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Reclaiming the Radical Imagination

  • We now live under a form of casino capitalism that revels in deception, kills the radical imagination, depoliticizes the American public and promulgates what might be called disimagination factories and punishing machines.
  • Henry Giroux on Zombie Politics,
  • A society consisting of the sum of its vanity and greed is not a society at all but a state of war. - Lewis Lapham

Henry A. Giroux, Truthout (Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission.)

Starbuck's Cafe LatteIf you like reading this article, consider contributing a cafe latte to all reader-supported Evergreene Digest--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

images_2014_01/2014_0113gir_.jpg (Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout

Monday, 13 January 2014 | The Gilded Age is back, with huge profits for the ultrarich, hedge fund managers and the major players in the financial service industries. In the new landscapes of wealth, exclusion and fraud, the commanding institutions of a savage and fanatical capitalism promote a winner-take-all ethos and aggressively undermine the welfare state and wage a counter revolution against the principles of social citizenship and democracy. The geographies of moral and political decadence have become the organizing standard of the dreamworlds of consumption, privatization, surveillance and deregulation. For instance, banks such as JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and other investment companies including Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and UBS prosper from subterfuge and corruption. They also have been transformed into punishing factories that erode the welfare state while pushing millions into hardship and misery and relegating an entire generation of young people into a state of massive unemployment, debt, and repression.  The profits seem endless and the lack of moral responsibility unchecked as the rich go on buying sprees soaking up luxury goods in record numbers. The New York Times reports that dealers of high-end luxury cars cannot keep up with the demand. Indulging in luxury items is no longer a dirty word for the ultrarich in spite of living in a society wracked by massive unemployment, inequality and poverty. One example provided by the Times, without either irony or criticism, points to “Matt Hlavin, an entrepreneur in Cleveland who owns seven businesses, mostly in manufacturing, bought three Mercedes last year: a $237,000 SLS AMG and a $165,000 S63 AMG for himself, and a $97,000 GL550 sport utility vehicle for his wife.”  This example of shameless consumption reads like a scene out of Martin Scorsese’s film The Wolf of Wall Street, which portrays the financial elite as infantilized frat boys out of control in their unquenchable craving for greed, sex, power, and every other debauchery imaginable. At a time when the United States has descended into forms of political and moral amnesia, massive inequity and high levels of poverty, coupled with narratives of excess and over-the-top material indulgence, have become normalized and barely receive any critical commentary in the mainstream media.

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University.

 

Full story…

Related:

Henry Giroux on Zombie Politics, Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company

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  • Giroux explains that such a machine turns “people who are basically so caught up with surviving that they become like the walking dead – they lose their sense of agency, they lose their homes, they lose their jobs.”
  • Film Preview: Birth of the Living Dead

What We Have Here Is An Opportunity to Communicate, Part 1: We Have No Owners

 

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Assuming we have failed to clearly communicate  to you why we need to raise $4,500* quarterly and request you help now with a very small fair share contribution, we're going to continue to take the opportunity to do just that, continuing into the 1st Quarter of 2014. 

Dear readers of Evergreene Digest,

Pine Tree LogoJanuary 13, 2014 | You will recall that our 4th Quarter, 2013, fundraiser ended in a disaster. It would've been an absolute failure had not twelve people (including six new contributors and two contributors who are also on our all-volunteer crew) generously contributed a grand total of $490 (or just over 10% of our goal)!

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Section(s): 

America Is the Most Inhumane Developed Country on the Planet

  • This week marked the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What would it be like if people in the U.S. knew they had these rights?
  • Are We Going to Let It Stay This Way?
  • Number One? 20 Not So Good Categories That The United States Leads The World In

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, AlterNet

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

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human_rights.jpg December 14, 2013  |  This week marked the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  It was drafted by a commission of the United Nations that was chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt. The Convention became effective in 1951, the United States finally ratified it in 1988 and it was signed by President George H.W. Bush.

What would it be like if people in the United States knew they had these rights and demanded to have them realized? We believe it would be a very different world – the economy would be a more equitable with full employment, healthcare for all, no people without housing and more humane on every front. Instead, this week an annual report of Credit Suisse ranked the US as the most unequal of all advanced countries.

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers are participants in PopularResistance.org. They also co-direct It’s Our Economy and are co-hosts of Clearing the FOG, shown on UStream TV and heard on radio.

Number-One-250x250.png Full story…

Related:

Number One? 20 Not So Good Categories That The United States Leads The World In, Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse

July 5th, 2011 | If you do not believe that America is in bad shape, just read the list below.  The following are 20 not so good categories that the United States leads the world in.

Paid to Lose: The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats

Politics banner

  • Clear your mind and consider this: the self-labeled Progressive Movement that has arisen over the past decade is primarily one big propaganda campaign serving the political interests of the the Democratic Party’s richest one-percent who created it.
  • Robert Scheer | Progressives On the Take
  • Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion

John Stauber, Counterpunch

Thanks to Evergreene Digest reader Terri Lee for this contribution. 

March 15, 2014 | There is good news in the Boston Globe today for the managers, development directors, visionaries, political hacks and propaganda flacks who run “the Progressive Movement.”   More easy-to-earn and easy-to-hide soft money, millions of dollars,  will be flowing to them from super rich Democrats and business corporations.  It will come clean, pressed and laundered through Organizing for Action, the latest incarnation of the Obama Money Machine which has recently morphed into a “nonpartisan non-profit corporation” that will  ‘‘strengthen the progressive movement and train our next generation of leaders.’’

Does this information concern you?  If not, you need to get out of the propaganda bubble of your Progressive Movement echo chamber and think.  Think hard.  Think about fundamental, radical, democratic, social and economic change, who might bring it about and how.  Ask yourself if the the rich elite, the 1%, are going to fund that.   Leave The Nation and Mother Jones on the shelf;  turn off Ed Schultz, Rachel Madow and Chris Hayes;  don’t open that barrage of email missives from Alternet, Media Matters, MoveOn, and the other think tanks;  and get your head out of the liberal blogosphere for a couple days.  Clear your mind and consider this.

John Stauber is an independent writer, activist and author.  His books include Toxic Sludge Is Good for You, Mad Cow USA and Weapons of Mass Deception.  In 1993 he founded the Center for Media and Democracy to exposed corporate, political and media propaganda campaigns.  

Full story…

Related:

 

Robert Scheer | Progressives On the Take, Robert Scheer, TruthDig

  • The Podesta brothers are the faces of the so-called progressive wing of the Democratic Party that, like the president himself, will talk a good game of reducing income inequality, while catering to the interests of the very corporations that have initiated the problem. 
  • It is not surprising then that in [Obama's] major speech on income inequality, there was no mention of the role of the big banks in fostering this inequality.
  • American Inequality in Six Charts

Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion ~ Jeffrey St. Clair, Thom Hartmann, Thom Hartmann Program <http://www.thomhartmann.com>

April 23, 2012 | "Those who feel that like lemmings they are being led over a cliff would be well-advised not to read this book. They may discover that they are right."—Noam Chomsky

“Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank have skillfully smoked out the real Barack Obama . . . the technofascist military strategist disguised as a Nobel Peace Laureate, but owned, operated, and controlled by Wall Street, Corporate America, and the Pentagon.”—Thomas H. Naylor, co-author of Affluenza, Downsizing the USA

Full story...

 

Noam Chomsky | U.S. Politics Are Now 'Pure Savagery'

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  • Chomsky told HuffPost that corporate interests dominate the policy agenda of the Democratic Party, and cited conservative scholar Norm Ornstein's observation that the Republican Party has "drifted off the spectrum" and no longer functions as a serious parliamentary entity.
  • Budget Deal Keeps Cuts, A Disaster for Majority
  • Krugman: Rich are waging “pure class warfare”
  • Meet the poverty liars: GOP peddles more garbage in war on the poor

01/08/2014 | Author and activist Noam Chomsky said that the congressional controversy over extending unemployment benefits is evidence that American politics has descended into madness.

"The refusal to provide very minimal living standards to people who are caught in this monstrosity -- that's just pure savagery," Chomsky said during an interview with HuffPost Live. "There's no other word for it."

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: 

Budget Deal Keeps Cuts, A Disaster for Majority, Robert Borosage, Isaiah J. Poole, Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future / Portside 

  • The "Budget Deal." abandons the unemployed, while increasing the military budget, and ignores massive job creation. Reducing projected sequester cuts will save jobs, but half the mindless across-the-board sequester cuts continue in fiscal year 2014 and three-fourths in 2015. The deal provides relief from some destructive sequester cuts. But it sustains Washington's focus on deficit reduction and its commitment to austerity.
  • American Inequality in Six Charts
  • Just Because Congress Cut a Budget Deal Doesn’t Mean It’s a Good One

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Krugman: Rich are waging “pure class warfare” Elias Isouth, Salon

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Meet the poverty liars: GOP peddles more garbage in war on the poor, Joan Walsh, Salon

  • Struggling to project “compassion,” Republicans revive Reagan’s destructive myths about how to help the poor
  • Budget Deal Keeps Cuts, A Disaster for Majority

Meet the poverty liars: GOP peddles more garbage in war on the poor

Politics banner

  • Struggling to project “compassion,” Republicans revive Reagan’s destructive myths about how to help the poor
  • Budget Deal Keeps Cuts, A Disaster for Majority

Joan Walsh, Salon

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rubio_paul_ryan-620x412.jpg Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan (Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite/Ed Reinke)

Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014 | As we observe the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson declaring the “War on Poverty” this week, it’s worth remembering the way Ronald Reagan wrote its history, and its epitaph, with a soothing nine-word bromide: “We fought a war on poverty, and poverty won.”

It’s worth remembering, because as Republicans scramble to appear as though they care about the poor, circulating memos teaching how to seem “compassionate” and digging “anti-poverty plans” out of dusty file folders from the 1980s, all they’re doing is updating Reagan for the 21st century. And Reagan was dead wrong the first time around.

Joan Walsh joined Salon in 1998 to become the first full-time news editor and became editor in chief in February 2005. At the end of 2010, she became editor at large, to write full time. In the last couple of years she's had the privilege of debating conservative zealots on TV, from Bill O' Reilly to Dick Armey to Pat Buchanan.

Full story…

Related:

Budget Deal Keeps Cuts, A Disaster for Majority, Robert Borosage, Isaiah J. Poole, Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future / Portside

  • The "Budget Deal." abandons the unemployed, while increasing the military budget, and ignores massive job creation. Reducing projected sequester cuts will save jobs, but half the mindless across-the-board sequester cuts continue in fiscal year 2014 and three-fourths in 2015. The deal provides relief from some destructive sequester cuts. But it sustains Washington's focus on deficit reduction and its commitment to austerity.
  • American Inequality in Six Charts
  • Just Because Congress Cut a Budget Deal Doesn’t Mean It’s a Good One

Are We Being Driven Like Cattle?

Counter Currents banner

  • So the people, the driven cattle, have been made to fear terrorism. How was this done? It was easy after 9/11. Could it be that the purpose of the 9/11 disaster was to make people fear terrorism, so that they could be more easily manipulated, more easily deprived of their civil rights, more easily driven into a war against Iraq? 
  • There is strong evidence that many highly placed governmental figures knew well in advanced that the World Trade Center would be attacked, and that they made the disaster much worse than it otherwise would have been.
  • Scared to Death
  • Henry Giroux on Zombie Politics

John Scales Avery, Countercurrents.org

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US Of Fear coverJanuary, 2014 | As we stand in line for security checks at airports, we may have the distinct feeling that we are being herded like cattle. Air travel has changed, and has become much less pleasant, since the fear of terrorism replaced the fear of communism as the excuse that governments give for diverting colossal sums of money from desperately needed social goals to the bottomless pit of war. Innocent grandmothers, and their grandchildren, are required to remove their shoes and belts. Everyone is treated like a criminal. It is a humiliating experience. We may well feel like dumb driven cattle; and the purpose of the charade is not so much to prevent airliners from being sabotaged as it is to keep the idea of terrorism fresh in our minds.

Is the threat of terrorism real? Or is it like the barking of a dog driving a herd? The threat of climate change is very real indeed. The threat to future global food security is real too. Already 11 million children die every year from malnutrition and poverty-related causes. The threat to human civilization and the biosphere posed by a possible Third World War is real. The threat of exhaustion of non-renewable resources and economic collapse is real. The dangers associated with our unstable fractional reserve banking system are also real. Beside these all too real threats to our future, the threat of terrorism is vanishingly small.

John Scales Avery is a theoretical chemist noted for his research publications in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. Since the early 1990s, Avery has been an active World peace activist. 

Full story…

Related:

Scared to Death, Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com

  • My Safety ‘Tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Security
  • The United States of Fear

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Henry Giroux on Zombie Politics, Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company

Politics banner

  • Giroux explains that such a machine turns “people who are basically so caught up with surviving that they become like the walking dead – they lose their sense of agency, they lose their homes, they lose their jobs.”
  • Film Preview: Birth of the Living Dead

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