the pro­gres­sive pop­ulists, who argue that government’s cen­tral mis­sion should be strength­en­ing and expand­ing America’s broad mid­dle class.…The rhetoric, espe­cially lately, has moved more toward the lat­ter phi­los­o­phy, but the pol­icy specifics and appoint­ments have too often stayed with the former…Nei­ther Repub­li­can phi­los­o­phy about the mis­sion of gov­ern­ment will ever become a major­ity in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics — the Repub­li­cans have to pre­tend those aren’t their views to have a chance at get­ting elected. But for both pol­icy and polit­i­cal rea­sons, the Democ­rats need to firmly pick the side of mid­dle class and low income Amer­i­cans, and not worry so much about pre­serv­ing and pro­tect­ing the establishment.

Channeling the Populist Rage by Charles Colson and Catherine Larson, Christianity Today, April 7, 2010

The Biggest Engine of Economic Growth? 8 Ways Taxpayers and the Government Are Necessary to Capitalism, Alter­Net [1] / By Colin Greer [2]  March 13, 2012 – …con­ser­v­a­tives have con­stantly attacked gov­ern­ment. The drum­beat repeats the notion that the pri­vate sec­tor can do every­thing bet­ter. “Pri­va­tize every­thing” is the mantra. It’s hard to imag­ine any­thing more destruc­tive to our econ­omy… spread­ing the big lie that gov­ern­ment is too big, cor­rupt and waste­ful with­out under­stand­ing just what gov­ern­ment pro­vides the econ­omy and soci­ety…

the U.S. gov­ern­ment has been the key engine of eco­nomic growth since the ear­li­est days of the Repub­lic— and it is now, but very few peo­ple real­ize that. Why? Because we don’t explain how gov­ern­ment spend­ing is woven into much of cor­po­rate suc­cess. We don’t counter that the gov­ern­ment is con­stantly in an active, co-venture model with the for-profit sec­tor in pro­vid­ing vast ele­ments of infra­struc­ture and directly cre­at­ing tech­nolo­gies that the econ­omy is depen­dent on, and cor­po­ra­tions profit from…

Most every­thing the Amer­i­can cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem needs is pro­vided by tax­payer dol­lars and gov­ern­ment action. Here are eight examples.

1. Pub­lic Trust and Eco­nomic Infrastructure

2. Edu­ca­tion and Social Knowledge

3. Relief in Cri­sis, Cat­a­stro­phe, or Every­day Life

4. Reg­u­la­tion and the Pub­lic Good

5.  Mas­sive Pur­chas­ing That Sup­ports Businesses

6.  The Infra­struc­ture in Which Every­thing Operates

7. The Labor Pool: Prepar­ing Employ­ees for the Pri­vate Sector

8.  Stim­u­lus for Just About Everything

9. Direct Invest­ment in the Cre­ation of Key Inno­va­tions ing to pro­duce nat­ural gas.

10.  The New Phase of Social Wel­fare Finan­cial Transfers

Con­clu­sion

The view that the pri­vate sec­tor is the inde­pen­dent engine of eco­nomic growth is obvi­ously false. It’s time for an artic­u­lated eco­nomic frame­work which describes how the mod­ern state has worked in an active co-venture with the for-profit sector…

Eliz­a­beth War­ren has clar­i­fied how the social web and the phys­i­cal infra­struc­ture that gov­ern­ment sup­ports is essen­tial to mar­ket func­tion, growth and wealth cre­ation.  It makes sense to go a step fur­ther and clar­ify how gov­ern­ment action and pub­lic dol­lars serve as a direct part­ner with the pri­vate sec­tor in advanc­ing growth and wealth. Then, it would not be so easy to take the money and run.

 

 

Who is government for?

“You and I don’t have a lobbyist and so we are not represented in this melee. There is no balance here. There’s a drastic imbalance between the people who created the problem and the people who had to pay the problem and it has not been addressed.”  Gretchen Morgenson, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times business and finance reporter, in How Big Money Bought Our Democracy, Corrupted Both Parties, and Set Us Up for Another Financial Crisis By Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company, January 22, 2012

Marlin Stutzman and post-policy nihilism

Climate change

A Republican Case for Climate Action By WILLIAM D. RUCKELSHAUS, LEE M. THOMAS, WILLIAM K. REILLY and CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, New York Times,  August 1, 2013

Make climate change a priority By Jim Yong Kim, Washington Post, January 24, 2013Jim Yong Kim is president of the World Bank. - The signs of global warming are becoming more obvious and more frequent. A glut of extreme weather conditions is appearing globally…As economic leaders gathered in Davos this week for the World Economic Forum, much of the conversation was about finances. But climate change should also be at the top of our agendas, because global warming imperils all of the development gains we have made. If there is no action soon, the future will become bleak

How the Religious Right Is Fueling Climate Change Denial The Guardian [1] / By Katherine Stewart [2] posted on Alternet, November 5, 2012 why do so many people in America refuse to take climate science seriously?… how is it possible for anyone to think that thousands of scientists around the world are engaged in an elaborate hoax?

Climate science denial needs disinformation to survive, but it has its feet firmly planted in a part of American culture. That culture draws on lots of different sources. But if you want to understand it, you need to understand something about America’s religious landscape.

Take a look at some of the most recent initiatives in the climate science denial wars… the ultimate purpose is to produce a young generation of “skeptics” whose views on climate science will happily coincide with those of the fossil fuel industry.

Who is behind these programs of de-education?

The group writing much of the legislation is the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) [6], a “nonpartisan” consortium of state legislators and business interests that gets plenty of money from the usual suspects. But the legislation has also received vital support from groups associated with the religious right.…

What does religion [9] have to do with climate science? Radical religious activists promote the anti-science bills, in part, because they also seek to undermine the teaching of evolution [10] – another issue that supposedly has “two sides”, so schools should “teach the controversy”.…It also tells us – on the firm foundation of Holy Scriptures – that policies intended to slow the pace of climate change represent a “dangerous expansion of government control over private life”. It also alerts us that the environmental movement is “un-Biblical” – indeed, a new and false religion…

Now, this isn’t the theology of every religion in America, or of every strain of Christianity [13]; not by a long stretch. Most Christians accept climate science and believe in protecting the environment, and many of them do so for religious as well as scientific reasons. But theirs is not the theology that holds sway in the upper reaches of the Republican party,…Why does this theology of science denial have such power? For one thing, it gives its adherents something to throw back in the face of all those obnoxious “elites”, which they think are telling them what to do with their lives. There’s no need to master the facts if all you need is to learn a few words of scripture.…  to disguise the extraordinary selfishness of his position in a cloak of sanctimony.There is a choice. And even if you don’t think it matters, your grandkids will. how-the-religious-right-is-fueling-climate-change-denial/

Community building

Scientists find visions of a benevolent future society motivate reform By Eric W. Dolan, Washington Post, March 21, 2013  – Activists, take note: People support reform if they believe the changes will enhance the future character of society…people support a future society that fosters the development of warm and moral individuals…explore Noam Chomsky’s dictum that “social action must be animated by a vision of a future society” — a proposition they said had not been investigated by social psychologists… “On climate change, we have other research showing that support for action was higher when people focused on character, but also on opportunities for economic/technological development.”…“One challenge is to work out how to design policies to actually promote warmth/morality…“The whole idea may sound a bit implausible, but if you think of it as ‘community building’ (bringing people together to promote social bonds) then it becomes more tangible for policy makers, as this is something they are able to consider in policy design.”…“If you can communicate how a policy will serve its primary function and help community-building, our research suggests you will gain broader public support.”


 

Progressive initiatives

The Lever of Social Action by Robert C. Koehler, May 30, 2013 by Common Dreams …Reality does shift, not merely on its own but as a result of determined minorities who learn how to use the lever of social action…Now is the time to choose our future… This means thinking big: embracing a vision so enormous it overflows our sense of the possible…The lever, [Judith Hand] says, is “people power”: the strategy and tactics of nonviolent action of all sorts. The fulcrum is any weak spot in the existing power structure, any shameful but unchallenged absurdity of power (e.g., segregated lunch counters, the British salt tax). The weight put on the lever to dislodge the fulcrum could, perhaps, be called applied moral authority… 

Scientists find visions of a benevolent future society motivate reform By Eric W. Dolan, Washington Post, March 21, 2013 Activists, take note: People support reform if they believe the changes will enhance the future character of society…people support a future society that fosters the development of warm and moral individuals…explore Noam Chomsky’s dictum that “social action must be animated by a vision of a future society” — a proposition they said had not been investigated by social psychologists… “On climate change, we have other research showing that support for action was higher when people focused on character, but also on opportunities for economic/technological development.”…“One challenge is to work out how to design policies to actually promote warmth/morality…“The whole idea may sound a bit implausible, but if you think of it as ‘community building’ (bringing people together to promote social bonds) then it becomes more tangible for policy makers, as this is something they are able to consider in policy design.”…“If you can communicate how a policy will serve its primary function and help community-building, our research suggests you will gain broader public support.”

Can National Grassroots Push Depose the ‘Billion Dollar Democracy’? Pub­lished on Fri­day, Jan­u­ary 18, 2013 by Com­mon Dreams — Jon Queally, staff writer – Elec­tions are now awash in unreg­u­lated money and ruled by the nation’s wealth­i­est, but can a grass­roots effort stem the assault on democracy?…the out­landish and out­weighed influ­ence that wealthy indi­vid­u­als and cor­po­ra­tions have in a post–Cit­i­zens United world…many activists—now equipped with the expe­ri­ence of what a mod­ern democ­racy con­trolled by mil­lion­aires and bil­lion­aires looks like—are hop­ing that fun­da­men­tal changes can be made to cor­rect the cor­ro­sive impact of shadow money and undue influence… prompted many to demand an end to such pref­er­en­tial treat­ment of the wealth­i­est in a democ­racy engulfed in cash and renewed calls for broader and more equi­table poll access…To voice their out­rage and demand fun­da­men­tal change, pro­gres­sive groups—including Pub­lic Cit­i­zen, NAACP, U.S. PIRG, Com­mon Cause, MoveOn, Organic Con­sumers Asso­ci­a­tion, League of United Latin Amer­i­can Cit­i­zens, Hip Hop Cau­cus and others—have planned nation­wide days of action called Money Out/Voters Inbring “pub­lic inter­est, labor, vot­ing rights and faith groups” together under one ban­ner and cause… the authors of the ‘Bil­lion Dol­lar Democ­racy’ con­cluded as well. In an op-ed pub­lished along­side their new report, Lioz and Bowie write: “The out­sized role of money in our elec­tions is a dark cloud over our democracy—but there is a sil­ver lin­ing. Not since Water­gate has there been so much energy behind finally build­ing a democ­racy in which the strength of a citizen’s voice does not depend upon the size of her wallet.”

 

Crises in America

“Can a nation remain a superpower if its internal politics are incorrigibly stupid?” In American politics, stupidity is the name of the game by E.J. Dionne Jr, Washington Post, July 29, 2010

The Big Disconnect by David Brooks, New York Times, April 25, 2011
On one level, American politics looks amazingly stable… Americans have lost faith in the credibility of their political system, which is the one resource the entire regime is predicated upon…If you dive deeper into the polling, you see the country is not mobilized by this sense of crisis but immobilized by it…
At some point something is going to happen to topple the political platform… At that point, we could see changes that are unimaginable today.
New political forces will emerge from the outside or the inside…in these circumstances, rule out nothing.

Democracy in America Is a Series of Narrow Escapes, and We May Be Running Out of Luck by Bill Moyers, May 17, 2008 , CommonDreams.org – …The reigning presumption about the American experience…is grounded in the idea of progress, the conviction that the present is “better” than the past and the future will bring even more improvement. For all of its shortcomings, we keep telling ourselves, “The system works.” Now all bets are off. We have fallen under the spell of money, faction, and fear, and the great American experience in creating a different future together has been subjugated to individual cunning in the pursuit of wealth and power -and to the claims of empire, with its ravenous demands and stuporous distractions.
…there is a class war and ordinary people are losing it…The conclusion that we are in trouble is unavoidable…statistics that show real wages lagging behind prices, the compensation of corporate barons soaring to heights unequaled anywhere among industrialized democracies…extremes of wealth and poverty cannot be reconciled with a genuinely democratic politics. When the state becomes the guardian of power and privilege to the neglect of justice for the people as a whole, it mocks the very concept of government as proclaimed in the preamble to our Constitution…Our democracy has prospered most when it was firmly anchored in the idea that “We the People” — not just a favored few — would identify and remedy common distempers and dilemmas and win the gamble our forebears undertook when they espoused the radical idea that people could govern themselves wisely.

Common Good

How the Common Good Is Transforming Our World by Douglas LaBier, HuffingtonPost.com, October 17, 2010 
… a steadily growing consciousness and behavior that refocuses personal lives and public policies towards promoting the common good.  By the “common good” I’m referring to a broad evolution beyond values and actions that serve narrow self-interest, and towards those guided by inclusiveness — supporting well-being, economic success, security, human rights and stewardship of resources for the benefit of all, rather than just for some.
It’s like a stealth operation, because it hasn’t become highly visible yet. But polls, surveys and research data reveal several strands of change that are coalescing in this overall direction….It’s an awareness of interconnection of all lives on this planet, and a pull towards acting upon that reality in a range of ways. They include rethinking personal relationships, the responsibility of business to society, and the role of government in an interdependent world.

The Prerequisite of the Common Good by Jim Wal­lis, Huff­in­g­ton Post, Novem­ber 9, 2012 — peo­ple are long­ing for a vision of the com­mon good that includes every­one.…The pre­req­ui­site for solv­ing the deep­est prob­lems this coun­try and the world now face is a com­mit­ment to a very ancient idea whose time has urgently come: the com­mon good.…

Noam Chom­sky on the Shred­ding of Our Fun­da­men­tal Rights and the Com­mon Good, AlterNet, July 10, 2012 — Recent events trace a threat­en­ing tra­jec­tory, suf­fi­ciently so that it may be worth­while to look ahead a few gen­er­a­tions to the mil­len­nium anniver­sary of one of the great events in the estab­lish­ment of civil and human rights: the issuance of Magna Carta, the char­ter of English lib­er­ties imposed on King John in 1215. What we do right now, or fail to do, will deter­mine what kind of world will greet that anniver­sary. It is not an attrac­tive prospect – not least because the Great Char­ter is being shred­ded before our eyes.…

The Social Ani­mal by David Brooks, New York Times, Sep­tem­ber 12, 2008 [ref­er­ence: “The Con­science of a Con­ser­v­a­tive” by Barry Gold­wa­ter] …Goldwater’s vision…celebrated a cer­tain sort of per­son — the stout pio­neer cross­ing the West, the risk-taking entre­pre­neur with a vision, the stal­wart hero fight­ing the col­lec­tivist foe. The prob­lem is, this indi­vid­u­al­ist descrip­tion of human nature seems to be wrong. Over the past 30 years, there has been a tide of research in many fields, all under­lin­ing one old truth — that we are intensely social crea­tures, deeply inter­con­nected with one another and the idea of the lone indi­vid­ual ratio­nally and will­fully steer­ing his own life course is often an illusion…What emerges is not a pic­ture of self-creating indi­vid­u­als glo­ri­ously free from one another, but of autonomous crea­tures deeply inter­con­nected with one another…We’re liv­ing in an age of fast-changing eco­nomic, infor­ma­tion and social net­works, but Repub­li­cans are still impeded by Goldwater’s men­tal guard-rails.

We the People, and the New American Civil War by Robert Reich, Com­mon Dreams, Novem­ber 6, 2012 — The vit­riol is worse is worse than I ever recall.…It’s almost a civil war.…What’s going on?…we’ve had big­ger dis­agree­ments in the past…Maybe it’s that we’re more sep­a­rated now, geo­graph­i­cally and online.…But now most of us exist in our own polit­i­cal bub­bles, left and right…So when Amer­i­cans get upset about pol­i­tics these days we tend to stew in our own juices, with­out ben­e­fit of any­one we know well and with whom we dis­agree — and this makes it almost impos­si­ble for us to under­stand the other side.…I think the degree of venom we’re expe­ri­enc­ing has deeper roots.…In other words, white working-class men have been on the los­ing end of a huge demo­graphic and eco­nomic shift. That’s made them a tinder-box of frus­tra­tion and anger – eagerly ignited by Fox News, Rush Lim­baugh, and other ped­lars of petu­lance, includ­ing an increas­ing num­ber of Repub­li­cans who have gained polit­i­cal power by fan­ning the flames. That hate-mongering and atten­dant scape­goat­ing – of immi­grants, blacks, gays, women this degree of divi­sive­ness would have taken root had Amer­ica pre­served the social sol­i­dar­ity we had two gen­er­a­tions ago. The Great Depres­sion and World War II reminded us we were all in it together. We had to depend on each other in order to sur­vive. That sense of mutual depen­dence tran­scended our disagreements…So we come to the end of a bit­ter elec­tion feel­ing as if we’re two nations rather than one. The chal­lenge – not only for our pres­i­dent and rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Wash­ing­ton but for all of us – is to redis­cover the public good.

The Com­mons Moment is Now — How a small, ded­i­cated group of peo­ple can trans­form the world—really by Jay Wall­jasper, CommonDreams.org, Jan­u­ary 24, 2011- Intro­duc­ing the Com­mons Par­a­digm -
There are emerg­ing signs that mar­ket fun­da­men­tal­ism has passed its peak as the defin­ing idea of our era.…a group of activists, thinkers, and con­cerned cit­i­zens around the world who are ral­ly­ing sup­port for the idea of a commons-based soci­ety…These com­mon­ers, as they call them­selves, see pos­si­bil­i­ties for large num­bers of peo­ple of diverse ide­o­log­i­cal stripes com­ing together to chart a new, more coop­er­a­tive direc­tion for mod­ern soci­ety…
In the truest sense of the word, the com­mons is a con­ser­v­a­tive as well as pro­gres­sive virtue because it aims to con­serve and nur­ture all those things nec­es­sary for sus­tain­ing a healthy soci­ety…
Now is the time to intro­duce a deci­sive shift in world­view. Peo­ple every­where are yearn­ing for a world that is safer, saner, more sus­tain­able and sat­is­fy­ing. There’s a ris­ing sense of pos­si­bil­ity that even with our daunt­ing eco­nomic and envi­ron­men­tal prob­lems, there are oppor­tu­ni­ties to make some fun­da­men­tal improve­ments. Every­one deserves decent health care. The health of the planet should take prece­dence over the prof­its of a few. Clean water, ade­quate food, edu­ca­tion, access to infor­ma­tion, and eco­nomic oppor­tu­nity ought to be avail­able to all peo­ple. In other words, a commons-based soci­ety. Let’s trans­form that hope into con­struc­tive action.  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/01/24–0

Religious plurality in America

 

A New Religious America – How a “Christian Country” Has Become the World’s Most Religiously Diverse Nation by Diana L. Eck – Book review by Phyllis Stenerson  –   “Understanding America’s religious landscape is the most important challenge facing us today,” says author Diana Eck…She said the change since the 1960′s has been dramatic and cited the example that Muslims now outnumber Episcopalians, Jews or Presbyterians…”In the United States, the climate of tolerance and the engagement of pluralism emerge not from an authoritarian central regime, but from a democratic experiment as an immigrant nation, a nation in which, at our best, we are motivated by ideals and principles” says Eck.  The consequences for community life and public policy are enormous.

Wisdom

The Violence of Organized Forgetting By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout, 22 July 2013

Wisdom: The Forgotten Dimension?  by Mary Jaksch…Wis­dom means hav­ing the moral will to do right by other peo­ple, and to have the moral skill to fig­ure out what doing right means. This is not a new idea; it is some­thing that Aris­to­tle taught in ancient Greece…a wise per­son has four aspects:

  1. A wise per­son knows how to make an excep­tion to every rule.
  2. A wise per­son knows how to improvise.
  3. A wise per­son knows how to use these moral skills to serve other people.
  4. A wise per­son is made not born.…

A wise per­son takes the overviewCom­pas­sion­ate action – the out­flow of wis­dom – hap­pens when we stop being the cen­ter of our concern. Then we can open up to a wider view of real­ity that includes the suf­fer­ing of oth­ers, as well as our own – and  respond with compassion.