Tag Archives | America

Is Democracy An Illusion?

Karl MarxJohn Stoehr writes on Al Jazeera:

In the US, the dominant political discourse consists of ideas put forth by the ruling class.

Karl Marx never visited the United States, but he nevertheless understood the country, because he understood capitalism. As you know, there’s no American ideology that’s mightier than capitalism. Equality, justice and the rule of law are nice and all, but money talks.

In their 1846 book The German Ideology, Marx and co-author Frederick Engels took a look at human history and made a plain but controversial observation. In any given historical period, the ideas that people generally think are the best and most important ideas are usually the ideas of the people in charge. If you have a lot of money and own a lot of property, then you have the power to propagandise your worldview and you have incentive to avoid appearing as if you’re propagandising your worldview.

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Nothing Happens Unless White Folks Say So

redhook summerJames Mcbride, co-writer of Spike Lee’s ‘Red Hook Summer,’ has penned a pull-no-punches open letter to Hollywood, detailing some serious issues on race and representation in cinema, and what it means to be a storyteller in an overtly commercial studio system. Via Colorlines.

The reviews for Spike Lee’s film “Red Hook Summer” that premiered at Sundance earlier this week have not been good. His comments made after the premiere about Hollywood studios knowing “nothing about black people” made more headlines than the actual film.

An open letter published yesterday by “Red Hook” co-writer, James McBride, is sure to make even more headlines because he takes the film community to task and says “nothing in this world happens unless white folks says it happens.”

Below is an excerpt from McBride’s open letter on the 40 Acres and a Mule website:

Three days ago, at the premiere of “Red Hook Summer” at The Sundance Film Festival, Spike, usually a cool and widely accepting soul whose professional life is as racially diverse as any American I know- lost his cool for 30 seconds.

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America’s Bad Girlfriend: Mossad Agents Impersonate CIA To Foment Trouble In Iran

Mossad_sealAnother sad one. I think everybody’s had a Crazy Girlfriend at some time in their youth. It’s all thrills and drama before you’re mature enough to realize that the untraceable charges for men’s clothing on your cedit card and cryptic messages on your answering machine are signs of a deep, deep feeback loop of Daddy Problems, self-loathing and manipulation. Unwitingly you’ve signed yourselves up to play the roles of abuse victim/avenger and rescuer/cuckold.

Few of us have had totally ideal childhoods, but self-aware people usually get past this stuff by the time they’ve graduated college. The scipts get more and more alike and the Law of Diminishing Returns kicks in.

If you’re altruistic types you’ll try to talk through the whole thing rationally before retreating to your separate corners in order to get your heads together. Ideally you’ll be able to part on friendly terms, but more often there are some undignified scenes ahead, complete with gouged eye sockets and your shame forever documented in a police report.… Read the rest

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The Trouble With Too Much Democracy

US_Government_Accountability_Office_sealIs America’s bigger problem the economic decline or it’s political decay? Andrew Potter writes in Axis of Logic:

The most telling moment of the recent standoff over talks to raise the American government’s debt ceiling came on July 22, when President Barack Obama called a press conference to announce that House Speaker John Boehner had backed out of the negotiations. “I’ve been left at the altar twice now,” Obama pouted. In case the image of the President as a jilted lover was not clear to everyone watching, he added that he had spent the previous day waiting for Boehner to return his phone calls.

The whole affair has left a lot of Americans in a state of bipartisan disgust, with citizens from all points on the political compass cursing out their elected representatives. Yet it doesn’t seem to have occurred to many people that there is something structurally flawed with a system that allows the head of just one legislative house to treat the supposed leader of the free world as his last choice for the senior prom.

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The Koch Brothers Echo Chamber Attacks Social Security

Senator Sanders connects the dots between the Koch brothers and the attacks on Social Security. This video, part of the Brave New Films‘ Koch Brothers Exposed campaign, investigates the millions of dollars that the Koch brothers spend to create an echo chamber to take away our Social Security. Read more about the right wing echo chamber at Alternet.

Help spread the word so we can expose the Koch brothers and protect our Social Security.

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Utah Approves Gold & Silver Coins As Currency

Via Talking Points:

The Utah House of Representatives has approved a bill that allowing gold and silver coins to be used as currency, though unlike similar bills in other states, it doesn’t force anyone to accept gold or silver as legal tender.

House Bill 317 was introduced by state Rep. Brad Galvez (R) last week, and passed the House by a vote of 47-26. It will now head to the state Senate for a vote.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Galvez explained: “This is a step in preparedness, a step in security that allows us to be able to help hold up our economy as the dollar continues to shrink.”

As TPM has been documenting, there’s been a recent push for gold and silver coins to be used as currency. Georgia state Rep. Bobby Franklin (R) recently reintroduced legislation to force his state to conduct all monetary transactions with U.S.

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Is United States No Longer The Fattest Nation?

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This doesn’t mean that Americans are curbing their appetite or exercising more, the rest of the world is just getting fatter. Peter Smith at Good Magazine writes:

It’s not exactly good news, but the United States is no longer the world’s fattest nation. It turns out that the rest of the world is gaining on us, putting on more weight at a faster pace. This is especially true in Pacific island nations and in the Middle East, where the United Arab Emirates Kuwait now represents the world’s fattest industrialized nation. Both regions seem to be struggling to adapt to modern, sedentary lifestyles over a rather short period of time.

The most recent data comes from an exhaustive country-by-country report on obesity from the Imperial College London, Harvard University, and the World Health Organization, which was published in The Lancet. A Body Mass Index (shown on the x and y axis above) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.

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The 10 Unexpiated Sins That Are Dragging America to Hell

Oedipus Rex, mad with grief

Oedipus Rex, mad with grief

While there were a lot of political oberservations that needed to be made in relation to the recent tragic shooting in Arizona, I kinda feel like we’re beginning to find that comfort groove again.  Some boringly consistent themes are being repeated ad nauseam and it’s starting to bug me.

After Obama’s low-content ”why can’t we just all play nice” speech the gears started to turn.  Something more productive than threadbare conventional plattitudes has to come of this.

Must be my own perverse nature.  You see, some of my biggest heroes have been the guys who f*cked up, but then went on to perform monumental acts of contrition, and in the process redeeming not only themselves but the whole world.  From the (now lapsed) Roman Catholicism of childhood I still can remember St. Colmcille, whose penance for instigating a bloody war was exile and a mission to non-violently preach the love of Jesus Christ to the people of early Scotland.… Read the rest

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