May 16 to June 10, 2014 – click on header for more articles on related subjects
Liberal Christianity — 10 things to know about this ‘middle way’ By Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun, June 6, 2014
A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change by Bill McKibben, Rolling Stone, published by Common Dreams, May 21, 2014 When world leaders gather in New York [September 20 and 21] to confront climate change, tens of thousands of people (and maybe you) will be there to demand they take action before it’s too late…it will be the largest demonstration yet of human resolve in the face of climate change…this is dead-serious business, a signal moment in the gathering fight of human beings to do something about global warming before it’s too late to do anything but watch… the “world’s leaders” haven’t been leaders on climate change – at least not leaders enough…The world’s scientists earlier this spring issued a 32-volume report explaining exactly how much worse it’s going to get, which is, to summarize, a lot worse even than they’d thought before. It’s not that the scientists are alarmists – it’s that the science is alarming. Here’s how one Princeton scientist summarized the situation for reporters: “We’re all sitting ducks.”…
Global Citizens to Elites: Join Climate Fight ‘Or Step Aside’ by Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, June 6, 2014
House Directs Pentagon To Ignore Climate Change, HuffingtonPost, 5/23/2014
Starting Out Behind By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, New York Times, JUNE 7, 2014 …While the worst is over, economic conditions are still subpar, damaging the immediate job prospects and long-term living standards of young adults starting out now….Over the last six years, one of the economy’s biggest problems has been faulty fiscal policy, with the federal government underestimating the need for economic aid or withholding and reducing help prematurely. Another drag has been lack of business investment, even as financial markets have prospered with the help of loose monetary policy. The result has been an economy where young people starting out are at risk of prolonged underachievement. It is possible to defuse that risk, but not without responsive policy and robust investment.
8 Reasons Young Americans Don’t Fight Back By Bruce Levine on June 8, 2014 …Traditionally, young people have energized democratic movements. So it is a major coup for the ruling elite to have created societal institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance to domination. Young Americans—even more so than older Americans—appear to have acquiesced to the idea that the corporatocracy can completely screw them and that they are helpless to do anything about it…How exactly has American society subdued young Americans? 1. Student-Loan Debt. 2. Psychopathologizing and Medicating Noncompliance. 3. Schools That Educate for Compliance and Not for Democracy. 4. “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top.” 5. Shaming Young People Who Take Education—But Not Their Schooling—Seriously. 6. The Normalization of Surveillance. 8. Fundamentalist Religion and Fundamentalist Consumerism.
The Boomers “Failed” Us: Climate Activist Tim DeChristopher on Anger, Love, and Sacrifice by Sarah van Gelder, YES! Magazine, June 4, 2014 First the anger, then the love—overcoming generational anger to find the courage required for the difficult work ahead.
America – culture
5 Signs That America Has Gone Bonkers — And a Glimmer of Hope by Jim Hightower, AlterNet/BillMoyers.com, May 30, 2014 …Symptoms of this national insanity include these examples: We can’t even keep the doors of our government open. In October of last year, Washington’s tea party Republican faction…shut down the nation’s government for 16 days and bled $24 billion from the US economy…2) Lloyd Blankfein, bankster-in-chief of Goldman Sachs…took a $10 billion taxpayer bailout to keep it afloat and lobbied furiously to kill regulatory reforms…continues to reign… and hauling in $23 million last year in personal pay. 3) A narrow, five-man majority of the US Supreme Court has decreed that corporations are “persons” with the right to spend unlimited sums of their shareholders’ money to elect or defeat whomever they want — and to do so secretly. This year, in McCutcheon v. FEC, the Court also overturned the campaign finance rules limiting individual’s contributions on aggregate federal campaign contributions — thus enthroning a tiny elite as America’s ruling electoral power. 4) Big Money’s control of politics gives it control of public policy…5) From retail workers to adjunct college professors, the new normal for workaday people is poverty-wage, part-time, temporary, no-benefit employment…Most people know that things are screwy, that this is not the America that’s supposed to be. And therein lies the good news: The USA hasn’t gone crazy — its leaders have and they can be changed.
War Gear Flows to Police Departments By MATT APUZZOJUNE, New York Times, June 8, 2014
Americans Are More Likely to Be Killed by Right-Wing Terrorists Than Muslims—But the Media’s Afraid to Say It By CJ Werleman, AlterNet, May 20, 2014 … you are far more likely to be murdered by a far Right-wing American than a Muslim American, but the term “terrorist” remains reserved exclusively for acts of political violence carried out by Muslims. If terrorism is defined as violence against innocent civilians designed to advance a political cause, then all racist murders that occur in the U.S. are also acts of terrorism, because the perpetrators commit the violent act to send a political message to minority communities (i.e. intimidate them into a subordinate status.).. In the years 1990 to 2010, there were 145 acts of political violence committed by the American far Right, resulting in 348 deaths. By comparison, 20 Americans were killed over the same period in acts of political violence carried out by Muslim-American civilians…. our conception of the terrorist threat is shaped more by ideology than objectivity… The Southern Poverty Law Center calculates there are 939 far right-wing hate groups across the country today, including neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, border vigilantes and others…The number of Patriot groups, including armed militias, skyrocketed following the election of President Obama in 2008 – rising 813 percent, from 149 groups in 2008 to an all-time high of 1,360 in 2012. The number fell to 1,096 in 2013,” the SPLC calculates. Yet terrorism and racist violence are not considered to be equally significant threats by the U.S. government and the mainstream media……Like the violent acts we normally think of as terrorism, racist violence not only takes the lives of its immediate victims, but also sends a larger message of fear to the wider population… The growth in far Right extremism is fueled not only by a right-wing echo chamber that legitimizes false propaganda about immigrants and other minorities, but also, in part, by liberal timidity, which is why Sen. Reid’s use of the term “domestic terrorist” is an important step forward in dealing with the threat of far Right extremism. I mean, terrorism.
‘The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap’ by Matt Taibbi By Hedrick Smith, Washington Post, April 11, 2014 …Taibbi offers the searing indictment that America’s wealth gap has corrupted the nation’s system of justice, fostering a “legal schizophrenia” that harshly prosecutes the poor but practices selective leniency on Wall Street…that the United States now lives by a hypocritical double standard — “letting major systemic offenders walk, bypassing the opportunity for important symbolic prosecutions and instead . . . putting the smallest of small fry on the rack for negligible offenses.”… “The Divide” is an important book. Its documentation is powerful and shocking. But it can ramble off track, as Taibbi falls in love with a story or a character. Its logic is sometimes diminished by his understandable rage at unethical, though probably not illegal, behavior. His periodic tirades against American justice as “a sci-fi movie, a dystopia,” distract from the force of his argument. But he drives home the telling point that the wealth-driven dichotomy in our legal system stems from our bending the law to match our social attitudes…Today, he concludes, “the rule of law has slowly been replaced by giant idiosyncratic bureaucracies that are designed to criminalize failure, poverty, and weakness on the one hand, and to immunize strength, wealth and success on the other.” Hedrick Smith is former Washington bureau chief of the New York Times and the author of “Who Stole the American Dream?”
The Head of the IMF Says Inequality Threatens Democracy. Here Are 7 Charts Proving She’s Right. by Erika Eichelberger, Mother Jones, May 30, 2014
Secretive Bilderberg group holds annual conference for global elite by Renee Lewis, america.aljazeera.com, May 29, 2014 http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/5/29/bilderberg-conferencesecret.html
Communications – conservative
Does Fox News Cause Ignorance, or Do Ignorant Viewers Prefer Fox News? A new study reveals the gap between the channel’s fans and the rest of America By Danny Vinik @dannyvinik, The New Republic, June 10, 2014
Progressive Candidates Reap Big Gains In Primaries By Alex Lazar, The Huffington Post, 6/05/2014 “We won because we were true to the issues we wanted to have a discussion on, whether or not it was immigration reform or protecting Social Security or looking to lift the cap on Social Security, making sure that those who were the least among us were being lifted up and being attended to.” Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, New Jersey Democratic primary
Republicans have a 77% chance of taking the Senate By John Sides, Washington Post, May 16, 2014
Republicans’ Insane Political Strategy: Ruining Our Country Hurts the Democratic Party By Thom Hartmann, AlterNet, May 13, 2014 …For six years now, Republicans have been hard at work damaging America and the American people… they know, consistent with the Republican Chaos Strategy, that most Americans, when they go to the polls, won’t realize that it was exclusively the Republicans who were responsible for this. They only know there’s a Democrat in the White House, and so they think that the Democrats must have something to do with it. The Republican Chaos Strategy is brilliant, and will continue to work as long as they can keep the American people ignorant of who controls which branches of Congress and how Republicans manipulate the filibuster in the Senate. The Republicans frankly make no secret of it: Newt Gingrich, who was there, bragged about it… The only way to stop the Republican Chaos Strategy is to educate the American people as to how the Republicans, for the majority of the Obama presidency, have been able to systematically and intentionally damage our economy and our nation for purely political purposes. This should be the single-minded focus of the Democratic Party between now and November.
Lost in the Past by Timothy Egan, New York Times, May 22, 2014 … a 2010 report that only 12 percent of students in their last year of high school had a firm grasp of our nation’s history…. Civics, said [filmmaker Ken] Burns, is “the operating system” for citizenry; if you know how government is constructed, it’s no longer a complicated muddle, but a beautiful design.
The Privatization Scam: 5 Horror Stories of Gov’t Outsourcing to Greedy Private Companies By Dave Johnson, AlterNet, May 14, 2014 http://www.alternet.org/economy/privatization-scam-5-horror-stories-govt-outsourcing-greedy-private-companies
The Real Villains of the Bergdahl Tale By Ray McGovern, Consortium News, Truth-out.org, June 5, 2014 The right-wing media is denouncing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl as a “deserter” who wasn’t worth ransoming from the Taliban, but the real villains are the architects of the disastrous Iraq and Afghan wars who frivolously put the many Bergdahls in harm’s way.
Koch Bros. Group Readies ‘Endless Millions’ for Rightwing Takeover by Jon Queally, Common Dreams, May 9, 2014 …Americans For Prosperity—the rightwing advocacy group funded by the billionaire Koch brothers Charles and David—is prepared to spend $125 million (and likely much more) this year as it begins execution of a long-term strategy to win back the electoral map at all levels of government in this year’s election and beyond.
A Crisis to Address: Why the Senate’s Discussing a Democracy Amendment by John Nichols, The Nation, June 5, 2014 Americans recognize that the promise of American democracy is now fully threatened…the Constitution must be amended in order to preserve democratic self-governance…in order to restore the right of citizens and their elected representatives to organize elections where the vote matters more than the dollar … by a two-to-one margin, Americans believe government officials are inclined to promote policies that favor the wealthy rather than the working poor…The disconnect between the popular will and public policy is so radical that it fosters cynicism and disengagement…voters are turning off to a process that does not respond to them…Turnout for US elections is dismal…
How Hypocrisy Is Simply Not a Factor in the Right-Wing Mind By CJ Werleman, AlterNet, May 7, 2014 …It takes a Republican to be pro-death penalty, pro-war, pro-torture, and pro-bombing, yet be “pro-life.” …there are countless other examples that demonstrate right-wing hypocrisy…… The collective thinking of today’s movement conservatives accounts for little more than magic wand waving, the dangerous belief that if we eliminate all forms of the federal government, all our problems will vanish into thin air… it’s arguable that the most damaging 11 words ever uttered by a U.S. president are Reagan’s “government is not part of the solution, government is the problem.” Or how about Reagan’s other famous line: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”.Those two phrases have blanketed an entire generation of Republicans with hypocritical habits….Hypocrisy allows Republicans to ignore that it was the federal government that built the great American middle class through labor laws, reforms in the financial and banking industry, and a progressive tax code that shared the prosperity. It was also the federal government that created the interstate highway system, so that private enterprise could deliver to expanded markets. We tackled poverty with Social Security and Medicare, and on and so on. But instead of trying to starve the government or drown it in the bathtub, “we need to tackle our problems head-on, and that will require better government.”
Ted Cruz returns to the Texas Republican convention a conquering hero By Karen Tumulty, Published: June 8 | Updated: Monday, June 9, 2014 http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ted-cruz-returns-to-the-texas-republican-convention-a-conquering-hero/2014/06/08/f4c339f8-ef18-11e3-914c-1fbd0614e2d4_story.html?wpisrc=nl_hdtop …This year’s Republican primaries proved beyond doubt that in the Lone Star State, the tea party is now the mainstream of Republicanism. Indeed, the entire Texas GOP appears to have been made over in Cruz’s image. Come January, barring a massive shift in the state’s political winds, candidates who ran by his playbook will hold just about every statewide office…The GOP platform approved Saturday also reflected a new, harder edge…Texas conservatives say that they are not out of step but rather leading the way…Cruz may be reviled by some in Washington for his role in bringing the federal government to a halt last year, but at home, Republicans see him as that rare politician who actually does what he promised. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ted-cruz-returns-to-the-texas-republican-convention-a-conquering-hero/2014/06/08/f4c339f8-ef18-11e3-914c-1fbd0614e2d4_story.html?wpisrc=nl_hdtop
GOP cliff walk, Houston Chronicle, June 9, 2014 … Texas Republicans…political party so averse to the reality of a growing, changing, dynamic state that its members prefer a return to the 1950s…the ideologues have taken uncontested control…If they get their way in a couple of years, the hardliners will storm the White House, as well. Tea party torch bearer, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, ran away with the presidential straw poll with 43 percent of the tally…Cruz and the tea party are “pushing the Republican Party off the ideological cliff,” said Texas Democratic Party communications director Manny Garcia. We tend to agree, but neither Democrats nor moderate Republicans seem capable of reversing the trend any time soon.
Why Karl Rove Uses Dirty Tricks: They Work By Peter Beinart, The Atlantic, May 2014… He hinted it, thus giving himself deniability while ensuring that the slur lingers in the public mind. Which is what he’s been doing his entire career…Why does Rove allegedly smear his opponents this way? Because it works… he’s now planted questions…that will lurk in journalists’ minds as they do that reporting… Once you kindle public suspicion about your opponent, it’s easy to keep throwing logs on the fire…
The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy By The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program, June 5, 2014 The “vast right-wing conspiracy” machine is alive and well in America today…ever since President Obama was first elected president back in 2007, the “vast right-wing conspiracy” machine that Hillary Clinton first pointed out way back in 1998, has been churning out conspiracy after conspiracy, no matter how bizarre or outlandish they may be, all intended to take down President Obama. The folks over at Mother Jones have compiled an amazing list of just about every conspiracy about President Obama that’s ever hit the Internet…When it comes to all of these conspiracy theories that have been floated around over the past six years, what we really need to be asking ourselves is, “Who benefits from these outlandish and absurd beliefs? Where is the money behind these ideas coming from?” The answer, of course, is that it’s coming from the billionaires and economic royalists who are in control of our country. By floating around anti-Obama conspiracy theories, and by using Republicans in Washington to do their dirty work, America’s billionaires and economic royalists know that they’re weakening and disempowering the Democratic Party. And while a weak and disempowered Democratic Party is bad news for you and me, it’s great news for the billionaires and economic royalists. It means they can stay in power a lot easier…
Moral Monday Sit-In Equates People’s Health with Eco Health by Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, June 3, 2014
Faith in social justice by Paul Massari, Harvard Gazette. HDS Communications, May 2, 2014 …a new report from the Brookings Institution that contends that “religious voices will remain indispensable to movements on behalf of the poor, the marginalized, and middle-class Americans.”
The Stunning Resurgence of Progressive Christianity by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Executive Religion Editor, The Huffington Post, 06/04/2014 Anyone born within the last 50 years would be justified in thinking that Jesus’ teachings and Christian preachings were the exclusive domain of social and fiscal conservatives. The ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s were dominated by Christians with names like Falwell, Robertson, and Dobson who leveraged television and radio to make theirs the default religious voice in America….There has been a largely unnoticed but radical movement over the last decade during which the spiritual fire has shifted to more progressive Christians and that has the potential to change both the political and spiritual landscape of America…progressive Christian leaders are speaking out and being heard in their effort to impact the public square. Pastors and priests have spoken out on blocked Medicaid expansions, gun control, and climate change…immigration reform…religious right to perform gay marriages…Net Neutrality… change drug sentencing laws. Groups like Nuns on a Bus, Sojourners, Red Letter Christians, The Cana Initiative, Moral Mondays, Faithful America and many others are consistently witnessing to injustice in visible — and reportable — ways. Now, when the mainstream media is looking for a Christian to comment on a story, they have a powerful progressive set of voices to chose from…The way forward is for people of good will of all faiths and no faith to work together on matters that promote the common dignity, respect and well-being of all Americans.
Progressive Activism Seen as Key to Democratic Turnout in Midterm Elections By Sam Knight, Truthout, May 8, 2014 … Democrats are likely to lose ground to Republicans this November if they continue to emphasize fundraising over organizing…. midterm turnout is “killing us”… the party needs to rally working- and middle-class families to bridge the enthusiasm gap…. We’ve got to get out in the street and talk to the people. That is the road to success.” http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/23559-progressive-activism-seen-as-key-to-democratic-turnout-in-midterm-elections
Climate Change, Economic Inequality Are One Debate, says Sen. Warren by Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, June 3, 2014 Both issues show clearly that ‘we have a rigged system, where a handful are able to reap benefits at the cost of everyone else.’
Raising Our Voices With Confidence by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, www.popularresistance.org, June 7, 2014
Can a New Populist Movement Fight Off American Oligarchy? By Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, May 23, 2014 Amid push for “new populist” agenda, can progressives ignite a grassroots insurgency, battle both parties, and save the democracy?
The Aggressive Progressive: Reverend Barber In opposition to every extreme and every dark time, there are always voices that speak out from the moral core of our collective humanity to defend and fight for that humanity. This brief video captures one such very eloquent voice that can encourage the spirit, engage the mind and warm the heart. The Man Behind Moral Mondays by Lynn Stuart Parramore, The American Prospect, June 17, 2013 Activists to Watch: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber by Peter Dreier, Moyers and Company, October 24, 2013