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Series | The Obama Legacy, Part 4: Obama Called Inequality ‘The Defining Challenge Of Our Time.’ He Didn’t Do Much About It.

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  • It’s a sad legacy.
  • This piece is Part 4 of a series on Obama’s legacy that Evergreene Digest  will be publishing over the next weeks.
  • Related: Obama's legacy of war, repression and inequality

Zach Carter, the Huffington Post

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01/05/2017 | In December 2013, President Barack Obama addressed representatives from anti-poverty nonprofits gathered in Washington, D.C.’s chronically depressed Anacostia neighborhood. He declared war on economic inequality.

“A dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility...  has jeopardized middle-class America’s basic bargain ― that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead,” Obama said. “I believe this is the defining challenge of our time: making sure our economy works for every working American.

“It’s why I ran for president,” Obama added. “It drives everything I do in this office.”

Zach Carte is the Huffington Post's Senior Political Economy Reporter, working out of Washington D.C. His story, "Swiped: Banks, Merchants and Why Washington Doesn't Work for You," written with Ryan Grim, was included in the Columbia Journalism Review's compilation Best Business Writing 2012.

Full story … 

Previously in this series:

Related: 

Obama's legacy of war, repression and inequality

The record of the Obama administration and the character of the individual himself speak, in the end, to the structure of American politics—an ossified and reactionary political establishment that lacks any broad base of support, standing atop a cauldron of seething social tensions. The true legacy of Obama is the deepening of the crisis of American capitalism and the emergence of a new period of social and revolutionary struggles.

Joseph Kishore, World Socialist Website 

10 January 2017 | US President Barack Obama’s “farewell address to the nation,” scheduled for tonight, has been preceded by a concentrated media buildup on the theme of Obama’s legacy. This has included fawning tributes portraying the president as a brilliant orator, progressive reformer, visionary and man of the people.

Seeking to mold the narrative of Obama’s presidency, the White House put out a video over the weekend featuring comedians Ellen DeGeneres and Jerry Seinfeld, actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, former basketball star Michael Jordan and other celebrities extolling the “historic moments that prove, yes, we can create progress.” Such absurd and nauseating effusions testify not to the qualities or accomplishments of the 44th president, but to the intellectual, political and moral debasement of the American cultural establishment.

Joseph Kishore is an American activist and writer. He is the National Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (United States) and a writer for the World Socialist Web Site.

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Will Americans Submit to Despotism in an Urge to 'Escape from Freedom'?

  • The pioneering psychologist explained the rise of Hitler with an analysis that seems way too relevant now.
  • Erich Fromm Saw It Coming.
  • Related: Most People Today Want to be Propagandized

Conor LynchSalon / AlterNet

http://www.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/erich_fromm_1974_2.jpg?itok=AvC_2jNV Eric Fromm Photo Credit: Müller-May / Rainer Funk, via Wikimedia Commons 

February 26, 2017 | President Donald Trump took his rancorous feud with the press to a frightening new level last week when he posted an inflammatory tweet that echoed tyrants of the past, calling the all-caps “FAKE NEWS” media “the enemy of the American People.”

As many were quick to point out, the phrase “enemy of the people” has a disturbing and violent history, and has long been used by totalitarian dictators to foster resentment and hatred of certain groups, and eventually to crush dissent and opposition. The infamous French revolutionary and Reign of Terror apologist Robespierre declared that the revolutionary government owed “nothing to the enemies of the people but death,” while the term was widely used in Stalinist Russia to single out dissidents, who were either imprisoned, executed or sent to the Gulag (in the end, almost all of the original Bolsheviks became “enemies of the people” during the great purge — which in reality meant enemies of Joseph Stalin).

Conor Lynch is a writer and journalist living in New York City. 

Full story … 

Related:

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Most People Today Want to be Propagandized, Daniel Lattier, Intellectual Takeout 

http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/ito/files/propaganda_0.jpgIntellectually insecure and socially uprooted, many people are now desperate for some authority to cling to, someone who will give simple expression to the inklings of thoughts and instincts to which they can neither give adequate voice nor adequately live out. 

"We would rather be ruined than changed. We would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the moment and let our illusions die." --WH Auden, English Poet  

 

With Creation of Little Noticed Department, Pope Francis is Securing Liberal Reforms

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Even if the conservative camp still holds an electoral majority at the next papal conclave, Pope Francis has at least begun to institutionalize his legacy within the Vatican bureaucracy, complete with a popular papabile leading the charge as he seeks to further secure his vision for the Church’s role in the world in 2017.

Cormac Shine, Religion Dispatches

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http://religiondispatches.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/popa.jpg February 17, 2017 | Unlike many of his fellow world leaders, Pope Francis had a good 2016. His emphasis on humanitarian kindness in a time of increasing political turbulence has been warmly received by many liberal observers, eager to find a source of hope in uncertain times. In particular, Francis’s statements on climate change, the migration crisis and the shortcomings of unfettered capitalism, and border walls, along with his obliquely progressive statements on social issues such as homosexuality and abortion, have won him continued plaudits in the secular media.

In an editorial on New Year’s Day, for example, the Guardian praised Pope Francis as a “champion of humanity,” outlining his paradoxical status as the defender of progressive causes now under attack around the world. Similarly, in a piece for the American Prospect, Alexander Görlach touted Francis as “A Sacred Populist,” lauding him for breaking with conservatives and preaching a simple message of acceptance in times of great political upheaval and conflict. Liberals have had all the more reason to rally behind the pope since the beginning of Trump’s presidency, as White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has allied with Francis’s bitterest opponents in an attempt to export his political revolution to the Vatican.

Full story … 

Who Controls Our Schools?

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  • How Billionaire-Sponsored Privatization Is Destroying Democracy and Enriching the Charter School Industry
  • A report/ebook on the corporate takeover of K-12 schools.

Don Hazen, Elizabeth Hines, Steven Rosenfeld, Stan Salett, AlterNet

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Editor%20Comment%20graphic_0.jpg AlterNet Editor's note: AlterNet has covered the school privatization story in great detail. Over time, we became alarmed at what we were seeing. The Independent Media Institute, AlterNet’s parent organization, has published an ebook, Who Controls Our Schools? The Privatization of American Public Education, the full text of which you can access for free online with this link. What follows is a summary of its findings and recommendations.

https://portside.org/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/field/image/rotten_apple-620x412.jpg?itok=E6_lUiIG (Credit: aimy27feb, bogdan ionescu via Shutterstock/Salon)  October 26, 2016 | The Problem

America’s public schools, which over the 20th century came to embrace the promise of equal opportunity for all children, are at a historic crossroad. Once the heart of our democracy and a bastion of local accountability, our K-12 schools now bear the scars of a nearly 25-year assault from a cadre of very wealthy ideological reformers who seek to privately run them using taxpayers' funds. Their most popular tool to dismantle this public good? Charter public schools, especially those run by corporate franchises, which now educate millions of students.

The growth of charter schools nationwide (whose numbers have increased exponentially since 2000) would not have occurred without a handful of heirs to the world’s largest family fortunes and other billionaires directing their tax-exempt foundations using their wealth to remake public schools in a corporate image. Critics have called it a virtual conspiracy while charter school promoters see themselves as K-12 education’s saviors. Either way, the result has been the creation of a little-understood, parallel, privatized system within the public school system.

Don Hazenn is the executive editor of AlterNet.

Elizabeth Hines is AlterNet's education editor and the co-author of Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire.

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's democracy and voting rights. He is the author of several books on elections and the co-author of Who Controls Our Schools: How Billionaire-Sponsored Privatization Is Destroying Democracy and the Charter School Industry (AlterNet eBook, 2016).

Stan Salett is a former public school teacher, elected school board member, organizer of public school parents and engaged citizens, and assistant commissioner of a state education agency. He is one of the creators of Head Start and Upward Bound and is the author of The Edge of Politics: Stories from the Civil Rights Movement, the War on Poverty and the Challenges of School Reform.

Full story … 

Be Wary Of The Democratic Wing Of The Protest Movement

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  • The self-labeled "Progressive Movement" that has arisen over the past decade is primarily one big propaganda campaign serving the political interests of the the Democratic Party’s richest one-percent who created it.  The funders and owners of the Progressive Movement get richer and richer off Wall Street and the corporate system.  But they happen to be Democrats, cultural and social liberals who can’t stomach Republican policies, and so after bruising electoral defeats a decade ago they decided to buy a movement, one just like the Republicans, a copy.
  • Related: Progressives Need A New Party, Not A New DNC Chair

John Stauber, CounterPunch / Popular Resistance

https://popularresistance-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2017/02/trump_donald_getty_11-e1486045708517.jpg Above Photo: From thehill.com

February 14th, 2017 | There is good news in the Boston Globe today for the managers, development directors, visionaries, political hacks and propaganda flacks who run “the Progressive Movement.”   More easy-to-earn and easy-to-hide soft money, millions of dollars,  will be flowing to them from super rich Democrats and business corporations.  It will come clean, pressed and laundered through Organizing for Action, the latest incarnation of the Obama Money Machine which has recently morphed into a “nonpartisan non-profit corporation” that will  ‘‘strengthen the progressive movement and train our next generation of leaders.’’

Does this information concern you?  If not, you need to get out of the propaganda bubble of your Progressive Movement echo chamber and think.  Think hard.  Think about fundamental, radical, democratic, social and economic change, who might bring it about and how.  Ask yourself if the the rich elite, the 1%, are going to fund that.   Leave The Nation and Mother Jones on the shelf;  turn off Ed Schultz, Rachel Madow and Chris Hayes;  don’t open that barrage of email missives from Alternet, Media Matters, MoveOn, and the other think tanks;  and get your head out of the liberal blogosphere for a couple days.  Clear your mind and consider this.

John Stauber is an independent writer, activist and author.  His books include Toxic Sludge Is Good for You, Mad Cow USA and Weapons of Mass Deception.  In 1993 he founded the Center for Media and Democracy to exposed corporate, political and media propaganda campaigns.  

Full story … 

Related: 

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/No%20Republicrats.jpgProgressives Need A New Party, Not A New DNC Chair, Jonathan H. Martin, Huffington Post

  • The DNC election … should challenge … progressives to ask themselves how long they will continue sailing on the U.S.S. Democrat. That ship is not headed toward the desired destination, nor is it even designed to go there. Moreover, in the wake of the 2016 election, it is a boat that appears to be rotting, drifting, and gradually sinking. Why not jump aboard a different vessel, one that really has the potential to get us where we urgently need to go?
  • Related: Series | 2016 General Election Guide, Part 1: The Left Has Lost Its Nerve and Direction

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