The Christian Left

Ed Schultz asked on his radio show recently, “Is there a ‘religious left’?” Yes, Ed. There is. We are The Christian Left. We’re all around you. We’re among the people. Take a look. We’re part of the Body of Christ. We’re Christians. We’re Liberal. We make no apologies. In fact Jesus’ ways are “Liberal.” That’s why He was killed. The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the conservatives of their time. This is clear. Oh and Ed, we love you. Keep up the good fight!

We’re not ‘New Age.’ We’re not waiting for some earthly leader to come and make everything alright – that man already came. When He comes back, there will be no doubt who HE is. Everyone, without exception, will know. Until then, we are part of the Body of Christ.We’re not ‘Communists’ or ‘Marxists’ either. We reject all such labels. We will not be profiled or pigeonholed and we will not ‘Be Quiet.’ We’re Christians. We’re Liberals. Please get used to it. Thank you.

Ann Coulter, thinks we’re Godless? Really? Wow …

See, it wasn’t just Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection that matter. It was his life too! The life he lived is a huge part of the deal, and he asked us to do a few things if you look at his words. Not only is what Jesus said the Word of God, but what Jesus DID is also the Word of God. Looking at the life of Jesus we see that Jesus made room forthose cut off from the rest of society. Jesus put a name and a face on all who had been forgotten or pushed aside, even the dead. Jesus called us to carry our cross daily and follow him. That’s what Social Justice means.

“The Christian Left” — left hate behind; left prejudice; left callous attitudes; and followed Jesus as HE left the 99 in the fold, to go find the ones who were lost, ignored, excluded, overlooked, abandoned, uncared-for – all “the least of these.” We left hard-heartedness in order to be like the Samaritan who stopped to care for those in need.

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 2:15-16 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

What We’re All About:

We’re not about Dogma here. We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong.

Wikipedia says it pretty well in the following paragraphs:

The Christian left is a term originating in the United States, used to describe a spectrum of left-wing Christian political and social movements which largely embraces social justice.

The most common religious viewpoint which might be described as ‘left wing’ is social justice, or care for the poor and the oppressed. Supporters of this might encourage universal health care, welfare provision, subsidized education, foreign aid, and Affirmative Action for improving the conditions of the disadvantaged. Stemming from egalitarian values (and what Jesus Himself said), adherents of the Christian left consider it part of their religious duty to take actions on behalf of the oppressed.

The Christian Left holds that social justice, renunciation of power, humility, forgiveness, and private observation of prayer (as opposed to publicly mandated prayer), are mandated by the Gospel (Matthew 6:5-6). The Bible contains accounts of Jesus repeatedly advocating for the poor and outcast over the wealthy, powerful, and religious. The Christian Left maintains that such a stance is relevant and important. Adhering to the standard of “turning the other cheek,” which they believe supersedes the Old Testament law of “an eye for an eye,”the Christian Left often hearkens towards pacifism in opposition to policies advancing militarism. Many passages in the Bible illustrate the example set by Jesus regarding violence:

Luke 22: 49-51 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Luke 9:53-56 And the town did not receive him, because he was headed to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elisha did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

While non-religious socialists sometimes find support for socialism in the Gospels (for example Mikhail Gorbachev citing Jesus as “the first socialist”), The Christian Left does not find that socialism alone is an adequate end or means. Christian faith is the core of their belief which in turn demands social justice.

The Christian Left sometimes differs from other Christian political groups on issues including homosexuality. This is often not a matter of different religious ideas, but one of focus — viewing the prohibitions against killing, or the criticism of concentrations of wealth, as far more important than social issues emphasized by the religious right, such as opposition to active homosexuality. In this case, similar to philosophies expressed by writers such as C.S. Lewis, these members of the Christian Left believe homosexual sex to be overemphasized when compared with issues relating to social justice, or even matters of sexual morality involving heterosexual sex. Bottom Line: We welcome ALL to their place at God’s table, just as they are. All means ALL. No exceptions. We reject all attempts to define our Faith by the two wedge issues of Gay Marriage and Abortion. – End of Wikipedia content.

The Christian Left doesn’t get uptight about the same things as their right-wing brothers and sisters. Lefties tend to accept that we’re all trapped in the human condition, that we all struggle, and that we’re all sinners. They tend to focus on behaviors that Jesus focused on while he was here in body — things like hypocrisy, organized oppression, exorbitant greed, self-righteousness, judgmentalism, selfishness, abuse of power, violence, etc.

Paul defined the human condition well: Romans 7: 14-25 “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Too many Christians espouse a deeply ingrained code of written and unwritten expectations and rules that shame them and drain them of spiritual strength. The Christian Left focuses on a message to help people unmask the lies that keep them on a works/righteousness treadmill; a message to help people discover the liberation of the gospel, the grace in Jesus Christ, and the rest that comes from what Christ has done on the cross. Salvation is a free gift. It cannot be earned. But Grace isn’t cheap. After what Jesus has done for us, we offer our best to live up to what he asks from us (to follow his commandments).

Here’s what Jesus had to say regarding his commandments:

Matthew 22:34-40 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Many people accuse us of “Cherry-Picking” the Bible. We reject this silly sentiment. We think Jesus made things about as clear as they can get.

Another Christian Lefty, Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, Professor of English at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California, put it this way in her article “A Voice from the Christian Left.”

“Many on the Christian Right are fond of posing the question WWJD?– What would Jesus do? I’d like to remind them whatJesus DID do: He cared for the poor. He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery. He prayed alone. He commanded us to love our enemies. He preached peace. He ate, drank, and lived with ‘tax collectors and sinners’ — the lowlifes and outcasts of his day, while reserving his condemnation for the religious leaders who, from a place of privilege, imposed their legalism and literalism on the people they were responsible for leading. He told his disciples not to oppose the healing work of those outside the ranks of his followers. And again and again he reminded us to care for the poor. (That moral issue gets more air time than any other in the gospels: 1 verse in 9.) If Christians concerned about how to respond to the grave global issues facing us all were to reread the Gospels for guidance, I think we’d find some pretty clear indications there about what Jesus would do … and what he wouldn’t. (One of the few bumper stickers I’ve been tempted to affix to my still undecorated car in recent months reads ‘Who would Jesus bomb?’)

Whatever Jesus would do, given what he did do, and has promised he will do, I don’t think it looks much like what the insulated, self-congratulatory Fox News fans on the ‘Christian Right’ are doing.” [End of Marilyn Chandler McEntyre Quote]

Based on the Word, The Christian Left believes it’s obvious that the primary message of Jesus was love – Love for God, and love for our fellow men and women.

Matthew 22:37-40 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Matthew 7:12 Whatever you want others to do for you, do so for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward in heaven will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

Mark 10:43-45 Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.

John 13:14-15 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.

Love God and love people.Forgive people over and over again, as you have been forgiven by God over and over again. Show mercy, as you have been shown mercy by God. Help the weak, the sick, the depressed, the poor, the jailed, the oppressed, the marginalized, the outcast – for one day you could be weak, sick, depressed, poor, jailed, oppressed, marginalized, outcast. It is also the only reasonable response to God’s overwhelming grace – sharing the same grace with the world.

The Christian Left rejects exclusivity. We believe that John the Baptist wasn’t kidding when he proclaimed the coming of Jesus saying, “and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” We firmly believe that all means ALL. The exclusionary gospel of the Christian Right is foreign to us. We do not recognize it. Jesus came to set the captives free and announce the arrival of the peaceable kingdom of God where ALL are welcomed. Like a member of The Christian Left (Shannon Maynard) has said, one of our favorite words in the Bible is “whosoever.”

The exclusionary tactics and demonization that is so frequently practiced by the Christian Right is not of the Jesus we follow. John the Baptist said, “every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” The tree that is the Christian Right all too frequently bears fruit of anger, hate and judgment. It produces some strange fruit. “The same strange fruit that white supremacists hung from the trees in the South. The same strange fruit that the Nazis baked in the ovens of Auschwitz. The same strange fruit that was diced and sliced with machetes in Rwanda. The same strange fruit that is left to rot to death in Africa because the cost of a cure may undercut someone’s bottom line. The same strange fruit that is pounded to death daily with rocks and bombs in the Middle East. The same strange fruit that are depressed to death because of homophobic bullying. Trees that bear these fruits, systems that bear these fruits are to be cut down and thrown into the fires – they are the chaff that God wills to burn in an “unquenchable fire,” where they will bear the fruit of domination no longer.” (from Rev. Mark Sandlin’s sermon, “All Means All.”)

Unfortunately in this country today, we have a sort of spiritual revival of the Pharisees –people who don’t want to practice love, grace, or compassion, but would rather try to bury people under legalistic demands that they themselves aren’t capable of keeping. Culturally crusading right-wing Christians have substituted the Gospel of Jesus Christ for a Gospel of Morality. They’ve made it more about following rules than loving God (having a relationship with Christ) and loving their fellow brothers and sisters.  This is unacceptable. It’s exactly what Jesus spoke out against. People are stuck in the Gospel of Morality. They are drained by the shame it produces. Far too many are repulsed by this false religious system they can’t live up to.  This insanity must stop. When we walk with Jesus, he refines us as he sees fit, by his Spirit. Proponents of the Gospel of Morality don’t get that on some level. Jesus didn’t say “Get refined then follow me.” He said “Follow Me … and get refined, the way only I can refine.” Isaiah 64:8; Jeremiah 18:2; Jeremiah 18:6; Romans 8:28; Matthew 4:19

Many folks stop by and tell us to keep up the great work in the name of Christian Charity. Charity is only part of the message. The danger here is allowing it to become about charity only, rather than social justice as well. Charity tries to fix up people so that the system will work better. Justice tries to fix up the system so that people will work better. We agree that a charitable attitude is important … but it does not address the root of the problem, a system that sets up obstacles and barriers that make it nearly impossible for people to break the cycle of poverty, or the cycle of victimization, or marginalization, or the cycle of …; Again, Jesus came to set the captives free. Colloquially charity clearly means to help someone with their immediate needs. Justice suggests that something deeper happens. Charity allows the cycle to repeat, justice readdresses that system that causes the cycle. Charity is as much about the giver as the one receiving. Justice is solely about the one receiving. Give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime. The System will never be perfect here on Earth, so Charity will always be required, but that’s no excuse to not advocate for The System to be just for all. When it is, the need for Charity decreases. The two are inextricably enmeshed.

So why are we here and why are we making these statements? Because there should be tension, risk and discomfort while doing ministry work, especially when we challenge deep-seated, right-wing, fundamentalist theology. It’s ugly, messy and dangerous. Oh, but worth every minute!If you are not attracting the same people that Jesus attracted, your message needs to be fixed. If the way you live the Good News (advocating Justice as restoration, universal inclusion, preaching a God of love and grace, feeding, quenching, clothing, healing, welcoming, visiting) does not place your life under a constant threat, you might want to question how fully you are living the Good News. It is time for The Christian Left to decry publicly the lies the right are telling about the Bible, and the fact that their interpretation of Scripture is slanted toward their fears and alleged concerns.

“A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic, 1928

“No rabbi [or other minister] can be called a real rabbi, if his congregation doesn’t want to run him out of town at least once in a while!” (attributed to Rabbi Hillel, 1st century BCE)

Our Mission Statement would be meaningless and incomplete if we didn’t point out Christ’s finished work on the cross. His birth, life, death and resurrection mean everything to us. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that WHOEVERbelieves in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Finally, The Christian Left doesn’t tend to march in lockstep. All of the above statements may not speak for all members of this group. The Christian Left is a spectrum, just as The Christian Right is one.

“It’s easier to bow down and shout constant hallelujahs than to get our own hands dirty by following him [Jesus] out into the world of brokenness and mess.” — Mark Townsend

“Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it. But I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.” – Anonymous

http://www.thechristianleftblog.org/our-mission.html

Iraq War – compilation of 9/11/14

“What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in [the Bush] administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne. What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income – to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war.” Barack Obama, State Senator from Illinois, 2002

How the Bush Administration Sold the War – and We Bought It by Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson, The Guardian, February 28, 2013

Presidential administration on 9/11/01 – President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Ari Fleischer, Scott McClellan, Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz plus Senator John McCain, Doug Feith, Marc Thiessen, Robert Kagan, William Kristol and more

The Project for the New American Century. By William Rivers Pitt, February 25, 2003, www.informationclearinghouse.info…The Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, is a Washington-based think tank created in 1997….desires and demands one thing: The establishment of a global American empire to bend the will of all nations… When [George W.] Bush assumed the Presidency, the men who created and nurtured the imperial dreams of PNAC became the men who run the Pentagon, the Defense Department and the White House…. On September 11th, the fellows from PNAC saw a door of opportunity open wide before them, and stormed right through it. The defense contractors who sup on American tax revenue will be handsomely paid for arming this new American empire. The corporations that own the news media will sell this eternal war at a profit, as viewership goes through the stratosphere when there is combat to be shown…Through it all, the bankrollers from the WTO and the IMF will be able to dictate financial terms to the entire planet… There will be adverse side effects. The siege mentality average Americans are suffering…will increase by orders of magnitude as our aggressions bring forth new terrorist attacks against the homeland. These attacks will require the implementation of the newly drafted Patriot Act II…The American economy will be ravaged by the need for increased defense spending…Many people, of course, will die. They will die from war and from want, from famine and disease. At home, the social fabric will be torn in ways that make the Reagan nightmares of crack addiction, homelessness and AIDS seem tame by comparison. This is the price to be paid for empire, and the men of PNAC who now control the fate and future of America are more than willing to pay it. For them, the benefits far outweigh the liabilities….

The Worst Mistake in U.S. History — America Will Never Recover from Bush’s Great Foreign Policy Disaster By Peter Van Buren, Tom Dispatch, March 7, 2013 

The totality of the Bush administration’s failure in Iraq is stunning by Ezra Klein, www.vox.com, June 17, 2014

Timeline highlights — Iraq War — 1965 to 2009 

Neoconservatives

Iraq War Cost U.S. More Than $2 Trillion, Could Grow to $6 Trillion, Says Watson Institute Study By Daniel Trotta, Reuters 3/14/13

The Duplicity of the Ideologues by Andrew J. Bacevich, commonwealmagazine.org,  June 4, 2014

How the US Press Lost its Way By Robert Parry, Consortium News,  May 21, 2012

10 Years After the Invasion: America Destroyed Iraq But Our War Crimes Remain Unacknowledged and Unpunished By Nicolas J.S. Davies, AlterNet, March 15, 2013   

Ten years of questions, outrage, tragedy, grief and change — The Iraq War by Phyllis Stenerson, ProgressiveValues.org e-letter of February 15, 2013

Tony Blair [and George Bush] should face trial over Iraq war, says Desmond Tutu by Toby Helm, political editor, The Observer,  September 1, 2012

Neocons and the Iraq War: Their view then and now 10 years later By Eric Black, Minnpost.com, March 15, 2013

Glenn Beck: ‘Liberals, You Were Right’ About Iraq War By Alana Horowitz, The Huffington Post 06/17/2014 …“From the beginning, most people on the left were against going into Iraq. I wasn’t.… Liberals, you were right. We shouldn’t have.” Glenn Beck

On Iraq, Echoes of 2003 by Nicholas Kristof, The Opinion Pages, New York Times, JUNE 18, 2014  …Our 2003 invasion of Iraq should be a warning that military force sometimes transforms a genuine problem into something worse. The war claimed 4,500 American lives and…500,000 Iraqi lives… latest estimate is that the total cost to the United States of the Iraq war will be $4 trillion. That’s a $35,000 tax on the average American household. The total would be enough to ensure that all children could attend preschool in the United States, that most people with AIDS worldwide could receive treatment, and that every child worldwide could attend school — for the next 83 years…

 

 

 

About the Nov 4, 2014 elections

72% of Americans Disapprove of Republican Party…but it’s Set to Take Control of Both Houses of Congress Anyway posted on The Christian Left, Facebook, September 13, 2014 from AllGov.com

…Amid the jumble of timely issues, a funny thing actually happened: Almost all of them became less important to Americans. A new poll from CNN/Opinion Research, in fact, shows not one issue is seen as “extremely important” by a majority of Americans — the first time that’s happened since before the recession. Just three years ago, three different issues were seen as extremely important by a majority of Americans: the economy, the deficit and health care…. And that makes messaging in the 2014 election — as well as predicting what happens — particularly difficult. 2014: The election about nothing? By Aaron Blake , Washington Post, July 25

The 2014 election is about saving democracy

The only way back toward a democracy and economy that work for the majority is for most of us to get politically active once again, becoming organized and mobilized. We have to establish a new countervailing power. The monied interests are doing what they do best – making money. The rest of us need to do what we can do best – use our voices, our vigor, and our votes. The Disease of American Democracy by Robert Reich, Common Dreams, August 20, 2014 

A shattering new study by two political science professors has found that ordinary Americans have virtually no impact whatsoever on the making of national policy in our country. The analysts found that rich individuals and business-controlled interest groups largely shape policy outcomes in the United States. This study should be a loud wake-up call to the vast majority of Americans who are bypassed by their government. To reclaim the promise of American democracy, ordinary citizens must act positively to change the relationship between the people and our government…Ordinary citizens are themselves partly to blame, however, because they do not choose to vote…If only they vote and organize, ordinary Americans can reclaim American democracy and challenge the politicians who still echo the view of old Vanderbilt that the public should be damned. Who rules America? By Allan J. Lichtman, The Hill, August 12, 2014  

Election 2014 – Anything can happen

Will Americans Set a New Record for Political Apathy in 2014? by Joshua Holland, BillMoyers.com, July 23, 2014

Republicans’ Senate Chances Rise Slightly to 60 Percent, Data Show By Amanda Cox and Josh Katz, New York Times, JULY 27, 2014

you still have to give the edge to the GOP. But it is a surprisingly narrow and tenuous advantage in a year when some analysts were predicting a wave election in favor of Republicans…Democrats have an uphill fight, even if it’s not nearly as steep as the GOP hoped. To hold the Senate, segments of the Democratic coalition who often skip midterm elections — African Americans, Latinos, younger voters — will have to turn out. And polls show that Republicans maintain an edge in enthusiasm…The wave has failed to materialize By Eugene Robinson Opinion writer, Washington Post, September 1, 2014

Outside Money Drives a Deluge of Political Ads By ASHLEY PARKER, New York Times, JULY 27, 2014

Kansas Democrat Withdraws From U.S. Senate Race, Upending Contest By Janet Hook and Mark Peters, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 3, 2014 – Move Could Boost Independent Challenger Vying for Incumbent GOP Sen. Pat Roberts’ Seat

In stunning move, Alaska Democrats and independents form fusion ticket to beat Republican governor by David Nir for Daily Kos Elections Sep 02, 2014

Eric Cantor’s Opponent Beat Him By Calling Out GOP Corruption by Lee Fang, Republic Report  posted on billmoyers.com, June 11, 2014

Culture wars – Race

The Spirit That Drove Us to Civil War Is Back by Andy Schmookler, Huffington Post, 09/02/2014  …the force that drove us to Civil War more than a century and a half ago, and the force that has taken over the Republican Party in our times…In both cases, we see an elite insisting on their “liberty,” by which they mean the freedom to dominate… the use of the structures of American democracy was combined with a contempt for the democratic values that inspired our founders… the idea of compromise became a dirty word, as the inflamed insistence on getting everything one’s own way took hold of the inflamed side…the powerful elite in the grip of that destructive force refused to accept that in a democracy sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, and sometimes you have to accept being governed by a duly-elected president you don’t like. Today’s Republicans have done everything they could to nullify the presidency of Barack Obama, whom the American people duly elected twice. Like no other opposition party in American history, they have refused to accept the temporary minority status to which American voters have consigned them. Blocking the president from performing the function for which the people hired him has been their top priority.

Is Southern Conservatism Just Plain Old Racism? By Paul Rosenberg, Salon, Alternet, August 21, 2014

The New American Segregation by Mark Sandlin, co-founder of The Christian Left, Patheos, July 22, 2014   …fat cats convince people who understand themselves to be Christian to support the politicians and policies that will ensure the rich get richer…We need to learn to see it for what it really is…There are “Two Americas”: the Plutocrat Overlords and The Rest of Us. It’s time to focus our genuine and understandable disdain solely on the real enemy — the wealthy Plutocrats and their political henchmen — and stop taking it out on each other…we must vote and when we vote, there must be only one issue that influences our vote: what the candidate’s voting record is on supporting the continued wealth grab by those who already have plenty of it. It is time to take a stand — to do otherwise is to concede defeat, — and that’s what they are counting on.

The Poisonous Racism Driving Violence in Ferguson and the Rest of America By Joe Conason, AlterNet, August 20, 2014

Economic justice – class wars

The class war in American politics is over. The rich won. By Nick Carnes, September 3, 2014 1) Our political institutions are packed with rich people 2) Yes, the big problems do divide America by class 3) Rich politicians tend to support policies that rich people like 4) It’s getting harder for lower-income and working-class people to influence our political institutions from the outside 5) Money and power is good at protecting money and power …reforms ask politicians who are succeeding in the current political system to change that system so they’re less likely to succeed in it. That’s the reality of the political “class war”: the only people left to fight it are from the class that already won it.

How All of Us Are Paying a Heavy Price for Corporate Greed By The Thom Hartmann ShowAlterNet, July 23, 2014 

The Carnage of Capitalism By Paul Buchheit, Common Dreams, August 18, 2014

How the New Monopoly Capitalism Will Crush You to Smithereens By Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet, August 14, 2014

Progressive movement

How the Left Is Revitalizing Itself by Gara LaMarche, The Nation, August 13, 2014   There’s more collaboration between progressive groups—and more coordination among donors—than ever before.

What Has President Obama Done? Here’s a List of 253 Accomplishments, with Citations It’s 2014, and once again, we have a very important election ahead of us. Yet, there are a lot of very loud progressives who have done nothing but complain since President Obama was inaugurated five and a half years ago. No, he’s not perfect. Adults don’t expect perfection. Bu when they claim that he’s no progressive, well, that’s just an outright lie….one reason Republicans took back the House was because Obama was a “disappointment,” and Democrats were “spineless.” Four years later, we progressives have a chance to reverse our incredible screw-up, and still; many progressives prefer to complain about the imperfection of Democrats than to work to get rid of the right wing GOP.

Obama’s Numbers (April 2014 Update) 

Moral politics

Real Christianity vs. Whatever The Heck It Is Conservatives Actually Follow By Allen Clifton, forwardprogressives.com, August 31, 2014

Right wing extremism

In Leaked Tape Mitch McConnell Admits The Koch Brothers Are Running The Republican Party By Jason Easley, PoliticusUSA, August, 27, 2014

Why Today’s Right-Wingers Surpass Wingers of the Past By Bill Moyers, Bill Moyers.com, July 26, 2014 

The Existential Battle for the Soul of the GOP By Norm Ornstein, National Journal, July 23, 2014 What happens when extremism becomes mainstream? 3

New Study: Republicans Lie More Than Democrats by: Dan Arel, The Center for Media and Public Affairs, August 5, 2014

None Dare Call It Treason By Richard Reeves, Truthdig.com, Aug 6, 2014

Worldview

How to Tell a Sociopath from a Psychopath By Scott A. Bonn, Psychology Today, Alternet.org, July 31, 2014

Failure of the mainstream media – right wing media

False facts and the conservative distortion machine: It’s much more than just Fox News Paul Rosenberg, Salon.Com, Aug 18, 2014

Fox News is Tearing Us Apart: Race Baiting and Divisiveness Hits a Disgusting New Low By Paul Rosenberg,  Salon, posted on Alternet.org, August 29, 2014  …today’s conservative media were unlike anything in existence in 1992…white victimization — and thus rallying around victim/heroes — is the cornerstone of Fox News’ programming, even as it’s embraced the ideology that racism has been eradicated (never mind the actual facts, and concluded that the real racists are those who still talk about race…There has been a clear strategic calculation here among Republican elites. Better to leverage or at least accept the racism of much of the Republican base than try to clean it up…almost 50 years after Nixon first launched his “Southern Strategy,” …

Right-Wing Militias Are Thriving — and the Media Won’t Talk About It by Paul Rosenberg, Salon, posted on Alternet.org, July 22, 2014 

 

Articles and excerpts – September 1 – 24, 2014

Barely Literate? How Christian Fundamentalist Homeschooling Hurts Kids By Kristin Rawls, AlterNet, September 3, 2014

In stunning move, Alaska Democrats and independents form fusion ticket to beat Republican governor by David Nir for Daily Kos Elections Sep 02, 2014

Real Christianity vs. Whatever The Heck It Is Conservatives Actually Follow By Allen Clifton, forwardprogressives.com, August 31, 2014

In Leaked Tape Mitch McConnell Admits The Koch Brothers Are Running The Republican Party By Jason Easley, PoliticusUSA, August, 27, 2014

Eric Cantor’s Opponent Beat Him By Calling Out GOP Corruption by Lee Fang, Republic Report  posted on billmoyers.com, June 11, 2014

The New History Wars By JAMES R. GROSSMAN, The Opinion Pages, New York Times, SEPT. 1, 2014

What Has President Obama Done? Here’s a List of 253 Accomplishments, with Citations It’s 2014, and once again, we have a very important election ahead of us. Yet, there are a lot of very loud progressives who have done nothing but complain since President Obama was inaugurated five and a half years ago. No, he’s not perfect. Adults don’t expect perfection. Bu when they claim that he’s no progressive, well, that’s just an outright lie….one reason Republicans took back the House was because Obama was a “disappointment,” and Democrats were “spineless.” Four years later, we progressives have a chance to reverse our incredible screw-up, and still; many progressives prefer to complain about the imperfection of Democrats than to work to get rid of the right wing GOP.

Obama’s Numbers (April 2014 Update)

Still Time for a Conservation Legacy By THE EDITORIAL BOARD New York Times, Sept 1, 2014  Congress once acted productively in a bipartisan spirit to protect clean air, clean water and endangered species. What happened? Wednesday [9/2/14] is the 50th birthday of two of the nation’s most important environmental statutes: the Wilderness Act and the law establishing the Land and Water Conservation Fund. For those with long memories, it also commemorates a time when Congress could act productively in a bipartisan spirit that yielded not only these two laws but, within a few short years, landmark protections for clean air, clean water and endangered species…

The Revolt of the Weak by David Brooks, New York Times, SEPT. 1, 2014 ….We are not living in a moment of immediate concrete threat, but we are in a crisis of context…the underlying frameworks by which nations operate are being threatened in fairly devastating ways. That is to say, there are certain unconscious habits and norms of restraint that undergird civilization. These habits and norms are now being challenged….Putin and ISIS are not threats to American national security, narrowly defined. They are threats to our civilizational order….they only need to tear things down, and, unconfronted, will do so.  

Fox News is Tearing Us Apart: Race Baiting and Divisiveness Hits a Disgusting New Low By Paul Rosenberg,  Salon, posted on Alternet.org, August 29, 2014  …today’s conservative media were unlike anything in existence in 1992…white victimization — and thus rallying around victim/heroes — is the cornerstone of Fox News’ programming, even as it’s embraced the ideology that racism has been eradicated (never mind the actual facts, and concluded that the real racists are those who still talk about race…There has been a clear strategic calculation here among Republican elites. Better to leverage or at least accept the racism of much of the Republican base than try to clean it up…almost 50 years after Nixon first launched his “Southern Strategy,” …

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has articulated the most compelling argument for why his party mustn’t take over both houses of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections. McConnell is caught on tape at the Koch brother’s yearly political fest, assuring the assembled billionaires that once they have total control, “we own the budget.” Everyone understood what that meant, as should you: With majorities in both houses, Republicans will be able to pass tax cuts for the super-rich and cut Social Security and Medicare (they’ll need only 51 votes in the Senate, through a process called “reconciliation.”) Obama will veto, but the billionaires will spend a fortune on ads to get the votes of vulnerable Dems, and try to override it. Do you think it’s a realistic possibility? Robert Reich, Facebook, August 29, 2014

The Spirit That Drove Us to Civil War Is Back by Andy Schmookler, Huffington Post, 09/02/2014  …the force that drove us to Civil War more than a century and a half ago, and the force that has taken over the Republican Party in our times…In both cases, we see an elite insisting on their “liberty,” by which they mean the freedom to dominate… the use of the structures of American democracy was combined with a contempt for the democratic values that inspired our founders… the idea of compromise became a dirty word, as the inflamed insistence on getting everything one’s own way took hold of the inflamed side…the powerful elite in the grip of that destructive force refused to accept that in a democracy sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, and sometimes you have to accept being governed by a duly-elected president you don’t like. Today’s Republicans have done everything they could to nullify the presidency of Barack Obama, whom the American people duly elected twice. Like no other opposition party in American history, they have refused to accept the temporary minority status to which American voters have consigned them. Blocking the president from performing the function for which the people hired him has been their top priority.

The class war in American politics is over. The rich won. By Nick Carnes, September 3, 2014 1) Our political institutions are packed with rich people 2) Yes, the big problems do divide America by class 3) Rich politicians tend to support policies that rich people like 4) It’s getting harder for lower-income and working-class people to influence our political institutions from the outside 5) Money and power is good at protecting money and power…reforms ask politicians who are succeeding in the current political system to change that system so they’re less likely to succeed in it. That’s the reality of the political “class war”: the only people left to fight it are from the class that already won it.

10 Most Inhumane Laws Courtesy of Southern Republicans By Alex Henderson, AlterNet, September 3, 2014  The extreme right has been in a state of maximum anxiety during the Barack Obama era. Between growing acceptance for same-sex marriage, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, troubling economic conditions (which they blame on the left even though the September 2008 crash occurred under George W. Bush’s failed presidency) and being constantly whipped into a frenzy by Fox News and AM talk radio, far-right Republicans and the Tea Party believe they are “losing their country.” Instead of moving more to the center, the Republican Party and the Tea Party have resolved to “rally the base” by doubling down on their insanity, especially in the Deep South and Texas, where it is much easier to push a far-right agenda than it is in more centrist or liberal-leaning parts of the United States. And in a mid-term election year like 2014, railing against their usual targets—African Americans, gays, immigrants, atheists, women seeking abortions and pretty much anyone else who isn’t a white male Christian fundamentalist over 50—is an all-too-familiar GOP get-out-the-vote strategy for the Bible Belt. Here are 10 examples of Republicans showing their “southern hospitality” in 2013 and 2014 with oppressive laws, bills and official platforms in the Deep South and Texas.

1. Mississippi Anti-Abortion Law 1390

2. Tennessee Law SB 1391: The Tennessee Pregnancy Criminalization Law

3. Bill 2566: Tennessee’s “Turn Away the Gays” Bill

4. Alabama and Louisiana Admitting Privileges Laws

5. North Carolina Voter ID Law

6. Fetal Heartbeat Bills in Alabama and Arkansas

7. The Religious Viewpoints Anti-Discrimination Act, Tennessee

8. “Reparative Therapy” For Gays, Texas-Style

9. Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act

10. Obscene Device Laws in Alabama and Sandy Springs, Georgia

6 Habits of Highly Empathic People By Roman Krznaric, Greater Good, posted on Alternet.org, September 1, 2014 Empathy is not just a way to extend the boundaries of your moral universe. According to new research, it’s a habit we can cultivate to improve the quality of our own lives. But what is empathy? It’s the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions…The big buzz about empathy stems from a revolutionary shift in the science of how we understand human nature. The old view that we are essentially self-interested creatures is being nudged firmly to one side by evidence that we are also homo empathicus, wired for empathy, social cooperation, and mutual aid…. psychologists have revealed that we are primed for empathy by strong attachment relationships [9] in the first two years of life.  But empathy doesn’t stop developing in childhood empathic personalities over the past 10 years — reveals how we can make empathy an attitude and a part of our daily lives [6], and thus improve the lives of everyone around us. Here are the Six Habits of Highly Empathic People!

Habit 1: Cultivate Curiosity about Strangers

Habit 2: Challenge Prejudices and Discover Commonalities

Habit 3: Try Another Person’s Life

Habit 4: Listen Hard — and Open Up

Habit 5: Inspire Mass Action and Social Change – We typically assume empathy happens at the level of individuals, but HEPs understand that empathy can also be a mass phenomenon that brings about fundamental social change…Empathy will most likely flower on a collective scale if its seeds are planted in our children…the big challenge is figuring out how social networking technology can harness the power of empathy to create mass political action…This will only happen if social networks learn to spread not just information, but empathic connection.

Habit 6: Develop an Ambitious Imagination – We also need to empathize with people whose beliefs we don’t share or who may be “enemies” in some way…Organizations, too, should be ambitious with their empathic thinking…in an era of rapid technological change, mastering empathy is the key business survival skill because it underpins successful teamwork and leadership….

The 20th century was the Age of Introspection, when self-help and therapy culture encouraged us to believe that the best way to understand who we are and how to live was to look inside ourselves. But it left us gazing at our own navels. The 21st century should become the Age of Empathy, when we discover ourselves not simply through self-reflection, but by becoming interested in the lives of others. We need empathy to create a new kind of revolution. Not an old-fashioned revolution built on new laws, institutions, or policies, but a radical revolution in human relationships.

 

 

The wave has failed to materialize By Eugene Robinson Opinion writer, Washington Post, September 1, 2014 you still have to give the edge to the GOP. But it is a surprisingly narrow and tenuous advantage in a year when some analysts were predicting a wave election in favor of Republicans…Democrats have an uphill fight, even if it’s not nearly as steep as the GOP hoped. To hold the Senate, segments of the Democratic coalition who often skip midterm elections — African Americans, Latinos, younger voters — will have to turn out. And polls show that Republicans maintain an edge in enthusiasm…

6 Habits of Highly Empathic People

By Roman Krznaric, Greater Good, posted on Alternet.org, September 1, 2014 http://www.alternet.org/6-habits-highly-empathic-people

Except

…Empathy is not just a way to extend the boundaries of your moral universe. According to new research, it’s a habit we can cultivate to improve the quality of our own lives. But what is empathy? It’s the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions…The big buzz about empathy stems from a revolutionary shift in the science of how we understand human nature. The old view that we are essentially self-interested creatures is being nudged firmly to one side by evidence that we are also homo empathicus, wired for empathy, social cooperation, and mutual aid…. psychologists have revealed that we are primed for empathy by strong attachment relationships [9] in the first two years of life.  But empathy doesn’t stop developing in childhood empathic personalities over the past 10 years — reveals how we can make empathy an attitude and a part of our daily lives [6], and thus improve the lives of everyone around us. Here are the Six Habits of Highly Empathic People!

Habit 1: Cultivate Curiosity about Strangers

Habit 2: Challenge Prejudices and Discover Commonalities

Habit 3: Try Another Person’s Life

Habit 4: Listen Hard — and Open Up

Habit 5: Inspire Mass Action and Social Change – We typically assume empathy happens at the level of individuals, but HEPs understand that empathy can also be a mass phenomenon that brings about fundamental social change…Empathy will most likely flower on a collective scale if its seeds are planted in our children…the big challenge is figuring out how social networking technology can harness the power of empathy to create mass political action…This will only happen if social networks learn to spread not just information, but empathic connection.

Habit 6: Develop an Ambitious Imagination – We also need to empathize with people whose beliefs we don’t share or who may be “enemies” in some way…Organizations, too, should be ambitious with their empathic thinking…in an era of rapid technological change, mastering empathy is the key business survival skill because it underpins successful teamwork and leadership….

The 20th century was the Age of Introspection, when self-help and therapy culture encouraged us to believe that the best way to understand who we are and how to live was to look inside ourselves. But it left us gazing at our own navels. The 21st century should become the Age of Empathy, when we discover ourselves not simply through self-reflection, but by becoming interested in the lives of others. We need empathy to create a new kind of revolution. Not an old-fashioned revolution built on new laws, institutions, or policies, but a radical revolution in human relationships.

Full text

If you think you’re hearing the word “empathy” [5] everywhere, you’re right. It’s now on the lips of scientists and business leaders, education experts and political activists. But there is a vital question that few people ask: How can I expand my own empathic potential? Empathy is not just a way to extend the boundaries of your moral universe. According to new research, it’s a habit we can cultivate [6] to improve the quality of our own lives.

But what is empathy? It’s the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions. That makes it different from kindness or pity. And don’t confuse it with the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As George Bernard Shaw pointed out, “Do not do unto others as you would have them do unto you — they might have different tastes.” Empathy is about discovering those tastes.

The big buzz about empathy stems from a revolutionary shift in the science of how we understand human nature. The old view that we are essentially self-interested creatures is being nudged firmly to one side by evidence that we are also homo empathicus, wired for empathy, social cooperation, and mutual aid.

Over the last decade, neuroscientists have identified a 10-section “empathy circuit” in our brains which, if damaged, can curtail our ability to understand what other people are feeling. Evolutionary biologists like Frans de Waal have shown that we are social animals [7] who have naturally evolved to care for each other, just like our primate cousins. And psychologists have revealed that we are primed for empathy [8] by strong attachment relationships [9] in the first two years of life. 

But empathy doesn’t stop developing in childhood. We can nurture its growth throughout our lives — and we can use it as a radical force for social transformation. Research in sociology, psychology, history — and my own studies of empathic personalities over the past 10 years — reveals how we can make empathy an attitude and a part of our daily lives [6], and thus improve the lives of everyone around us. Here are the Six Habits of Highly Empathic People!

Habit 1: Cultivate Curiosity about Strangers

Highly empathic people (HEPs) have an insatiable curiosity about strangers. They will talk to the person sitting next to them on the bus, having retained that natural inquisitiveness we all had as children, but which society is so good at beating out of us. They find other people more interesting than themselves but are not out to interrogate them, respecting the advice of the oral historian Studs Terkel: “Don’t be an examiner, be the interested inquirer.”

Curiosity expands our empathy when we talk to people outside our usual social circle, encountering lives and worldviews very different from our own. Curiosity is good for us too: Happiness guru Martin Seligman identifies it as a key character strength that can enhance life satisfaction. And it is a useful cure for the chronic loneliness afflicting around one in three Americans [10].

Cultivating curiosity requires more than having a brief chat about the weather. Crucially, it tries to understand the world inside the head of the other person. We are confronted by strangers every day, like the heavily tattooed woman who delivers your mail or the new employee who always eats his lunch alone. Set yourself the challenge of having a conversation with one stranger every week. All it requires is courage.

Habit 2: Challenge Prejudices and Discover Commonalities

We all have assumptions about others and use collective labels — e.g., “Muslim fundamentalist,” “welfare mom” — that prevent us from appeciating their individuality. HEPs challenge their own preconceptions and prejudices by searching for what they share with people rather than what divides them. An episode from the history of US race relations illustrates how this can happen.

Claiborne Paul Ellis [11] was born into a poor white family in Durham, North Carolina, in 1927. Finding it hard to make ends meet working in a garage and believing African Americans were the cause of all his troubles, he followed his father’s footsteps and joined the Ku Klux Klan, eventually rising to the top position of Exalted Cyclops of his local KKK branch.

In 1971 he was invited — as a prominent local citizen — to a 10-day community meeting to tackle racial tensions in schools, and was chosen to head a steering committee with Ann Atwater, a black activist he despised. But working with her exploded his prejudices about African Americans. He saw that she shared the same problems of poverty as his own. “I was beginning to look at a black person, shake hands with him, and see him as a human being,” he recalled of his experience on the committee. “It was almost like bein’ born again.” On the final night of the meeting, he stood in front of a thousand people and tore up his Klan membership card.

Ellis later became a labor organiser for a union whose membership was 70 percent African American. He and Ann remained friends for the rest of their lives. There may be no better example of the power of empathy to overcome hatred and change our minds.

Habit 3: Try Another Person’s Life

So you think ice climbing and hang-gliding are extreme sports? Then you need to try experiential empathy, the most challenging — and potentially rewarding — of them all. HEPs expand their empathy by gaining direct experience of other people’s lives, putting into practice the Native American proverb, “Walk a mile in another man’s moccasins before you criticize him.”

George Orwell is an inspiring model.  After several years as a colonial police officer in British Burma in the 1920s, Orwell returned to Britain determined to discover what life was like for those living on the social margins. “I wanted to submerge myself, to get right down among the oppressed,” he wrote. So he dressed up as a tramp with shabby shoes and coat, and lived on the streets of East London with beggars and vagabonds. The result, recorded in his book “Down and Out in Paris and London,” was a radical change in his beliefs, priorities, and relationships. He not only realized that homeless people are not “drunken scoundrels” — Orwell developed new friendships, shifted his views on inequality [12], and gathered some superb literary material. It was the greatest travel experience of his life. He realised that empathy doesn’t just make you good — it’s good for you, too.

We can each conduct our own experiments. If you are religiously observant, try a “God Swap,”  attending the services of faiths different from your own, including a meeting of Humanists. Or if you’re an atheist, try attending different churches! Spend your next vacation living and volunteering in a village in a developing country. Take the path favored by philosopher John Dewey, who said, “All genuine education comes about through experience.”

Habit 4: Listen Hard — and Open Up

There are two traits required for being an empathic conversationalist.

One is to master the art of radical listening. “What is essential,” says Marshall Rosenberg, psychologist and founder of Non-Violent Communication (NVC), “is our ability to be present to what’s really going on within — to the unique feelings and needs a person is experiencing in that very moment.” HEPs listen hard to others and do all they can to grasp their emotional state and needs, whether it is a friend who has just been diagnosed with cancer or a spouse who is upset at them for working late yet again.

But listening is never enough. The second trait is to make ourselves vulnerable. Removing our masks and revealing our feelings to someone is vital for creating a strong empathic bond. Empathy is a two-way street that, at its best, is built upon mutual understanding — an exchange of our most important beliefs and experiences.

Organizations such as the Israeli-Palestinian Parents Circle [13] put it all into practice by bringing together bereaved families from both sides of the conflict to meet, listen, and talk. Sharing stories about how their loved ones died enables families to realize that they share the same pain and the same blood, despite being on opposite sides of a political fence, and has helped to create one of the world’s most powerful grassroots peace-building movements.

Habit 5: Inspire Mass Action and Social Change

We typically assume empathy happens at the level of individuals, but HEPs understand that empathy can also be a mass phenomenon that brings about fundamental social change.

Just think of the movements against slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries on both sides of the Atlantic. As journalist Adam Hochschild reminds us, “The abolitionists placed their hope not in sacred texts but human empathy,” doing all they could to get people to understand the very real suffering on the plantations and slave ships. Equally, the international trade union movement grew out of empathy between industrial workers united by their shared exploitation. The overwhelming public response to the Asian tsunami of 2004 emerged from a sense of empathic concern for the victims, whose plight was dramatically beamed into our homes on shaky video footage.

Empathy will most likely flower on a collective scale if its seeds are planted in our children. That’s why HEPs support efforts such as Canada’s pioneering Roots of Empathy [14], the world’s most effective empathy teaching program, which has benefited over half a million school kids. Its unique curriculum centers on an infant, whose development children observe over time in order to learn emotional intelligence — and its results include significant declines in playground bullying and higher levels of academic achievement.

Beyond education, the big challenge is figuring out how social networking technology can harness the power of empathy to create mass political action. Twitter may have gotten people onto the streets for Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, but can it convince us to care deeply about the suffering of distant strangers, whether they are drought-stricken farmers in Africa or future generations who will bear the brunt of our carbon-junkie lifestyles? This will only happen if social networks learn to spread not just information, but empathic connection.

Habit 6: Develop an Ambitious Imagination

A final trait of HEPs is that they do far more than empathize with the usual suspects. We tend to believe empathy should be reserved for those living on the social margins or who are suffering. This is necessary, but it is hardly enough.

We also need to empathize with people whose beliefs we don’t share or who may be “enemies” in some way. If you are a campaigner on global warming [15], for instance, it may be worth trying to step into the shoes of oil company executives — understanding their thinking and motivations — if you want to devise effective strategies to shift them towards developing renewable energy. A little of this “instrumental empathy” (sometimes known as “impact anthropology” [16]) can go a long way.

Empathizing with adversaries is also a route to social tolerance. That was Gandhi’s thinking during the conflicts between Muslims and Hindus leading up to Indian independence in 1947, when he declared, “I am a Muslim! And a Hindu, and a Christian and a Jew.”

Organizations, too, should be ambitious with their empathic thinking. Bill Drayton, the renowned “father of social entrepreneurship,” believes that in an era of rapid technological change, mastering empathy is the key business survival skill because it underpins successful teamwork and leadership. His influential Ashoka Foundation has launched the Start Empathy initiative [17], which is taking its ideas to business leaders, politicians and educators worldwide.

The 20th century was the Age of Introspection, when self-help and therapy culture encouraged us to believe that the best way to understand who we are and how to live was to look inside ourselves. But it left us gazing at our own navels. The 21st century should become the Age of Empathy, when we discover ourselves not simply through self-reflection, but by becoming interested in the lives of others. We need empathy to create a new kind of revolution. Not an old-fashioned revolution built on new laws, institutions, or policies, but a radical revolution in human relationships.

 

Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/6-habits-highly-empathic-people

Links:
[1] http://www.greatergoodmag.org
[2] http://www.alternet.org/authors/roman-krznaric
[3] http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/six_habits_of_highly_empathic_people1
[4] http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/
[5] http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/empathy
[6] http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/gg_live/happiness_matters_podcast/podcast/habits_1/
[7] http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_evolution_of_empathy
[8] http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/research_digest/can_toddlers_see_the_world_through_your_eyes#toddlers_capable_empathy
[9] http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/social_security_benets
[10] http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/better_together_a_review_of_the_lonely_american/
[11] http://college.cengage.com/english/chaffee/thinking_critically/8e/students/additional_activities/p198.pdf
[12] http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_inequality_is_bad_for_the_one_percent
[13] http://www.theparentscircle.org/
[14] http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/wisdom_of_babies
[15] http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/hot_spot
[16] http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/19/occupy-movement-subverting-global-finance
[17] http://startempathy.org/
[18] mailto:corrections@alternet.org?Subject=Typo on 6 Habits of Highly Empathic People
[19] http://www.alternet.org/tags/pro-social
[20] http://www.alternet.org/tags/highly-empathic-person
[21] http://www.alternet.org/tags/hep
[22] http://www.alternet.org/tags/empathy-0
[23] http://www.alternet.org/tags/neuroscience
[24] http://www.alternet.org/tags/claiborne-paul-ellis
[25] http://www.alternet.org/tags/israeli-palestinian-parents-circle
[26] http://www.alternet.org/tags/mutual-understanding
[27] http://www.alternet.org/%2Bnew_src%2B

Articles and excerpts – August 22 to 31, 2014

The Poisonous Racism Driving Violence in Ferguson and the Rest of America By Joe Conason, AlterNet, August 20, 2014  …another white supremacist group whose leaders have long enjoyed the patronage of right-wing Republican politicians. The Council of Conservative Citizens, headquartered in St. Louis, is a living legacy of Southern “white resistance” to desegregation…promoting hatred of blacks, Jews, gays and lesbians, and Latino immigrants while extolling the virtues of the “Southern way of life,” the Confederacy and even slavery.

How Weird Christian Right Beliefs Impact America By Amanda Marcotte, AlterNet, September 11, 2013 

The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement by Eric Heubeck – The Yurica Report

The Radical Right Roadmap – Paul Weyrich and his disciple, Eric Heubeck, Voter Legislative Transparency Project, Oct 14, 2012

Let There Be Markets: The Evangelical Roots of Economics By Gordon Bigelow, Harper’s Magazine, May 2005

How Weird Christian Right Beliefs Impact America By Amanda Marcotte, AlterNet, September 11, 2013 

Envisioning Where We Want to Go: An Interview With Evolutionary Reconstructionist Gar Alperovitz By Leslie Thatcher, Truthout, August 22, 2014         a new website – Pluralist Commonwealth – about principles of democratic ownership and on building a sustainable and equitable political-economic system

Robert Reich: American Democracy Is Diseased By Robert Reich, RobertReich.org, August 20, 2014     The only way back toward a democracy and economy that work for the majority is for most of us to get politically active once again, becoming organized and mobilized. We have to establish a new countervailing power.  The monied interests are doing what they do best – making money. The rest of us need to do what we can do best – use our voices, our vigor, and our votes.

Breaking Out of the Party Box by Arthur C. Brooks, New York Times, AUG. 18, 2014  … Research by Mr. Hayes shows that most voters instinctively associate morality and strong leadership with the political rightmany Democrats fixate on empathy and compassion…Americans don’t want to choose between compassion and morality, or between leadership and empathy. We want leaders who have all these traits. F. Scott Fitzgerald famously declared that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” Compassion and strong leadership are not even opposed — yet these days, they can’t seem to be held in the same political mind. What a sad commentary on our times.

Do You Trust the Government? 87% of Americans Don’t August 16, 2014 14:07 By Kevin Mathews, Care2 | News Analysis  agree that the U.S. government “can be trusted to do what is right always or most of the time.”…This is a notable departure from the legitimate trust that existed decades ago. Through the 1960s, Americans held favorable opinions toward the government…That all changed when the Watergate scandal struck…The amount of Americans who trust corporations is similarly abysmal: just 17%. That said, the correlation between these low fingers isn’t altogether surprising considering that the unholy alliance between corporations and U.S. politicians prompts many Americans to look at them as essentially the same entity.

False facts and the conservative distortion machine: It’s much more than just Fox News Paul Rosenberg, Salon.Com, Aug 18, 2014

Is Southern Conservatism Just Plain Old Racism? By Paul Rosenberg, Salon, Alternet, August 21, 2014

The New American Segregation by Mark Sandlin, co-founder of The Christian Left, Patheos, July 22, 2014   …fat cats convince people who understand themselves to be Christian to support the politicians and policies that will ensure the rich get richer…We need to learn to see it for what it really is…There are “Two Americas”: the Plutocrat Overlords and The Rest of Us. It’s time to focus our genuine and understandable disdain solely on the real enemy — the wealthy Plutocrats and their political henchmen — and stop taking it out on each other…we must vote and when we vote, there must be only one issue that influences our vote: what the candidate’s voting record is on supporting the continued wealth grab by those who already have plenty of it. It is time to take a stand — to do otherwise is to concede defeat, — and that’s what they are counting on.

Is America Dreaming?: Understanding Social Mobility

SAVING HORATIO ALGER – Equality, Opportunity, and the American Dream by Richard V. Reeves, Brookings, August 20, 2014

The Carnage of Capitalism By Paul Buchheit, Common Dreams, August 18, 2014

How the New Monopoly Capitalism Will Crush You to Smithereens By Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet, August 14, 2014

Real conservatives are conservationists By Barry Bickmore, Herald.extra.com, Provo, UT August 15, 2014

How the Left Is Revitalizing Itself by Gara LaMarche, The Nation, August 13, 2014    There’s more collaboration between progressive groups—and more coordination among donors—than ever before.

Ferguson: The Fire This Time by Bob Herbert, Demos,  August 22, 2014  …Some tragic development occurs; the media spotlight homes in on black people who had previously been invisible; instant experts weigh in with their pompous, uninformed analyses; and commitments as empty as deflated balloons are made. This time it’s Ferguson, Missouri, in the spotlight. And you can bet the mortgage that this time will be no different. The precipitating events that cause these periodic national spasms can vary widely — the flooding of New Orleans, the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the beating of Rodney King. But these tragedies all emerge from the same fetid source — the racism embedded in the very foundation of America….And it’s that racism — stark, in-your-face, never-ending, frequently murderous — that has so many African-Americans so angry and frustrated, so furious, so enraged… Now, because of the persistence of racism and a relaxation of the fight against it, we are moving backwards. Ferguson is just the latest illustration. They are angry about all those things, but they are also angry and frustrated about so much more…voter suppression… the way so many were targeted and victimized by predators in the housing and finance industries, and the disproportionate suffering that African-Americans endured in the subsequent housing meltdown and the recession. And they are angry about being left so far behind in the so-called economic recovery….nearly all are furious at the high levels of racism and personal venom that have characterized so much of the opposition not just to the president’s policies but to him personally…there is profound anger and resentment at the myriad hateful ways that blacks are treated throughout the criminal justice system. …These are just a very few of the many deep concerns harbored by black Americans. (Others include the chronic under-funding and wholesale closing of public schools in black neighborhoods; the continued widespread discrimination in employment and housing; and the humiliating, debilitating racist encounters, large and small, that nearly all black people face at one time or another, and that many blacks face on a daily basis.) What is needed right now is a national gathering of some of the brightest and most committed African-American men and women to begin devising strategies to fight back in a coherent and sustained way against the racial injustice that still permeates this society…. it was true that great strides had been made in the half-century or so that followed the civil rights movement. Now, because of the persistence of racism and a relaxation of the fight against it, we are moving backwards. Ferguson is just the latest illustration….The emergence of effective black leadership to guide us over the long haul is America’s only defense against such outrages, and against what James Baldwin so accurately characterized as the fire next time.

14 defining features of Fascist regimesThe Christian Left, August 2014 Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
4. Supremacy of the Military
5. Rampant Sexism
6. Controlled Mass Media
7. Obsession with National Security
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
9. Corporate Power is Protected
10. Labor Power is Suppressed
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
14. Fraudulent Elections

Does any of this sound familiar?