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Russian and American Roulette Compared

Trump Is Not the Problem

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  • Trump is not the problem. Think of him instead as a summons to address the real problem, which … is the collective responsibility of the people themselves. For Americans to shirk that responsibility further will almost surely pave the way for more Trumps — or someone worse — to come.
  • The President as Pimple
  • Related: It's not all about Trump! The secrets of winning the long game.

Andrew Bacevic, TomDispatch / Truthdig

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Sep 12, 2018 | Donald Trump’s tenure as the 45th U.S. president may last another few weeks, another year, or another 16 months.  However unsettling the prospect, the leaky vessel that is the S.S. Trump might even manage to stay afloat for a second term.  Nonetheless, recent headline-making revelations suggest that, like some derelict ship that’s gone aground, the Trump presidency may already have effectively run its course. What, then, does this bizarre episode in American history signify?

Let me state my own view bluntly: forget the atmospherics.  Despite the lies, insults, name calling, and dog whistles, almost nothing of substance has changed. Nor will it.

Andrew Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East:  A Military History, which has been published by Random House.

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Related:

It's not all about Trump! The secrets of winning the long game. Jim Hightower, The Hightower Lowdown
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  • Take heart from these tales of regular folks battling the bastards–and beating them back.
  • Related: Democracy Is What We Make of It.
     

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Central Banks Have Gone Rogue; The Contagion Has Spread To Democracy Itself.

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  • Part 1: Ten Years After The Financial Crisis, The Contagion Has Spread To Democracy Itself.
  • Tim Geithner, BenBernankeand Hank Paulson dealt a catastrophic blow to public faith in American institutions.
     
  • Part 2: Central Banks Have Gone Rogue, Putting Us All at Risk.
  • It is time to curb central bank independence.Iftheirpowerful tools are going to be put to work, it should be in the service of the public and the economy.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Ten Years After The Financial Crisis, The Contagion Has Spread To Democracy Itself.

https://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/5b9d80ca2500003500367c9a.jpeg?cache=ux943pagyc&ops=crop_17_40_2983_1234,scalefit_970_noupscaleBen Bernanke (right) and Timothy Geithner (background) say they did what they had to do to “prevent the collapse of the financial system and avoid another Great Depression.” But what they really did was teach middle-class families a grim lesson. Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson dealt a catastrophic blow to public faith in American institutions.


Zach Carter, Huff Post

09/15/2018 | By the time Lehman Brothers filed for the largest bankruptcy in American history on Sept. 15, 2008, the country had been navigating stormy global financial waters for more than a year. Bear Stearns had been rescued in a bailout-facilitated merger with JPMorgan Chase, and the government had nationalized housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For anyone paying attention to the financial system, the situation had been quite dire for a long time.

And yet throughout the mess, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury had been permitting the largest banks in the country to funnel as much cash as they wanted to their shareholders ― even as it became clear those same banks could not pay their debts. Lehman itself had increased its dividend and announced a $100 million stock buyback at the beginning of 2008. Insurance giant AIG paid its highest dividend in company history on Sept. 19, 2008 ― three days after the Federal Reserve handed the insurance giant $85 billion in emergency funds. According to Stanford University Business School Professor Anat Admati, the 19 biggest American banks passed out $80 billion in dividends between the summer of 2007 and the close of 2008. They drew $160 billion in bailout funds from the U.S. Treasury, and untold billions from the Fed’s $7.7 trillion in emergency lending.

https://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/55a538cb1b0000c6022802c2.png?ops=100_100Zach Carter, Senior Reporter, HuffPost

Full story …



Part 2: Central Banks Have Gone Rogue, Putting Us All at Risk.

 

https://www.truthdig.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/208364955_bd1c4e4673_z.jpgIt is time to curb central bank independence. If their powerful tools are going to be put to work, it should be in the service of the public and the economy.

Ellen Brown, Truthdig.com

September 13, 2018 | Excluding institutions such as Blackrock and Vanguard, which are composed of multiple investors, the largest single players in global equity markets are now thought to be central banks themselves. An estimated 30 to 40 central banks are invested in the stock market, either directly or through their investment vehicles (sovereign wealth funds). According to David Haggith at Zero Hedge:

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Open%20Quotes.jpg"Central banks buying stocks are effectively nationalizing U.S. corporations just to maintain the illusion that their “recovery” plan is working. … At first, their novel entry into the stock market was only intended to rescue imperiled corporations, such as General Motors during the first plunge into the Great Recession, but recently their efforts have shifted to propping up the entire stock market via major purchases of the most healthy companies on the market."

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Ellen%20Brown_0.jpgEllen Brown is an attorney, chairman of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including "Web of Debt" and "The Public Bank Solution."

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No Clear Plan to Fill More Than 45,000 Job Vacancies at VA

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The front of the Department of Veterans Affairs building in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The VA stressed that job vacancies should not be equated with performance.

Richard Sisk, Military.com
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4 Sep 2018 | The Department of Veterans Affairs released eye-opening figures over the weekend showing that the VA had more than 45,000 full-time job vacancies -- thousands more than had previously been reported.

Under the new quarterly reporting requirements of the VA Mission Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump in June, the VA said that as of June 30 there were "45,239 overall vacancies at the department, out of a total of 419,353 full-time authorized and budgeted positions."

Richard Sisk has more than 45 years of journalism experience in reporting and editing in the U.S. and abroad. He has been Military.com’s Pentagon reporter since 2016. Sisk is a Vietnam veteran who served with the 2nd Battalion, Fourth Marines, in 1967-68.

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Democracy Is What We Make of It

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  • In other words, institutions won’t save us: We have to save them.
  • Related: Flowers and Zeese | US Democracy Crisis Creates Illegitimate Political System

Nathan Pippenger, Democracy

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August 9, 2018 | he political theorist Melvin Rogers has written a succinct and compelling rebuttal to the “resilient institutions” theory that remains, even now, popular among certain anti-Trump writers of an optimistic bent. His response draws on the political thought of John Dewey, who warned against confusing healthy politics with the “fulfillment of prescriptions laid down in a constitution” and the “observance of formulae that have become ritualistic.” “For Dewey,” writes Rogers, “democracy’s survival depends on a set of habits and dispositions—in short, a culture—to sustain it.” On this view, the breakdown of democratic culture puts the system in mortal peril: “When Dewey warns us that democratic conditions don’t automatically maintain themselves, and that the mere existence of a constitution does not safeguard democracy, he is dispelling the illusion that the United States is immune to the darkness of twentieth-century totalitarianism.” What Rogers is saying, in effect, is that we may well turn out to be unlucky enough to witness “our institutions will save us!” become the mordant civic equivalent of “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”

One virtue of Rogers’s essay is the clarity with which he describes frightening cultural breakdowns that have already become part of daily life. Consider:

Nathan Pippenger is a contributing editor at Democracy.

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Related:

Flowers and Zeese | US Democracy Crisis Creates Illegitimate Political System, Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance  /  Rise Up Times

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  • The media problem should not be underestimated. As John Stauber points out “We are completely enveloped by the corporate propaganda system from the moment of our birth on, and it allows the oligarchy to control our minds and lives from cradle to grave, in seamless invisible fashion, via marketing, advertising and public relations, reinforced by the news media.  Few are able to admit and see this . . .”
  • Related: Trump Isn't the Campaign Media's First Mistake

Related:

  • It's not all about Trump! The secrets of winning the long game. Jim Hightower, The Hightower Lowdown
  • Take heart from these tales of regular folks battling the bastards–and beating them back.
  • Related: Democracy Is What We Make of It.

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Yes, let's wipe out Trump. But take neoliberal Democrats with him, too.

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Democratic candidates are winning primaries in several states, challenging the party’s decrepit establishment. Illustration: Niv Bavarsky

  • A new wave of left-leaningDemocratsare waging a war on the party’s corporate wing.
  • Related: Barack Obama’s Neoliberal Legacy: How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul

David Sirota, Guardian

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Monday, September10,2018 | After a scorching summer of discontent, Donald Trump’s endless tweets and scandals have given Democrats their best chance to retake Congress since George W Bush’s second term. And yet, insurgent progressives are not limiting themselves to dethroning Republicans: they are taking aim at corporate-friendly Democrats within their own party, too.

Amid an upsurge of populist energy that has alarmed the Democratic establishment, a new wave of left-leaning insurgents have been using Democratic primaries to wage a fierce war on the party’s corporate wing. And, as in past presidential primary battles, many Democratic consultants,politiciansand pundits have insisted that the party must prioritize unity and resist grassroots pressure to support a more forceful progressive agenda.
David Sirota is a Guardian US columnist and an investigative journalist at Capital & Main. His latest book is Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explains the World We Live in Now – Our Culture, Our Politics.

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Related:

Barack Obama’s Neoliberal Legacy: How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • 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.

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Chris Hedges: Would the American People be Better Served by a Movement for a People’s Party?

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  • Nick Brana, founder, executive director of Movement for a People’s Party talks with journalist Chris Hedges about the US’ two political party system, the need for third and fourth parties and his experience campaigning for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election.
  • Related: The Unengaged: America's Real Third Party

Chris Hedges, Dandelion Salad

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11 Aug 2018 | Nick Brana, founder, executive director of Movement for a People’s Party <https://www.forapeoplesparty.org/> talks with journalist Chris Hedges about the US’ two political party system, the need for third and fourth parties and his experience campaigning for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election.

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Chris%20Hedges_0.jpg 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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http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/sites/333/2018/08/question-2736480_640.jpgThe Unengaged: America's Real Third Party, Erin Wathen, Irreverin

  • Get past the sound bites and get into the the process.
  • Just get out there. Don’t throw away your vote to the Unengaged ticket.

 

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The Unengaged: America's Real Third Party

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  • Get past the sound bites and get into the the process.
  • Just get out there. Don’t throw away your vote to the Unengaged ticket.

Erin Wathen, Irreverin

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August 7, 2018 | The church I used to serve in Phoenix shared space with a preschool. It was also a polling site in every election.
I used to set up a card table in our courtyard area, outside of where people were going in to vote, and I’d have cookies or donuts or something, and





also church brochures and swag, for anybody who wanted to stop and chat about the church. It was always a bit of happy chaos in the mornings, when all the preschool kids were getting dropped off AND neighbors were coming through to vote.

http://2.gravatar.com/avatar/b74f7ca70483103d7b13738306adccf4?s=190&d=mm&r=g Erin Wathen is the Senior Pastor of Saint Andrew Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Olathe, KS. She's a Kentucky native, a long-time desert dweller, and she writes about the sacred thread that runs through pretty much everything.

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