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Shadowy players in a new class war

The country doesn't need this class war, and it is irrational in any case. Practically no one, least of all Obama, is questioning the basics of the market system or proposing anything more than somewhat tighter economic regulations -- after the biggest financial collapse since the Great Depression -- and rather modest tax increases on the wealthy.

E.J. Dionne Jr., Syndicate Columnist, Washington Post | DC

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

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Pat Oliphant

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The 2010 election is turning into a class war. The wealthy and the powerful started it.

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This is a strange development. President Obama, after all, has been working overtime to save capitalism. Wall Street is doing just fine, and the rich are getting richer again. The financial reform bill passed by Congress was moderate, not radical.

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Nonetheless, corporations and affluent individuals are pouring tens of millions of dollars into attack ads aimed almost exclusively at Democrats. One of the biggest political players, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, accepts money from foreign sources.

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How Democracy Dies: Lessons From a Master

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  • The huge amount of taxpayer money doled out to Wall Street, investment banks, the oil and natural gas industry and the defense industry, along with the dismantling of our manufacturing sector, is why we are impoverished. It is why our houses are being foreclosed on. It is why some 45 million Americans are denied medical care. It is why our infrastructure, from public schools to bridges, is rotting. It is why many of us cannot find jobs. We are being fleeced. The flagrant theft of public funds and rise of an obscenely rich oligarchic class is masked by the tough talk of demagogues, themselves millionaires, who use fear and bombast to keep us afraid, confused and enslaved.
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  • And we remain meek and supine.
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Chris Hedges, TruthDig.com

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

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AP / Matt York

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The ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes spent his life battling the assault on democracy by tyrants. It is disheartening to be reminded that he lost. But he understood that the hardest struggle for humankind is often stating and understanding the obvious. Aristophanes, who had the temerity to portray the ruling Greek tyrant, Cleon, as a dog, is the perfect playwright to turn to in trying to grasp the danger posed to us by movements from the tea party to militias to the Christian right, as well as the bankrupt and corrupt power elite that no longer concerns itself with the needs of its citizens. He saw the same corruption 2,400 years ago. He feared correctly that it would extinguish Athenian democracy. And he struggled in vain to rouse Athenians from their slumber.

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There is a yearning by tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement, to destroy the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment. They seek out of ignorance and desperation to create a utopian society based on “biblical law.” They want to transform America’s secular state into a tyrannical theocracy. These radicals, rather than the terrorists who oppose us, are the gravest threat to our open society. They have, with the backing of hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate money, gained tremendous power. They peddle pseudoscience such as “Intelligent Design” in our schools. They keep us locked into endless and futile wars of imperialism. They mount bigoted crusades against gays, immigrants, liberals and Muslims. They turn our judiciary, in the name of conservative values, over to corporations. They have transformed our liberal class into hand puppets for corporate power. And we remain meek and supine.

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Dead Miners and Ethically Dead Senators

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  • Here's the perfect cure for lawmakers' job grievances: Become coal miners for a while.
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  • Corporations scoff at workers' rights--even the right to come home from work alive
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  • In West Virginia, coal miner's slaughter
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Jim Hightower, Other Words

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

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Some members of Congress complain that they have a really tough job. Also, they say their hard work is not appreciated by the public and that they're really not paid enough.

Well, not to worry, Congresspeople, for I have the perfect cure for your job grievances: Become coal miners for a while.
Talk about hard work, bad conditions, poor pay, and unappreciative bosses! Then there's that irritating thing about being killed on the job.

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Related:

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Corporations scoff at workers' rights--even the right to come home from work alive, Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown

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  • OSHA, the agency scorned by labor haters, has been meek and weak
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  • In West Virginia, coal miner's slaughter
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In West Virginia, coal miner's slaughter, Michael Winship, Salon

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  • Upper Big Branch's owners bought themselves virtual impunity with campaign contributions. The result was tragedy
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  • David Roberts of the environmental magazine Grist described Massey's president and CEO Don Blankenship as "the scariest polluter in the U.S. ...The guy is evil and I don't use that word lightly."
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  • The responsible capitalists: Will anyone fill their shoes?
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An Enemy of the State?

It’s interesting – this business of being an enemy of the state – to observe the variety of people who could so likewise be labeled: for example, quite a few nuns, especially, those who have done jail time.

Polly Mann,  WAMM Today

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The first time I realized that the government might so consider me was 1968 at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. It was a lovely not-too-warm summer day, and I was sitting in the bleachers in a amphitheater with two Roman Catholic priests I had walked into Grant Park with. As I recall – that was, after all, some 42 years ago – among the speakers at the rally were peace activist Dave Dellinger and authors Norman Mailer and Jean Genet. Someone had brought a pig upon the stage, comparing it to the Chicago police. Near the stage was a flag pole I had not noticed until my eyes were drawn to a short, skinny somewhat disheveled man in a white undershirt who was holding a rope attached to a solid red flag he was attaching to the pole.

Suddenly, almost out of nowhere, a bevy of Chicago police appeared, hitting people with their billy clubs as they charged through the crowd. People were running down the bleachers, hopping from level to level as the police began to indiscriminately hit people trying to leave the area. The priest next to me nudged me and silently pointed to a building about ten stories high. On the roof were several soldiers with their rifles trained on the crowd. I was astonished! What was this? Up to that time, I had never ever had a gun turned on me. As the priests began scrambling down the bouncing wooden bleachers, I followed them down and managed to arrive unscathed at my hotel.
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The No-Nonsense Guide to Religion ~ Symon Hill

Symon Hill's No-Nonsense Guide to Religion tries to explain what religion means, how we relate to it, how it was created and how it affects us culturally, politically and spiritually today.

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Reviewed in New Internationalist

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A balanced guide to religion, which analyses the cultural, social and political implications of religion globally. Religion is a term which is often used in the media and public life without any clarification.

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However, it is a word that encompasses hundreds of different beliefs. It is a loaded word that has a different meaning for each person. Religion can be seen as a source of war and peace, love and hate, dialogue and narrow-mindedness.

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Drawing on a wide range of sources, the No-Nonsense Guide to Religion does not just concentrate on the popular and well-established traditions, which normally over-emphasize powerful figures. It focuses too on the diversity within religions as well as the similarities between them.

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