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Government & Politics

Third world America

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  • Collapsing bridges, street lights turned off, cuts to basic services: the decline of a superpower
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  • Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor
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  • The United States of Fear
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  • Empire of Illusion
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Luiza Ch. Savage, MacLeans

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Ken Mitchell

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Danny Wilcox Frazier/Redux/ Robert Galbraith/Reuters/ Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

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In February, the board of commissioners of Ohio’s Ashtabula County faced a scene familiar to local governments across America: a budget shortfall. They began to cut spending and reduced the sheriff’s budget by 20 per cent. A law enforcement agency staff that only a few years ago numbered 112, and had subsequently been pared down to 70, was cut again to 49 people and just one squad car for a county of 1,900 sq. km along the shore of Lake Erie. The sheriff’s department adapted. “We have no patrol units. There is no one on the streets. We respond to only crimes in progress. We don’t respond to property crimes,” deputy sheriff Ron Fenton told Maclean’s. The county once had a “very proactive” detective division in narcotics. Now, there is no detective division. “We are down to one evidence officer and he just runs the evidence room in case someone wants to claim property,” said Fenton. “People are getting property stolen, their houses broken into, and there is no one investigating. We are basically just writing up a report for the insurance company.”

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If a county without police seems like a weird throwback to an earlier, frontier-like moment in American history, it is not the only one. “Back to the Stone Age” is the name of a seminar organized in March by civil engineers at Indiana’s Purdue University for local county supervisors interested in saving money by breaking up paved roads and turning them back to gravel. While only some paved roads in the state have been broken up, “There are a substantial number of conversations going on,” John Habermann, who manages a program at Purdue that helps local governments take care of infrastructure, told Maclean’s. “We presented a lot of talking points so that the county supervisors can talk logically back to elected officials when the question is posed,” he said. The state of Michigan had similar conversations. It has converted at least 50 miles of paved road to gravel in the last few years.

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Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor, Hope Yen and Liz Sidoti, Huffington Post

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  • Experts say a jump in the poverty rate could mean that the liberal viewpoint – social constraints prevent the poor from working – will gain steam over the conservative position that the poor have opportunities to work but choose not to because they get too much help.
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  • Special Report | American Labor in 2010
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  • The jobs emergency
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The United States of Fear, Bill Quigley, Common Dreams
You tell me what happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave since September 11, 2001.

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Empire of Illusion, Jeff Dietrich, The Catholic Agitator

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  • It's all about spectacle and debauchery. People are so disconnected from reality that they don't know how to read what is happening--they cannot grasp that the walls are tumbling down--and so they retreat into absurdities. This is the disease gripping American society today.
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  • Building a Nation of Know-Nothings
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  • Lady Gaga: Pop Star for a Country and an Empire in Decline
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How Corporations Own the US Congress

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For whom does the two party system work?

Shamus Cooke, Global Research

Cassatt and Brookins

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With the November elections quickly approaching, the majority of Americans will be thinking one thing: "Who cares?” This apathy isn't due to ignorance, as some accuse. Rather, working people's disinterest in the two party system implies intelligence: millions of people understand that both the Democrats and Republicans will not represent their interests in Congress.  

This begs the question: Whom does the two party system work for?

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The answer was recently given by the mainstream New York Times, who gave the nation an insiders peek on how corporations "lobby" (buy) congressmen. The article explains how giant corporations — from Wall-mart to weapons manufacturers — are planning on shifting their hiring practices for lobbyists, from Democratic to Republican ex-congressmen in preparation for the Republicans gaining seats in the upcoming November elections.

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Summary: Barack Obama, Change We Can Believe In: Week of September 19

5 New Items including:

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  • "Hope-and-Change," A Hoax
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  • The Bleaker Truth of Anti-Americanism: Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Ken Catalino

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"Hope-and-Change," A Hoax, Michael Rectenwald and Lori Price, Citizens for Legitimate Government

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  • We believe that Obama’s rhetoric was a complete fabrication aimed at diverting real energy for change into a cul de sac of Democratic apologetics. It was, in short, a hoax.
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  • A post-9/11 betrayal endures
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A post-9/11 betrayal endures, Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times | CA

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  • President Obama and his administration have embraced the secrecy and usurpations of power that made possible the Bush-Cheney betrayal of American values
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  • A step backwards on privacy
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  • Court Dismisses a Case Asserting Torture by C.I.A.
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US eyes more troops for Afghanistan, PressTV/Citizens for Legitimate Government
The mission comes in addition to the 30,000 extra troops sent by US President Barack Obama to bolster the unpopular war.
"Hope-and-Change," A Hoax

The True Cost of the War, Paul Craig Roberts, Information Clearing House

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  • President Obama spoke of the cost to Americans of liberating Iraq, but is Iraq liberated or is Iraq in the hands of American puppet politicians and still occupied by 50,000 American troops and 200,000 private mercenaries and “contractors,” governed out of the largest embassy in the world, essentially a fortress?
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  • "Hope-and-Change," A Hoax
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  • A post-9/11 betrayal endures
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The Bleaker Truth of Anti-Americanism: Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo, Andy Worthington, Common Dreams
On the 9th Anniversary of 9/11, A Call to Close Guantánamo and to Hold Accountable Those Who Authorized Torture

The 100 Vote Senate

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The Senate does not operate by majority rule; It does not really even operate by supermajority rule. Increasingly, the Senate can only act unanimously.

Progress Report, Think Progress

It's common wisdom that nothing gets done in the U.S. Senate without a 60 vote supermajority, but this common wisdom is entirely too optimistic. Although only a small minority of senators object to any one of President Obama's judicial nominees, confirmations have slowed to such a glacial pace that Republican control over federal trial courts increased since Obama took office.

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Likewise, a massive 372 bills that passed House during the Obama presidency have yet to receive a vote in the Senate. Only a handful of these bills were even remotely controversial in the House, and 44 of them passed the House unanimously. Such obstruction works, even against uncontroversial bills and nominations, because the Senate's system of filibusters, delay tactics and secret holds empowers just one senator to bring the institution to a standstill. The Senate does not operate by majority rule; It does not really even operate by supermajority rule. Increasingly, the Senate can only act unanimously.

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How the Rich Conduct Class Warfare

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  • This isn't about some ridiculous stereotypes or populist demagoguery. This is about stone cold facts.
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  • Class Warfare from the Top Down
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Cenk Uygur, Huffington Post

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First, let me get this out of the way -- I have no problems with the rich. I plan on being rich. I'm an American. I believe. We all believe we can get to the top and enjoy the spoils of wealth. We are Americans.

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That's never been the issue. And in my lifetime the poor or middle class have never come close to declaring anything other than envy for the rich. But there is a class war going on. It's being conducted by the rich on the middle class in this country.

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Class Warfare from the Top Down, Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation on Grit TV

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  • While the economy stagnates and our infrastructure crumbles, Bush's breaks for the wealthiest Americans are doing far more harm than good.
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  • "The spine of this White House," says vanden Heuvel, "is wobbly."
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  • Why Obama Is Proposing Whopping Corporate Tax Cuts, and Why He’s Wrong
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The True Cost of the War

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  • President Obama spoke of the cost to Americans of liberating Iraq, but is Iraq liberated or is Iraq in the hands of American puppet politicians and still occupied by 50,000 American troops and 200,000 private mercenaries and “contractors,” governed out of the largest embassy in the world, essentially a fortress?
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  • "Hope-and-Change," A Hoax
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  • A post-9/11 betrayal endures
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Paul Craig Roberts, Information Clearing House

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Will Shapira

Obama’s “end of Iraq war” speech must have shattered any remaining belief in him. Forced to appease both his supporters and the warmonger right-wing, who denounce him as a Muslim and a Marxist, Obama resorted to Orwellian DoubleSpeak. He could only announce an end to the war by praising the president who started it and the troops who fought it. Yet, as most earthlings, if not Americans, surely know by now, the war
was based on a lie and on intentional deception. The American troops died for a lie.

President Obama spoke of the cost to Americans of liberating Iraq, but is Iraq liberated or is Iraq in the hands of American puppet politicians and still occupied by 50,000 American troops and 200,000 private mercenaries and “contractors,” governed out of the largest embassy in the world, essentially a fortress?

More...

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Related:

"Hope-and-Change," A Hoax, Michael Rectenwald and Lori Price, Citizens for Legitimate Government

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  • We believe that Obama’s rhetoric was a complete fabrication aimed at diverting real energy for change into a cul de sac of Democratic apologetics. It was, in short, a hoax.
  • \r\n

  • A post-9/11 betrayal endures
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A post-9/11 betrayal endures, Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times | CA

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  • President Obama and his administration have embraced the secrecy and usurpations of power that made possible the Bush-Cheney betrayal of American values
  • \r\n

  • A step backwards on privacy
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  • Court Dismisses a Case Asserting Torture by C.I.A.
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Can Our Schools Run on Duncan?

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  • Secretary of Education Arne Duncan pushes Chicago’s ineffective reforms on America’s children.
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  • The theory that supports treating education as a marketplace is flawed, as is the practice. When faced with performance incentives, people typically end up gaming the system.
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  • It’s the Poverty, Stupid
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David Moberg, In These Times

On July 22, a boy plugs his ears while Secretary of Education Arne Duncan makes remarks at the 'Let's Read. Let's Move' summer enrichment series at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C.

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When President Barack Obama announced that his choice for Secretary of Education was Arne Duncan, chief executive of the Chicago Public Schools, he extolled his basketball buddy as a pragmatic, successful school reformer. “He’s not beholden to any one ideology,” Obama said, adding that Duncan would speak with authority based on “the lessons he’s learned during his years changing our schools from the bottom up.”

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As a critic on the campaign trail of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, Obama implicitly offered Duncan’s efforts in Chicago as an alternative model of how his administration would improve American schools, particularly the most troubled.

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It’s the Poverty, Stupid, Roger Bybee, In These Times

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  • With America’s public schools struggling to survive slashed budgets and unequal funding, school reform is back on the national agenda—but will the new model of market-based “reform” promote greater educational quality?
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  • The education reform debate is misdirected.
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