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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,622

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Protesting Youth in the Age of Neoliberal Cruelty


Protesting Youth in the Age of Neoliberal Cruelty

Wednesday, 18 June 2014 09:28
By Henry A. Giroux, E-International Relations | News Analysis


Reality always has this power to surprise. It surprises you with an answer that it gives to questions never asked - and which are most tempting. A great stimulus to life is there, in the capacity to divine possible unasked questions.
— Eduardo Galeano


Neoliberalism’s Assault on Democracy

Fred Jameson has argued that “that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.” He goes on to say that “We can now revise that and witness the attempt to imagine capitalism by way of imagining the end of the world” (Jameson 2003). One way of understanding Jameson’s comment is that within the ideological and affective spaces in which the neoliberal subject is produced and market-driven ideologies are normalized, there are new waves of resistance, especially among young people, who are insisting that casino capitalism is driven by a kind of mad violence and form of self-sabotage, and that if it does not come to an end, what we will experience, in all probability, is the destruction of human life and the planet itself. Certainly, more recent scientific reports on the threat of ecological disaster from researchers at the University of Washington, NASA, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reinforce this dystopian possibility.

As the latest stage of predatory capitalism, neoliberalism is part of a broader economic and political project of restoring class power and consolidating the rapid concentration of capital, particularly financial capital (Giroux 2008; 2014). As a political project, it includes “the deregulation of finance, privatization of public services, elimination and curtailment of social welfare programs, open attacks on unions, and routine violations of labor laws” (Yates 2013). As an ideology, it casts all dimensions of life in terms of market rationality, construes profit-making as the arbiter and essence of democracy, consuming as the only operable form of citizenship, and upholds the irrational belief that the market can both solve all problems and serve as a model for structuring all social relations. As a mode of governance, it produces identities, subjects, and ways of life driven by a survival-of-the fittest ethic, grounded in the idea of the free, possessive individual, and committed to the right of ruling groups and institutions to exercise power removed from matters of ethics and social costs. As a policy and political project, it is wedded to the privatization of public services, the dismantling of the connection of private issues and public problems, the selling off of state functions, liberalization of trade in goods and capital investment, the eradication of government regulation of financial institutions and corporations, the destruction of the welfare state and unions, and the endless marketization and commodification of society.

Neoliberalism has put an enormous effort into creating a commanding cultural apparatus and public pedagogy in which individuals can only view themselves as consumers, embrace freedom as the right to participate in the market, and supplant issues of social responsibility for an unchecked embrace of individualism and the belief that all social relation be judged according to how they further one’s individual needs and self-interests. Matters of mutual caring, respect, and compassion for the other have given way to the limiting orbits of privatization and unrestrained self-interest, just as it has become increasingly difficult to translate private troubles into larger social, economic, and political considerations. As the democratic public spheres of civil society have atrophied under the onslaught of neoliberal regimes of austerity, the social contract has been either greatly weakened or replaced by savage forms of casino capitalism, a culture of fear, and the increasing use of state violence. One consequence is that it has become more difficult for people to debate and question neoliberal hegemony and the widespread misery it produces for young people, the poor, middle class, workers, and other segments of society — now considered disposable under neoliberal regimes which are governed by a survival-of-the fittest ethos, largely imposed by the ruling economic and political elite. That they are unable to make their voices heard and lack any viable representation in the process makes clear the degree to which young people and others are suffering under a democratic deficit, producing what Chantal Mouffe calls “a profound dissatisfaction with a number of existing societies” under the reign of neoliberal capitalism (Mouffe 2013:119). This is one reason why so many youth, along with workers, the unemployed, and students, have been taking to the streets in Greece, Mexico, Egypt, the United States, and England.

The Rise of Disposable Youth

What is particularly distinctive about the current historical conjuncture is the way in which young people, particularly low-income and poor minority youth across the globe, have been increasingly denied any place in an already weakened social order and the degree to which they are no longer seen as central to how a number of countries across the globe define their future. The plight of youth as disposable populations is evident in the fact that millions of them in countries such as England, Greece, and the United States have been unemployed and denied long term benefits. The unemployment rate for young people in many countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece hovers between 40 and 50 per cent. To make matters worse, those with college degrees either cannot find work or are working at low-skill jobs that pay paltry wages. In the United States, young adjunct faculty constitute one of the fastest growing populations on food stamps. Suffering under huge debts, a jobs crisis, state violence, a growing surveillance state, and the prospect that they would inherit a standard of living far below that enjoyed by their parents, many young people have exhibited a rage that seems to deepen their resignation, despair, and withdrawal from the political arena. ........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/24437-protesting-youth-in-an-age-of-neoliberal-savagery



What We've Lost Since 9/11: Taking Down the First Amendment in Post-Constitutional America


from TomDispatch:


What We've Lost Since 9/11
Taking Down the First Amendment in Post-Constitutional America

By Peter Van Buren


America has entered its third great era: the post-constitutional one. In the first, in the colonial years, a unitary executive, the King of England, ruled without checks and balances, allowing no freedom of speech, due process, or privacy when it came to protecting his power.

In the second, the principles of the Enlightenment and an armed rebellion were used to push back the king’s abuses. The result was a new country and a new constitution with a Bill of Rights expressly meant to check the government's power. Now, we are wading into the shallow waters of a third era, a time when that government is abandoning the basic ideas that saw our nation through centuries of challenges far more daunting than terrorism. Those ideas -- enshrined in the Bill of Rights -- are disarmingly concise. Think of them as the haiku of a genuine people's government.

Deeper, darker waters lie ahead and we seem drawn down into them. For here there be monsters.

The Powers of a Police State Denied

America in its pre-constitutional days may seem eerily familiar even to casual readers of current events. We lived then under the control of a king. (Think now: the imperial presidency.) That king was a powerful, unitary executive who ruled at a distance. His goal was simple: to use his power over “his” American colonies to draw the maximum financial gain while suppressing any dissent that might endanger his control. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175856/tomgram%3A_peter_van_buren%2C_rip%2C_the_bill_of_rights/#more



Keeping America’s Baghdad Swimming Pools Safe From Fanatics


from truthdig:


Keeping America’s Baghdad Swimming Pools Safe From Fanatics

Posted on Jun 17, 2014
By William Pfaff


The Marines—250 of them, together with carrier air support and Marine Corps Osprey support craft—have been dispatched to save the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the “biggest in the world,” “the size of the Vatican City,” with its swimming pools and skating rinks, from the menace of the offensive directed at Baghdad by the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria—the new Islamic Caliphate sought by the religiously rigorous Sunni counter-crusade.

ISIS already has taken Mosul and a large chunk of northeastern Iraq, and is aimed now at the Shia shrine city of Samarra and Baghdad itself. Some of us who witnessed the announcement and ambitions of that embassy when it was built had the premonitory thought that it might eventually end as the capitol of that Muslim Caliphate which the ISIS fanatics now have proclaimed, and which, in Washington, only the paranoid imagined.

The Baghdad Embassy was intended to become the proconsular headquarters of an American-Israeli-conceived new western empire that was announced in Israel in June 2006 jointly by the American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Its announcement coincided with an Israeli attack on Lebanon, foreseen as becoming the western Mediterranean access to what the two officials announced would become a “New Middle East” extending from Mediterranean Lebanon and Syria, through a federal Iraq of Sunni, Shia and Kurdish statelets, proceeding through a conquered Iran in Central Asia, to a “Free Baluchistan,” a NATO-ized Afghanistan, and an allied Pakistan, to the approaches of the Himalayas, and beyond them, to the rising counter-empire of the Chinese. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/keeping_americas_baghdad_swimming_pools_safe_from_fanatics_20140617



Robert Scheer: Up Close and Personal With George W. Bush’s Horrifying Legacy


from truthdig:


Up Close and Personal With George W. Bush’s Horrifying Legacy

Posted on Jun 18, 2014
By Robert Scheer


The Iraq disaster remains George W. Bush’s enduring folly, and the Republican attempt to shift the blame to the Obama presidency is obscene nonsense. This was, and will always be, viewed properly as Bush’s quagmire, a murderous killing field based on blatant lies.

This showcase of American deceit, obvious to the entire world, began with the invented weapons of mass destruction threat that Bush, were he even semi-cognizant of the intelligence data, must have known represented an egregious fraud. So was his nonsensical claim that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, when in fact he was Osama bin Laden’s most effective Arab opponent.

Yet Bush responded to the 9/11 attacks by overthrowing a leader who had banished al-Qaida from Iraq and who had been an ally of the United States in the war to contain Iran’s influence in the region. Instead of confronting the funders of Sunni extremism based in Saudi Arabia, the home of 15 of the 19 hijackers and their Saudi leader bin Laden, Bush chose to attack the secular leader of Iraq. That invasion, as the evidence of the last week confirms, resulted in an enormous boon to both Sunni extremists and their militant Shiite opponents throughout the Mideast.

How pathetic that Secretary of State John Kerry is now reduced to begging the ayatollahs of Iran to come to the aid of their brethren in Iraq. Or that the movement to overthrow the secular leader of Syria, a movement supported by the United States, has resulted in a base for Sunni terrorists in Iraq and Syria of far greater consequence than the one previously used to plot the 9/11 attacks from isolated Afghanistan. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/up_close_and_personal_with_george_w_bushs_horrifying_legacy_20140618



Recovery Denied: Growth and Prosperity Continue to Go Their Separate Ways


from Dollars & Sense:


Recovery Denied
Growth and Prosperity Continue to Go Their Separate Ways

BY JOHN MILLER | MAY/JUNE 2014


A growth deficit surely has been one of the hallmarks of the U.S. economy since the end of the Great Recession. But the Wall Street Journal editors must not be paying attention if they think that doubling down on the pro-rich, free-market policies initiated during the Reagan administration is going to restore “forgone prosperity” for most people.

It’s not just a growth deficit that has plagued the U.S. economy, but also an equality deficit. The economic growth there has been during “this not so great recovery,” as the Journal editors call it, has gone overwhelming to the very richest and has done less to improve the economic well-being of the rest than during any economic recovery in the last sixty years.

This is not just a matter of a single recovery delayed. Economic growth and prosperity for most people parted company some three decades ago. Chanting the Journal editors’ mantra of “growth not redistribution” will only drive them further apart, consigning all but the very rich to an economic slump that persists even during economic recoveries.

Recovery Delayed

This recovery has surely been delayed. According to National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the nation’s arbiter of the business cycle, the Great Recession ended back in June 2009. By the official scorecard, the current recovery will hit the five-year mark this June, making it longer than the average recovery (58 months). But the economy has grown at about half of the pace of the average recovery since 1960, as the editors report, and is the slowest of all recoveries since 1950. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2014/0514miller.html



Recovery Denied: Growth and Prosperity Continue to Go Their Separate Ways


from Dollars & Sense:


Recovery Denied
Growth and Prosperity Continue to Go Their Separate Ways

BY JOHN MILLER | MAY/JUNE 2014


A growth deficit surely has been one of the hallmarks of the U.S. economy since the end of the Great Recession. But the Wall Street Journal editors must not be paying attention if they think that doubling down on the pro-rich, free-market policies initiated during the Reagan administration is going to restore “forgone prosperity” for most people.

It’s not just a growth deficit that has plagued the U.S. economy, but also an equality deficit. The economic growth there has been during “this not so great recovery,” as the Journal editors call it, has gone overwhelming to the very richest and has done less to improve the economic well-being of the rest than during any economic recovery in the last sixty years.

This is not just a matter of a single recovery delayed. Economic growth and prosperity for most people parted company some three decades ago. Chanting the Journal editors’ mantra of “growth not redistribution” will only drive them further apart, consigning all but the very rich to an economic slump that persists even during economic recoveries.

Recovery Delayed

This recovery has surely been delayed. According to National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the nation’s arbiter of the business cycle, the Great Recession ended back in June 2009. By the official scorecard, the current recovery will hit the five-year mark this June, making it longer than the average recovery (58 months). But the economy has grown at about half of the pace of the average recovery since 1960, as the editors report, and is the slowest of all recoveries since 1950. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2014/0514miller.html



A New Spin from the Inequality Denialist Set


from Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality:


A New Spin from the Inequality Denialist Set
JUNE 15, 2014

A key keeper of the free-market fundamentalist flame wants us to know that all his rich and powerful red-state pals really do care about income maldistribution.


By Sam Pizzigati


The go-to intellectual guardians of our corporate order — those conservative analysts whose op-eds appear regularly in the Wall Street Journal — have a problem. Their defense of plutocracy just isn’t selling.

Two events this spring have now put this failure in particularly stark relief.

First came the cultural phenomenon of Thomas Piketty: An obscure French economist jumps to the top of the bestseller lists with a book that makes a compelling case for no longer tolerating, anywhere on earth, grand concentrations of private wealth.

Then last week came a political shocker, the stunning Republican primary election collapse of Wall Street waterboy Eric Cantor, the House majority leader. His opponent Dave Brat, an obscure Tea Party professor who fancies Ayn Rand, presented himself to voters as a fighter against “the rich and powerful.” ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://toomuchonline.org/deep-in-the-heart-of-texas-equality/#sthash.RoR3QrpM.dpuf



Underworld Threat to Melting Icecap


By Tim Radford, Climate News Network


LONDON—Researchers in the US have identified a new reason for the acceleration in the melting of Greenland’s icecap—the ice underneath, as it melts and then refreezes, appears to speed up glacial flow.

The melt-and-freeze-again cycle is not itself new, as a similar process has been diagnosed under the ice cap of Antarctica. Nor is the process itself necessarily connected with global warming. Such things must always have happened.

But Robin Bell, a geophysicist at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, reports with colleagues in Nature Geoscience that they used ice-penetrating radar to identify ragged blocks of ice as tall as skyscrapers and as wide as the island of Manhattan at the very bottom of the ice sheet. These structures cover about a tenth of the island and seem to form as melted water below the ice freezes again. They then warp the ice around and above them.

“We see more of these features where the ice sheet starts to go fast,” Professor Bell said. “We think the refreezing process uplifts, distorts and warms the ice above, making it softer and easier to flow.” ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/underworld_threat_to_melting_icecap_20140616



Professor Richard Wolff's Economic Update: "Capitalism's Mounting Contradictions" (audio link)

Listen: http://rdwolff.com/content/economic-update-capitalisms-mounting-contradictions


by Richard Wolff.
PUBLISHED ON JUNE 15, 2014

Updates on RI Senate rewards firms limiting inequality, recession-driven increases in suicide rates, opposition to Dodd-Frank, negative effects of lower federal deficits, human costs of Detroit-type decline. Major discussions of economics of advertising and privatization. Response to questions on British real estate bubble and on worker cooperatives deciding on uses for their surpluses/profits.


Atmospheric CO2 Crosses "Ominous Threshold"


Atmospheric CO2 Crosses "Ominous Threshold"

Monday, 16 June 2014 09:01
By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | News Analysis


At the beginning of June, the Obama administration proudly announced the EPA's so-called Clean Power Plan, the goal of which is to cut carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. It was trumpeted as the strongest proposal ever put forth by a US president to reign in greenhouse gas emissions.

However, Kevin Bundy with the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute was unimpressed, commenting, "This is like fighting a wildfire with a garden hose - we're glad the president has finally turned the water on, but it's just not enough to get the job done."

Given the increasingly rapid pace of the impacts of runaway anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), Bundy's remark is well placed, and these recent machinations by the Obama administration are clearly too little, far too late.

This April was the second-warmest April on record globally, and marked the 350th month in a row (29 years and counting) that saw above-average temperatures. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/24370-atmospheric-co2-crosses-ominous-threshold



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