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?

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