Tom Foley’s passing recalls the bipartisan spirit of a bygone era

The Short American Century

In four short years, how the world changed By Ken Smith, Washington Post, January 14, 2013

The Long, Sordid History of the American Right and Racism By Robert Parry, Consortium News May 20, 2013

How American Society Unravelled After Greedy Elites Robbed the Country Blind By George Packer, The Guardian, June 20, 2013  — posted on – In or around 1978, America’s character changed…Americans were no less greedy, ignorant, selfish and violent then than they are today, and no more generous, fair-minded and idealistic. But the institutions of American democracy, stronger than the excesses of individuals, were usually able to contain and channel them to more useful ends. Human nature does not change, but social structures can, and they did… In Washington, corporations organised themselves into a powerful lobby that spent millions of dollars to defeat the kind of labour and consumer bills they had once accepted as part of the social contract. Newt Gingrich came to Congress as a conservative Republican with the singular ambition to tear it down and build his own and his party’s power on the rubble…The large currents of the past generation – deindustrialisation, the flattening of average wages, the financialisation of the economy, income inequality, the growth of information technology, the flood of money into Washington, the rise of the political right – all had their origins in the late 70s.…A fuller explanation of the Unwinding takes into account… the way they were exploited by US elites – the leaders of the institutions that have fallen into disrepair…there was nothing historically determined about the poisonous atmosphere and demonising language that Gingrich and other conservative ideologues spread through US politics.….American elites took the vast transformation of the economy as a signal to rewrite the rules that used to govern their behaviour: a senator only resorting to the filibuster on rare occasions; a CEO limiting his salary to only 40 times what his average employees made instead of 800 times; a giant corporation paying its share of taxes instead of inventing creative ways to pay next to zero [17]. There will always be isolated lawbreakers in high places; what destroys morale below is the systematic corner-cutting, the rule-bending, the self-dealing…It is no wonder that more and more Americans believe the game is rigged. It is no wonder that they buy houses they cannot afford and then walk away from the mortgage when they can no longer pay. Once the social contract is shredded, once the deal is off, only suckers still play by the rules.  

The Uh-Ohs: A Decade of Conservative Failure by Terrance Heath Campaign For America’s Future, January 8, 2010……the debacle of the last ten years didn’t just happen. And, yes, plenty of people did see it coming. Their warnings were ignored. What followed, then, didn’t “just happen,” but was the consequence of conscious choice…it is important to discuss and determine the causes of the various messes we find ourselves in. (Even if we find along the way the fingerprints of some Democrats Who Should Have Known Better™.) It was a decade during which conservatives controlled both Congress and the While House, and could thus enact much of their agenda.…Conservatives turned a budget surplus we had then into the deficit we have now.… It was the predicted outcome of conservative policy decisions.
Conservatives shrunk the economy. Despite what Glenn Beck [9] and the rest of the conservative noise machine say, what happened to the economy didn’t just happen in the past year. And it didn’t just happen. It was the predictable outcome of conservative poliicy decisions…

In four short years, how the world changed By Ken Smith, Washington Post, January 14, 2013 …We can’t know what travails and triumphs the next four years will send President Obama’s way, but we can be certain that the list won’t be what’s on his docket this Inauguration Day. In Obama’s first term, revolution swept the world’s most volatile region, the American Dream was redefined, the economy collapsed and gasped its way toward recovery, nature turned destructive to an almost unprecedented degree, and a man murdered a small town’s children. As Obama prepares to shoulder whatever comes next, we look back on 10 trials of one presidential term: 1. Economic Crisis 2. The Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan 3. Occupy Wall Street 4. Gay Marriage 5. Natural Disasters 6. Affordable Care Act 7. Arab Spring 8. Automotive  Bailout 9. Apple’s iPad 10. Gun Violence

The GOP Crackup: How Obama is Unraveling Reagan Republicanism

9 Stories That Will Change Your World in 2013

In four short years, how the world changed

The decade we didn’t see coming

The Twinkie Manifesto Nov – 2012

** The ’00s: Goodbye (at Last) to the Decade from Hell By Andy Serwer, Time magazine, Tuesday, November  24, 2009

** Nine Ways Our World Changed During the ‘00s by Sarah van Gelder, Published on Thursday, December 31, 2009 by YES! Magazine 
1. The rich got really, really rich…
2. Middle class existence went from steadily stagnant to downright precarious.
3. …At the beginning of the decade, it was just the environmentalists, scientists, and some very forward-looking elected officials talking about the hazards of climate change…Today [2009] people at all levels of government are seeing the danger and looking for ways to stop the disruption of the climate
4. We found a new enemy. We called the enemy “terror,” and we made war on it…
5. …Government was revealed at its worst during Hurricane Katrina…On the other hand, when the uber-greed of Wall Street threatened to bring the global economy to its knees, it turned out government could act quickly and effectively to keep the money flowing.
6. The Republican Party collapsed as a trusted force for reasoned governance, …
7. The Democratic Party collapsed as a trusted force for reasoned governance…
8. China continued its rapid ascent, moving quietly into position to become the next superpower…
9. We began to hear whispers of the End Times, including the best selling post-rapture “Left Behind” series, the new disaster flick 2012, and the prophesies related to the Mayan calendar …
But wait, there are signs, too, that people are pulling out of this downward spiral. In the ‘00s, people around the world turned away from obsolete ways of life, and went to work building the foundations of a world where our families and communities can thrive along with the natural systems that we rely on. The seeds are already planted….



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