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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:18 PM
Number of posts: 74,836

Journal Archives

I generally like Al Jazeera's news coverage, but .........


....... I'm watching a "Consider This" interview with former CIA director James Woolsey about ISIS, and Woosley asserted that the administration is acting like "Europe in the 1930s" in not confronting ISIS. And Antonio Mora, the host, is not challenging him on any of his propaganda. Very disappointing.


Chris Hedges: Driving American Politics Underground


from truthdig:


by Chris Hedges


Politics, if we take politics to mean the shaping and discussion of issues, concerns and laws that foster the common good, is no longer the business of our traditional political institutions. These institutions, including the two major political parties, the courts and the press, are not democratic. They are used to crush any vestiges of civic life that calls, as a traditional democracy does, on its citizens to share among all its members the benefits, sacrifices and risks of a nation. They offer only the facade of politics, along with elaborate, choreographed spectacles filled with skillfully manufactured emotion and devoid of real political content. We have devolved into what Alexis de Tocqueville feared—“democratic despotism.”

The squabbles among the power elites, rampant militarism and the disease of imperialism, along with a mindless nationalism that characterizes all public debate, have turned officially sanctioned politics into a carnival act.

Pundits and news celebrities on the airwaves engage in fevered speculation about whether the wife of a former president will run for office—and this after the mediocre son of another president spent eight years in the White House. This is not politics. It is gossip. Opinion polls, the staple of what serves as political reporting, are not politics. They are forms of social control. The use of billions of dollars to fund election campaigns and pay lobbyists to author legislation is not politics. It is legalized bribery. The insistence that austerity and economic rationality, rather than the welfare of the citizenry, be the primary concerns of the government is not politics. It is the death of civic virtue. The government’s system of wholesale surveillance and the militarization of police forces, along with the psychosis of permanent war and state-orchestrated fear of terrorism, are not politics. They are about eradicating civil liberties and justifying endless war and state violence. The chatter about death panels, abortion, gay rights, guns and undocumented children crossing the border is not politics. It is manipulation by the power elites of emotion, hate and fear to divert us from seeing our own powerlessness.

“Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country,” Edward Bernays observed in his 1928 book, “Propaganda.” “We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”

Politics in the hands of the corporate state is anti-politics. It is designed to denigrate and destroy the values that make a liberal democracy and political participation possible. It is a cynical form of mass control. Corporate money has replaced the vote. Dissent is silenced or ignored. Political parties are Punch and Judy shows funded by corporate puppeteers. Universities, once the epicenter of social change, are corporate headquarters, flush with corporate money, government contracts and foundation grants. The commercial press, whose primary task is attracting advertising dollars, has become an arm of the entertainment industry. It offers news as vaudeville. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/driving_american_politics_underground_20140907



The Socialist Alternative to a World of Injustice


The Socialist Alternative to a World of Injustice

Sunday, 07 September 2014 12:52
By Danny Katch, Socialist Worker | Op-Ed


Before you get to socialism, you first have to ask yourself a more basic question: Which side am I on?

As I was writing this article at the end of August, Israel was raining bombs on Gaza, and Black people were staring down the police in the streets of Ferguson, Mo. In these conflicts and others, some will identity with the oppressors and others with the oppressed. (And then there are those who carefully criticize both sides to justify sitting on their gentle neutral butts.)

What accounts for these different responses? Information certainly plays a role, or rather the misinformation that most of us get from the corporate-owned media. Many people who have never been at a demonstration won't realize that "protests turn violent" headlines really mean "police got violent because their authority was questioned."

However we get our news, most of us choose sides based on a sense of fairness, which in turn is connected to our overall place in society. When fast-food workers go on strike to demand $15 an hour and a union, some instinctively support them because they know what it's like to work hard for little. Others might be sympathetic to McDonald's because they also own a business, or think they might one day. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/26035-the-socialist-alternative-to-a-world-of-injustice



Fed Survey of Consumer Finances Shows Americans Understand Their Lousy Economic Condition


Fed Survey of Consumer Finances Shows Americans Understand Their Lousy Economic Condition
Posted on September 5, 2014 by David Dayen

By David Dayen, a lapsed blogger, now a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on Twitter @ddayen


The Fed’s Survey of Consumer Finances came out yesterday, and it offered a pretty good answer for why the country won’t just snap out of it and admit that Recovery Summer is here. The survey covers 2010 to 2013 and it’s stocked with interesting data, but the main point is the continued breaking away of top income earners from the rest of their counterparts. McClatchy summarizes:

Americans’ average income of grew by 4 percent from 2010 to 2013, a misleading number since it was pulled up by the richest Americans who grew wealthier during the period, according to a Federal Reserve report released Thursday.

In its Survey of Consumer Finances, conducted every three years, the Fed found that while average income rose by 4 percent, the midpoint income for American families actually fell 5 percent “consistent with increasing income concentration during this period.”

Translation: The growing wealth of the richest Americans pulled up the average. It’s the same phenomenon as if you and Microsoft founder Bill Gates pooled your salaries, you too would be a billionaire.


Matthew C. Klein supplies the charts, and they’re quite striking. Median income has dropped 12.4 percent since 2004, a dramatic decline in fortunes:



Good news, the gains are not only accruing to the top 1 percent of the distribution. More like the top 3 percent:



Looks like the rest of the top 10 percent have flatlined, while the bottom 90 percent have a lower income share than they did in the late 1980s. Median net worth is down at early-1990s levels. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/09/fed-survey-consumer-finances-shows-americans-well-informed-economic-well.html



Professor Richard Wolff: "Our economic system is the problem."


Pt. I


Pt. II



Fed Survey of Consumer Finances Shows Americans Understand Their Lousy Economic Condition


Fed Survey of Consumer Finances Shows Americans Understand Their Lousy Economic Condition
Posted on September 5, 2014 by David Dayen

By David Dayen, a lapsed blogger, now a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on Twitter @ddayen


The Fed’s Survey of Consumer Finances came out yesterday, and it offered a pretty good answer for why the country won’t just snap out of it and admit that Recovery Summer is here. The survey covers 2010 to 2013 and it’s stocked with interesting data, but the main point is the continued breaking away of top income earners from the rest of their counterparts. McClatchy summarizes:

Americans’ average income of grew by 4 percent from 2010 to 2013, a misleading number since it was pulled up by the richest Americans who grew wealthier during the period, according to a Federal Reserve report released Thursday.

In its Survey of Consumer Finances, conducted every three years, the Fed found that while average income rose by 4 percent, the midpoint income for American families actually fell 5 percent “consistent with increasing income concentration during this period.”

Translation: The growing wealth of the richest Americans pulled up the average. It’s the same phenomenon as if you and Microsoft founder Bill Gates pooled your salaries, you too would be a billionaire.


Matthew C. Klein supplies the charts, and they’re quite striking. Median income has dropped 12.4 percent since 2004, a dramatic decline in fortunes:



Good news, the gains are not only accruing to the top 1 percent of the distribution. More like the top 3 percent:



Looks like the rest of the top 10 percent have flatlined, while the bottom 90 percent have a lower income share than they did in the late 1980s. Median net worth is down at early-1990s levels. ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/09/fed-survey-consumer-finances-shows-americans-well-informed-economic-well.html



Repugs beat the voter fraud horse in advance of the November election


(In These Times It is rare for a politician to publicly deride efforts to boost voter turnout. It is seen as a taboo in a country that prides itself on its democratic ideals. Yet, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie last week slammed efforts to simplify voter registration.

Referring to Illinois joining other states—including many Republican-led ones—in passing a same-day voter registration law, Christie said: “Same-day registration all of a sudden this year comes to Illinois. Shocking. It’s shocking. I’m sure it was all based on public policy, good public policy to get same-day registration here in Illinois just this year, when the governor is in the toilet and needs as much help as he can get.”

Christie was campaigning for Illinois GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn, who signed the same-day registration bill into law in July.

Christie, who chairs the Republican Governors Association, denounced the effort to boost voter turnout as an underhanded Democratic tactic, despite the Illinois State Board of Elections being composed equally of Democrats and Republicans. Referring to the same-day voter initiative, Christie said Quinn “will try every trick in the book,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Christie said the program is designed to be a major “obstacle” for the GOP's gubernatorial candidates.

......(snip)......

Unlike Christie, most Republicans who have fought voter turnout efforts like same-day registration have argued that same-day registration would increase voter fraud. This has allowed the GOP to position itself as battling crime—not as trying to block legal voters. But the GOP has been unable to substantiate that voter-fraud claim, and there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. ..........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17141/why_higher_voter_turnout_scares_the_gop



Noam Chomsky: The End of History?


from In These Times:


The End of History?
The short, strange era of human civilization would appear to be drawing to a close.

BY NOAM CHOMSKY


It is not pleasant to contemplate the thoughts that must be passing through the mind of the Owl of Minerva as the dusk falls and she undertakes the task of interpreting the era of human civilization, which may now be approaching its inglorious end.

The era opened almost 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, stretching from the lands of the Tigris and Euphrates, through Phoenicia on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean to the Nile Valley, and from there to Greece and beyond. What is happening in this region provides painful lessons on the depths to which the species can descend.

The land of the Tigris and Euphrates has been the scene of unspeakable horrors in recent years. The George W. Bush-Tony Blair aggression in 2003, which many Iraqis compared to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, was yet another lethal blow. It destroyed much of what survived the Bill Clinton-driven U.N. sanctions on Iraq, condemned as “genocidal” by the distinguished diplomats Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, who administered them before resigning in protest. Halliday and von Sponeck's devastating reports received the usual treatment accorded to unwanted facts.

.....(snip).....

The likely end of the era of civilization is foreshadowed in a new draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the generally conservative monitor of what is happening to the physical world.

The report concludes that increasing greenhouse gas emissions risk “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems” over the coming decades. The world is nearing the temperature when loss of the vast ice sheet over Greenland will be unstoppable. Along with melting Antarctic ice, that could raise sea levels to inundate major cities as well as coastal plains. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17137/the_end_of_history



Robert Reich: The Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Division of America


by Robert Reich


Detroit is the largest city ever to seek bankruptcy protection, so its bankruptcy is seen as a potential model for other American cities now teetering on the edge.

But Detroit is really a model for how wealthier and whiter Americans escape the costs of public goods they’d otherwise share with poorer and darker Americans.

Judge Steven W. Rhodes of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan is now weighing Detroit’s plan to shed $7 billion of its debts and restore some $1.5 billion of city services by requiring various groups of creditors to make sacrifices.

.....(snip).....

No one knows whether Judge Rhodes will accept or reject the plan. But one thing is for certain. A very large and prosperous group close by won’t sacrifice a cent: They’re the mostly-white citizens of neighboring Oakland County. Oakland County is the fourth wealthiest county in the United States, of counties with a million or more residents.

In fact, Greater Detroit, including its suburbs, ranks among the top financial centers, top four centers of high technology employment, and second largest source of engineering and architectural talent in America. The median household in the County earned over $65,000 last year. The median household in Birmingham, Michigan, just across Detroit’s border, earned more than $94,000. In nearby Bloomfield Hills, still within the Detroit metropolitan area, the median was close to $105,000. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_bankruptcy_of_detroit_and_the_division_of_america_20140906



Noam Chomsky: The End of History?


from In These Times:


The End of History?
The short, strange era of human civilization would appear to be drawing to a close.

BY NOAM CHOMSKY


It is not pleasant to contemplate the thoughts that must be passing through the mind of the Owl of Minerva as the dusk falls and she undertakes the task of interpreting the era of human civilization, which may now be approaching its inglorious end.

The era opened almost 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, stretching from the lands of the Tigris and Euphrates, through Phoenicia on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean to the Nile Valley, and from there to Greece and beyond. What is happening in this region provides painful lessons on the depths to which the species can descend.

The land of the Tigris and Euphrates has been the scene of unspeakable horrors in recent years. The George W. Bush-Tony Blair aggression in 2003, which many Iraqis compared to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, was yet another lethal blow. It destroyed much of what survived the Bill Clinton-driven U.N. sanctions on Iraq, condemned as “genocidal” by the distinguished diplomats Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, who administered them before resigning in protest. Halliday and von Sponeck's devastating reports received the usual treatment accorded to unwanted facts.

One dreadful consequence of the U.S.-U.K. invasion is depicted in a New York Times “visual guide to the crisis in Iraq and Syria”: the radical change of Baghdad from mixed neighborhoods in 2003 to today's sectarian enclaves trapped in bitter hatred. The conflicts ignited by the invasion have spread beyond and are now tearing the entire region to shreds. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17137/the_end_of_history



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