Tag Archives | American Dream

America’s Student Debt Crisis

Picture: j.o.h.n. walker (CC)

Student debt activists and education advocates Kyle McCarthy and Natalia Abrams are tired of the ‘silence and complacency’ that our elected (and duly bribed) officials exhibit in the face of overwhelming evidence of usury and millions of voices of the disaffected. At least two out of three of students take out loans for college and at least 1 out of 5 of those will default.

Via Huffington Post:

Since 1978, college tuition has skyrocketed by over 900%, while simultaneously, grants and scholarships continue to be slashed. The result? Students are forced to mortgage their futures with student debt, from which there is no escape. In 2010, student debt actually eclipsed credit card debt as the second largest consumer debt in the country (second only to mortgage debt, surpassing $1 trillionin total). The Atlantic recently reported that, since 1999, student debt has increased by 511%.

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Why The American Empire Was Destined To Collapse

dollarblowupVia Alternet, author and social critic Morris Berman says that the perverse American Dream made decline inevitable:

The crux of the problem remains the American Dream: even “progressives” see it as the solution — including, I have the impression, the Wall Street protesters — when it’s actually the problem.

The dominant thinking on the left, I suppose, is some variety of a “false consciousness” argument, that the elite have pulled the wool over the eyes of the vast majority of the population, and once the latter realizes that they’ve been had, they’ll rebel, they’ll move the country in a populist direction. The problem I have with this is the evident fact that most Americans want the American Dream, not a different way of life—a Mercedes-Benz, as Janis Joplin once put it. Endless material wealth based on individual striving is the American ideal, and the desire to change that paradigm is practically nonexistent.

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The Beginning of the End? We Can Only Hope

Titanic SinkingPreviously sympathetic commentators disillusioned by Obama’s unchecked lying and fumbling were heartened by the uncharacteristic candor coming from Deputy Secretary of State P. J. Crowley late last week — until he was shit-canned for the same early this week.

But there is still some cause for hope: Hillary has announced her own plans to jump ship at the end of  this term as well.  Check out her blunt statements to that effect here.

Is this yet another harbinger of the destruction of Obama’s career?  A recognition that the situation is so bad that even the filthiest bilge rats see that it’s time to abandon ship? Seems like a reasonable possibility.  Anyone working a political paradigm that relies on unquestioning tribal loyalty to the exclusion of substantive policies the way Obama does should be concerned about the defection of establishment stalwarts.  Very concerned.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  There’s been quite a bit going on at all levels of the political spectrum–I should not fail to mention the special fireworks being lit in Michigan.  But for the purposes of our discussion here, it’s probably more immediately relevant to pass on the rumour being floated around that DNC chief Tim Kaine, DNC may be replaced in the coming months.  Ted Strickland, the man currently speculated to replace Kaine, has a bit of a waffel-y record on business and tax issues, but has gone solidly on the record in opposition to free trade treaties like NAFA.*

Yeah, early days here.  But encouraging trends seem to be bubbling up from the surface.  It’s tempting to imagine that, with the remains of an incompetent establishment no longer blocking the way, the latent energies unleashed at by the Madison Uprising finally have a chance to take on a more coherent and effective shape nationally.… Read the rest

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Today: Rally To Save The American Dream

In Wisconsin and around our country, the American Dream is under attack. Instead of creating much needed jobs, Conservatives are giving tax breaks to corporations and the very rich all while cutting funding for education, police, emergency response, and vital human services. On Saturday, February 26, at noon local time, rallies will be organized in front of every statehouse and in every major city to stand in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin.
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How The American Dream Ended

dreamsIt feels as if every media outlet has lamented 21st century America’s declining fortunes and crisis of confidence. Still, it’s interesting to read German paper of record Der Spiegel‘s outsider perspective on the death of the American dream. The United States comes off as a rotted, moribund shell:

Florida was the finale of the American dream, a promise, a symbol, an American heaven on earth, because Florida held out the prospect of spending 10, perhaps 20 and hopefully 30 years living in one’s own house. For decades, anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 people moved to the state each year. The population grew and grew — and so too did real estate prices and the assets of those who were already there and wanted bigger houses and even bigger dreams. Florida was a seemingly never-ending boom machine.

America has long been a country of limitless possibility. But the dream has now become a nightmare for many.

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United States Is Officially A Banana Republic

Banana USA In a recent opinion piece in the New York Times, Nicholas D. Kristof reels off some key statistics in confirming what most Americans have suspected for years —the United States has now become the largest banana republic of it's kind, with the largest slice of income going to the smallest group of oligarchs.
The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. As Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.
Not really breaking news, but he includes several helpful links to recent studies demonstrating the emotional toll of striving to achieve the hyper-riches of the Bushes next door, through higher divorce rates and forced moves to hunt down the more lucrative positions.
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The Statue of Liberty Hit By Lightning

Statue of Liberty Hit By LightningVia Metro (UK):
This is the moment the Statue of Liberty was hit by lightning — and caught on camera by a photographer who waited two hours in a storm-hit New York City. New Yorker Jay Fine apparently waited more than 40 years for the shot before braving the storm last month in Manhattan's Battery Park City. The 58-year-old photographer caught the incredible snap — but it was a rather arduous process capturing the perfect picture. He said: 'I had been watching weather reports so I knew a storm was coming and it just seemed like a great opportunity. 'I was ready and waiting and took 81 shots before finally getting this one. 'I was shocked when I realised what had happened. 'It was pure luck really, a once in a lifetime opportunity. It's the first photograph of its kind I have ever seen.'
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