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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 73,488

Journal Archives

Chris Hedges’ Interview With Noam Chomsky on Empire, the Liberal Class and More




Finish the year off by watching this memorable clip of Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges interviewing acclaimed linguist and social thinker Noam Chomsky.


Democracy and Its Discontents


Democracy and Its Discontents

Thursday, 01 January 2015 09:46
By Thomas J. Scott, Truthout | Op-Ed


Americans increasingly question the viability of institutions they have traditionally relied upon for economic support, security in their local communities and information to explain the world around them. This skepticism is most apparent with respect to political institutions; the US public is losing confidence in the political decision-making process and how government exercises its power.

According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data from 2013, only 35 percent of Americans have confidence in their government. A November 25, 2014, Rasmussen poll suggests only 8 percent of likely voters rate the performance of Congress as good or excellent, while 64 percent rate its performance as poor. A September 2014 Gallup poll found a 44 percent approval rating for the Supreme Court, while 48 percent disapprove. President Obama doesn't fare any better. A December 21, 2014, Rasmussen poll reported an approval rating of 48 percent, while 51 percent disapproved of his job performance.

There are several explanations for why this lack of confidence exists. Over the past two decades, hyper-individualism has become a cultural value and is now increasingly apparent in public policy debates. Market-oriented policies advocate personal satisfaction over the common good. Voters are behaving more like consumers than citizens and, as a result, corporate influence on public policy has become a more dynamic aspect of the electoral and decision-making process. The Supreme Court exacerbated this influence in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. Super PACs can now raise unlimited amounts of money during campaigns essentially without disclosing the source of the money.

Income inequality also promotes declining confidence in many of the institutions that comprise civil society in the United States. A December 17, 2014, study by the Pew Research Center found the wealth gap (as measured by family assets) between high-income groups and everyone else has reached record high levels. Trust in governmental and private sector institutions is at an all-time low. Gallup has been trending public attitudes toward a variety of societal institutions since 1973. From 1973 to 2014, organized religion, the Supreme Court, the banking system, public schools, newspapers, Congress, organized labor and big business have seen declines in public confidence. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/28284-democracy-and-its-discontents



Hollywood Hacks (cartoon)





http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/hollywood_hacks_20141231


Watched about a half-hour of Headline News "Morning Express" (I know, I know - bad idea) ......


....... stories on a package thief wearing a Christmas sweater, tailgate food at the bowl games and youtube videos of pets celebrating New Year's Eve, with very brief stories on actual news. Bread and circuses.

And it just made me want to say thank you to:




And Happy New Year DU!



Richard Wolff with Thom Hartmann: The War on Austerity in Greece is Raging




Published on Dec 31, 2014

Dr. Richard Wolff, Economist / Democracy At Work joins Thom Hartmann. With new elections just weeks away - anti-austerity parties are poised to take over the Greek government. Could this mark a turning point in Europe's slow lurch towards economic depression?


Japan’s sexual apathy is endangering the global economy


(Washington Post) People in Japan are so averse to romantic relationships that the country's media even has a name for it: sekkusu shinai shokogun, or "celibacy syndrome," according to a widely circulated Guardian story on the country's low rates of marriage, childbearing and even sex.

But this is more than a story about Japan and its cultural quirks: It's a story about the global economy. Japan is the world's third-largest economy, a crucial link in global trade and a significant factor everyone else's economic well-being. It owns almost as much U.S. debt as does China. It's a top trading partner of the U.S., China and lots of other countries. The Japanese economy is in serious enough trouble that it could set the rest of us back. And the biggest source of that trouble is demographic: Japanese people aren't having enough kids to sustain a healthy economy. One big reason they're having fewer kids is that they're not as interested in dating or marrying one another, in part because they're less interested in sex.

Here are a few of the statistics, some from the Guardian story and others from a 2011 report by Japan's population center:

• Extremely high numbers of Japanese do not find sex appealing. 45 percent of women and 25 percent of men, ages 16 to 24, are "not interested in or despised sexual contact."

.....(snip).....

• More than a third of childbearing-age Japanese have never had sex: 39 percent of women and 36 percent of men, ages 18 to 34. That number hasn't actually changed much over the last decade, but it is unusually high. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/10/22/japans-sexual-apathy-is-endangering-the-global-economy/



The long, slow destruction of the U.S. Postal Service is set to continue next week


http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/usps_will_begin_plant_closures_next_week_20150101



via truthdig:



The long, slow destruction of the U.S. Postal Service is set to continue next week when 82 mail processing centers are closed and consolidated, despite calls from more than half the members of the outgoing Senate to stall the changes.

The Guardian reports:

Earlier this month, 30 senators, all but one of them Democrats, issued a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe urging USPS not to move forward with its “network rationalization” program until the agency has completed its analyses of potential impacts.

… Already, the Postal Service has consolidated 350 mail-processing facilities and taken other steps to reduce costs since 2006. In the past three years alone, the agency closed 143 plants and eliminated about 3,800 routes, in addition to reducing hours at more than 9,700 offices and trimming its workforce by 3,000 employees.

… Much of the Postal Service’s financial troubles in recent years stem from declines in mail volume, which have decreased by more than 27 percent since 2006. Nonetheless, some of the agency’s largest expenditures are beyond its control, including a congressional mandate to prefund retiree health benefits to the tune of about $5 billion a year.


Many critics have pointed out that the steady degradation of the U.S. Postal Service is consistent with plans by business and conservative politicians to enable shipping companies to capture larger and larger shares of the money Americans spend on mail delivery.

Read more here.



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