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Books, Literature & Ideas

Books, Literature & Ideas

Nick Anderson | Bathroom Bill Politics / www.tampabay.com

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Section(s): 

The Mafia State

  • What comes next, history has shown, will not be pleasant. A cruel and morally bankrupt elite, backed by the organs of state security and law enforcement, will, as the Eupatridae did in sixth-century-B.C. Athens, bankrupt the citizenry through state-sponsored theft, war, austerity and debt peonage. They are barbarians. We will remove them from power or enter a new dark age.
  • Related: The CIA’s Cult of Death

Chris HedgesTruthdig / OpEdNews

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12/5/2016| Systems of governance that are seized by a tiny cabal become mafia states. The early years -- Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton in the United States -- are marked by promises that the pillage will benefit everyone. The later years -- George W. Bush and Barack Obama -- are marked by declarations that things are getting better even though they are getting worse. The final years -- Donald Trump -- see the lunatic trolls, hedge fund parasites, con artists, conspiracy theorists and criminals drop all pretense and carry out an orgy of looting and corruption.

The rich never have enough. The more they get, the more they want. It is a disease. CEOs demand and receive pay that is 200 times what their workers earn. And even when corporate executives commit massive fraud, such as the billing of hundreds of thousands of Wells Fargo customers for accounts they never opened, they elude punishment and personally profit. Disgraced CEO John Stumpf left Wells Fargo with a pay package that averages nearly $15 million a year. Richard Fuld received nearly half a billion dollars from 1993 to 2007, a time in which he was bankrupting Lehman Brothers.

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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The CIA’s Cult of Death, Kim Petersen, Dissident Voice

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  • Review of Douglas Valentine’s The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World
  • Related: 2016: How Truth Was Destroyed So You’d Buy The Government’s Propaganda

 

Special Project | The War on Women: Is Donald Trump’s Cabinet Anti-Woman?

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Credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Consider their positions on these issues.

Susan Chira, New York (NY) Times / National Partnership for Women

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Stop%20the%20War%20on%20Women%20graphic.jpgDec. 7, 2016 | Donald J. Trump’s campaign was dogged by accusations of misogyny. Now his cabinet is shaping up to be one of the most hostile in recent memory to issues affecting women, advocacy groups for women say. Tax credits for child care and the prospect of paid maternity leave are exceptions to a host of positions that could result in new restrictions on abortion and less access to contraception, limits on health care that disproportionately affect women and minorities and curbs on funding for domestic violence, as well as slowing the momentum toward raising the minimum wage or making progress on equal pay.

Consider their positions on these issues.

Susan Chira is a senior correspondent and editor on gender issues for the New York Times.

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Barack Obama’s Neoliberal Legacy: How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul

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  • Part 1: Part 1: Barack Obama’s Neoliberal Legacy- Rightward Drift and Donald Trump
  • ‘Inauthentic Hope’
  • Part 2: How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul
  • In the 1970s, a new wave of post-Watergate liberals stopped fighting monopoly power. The result is an increasingly dangerous political system.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest <http://evergreenedigest.org>

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Part 1: Barack Obama’s Neoliberal Legacy- Rightward Drift and Donald Trump

‘Inauthentic Hope’

Paul Street, Truthdig

http://thebrokenelbow.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/obama.jpg?w=500&h=330Jan 3, 2017 | In a parting shot near the end of his depressing, center-right presidency, Barack Obama wants the world to know that he would have defeated Donald Trump if the U.S. Constitution didn’t prevent him from running for a third term. It was a stab at Hillary Clinton as well as the president-elect.

I suspect Obama is right. Like Bill Clinton, Obama is a much better fake-progressive, populism-manipulating campaigner than Hillary. Also like Bill, he has more outward charm, wit, charisma, and common touch than Mrs. Clinton. Plus, he’s a male in a still-sexist nation, and he would have had some very sharp election strategists on his side.

Truthdig Contributor Paul Street is the author of numerous books, including “Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis” (2007), “The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power” (2010), and “They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy” (2014), and a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Z Magazine/ZNet, Black Agenda Report and teleSUR English. 

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Part 2: How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul

In the 1970s, a new wave of post-Watergate liberals stopped fighting monopoly power. The result is an increasingly dangerous political system.

Matt Stoller, the Atlantic

https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/2016/10/19/Atlantic_Hippies_Final2_revised/1920.jpg?1476902655Oct 24, 2016 | It was January 1975, and the Watergate Babies had arrived in Washington looking for blood. The Watergate Babies—as the recently elected Democratic congressmen were known—were young, idealistic liberals who had been swept into office on a promise to clean up government, end the war in Vietnam, and rid the nation’s capital of the kind of corruption and dirty politics the Nixon White House had wrought. Richard Nixon himself had resigned just a few months earlier in August. But the Watergate Babies didn’t just campaign against Nixon; they took on the Democratic establishment, too. Newly elected Representative George Miller of California, then just 29 years old, announced, “We came here to take the Bastille.”

 

One of their first targets was an old man from Texarkana: a former cotton tenant farmer named Wright Patman who had served in Congress since 1929. He was also the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Banking and Currency and had been for more than a decade. Antiwar liberal reformers realized that the key to power in Congress was through the committee system; being the chairman of a powerful committee meant having control over the flow of legislation. The problem was: Chairmen were selected based on their length of service. So liberal reformers already in office, buttressed by the Watergate Babies’ votes, demanded that the committee chairmen be picked by a full Democratic-caucus vote instead.

Matt Stoller is a budget analyst on the Senate Budget Committee.

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A Bad Year Ends, a Worse One Begins: What Will You Do With 2017?

"I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring." -- David Bowie

William Rivers Pitt, Truthout

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http://www.truth-out.org/images/images_2017_01/2017_0101wp_.jpg In the face of a more brutal new year, we cannot be rabbits gone "tharn" -- frozen at the sight of oncoming headlights. (Photo: jayRaz / Flickr)

Sunday, January 01, 2017 | Richard Adams, author of the incredible Watership Down, passed away on Tuesday at age 96. He joined among the departed of 2016 Harper Lee, Daniel Berrigan, Joseph Medicine Crow, Muhammad Ali, Rob Wasserman, Prince, Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher, Pat Conroy, Vera Rubin, Cyril DeGrasse Tyson, George Michael, David Bowie, Rashaan Salaam, Edward Albee, Glenn Frey, Michael Ratner, Maurice White, Pat Summitt, Umberto Eco, Michael Cimino, Toots Thielemans, Patty Duke, W.P. Kinsella, Gordie Howe, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Morley Safer, Janet Reno, Tyrus Wong, Gary Shandling, Harry Wu, Ralph Stanley, Mose Alison, Melvin Laird, William Trevor, David Meltzer, Phife Dawg, Geoffrey Bowie, Paul Kantner, Alvin Toffler, Gwen Ifill, Eli Wiesel, Ursula Franklin, Bobby Hutcherson, Gene Wilder, Arnold Palmer, Leonard Cohen, John Glenn, all but three members of Brazil's Chapocoense soccer team and the entire Alexandrov Military Ensemble of Russia.

That's only a portion of the list. It's the best I can do without grinding my teeth.

Richard Adams invented a word, did you know that? "Tharn." The word describes what a rabbit will do when it gets pinned down by headlights in the middle of the road. Rather than flee or fight, the rabbit will freeze on the spot, eyes wide, ears laid flat, and await in despair the onrushing lethality of contact. "Going tharn," Adams called it. I don't know if it qualifies as onomatopoeia, but as far as words go, it sure sounds like what it is.

William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with Dahr Jamail, is available now.

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