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The Dumbing Down of American Politics

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  • Fighting the Culture of Political Bullshit or Karl Rove, the architect of Bush's career, privately said, "Fuck the truth; all that matters is the reality that we make people swallow."
  • Part 1: Americans Are Dangerously Politically Ignorant -- The Numbers Are Shocking
  • Part 2: 5 Issues Where Right-Wingers Are Crazier and Meaner Than Ever
  • Beyond the war on science: Why the right embraces ignorance as a virtue

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Americans Are Dangerously Politically Ignorant -- The Numbers Are Shocking

The nation’s collective ignorance paves the way for extremist politicians to validate their positions to the public.

CJ Werleman, AlterNet

Tea Party-backed economics professor David Brat, shown April 26, 2014 in Glen Allen, Virginia, defeated incumbent House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the June 10 primary. Photo Credit: AFP

June 17, 2014  | The health of a democracy is dependent on an educated citizenry.  Political illiteracy is the manure for the flourishing of political appeals based on sheer ignorance.

So let me introduce you to House Majority Speaker Eric Cantor’s Republican Party vanquisher David Brat (R-VA). First thing you need to know about this far right-wing political upstart is he’s a university professor, which means it’s highly probable he’s not an idiot. He also identifies with the Tea Party strain of conservatism, which, paradoxically, means it’s likely he is, indeed, an idiot. And by idiot, I mean wholly ignorant of U.S. history and constitutionality.

CJ Werleman is the author of "Crucifying America," and "God Hates You. Hate Him Back."

Full story … 



Part 2: 5 Issues Where Right-Wingers Are Crazier and Meaner Than Ever

The tide of progress causes some conservatives to regress in shocking ways.

Amanda Marcotte, AlterNet

June 18, 2014 | There’s a certain expected rhythm to conservative thought as time pushes forward: Progressives push for change, conservatives resist, conservative views become outdated as everyone realizes how unfair they were, things change for the better, and conservatives begrudgingly accept the new order. That’s how it went with civil rights and women getting the vote. Even climate change denialists have started to adjust a little, with some admitting that it’s happening, even as they refuse to admit that humans have anything to do with it.

But once in awhile, having to be pulled forward with the tide of progress causes some conservatives to throw a fit and insist, instead, on regressing, often in shocking ways. Here are five issues where conservatives have, in recent months and years, taken a giant step backwards from where they had been before.

george_w_bush-620x412.jpg George W. Bush  

Amanda Marcotte, a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and journalist, co-writes the blog Pandagon. She is the author of "It's a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments."

Full story … 

Related:

Beyond the war on science: Why the right embraces ignorance as a virtue, Amanda Marcotte,  Alternet

  • Current efforts to nullify abortion coverage in Ohio and elsewhere can all be traced back to the Bush White House
  • Totally Nuts
  • Age of Ignorance

 

 

 

Chomsky: Obama ‘Determined To Demolish The Foundations Of Our Civil Liberties’

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  • “It is of no slight import that the project is being executed in one of the freest countries in the world, and in radical violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which protects citizens from ‘unreasonable searches and seizures,’ and guarantees the privacy of their persons, houses, papers and effects,” Chomsky said.
  • NSA Spying

Noam Chomsky, Daily Caller

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one-nation-under-surveillance.jpg06/04/2014 | Progressive hero Noam Chomsky is terrified of the surveillance state that has developed during the tenure of President Barack Obama, calling it a grave threat to our fundamental civil liberties.

In a column published Monday, Chomsky writes that the documents revealed to the public by Edward Snowden show a system that is flagrantly violating the principles of the Constitution.

Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator and activist. He is perhaps best known as a critic of all forms of social control and a relentless advocate for community-centered approaches to democracy and freedom. Over the last several decades, Chomsky has championed a wide range of dissident actions, organizations and social movements.

Full story … 

Related: 

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NSA Spying, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
  • Part 1: Why fusion centers matter: FAQ
  • Part 2: How the NSA is Transforming Law Enforcement

 

 

 

The U.S. Has The Most Expensive And Least Effective Health Care In The Developed World

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  • The U.S. lags far behind when it comes to ensuring health care access, efficiency, and equity.
  • The U.S. Is The Only Developed Nation With A Rising Maternal Mortality Rate

Tara Culp-Ressler, Think Progress

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shutterstock_66215848-638x425.jpg Credit: Shutterstock 

June 16, 2014 | For the fifth time in a row, the United States has been ranked last in a prominent think tank’s review of industrialized nation’s health care systems. Compared to other wealthy countries like Germany, France, Switzerland, and Australia, the U.S. lags far behind when it comes to ensuring health care access, efficiency, and equity.

Among the nations included in the Commonwealth Fund’s survey, the highest percentage of U.S. residents skip out on the medical care they need because they can’t afford it. Thirty-seven percent of Americans said they didn’t fill a prescription, visit a doctor, or seek out recommended medical care because they were worried about the cost; on the other end of the spectrum, just four percent of United Kingdom residents reported skimping on that care for the same concerns. That’s largely because the United States is the only country on the list that doesn’t offer universal health care, leaving a proportion of its population uninsured and unable to pay for medical services out of pocket.

Tara Culp-Ressler is the Health Editor for ThinkProgress.

Full story … 

Related:

The U.S. Is The Only Developed Nation With A Rising Maternal Mortality RateAnna Almendrala, Huffington Post

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What is it about the U.S. that makes pregnancy more deadly?

 

 

Bowe Bergdahl and the Moral Rot of American Exceptionalism

  • “The future is too good to waste on lies,” Bowe wrote. “And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american (sic). The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting.” --From “America’s Last Prisoner of War”, by Michael Hastings. Rolling Stone, June 7, 2012
  • The Debate We Won't Have but Should

Winston Warfield, Counterpunch

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471*425/02bowe+gal53114.JPG U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Photo: U.S. ARMY, NYT - NYT 

June 6-8, 2014 | Nothing exposes the decadence of American militarism and the ideology of American exceptionalism better than the explosion of emotion sweeping the internet, Congress and the news media over the prisoner exchange of Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban. He is being vilified as a deserter and personally responsible for the deaths of fellow soldiers missioned to find him. The American right-wing located in the Republican party, some liberals like Chris Matthews and Dianne Feinstein and some of his fellow soldiers are all calling for his head in a display of vengeful nastiness bordering on psychotic. Bergdahl’s motivations for walking away from the bizarre U.S. counterinsurgency expedition in Afghanistan, a “dirty war” seemingly without purpose or end, are being lost in the fog of infantile political temper tantrums.

Bergdahl was according to an in-depth Rolling Stone article in 2012 by the late Michael Hastings, an exceptionally competent and motivated soldier during training, serious about preparing himself for combat. So serious and competent, that his fellow soldiers kidded him about being too gung-ho. He was moved in part by what he had read or viewed of reports of atrocities against civilians by the Taliban and other jihadist groups in other countries. His was an honest and heartfelt desire to “serve and protect” the poor and destitute in conflict zones. He was a highly-motivated foot soldier for “humanitarian imperialism”, the perfect youthful idealist falling for the good-vs-evil fairy tale of American exceptionalism.

Winston Warfield is a member of the Smedley D. Butler Brigade of Veterans for Peace, in Boston.

Full story … 

Related:

Obama was right to bargain with Taliban for Bergdahl, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • The criticisms can be countered. In the big picture, this made sense.
  • Part 1: The Real Villains of the Bergdahl Tale
  • Part 2: Bergdahl critics desert U.S. values

 

Iraq War Drums -- Again!

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  • The United States simply cannot be sucked into another round of war in Iraq.
  • sign-btn.png Sign our petition. Tell President Obama and Congress: No New U.S. War in Iraq!
  • Part 1: Obama Weighs 'All Options' for Iraq as Hawks Revive War Drums
  • Part 2: No New U.S. War in Iraq!
  • Tom Engelhardt | A Record of Unparalleled Failure

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest



Part 1: Obama Weighs 'All Options' for Iraq as Hawks Revive War Drums

  • Sen. McCain said Obama should "bring the team in who won the conflict in Iraq in to turn this situation around."
  • Critical voices, however, warn that U.S. invasion is the root cause of the unfolding violence—not the solution.

Jon Queally, Common Dreams

/protest_13.jpgIraq War protest on January 27, 2007 in Washington, D.C. organized by United for Peace and Justice. (Photo: AudeVivere / Wikimedia Creative Commons)

Thursday, June 12, 2014 | As the crisis in Iraq continues to escalate, with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) vowing to attack Iraqi Army forces head on by advancing on Baghdad, U.S. war hawks are pressuring President Obama to intervene militarily. Critical voices, however, warn that U.S. invasion is the root cause of the unfolding violence—not the solution.

Speaking at the White House on Thursday, President Obama said his military advisers are monitoring events in Iraq closely and that he and his team are "looking at all the options" in order to offer assistance to the Iraqi government. “I don’t rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foot hold in either Iraq or Syria," said Obama, portending a decision about the possibility of U.S. military involvement in the coming weeks, if not days.

Jon Queally: staff writer, Common Dreams

Full story … 



Part 2: No New U.S. War in Iraq!  

images/peacegallupcolorsmall_1.jpg President Obama was right to say that the Iraqi government must be responsible for security in Iraq. President Obama should resist calls for direct U.S. military action in Iraq, including airstrikes. Members of Congress must insist that before any direct U.S. military action in Iraq, including airstrikes, there must be explicit Congressional authorization.

Just Foreign Policy 

June 13, 2014 |  Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain have called for direct U.S. military action in Iraq in the wake of the failure of the Iraqi Army to defend Mosul against Sunni insurgents. 

But Senate Armed Services Chair Carl Levin has correctly called for caution. Levin said: "It's unclear how air strikes on our part can succeed unless the Iraqi army is willing to fight, and that's uncertain given the fact that several Iraqi army divisions have melted away." As the New York Times has written, “The United States simply cannot be sucked into another round of war in Iraq.” 

sign-btn.png Act now! Sign our petition at MoveOn telling President Obama and Congress NO to a new U.S. war in Iraq. 

Just Foreign Policy is an independent and non-partisan membership organization dedicated to reforming U.S. foreign policy by mobilizing and organizing the broad majority of Americans who want a foreign policy based on diplomacy, law and cooperation.

Full story … 

Related:

Tom Engelhardt | A Record of Unparalleled Failure, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • More than half a century of American-style war by the most powerful and potentially destructive military on the planet adds up to worse than nothing.
  • Part 1: Don’t Walk Away from War 
  • Part 2: Stop Here

 

 

Tom Engelhardt | A Record of Unparalleled Failure

  • More than half a century of American-style war by the most powerful and potentially destructive military on the planet adds up to worse than nothing.
  • Part 1: Don’t Walk Away from War 
  • Part 2: Stop Here

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest



Part 1: Don’t Walk Away from War 

  • It’s Not the American Way 
  • Here are five straightforward lessons -- none acceptable in what passes for discussion and debate in this country -- that could be drawn from that last half century of every kind of American warfare.

Tom Engelhardt, Tom Dispatch

End%20the%20War.jpg June 10, 2014 | The United States has been at war -- major boots-on-the-ground conflicts and minor interventions, firefights, air strikes, drone assassination campaigns, occupations, special ops raids, proxy conflicts, and covert actions -- nearly nonstop since the Vietnam War began.  That’s more than half a century of experience with war, American-style, and yet few in our world bother to draw the obvious conclusions.

Given the historical record, those conclusions should be staring us in the face.  They are, however, the words that can’t be said in a country committed to a military-first approach to the world, a continual build-up of its forces, an emphasis on pioneering work in the development and deployment of the latest destructive technology, and a repetitious cycling through styles of war from full-scale invasions and occupations to counterinsurgency, proxy wars, and back again.

Tom Engelhardt created and runs the Tomdispatch.com website, a project of The Nation Institute where he is a Fellow. He is the author of a highly praised history of American triumphalism in the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture, and of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing, as well as a collection of his Tomdispatch interviews, Mission Unaccomplished. Each spring he is a Teaching Fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

Full story … 



Part 2: Stop Here ~ Beverly Gologorsky

One summer reading recommendation tied to today’s piece: don’t miss TomDispatch author Beverly Gologorsky’s Stop Here, a powerful working class novel about the effects on this country of its endless, distant wars. It’s riveting! Tom

Described in Good Reads

books/1364250859l/17412773.jpg June 10, 2014 | Ava, Mila, and Rosalyn all work at Murray's Diner in Long Island. They are friends and coworkers struggling to hold together their disordered lives. While Ava privately grieves the loss of her husband in the first Iraq War, Mila struggles to dissuade her seventeen-year-old daughter from enlisting in the second. Rosalyn works as an escort by night until love and illness to disrupt the tenuous balance she'd found and the past she'd kept at a safe distance. The promise of a new relationship with a coworker soon begins to restore Ava's faith in her own ability to feel, and Mila learns through wrenching loss that children must learn from their own mistakes. But ultimately it is love–for one another and for their wayward families–that sustains them through the pain and uncertainty of a world with no easy answers.

With tender, unadorned prose and a supremely human sympathy for the triumphs and defeats of everyday life, in this long-awaited second novel Beverly Gologorsky delivers a moving and incisive story about loss, friendship, and healing in the shadow of a seemingly endless war.

Full story … 

So Who's The Guy Who Just Beat Eric Cantor? Meet Dave Brat.

  • He's an Ayn Rand proselytizer, successfully tarred Cantor as a "pro-amnesty" candidate, thinks religion has been short-shrifted, and supports getting rid of the federal role in farm regulation.
  • Eric Cantor's Stunning Demise and What It All Means

Samantha Lachman, Huffington Post 

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goposaur_upsidedown.jpeg?13455644106/10/2014 | David Brat, a tea party activist and professor, scored one of the biggest upsets in political history Tuesday when he defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary to represent Virginia's 7th District.

Brat's campaign website crashed in the immediate aftermath of the news. Here, more about his background.

Samantha Lachman: Elections Fellow at Huffington Post

Full story … 

Related:

Eric Cantor's Stunning Demise and What It All Means, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • This is a huge victory for anti-immigration extremists, including Ann Coulter, Matt Drudge, Laura Ingraham and Mickey Kaus. 
  • Part 1: Tea Party eats its own: Why Cantor’s right-wing obstruction wasn’t enough
  • Part 2: Eric Cantor got what he deserved: A political fraud’s stunning demise

 

The US Gun Culture, June 10, 2014

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  • America is living under the gun. America has lost its mind.
  • Part 1: If It's A School Week In America, Odds Are There Will Be A School Shooting
  • Part 2: Shooter And Student Reported Dead At Reynolds High School

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

Starbuck%27s%20Cafe%20Latte%20with%2010%20yr%20banner.jpgIf you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.



Part 1: If It's A School Week In America, Odds Are There Will Be A School Shooting

Including Tuesday's incident at a high school in Troutdale, Oregon, 74 school shootings have taken place in the approximately 18 months since the Dec. 14, 2012, Newtown shooting.

Nick Wing & Sam Stein, Huffington Post

2014_SchoolShootingsSinceNewtown1.png06/10/2014 | Since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been an average of 1.37 school shootings for each school week, according to data maintained by Everytown for Gun Safety, a group fighting to end gun violence.

Including Tuesday's incident at a high school in Troutdale, Oregon, 74 school shootings have taken place in the approximately 18 months since the Dec. 14, 2012, Newtown shooting. The average school year typically lasts about 180 days, which means there have been roughly 270 school days, or 54 weeks, of class since the shooting at Newtown. With 74 total incidents over that period, the nation is averaging well over a shooting per school week.

Nick Wing: Senior Viral Editor at Huffington Post

Sam Stein: Political Editor and White House Correspondent at Huffington Post

Full story … 



Part 2: Shooter And Student Reported Dead At Reynolds High School

The Oregon violence came less than a week after a gunman opened fire on a college campus in neighboring Washington state, killing a 19-year-old man and wounding two others. It follows a string of mass shootings that have disturbed the nation, including one on Sunday in Nevada that left two Las Vegas police officers and a civilian dead.

Nigel Duara and Jonathan Cooper, Associated Press / Huffington Post

06/10/2014 | A teen gunman armed with a rifle shot and killed a student Tuesday and injured a teacher before he likely killed himself at a high school in a quiet Columbia River town in Oregon, authorities said.

After the shooting stopped, police spotted the suspect slumped on a toilet in a bathroom but couldn't see what was happening with him.

Nigel Duara: Associated Press (AP) legal affairs reporter, focusing on civil liberties, mental health and terrorism.

Jonathan Cooper: Associated Press (AP) reporter covering Oregon politics and government. 

Full story … 

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