You are here

Books & Liturature

Series | Rebooting the American Dream, Part 3

    \r\n
  • 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country: Back to the Future
  • \r\n

  • Part 3: Roll Back the Reagan Tax Cuts!
  • \r\n

\r\n


You must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessings. - Andrew Jackson

\r\n

Thom Hartmann, truth-out

\r\n

(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....Roll Back the Reagan Tax Cuts!

When I was in Denmark in 2008 doing my radio show for a week from the Danish Radio studios and interviewing many of that nation’s leading politicians, economists, energy experts, and newspaper publishers, one of my guests made a comment that dropped the scales from my eyes.1

We’d been discussing taxes on the air and the fact that Denmark has an average 52 percent income-tax rate. I asked him why people didn’t revolt at such high taxes, and he smiled and pointed out to me that the average Dane is very well paid, with a minimum wage that equals roughly $18 per hour. Moreover, what Danes get for their taxes (that we don’t) is a free college education and free health care, not to mention four weeks of paid vacation each year and notoriety as the happiest nation on earth, according to a major study done by the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.2

More...

Section(s): 

The FBI Has Been Violating Your Liberties in Ways That May Shock You

\r\n

As Congress seeks to renew the Patriot Act, new information exposes egregious FBI violations.
How Would a Patriot Act?
Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, AlterNet

\r\n

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

Last week (Jan 23-29), Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-VT, introduced legislation to extend the Patriot Act past its February 28 expiration date to December 2013. Though the extension once again saves some of the most nefarious, First-Amendment trampling provisions of the act -- roving wiretaps, secret access to third-party records, the hunting of targets unafilliated with foreign powers -- Leahy released a statement assuring us that the new extension will increase citizen protections.

“It will promote transparency and expand privacy and civil liberties safeguards in current law,” he said in a statement. “It increases judicial oversight of government surveillance powers that capture information on Americans. This is a package of reforms that all Americans should support.” The expanded bill would require the Department of Justice to issue public reports and generally expand oversight.

\r\n

More...

Related:

Excerpt: How Would a Patriot Act? Glenn Greenwald (author), AlterNet
In an excerpt from his new book, Greenwald explores how fear-mongering became the most potent political tool in Bush's arsenal.
Defending American Values from Presidents (Bush and Obama) Run Amok

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps, London Guardian | UK

\r\n

    \r\n
  • From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush (Ed note: and by extension Barack Obama) and his administration seem to be taking them all.
  • \r\n

  • A review of The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot ~ Naomi Wolf
  • \r\n

\r\n


Section(s): 

A Call for an Unequivocal Statement of Solidarity With the Egyptian People

\r\n

    \r\n
  • It is time for the United States government to stand with the people of Egypt as well by ending its long-standing support of the corrupt and repressive Mubarak regime.
  • \r\n

  • Absent such a statement, our calls for democracy in the region ring hollow.
  • \r\n

  • Fear Extreme Islamists in Egypt and the Arab World? Blame Washington
  • \r\n

\r\n

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Huffington Post

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.

Over 2 million Egyptians gather today (Feb 1) in Cairo's Tahrir Square and in cities across the country to demand an end to Mubarak's regime in an unprecedented popular uprising. Egyptians of all classes, ages and faiths have come together to demand opportunity, education, food and housing security, and a democratic and responsive government. Despite a complete shutdown of internet and mobile phone access by President Mubarak, the Egyptian people have been able to organize the largest protests yet in a display of unparalleled national unity.

\r\n

At this historic moment, the American people must stand in solidarity with the people of Egypt as they call for a new leader and new direction in their country. It is time for the United States government to stand with the people of Egypt as well by ending its long-standing support of the corrupt and repressive Mubarak regime. Absent such a statement, our calls for democracy in the region ring hollow.

\r\n

More...

\r\n

Related:

\r\n

Fear Extreme Islamists in Egypt and the Arab World? Blame Washington, Jeff Cohen, Truthout

\r\n

For decades beginning during the Cold War, US policy in the Islamic world has been aimed at suppressing secular reformist and leftist movements. Beginning with the CIA-engineered coup against a secular democratic reform government in Iran in 1953 (it was about oil), Washington has propped up dictators, coaching these regimes in the black arts of torture and mayhem against secular liberals and the left.

\r\n


Section(s): 

The State of the Spirit, 2011

\r\n

    \r\n
  • Most liberals and progressives will likely spend the next twenty years either supporting political parties that don't even begin to address these issues in a holistic way (and justifying that by pointing out that candidate x is really much less bad than candidate y)
  • \r\n

  • Duty to Warn:  Approaching Spiritual Death
  • \r\n

  • Hogwash, Mr. President
  • \r\n

\r\n

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Network of Spiritual Progressives

The bad news is that global warming will soon be irreversible and, by the end of the twenty-first century, large parts of the earth will be under water. China is emerging as the world's greatest superpower while continuing to regiment its people and repress democratic civil liberties and human rights. Just as today the West spends its energies fighting an elusive "war on terror" generated by its fantasy that its survival depends on dominating other countries to gain their fossil fuels, in the future Western elites of wealth and power may seek to create medieval-style enclaves surrounded by private Blackwater-style armies to prevent ordinary citizens from getting at their dwindling supplies of food and other goods. Most people will be encouraged to blame each other and fight each other for the decreasing sustenance left to the majority of the planet's residents.

All this is likely to happen gradually, as American power slips away and, with it, the particular opportunities that the citizens of this partial democracy fought to win in the past. Increasingly, we in the West may be taught to believe the "common sense" that people only care about themselves and that nations will always seek to dominate others to advance the interests of their own elites -- and that therefore domination, militarism, and cruelty are necessary for "us" to survive (though in fact, that "us" will be a smaller and smaller part of the entire population). And meanwhile, the pathetically inadequate safety net won through decades of citizen and labor union activism may be cut back in the name of economic frugality and keeping taxes low, at least for the wealthy who might otherwise cut back on investments and thus provide fewer and fewer jobs for the rest of us.

More...

Related:

\r\n

Hogwash, Mr. President, Robert Scheer, Truthdig

\r\n

    \r\n
  • The speech was a distraction from what seriously ails us: an unabated mortgage crisis, stubbornly high unemployment, and a debt that spiraled out of control while the government wasted trillions making the bankers whole.
  • \r\n

  • The President Ignored the Elephant in the Room
  • \r\n

  • The State of the Spirit, 2011
  • \r\n

\r\n

\r\n

Duty to Warn:  Approaching Spiritual Death, Gary Kohls, Evergreene Digest

\r\n

    \r\n
  • Is it Too Late to Mend America’s Dying Soul?
  • \r\n

  • Duty to Warn: Another MLK Day is Safely Past
  • \r\n

\r\n


Section(s): 

Minnesota Needs a Fairer Tax System

\r\n

    \r\n
  • Minnesota’s lowest earners pay 9.2 percent of their income in state and local taxes while middle-income families pay 10.3 percent. Meanwhile, the state’s highest earners pay just 7.7 percent.
  • \r\n

  • A “no new taxes” policy shifts more of the overall tax bill on to homeowners. That tends to hit low- and middle-income Minnesotan’s harder. There are also several regressive mechanisms within the state’s property tax policy.
  • \r\n

\r\n


Joe Sheeran, Minnesota 2020

Hey, 15th place isn’t so bad, right? Well, when you look at Minnesota in comparison to where the state’s tax system used to be and where it’s headed, 15th looks pretty glum.

\r\n

We’re not talking about taxes for corporations but how fair taxes are for all Minnesotans.

\r\n

Minnesota 2020 recently released a report that looked at the state’s tax regressivity in comparison to the rest of the nation; in other words, what proportion of income do the states’ poor and middle-class families pay in state and local taxes, compared to the states’ wealthiest.

\r\n

Minnesota’s Tax Fairness Retreat shows we’re becoming more regressive compared to the rest of the nation, slipping from 11th in 2000 to 15th in 2007 (the most recent year data was available for all states). While that number doesn’t seem so bad consider that only 11 other states had a more aggressive overall change toward regressivity than Minnesota.

\r\n

More...

\r\n

Related:

\r\n

Minnesota’s Tax Fairness Retreat, Jeff Van Wychen, Minnesota 2020

\r\n

Since 2000, Minnesota’s state and local taxes have become more regressive, meaning low and moderate income families shoulder a disproportionate share of the tax load. It’s a trend happening faster in Minnesota than nearly every other state, as our latest report, Minnesota’s Tax Fairness Retreat: A 50-State Study, highlights.

Section(s): 

All the President’s Captors

\r\n

    \r\n
  • No one expects Obama to imitate new Republican governor of New Jersey Chris Christie’s in-your-face, bull-in-the-china-shop shtick. But they have waited in vain for him to stand firm on what matters to him and to the country rather than forever attempting to turn non-argumentative reasonableness into its own virtuous reward.
  • \r\n

  • President Obama has seemingly been held hostage by Republican captors, surrendering his once-considerable abilities to act, decide or think.
  • \r\n

\r\n

Frank Rich, New York Times | NY

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

Barry Blitt

\r\n

Those desperate to decipher the baffling Obama presidency could do worse than consult an article titled “Understanding Stockholm Syndrome” in the online archive of The F.B.I. Law Enforcement Bulletin. It explains that hostage takers are most successful at winning a victim’s loyalty if they temper their brutality with a bogus show of kindness. Soon enough, the hostage will start concentrating on his captors’ “good side” and develop psychological characteristics to please them — “dependency; lack of initiative; and an inability to act, decide or think.”

\r\n

This dynamic was acted out — yet again — in President Obama’s latest and perhaps most humiliating attempt to placate his Republican captors in Washington. No sooner did he invite the G.O.P.’s Congressional leaders to a post-election White House summit meeting than they countered his hospitality with a slap — postponing the date for two weeks because of “scheduling conflicts.” But they were kind enough to reschedule, and that was enough to get Obama to concentrate once more on his captors’ “good side.”

\r\n

More...

Section(s): 

Raising False Alarms

\r\n

    \r\n
  • It’s actually hard to find any government program less in need of a major overhaul than Social Security.
  • \r\n

  • The president won’t give his seal of approval to any of the Bowles-Simpson proposals in tonight’s (State of the Union) speech, but don’t expect him to explicitly rule them out, either.
  • \r\n

\r\n

Bob Herbert, New York Times | NY

It has gone a long way toward eliminating poverty among the elderly. Great numbers of them used to live and die in ghastly, Dickensian conditions of extreme want. Without Social Security today, nearly half of all Americans aged 65 or older would be poor. With it, fewer than 10 percent live in poverty.

\r\n

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities tells us that close to 90 percent of people 65 and older get at least some of their family income from Social Security. For more than half of the elderly, it provides the majority of their income. For many, it is the only income they have.

\r\n

More...

\r\n

Related:

\r\n

Obama won't endorse raising retirement age or reducing Social Security benefits, Lori Montgomery, Washington Post | DC
The president won’t give his seal of approval to any of the Bowles-Simpson proposals in tonight’s speech, but don’t expect him to explicitly rule them out, either.

Section(s): 

Series | Rebooting the American Dream, Part 2

    \r\n
  • 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country: Back to the Future
  • \r\n

  • Part 2: Bring My Job Home!
  • \r\n

\r\n

By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he [the entrepreneur] intends only his own security, and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.  —Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, 1776

\r\n

Thom Hartmann, truth-out

\r\n

(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...Bring My Job Home!

The White House called me.

\r\n

About a year after President Barack Obama took office, on the first anniversary of his major economic recovery legislation, his administration was struggling to get the word out that the legislation was, in fact, quite a success story. I found myself invited to the White House as part of a small group of well-known authors and bloggers to meet with a top administration economist as part of this promotion effort.

\r\n

More...

Section(s): 

Pages

Subscribe to Books & Liturature