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James Risen’s ‘Pay Any Price’

This is a story of war profiteering, personal ambition, bureaucratic turf wars, absence of accountability and, always, secrecy.

Louise Richardson, New York (NY) Times

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26richardson-master675.jpgMatt Chase

Oct. 15, 2014 | In “Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War,” James Risen holds up a mirror to the United States in the 13 years since 9/11, and what it reveals is not a pretty sight. Risen, a Pulitzer Prize-­winning reporter at the New York Times, documents the emergence of a “homeland ­security-industrial complex” more pervasive and more pernicious than the “military-industrial complex” Dwight Eisenhower warned against. With the power and passion of Zola’s “J’Accuse,” he chronicles the abandonment of America’s cherished open society in a never-satiated search for security from an ill-defined threat.

Risen is not the first to comment on the wanton excesses of the war on terror. John Mueller of Ohio State University has repeatedly written about the extraordinary sums expended in America’s overreaction to the threat posed by Al Qaeda. Risen, however, brings home the costs by providing detailed accounts of specific operations and the individuals caught up in the counterterror gold rush. His focus is not on the ravages of war wrought in the countries invaded by the United States and its allies, but on the United States itself. This is a story of war profiteering, personal ambition, bureaucratic turf wars, absence of accountability and, always, secrecy.

Louise Richardson is the principal of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and the author of “What Terrorists Want.”

Full story … 

Empathy: The one thing that could save the world

  • You'd think empathy would be the minimum qualification to hold public office in a democracy. Sadly, a  remarkable number of people who are supposed to be devoting their lives to representing others seem clueless  about how their constituents actually live and what they need.
  • Part 1: Why we need empathy now more than ever
  • Part 2: Empathy Deficit Disorder
  • Nuns on the Bus: The Call to Compassion

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Why we need empathy now more than ever

  • Critics say that empathy clouds our judgment and distracts us from true morality. Here's what they're missing
  • The one thing that could save the world

Roman Krznaric, Salon 

Gregory Peck and Brock Peters in "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Saturday, Nov 8, 2014 | Empathy is trending. President Obama wants to tackle America’s “empathy deficit,” medical students routinely receive empathy training, and everyone from business gurus to the Dalai Lama have become its champions. The latest neuroscience research shows that 98 percent of us have the capacity to empathize wired into our brains and, like riding a bike, it’s a skill we can learn and develop. No wonder Google searches for the E word have more than doubled  in the past decade. The art of imaginatively stepping into another person’s shoes and seeing the world from their perspective is, it would seem, a most valuable and valued twenty-first century asset.

Not so, says Yale psychologist Paul Bloom, leading the counter-charge against empathy’s popularity surge. It is, he claims, a poor moral guide, lacking the power to inspire us to act on, say, child poverty or humanitarian disasters. “Our public decisions will be fairer and more moral once we put empathy aside,” says Bloom, insisting we should instead, “draw on a reasoned, even counter-empathetic, analysis of moral obligation.” But in doing so, Bloom creates a false – and dangerous – dichotomy between empathy and reason, and misses the long lesson from history: that time and again, empathy has played a crucial role in creating a democratic culture that respects human rights. So where have the critics gone wrong?

Roman Krznarics book is Empathy: Why It Matters, and How to Get It (Perigee/Penguin, on sale Nov. 4). He is a faculty member of The School of Life in London and founder of the world’s first digital Empathy Library

Full story … 

Part 2: Empathy Deficit Disorder

(A remarkable number of) politicians have no idea what people who are hard up in America are going through. Call it Empathy Deficit Disorder. 

Robert Reich, Huffington Post

n-CHRIS-CHRISTIE-large570.jpgNew Jersey Governor Chris Christie

10/28/2014 | Commenting on a recent student suicide at an Alaska high school, Alaska's Republican Congressman Don Young said suicide didn't exist in Alaska before "government largesse" gave residents an entitlement mentality.

"When people had to work and had to provide and had to keep warm by putting participation in cutting wood and catching the fish and killing the animals, we didn't have the suicide problem," he said. Government handouts tell people "you are not worth anything but you are going to get something for nothing."

Full story … 


Nuns on the Bus: The Call to Compassion, Susan McKenna, Westminster Town Hall Forum


  • Sr. Simone Campbell 
  • Thursday, November 13, Noon
  • Westminster Presbyterian Church Nicollet Mall and 12th Street,
  • Minneapolis 
  • Free and open to all 


If You Really Think It Matters Which Party Controls the Senate, Answer These Questions.


  • As Ralph Nader said, "The only difference between Republicans and Democrats is the speed with which they get to their knees when corporate campaign contributors show up."
  • The Only Winner in November Will Be the Status Quo.

Charles Hugh Smith, of two

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Jim Fuller

Nothing%20Changed_0.jpgNovember 6, 2014 | Please don't claim anything changes if one party or the other is in the majority. Anyone clinging to that fantasy is delusional.

If you really think it matters which political party controls the U.S. Senate, please answer these questions. Don't worry, they're not that difficult.

Charles Hugh Smith is an American writer and blogger. He is the chief writer for the site "Of Two Minds", listed No. 7 in CNBC's top alternative financial sites. His commentary is featured on a number of sites including: Zerohedge.comThe American Conservative and Peak Prosperity.

Full story … 


And we will all continue to be the losers until we rethink our practice of politics and act accordingly.


Dozens of Communities Vote to Boot Big Money from Politics

  • Huge margins back up claim that 'nearly all Americans share the sentiment that corporations should not have the same rights as people'
  • 'We Will Only Get Louder'

Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams

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.

wisconsin.jpg?itok=bFoPXhNuA demonstration earlier this year outside the Milwaukee County Courthouse. The Move to Amend ballot question passed in Milwaukee County on Tuesday with 70 percent of the vote. (Photo: Light Brigading/flickr/cc)

Wednesday, November 05, 2014 | Citizens in dozens of communities voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday for their legislators to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which opened the door for the super-rich and corporations to trample democracy.

As they headed to the polls to vote in what turned out to be the most expensive midterm election in history—one in which outside money from undisclosed sources played an outsized role and the number of small individual donors shrank—voters across the country made clear their desire to end corporate personhood and get big money out of politics.

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer Common Dreams

Full story … 


In Big-Money Move, Corporations Seek to Make Congress a Wholly-Owned Subsidiary, Richard (RJ) Eskow, Huffington Post

For the American people, the moral of this story couldn't be clearer: If we don't get money out of politics, we'll lose our democracy altogether.


The outsiders: how big money flows through Minnesota elections, Briana Bierschbach and Alan Palazzolo, MinnPost

Here's a breakdown of how outside money flows through elections in Minnesota: A look at who these major outside groups are, how they (at times) work together; and how that money is funneled to individual races.