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Books, Literature & Ideas

Books, Literature & Ideas

Chris Hedges | A Nation of the Walking Dead

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Mr. Fish / Truthdig

  • This is more about mood modulation. Affect modulation. Using technologies to dampen anxieties and exit the world. We don’t just see it in Las Vegas. We see it in the subways every morning. The rise of all of these screen-based technologies and the little games that we’ve all become so absorbed in. What gamblers articulate is a desire to really lose a sense of self.
  • Related: We Are All Deplorables
  • Related: Our greatest peril? Screening ourselves off from reality

Chris Hedges  Truthdig  / Rise Up Times

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April 3, 2017 | Opioids and experiences that simulate the deadening effects of narcotics are mechanisms to keep us submissive and depoliticized. Desperate citizens in Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel “Brave New World” ingested the pleasure drug soma to check out of reality. Our own versions of soma allow tens of millions of Americans to retreat daily into addictive mousetraps that generate a self-induced autism.

The United States consumes 80 percent of opioids used worldwide, and more than 33,000 died in this country in 2015 from opioid overdoses. There are 300 million prescriptions written and $24 billion spent annually in the U.S. for painkillers. Americans supplement this mostly legal addiction with over $100 billion a year in illicit marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. And nearly 14 million U.S. adults, one in every 13, regularly abuse alcohol.

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society.

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We Are All DeplorablesChris HedgesTruthdig

  • Liberals have no moral authority to preach to a dispossessed white working class about racism, multiculturalism, identity politics or diversity. The abject failure by liberals to fight for economic justice triggered the protofascist backlash embodied by Donald Trump’s election victory.
  • Related: Dan Rather Just Released Heartbreaking Statement Against Trump 

 

Related:

Our greatest peril? Screening ourselves off from reality, George Monbiot, the Guardian

  • Immersed in life online like the followers of 4chan or PewDiePie, we start to imagine that nothing matters – even racism, misogyny and resurgent fascism.
  • Related: Chris Hedges | A Nation of the Walking Dead

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Abby Martin and Chris Hedges: Donald Trump and Christianized Fascism

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For the first time in modern history, a fringe wing of Christian extremists have obtained the highest seats of power in the US government—from Mike Pence to Betsy DeVos.

Abby Martin and Chris Hedges, teleSUR English / Dandelion Salad

February 27, 2017 | For the first time in modern history, a fringe wing of Christian extremists have obtained the highest seats of power in the US government—from Mike Pence to Betsy DeVos.

This new development is coupled with the emergence of the Alt Right, the Trump movement, and the rise of fascist movements abroad.

Renowned journalist and author Chris Hedges has embedded himself in what he calls “Christianized Fascism” and warns that this is the biggest danger we face under Trump.

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Series | The Crisis of American Healthcare - Part Two

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  • Why is the healthcare system in the US so chaotic and prohibitively expensive? The answer lies in the fact that the market, rather than state intervention, is the primary factor that shaped how healthcare is provided for the majority.
  • Related: The Crisis of American Healthcare - Part 1
  • Related: Column: The fake freedom of U.S. health care

Parson Young, Socialist Appeal

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor John Stoltenberg

https://i.cbc.ca/1.2004704.1381560363!/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/16x9_1180/hi-hospital-elderly-852-cp.jpg Monday, March 27, 2017 | The “market-based” solution to healthcare pursued by the US government had a formative effect on how medical facilities are run in the US. The passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1966 offered federal reimbursements to hospitals caring for patients of age 65 or older, or deemed “medically indigent” by the state. This qualitatively pivoted the way medicine and public health developed in the US. The AFL-CIO participated in the campaign for Medicare, but its participants were primarily retirees rather than active workers. Medicare to this day remains the primary single-payer health insurance provider in the US. While it was indeed a byproduct of progressive struggles in the 1960s, just as all positive reforms, it falls short of being a comprehensive system for all, and remains heavily reliant on the fluctuations and anarchy of the medical market.

With the rising costs of constantly improving technology, the financial incentives provided by Medicare drove most privately owned hospitals to create a variety of business models to game the system. This led to the practice of creating a variety of medical services that can be mass produced and sold repeatedly to elderly patients. Hospitals became increasingly profit-driven—even non-profits. Physician-owned specialist clinics centered on lucrative fields like orthopedics, surgery, and cardiology also began to rise. Less profitable departments and disciplines were sidelined, then shut down. Starting in the 1980s, a process of centralization began in which hospitals were closed or absorbed in a wave of hospital mergers that continued into the 1990s. In 1996 alone, as many as 768 hospitals were involved in 235 merger deals.

Parson Young is from Taiwan.

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Related:

The Crisis of American Healthcare - Part 1

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Column: The fake freedom of U.S. health care, Anu Partanen, New York (NY) Times

No health care system is perfect. But in a nation that purports to champion freedom, the outdated disaster that is the U.S. health care system is taking that freedom away.

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How to Turn an Outpouring of Progressive Activism Into a Winning Social Movement

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Discarded protest signs at the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, 2017. (Rex Features via AP)

  • Why the left needs to build power, now.
  • Related: How to Revive the Peace Movement in the Trump Era

Astra Taylor, the Nation

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https://versobooks-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/images/000011/154/direct-action-front-1050-max_221-ee12ffa84f9e935a2486e656c0438c14.jpg March 23, 2017 | In the wake of the catastrophic election of Donald Trump, we all know the left needs to get its act together. But how?

I posed this question to Jillian Johnson, L.A. Kauffman, and Jonathan Matthew Smucker, three longtime activists well-positioned to provide some insight and advice to anyone ready to commit to the budding resistance. Jillian Johnson is a year into her tenure on Durham, North Carolina’s City Council, where she is uniquely poised to contribute to a progressive turn toward municipal and state-level politics across the country. Kauffman’s new book, Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism, traces the history of a powerful strain of American dissent, and how it is being harnessed by a new generation of change-makers. Smucker’s Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals, gets into the nitty-gritty of why movements fail, and how they can succeed. Our conversation lays out much-needed historical lessons and theoretical guidance for anyone engaged in grassroots organizing today.

Astra Taylor is the director of the documentary films Zizek! and Examined Life. She has written for The New York Times, The L.A. Times, The Baffler, n+1 and other outlets. She is the author of The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age (Metropolitan Books).

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Related:

How to Revive the Peace Movement in the Trump Era, Daniel May, the Nation

  • Why we need a peace movement - and why we don't have one 
  • Antiwar Organizing and the new movements
  • Related: How activists have already scored victories against Trump's policies

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