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The Greatest Story Too Rarely Told: America Is an Oligarchy

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"We’ve been accepting an unacceptable level of insanity in our national body politic for decades now," says Atcheson. (Photo: Education Images / Getty)

  • We live in a nation controlled by corporate power and the individually wealthy. And the major press, of course, is in on the con.
  • Related: Fools and hucksters are governing this country based on Ronald Reagan lies.

John Atcheson, Common Dreams>

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http://www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/propaganda-lies.png Thursday, July 13, 2017 | OK.  Enough.  It’s time to quit being “balanced” or “non-partisan” or whatever other euphemism the elite establishment media uses to justify ignoring the two biggest elephants in our national living room.

After Trump was elected there was a lot of concern about allowing his idiocy to become the “new normal.” But in truth, we’ve been accepting an unacceptable level of insanity in our national body politic for decades now.

https://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/cd_bio_small/public/authors/atcheson.jpg?itok=E3GxkkJ2John Atcheson is author of the novel, A Being Darkly Wise, and he has just completed a book on the 2016 elections, tentatively titled, WTF America? How the US Went Off the Rails and How to Get It Back on Track.

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Fools and hucksters are governing this country based on Ronald Reagan lies, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest  

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  • Part 1: Fools and hucksters are governing this country

Their very presence in the White House is a daily debasement of the values and traditions that once made America great.

  • Part 2: Ending the Ronald Reagan lie

A small group of wealthy interests has hijacked the federal government, driving policies that are strongly against public opinion and the public good.

  • Related: A Definitive Guide to the G.O.P. Insiders Enabling Donald Trump

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Series | Outclassed: Part 1: Why do we think poor people are poor because of their own bad choices?

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‘ Among the wealthy, biases allow society’s winners to believe that they got where they are by hard work alone’. Illustration: Rosie Roberts

  • If an unexpected medical emergency bankrupts you, you view yourself as a victim of bad fortune – while seeing other bankruptcy court clients as spendthrifts. Why?
  • Outclassed: The Secret Life of Inequality is our new series about class. This installment is Part 1. 
  • Related: Kurt Vonnegut Ponders Why “Poor Americans Are Taught to Hate Themselves” in a Timely Passage from Slaughterhouse-Five

Maia Szalavitz, Guardian

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https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/mt/2016/11/ij_banner/lead_960.jpg?1480521355Wednesday, 5 July, 2017 | Cecilia Mo thought she knew all about growing up poor when she began teaching at Thomas Jefferson senior high school in south Los Angeles. As a child, she remembered standing in line, holding a free lunch ticket. But it turned out that Mo could still be shocked by poverty and violence – especially after a 13-year-old student called her in obvious panic. He had just seen his cousin get shot in his front yard.

For Mo, hard work and a good education took her to Harvard and Stanford. But when she saw just how much chaos and violence her LA students faced, she recognized how lucky she had been growing up with educated parents and a safe, if financially stretched, home.

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/uploads/2017/05/26/Maia-Szalavitz.jpg?w=140&h=140&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=640caefbc099a7fde21144d984959c18 Maia Szalavitz is the author of Unbroken Brain:  A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction, which will be published in April. She is a 2015-16 Soros Justice Fellow and has covered addiction and neuroscience for major publications for nearly 30 years.

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Related:

Kurt Vonnegut Ponders Why “Poor Americans Are Taught to Hate Themselves” in a Timely Passage from Slaughterhouse-Five, Josh Jones, Open Culture 

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  • For all his (Campbell's) outlandish presentation, he is a complicated figure---something of an amalgam of the far right’s showmen and hucksters and its cynical intellectuals, who often understand very well how the stark divisions of race and class are maintained in the U.S., and exploit that knowledge for political gain.
  • Related: From the Archives | Noam Chomsky: America Hates Its Poor

 

Three Strategies to Defend GOP Health Bill: Euphemisms, False Statements and Deleted Comments

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Speaker of the House Paul Ryan conducting a presentation in early March of the GOP’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

  • Since the passage of the American Health Care Act, Republican members of Congress have tried to swing public opinion to their side. ProPublica has been tracking what they’re saying.
  • Related: Special Report | GOP Health Care Reform: Week Ending June 24, 2017

Charles Ornstein, ProPublica

http://www.kfai.org/files/images/health%20care%20symbol%20screw.jpg May 25, 2017 | Earlier this month, a day after the House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act, Ashleigh Morley visited her congressman’s Facebook page to voice her dismay.

“Your vote yesterday was unthinkably irresponsible and does not begin to account for the thousands of constituents in your district who rely upon many of the services and provisions provided for them by the ACA,” Morley wrote on the page affiliated with the campaign of Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. “You never had my vote and this confirms why.”

https://www.propublica.org/images/member_photos/photo_2092.jpg Charles Ornstein is a senior reporter for ProPublica <>covering health care and the pharmaceutical industry.

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Special Report | GOP Health Care Reform: Week Ending June 24, 2017, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest.

  • We have time to fight back, and it doesn’t matter if you have a Republican or Democratic Senator—you are needed in this fight. Here’s how to fight back.
  • 8 New Items including:
  • It's Time to Stop TrumpCare and We've Got a Plan.
  • Health Care Has Been Cut Before. Here’s What Happened.
  • Cerebral Palsy Didn’t Stop This College Junior. Obamacare Repeal Might
  • The face of Republican evil: It’s not Donald Trump.
  • Money in Politics: Here’s how much health insurance companies paid Republicans to flip their vote on Trumpcare.
  • GOP senators have concerns with Senate-drafted Health Care Bill

 

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The Nauseating Hypocrisy Surrounding The Kathy Griffin Criticism

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Mark Ralston via Getty Images 

 

She crossed the taste line—that’s all.

Cody Lyon, Huff Post

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06/02/2017 | There’s a vein of sad, pathetic hypocrisy running through both the left and right of the United States tonight. We live in times fueled by constant breaking media reports and self serving social media commentary. Adding fuel to the symptom, Americans are quick to take reactionary tones in times of tension. We’re quick to jump on the praise or condemnation express train- as if a stance will validate our individual moral compass.

There’s little doubt, Kathy Griffin’s photo with a fake bloody head was tasteless and offensive. But if that sort of crass blood soaked satire is not your thing, it’s easy to just ignore it. Turn the other way.

Cody LyonHuff Post Contributor, NYC writer/reporter

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America's Embrace of Willful Ignorance

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  • These new great men are great because of what makes them similar to the mass --a kind of crude common sense, brutality, and lack of culture. The handling of affairs may make then admirably cunning and remarkably good at the practice of politics. But to maintain their prestige and power, they must also maintain their lack of culture and brutality. They must remain primitives. --Jean Guehenno, Diary of the Dark Years, 1940-1944: Collaboration, Resistance, and Daily Life in Occupied Paris
  • Related: White America's Greatest Delusion: "They Do Not Know It and They Do Not Want to Know It"

Lenore Daniels, OpEdNews 

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5/30/2017 | Dark blue signs appeared on so many lawns. Trump/Pence.

"I just grab them by"." "When you're a star, they let you do it."

As I rode pass one lawn after and another, I thought those signs could have read: Whites Only!

Here, in Trump's Kenosha, otherwise known as America's Kenosha, I sit on a seat in the front of the bus. I walk on whatever side of the street suits me. I shop or eat at any store or restaurant downtown. Whites speak to me, and I speak to them. While the calendar indicates this is 2017, I am sure Rosa Parks would be familiar with the status quo here in the heartland of America. In other words, she would recognize white supremacy not only in the war chants of Richard Spencer and his ilk. But more important, Rosa would recognize the way Black Americans are still expected to inhabit a certain place and to do so in a certain way so as to acknowledge allegiance to the supremacy of whiteness.

When I saw all those "Trump/Pence" signs, I recalled those first few weeks when I arrived at a new campus and a new state. I had taught for over ten years by this time. A white colleague and I stood in a hallway at the university here watching predominantly white students walking to and from their classes. They are unsophisticated. I heard her in this noisy hallway, but I did not ask for an explanation. Instead, I felt as if I were miles away from her and these students. I looked closer at the students. They did not see me! I was somewhere where these young white people did not see me! And when they did, they looked down at the top of my head. Lessons from home mattered! Soon I realized the phrase referenced what was no longer contained as something local. After September 11, 2001, when the narrative of the patriotic full-fledged American made my critical critique of American politics and culture suspect and anti-American that same colleague informed me that I "didn't fit it." And this phenomena was neither local or personal either.

Lenore Daniels: Activist, writer, American Modern Literature, Cultural Theory

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Related:

White America's Greatest Delusion: "They Do Not Know It and They Do Not Want to Know It" Tim Wise, AlterNet

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  • It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.
  • Related: ‘We Must Actively Stand Up’: John Angelos’ Response to Racism at Fenway Park

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From the Archives | 28 Reasons I’m DONE Talking To My Conservative Friends And Family

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  • I’m very grateful and appreciative of my sane conservative friends who can actually participate in an intelligent and respectful discussion. Thank you, my dear ones, for being sane. For understanding that things aren’t always black and white. And for disagreeing with me without belittling my very existence. … And for never once calling me stupid or amoral for being a liberal.
  • Related: White America's Greatest Delusion: "They Do Not Know It and They Do Not Want to Know It"

Tiffanny Willis, Liberal America

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http://www.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2014-06-11_at_1.40.59_pm.png February 11, 2015 | I’m a Southern girl. Born in the South, raised in the South, and have rarely lived anywhere BUT the South. I actually love the South. I’ll die in the South. Being a Southern girl, I have more than my share of right-wing friends, neighbors, and family members — and some of you have in recent years crossed the line into nut-jobbery.

The fact is — I love you guys and that will never change.

I’ll admit that I’m disappointed and disturbed to see intelligent and/or educated people who are willfully ignorant. But while it does change my opinion about you on some level, more than anything I’m embarrassed for you. It hurts me to see you post conspiracy theories on your Facebook timeline, only to have them debunked with a quick Snopes link. It hurts me to see you expressing unapologetic and blatant racism and ignorance. It absolutely tortures me to see you being on the wrong side of history on so many issues.

Tiffanny WillisLiberal Americas publisher, former staff writer for the Atlanta (GA) Journal-Constitution. Councilman for the mighty City of Pine Lake, population 680 not counting geese. Democrat.

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Related:

White America's Greatest Delusion: "They Do Not Know It and They Do Not Want to Know It" Tim Wise, AlterNet

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  • It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.
  • Related: ‘We Must Actively Stand Up’: John Angelos’ Response to Racism at Fenway Park

 

How Russia Became “Our Adversary” Again

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Photo by thierry hermann | CC BY 2.0

  • Perverse political logic works to sustain the strange new neo-McCarthyite anti-Russian madness, which is rooted in the U.S. imperial agenda, not any relevant Russian influence on U.S. life and politics.
  • Related: On Trump, McCarthyism, and the Russia Hacking Charges

Paul Street, Counterpunch

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May 19, 2017 | United States-of-Americans are routinely told by politicians and corporate media pundits and talking heads that Russia is their enemy – an “adversary state.”  The assertion has been normalized.  It passes without challenge or justification.

Forget for now the question of whether and how “our adversary Russia” intervened significantly on Donald Trump’s behalf in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.  Put aside the glaring absence of any smoking gun evidence to back that charge up and contemplate the fundamental matter of how and why Vladimir Putin’s Russia became “our enemy” in the first place.

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Paul Street is an independent radical-democratic policy researcher, journalist, historian, author and speaker. His latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy.

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Related:

On Trump, McCarthyism, and the Russia Hacking Charges, Victor Navasky, The Nation / Portside 

https://portside.org/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/field/image/army_mccarthy_hearings.jpg?itok=whaYgCd4Chief Counsel for the Army Joseph Welch (left) being questioned by Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy during the McCarthy-Army hearings in 1954. credit - Wikimedia Commons / US Senate // The Nation

  • One legacy of the McCarthy era is the cloud of suspicion that still hangs over anything connected with the former Soviet Union. If Trump or his associates were indeed guilty of collaborating with the Russians by interfering in the American election, then they broke the law and should be held accountable. But in a world threatened by nuclear weapons, ISIS, and climate change, it seems to me more important than ever that we talk to our adversaries and work toward détente.
  • Related: If We’re Gonna Impeach Trump, Let’s Make Sure We’re Clear on A Couple Points.

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Series | Donald Trump, The Carnage Continues: Humiliation of the Word

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  • As Trump rails against “fake news” while presenting “alternative facts,” blatant lies, and trenchant denials, all opposition becomes the enemy, and all who oppose are branded liars. Language has become trivialized and ideas relevatized; rational dialogue is all but impossible.
  • To deliberately diminish the power of language, as the Trump team does with lies, is to cut into the heart of what it means to be a human being.

Jeff Dietrich, LA Catholic Worker Agitator

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Donald%20Trump%20Caricature.jpg April, 2017 | The late social critic, philosopher, and theologian Jacques Ellul, in his book The Humiliation of the Word, tells us that the word is the essential reality, the word is what separates humans from the animal world. Another of my favorite social critics is the eminent linguist Noam Chomsky, who, unlike Ellul the Christian believer, is an atheist. Both Chomsky the atheist and Ellul the Christian have a profound faith in the word. Both believe that language is what makes us human.

Chomsky believes that there was no extensive evolutionary develop ment of language; it surprisingly did not evolve from our ancestral ape relatives’ use of simple sign language. “The reality,” he says, “is becoming increasingly clear that the uniquely modern (human) sensibilitywas almost certainly crucially abetted by the invention of what is the single most remarkable thing about our modern selves: language” (What Kind of Creatures Are We?).

Jeff Dietrich is an editor of the LA CAtholic Worker Agitator

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