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Chris Hedges: Con vs Con

from truthdig:

Con vs. Con

Posted on Jun 19, 2016
By Chris Hedges

During the presidential election cycle, liberals display their gutlessness. Liberal organizations, such as MoveOn.org, become cloyingly subservient to the Democratic Party. Liberal media, epitomized by MSNBC, ruthlessly purge those who challenge the Democratic Party establishment. Liberal pundits, such as Paul Krugman, lambaste critics of the political theater, charging them with enabling the Republican nominee. Liberals chant, in a disregard for the facts, not to be like Ralph Nader, the “spoiler” who gave us George W. Bush.

The liberal class refuses to fight for the values it purports to care about. It is paralyzed and trapped by the induced panic manufactured by the systems of corporate propaganda. The only pressure within the political system comes from corporate power. With no counterweight, with no will on the part of the liberal class to defy the status quo, we slide deeper and deeper into corporate despotism. The repeated argument of the necessity of supporting the “least worse” makes things worse.

Change will not come quickly. It may take a decade or more. And it will never come by capitulating to the Democratic Party establishment. We will accept our place in the political wilderness and build alternative movements and parties to bring down corporate power or continue to watch our democracy atrophy into a police state and our ecosystem unravel.

The rise of a demagogue like Donald Trump is a direct result of the Democratic Party’s decision to embrace neoliberalism, become a handmaiden of American imperialism and sell us out for corporate money. There would be no Trump if Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party had not betrayed working men and women with the North American Free Trade Agreement, destroyed the welfare system, nearly doubled the prison population, slashed social service programs, turned the airwaves over to a handful of corporations by deregulating the Federal Communications Commission, ripped down the firewalls between commercial and investment banks that led to a global financial crash and prolonged recession, and begun a war on our civil liberties that has left us the most monitored, eavesdropped, photographed and profiled population in human history. There would be no Trump if the Clintons and the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama, had not decided to prostitute themselves for corporate pimps. ......................(more)


Study Shows Americans' Bodies Are Filled With Carcinogens

Study Shows Americans' Bodies Are Filled With Carcinogens

Sunday, 19 June 2016 00:00
By Julie M. Rodriguez, Care2 | News Analysis

It's no secret that many of the everyday conveniences we take for granted contain chemicals linked to cancer: Household products ranging from plastic containers to shampoo and soap have been implicated. And that's not even including contaminants in drinking water or pesticide exposure from simply walking through your local park.

Yet somehow, despite the mounting research showing that Americans are being exposed to suspected or known carcinogens from numerous sources throughout the day, no one has ever done a study to determine just how many of these chemicals can be detected in the average human body. Until now.

A new study from the Environmental Working Group has exhaustively reviewed the existing scientific literature and found that Americans may have up to 420 different carcinogenic chemicals present in their bodies in amounts that exceed EPA safety standards. This held true across a diverse array of populations. Research has even measured carcinogens in human umbilical cord blood, showing that infants are exposed to them before they've ever left the womb.

What's truly frightening about this research is that it's not looking at people who might be exposed to these chemicals through occupational exposure -- instead, it examined the presence of these chemicals in average people, whose only exposure to these chemicals was through normal, everyday life. In some cases, these chemicals were present in household products, but in others, the exposure likely came from the water, soil or air itself, making it essentially unavoidable. ..............(more)


Professor Richard Wolff: Capitalism's Crisis Deepens

Prof. Wolff joins David Pakman to discuss his new book Capitalism’s Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown 2010-2014, the fantasy so-called "pure capitalism," and more.

Professor Richard Wolff: "Capitalism, with its inherent injustices, is speeding into a stone wall."

Richard Wolff on the Changing Tides of Capitalism and Socialism

Tuesday, 07 June 2016 00:00
By Creston Davis, Truthout | Interview

Nearly 30 years ago, many capitalists were celebrating what political scientist Francis Fukuyama called the "ultimate victory of the VCR": where consumerism sank communism. However, they failed to calculate the effects of this consumerism on the environment. They also failed to predict how the public would start to tire of a situation in which a very small percentage of capitalists are reaping all the benefits while the rest of us are sinking deeper and deeper into debt, poverty and powerlessness.

Public dissatisfaction with the status quo began to spread in new directions in 2008, feeding into the global Occupy movement in 2011, and mass support for Bernie Sanders today. People are enraged; we feel doped, scammed, cheated.

An increasing proportion of the population is becoming receptive to the messages of the professors, activists, clergy, artists and other community organizers who have long been dismissed as "too radical," while the capitalist machine roars on and on. Dr. Richard D. Wolff has long been warning the US public that the capitalist machine is one of the biggest scams in history, and now it's finally becoming clear to the general public.


You'll be teaching a seminar, "Capitalism and Socialism in the 20th Century," that focuses on your work in July at The Commons in Brooklyn, New York. What are your objectives in teaching this course?

The 20th century was one comprised of a cataclysmic struggle between two opposing ideologies: capitalism and socialism.... Toward the end of the century, around 1989-1990, one of these two ideologies, socialism collapses. The Soviet Union implodes, Eastern Europe follows in its wake, and in China some basic changes begin to manifest in terms of direction and orientation. China's shifts were made so that it could become popular and competitive in the new world order, which is globalized, unabated capitalism. Capitalism won, end of story.


Questions such as "What did we do wrong?" "What can we do differently?" "What was valuable in what socialism achieved despite its collapse?" "What was repugnant or didn't work in socialism?" And these sets of questions have produced, in the period between 1990 and 2016, a horizon of self-criticisms coupled with new directions for socialism in the 21st century.


Podemos is having gains and the traditional socialist parties no longer have the traction they once had. In France and in Germany, the democratic socialist parties are all falling apart. So you see classic socialism fading rapidly, and the same is true of capitalism. Capitalism, with its inherent injustices, is speeding into a stone wall, and everyone's staring at the wall but doesn't know what to do, like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. ............(more)


Toronto: A Ride on TTC's Spadina Subway Extension

From Downsview Park Station to Vaughan Metropolitan Station - track installation is now complete on the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension.


Neoliberalism Will Soon Force Americans to Leave the United States

Neoliberal economic policy will eventually pressure U.S. citizens to emigrate just as it caused millions to leave Russia, the Baltic States and now Greece in search of a better life, economist Michael Hudson tells The Real News Network’s Sharmini Peries.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


Facelift in the works for Toronto's busiest transit corridor

(CBC News) One of Toronto's most iconic streets is up for a remake, with the city launching a study Thursday about what King Street — Toronto's busiest surface transit route — should look like in the months and years ahead.

The study will look at King Street from the perspective of pedestrians, businesses and commuters.

"With job and housing growth continuing along the corridor, the time is now to rethink how King functions," The city's chief planner, Jennifer Keesmaat said in a statement Thursday. "This study will look at optimizing transit, better pedestrian and retail experiences and improving public spaces." ................(more)


Next SafeTrack Surge Will Be Tough Ride In Northern Virginia, Prince George's Co.

(WAMU) The start of the first, two-week shutdown of Metro’s yearlong SafeTrack rebuilding program is days away, and Metrorail riders from Virginia to Maryland are bracing for a rough time.

The second of 15 scheduled “maintenance surges” under SafeTrack promises to be more disruptive than the first, which involved continuous single-tracking along the Orange and Silver Lines between East Falls Church and Ballston. That project will wrap up Thursday without having severely inconvenienced commuters in Northern Virginia.

Surge No. 2 is the first of five shutdowns in the transit authority’s ambitious reconstruction plan. Metro estimates more than 60,000 daily trips will be affected by the closures on the eastern side of the rail system with crowding and delays affecting 13 stations.

“It's an emergency,” says Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker about preparations for the June 18 to July 3 shutdown of the Blue, Orange, and Silver Lines between Eastern Market and Minnesota Avenue/Benning Road stations. Buses will replace trains to provide a “bus bridge” around the closed stations. ...............(more)


OK, I Get it, the US is a Service Economy, but this Looks Terrible

OK, I Get it, the US is a Service Economy, but this Looks Terrible
by Wolf Richter • June 15, 2016

Recession Watch: huge brake shoe to drop on the economy.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.57%, the lowest since November 2012, after the Fed got through flip-flopping today, to keep the notion of rate hikes alive without actually hiking rates. Fed officials worried about lousy job gains, terrible exports, puny investment, and Brexit, but they see inflation picking up, and they like that, though a serious bout of inflation is going to kneecap consumers, and so, the statement said, “growth in economic activity appears to have picked up.”

Just how much has that “growth in economic activity” picked up?

Yesterday, it was total business sales, which have been dropping since July 2014 and are now back where they’d been in April 2013. Today it’s industrial production.

The Fed’s Board of Governors reported that industrial production contracted 0.4% in May, after having expanded 0.6% in April. This is like Chinese water torture: drip by drip, with periods of calm in between that are just long enough to think that it’s over. Year-over-year, industrial production was down 1.4%.

Manufacturing, which accounts for about 80% of industrial production, output fell 0.4%, “led by a large step-down in the production of motor vehicles and parts,” which plunged 4.2%. ...............(more)


The Changing Face of Whiteness

The Changing Face of Whiteness

Sunday, 05 June 2016 00:00
By William C. Anderson, Truthout | News Analysis

When Guido Menzio sat down on a regional jet for a short flight from Philadelphia to Syracuse, New York, he certainly couldn't have guessed what was going to happen. The 40-year-old economist was profiled as a terror suspect for being focused too intently on a math problem. The differential equation he was working on was possibly mistaken for terrorist scrawlings by the nervous passenger next to him, who was concerned that Menzio wasn't polite enough, looked suspicious and was too distracted by his foreign scribblings.

After delaying the flight and profiling Menzio, the media would soon report on the "Ivy League economist" who was "ethnically profiled" for doing math on a plane. Focal points of this story were Menzio's whiteness as an Italian and his stature as an Ivy League economist -- both of which should assure him no suspicion from authorities, unless he should be mistaken for a person of color. Amid the reverberating outcry around Menzio's treatment, the fact that no one should be treated that way may have gotten lost. After all, the passenger followed what is protocol for many; she saw something and she said something. But what is it she saw? She saw someone she was scared of and someone who was possibly not white.

What does it mean to be "possibly not white"? If we examine this incident in the context of this country's past, we will be reminded that the definition of "whiteness" is and has always been changing.

Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia is a landmark white supremacist text that serves as a canonical work for the establishment of US whiteness. As a "founding father" and a co-author of many of the nation's founding texts, Jefferson's thoughts were given extraordinary reverence as observations worthy of real consideration. In this book, Jefferson pontificates about his many bigoted and regressive ideas while explaining his thoughts on why Native and Black people are lesser than whites. Jefferson expresses a particular disdain for Blackness, presenting Black people as an antithesis to white humanity -- a subspecies, if you will.


By most standards of today's definitions of whiteness, Guido Menzio's being Italian would categorize him as white. However, his ethnic -- or non-WASP (white Anglo-Saxon Protestant) --brand of whiteness recalls an era in this country when not everyone who is now considered "white" would have been previously. Italian-Americans, Jewish-Americans and Irish-Americans, among others, have all had complicated histories in this country in regard to their identities. Each group has been alienated and shunned from whiteness at various points in US history. Keep in mind that white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and various neo-Nazi groups have often barred white people who are not of "pure" WASP descent. And even that is subject to change at times. ......................(more)


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