Articles and excerpts April 22 to May 28

The Rise of Social Liberalism and G.O.P. Resistance By Charles M. Blow, New York Times, MAY 28, 2015 There is a fascinating phenomenon taking shape in America: As the country becomes less religious, it is also becoming more socially liberal. It makes sense that these two variables should closely track each other, but the sheer scale and speed of the change is astonishing….We as a country may still be engaged in a vigorous debate about the proper size and function of government, and about which parties and candidates could best steer America in the right direction, but one thing is less and less debatable: We are rapidly becoming a more socially liberal country. This change poses a particular challenge for the Republican Party and its national aspirations, not so much at the congressional seats, many of which are safe, but for presidential candidates.

Tracking the Progress of the Progressive Agenda by Richard Eskow, Campaign for America’s Future Blog, posted on CommonDreams.org, May 27, 2015 – The Fight for $15 shows us that seemingly unachievable goals can be reached. It tells us that we mustn’t let commentators or political insiders determine the limits of the politically possible. That is for the public, not the pundits, to decide.

The Great Charter School Rip-Off: Finally, the Truth Catches Up to Education ‘Reform’ Phonies By Jeff Bryant, Salon, May 26, 2015

The Challenge of Journalism… Is to Survive in the Pressure Cooker of Plutocracy by Bill Moyers, May 27, 2015, Common Dreams.org, Unless you’re willing to fight and re-fight the same battles until you go blue in the face, drive the people you work for nuts going over every last detail again and again to make certain you’ve got it right, and then take hit after hit accusing you of “bias,” there’s no use even trying.

Paul Krugman drops an epic truth-bomb on Jeb Bush. Marco Rubio and the Iraq war debate, Salon Staff,  salon.com May 18, 2015 W. didn’t make the best decision he could with the intelligence. They wanted a war and created the intelligence. As Krugman lays out, we know now that we were lied into war. “The Iraq war wasn’t an innocent mistake, a venture undertaken on the basis of intelligence that turned out to be wrong. America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war. The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that.”

Jeb Bush’s Favorite Author Rejects Democracy, Says The Hyper-Rich Should Seize Power by Ian Millhiser, May 26, 2015

‘Mad As Hell’ Elizabeth Warren Gives The Perfect Straight Answer To A Perfect Question...By Sean Conners, May 2015, ifyouonlynews.com Q) Why isn’t the government, with interest rates so low and the country so obviously in need of infrastructure and other investments, doing the common-sense thing, which would be to borrow money at those low rates and invest? A) ‘We are not doing it because the people in Washington — too many of the people in Washington — do not represent the folks who elected them. They represent the rich and the powerful, who don’t want their taxes raised,’ Warren said. ‘The only way we get change is when enough people in this country say, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m fed up, and I’m not going to do this anymore.”‘

5 Reasons Why Poor People Vote For Republicans May 22, 2015 By Manny Schewitz, Forwardprogressives.com. 5. Liberals can be really elitist. 4. Racism 3. They’re “pro-life” 2. Fox News: In order to keep people voting the way you want, you need a propaganda source…1. Religion: …everything including the fate of your eternal soul was determined by God, and there’s nothing you can do to change that. If you’re poor, it’s part of “God’s plan” and it is not our duty as individuals or the government to help. If someone is rich, then they were chosen to be rich by God, and we shouldn’t punish them by making them pay more in taxes. Calvinism and the belief in predestination are rarely mentioned in political discussions, but they’re a huge factor when it comes to conservative Protestants and how they think. As long as Republicans continue to exploit these advantages and we fail to counter them, poor people will continue to vote for the GOP – especially if we continue to write them all off as being poor, racist, ignorant rednecks when so many of them are not. We can convince people not to vote against their self interests over and over again, but it will take time and a lot of patience.

5 Scientific, Peer-Reviewed Studies That Prove Republicans Are Just Stupid, Reverpress.com, March 6, 2015 – There are all types of statistics that could lead one to believe that liberals are smarter than conservatives… studies that do just that already exist…Now this isn’t to say that all Republicans are stupid. On the contrary: I fully believe that rich Republicans are some of the smartest people in the world. They literally trick poor Republicans into thinking it’s the big bad government’s fault that they’re poor, and in doing so, they make these people vote against their own best interests. Even though being conservative doesn’t make you stupid, there’s no doubt that being stupid makes you more likely to be conservative….Fox News makes you less informed than watching no news at all. Low Effort Thought Leads to Conservatism – We live in a complex world, and understanding this world requires complex thought…study “Low-Effort Thought Promotes Political Conservatism,”…performed four different studies, all of which reduced subjects’ ability to use “effortful, deliberate thought,” and they found that situations causing low-effort thought resulted in more conservative beliefs…as an individual becomes more intoxicated on alcohol, their conservative beliefs increaseHomophobia Linked to Low Abstract Reasoning Skills – …Those who have lower abstract reasoning skills experience higher levels of anti-gay prejudice. It’s All In The Brain, Baby-the study “Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults” …What they found was that “conservative students had a larger amygdala than liberals.” Conversely, the anterior cingulate cortex of liberal students had more gray matter than their conservative counterparts. Here’s why that’s important: “The amygdala is… active during states of fear and anxiety. […] The anterior cingulate cortex [is] a region of the brain that helps people cope with complexity.”… Liberals’ brains are biologically more able to handle complex thought, and conservatives base their beliefs on fear…These are peer-reviewed studies, by scientists…

Liberals are enjoying a comeback By Catherine Rampell Opinion writer May 25, 2015 …a new Gallup poll that finds the shares of American adults considering themselves “socially liberal” and “socially conservative” each total 31 percent. (The remaining respondents either called their views “moderate” or had no opinion.) Gallup has been tracking these categories since 1999, and the latest numbers simultaneously signify the highest share ever recorded for liberals and the lowest recorded for conservatives.

Republicans Desperately Rewriting History To Evade Blame For Setting Iraq On Fire, Creating ISIS, May 2015

Get Ready: Protesters Vow to ‘Flood the System’ for Climate and Planetary Justice by Sarah Lazare The real target goes far beyond any one event or body. “We need to wash away the root causes of climate change—capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy and colonialism.”

Finding a Candidate You’d Like to Have a Beer With By Alan Rappeport 

How America became the most powerful country on Earth, in 11 maps by Max Fisher on May 20, 2015 We take it for granted that the United States is the most powerful country on Earth today, and perhaps in human history. The story of how that came to be is long, fascinating, complex — and often misunderstood. Here, excerpted in part from “70 maps that explain America,” are maps that help show some of the key moments and forces that contributed to the US’s rise as sole global superpower.

Small-business Republicans are fed up with their party by Robert Reich, ROBERTREICH.ORG, posted on Salon.com, 5/20/2015 The former secretary of labor on how small business owners could end up swinging the 2016 elections

You can’t kill the Christian right: Why extremists are thriving even with religion in decline A record number of Americans consider themselves religiously unaffiliated, but our conservative nightmare won’t end by Heather Digby Parton, Salon.com, May 13, 2013 The news cycle has been busy lately, so I don’t know if left-leaning political observers have yet had time to plan their victory dance over the latest Pew Poll on religion. But you can be sure that when they notice some of these numbers, we will soon be seeing another round of “ding dong the religious right is dead,” accompanied by the usual patting on the back and self-congratulations that goes with it. After all, something quite significant has started to shift, and at first glance it doesn’t bode well for social conservatives: There has been an 8 percent decline in the number of Americans identifying themselves as “Christian” since 2007, along with a 6 percent increase in the number who call themselves “atheist, agnostic, and otherwise religiously unaffiliated,” to nearly 23 percent of all Americans.

The Next Decade Will Decide What the World Looks Like for Thousands of Decades to Come Bill McKibben

The top 25 hedge fund managers earn more than all kindergarten teachers in U.S. combined By Philip Bump May 12, Washington Post