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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.

How Have We Become the United States of Fear?

Tom Engelhardt: "Americans ... are now remarkably detached and insulated from the wars fought in our name and, increasingly, even those wars are fought with an eerie detachment, at least the drone part of them. In essence 1% of Americans who run things send 1% of Americans (those in the armed services) out to fight their wars and the other 98% are left out of things. It's not exactly the definition of a democratic republic, is it?"

Mark Karlin, Truthout

Mark Karlin: Your last chapter in so many ways embodies what you have covered in TomDispatch, and what is at the core of our crisis of democracy today: imperial decline. When did our American empire begin to implode?

Tom Engelhardt: Well, I have no doubt that, economically speaking, we've been losing traction for quite a while on that downhill slope, but a crucial "moment" was certainly Washington's decision to follow what I call "the Soviet path." After all, in those last years of the Cold War, the Soviet Union, the far weaker of the two superpowers, threw money into its military while its deficits rose and its infrastructure crumbled - and of course it got mired in a terrible war, a "bleeding wound," in Afghanistan. It all sounds eerily familiar, no? Washington's decision, in its moment of Cold War triumph, to follow essentially the same path and the Bush administration's wild belief that it could drive U.S. military power unilaterally into the heart of the Greater Middle East and establish a Pax Americana there (the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were only supposed to be the beginning of the process) had a similar effect. Now, of course, we have soaring deficits, rotting infrastructure and unending war in Afghanistan (and elsewhere). It could give you the chills.

 

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Tumultuous Times for Democracy Compelled Moyers' Return to TV

  • After a nearly two year hiatus, journalist Bill Moyers will return to television this weekend with a new show called Moyers & Company.  His previous show, Bill Moyers' Journal, ended in 2010.
  • He's back, just as curious as ever.
  • What journalists can do about liars.

Common Dreams

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Bill Moyers is returning to public television this weekend with “Moyers & Company.” (Chad Batka for the New York Times)

According to the show's new website at BillMoyers.com, the show will be focused on the role of democracy in society and stipulates it will "be a political series, but not a partisan one."

The New York Times profiled the septuagenarian journalist over the weekend (Jan 7-8) and gave a sense of the show's scope as well as a sampling of the guest list.

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Related:

He's back, just as curious as ever, Elizabeth Jensen, New York (NY) Times
That didn’t last long. Just 20 months after retiring his PBS series “Bill Moyers Journal,” Mr. Moyers was back in the studio on a Wednesday morning in December, deep in conversation about moral political psychology with the author Jonathan Haidt.

What journalists can do about liars, Craig Silverman, Columbia Journalism Review

  • The Truth about Public Untruths
  • Are journalists and others equipped to beat back the lies?
     

The 2011 Climate B.S.* of the Year Awards

  • [*B.S. means "Bad Science." What did you think it meant?]
  • Merchants of Doubt

Peter H. Gleick, Huffington Post

Thanks to Evergreene Digest reader Jeanette Eastman for this contribution.

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

Wiley Miller

The Earth's climate continued to change during 2011 -- a year in which unprecedented combinations of extreme weather events killed people and damaged property around the world. The scientific evidence for the accelerating human influence on climate further strengthened, as it has for decades now. Yet on the policy front, once again, national leaders did little to stem the growing emissions of greenhouse gases or to help societies prepare for increasingly severe consequences of climate changes, including rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, rising sea-levels, loss of snowpack and glaciers, disappearance of Arctic sea ice, and much more.



Why the failure to act? In part because climate change is a truly difficult challenge. But in part because of a concerted, well-funded, and aggressive anti-science campaign by climate change deniers and contrarians. These are mostly groups focused on protecting narrow financial interests, ideologues fearful of any government regulation, or scientific contrarians who cling to outdated, long-refuted interpretations of science. While much of the opposition to addressing the issue of climate change is political, it often hides behind pseudo-scientific claims, with persistent efforts to intentionally mislead the public and policymakers with bad science about climate change. Much of this effort is based on intentional falsehoods, misrepresentations, inflated uncertainties, or pure and utter B.S. -- the same tactics that delayed efforts to tackle tobacco's health risks long after the science was understood (as documented in Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway's book, Merchants of Doubt).

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Related:

Merchants of Doubt, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Bloomsbury Press

  • How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming
  • The troubling story of how a cadre of influential scientists have clouded public understanding of scientific facts to advance a political and economic agenda.
     

The Cost of Trickle-Down Government Job Creation: $1.5 Million Per Worker

  • Where is it all going, when the annual average wage is no higher than $50,000? Obviously, it must be going to the so-called 1 percent group or what the Republican Party calls the job creators, i.e., the mostly male CEOs and other executives of large corporations.
  • Robert Reich | Restore the Basic Bargain

Ravi Batra, Truthout

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Suppose I were to tell you that for the past two years the federal government has been spending nearly $1.5 million to create one job, what would your reaction be? Would it be one of disbelief and bewilderment? But suppose I were to prove my statement by citing official data, then how would you react? Well, you make up your own mind, but my response is that the administration's advisers should rethink their approach. Does it make sense to spend so much money to generate one job when the average wage is less than $50,000 per year? In fact, this policy is so foolish that it might even be better just to hand over the average salary to the unemployed so they stay calm, make both ends meet and create consumer demand.

Let me prove my point. The administration's tack is that we should keep spending money at the current rate to preserve jobs, even though the annual federal budget deficit has been around $1.4 trillion over the past two years. In fact, the government even plans to increase its shortfall by raising the size of the payroll tax cut. It seems apparent that the main purpose of excessive federal spending is to preserve or generate jobs. This is a point emphasized by every American president since 1976, and especially since 1981 when the federal deficit began to soar. This is also how most experts defend the deficit nowadays.

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Related:

Robert Reich | Restore the Basic Bargain, Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog
For most of the last century, the basic bargain at the heart of the American economy was that employers paid their workers enough to buy what American employers were selling. That basic bargain created a virtuous cycle of higher living standards, more jobs, and better wages. The basic bargain is over - not only at Ford, but all over the American economy.

 

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