Articles and excerpts – August 8 through 21, 2014

False facts and the conservative distortion machine: It’s much more than just Fox News Paul Rosenberg, Salon.Com, Aug 18, 2014   Social scientists use “knowledge distortion” index to test partisanship and reality. Guess who is wrong most often?

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.

Who rules America? By Allan J. Lichtman, The Hill, August 12, 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…The study also debunks the notion that the policy preferences of business and the rich reflect the views of common citizens. They found to the contrary that such preferences often sharply diverge and when they do, the economic elites and business interests almost always win and the ordinary Americans lose…Ultimately, Gilens and Page conclude from their work, “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.” Rich individuals and business interests have the capacity to hire the lobbyists that shadow legislators in Washington and to fill the campaign coffers of political candidates. Ordinary citizens are themselves partly to blame, however, because they do not choose to vote…Although average Americans cannot match the economic power of the rich, large numbers of modest contributions can still finance PACs and super-PACs that advance our common interests. 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.

Don’t Dismiss the Humanities by Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, AUG. 13, 2014  The humanities aren’t obscure, arcane or irrelevant. They awaken our souls, influence how we think about inequality, and help us adapt to a changing world…To adapt to a changing world, we need new software for our cellphones; we also need new ideas. The same goes for literature, for architecture, languages and theology. 

The super-rich no longer need a middle class by Thom Hartmann, Alternet, Nov 6, 2013  They now inhabit a privatized economy and have left us at the mercy of the market…America is falling apart — and this nation’s super-rich are to blame….There was once a time in America when the super-rich needed you, and me, and working-class Americans to be successful….But times have changed, and the super-rich of the 21st century no longer think that you and I are needed for their continued success. And in some ways, they have given up on America, period….Unfortunately, these millionaires and billionaires who have given up on America and on the working class are in control of the political process in this country. Republicans are no longer investing in things that have traditionally made America – and the working-class – successful. Take America’s infrastructure for example…. America’s infrastructure is a mess….cutting funding to the nation’s infrastructure isn’t the right way to address American’s debt or spending problems. And it certainly isn’t the right way to rebuild this nation….But the super-rich don’t care about how much funding is needed to save this country, as long as they have their private schools, private hospitals, private airports and private places. The super-rich in this country are bleeding working-class Americans dry, while destroying the infrastructure of the nation that has done so much for their success….America’s wealthy elite did not make their fortunes on their own. Without a strong economy and infrastructure, America’s millionaires and billionaires would not be where they are today. It’s that simple…It’s ridiculous that working-class Americans struggling to survive day-to-day are paying more in taxes than billionaire banksters and oil tycoons….We’re all in this together. 

Do You Trust the Government? 87% of Americans Don’t August 16, 2014 14:07 By Kevin Mathews, Care2 | News Analysis

Breaking Out of the Party Box by Arthur C. Brooks, New York Times, AUG. 18, 2014

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

Some evangelicals in Republican Party are feeling left out, see no standard-bearer By Sebastian Payne, washingtonpost.com August 16, 2014

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

The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar @kaj33, Time.com, Aug. 17, 2014

The Disease of American Democracy by Robert Reich, Common Dreams, 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. Robert Reich

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