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Books, Literature & Ideas

Books, Literature & Ideas

The Absurd Primacy of the Automobile in American Life

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Considering the constant fatalities, rampant pollution, and exorbitant costs of ownership, there is no better word to characterize the car’s dominance than insane.

Edward Humes, the Atlantic 

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Edward%20Humes%20%7C%20Door%20to%20Door%20jacket%20illus.jpgApr 12, 2017 | The car is the star. That’s been true for well over a century—unrivaled staying power for an industrial-age, pistons-and-brute-force machine in an era so dominated by silicon and software. Cars conquered the daily culture of American life back when top hats and child labor were in vogue, and well ahead of such other innovations as radio, plastic, refrigerators, the electrical grid, and women’s suffrage.

A big part of why they’ve stuck around is that they are the epitome of convenience. That’s the allure and the promise that’s kept drivers hooked, dating all the way back to the versatile, do-everything Ford Model T. Convenience (some might call it freedom) is not a selling point to be easily dismissed—this trusty conveyance, always there, always ready, on no schedule but its owner’s. Buses can’t do that. Trains can’t do that. Even Uber makes riders wait.

Edward Humes is a writer based in Seal Beach, California. He is the author of Door to Door: The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation.

 

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Capitalism Is the Problem

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  • Worker coops mark a qualitative and quantitative advance beyond capitalism. They represent a system change adequate to key problems capitalism has shown it cannot overcome, even after centuries of failed efforts to do so.
  • Related: Capitalism's war on climate science

Richard D. Wolff, Truthout  

http://www.truth-out.org/images/images_2017_01/2016.1.7.Wolff.main.JPGEmployees assemble synthesizers at Moog Music's production facility in downtown Asheville, North Carolina, June 9, 2015. Moog's new employee-ownership arrangement is more than just happy news for workers; it's a victory for the small company, whose financial success has not always matched its vast cultural impact. (Photo: Susannah Kay / The New York Times)

Saturday, January 07, 2017 Over the last century, capitalism has repeatedly revealed its worst tendencies: instability and inequality. Instances of instability include the Great Depression (1929-1941) and the Great Recession since 2008, plus eleven "downturns" in the US between those two global collapses. Each time, millions lost jobs, misery soared, poverty worsened and massive resources were wasted. Leaders promised that their "reforms" would prevent such instability from recurring. Those promises were not kept. Reforms did not work or did not endure. The system was, and remains, the problem.

Inequality likewise proved to be an inherent trend of capitalism. Only occasionally and temporarily did opposition from its victims stop or reverse it. Income and wealth inequalities have worsened in almost every capitalist country since at least the 1970s. Today we have returned to the huge 19th-century-sized gaps between the richest 1 percent and everyone else. Rescuing the "disappearing middle class" has become every aspiring politician's slogan. Extreme inequality infects all of society as corporations and the rich, to protect their positions, buy the politicians, mass media and other cultural forms that are for sale.

Richard D. Wolff is professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City.

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Capitalism's war on climate science, James Plested, Red Flag / SocialistWorker.org

A system that puts profits above humanity can't address an existential threat to our future. 

Richard Schatten | The Future of America? It's up to We, the People!

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Whether you want to face facts or not … the truth? Our Choice is simple; A) Become a Fascist Nation with its suppression and its Draconian Policies … or B) Try to make our Democracy Work. Those are the only real choices we truly have!

Richard Schatten

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March 7, 2017 | We, the People of the United States Of America are truly living in a state Intellectual Dysfunction. William Gaddis once said: "Stupidity is the deliberate cultivation of Ignorance".

Cultivating the uneducated, poorly educated and undereducated is not new in Authoritarian regimes … it's called "Indoctrination" of the masses! ... and the younger the better!

Richard Schatten is a former Resprtory Therapist residing in Klamath Falls, OR.

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The Democratic party is undermining Bernie Sanders-style candidates

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‘Democratic Party aims to make the Berniecrats’ lack of political viability a self-fulfilling prophecy.’ Photograph: Travis Heying/AP

  • In Kansas, the Democrats barely lifted a finger to help James Thompson, a progressive who came painfully close to winning. That’s a losing strategy
  • Related: Democratic Leaders are a Craven Bunch of Idiots Bent on Self-Destruction

Jamie Peck, Guardian

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Thursday 13 April 2017 | Since losing the presidency to a Cheeto-hued reality TV host, the Democratic party’s leadership has made it clear that it would rather keep losing than entertain even the slightest whiff of New Deal style social democracy.

The Bernie Sanders wing might bring grassroots energy and – if the polls are to be believed – popular ideas, but their redistributive policies pose too much of a threat to the party’s big donors to ever be allowed on the agenda.

Jamie Peck is a staff writer at Death and Taxes.

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Democratic Leaders are a Craven Bunch of Idiots Bent on Self-Destruction, Dave Lindorff, Counterpunch 

  • A party that is that detached from the wishes and demands of the electorate, and of its own discouraged and angry base, is not a party that’s going to be around much longer.
  • At least one can hope.
  • Related: Establishment Democrats Beg for Party Unity, (but) Progressives Aren't Buying It

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