The vision for Evergreene Digest is to be the preferred one-stop on-line source for information and perspectives that major news entities exclude from the present day American conversation. The Internet makes it possible to loosen the grip on big media by taking the news into our own hands. We readers-turned-reporters can restore integrity to the nation's single most vital conduit for democratic participation, our media.

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America's Decoupling from Reality

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  • Trapped in the mud, millions of Americans are complaining about their loss of economic status, their sense of powerlessness, their nation’s decline. But instead of examining how the country stumbled into this morass, many still choose not to face reality.
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  • Building a Nation of Know-Nothings
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  • The United States of Fear
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Robert Parry, Consortium News

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Joanne Theilen

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As Election Day 2010 approaches – as the United States wallows in the swamps of war, recession and environmental degradation – the consequences of the nation’s three-decade-old decoupling from reality are becoming painfully obvious.

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Yet, despite the danger, the nation can’t seem to move in a positive direction, as if the suctioning effect of endless spin, half-truths and lies holds the populace in place, a force that grows ever more powerful like quicksand sucking the country deeper into the muck – to waist deep, then neck deep.

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Building a Nation of Know-Nothings, Timothy Egan, New York Times | NY
It’s not just that 46 percent of Republicans believe the lie that Obama is a Muslim, or that 27 percent in the party doubt that the president of the United States is a citizen. But fully half of them believe falsely that the big bailout of banks and insurance companies under TARP was enacted by Obama, and not by President Bush.

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.

Section(s): 

How Right-Wing Billionaires and Business Propaganda Got Us into the Economic Mess of the Century

Joshua Holland's new book shows how the corporate Right obscured how they've rigged the "free market" so they always come out on top.

Joshua Holland, AlterNet

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AlterNet Editor's note: AlterNet is proud to present this excerpt from senior writer Joshua Holland's new book, The Fifteen Biggest Lies about the Economy (And Everything Else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know about Taxes, Jobs, and Corporate America). Holland's research-rich but entertainingly written book slices and dices the latest talking points, explaining the issues with depth and nuance. The book tells an important story about the American economy that you won't read in the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal. It's one that is vitally important to understand as we grapple with some new economic realities. It's a story about how the corporate Right has obscured the ways in which they've rigged the “free market” so they always come out on top. Ultimately, it goes a long way toward explaining how so few Americans noticed as a new Gilded Age emerged under a haze of lies, half-truths and distortions.

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The Great Recession that began in 2008 wiped out $13 trillion in Americans' household wealth —in home values and stocks and bonds—stoking the kind of anger we’ve seen from pissed off progressives and from the Tea Partiers who dominated the news in the summer of 2009.

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But although a lot of people threw around some angry rhetoric—and even invoked the specter of armed revolution—the reality is that when the economy nosedived, we basically took it. We didn’t riot; we took the bailouts, tolerated our stagnant wages, and accepted that Washington wasn’t about to give struggling families any real relief.

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The Angry Rich

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  • Self-pity among the privileged has become acceptable, even fashionable.
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  • Third world America
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Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

Signe Wilkinson

Anger is sweeping America. True, this white-hot rage is a minority phenomenon, not something that characterizes most of our fellow citizens. But the angry minority is angry indeed, consisting of people who feel that things to which they are entitled are being taken away. And they’re out for revenge.

No, I’m not talking about the Tea Partiers. I’m talking about the rich.

These are terrible times for many people in this country. Poverty, especially acute poverty, has soared in the economic slump; millions of people have lost their homes. Young people can’t find jobs; laid-off 50-somethings fear that they’ll never work again.

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Third world America, Luiza Ch. Savage, MacLeans

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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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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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Special Report | Reflections on 9/11

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  • The Self-Inflicted Wounds of 9/11
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  • What Have We Learned Since 9/11?
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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J.D. Crowe

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Nine years after 9/11, let's stop playing into bin Laden's hands, Ted Koppel, Washington Post | DC

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  • Could bin Laden, in his wildest imaginings, have hoped to provoke greater chaos? It is past time to reflect on what our enemy sought, and still seeks, to accomplish -- and how we have accommodated him.
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  • The Self-Inflicted Wounds of 9/11
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What Have We Learned Since 9/11? Jim Wallis, Sojourners/God's Politics

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  • This is a test of our character; and we dare not fail it.
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  • The United States of Fear
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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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  • The Self-Inflicted Wounds of 9/11
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The Self-Inflicted Wounds of 9/11, Melvin A. Goodman, Truthout

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  • "Nearly twice as many Americans have died fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than were lost in the 9/11 attacks. The total cost of these long wars will be in the trillions of dollars. When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, the cost of oil was less than $25 a barrel; the price reached $140 a barrel in 2008 and, currently, the price is still three times the 2001 levels. The entire national security system has suffered as a result of the wrong-headed actions of the Bush administration in Iraq and the Obama administration in Afghanistan." Melvin A. Goodman, Truthout
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  • A post-9/11 betrayal endures
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News Bias' and the Media Battle over the Meaning of 9/11, Rory O'Connor,  RoryOConnor.org/AlterNet

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  • Nine years after 9/11, the battle over the meaning of what happened to our city, our country and our world on that fateful blue-crystal morning continues unabated.
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  • Media rife with anti-Muslim bigotry in lead up to 9-11 anniversary
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Policy Lessons from Canada’s Deficit Slashing Days Are Limited

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  • Country’s Experience Shows Austerity Measures Didn’t Generate Growth
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  • Nobel LaureateKrugman: The Myths of Austerity
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  • Nobel Laureate Stiglitz: EU Austerity Is Wrong Bet
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Jordan Eizenga, Center for American Progress

Under Finance Minister Paul Martin, above, Canada's Liberal Party made large spending cuts in the 1990s in an effort to reduce Canada's deficit and bring down the debt.

Recent claims that 1990s Canadian fiscal policy should serve as a model for other countries trying to achieve stronger economic growth show a misunderstanding of what actually happened in Canada’s economy during that decade. The bottom line is that Canada’s budget cutting was appropriate under a unique set of circumstances, and in fact had little to do with the growth that ensued.

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In 1993, following a prolonged economic recession, Canada’s Liberal Party took over a federal government that had incurred historically high debt and deficit levels. Government debt was over 60 percent of gross domestic product, and deficits were running at 8 percent of GDP, more than twice the OECD average. Under Finance Minister Paul Martin’s helm the Liberal Party made large spending cuts in an effort to reduce the deficit and bring down the debt. Martin’s 1995 budget slashed departmental spending by 20 percent to cut the deficit to 3 percent of GDP by 1998. By 2000, government debt levels had dropped, the deficit was eliminated, and economic growth had increased.

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George Osborne, British chancellor of the exchequer, calls 1990s Canada a “striking example” of cuts leading back to prosperity and recently sought the advice of Mr. Martin. The British Government has even gone so far as to establish a Canadian-style “cuts committee” in which cabinet ministers must justify every dollar of expenditure to a panel of their colleagues.

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The Myths of Austerity, Paul Krugman, New York Times | NY

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  • The next time you hear serious-sounding people explaining the need for fiscal austerity, try to parse their argument. Almost surely, you’ll discover that what sounds like hardheaded realism actually rests on a foundation of fantasy, on the belief that invisible vigilantes will punish us if we’re bad and the confidence fairy will reward us if we’re good. And real-world policy — policy that will blight the lives of millions of working families — is being built on that foundation.
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  • This isn’t a recovery, in any sense that matters.
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Nobel Laureate Stiglitz Says EU Austerity Is Wrong Bet, Reuters, in Common Dreams

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  • 'If that (austerity) happens I think it is likely that the economic downturn will last far longer and human suffering will be all the greater,' he said.
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  • The Myths of Austerity
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Why Becoming a Legal Immigrant Is Next to Impossible

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  • Many wrongly assume there is a process you can easily go through to become legal. In reality, our immigration system is a bureaucratic nightmare.
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  • No One is “Illegal”
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  • Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act!
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Mari Herreras  Tucson Weekly

The young woman sitting at a kitchen table with her father looks like any other Arizona teenager. Her hair is pulled back in a ponytail, and she's wearing jeans and a T-shirt emblazoned with a large silver peace sign.

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Moments ago she was running around her family's house in slippers being chased by a little black puppy her family got her -- a perfect distraction from her family's worries that her father faces deportation back to Mexico, where the family came from more than 14 years ago.

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At the request of the family's attorney, the Tucson Weekly will not identify her or her father or mother. The family is undocumented, in the country illegally. But this 18-year-old wants you to know a few things about her. She wants you to know that she works extra hard to be a good person. She obeys the law, works hard in school and cares about her community. She is in almost every way a model U.S. citizen.

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No One is “Illegal” Jim Wallis, Sojourners/God's Politics

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Today (Sep 15) is a day of hope for immigration reform. More than 500 immigration activists and faith leaders have gathered in Washington, D.C. to call on Congress to act on immigration reform. They represent the tens of thousands of you reading SojoMail today who, over the past few years, have taken action on immigration reform. It has been a long road, and a tough fight.

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But your actions make a difference. Due, in part, to this ongoing pressure, Senator Harry Reid announced yesterday (Sep 14) that the DREAM Act will be voted on as early as next week (Sep 19-25). The DREAM Act is bi-partisan legislation that allows young people who have been raised in the United States, excelled in school, and then pursued higher education or service in the military to have a pathway to citizenship.

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Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act!, Comite Anti-Militarizacion (CAMI), in Change.org
Comite Anti-Militarizacion (CAMI) supports higher education for all students both documented and undocumented; however, we denounce the military component of the DREAM ACT. Unfortunately, this deadly component is strategically excluded from the debate by many Democrats and organizations who support the DREAM ACT.

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Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor

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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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Hope Yen and Liz Sidoti, Huffington Post

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Joe Ledesma comforts his nine-year-old daughter, Brehanna, outside a day shelter in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, March 3, 2009. Ledesma, a homebuilder for 20 years, lost his job last October, his family lost their home and became homeless in January. (AP/File)

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The number of people in the U.S. who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama's watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty.

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Census figures for 2009 – the recession-ravaged first year of the Democrat's presidency – are to be released in the coming week (Sep 12-18), and demographers expect grim findings.

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It's unfortunate timing for Obama and his party just seven weeks before important elections when control of Congress is at stake. The anticipated poverty rate increase – from 13.2 percent to about 15 percent – would be another blow to Democrats struggling to persuade voters to keep them in power.

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Special Report | American Labor in 2010, David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest
The U.S. economy will eventually rebound from the Great Recession. Millions of American workers will not. What some economists now project -- and policymakers are loathe to admit -- is that the U.S. unemployment rate, which stood at 9.6% in August, could remain elevated for years to come.

The jobs emergency, Robert Reich, Robert Reich

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  • Twelve thousand new jobs in July -- when 125,000 are needed monthly just to keep up with population growth, when more than 15 million Americans are out of work, and when more than a half-million more state and local jobs are on the chopping block.
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  • Predictably, Washington's latest rescue effort falls woefully short
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  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
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  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program.
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