You are here

Books, Literature & Ideas

Books, Literature & Ideas

Series | Rebooting the American Dream, Part 8

11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country: Back to the Future
Part 8: Cool Our Fever

We live in a democracy and policies represent our collective will. We cannot blame others. If we allow the planet to pass tipping points...it will be hard to explain our role to our children. We cannot claim...that “we didn’t know.” - Jim Hansen, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

\r\n

Thom Hartmann, truth-out

(Image: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Edited: to)

Truthout is proud to bring you an exclusive series from America's No. 1 progressive radio host, Thom Hartmann. Starting today, we'll be publishing weekly installments of Hartmann's acclaimed new book, "Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country." We invite Truthout readers to join us over the next 12 weeks as, chapter by chapter, we explore these groundbreaking ideas for national transformation. We continue today with....Cool Our Fever!

II have taken the four-hour train ride from the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, to the Bavarian town of Stadtsteinach in the Frankenwald often enough to know it by heart. I look out the window and see the familiar sights - the towns, the rivers, the houses.

\r\n

I have visited Stadtsteinach many times over the past 30 years, working with Salem International, a relief organization headquartered in that town. The community for abused kids that Louise and I founded in New Hampshire is based on its family-oriented model, and we have helped start Salem programs in Australia, Colombia, India, Israel, Peru, Russia, and Uganda, among others. So at least once a year I’ve made it back to Germany, and we lived there for a year in the mid-1980s.

\r\n

More...

Section(s): 

Bleakonomics

    \r\n
  • A review of The Shock Doctrine:  The Rise of Disaster Capitalism ~ Naomi Klein
  • \r\n

  • It’s not the conspiracies that wreck the world but the series of wrong turns, failed policies, and little and big unfairnesses that add up.
  • \r\n

\r\n

Joseph E. Stiglitz, New York Times | NY

\r\n

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

There are no accidents in the world as seen by Naomi Klein. The destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina expelled many poor black residents and allowed most of the city’s public schools to be replaced by privately run charter schools. The torture and killings under Gen. Augusto Pinochet in Chile and during Argentina’s military dictatorship were a way of breaking down resistance to the free market. The instability in Poland and Russia after the collapse of Communism and in Bolivia after the hyperinflation of the 1980s allowed the governments there to foist unpopular economic “shock therapy” on a resistant population. And then there is “Washington’s game plan for Iraq”: “Shock and terrorize the entire country, deliberately ruin its infrastructure, do nothing while its culture and history are ransacked, then make it all O.K. with an unlimited supply of cheap household appliances and imported junk food,” not to mention a strong stock market and private sector.

“The Shock Doctrine” is Klein’s ambitious look at the economic history of the last 50 years and the rise of free-market fundamentalism around the world. “Disaster capitalism,” as she calls it, is a violent system that sometimes requires terror to do its job. Like Pol Pot proclaiming that Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge was in Year Zero, extreme capitalism loves a blank slate, often finding its opening after crises or “shocks.” For example, Klein argues, the Asian crisis of 1997 paved the way for the International Monetary Fund to establish programs in the region and for a sell-off of many state-owned enterprises to Western banks and multinationals. The 2004 tsunami enabled the government of Sri Lanka to force the fishermen off beachfront property so it could be sold to hotel developers. The destruction of 9/11 allowed George W. Bush to launch a war aimed at producing a free-market Iraq.

\r\n

More...

Section(s): 

Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand

\r\n

    \r\n
  • “The whole history of the progress of human history shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of struggle. ... If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will..."  Frederick Douglass
  • \r\n

  • The liberal class has busied itself with the toothless pursuits of inclusiveness, multiculturalism, identity politics and tolerance—a word Martin Luther King never used—and forgotten about justice.
  • \r\n

  • When Is It Time for a General Strike?
  • \r\n

\r\n

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

\r\n


\r\n

Damon Terrell speaks to demonstrators at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., during a series of protests against a then-pending bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers. Last Friday Gov. Scott Walker signed the legislation into law. AP / Andy Manis

\r\n

Chris Hedges, TruthDig

\r\n

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

\r\n

The liberal class is discovering what happens when you tolerate the intolerant. Let hate speech pollute the airways. Let corporations buy up your courts and state and federal legislative bodies. Let the Christian religion be manipulated by charlatans to demonize Muslims, gays and intellectuals, discredit science and become a source of personal enrichment. Let unions wither under corporate assault. Let social services and public education be stripped of funding. Let Wall Street loot the national treasury with impunity. Let sleazy con artists use lies and deception to carry out unethical sting operations on tottering liberal institutions, and you roll out the welcome mat for fascism.

\r\n

The liberal class has busied itself with the toothless pursuits of inclusiveness, multiculturalism, identity politics and tolerance—a word Martin Luther King never used—and forgotten about justice. It naively sought to placate ideological and corporate forces bent on the destruction of the democratic state. The liberal class, like the misguided democrats in the former Yugoslavia or the hapless aristocrats in the Weimar Republic, invited the wolf into the henhouse. The liberal class forgot that, as Karl Popper wrote in “The Open Society and Its Enemies,” “If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”

\r\n

More...

\r\n

Related:

\r\n

When Is It Time for a General Strike?, Laura Flanders, Nation Magazine

\r\n

    \r\n
  • Few Americans remember the demands 30,000 women and girls shirtwaist factory workers made… not just for wage increases, but for the ability to have a say in the conditions of their workplace—the workplace that killed them. Those are the rights that will be taken from American workers if the Republicans’ power grab is allowed to stand.
  • \r\n

  • Imagine, a century ago, if the rest of New York had stood with the women of the factories. Imagine if instead of 20,000, it had been 2 million workers marching. Or if it were to be today.
  • \r\n

\r\n


Section(s): 

Series | Rebooting the American Dream, Part 7

11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country: Back to the Future
Part 7: Make Members of Congress Wear NASCAR Patches

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group.
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

Thom Hartmann, truth-out

(Image: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Edited: to)

Truthout is proud to bring you an exclusive series from America's No. 1 progressive radio host, Thom Hartmann. Starting today, we'll be publishing weekly installments of Hartmann's acclaimed new book, "Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country." We invite Truthout readers to join us over the next 12 weeks as, chapter by chapter, we explore these groundbreaking ideas for national transformation. We continue today with....Make Members of Congress Wear NASCAR Patches!

I started my first business at the age of 17 with $25. I paid that amount to rent a shelf in a head shop (which sold mostly pipes, bongs, and cigarette papers) across the street from Michigan State University in East Lansing. The shelf had a sign: “The Electronics Joint—leave your stereo or TV here for repair, and we’ll return it fixed within a week. Free estimate of charges before work is done.” The guy who ran the head shop managed the shelf for 10 percent of our revenues plus the $25-per-month shelf rental; within two years the venture had grown to include five employees, and we moved into our own storefront down the street.

\r\n

As the business grew, however, I didn’t manage it wisely and ended up about $3,000 in debt, which was a lot of money in 1968 for a part-time student and part-time DJ. Ultimately, I had to shut the company down and go to work full-time as a radio DJ.

\r\n

More...

Section(s): 

Pages