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Wall Street's Stranglehold on Our Democracy Must Be Broken

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  • Progressive economist Simon Johnson talks about the fight to reform Wall Street, what Robert Rubin should do with his money, and why Jamie Dimon is the most dangerous man in America.
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  • Business buys itself a new government
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Zach Carter and Simon JohnsonAlterNet

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Simon Johnson

Zach Carter: Your push to break up the largest banks into smaller banks that can actually fail without wreaking havoc on the economy has been very well-received by progressives. But historically, the IMF and the Federal Reserve are not exactly hotbeds of progressive thought. How did you and Paul Volcker become the vanguard of the economic left?

Simon Johnson: The ideas that we're advancing both in Baseline Scenario and in the book should appeal to people on the right, the center and the left. There's an article by Arnold Kling that we wrote about on Baseline Scenario. He's a libertarian, which I am not, but he's come around to our way of thinking about the banks. If you think about it from the right, our financial system is just monstrously unfair. It's not in any way a market economy to have these banks who are so big that the government can't let them fail. They have funding advantages over other banks, and those advantages only encourage them to get bigger. That's just not reasonable.

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Business buys itself a new government, Nick Coleman, Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

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  • Corporate donors, newly emboldened by a court ruling, played dirty and won.
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  • So that's what a $4 billion campaign looks like!
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Click on deficit problem

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Play With This Toy

BooMan, Booman Tribune

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

Photo Credit: AMagill

Yes, you can solve the deficit problem, and you don't have to touch Social Security to do it. You don't have to charge admission to the Smithsonian museums to do it. You don't have to defund NPR and PBS to do it. You don't have to slash veteran's health benefits to do it. See for yourself.

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Living in the Age of Imposed Amnesia

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  • "We live in an age in which punitive justice and a theater of cruelty have become the defining elements of a mainstream cultural apparatus that trades in historical and social amnesia.
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  • Imposed amnesia is the modus operandi of the current moment.
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  • The Origin of America’s Intellectual Vacuum
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  • Empire of Illusion
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Henry A. Giroux, Truthout

"We live in an age in which punitive justice and a theater of cruelty have become the defining elements of a mainstream cultural apparatus that trades in historical and social amnesia. How else to explain the electoral sweep that just put the most egregious Republican Party candidates back in power? These are the people who gave us Katrina, made torture a state policy, promoted racial McCarthyism, celebrated immigrant bashing, pushed the country into two disastrous wars, built more prisons than schools, bankrupted the public treasury, celebrated ignorance over scientific evidence ('half of new Congressmen do not believe in global warming') and promoted the merging of corporate and political power."

For the public to forget so quickly the legacy of the injustices, widespread corruption and moral abyss created by this group (along with a select number of conservative democrats) points to serious issues with the pedagogical conditions and cultural apparatuses that made the return of the living dead possible. The moral, political and memory void that enabled this vengeful and punishing historical moment reached its shameful apogee by allowing the pathetic George W. Bush to reappear with a 44 percent popularity rating and a book tour touting his memoirs - the ultimate purpose of which is to erase any vestige of historical consciousness and make truth yet another casualty of the social amnesia that has come to characterize the American century.

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The Origin of America’s Intellectual Vacuum, Chris Hedges, TruthDig

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  • The silencing of radicals has left academics and intellectuals without the language, vocabulary of class war and analysis to critique the ideology of globalism, the savagery of unfettered capitalism and the ascendancy of the corporate state.
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  • Ignorance as Authenticity
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  • How propaganda is used in the U.S. to control it citizens
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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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The Origin of America’s Intellectual Vacuum

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  • The silencing of radicals has left academics and intellectuals without the language, vocabulary of class war and analysis to critique the ideology of globalism, the savagery of unfettered capitalism and the ascendancy of the corporate state.
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  • Ignorance as Authenticity
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  • How propaganda is used in the U.S. to control it citizens
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Chris Hedges, TruthDig

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

Like Chandler Davis, screenwriters Dalton Trumbo, left, and John Howard Lawson, were sent to prison for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee.

The blacklisted mathematics instructor Chandler Davis, after serving six months in the Danbury federal penitentiary for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), warned the universities that ousted him and thousands of other professors that the purges would decimate the country’s intellectual life.

“You must welcome dissent; you must welcome serious, systematic, proselytizing dissent—not only the playful, the fitful, or the eclectic; you must value it enough, not merely to refrain from expelling it yourselves, but to refuse to have it torn from you by outsiders,” he wrote in his 1959 essay “...From an Exile.” “You must welcome dissent not in a whisper when alone, but publicly so potential dissenters can hear you. What potential dissenters see now is that you accept an academic world from which we are excluded for our thoughts. This is a manifest signpost over all your arches, telling them: Think at your peril. You must not let it stand. You must (defying outside power; gritting your teeth as we grit ours) take us back.”

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Ignorance as Authenticity, Joe Klein, Swampland

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  • There is something profoundly diseased about a society that idolizes its ignoramuses and disdains its experts.
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  • People Are Allergic to the Facts
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How propaganda is used in the U.S. to control it citizens, Jack Finley, Veterans for Peace

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  • This video can provide a one and one-half hour of a Marketing 101 class on how rulers govern.
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  • The End of America? Naomi Wolf Thinks It Could Happen
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Business buys itself a new government

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  • Corporate donors, newly emboldened by a court ruling, played dirty and won.
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  • So that's what a $4 billion campaign looks like!
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  • Wall Street's Stranglehold on Our Democracy Must Be Broken
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Nick Coleman, Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

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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.

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If you're worried about the results of the 2010 Minnesota election, relax! We're getting some of the best representatives that money can buy.

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What's good for General Motors is good for the country, they used to say. Here in Minnesota, we have a different way of saying it: What's good for business is a Legislature whose members know what's good for them. With a Republican takeover of both houses of the Legislature, including a Senate that had been controlled by Democrats since 1973, business should be very good.

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Wall Street's Stranglehold on Our Democracy Must Be Broken, Zach Carter and Simon JohnsonAlterNet

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  • Progressive economist Simon Johnson talks about the fight to reform Wall Street, what Robert Rubin should do with his money, and why Jamie Dimon is the most dangerous man in America.
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  • Business buys itself a new government
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Special Report | 2010 Election Post-Mortem

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  • The system is now so rigged via campaign finance, lobbying and the revolving door that it is almost impossible for people who represent us to even get into office, let alone stay in office and enact policies that will bring change.
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  • There is little reason to expect any useful legislation from the Tea Party-dominated House or the dysfunctional Senate. In fact, this Congress will do damage to anything even remotely progressive.
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  • Midterm Election Further Demonstrates Need for Revolution
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Mike Keefe

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Outrage, Misguided, Noam Chomsky, In These Times

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  • People rightly want answers, and they are not getting them except from voices that tell tales that have some internal coherence—if you suspend disbelief.
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  • Dead Political Party Walking
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And 2010's Biggest Winner IsDavid Corn, Mother Jones

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  • Dark money, shadowy groups, and secret millionaires.
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  • Shadowy players in a new class war
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Brutal, Michael Kieschnick, CREDO Action
There is little reason to expect any useful legislation from the Tea Party-dominated House or the dysfunctional Senate. In fact, this Congress will do damage to anything even remotely progressive.

Midterm Election Further Demonstrates Need for Revolution, David DeGraw, AmpedStatus

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  • The system is now so rigged via campaign finance, lobbying and the revolving door that it is almost impossible for people who represent us to even get into office, let alone stay in office and enact policies that will bring change.
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  • The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America
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10 Commandments to Revive Progressives After the November Defeat, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Huffington Post

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  • Follow these ten commandments and the progressive forces will finally be able to reshape this country before it is too late.
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  • Midterm Election Further Demonstrates Need for Revolution
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Media Misreading Midterms, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
As usual, press urge a move to the right

Dead Political Party Walking, The Pen
The Democratic party has so totally betrayed the people who voted for them, who had faith in them, who believed in them, we must confront the real possibility that nobody will believe a word coming out of the mouth of anyone running as a Democrat ever again.

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Outrage, Misguided

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  • People rightly want answers, and they are not getting them except from voices that tell tales that have some internal coherence—if you suspend disbelief.
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  • Dead Political Party Walking
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Noam Chomsky, In These Times

The U.S. midterm elections register a level of anger, fear and disillusionment in the country like nothing I can recall in my lifetime. Since the Democrats are in power, they bear the brunt of the revulsion over our current socioeconomic and political situation.

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More than half the “mainstream Americans” in a Rasmussen poll last month said they view the Tea Party movement favorably—a reflection of the spirit of disenchantment.

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The grievances are legitimate. For more than 30 years, real incomes for the majority of the population have stagnated or declined while work hours and insecurity have increased, along with debt. Wealth has accumulated, but in very few pockets, leading to unprecedented inequality.

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Dead Political Party Walking, The Pen
The Democratic party has so totally betrayed the people who voted for them, who had faith in them, who believed in them, we must confront the real possibility that nobody will believe a word coming out of the mouth of anyone running as a Democrat ever again.

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Has the American Dream Become Our Nightmare?

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The time is ripe for us to rethink some of our deepest beliefs about the way this country should work, and how we should live our lives.

Mary Sykes Wylie,  Psychotherapy Networker/AlterNet

For much of our history, we haven't felt any need to negotiate our national faith in unlimited upward mobility. To the great American middle class, the path forward and upward to economic comfort and security was clear, dependable, beautifully simple: you went to work every day, earned a little more money every year, saved what you could, and didn't radically overspend. In return, you were rewarded with your fair share of the most bountiful and productive society ever to exist on earth. You knew the value of money, you appreciated the value of money, and money thanked you, in its way, by allowing you to graze pretty freely throughout that fruited plain spanning the land from sea to shining sea.

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True, there were always people having financial difficulties, but they were individual deviations from the norm, and most felt they could count on making more money than their parents. The default position in America was an implicit promise of perpetual abundance, as if an unwritten amendment to the Constitution guaranteed the right to several chickens in every pot and an SUV in every garage.

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