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Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking LogoImagine a world where every person had complete access to the truth
AND
had sufficient education to separate it from propaganda.
A goal of this site is to provide unbiased access to the truth. This section, in particular, is devoted to helping readers recognize the truth, in the midst of all the propaganda.

Five Tax Fallacies Invented by the 1%

We hear these claims often, even though they're entirely false. An analysis of the facts should make that clear.

Paul Buchheit, Common Dreams

We hear these claims often, even though they're entirely false. An analysis of the facts should make that clear.

1. The Rich Pay Almost All the Taxes



That's simply not true. The percentage of total taxes paid by the very rich (the top 1%) is approximately the same as the percentage paid by middle class Americans (the 4th quintile, average income $68,700). Here are the details:

Internal Revenue Service figures show that the very rich paid 23% of their incomes in federal income taxes in 2006. The middle class paid about 8% of their incomes in federal income taxes. Based on U.S. Congressional Budget Office figures, the very rich pay just under 2% of their incomes toward social security, while the middle class pays just under 10%. According to a study by The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, the very rich pay about 7% of their incomes in state and sales and property and excise taxes, while the middle class pays approximately 10%. Another year of Bush tax cuts will reduce the taxes of the very rich by at least 3% more than the middle class.

Full story...

The Sources of American Political Dysfunction

  • In never-ending efforts to defeat incumbent officeholders in hard times, the public is perpetuating the source of its discontent, electing a new group of people who are even less inclined to or capable of crafting compromise or solutions to pressing problems.
  • How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington
  • Right's Stupidity Spreads, Enabled by Too-Polite Left

Thomas E. Mann and Norm Ornstein, Huffington Post

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Six years ago, we wrote The Broken Branch, which sharply criticized the Congress for failing to live up to its responsibilities as the first branch of government. Based on four decades of watching Congress, ours was a sympathetic perspective, one that reflected our appreciation of the inherent messiness of the legislative process within the constitutional system. Reconciling diverse interests and beliefs in America's extended republic necessarily involves adversarial debates and difficult negotiations.

But there was no denying the impact of broad changes in America's wider political environment -- most importantly the ideological polarization of the political parties -- on how Congress went about its work. We documented the demise of regular order, as Congress bent rules to marginalize committees and deny the minority party in the House opportunities to offer amendments on the floor; the decline of genuine deliberation in the lawmaking process on such important matters as budgets and decisions to go to war; the manifestations of extreme partisanship; the culture of corruption; the loss of institutional patriotism among members; and the weakening of the checks-and-balances system.

Full story...

Related:

How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington, George Monbiot, Guardian UK
The degradation of intelligence and learning in American politics results from a series of interlocking tragedies

George Monbiot | Right's Stupidity Spreads, Enabled by Too-Polite Left, George Monbiot,
Guardian UK

  • Conservativism may be the refuge of the dim. But the room for rightwing ideas is made by those too timid to properly object.
  • How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington
  • Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes
     

Henry A. Giroux | The Scorched-Earth Politics of America's Four Fundamentalisms

"Americans seem confident in the mythical notion that the United States is a free nation dedicated to reproducing the principles of equality, justice and democracy. What has been ignored in this delusional view is the growing rise of an expanded national security state since 2001 and an attack on individual rights that suggests that the United States has more in common with authoritarian regimes like China and Cuba 'than anyone may like to admit.'"
You Are All Suspects Now.
The Anti-Government 'Patriot' Movement Is Exploding in Size and Reach


Henry A. Giroux, Truthout

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of Evergreene Digest readers like you. Thank you!

(Image: Lance Page / Truthout; Adapted:NASA, mynameisharsha)

Americans seem confident in the mythical notion that the United States is a free nation dedicated to reproducing the principles of equality, justice and democracy. What has been ignored in this delusional view is the growing rise of an expanded national security state since 2001 and an attack on individual rights that suggests that the United States has more in common with authoritarian regimes like China and Iran "than anyone may like to admit."(1) I want to address this seemingly untenable notion that the United States has become a breeding ground for authoritarianism by focusing on four fundamentalisms: market fundamentalism, religious fundamentalism, educational fundamentalism and military fundamentalism. This is far from a exhaustive list, but it does raise serious questions about how the claim to democracy in the United States has been severely damaged, if not made impossible.

Full story...

Related:

You Are All Suspects Now. John Pilger, Truthout
What Are You Going to Do About It?

The Anti-Government 'Patriot' Movement Is Exploding in Size and Reach, Mark Potok, SPLC Intelligence ReportAlterNet
Hate groups of all kinds are climbing in numbers, but the swelling of the Patriot movement since late 2008 has been astounding.

Charter Schools Are Not the Silver Bullet

  • With all the reformist buzz, where are the results?
  • The Assault on Public Education

David Sirota, In These Times

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of Evergreene Digest readers like you. Thank you!

In recent years, major studies suggest that, on the whole, charter schools are producing worse educational achievement results than traditional public schools.

Talk K-12 education for more than five minutes, and inevitably, the conversation turns to charter schools – those publicly funded, privately administered institutions that now educate more than 2 million American children. Parents wonder if they are better than the neighborhood public school. Politicians tout them as a silver-bullet solution to the education crisis. Education technology companies promote them for their profit potential. Opponents of organized labor like the Walton family embrace them for their ability to crush teachers unions.

But amid all the buzz, the single most important question is being ignored: Are charter schools living up to their original mission as experimental schools pioneering better education outcomes and reducing segregation? That was the vision of the late American Federation of Teachers President Albert Shanker when he proposed charters a quarter-century ago – and according to new data, it looks like those objectives are not being realized.

More...

Related:

The Assault on Public Education, Noam Chomsky, Nation of Change

  • “Community colleges increasingly face similar prospects – and the shortfalls extend to grades K-12.”
  • Chomsky: How the Young Are Indoctrinated to Obey
  • How Corporate Money Pushes Economic Poison on Campus
  • Why has disability dropped off the world’s agenda?
     

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