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In today’s world, it’s play or be played

Psychiatrist Eric Byrne, in his seminal 1964 book "Games People Play," defined a game as, "a recurring set of transactions ... with a concealed motivation ... or gimmick." That nails the world in which we live.

Syl Jones, Star Tribune | MN

Has our modern life become a series of entertainments and diversions staged for our viewing pleasure, and to manipulate us? Are we becoming like the ancient Romans, whose bloody games were part of their rites of worship? As an example, consider Haiti. We've all seen the suffering in Haitian eyes; we watched as some heroically survived under rubble for weeks. So why haven't certain governments -- including America's -- forked over the promised funds to aid in Haiti's recovery?

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According to CNN, only about 5 percent of the more than $5 billion promised to Haiti has been delivered. Perhaps the donor nations meant well and the money will be arriving later, after thousands more have died. Or perhaps some made noble-sounding pledges that they never intended to keep, hoping to look good in the bright light of constant media coverage. Now that the media is gone, the promises, too, have evaporated.

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Were You Born On the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get A Life ~ Thomas Geoghegan

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  • If you could start over, would you rather live in the free-fall United States, where you can fight to the top against a lot of anxious Ayn Randers, or would you rather be in Europe and putt-putt in neutral in a cozy little social democracy? —from Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?
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  • America: The Grim Truth
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masaccio, FireDogLake

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

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Thomas Geoghegan has written a book that captures the focus of the progressive movement: how does the Middle Class survive the predatory capitalism practiced in the United States and the United Kingdom? His answer is the German version of capitalism, where the interests of the workers are just as important as the voice of the capitalists.
He begins by pointing out all the ways people live better in the European Union. They don’t have to worry about the Big Five: retirement, health care, education, transportation and childcare. The government sees to all of these. Since it buys in bulk, it gets great prices, and people don’t have to spend their time worrying about any of those things.

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Just think how great your life would be if you didn’t have to think about where you send your kids to school, or health insurance, or how long your commute is. And think how much better off you would be in this miserable economy if you didn’t have to worry about the losses in your 401(k) plan (if you had one), and how you would pay for health care if you have to pay COBRA on the paltry unemployment benefits you get if you got fired.

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Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life ~ Thomas Geoghegan, Described in The New Press
In an idiosyncratic, entertaining travelogue that plays on public policy, Thomas Geoghegan asks what our lives would be like if we lived them as Europeans. Sneaking out of his workaholic American life, he takes five trips where he tries to understand so-called European socialism firsthand. After visiting France, he ventures into Germany to see what some call the “boring” Europe. There he finds the true “other”—an economic model with more bottom-up worker control than that of any other country in the world—and argues that, while we have to take Germany’s problems seriously, we also have to look seriously at how much it has achieved. Social democracy may let us live nicer lives; it also may be the only way to be globally competitive.

America: The Grim Truth, Lance Freeman, Axis of Logic

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  • I am not writing this to scare you. I write this to you as a friend. If you are able to read and understand what I’ve written here, then you are a member of a small minority in the United States. You are a minority in a country that has no place for you.
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  • These Empty Spaces
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  • America Goes Dark
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  • We Are A Nation Of Sheep Being Led By Wild Dogs
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Summary: Intolerance, Hate, Intimidation, Fear-mongering, Violence, Incivility, and Ignorance Move Mainstream: Week of Aug 15

5 New Items including:

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  • Guns, Divisive Rhetoric to "Honor" Lincoln and King?
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  • The Far-Right's Anti-Mosque Mania Spreads from Ground Zero to Across the U.S., Pointing to Dark Politics Ahead
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

Adam Zyglis

Zero Tolerance, Progress Report, in Newsvine.com

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  • Debate Over Ground Zero Mosque Is About American Values
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  • Right-wing Freak Out
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  • Mainstreaming Bigotry
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  • Mayor Bloomberg Delivers Teary-Eyed Defense Of Ground Zero Islamic Center
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Can Race Ever Be on the Back Burner? New America Media

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  • We might have actually retreated from racial equity.
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  • Racism in Minnesota (And Beyond)
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Media Matters: Of mosques and mendacity, Media Matters for America

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  • The message coming from Fox News and some of the more determined attention-seekers on the right is that we're in a battle for white America's Jesus-worshiping soul, beset as it is by immigrants and black USDA officials and, perhaps most threateningly, Muslims.
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  • Mayor Bloomberg Delivers Teary-Eyed Defense Of Ground Zero Islamic Center
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The Far-Right's Anti-Mosque Mania Spreads from Ground Zero to Across the U.S., Pointing to Dark Politics Ahead, Stephan Salisbury,  Tomdispatch.com

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  • The phony 'debate' over the construction of an Islamic cultural center near the former World Trade Center portends darker things to come.
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  • The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing
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Guns, Divisive Rhetoric to "Honor" Lincoln and King? Paul Helmke, Huffington Post
Most jarring is the sad irony of all of these people at the podium, with their supporters spread across our National Mall, celebrating, in part, their worship of guns, while invoking, quite blatantly, the legacies of two great Americans whose magnificent lives were cruelly cut short by bullets.

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Patricia Neal, an Oscar Winner Who Endured Tragedy, Dies at 84

Patricia Neal, who made her way from Kentucky’s coal country to Hollywood and Broadway, winning an Academy Award and a Tony, but whose life alternated almost surreally between triumph and tragedy, died on Sunday at her home in Edgartown, Mass., on Martha’s Vineyard. She was 84.

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Aljean Harmetz, New York Times | NY

Actress Patricia Neal in 2008. Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

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The death was announced by her family in Edgartown. A friend, Bud Albers, told The Associated Press that Ms. Neal, who also lived in Manhattan, had had lung cancer.

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Ms. Neal received her Oscar, as best actress, in 1964, for her performance in “Hud” as the tough, shopworn housekeeper who did not succumb to Paul Newman’s amoral charm. By then she had already endured the death of her first child and a calamitous injury to her infant son, who was brain-damaged in an accident. Then came three strokes, a year after the Oscar, leaving her in a coma for three weeks. Afterward she was semiparalyzed and unable to speak.

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America: The Grim Truth

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  • I am not writing this to scare you. I write this to you as a friend. If you are able to read and understand what I’ve written here, then you are a member of a small minority in the United States. You are a minority in a country that has no place for you.
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  • These Empty Spaces
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  • America Goes Dark
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  • We Are A Nation Of Sheep Being Led By Wild Dogs
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Lance Freeman, Axis of Logic

Americans, I have some bad news for you: You have the worst quality of life in the developed world – by a wide margin.

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If you had any idea of how people really lived in Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many parts of Asia, you’d be rioting in the streets calling for a better life. In fact, the average Australian or Singaporean taxi driver has a much better standard of living than the typical American white-collar worker.

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I know this because I am an American, and I escaped from the prison you call home.

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I have lived all around the world, in wealthy countries and poor ones, and there is only one country I would never consider living in again: The United States of America. The mere thought of it fills me with dread.

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These Empty Spaces, William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t
We are an idea, and all of us are bound to it through the ink that explains us on old pieces of parchment. We are an idea, and in that idea, we can locate our nobility, our strength, and the better angels of our nature. Too many of us, including our president and congressional representatives, have forgotten this. Perhaps, if we remind them in strong enough terms, if we make We The People a true force for right instead of a catch-phrase, things would get better. Until then, the idea that is America will continue to wither, and the empty spaces within will endure.

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America Goes Dark, Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY
So the end result of the long campaign against government is that we’ve taken a disastrously wrong turn. America is now on the unlit, unpaved road to nowhere.
America: The Grim Truth

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Mike Malloy - We Are A Nation Of Sheep Being Led By Wild Dogs, hschulein, Democratic Underground
And George Carlin's Final Words To The World

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