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Books, Literature & Ideas

U.S. Midterms: Political Freak Show

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I'm you, dear readers. Well, actually, I'm not. But I'm also not a witch, so at least I've got that going for me.

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Cliff Schecter, Huffington Post

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The above is of course a reference to Delaware's favourite Wiccan of Wilmington, Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell, who began her most recent television advertisement by assuring viewers that she, indeed, is "not a witch." In past political years this might have been considered a bit low-brow, to actually have to assure the voting public you didn't spend most days at dusk swooping over the heads of the Lollipop Guild.

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The bar has been raised among this year's crop of weirdos and wackadoos seeking higher office in America. If you don't have the Second Amendment tattooed on your buttocks or actually think you're The Walrus, don't even try and claim to be among the craziest third of aspiring politicos on the current American landscape.

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Keith Olbermann: Brian Kilmeade An 'Unamerican Bastard' For Muslims Comment

On both TV and radio Friday (Oct 15), Kilmeade said that, while not all Muslims are terrorists, "all terrorists are Muslims."

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Huffington Post

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Keith Olbermann slammed Fox News anchor Brian Kilmeade Friday night (Oct 15), calling the "Fox & Friends" co-host an "unamerican bastard" over his comments about Muslims and terrorists.

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On both TV and radio Friday, Kilmeade said that, while not all Muslims are terrorists, "all terrorists are Muslims."

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"There is stupid and there is bigoted and there is paranoid and there is Islamophobic, but it takes a big man to combine all four of them," Olbermann said of Kilmeade.

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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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