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No Shame In Using The Safety Net, Americans Say

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Just 14 percent of survey respondents said they thought people should feel ashamed for using welfare, while 62 percent said people shouldn't feel ashamed. 

Arthur Delaney, Huffington Post

images/n-TED-YOHO-large570.jpgChip Somodevilla via Getty Images

Tuesday June 2, 2015 | Most Americans think poor people shouldn't feel ashamed for using the safety net, according to a new YouGov poll.

Just 14 percent of survey respondents said they thought people should feel ashamed for using welfare, while 62 percent said people shouldn't feel ashamed. Republicans were more likely to favor shame than Democrats, 20 percent to 9 percent.

Arthur Delaney started working for HuffPost in 2009. He has written for the Washington City Paper, The Hill newspaper, Slate Magazine, and ABCNews.com. In 2008 he won the Street Sense David A. Pike Excellence in Journalism award for a City Paper story about a man living on the median strip of a freeway in Washington. He and HuffPost D.C. bureau chief Ryan Grim won a Sidney Award from the Hillman Foundation for their 2010 story "The Poorhouse: Aunt Winnie, Glenn Beck, and the Politics of the New Deal."

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The rush to humiliate the poor, Dana Milbank, Washington (DC) Post

  • Never mind that few can afford filet mignon on a less-than-$7/day food-stamp allotment; they’re more likely to be buying chuck steak or canned tuna. This is less about public policy than about demeaning public-benefit recipients.
  • 10 Government Handouts That Prove Who The Biggest ‘Takers’ Actually Are

Section(s): 

Congress Did Not Pass an Anti-Surveillance Law (And Other Thoughts About the USA Freedom Act)

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  • June 2 was a day that the people won against the security state. US citizens took away the government’s control of nearly all of their domestic call records. And power was forced to act because their operation of a program and the operations of a secret surveillance court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, were no longer seen as legitimate. The extent of the victory, however, probably ends there.
  • Series | They Know Everything About You, Part 3: Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges on Surveillance, Corporatism and the National Security State

Kevin Gosztola, firedoglake

One%20Nation%20Under%20Surveillance%20graphic.jpgJune 3, 2015 | When President Barack Obama signed the USA Freedom Act, it did not end bulk data collection or mass surveillance programs. It did not address many of the policies, practices or programs of the NSA, which NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed. It did not sharply limit surveillance nor was it an anti-surveillance law. The USA Freedom Act renewed Patriot Act provisions, which had sunset days ago. However, it is difficult to disagree with Snowden’s generally optimistic assessment.

During an Amnesty International UK event, as the Senate was about to pass the law, Snowden declared, “For the first time in forty years of US history, since the intelligence community was reformed in the ’70s, we found that facts have become more persuasive than fear.”

 

Kevin Gosztola is an American journalist, author, and documentary filmmaker known for work on whistleblowers, Wikileaks, national security, secrecy, civil liberties, and digital freedom. He writes The Dissenter beat for the blog Firedoglake.

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Series | They Know Everything About You, Part 3: Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges on Surveillance, Corporatism and the National Security State, Kasia Anderson, Truthdig

  • Chris Hedges and Robert Scheer continue their discussion for The Real News Network about Scheer’s new book, “They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy,” debating in this segment about whether there is room for any optimism vis-à-vis the surveillance of American citizens and the plunder of personal data by the fused corporate-political state.
  • Part 2: Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges on How the Private Sector Buys and Sells Your Privacy
  • Part 1: Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges on the Military-Industrial-Intelligence Complex

Our Mania for Hope Is a Curse

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  • Our corporate masters know that our obsession with hope—the irrational belief we are headed toward some glorious future—causes us to ignore reality and remain disempowered. And this is why they peddle the myth of inevitable progress across the cultural and political spectrum.
  • Living in America will drive you insane — literally.
  • Detroit Is the Front Line.

Chris Hedges, Truthdig

hedgeshopecurse_590.jpgDemonstrators protesting the influence of big corporations march on Wall Street amid heavy police presence in 2011. (AP / John Minchillo)

May 24, 2015 | The naive belief that history is linear, that moral progress accompanies technical progress, is a form of collective self-delusion. It cripples our capacity for radical action and lulls us into a false sense of security. Those who cling to the myth of human progress, who believe that the world inevitably moves toward a higher material and moral state, are held captive by power. Only those who accept the very real possibility of dystopia, of the rise of a ruthless corporate totalitarianism, buttressed by the most terrifying security and surveillance apparatus in human history, are likely to carry out the self-sacrifice necessary for revolt. 

The yearning for positivism that pervades our corporate culture ignores human nature and human history. But to challenge it, to state the obvious fact that things are getting worse, and may soon get much worse, is to be tossed out of the circle of magical thinking that defines American and much of Western culture. The left is as infected with this mania for hope as the right. It is a mania that obscures reality even as global capitalism disintegrates and the ecosystem unravels, potentially dooming us all. 

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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Living in America will drive you insane — literally, Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet

  • Data suggests the US is experiencing an epidemic of crippling mental illness. We may have only ourselves to blame.
  • How Your Job Is Slowly Killing You
  • Exclusive: 4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work

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Detroit Is the Front Line, Richard J. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future

  • The people of Detroit are not Other than us. They are us. And if we sacrifice their neighborhoods, our neighborhoods won’t be far behind.
  • Exclusive: 4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work
  • Survey Finds Working Poor Have Dimming Faith In Economic Mobility, Policymakers

Karl Marx Was Right

  • The economist and philosopher foresaw that capitalism had built within it the seeds of its own destruction, that the greed of a tiny elite would eventually bring down the system. The final stages that he predicted are visible all around us now.
  • America's Economic Crisis: Week Ending April 11, 2015

Chris Hedges, Truthdig

8858900120_3a9985933d_o_copy.jpgA bust of Karl Marx. (gravitat-OFF / CC BY 2.0

May 31, 2015 | Karl Marx exposed the peculiar dynamics of capitalism, or what he called “the bourgeois mode of production.” He foresaw that capitalism had built within it the seeds of its own destruction. He knew that reigning ideologies—think neoliberalism—were created to serve the interests of the elites and in particular the economic elites, since “the class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production” and “the ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships … the relationships which make one class the ruling one.” He saw that there would come a day when capitalism would exhaust its potential and collapse. He did not know when that day would come. Marx, as Meghnad Desai wrote, was “an astronomer of history, not an astrologer.” Marx was keenly aware of capitalism’s ability to innovate and adapt. But he also knew that capitalist expansion was not eternally sustainable. And as we witness the denouement of capitalism and the disintegration of globalism, Karl Marx is vindicated as capitalism’s most prescient and important critic.

In a preface to “The Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy” Marx wrote:

No social order ever disappears before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have been developed; and new higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society itself.

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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America's Economic Crisis: Week Ending April 11, 2015, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

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  • “…it seems that our remedies are instinctively those which aggravate the sickness: the remedies are expressions of the sickness itself“. --Thomas Merton
  • Part 1: Two Great Depressions: Roosevelt’s “New Deal” vs. Obama’s “Secular Stagnation”
  • Part 2: The Alternative To Long-Term Austerity: Less Work, Higher Wages, No Mere Utopian Dream

Section(s): 

Neoliberalism Has Created New System of Dual Citizenship for the Poor and the 1%

  • The exit from a dystopian future does not rest with a brave individual or a small group of high tech activists who undermine the state. Rather, it rests in winning the confidence of millions that there is an alternative to chaos and dystopia that is not to be found in one or another variant of authoritarianism. This is the challenge for the global Left . 
  • The United States of Cruelty
  • America's Disgusting, Boundless Hatred for Poor People

Bill Fletcher, Jr., Alternet

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neoliberalism2.jpg?itok=X-0_vwjU Polyp.org.uk

May 29, 2015 | In a lecture at Harvard during my freshman year, a professor—who may have been Martin Peretz—offered an insight that left a profound impact upon me. “Citizen,” the professor noted, was a unique and quite revolutionary concept. Different from many other terms, e.g., “comrade,” the notion of citizen implied a specific relationship between an individual and the polity. It specifically suggested a role for the individual within a state system in which said individual was a participant/actor rather than an observer.

 

Since the resurrection of the concept of “citizen,” in the context of the French Revolution, the term along with “citizenship” has been contested terrain.(1) There is no universally accepted criteria as to how one becomes a citizen of a nation-state. Countries differ greatly on whether being born in a particular territory is sufficient for such definition; under what conditions one can apply to become a citizen; how and under what circumstances can one’s children become citizens? These questions are not answered the same way in any number of Earth’s nation-states.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the host of the Global African on Telesur-English, the author of They’re Bankrupting Us: And Twenty Other Myths About Unions, and the co-author of Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path to Social Justice.

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The United States of Cruelty, Charles P. Pierce, Esquire

  • We are cheap. We are suspicious. We will shoot first. It does not have to be this way. Like Lincoln before us, it is time to do something about it.
  • GOP Descent into Mindless Meanness

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America's Disgusting, Boundless Hatred for Poor People, Brittney Cooper, Salon

  • We're now legislating away poor people's right to be happy.
  • Nixon's racial Southern Strategy applied to the economically poor.
  • Richer and Poorer: How much inequality can a democracy stand?

Section(s): 

Bernie Sanders exposed! A shocking look at his views on rape and violence against women

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  • A shocking 1972 essay was just the tip of the iceberg. Salon dives deeper.
  • Bernie is the Rand and Ron Paul of the Left on Women's Issues!
  • Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders: Sheepdogging for Hillary and the Democrats in 2016

Katie McDonough, Salon

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2011/10/bernie-sanders-460x307.jpgVermont socialist Bernie Sanders (Credit: AP/Rich Pedroncelli)

Friday, May 29, 2015 | Mother Jones senior reporter Tim Murphy has a profile out this week on Bernie Sanders’ “long, strange trip” from a “restless political activist” to mayor of Burlington, Vermont and now a presidential bid. It’s a fascinating read, not just as a document of Sanders’ earliest forays into politics but as a portrait of Sanders as a committed, cantankerous, deep freak member of the progressive movement and counterculture.

Along with other archival material, the piece included a 1972 essay published in the Vermont Freeman that Murphy described as Sanders’ “stream-of-consciousness essay on the nature of male-female sexual dynamics.” It’s an attempted critique of heteronormativity — a clumsy and weird-as-hell attempted critique of heteronormativity.

An excerpt:

Katie McDonough is an assistant editor for Salon, focusing on lifestyle.

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Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders: Sheepdogging for Hillary and the Democrats in 2016, Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report

  • Vermont senator and ostensible socialist Bernie Sanders is playing the sheepdog candidate for Hillary Clinton this year. Bernie's job is to warm up the crowd for Hillary, herding activist energies and the disaffected left back into the Democratic fold one more time. Bernie aims to tie up activist energies and resources till the summer of 2016 when the only remaining choice will be the usual lesser of two evils.
  • “The sheepdog is a card the Democratic party plays every presidential primary season when there's no White House Democrat running for re-election.”
  • Bernie Sanders for President? Why Not Try a Real Socialist for a Change? 
  • Bernie Sanders exposed! A shocking look at his views on rape and violence against women

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