Elections 2016

It’s so much worse than Trump: The history of the modern GOP is a history of racism, bigotry and dog whistles By Phillip Cryan, salon.com,  Apr 5, 2016 The party of Lincoln? Sure, in 1858. Today’s GOP wants to pretend Trump is an outlier. They should look in a mirror…The denunciations are piling in. Not just Democrats and independents but countless Republican elected officials, pundits and party activists have announced their opposition to Donald Trump’s candidacy for president in loud, clear, impassioned terms. It’s about time. Without question, Trump’s rise represents a frightening development in U.S. politics. While there are many reasons to fear a Trump presidency, the one most frequently cited, and rightly so, is his – and more importantly, his millions of supporters’ – embrace of open bigotry and misogyny…

It’s Time for a Second American Revolution by Jill Stein, Counterpunch.org, July 4, 2016 http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/04/its-time-for-a-second-american-revolution/…The 2016 Presidential election provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to win independence from the rule of the 1%. …A movement for democracy and justice is sweeping the planet – from Occupy Wall Street to anti-austerity uprisings and the Black Lives Matter movement. People are rising up to halt the neoliberal assault, calling for an America and a world that works for all of us….People are realizing that if we want to fix the rigged economy, the rigged racial injustice system, the rigged energy system and more, we must also fix the rigged political system….It is long past time to extend the concept of democracy to our economy. The economic dictatorship of the wealth-owning class needs to be replaced with an economic democracy where the people making up the economy decide how the economy works…

Culture

Class, Change and Revolution By Richard D. Wolff, Truthout, 16 February 2015  The winds of change are blowing harder… it is time to draw some lessons from the major social changes of the past and apply them now. One of the most important lessons concerns class.

Neil Gabler on How Pop Culture Influences Political Expectations, by Neal Gabler, Bill Moyers.com,February 24, 2012

How to Tell a Sociopath from a Psychopath By Scott A. Bonn, Psychology Today, Alternet.org, July 31, 2014 – Key traits that sociopaths and psychopaths share include: 

  • A disregard for laws and social mores
  • A disregard for the rights of others
  • A failure to feel remorse or guilt
  • A tendency to display violent behavior

In addition to their commonalities, sociopaths and psychopaths also have their own unique behavioral characteristics as well. Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are volatile and prone to emotional outbursts, including fits of rage…It is difficult but not impossible for sociopaths to form attachments with others. Many sociopaths are able to form an attachment to a particular individual or group, although they have no regard for society in general or its rules… Psychopaths, on the other hand, are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust…

The Sociopathic 1 Percent: The Driving Force at the Heart of the Tea Party By Paul Rosenberg, Salon.com, March 8, 2014  hsociopaths are defined by their lack of empathy, conscience or any form of intuitive social awareness…Venture capitalist Nick Hanauerrecently appeared on “All In with Chris Hayes.” – “…The point isn’t to stigmatize any one particular individual, but to identify and arm ourselves against a pervasive, corrosive mindset. 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…Remember Margaret Thatcher’s remark, “There is no such thing as society, only individuals”? That’s the sociopathic mindset in a nutshell… Sociopaths are like that — they lie a lot….other people simply are not real to sociopaths… 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…

The Pentagon Is Preparing for the Collapse of Society By Matt Connolly, PolicyMic,  June 13, 2014

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

Reweaving the Fabric of our Society by Joan Blades, Living Room Conversations, posted on HuffingtonPost.com, 05/22/2012 …Most of us agree that D.C. dynamics have got to change for the U.S. to solve the real challenges we confront and to retain our leadership role in the world. Political leaders and the media are failing us on so many levels…all Americans have a great deal in common. But our understanding of politics, economics, science and even basic facts is increasingly disparate. We cannot afford to continue on this path. A healthy democracy requires an educated electorate that shares basic truths and values — or at least is willing to sit down and listen to one another with an open mind, with mutual respect and civility…While the traditional media loves fights, the new and emerging social media loves connections. We can leverage the wisdom and creativity of crowds to find win-win solutions to our common problems. We can scale our efforts to tens of thousands of conversations, giving individuals the power to begin to reweave the social fabric of our communities…

U.S. to Grow Grayer, More Diverse, Minorities Will Be Majority by 2042, Census Bureau, WashingtonPost, August 14, 2008 The nation’s population will look dramatically different by mid-century, becoming more racially and ethnically diverse and a good deal older as it increases from about 302 million to 439 million by 2050, according to projections released today by the U.S. Census Bureau…Minorities, about one-third of the U.S. population, are expected to become a majority by 2042 and be 54 percent of U.S. residents by 2050.

How American Society Unravelled After Greedy Elites Robbed the Country Blind by George Packer, The Guardian, June 20, 2013  — posted on Alternet.org — 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.…American elites took the vast transformation of the economy as a signal to rewrite the rules that used to govern their behavior…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.

Progressive Movement

Our Invisible Revolution by Chris Hedges, TruthDig.com, October 28, 2013

Anger Can Be Power

The Rise of the New New Left

Cynicism Is Corporate America’s Greatest Weapon. Disarm It. Richard (RJ) Eskow, Campaign for America’s Future, 08/20/2013

Don’t Wait for the Revolution — ‘Be the Change’ and Live It By Andrew Boyd, YES! Magazine August 6, 2013 

Movements Without Leaders — What to Make of Change on an Overheating Planet by Bill McKibben, Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com, 8/18/2013  

We Can’t Give in to the Culture of Fear and Apathy — Channel Your Discontent into Positive Action by Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers, AlterNet, August 16, 2013

Get Apocalyptic — The Case for the New Radical By Robert Jensen, YES! Magazine, Alternet.org, May 28, 2013  - Feeling anxious about life in a broken-down society on a stressed-out planet? … Accept the anxiety, embrace the deeper anguish—and then get apocalyptic. We are staring down multiple cascading ecological crises, struggling with political and economic institutions that are unable even to acknowledge, let alone cope with, the threats to the human family and the larger living world… A deep grief over what we are losing—and have already lost, perhaps never to be recovered—is appropriate. Instead of repressing these emotions we can confront them, not as isolated individuals but collectively, not only for our own mental health but to increase the effectiveness of our organizing for the social justice and ecological sustainability still within our grasp. Once we’ve sorted through those reactions, we can get apocalyptic and get down to our real work…The task for those with critical sensibilities is not just to resist oppressive social norms and illegitimate authority, but to speak a simple truth that almost no one wants to acknowledge: The high-energy/high-technology life of affluent societies is a dead end… to get apocalyptic means seeing clearly and recommitting to core values…we must affirm the value of our work for justice and sustainability…Mainstream politicians will continue to protect existing systems of power, corporate executives will continue to maximize profit without concern, and the majority of people will continue to avoid these questions. It’s the job of people with critical sensibilities—those who consistently speak out for justice and sustainability, even when it’s difficult—not to back away just because the world has grown more ominous…To adopt an apocalyptic worldview is not to abandon hope but to affirm life…By avoiding the stark reality of our moment in history we don’t make ourselves safe, we undermine the potential of struggles for justice and sustainability.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” James Baldwin

Chris Hayes: Bring on the upper-middle-class revolution! By David Daley, Salon.com, Jun 25, 2013

The Obama Majority By Harold Meyerson, Washington Post, January 22, 2013…There is an Obama majority in American politics…whose existence is both the consequence of profound changes to our nation’s composition and values and the cause of changes yet to come. That majority…would not exist but for Americans’ struggles to expand our foundational belief in the equality of all men. The drive to expand equality, [President Obama] said in his speech’s most historically resonant line, “is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall.” Our history, Obama argued, is one of adapting our ideals to a changing world. His speech…reclaimed U.S. history from the misrepresentations of both constitutional originalists and libertarian fantasists…the moral and practical arc of U.S. history bends toward equality..The president closed his speech by asking his supporters to join him to help “shape the debates of our time.”..The Obama Majority — its existence and mobilization — is what enabled the president to deliver so ideological an address. No such inaugural speech has been delivered since Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, demanding the curtailment of government programs and secure in the knowledge that much of the white working class had shifted its allegiance away from the Democrats and supported his attack on the public sector and minority rights. On Monday, Obama, secure in the knowledge that the nation’s minorities had joined with other liberal constituencies to form a new governing coalition, voiced their demands to ensure equality and to preserve and expand the government’s efforts to meet the nation’s challenges

Overview of the Occupy Movement

Our Progressive Populism by Robert Kuttner, Prospect.org, September 2, 2010   Populism comes in two varieties — progressive and reactionary…distressed voters who are seduced by the right on social issues must be mobilized by progressives on economic ones…
This is a kind of class politics, but not one of facile slogans or easy scapegoats. It is hardly demagoguery to point out that concentrated wealth has too much political power. There is a class war, billionaire Warren Buffett once quipped, and my class is winning…
Populism, however, comes in two varieties, progressive and reactionary. Right-wing populism is an ugly brew of know-nothing resentments — of government, bankers, cosmopolitans, minorities and immigrants — that nonetheless taps into genuine economic anxiety. Without effective progressive populism, the reactionary variety gains ground…
good populism rallies economically distressed voters to elect progressives who legislate structural reforms…
With the right taking no prisoners, how do we restore civility? …How do we use politics to rebuild competent government?…
Paul Krugman…concluded, “What will it take to break the hold of this cruel cult on the minds of the policy elite?” The answer, surely, is a politics that rallies regular people against the stranglehold of economic royalists — a progressive populism.

A Checkerboard Strategy for Regaining the Progressive Initiative 

Group Challenges Corporate Power, Government Secrecy With Crowd-Funded Transparency 

Introduction to Community Organizing: Choosing an Issue 

New Year, New Era for Progressives and Obama 

The Massive New Liberal Plan to Remake American Politics 

The Obama Majority   

A Global Convergence of Social Movements?

A Liberal Moment

Liberalism’s Glass Jaw

Power Shift: How the Youth Climate Movement is Changing the Game by Sarah van Gelder, YES! Magazine, posted on Alternet.org, April 27, 2011

Where The 99 Percent Get Their Power – Why is this protest spreading when others have fizzled? by Sarah van Gelder, YES! Magazine, Oct 07, 2011

Power and the Progressive Movement by Mike Lux, OpenLeft.com, April 13, 2010

Whatever Happened to the American Left? By Michael Kazin

A Politics for the 99 Percent by Katrina vanden Heuvel and Robert L. Borosage, The Nation – posted June 6, 2012

6 People You Need to Start a Revolution By Sara Robinson AlterNet, April 12, 2012

New Rules for Radicals: 10 Ways To Spark Change in a Post-Occupy World By Sara Robinson, AlterNet, February 1, 2012

Progressivism Goes Mainstream by John Halpin and Ruy Teixeira, The Prospect, April 20, 2009