Pre-election FYI – October 2014

Election 2014

72% of Americans Disapprove of Republican Party…but it’s Set to Take Control of Both Houses of Congress Anyway posted on The Christian Left, Facebook, September 13, 2014 from AllGov.com

Republicans and conservatives

Why the Christian Right Believes It Has Once-in-a-Decade Chance to Impose Its Radical Worldview on America By CJ Werleman, Alternet.org, November 26, 2013

The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government by Chris Hedges, TruthDig.com, posted on CommonDreams.org, October 7, 2013…This ideology calls on anointed “Christian” leaders to take over the state and make the goals and laws of the nation “biblical.”… The intellectual and moral hollowness of the ideology, its flagrant distortion and misuse of the Bible, the contradictions that abound within it… are impervious to reason and fact. And that is why the movement is dangerous.

The “Libertarian Moment” Wouldn’t Exist Without Religion By Sarah Posner, Religion Dispatches, August 13, 2014 …right wing religious extremist] principles emerge from the idea that the secular state is the enemy of a proper Christian ordering of markets, social norms, and family and religious life…

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…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…

Social science

The Sociopathic 1 Percent: The Driving Force at the Heart of the Tea Party By Paul Rosenberg, Salon.com, March 8, 2014  …sociopaths are defined by their lack of empathy, conscience or any form of intuitive social awareness… It’s a mindset devoid of empathy or conscience, for whom other people simply are not real, a mindset that has gripped us collectively, ever more tightly, over the past 30 to 40 years…the influence of sociopathic thinking is far broader than we realize, particularly since it’s almost never recognized as such. That’s precisely why we need more awareness of the workings of the sociopathic imagination — the forms it takes, the impacts it has, the conditions in which it flourishes and spreads…. It’s also been argued that sociopaths have a sense of morality, only it’s a different one than the rest of society, perhaps, in which selfishness is a virtue, and altruism a vice, as per Ayn Rand…Now, even if it could be generalized, a 4% presence of psychopaths in business is not a lot, except when compared to 1%. The greater significance lies in why psychopaths are so dramatically over-represented in corporate management, and what that says about the environments they find so hospitable — which ties in directly to the rise of the 1 percent, who have done so much better than everyone else since the 1970s…

Has Neoliberalism Turned Us All Into Psychopaths? By Paul Verhaeghe, The Guardian, posted on Alternet.org, October 2, 2014 …economic change is having a profound effect not only on our values but also on our personalities. Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatization have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative…meritocratic neoliberalism favors certain personality traits and penalizes others… articulateness, the aim being to win over as many people as possible….able to talk up your own capacities…you never take responsibility for your own behavior…flexible and impulsive…this leads to risky behavior, but never mind, it won’t be you who has to pick up the pieces….Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace. This is a typical symptom of the impotent venting their frustration on the weak; in psychology it’s known as displaced aggression. There is a buried sense of fear, ranging from performance anxiety to a broader social fear of the threatening other…This is the consequence of a system that prevents people from thinking independently and that fails to treat employees as adults. More important, though, is the serious damage to people’s self-respect. Self-respect largely depends on the recognition that we receive from the other…Our society constantly proclaims that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough, all the while reinforcing privilege and putting increasing pressure on its overstretched and exhausted citizens. An increasing number of people fail, feeling humiliated, guilty and ashamed. We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited. Furthermore, those who fail are deemed to be losers or scroungers, taking advantage of our social security system. A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and talents, meaning responsibility lies entirely with the individual and authorities should give people as much freedom as possible to achieve this goalOur presumed freedom is tied to one central condition: we must be successful – that is, “make” something of ourselves…a changed economy reflects changed ethics and brings about changed identity. The current economic system is bringing out the worst in us.

Progressive spirituality/religion

Wasn’t Jesus A Liberal? by Gary Vance, The Christian Left, August 4, 2014 Liberalism has been under assault for years now. The battering of this grand political philosophy has altered the contemporary definition of liberal to the point that Conservatives use it as a profane word…Liberalism as defined by Webster’s Third New International Dictionary: a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of man, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for tolerance and freedom for the individual from arbitrary authority in all spheres of life…Jesus was the ultimate liberal progressive revolutionary of all history…It is time for Christians of conscience to stand up to religious and political hypocrisy. Christians should proudly proclaim progressive values today and should advocate for the Christian Liberalism that is our heritage and our legacy.

The Stunning Resurgence of Progressive Christianity by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Executive Religion Editor, The Huffington Post, 06/04/2014 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…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.

Faith in social justice By Paul Massari, HDS Communications, May 2, 2014- interview with Dan McKanan, Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity at Harvard Divinity School (HDS), on a new report from the Brookings Institutionreligious voices will remain indispensable to movements on behalf of the poor, the marginalized, and middle-class AmericansThere is a lot of potential for religiously unaffiliated progressives — especially millennials — to partner with religious institutions and organizations in working for economic justice…The Civil Rights Movement is still a good model for partnership between religious organizations and religiously unaffiliated individuals. Though the report characterizes the movement as an alliance of Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, its religious diversity was actually quite a bit broader than that. Religious humanists, secular humanists, Unitarian Universalists, and Muslims also played very important roles in the movement…

The Growing Realization That Our Individual Struggles Are All Connected Makes This “Our Moment” By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, AlterNet, December 7, 2013

Citizen education and participation

Americans Know Even Less About Government Than You Could Possibly Imagine By Aaron Wysocki, TYT Network, October 10, 2014

Political Values Are Dividing Us Over Basic Facts, Not Just Policy Choices by Justin Reedy and Christopher Wells, The Huffington Post, Sep 30, 2014

Can a New Populist Movement Fight Off American Oligarchy? By Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, May 23, 2014

Politics

False facts and the conservative distortion machine: It’s much more than just Fox News Paul Rosenberg, Salon.Com, Aug 18, 2014

The Big Lie Behind Voter ID Laws By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, New York Times, October 12, 2014 …laws have been aggressively pushed in many states by Republican lawmakers who say they are preventing voter fraud, promoting electoral “integrity” and increasing voter turnout. None of that is true. There is virtually no in-person voter fraud; the purpose of these laws is to suppress voting…Voter ID laws, as their supporters know, do only one thing very well: They keep otherwise eligible voters away from the polls. In most cases, this means voters who are poor, often minorities, and who don’t have the necessary documents or the money or time to get photo IDs…. The next time voter ID laws reach the justices, they should see them for the antidemocratic sham they are.


 

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