Article 43

 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Critical Thinking

How Anti-Authoritarians Can Transcend their Sense of Hopelessness and Fight Back
How can anti-authoritarian critical thinkers rise above their pessimism and really fight for change?

By Bruce E. Levine
AlterNet
September 28, 2011

Critical thinking anti-authoritarians see the enormity of the military-industrial complex, the energy-industrial complex and the financial-industrial complex. They see the overwhelming power of the U.S. ruling class. They see many Americans unaware of the true sources of their oppression or with little knowledge of the strategies and tactics necessary to overcome it. They see American society lacking the psychological and cultural building blocks necessary for democratic movementsthe self-respect required to reject the role as a mere subject of power, the collective self-confidence that success is possible, courage, determination, anti-authoritarianism, and solidarity. They see how the corporatocracy pays back those few Americans who do question, challenge, and resist illegitimate authority with economic and political marginalization.

Critical Thinking, Depression, and Political Passivity

If you are critical thinking enough to see the reality of just how much influence the corporatocracy has and how little power you have, then you are going to experience more pain than those who do not see these truths. To dull this pain, in addition to drugs and other diversions, human beings use depression and apathy. But these shutdown strategies weaken us and create passivity, immobilization and what Bob Marley called mental slavery, which in itself can be humiliatingly painful. And in this vicious cycle, human beings use even more diversions and shutdown strategies to dull this ever-increasing pain.

When one is in such a debilitating vicious cycle, painful truths about the cause of ones malaise - the truths of how we are getting screwed are not positively energizing. Instead, one may take such truths as confirmation that pessimism and hopelessness are warranted. The vicious cycle continues.

When one is already in pain and immobilized, there is a reflexive negative reaction to any proposed solution. Solutions demand effort, and a demand for effort is painful for those with little energy. So, it’s much easier to reflexively dismiss any solution. Of course, many solutions do deserve to be dismissed, as they may well be nave.

The feeling of hopelessness is a legitimate one. And hopeless people are turned off by attempts to invalidate their feelings. Is it possible to validate that feeling of hopelessness while at the same time challenging the wisdom of inactions based on hopelessness? And is it possible to challenge it in a way that doesnt insult the intelligence of critical thinkers?

Critical Thinking about Critical Thinking

The battle against the corporatocracy demands critical thinking, which results in seeing many ugly truths about reality. This critical thinking is absolutely necessary. Without it, one is more likely to engage in tactics that can make matters worse. Critical thinking also means the ability to think critically about ones pessimism realizing that pessimism can cripple the will. Critical thinkers who reflect on their own critical thinking recognize how negativism can cause inaction, which results in maintaining the status quo.

Critical thinking anti-authoritarians who move into hopelessness can forget that while they may in fact be better at seeing ugly truths than are many other people, they cannot see everything. Simply put, critical thinkers sometimes lose their humility.

Abraham Lincoln, considered by many historians to be our most critical thinking president, was also a major depressive. When he was a young man, he became so depressed that twice his friends had to form suicide watches for him. In the 1850s in the United States, the major battle was less over abolishing slavery than merely stopping the spread of it. Lincoln, who fought politically to stop the spread of slavery, wrote in 1856 a pessimistic analysis of the North’s chances of winning this fight:

This immense, palpable pecuniary interest, on the question of extending slavery, unites the Southern people, as one man. But it can not be demonstrated that the North will gain a dollar by restricting it. Moral principle is all, or nearly all, that unites us of the North. Pity tis, it is so, but this is a looser bond, than pecuniary interest. Right here is the plain cause of their perfect union and our want of it.

That slavery would be abolished in the United States less than a decade after Lincoln’s pessimistic analysis of the difficulty of merely stopping its spread was one of those seeming impossibilities that became possible because of unforeseen historical events. In the North, there was certainly not enough concern for African Americans to result in the end of slavery. But less than a decade after Lincolns pessimistic analysis about merely stopping the spread of slavery, one unforeseen event after another resulted in the abolition of slavery.

There are many examples from history of seeming impossibilities actually happening, examples that compel critical thinkers to rethink whether they are actually seeing all the possibilities. One recent example is, of course, the Arab spring. Many critical thinkers from that part of the world remain amazed at the huge revolts in Egypt that toppled the Mubarak tyranny.

The collapse of the Soviet empire seemed impossible to most Americans up until shortly before it occurred. Most Americans saw only mass resignation within the Soviet Union and its sphere of control. But the shipyard workers in Gdansk, Poland, did not see their Soviet and Communist Party rulers as the all-powerful forces that Americans did. And so Polish workersҒ Solidarity, by simply refusing to go away, provided a strong dose of morale across Eastern Europe at the same time other historical eventssuch as the Soviet Unionגs Afghanistan warweakened their empire.

Why Not Just Wait for the Collapse?

History tells us that not just the Soviet empire but all empires ultimately collapse, and so why not just wait for their fall? It is pretty safe to say that the U.S. military-industrial complex and other oppressive U.S. industrial complexes will ultimately fall. These may be transformed by our own efforts or, more likely - given Americans current state of political passivity - they will fall owing mostly under the weight of their own stupidity. So, if it is more likely that these will fall under the weight of their own stupidity, why bother with activism?

One reason for democratic movements is that history tells us that not all empires and oppressive institutions fall under the weight of their own stupidity, as some are transformed by a combination of democratic movements and empire stupidity.

There is another reason to work each day on the democracy battlefields at our workplace, schools, the media, the marketplace, etc. Whether an empire and its oppressive institutions fall under the weight of their own stupidity or with help from a democratic movement, there must be people around in the aftermath who have what it takes to create and maintain a democratic society. There must be people who have retained their individual self-respect, collective self-confidence, courage, determination, anti-authoritarianism, and solidarity.

The lesson from history is that tyrannical and dehumanizing institutions are often more fragile than they appear. We never really know until it happens whether or not we are living in that time when historical variables are creating opportunities for seemingly impossible change. Maybe in our lifetime, or our kids lifetime, or their kids’ lifetime, the current corporatocracy will fall. It may fall because of the efforts of democratic movements or because of its own stupidity or some combination.

But when it does fall, the likelihood that it will be replaced by an enduring democratic society rests on whether there are enough of us with practice in democracy, enough of us who took seriously the psychological and cultural building blocks of self-respect, collective self-confidence, courage, determination, anti-authoritarianism, and solidarity. And democratic movements are the best place to practice creating those psychological and cultural building blocks required for an enduring democracy.

That’s why “Occupy Wall Street” makes sense, and that’s why I will be at “October 2011” at Freedom Plaza, Washington D.C. beginning next Thursday, October 6.

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Posted by Elvis on 09/30/11 •
Section American Solidarity • Section Spiritual Diversions
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TV

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Unplug Yourself: How Advertising and Entertainment Shapes Your Subconscious

By Andre Evans
Activist Post
January 11, 2013

They say the subconscious mind is more powerful than the conscious. Usually, people are more influenced by their innate subconscious desires or intent than a rational and planned decision. This aspect of human nature is heavily influenced by your daily activity.

How Corporations Influence Your Subconscious

In Western society, the subconscious mind of the individual is often subject to a number of heavy influences, through entertainment media especially. Television, movies, and music create a profound subconscious effect on the human mind that influences and dictates the choices that they will make to at least some degree.

If you see a certain car advertisement, whether or not you rationally decide your stance on it, you are being pre-programmed to at least accept or acknowledge any claims made by the advertisement itself.

Likewise, the choice of television shows and dramatic elements appearing on TV have a psychological influence on those who watch them. According to statistics, by age 18 the average American youth will have seen over 200,000 simulated acts of violence. The glorification of drug and alcohol use also predisposes an individual to rationally accept and sometimes consent to these actions.

The human self image is psychologically manipulated. When you compare yourself to a famous individual or a person who is depicted as successful, you may be setting yourself up to subconsciously feel less valuable from the comparison. This subconscious act creates people who are wildly insecure about their physical and mental image.

Romance and sex are also psychologically implanted through advertisements and drama. The use of sex appeal to sell products is obvious. Similarly, dramatic scenes of love and romantic feelings often prey on the human desire to feel loved, and will program an individual to act or react to those situations in certain ways. Displays of sexual suggestiveness, and simulated depictions of sexual relations in media, all contribute to influencing increased sexual activity in young people. Not only that, but they also lead to unhealthy obsession with sex into later years, generally resulting in pornography usage.

Its not just television and movies either. With Internet advertising, viral videos depicting most of these things in horrific detail, and video games, a horde of negative media pervades over society. This power of subconscious influence guides and decides the goals, desires, and opinions of each individual.

A blurring of reality with fiction occurs in this scenario, where the individual is influenced to orient themselves in alignment with these false goals and aspirations that are implanted into them through these media. In extreme cases, their ability to distinguish reality from fiction is impaired, and culminates in some explosive form.

If you add drugs to the entire equation (legal or illegal), you may end up with self destruction.

Unplug Yourself from Subconscious Influence

Of course, if you are at least aware of the psychological programming, you can intellectually dissent, despite the fact that its continued appearance will dull your senses to how serious the programming actually is. People who are exposed to simulated violence, sex, substance abuse, and drama often become upset, whereas the average person may simply accept these things as easily as they have incrementally conditioned to lose perspective.

It’s highly important to be aware of the psychological programming that occurs on a daily basis. People are taught to live in a simulated reality, with pre determined goals, aspirations, and false expectations. Unplug yourself and others from this form of subconscious influence, thereby unlocking your full potential- rather than being unconsciously controlled by a vague ideal or false images.

SOURCE

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How Mainstream Media Deceives You with Its Magic Tricks

By PL Chang
EnergyFanatics
August 8, 2012

Words of caution: The videos at the end of this page contain visual evidences that will change how you view the reality that you live in and help free your mind. If you are happy with how the world works and like to think that everything that you have learned throughout your life is truth, this article is probably not for you. It is probably best that you stop reading this article because you will most likely be offended. However, if you want to free your mind and find answers to why the world is such a mess, it would be a good idea to continue reading. On the other hand, if you are a truth seeker, a person who seeks for the truth with little fear of the unknown, then this article should be of great interest to you.

Mainstream media in the US and most European countries usually contain roughly 25 percent truths and 75 percent distorted information and lies. The percentage of truths and lies will vary depending on the subject that is being covered. As for the media in other countries, the truths and lies will vary depending on how control their countries are.

Most people in the US do not realize that their mainstream media outlets are owned and controlled by only six corporations. Below are two paragraphs extracted from TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com.

Back in 1983, approximately 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the United States. Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations. These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites.

The six corporations that collectively control US media today are Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdochs News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. Together, the “big six” absolutely dominate news and entertainment in the United States. But even those areas of the media that the “big six” do not completely control are becoming increasingly concentrated. For example, Clear Channel now owns over 1000 radio stations across the United States. Companies like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are increasingly dominating the Internet.

Why controlling the media is essential for domination

Why are these six corporations so interested in dominating the US mainstream media? The reason is because the media is one of the most effective tools to control the mass population. When they control the media, they can influence how the public think.

Controlling how the public think is one of the first steps to control its mind and influence how it thinks. In other words, this is how they enslave us without our knowledge. Influencing how we think is great for making them money, because once they influence our thought patterns to a certain degree, they can motivate us to buy their unhealthy foods and drugs, and plant false knowledge into our minds.

How to protect yourself from the deceptions in mainstream media

For we, the people of the world, to regain our powers and freedom, we will need to rise above the deceptions and lies found in mainstream media, and remove the corrupt leaders who are in charge of it. Until the corrupt leaders in mainstream media are removed, my advise is to believe 25 percent of the news in mainstream media and take the other 75 percent as potential false news until you can verify that it is true. Some great techniques to help you do this are to cross reference the information with independent sources and use your intuition to discern the information.

If we, the people of Earth, want to truly be free, we will need to become aware of how the magicians of mainstream media deceives us with their “magic tricks.” Some of their magic tricks involve subliminal messages, news actors and frequency generators that can send energy patterns or codes that can influence our thought patterns. If these controlling techniques do not work, do you think they would spend millions of dollars per year on them?

Below are three great videos that show proof that the US mainstream media is full of lies and distorted information. Even though these videos focus on the US mainstream media, many of the tricks that the US mainstream media use to influence the mind of its population are also heavily practiced in many mainstream media outlets throughout the world. As always, use your intuition to help you discern the information in the videos.

Before watching the videos, please keep in mind that I do not agree with all the information in the videos. A great portion of the information in the videos is accurate to my understanding. However, there are certain parts of the videos that I find hard to believe. But then again, anything is possible so we need to keep an open mind. The main reason why I decided to use the videos is because they do a great job showing proof that the US mainstream media is full of deception and highly controlled.

VIDEO 1 - VIDEO 2 - VIDEO 3

SOURCE

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A Simple Way to Help Resurrect Hope In America

By Rand Clifford
Information Clearing House
September 29, 2011

Napoleon Bonaparte called history “A set of lies agreed upon.”

Its even been said that lies are the glue that holds civilization together.

And now, before our eyes, lies accumulate like flies on flypaper, germy, nasty things that get processed, pasteurized, and homogenized into history. Examples seem endless: from elections rigged with e-voting, to the heinous false flag circus of 9/11, to the Global War on Terror, to evisceration of the Constitution to protect people, to the off-the-charts upward transfer of wealth of bankster bailouts, to the murder of over a million people amid destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya....

Look around, look in the rearview mirror, lies, and lies about lies ad nauseam...becoming history. Napoleon implied that it has always been this way, but one might wonder: Has it always been this bad? Might we respond to Napoleons observation with, “You ain’t seen nothin” yet?

If indeed our trajectory involves ever-increasing divergence between history, and truth, is there some agent we could point to that facilitates this madness - something greatest of all at conditioning people to absorb lies? Something invasive, powerful, and even addictive enough to render majorities of populations unable to think criticallyunable to tell truth from lies, leaving them gullible enough to swallow whatever mainstream corporate media (CorpoMedia) feeds them? There is one agent towering above other suspects, and almost every American is hooked. The agent is called TV.

Your Brain on TV

Studies over the years have developed an impressive database regarding how the human brain responds to TV. Surprising, even alarming, much of the information - and easy to deny or ignore by the afflicted partly because of very real cognitive impairment, even actual physical damage.

As one watches TV, higher brain activity shuts down, energy shunted to lower brain functions, potentially leading to atrophy of higher brain regions. Also, content of most contemporary, especially mainstream programming, is stultifying, based copiously on fear, desire, sexual titillation, sensationalism, guilt, pathos and pridesometimes all together in a brainstem whirlwind!

Not only can TV addiction destroy the ability to concentrate, reduce intelligence and increase chances of developing diseases of neurodegeneration (Alzheimer’s, dementia), it has been shown to physically impair development of childrens brains’ frontal lobes especially.

TV viewing can significantly shorten attention span, and elevate the risk of attention deficit disorder (ADD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in both children and adults.

Our local newspaper even had an Associated Press story this morning titled: “Fast-paced SpongeBob tough on preschoolers”. Seems a new study shows that just 9 minutes of watching the cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants caused short-term attention and learning problems in 4-year-olds. The study also measured significant negative impacts regarding self control and impulsiveness. A spokesman for Nickelodeon, who disputed the findings, offered the reassuring jabber that SpongeBob is aimed at children ages 6 to 11, not 4-year-olds. Hello?

Guess we might have to crack down on those pesky 4-year-olds getting in the line of fire at 6 to 11-year-olds.

Addiction?

Within 1 to 3 minutes of TV viewing, brain activity tends to switch from the left hemisphere (Beta waves active, logical thought) to the right hemisphere (Alpha waves, hypnotic state, high suggestibility opening direct access into the subconscious mind).This promotes increased levels of endorphins.

The term “endorphin” is a portmanteau of endogenous and morphine denoting a morphine-like substance originating withing the body. Endorphins are opoid peptides produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus; like opiates, they induce analgesia and feelings of well-being.

Certainly, people have trouble kicking the TV habit for various reasons. The primary physical dynamic is their addiction to the endorphin rush; without the rush they experience symptoms virtually identical (if far milder) to opiate withdrawal: depression, anxiety, anger, obsession with scoring a fix. And scoring a fix is as easy as planting yourself on the couch, pushing a button don’t think much...just relax, and, watch...aahhh....

Mind Control

When you switch over from left-brain kinds of critical thinking and logical thought...to that endorphin-enhanced hypnotic state where critical thinking - actual exercise of your brain - dissolves and your SUBCONSCIOUS is wide open, you are had. That ultimately SUGGESTIBLE plateau where “they” want you...and how many TV addicts might even have any idea? By a long shot, not enough to in any way to hamper control over how they feel about themselves, and their perception of reality.

The hypnotic state induced by watching TV is a dream come true not only for those seeking to control perceptions and beliefs, but for advertisers. In this state of high suggestibility, information tends to be downloaded directly into the subconscious mind, altering what people think without them even knowingwithout any critical analysis. The brain can become a sponge soaking up “boob tube” juices.

The fundamental purpose of American politics is upward transfer of wealth; or as “Poppy Bush” crows, “The continuous consolidation of money and power into higher, tighter and righter hands.” An aware and thoughtful citizenry would make the continuous upward transfer of wealth we see now difficult to execute, but with America bursting at the seams with TV addicts it is, shall we say, a no brainer.

TV News

Perhaps it’s not just lies, the staple of CorpoMedia, but omission that is the most effective molder of Americans perceptions. Lies are easy to navigate because one can simply take the bulk of what CorpoMedia news propagates, rotate 180 degrees, and find truth. But with omission...for millions of Americans, simple omission of an event means it did not, or is not, happening. A perfect example is going down right now with the WALL STREET OCCUPATION which, if CorpoMedia were your only news source, you probably would know nothing about.

Amy Goodman, host of DEMOCRACY NOW captured the omission reality last week in her excellent article, Speaking for the 99 Percent: “If 2,000 tea party activists descended on Wall Street, you would probably have an equal number of reporters covering them.” Well, as it is, CorpoMedia is trying to make it something that didn’t happen; its called, omission. The reason the tea party is a CorpoMedia darling...the tea party is a corporate sugarbaby. Find out where the party originated, and from where it’s funding gushes (hey tea party, whos your {sugar} daddy)?  And CorpoMedia calls the tea party a “grassroots” thing. Multibillionaire grass.... 

How Bad Is It?

A study in June of 2011 concluded that the average American watches 5.3 hours of TV per day; almost 160 hours per month, or 2,000 hours per year - 80 days! By age 65, that equals 9 years of uninterrupted screening. 9 years doing virtually nothing but having your higher thought centers stunted. And thats average; imagine how many hours per day hardcore users watch TV.

It’s bad. So bad that TV addicts poor brains, confronted now with upwards of 300 channels to choose from, might even suffer choice fatigue that can quickly drain stamina.

If nothing else, chronic TV viewing is certainly a reliable ticket to nowhere. Not actually living life, but watching CorpoMedia’s version of lifeand version of what you desire, how you feel, what you believe, how you think, who to love, who to hate, who is winning the wars, why we need more wars....

How could America NOT be going to hell? Meanwhile, the streets are swarming with cell-phone zombies, eyes glued to that little screen in the cell phone welded to their hand. Computer screens filled with videos...screens, screens, everywhere a screen - you can even get headgear now with a TV screen in the visor so if you want, you can watch TV literally full time. Not thinking, just watching and absorbing, full time. Of course people need to work, and sleepbut generally those are the only two other things Americans spend more time on than TV.

My wife and I usually walk several miles after supper, mostly in parks though sometimes in various neighborhoods. Weԗve seen lower-income neighborhoods become so speckled with satellite dishes it seems like every house, no matter how shabby or ramshackle, has at least one feed of satellite TV. However, if you look closely, some of them still have only cable.

Virtually all of them flicker inside with mesmerizing rapid scene changes.

Neighborhoods higher up the income scale seem to have proportionately fewer dishes, less flicker...at least fewer overt signs of “boob tubing.” Might a direct relationship be there regarding tickets to nowhere?

Ten years ago, shortly before our TV moved on to greener pastures (Gawd rest its soul), my wife fielded a call from Neilsen; they were conducting a ten-minute survey of TV viewing habits. In response to the poller’s first question, “How many hours per week does your family watch TV?” my wife said:

Two, maybe three.”

“Two or three hours in a whole week?” the lady asked.

“Yes.”

“Thank you maam....”

And It’s Not Just Your Brain

Recently, results of a large number of studies lasting up to 6 to 10 years suggest that for every 2 hours people watch TV, they incur a 20% increase in their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

A number of other health problems including obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol - death at an earlier age, surely...the more TV a person watches, greater the risk of all of the above.

The minimal brain exercise coupled with sedentary lifestyle; the sitting and simply watching...its far more damaging than say, sitting and reading, or driving; that seems at least partially related to high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, fat, salt - the processed junk food often consumed as swarms of commercials with pretty people imploring you to just go for it massage your buttons.

So Whats This about Resurrecting Hope?

People sometimes respond to my articles with variations of: “Lots of nice words, but words don’t do anything. We need action. People need to DO something!”

A friend of ours with young children has been told repeatedly by kindergarten teachers: “If there’s one major thing you can do to help your child, its turn off the TV.”

Well there it is. If there’s one major thing we can do to help salvage remains of our constitutional republic, it’s the same thing - turn off the TV. Americans who care enough about their country to really learn about their country need to just turn it OFF - kick TV and start getting more exercise in parts of the brain that distinguish us from animals.

Those parts of the brain are all that stand between life on Earth, and corporate profit until death do us part.

Something as technically simple as flicking a switch could benefit us more than anything else we might do. People I know who have kicked TV, when exposed to TV again, often respond with such as: “How could I have spent so much time doing nothing?” And, “TV is insulting.”

Is it merely coincidence that ascension of TV in America so closely parallels Americas descent into massive infrastructure decay, perpetual unemployment, exploding poverty, maldistribution of wealth? Americans watch more TV than any other citizens on Earth. TV is obviously a drag-down drug Americans would benefit greatly by using less of. Another no brainer?

But it’s a full-blown addiction epidemic most people shrug off - even though it’s so obvious that citizens lose big-time when democracy becomes a spectator sport. And addiction usually involves ever-increasing doses to approach satisfaction.

Imagine...statistics showing that Americans are suddenly, significantly reducing their amount of TV watching that could be some great news for a change, perhaps heralding an increase in citizen involvement in the running of their country. Participation of aware, intelligent citizens seems our most effective option in slowing the rate of American decline our best way to combat corporatocracy, oligarchy, and globalization. Conversely, our continuing trend toward ever greater TV addiction retards any widespread hope of personal, community, national and even biospheric improvement.

The road to hell is paved with increasing amounts of time spent watching TV.

I don’t pretend to have any breezy solutions. Drastic reduction in the amount of time Americans spend watching TV could benefit America greatly, this I believe. Americans need to wake up, kick TV, and live their own lives.

Do we need some sort of 12-step program? Maybe, TV Addicts Anonymous?

Some people get a tad defensive when questioned about their TV habits. The most common answer I’ve heard to the question of whether or not there is “anything good” on TV is:

“The History Channel.”

Napoleon, again:

“History is a set of lies agreed upon.”

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Posted by Elvis on 09/30/11 •
Section Revelations
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Warren The Savior

Elizabeth-Warren.jpg

I’m reminded again of SENATOR OBAMA’S WORDS FOUR YEARS AGO when he accepted the 2008 Presidential Democratic nomination.

For over two decades, he’s [President Bush] subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy - give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps - even if you dont have boots. You’re on your own.

Three years later we got nothing to cheer about.

The 2012 Presidential race is heating up - and here we go again.  This time Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks for the voice of the people:

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there - good for you.” “But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers that the rest of us paid to educate...Part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

Senator Warren has been a tireless advocate for consumer rights, holding big banks accountable and creating the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She’s one of the great progressive voices on fixing the economy.

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Elizabeth Warren: “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own”

By Lucy Madison
CBS News
September 22, 2011

An August VIDEO of Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail is heating up on the internet, and some commentators are pointing to the clip - in which Warren makes a case for progressive economic policies - as evidence that the newly minted Democratic candidate could give incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown a run for his money.

In the video, which was filmed at an event in Andover, Mass., Warren rebuts the GOP-touted notion that raising taxes on the wealthy amounts to “class warfare,” contending that “there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.”

Warren rejects the concept that it is possible for Americans to become wealthy in isolation.

“You built a factory out there? Good for you,” she says. “But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.”

She continues: “Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

Warren’s entrance into the Massachusetts Senate race marks her first-ever political bid - and while the longtime consumer advocate is beloved by a number of liberals, some wondered if her lack of political experience would prove crippling in the contest.

The Washington Monthly’s Steven Benen, however, points to the video as an explanation as to “why Warren has a strong base of supporters who adore her.”

“If there are lingering concerns about whether Warren could be an effective speaker on the stump, I think those questions are being answered,” Benen writes. “If more Democrats were able to make the case for the underlying social contract as effectively, our discourse would be vastly less mind-numbing.”

SOURCE

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A message from Addicting Info:

So, you’re a Republican that hates taxes? Well, since you do not like taxes or government, please kindly do the following:

1. Do not use Medicare.
2. Do not use Social Security
3. Do not become a member of the US military, who are paid with tax dollars.
4. Do not ask the National Guard to help you after a disaster.
5. Do not call 911 when you get hurt.
6. Do not call the police to stop intruders in your home.
7. Do not summon the fire department to save your burning home.
8. Do not drive on any paved road, highway, and interstate or drive on any bridge.
9. Do not use public restrooms.
10. Do not send your kids to public schools.
11. Do not put your trash out for city garbage collectors.
12. Do not live in areas with clean air.
13. Do not drink clean water.
14. Do not visit National Parks.
15. Do not visit public museums, zoos, and monuments.
16. Do not eat or use FDA inspected food and medicines.
17. Do not bring your kids to public playgrounds.
18. Do not walk or run on sidewalks.
19. Do not use public recreational facilities such as basketball and tennis courts.
20. Do not seek shelter facilities or food in soup kitchens when you are homeless and hungry.
21. Do not apply for educational or job training assistance when you lose your job.
22. Do not apply for food stamps when you canҒt feed your children.
23. Do not use the judiciary system for any reason.
24. Do not ask for an attorney when you are arrested and do not ask for one to be assigned to you by the court.
25. Do not apply for any Pell Grants.
26. Do not use cures that were discovered by labs using federal dollars.
27. Do not fly on federally regulated airplanes.
28. Do not use any product that can trace its development back to NASA.
29. Do not watch the weather provided by the National Weather Service.
30. Do not listen to severe weather warnings from the National Weather Service.
31. Do not listen to tsunami, hurricane, or earthquake alertsystems.
32. Do not apply for federal housing.
33. Do not use the internet, which was developed by the military.
34. Do not swim in clean rivers.
35. Do not allow your child to eat school lunches or breakfasts.
36. Do not ask for FEMA assistance when everything you own gets wiped out by disaster.
37. Do not ask the military to defend your life and home in the event of a foreign invasion.
38. Do not use your cell phone or home telephone.
39. Do not buy firearms that wouldnt have been developed without the support of the US Government and military. That includes most of them.
40. Do not eat USDA inspected produce and meat.
41. Do not apply for government grants to start your own business.
42. Do not apply to win a government contract.
43. Do not buy any vehicle that has been inspected by government safety agencies.
44. Do not buy any product that is protected from poisons, toxins, etc҅by the Consumer Protection Agency.
45. Do not save your money in a bank that is FDIC insured.
46. Do not use Veterans benefits or military health care.
47. Do not use the G.I. Bill to go to college.
48. Do not apply for unemployment benefits.
49. Do not use any electricity from companies regulated by the Department of Energy.
50. Do not live in homes that are built to code.
51. Do not run for public office. Politicians are paid with taxpayer dollars.
52. Do not ask for help from the FBI, S.W.A.T, the bomb squad, Homeland Security, State troopers, etc
53. Do not apply for any government job whatsoever as all state and federal employees are paid with tax dollars.
54. Do not use public libraries.
55. Do not use the US Postal Service.
56. Do not visit the National Archives.
57. Do not visit Presidential Libraries.
58. Do not use airports that are secured by the federal government.
59. Do not apply for loans from any bank that is FDIC insured.
60. Do not ask the government to help you clean up after a tornado.
61. Do not ask the Department of Agriculture to provide a subsidy to help you run your farm.
62. Do not take walks in National Forests.
63. Do not ask for taxpayer dollars for your oil company.
64. Do not ask the federal government to bail your company out during recessions.
65. Do not seek medical care from places that use federal dollars.
66. Do not use Medicaid.
67. Do not use WIC.
68. Do not use electricity generated by Hoover Dam.
69. Do not use electricity or any service provided by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
70. Do not ask the Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild levees when they break.
71. Do not let the Coast Guard save you from drowning when your boat capsizes at sea.
72. Do not ask the government to help evacuate you when all hell breaks loose in the country you are in.
73. Do not visit historic landmarks.
74. Do not visit fisheries.
75. Do not expect to see animals that are federally protected because of the Endangered Species List.
76. Do not expect plows to clear roads of snow and ice so your kids can go to school and so you can get to work.
77. Do not hunt or camp on federal land.
78. Do not work anywhere that has a safe workplace because of government regulations.
79. Do not use public transportation.
80. Do not drink water from public water fountains.
81. Do not whine when someone copies your work and sells it as their own. Government enforces copyright laws.
82. Do not expect to own your home, car, or boat. Government organizes and keeps all titles.
83. Do not expect convicted felons to remain off the streets.
84. Do not eat in restaurants that are regulated by food quality and safety standards.
85. Do not seek help from the US Embassy if you need assistance in a foreign nation.
86. Do not apply for a passport to travel outside of the United States.
87. Do not apply for a patent when you invent something.
88. Do not adopt a child through your local, state, or federal governments.
89 .Do not use elevators that have been inspected by federal or state safety regulators.
90. Do not use any resource that was discovered by the USGS.
91. Do not ask for energy assistance from the government.
92. Do not move to any other developed nation, because the taxes are much higher.
93. Do not go to a beach that is kept clean by the state.
94. Do not use money printed by the US Treasury.
95. Do not complain when millions more illegal immigrants cross the border because there are no more border patrol agents.
96. Do not attend a state university.
97. Do not see any doctor that is licensed through the state.
98. Do not use any water from municipal water systems.
99. Do not complain when diseases and viruses, that were once fought around the globe by the US government and CDC, reach your house.
100. Do not work for any company that is required to pay its workers a livable wage, provide them sick days, vacation days, and benefits.
101. Do not expect to be able to vote on election days. Government provides voting booths, election day officials, and voting machines which are paid for with taxes.
102. Do not ride trains. The railroad was built with government financial assistance.

Thanks…

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No, Governor Romney, Corporations Are Not People

By Annie-Rose Strasser
Think Progress
September 5, 2012

Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senate candidate in Massachusetts, drew roaring cheers, applause, and even tears tonight at the Democratic Convention when she laid out the differences between corporations and people. Knocking Romney for his infamous line corporations are people, my friend,Ӕ Warren illustrated the stark divides “People have hearts,” she SAID:

After all, Mitt Romney’s the guy who said corporations are people. No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts. They have kids. They get jobs. They get sick. They thrive. They dance. They live. They love. And they die. And that matters. That matters. That matters because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people.

SOURCE

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Elizabeth Warren: Expand Social Security

By Michael McAuliff
Huffington Post
November 18, 2013

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) threw her increasingly high-profile name behind expanding Social Security benefits instead of reducing them, rejecting calls from those in both parties to cut payments as a way to trim government spending.

Warren joins a GROWING PUSH that includes Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who argue that rather than switch to a “chained” consumer price index that cuts retiree benefits, the nation should adopt CPI-E, which measures the actual cost of living for the elderly and would raise benefits to meet actual needs.

Chained CPI assumes that when prices rise, people switch to cheaper products. Proponents say the inflation measure should be reduced to account for that, meaning the government could pay people smaller cost-of-living adjustments.

But Warren blasted that approach in a Senate floor speech Monday, saying that retirement security has become a “crisis” in America in which two-thirds of seniors depend on Social Security for the majority of their income.

“Chained CPI falls short of the actual increases in costs that seniors face, pure and simple,” Warren said. “Chained CPI? Its just a fancy way of saying cut benefits.”

She took special exception to a Monday WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL that called expanding Social Security “wrongheaded” and suggested the nation should instead be more concerned about the higher percentage of children living in poverty.

Warren said that argument was the “uglier side” of the debate.

“The suggestion that we have become a country where those living in poverty fight each other for a handful of crumbs tossed off the tables of the very wealthy is fundamentally wrong,” Warren said. “This is about our values, and our values tell us that we don’t build a future by first deciding who among our most vulnerable will be left to starve.

“We dont build a future for our children by cutting basic retirement benefits for their grandparents,” Warren said.

To forecasters predicting that Social Security is on the path to insolvency, Warren noted that the safety net is actually pretty sturdy at the moment.

“Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus. If we do nothing, Social Security will be safe for the next 20 years and even after that will continue to pay most benefits,” she said. “With some modest adjustments, we can keep the system solvent for many more years - and could even increase benefits.”

She did not specify the adjustments she would favor, but Sanders and others want to lift the cap on income that is taxed for Social Security, which currently stands at $113,700. Above that amount, no Social Security contributions are made now.

But cutting benefits—when pensions are disappearing and there’s a $6.6 trillion gap in what Americans younger than 65 save and what they will need in retirement—is the wrong direction, Warren said.

“So long as we are in the midst of a real and growing retirement crisis - a crisis that is shaking the foundations of what was once a vibrant and secure middle class - the absolute last thing we should be doing - is talking about cutting back on Social Security,” Warren said. “The absolute last thing we should do in 2013 - at the very moment that Social Security has become the principal lifeline for millions of our seniors—is allow the program to begin to be dismantled inch by inch.”

President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have signaled a willingness to cut Social Security if doing so would be part of some grand bargain to trim deficits, but Democrats across the board have ruled out such cuts in the current budget debate.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 09/29/11 •
Section American Solidarity
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Monday, September 26, 2011

The Awakening Part 2

awakened.jpg emperor-obama.jpg

Abuse CAN ONLY take place if enough people are SILENT about it, which is to say that those who are silent about the abuse are complicit in it. EVIL can only PLAY ITSELF OUT without restraint when good people see what is happening and do nothing. Staying silent in the PRESENCE OF ABUSE, though seemingly a passive role, is to unwittingly play an active role enabling our own victimization.
- Paul Levy

Who In US “Leadership” Will Declare “The Emperor Has No Clothes” Facts And Rejoin Humanity?

By Carl Herman
The Examiner
September 26, 2011

In the story, The Emperors New Clothes, a single clear voice broke the public’s confusion. At once, the public recognized what was before their eyes. The illusion of the emperor and minions was over.

The United States is in a SIMILAR CONDITION. The public knows something is TERRIBLY WRONG with what appear to be unlawful wars and related War Crimes, ECONOMIC LOOTING in the TRILLIONS, and corporate MEDIA who lie and distract. Public confusion is lifting as literally millions of Americans now have sufficient command of “the emperor has no clothes” facts to explain, document, and prove the Orwellian crimes of the American emperors and minions.

And just as with our analogy, when critical mass of public OUTRAGED by the massive crimes that annually murdered millions, attacked and harmed billions, and looted trillions of our dollars every year.

THIS CONDITION brings an urgent and poignant choice upon leadership and their minions: given that the illusion will soon be over, who will stand with the public and the facts now (better late than never), and who will stand for the empires ongoing murder, misery, and plunder?

The advantages of standing with humanity:

The choice of connectedness and love is more attractive (literally) than murderous disconnected selfishness.

Many of us offer a Truth and Reconciliation process to resolve these crimes (here and here). Those who cooperate now and contribute to bringing the crimes to light and termination are in stronger positions to receive Truth and Reconciliation instead of prosecution for egregious crimes against humanity.

It’s a much cooler story to be like Darth Vader or Severus Snape in ultimate heroism than ignominious death like the emperor and Voldemort. Those like me will seek to protect you.

The millions of awakened Americans know from the facts that “leadership” acts against public interest. For example, as I wrote with California passing a bill to fully understand the benefits of a state-owned bank:

Governor Brown, so far, has upheld the current criminal political and economic “leadership,” and requires a “Scrooge conversion” before he becomes a partner of the people. We know this is true because he does not declare his support for the people with other “emperor has no clothes” obvious crimes of “leadership”:

1. Congressional reports disclose that all “reasons” for war with Afghanistan and Iraq WERE KNOWN TO BE LIES AS THEY WERE TOLD.

2. Orwellian DEPLETED URANIUM WEAPONS to damn victims with continuous misery and death.

3. Obfuscation and silence of the OBVIOUS ANSWER of ending an Orwellian “debt supply” and replacing it with money. This is the national solution for our so-called “monetary” system.

4. Silence while the US allows a million children a month to die of preventable poverty, even though historically ENDING POVERTY reduces population growth rate, the investment is less than 1% of the developed nations gross national incomes (GNI), and the US has promised this amount and reneged multiple times.

5. TORTURE, EXTRAJUDICIAL ASSASSINATIONS (INCLUDING AGAINST AMERICAN CITIZENS) and INDEFINITE DETENTIONS.

6. Destruction of the US Constitution as the US devolves into a form of government CLOSEST TO FASCISM and NOWHERE NEAR a constitutional republic.

7. Literally throwing Americans onto the streets rather than take any of a dozen acts to allow them to stay in their homes.

8. Intentional unemployment, crime, infrastructure decay, fear, anger, depression (both economic and psychological) rather than create money for full employment.

9. US CORPORATE MEDIA COMPLICITY to lie by omission and commission to keep the above facts unrecognized by the American public.

10. You should also know this area of Truth: THE KING FAMILY’S CIVIL TRIAL FOUND THE US GOVERNMENT GUILTY OF DR. KING’S ASSASSINATION. US Corporate media refused to cover the trial or interview Dr. King’s wife. His familys opinion is that the US government murdered Dr. King to end his protests against unlawful US wars and his call to end poverty.

For my archive of published articles, I’m THE EXAMINER’S NON-PARTISON EXAMINER.

For my best comprehensive article to explain, document, and prove unlawful US wars all based on known lies and criminal economic fraud that costs American trillions every year: Open proposal for US revolution: end unlawful wars, parasitic economics. 1 of 4.

About Carl Herman - National Board Certified Teacher in economics, government, and history, who blogs as the Nonpartisan Examiner at Examiner.com. Carl was one of the leaders who launched the microcredit movement, and is a tireless activist for peace and justice.

SOURCE

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US economic, peace breakthroughs technically easy, AND require public demand

By Carl Herman
Washington’s Blog
February 4, 2013

I teach high school government and economics; I promise ordinary people understand available breakthroughs because they are simple:

PROBLEM: Wars.

EASY BREAKTHROUGH: WAR IS ILLEGAL. Treaties after two world wars make armed attack illegal unless in self-defense from armed attack by a nations government. Since there are NO LAWFUL ORDERS IN UNLAWFUL WAR, US military can exercise their OATH OF ENLISTMENT and training to refuse unlawful orders, and officers arrest those who issue unlawful orders. That said, this breakthrough can only happen with enough demand from within US military and the US public, or these unlawful wars led by “emperor has no clothes” War Criminals will continue at the cost of millions of lives and trillions of dollars.

PROBLEM: Increasing national and total US debt.

EASY BREAKTHROUGH: PAY THE NATIONAL DEBT with debt-free money as we eliminate private banks’ ability to create debt (credit or so-called loans). Use debt-free money for infrastructure investment: this can provide full-employment, the best infrastructure we can imagine, and falling overall prices because infrastructure returns more to the economy that its cost (FULL EXPLANATION, DOCUMENTATION). Replace private banks with public banks as a tool to manage overall money supply (imagine 2% mortgages and credit cards from a state bank that covers your total state tax bill). That said, Americans have to demand an end our RIGGED-CASINO ECONOMY of the present that transfers trillions of the public’s wealth to an oligarchy protected by government.

PROBLEM: Expanding technology and automation leads to an economy whereby not everyone will need to work for a living.

EASY BREAKTHROUGH: RESOURCE-BASED ECONOMICS can provide case studies to experiment with new models that optimize public benefits of technology that free time while optimizing resources.

Importantly: My teenage students are quick to recover from their shattered trust of US economic and political leadership. They generally respond something like: “WTF?” (What the finance?), then quickly to something like, “These leaders are asset holes, and with CORPORATE MEDIA are nothing more than lying sacks of spin!”

When a critical mass of the US adults recognize what my students recognize, We the People will have our breakthroughs in an “emperor has no clothes” transformation.

SOURCE

THE AWAKENING PART 1

Posted by Elvis on 09/26/11 •
Section Revelations • Section American Solidarity
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Net Neutrality Rules Published

net-neutrality.jpg

Net Neutrality Rules Published, Lawsuits Soon to Follow

By Ryan Singel
Wired
September 23, 2011

The FCC has finally officially published long-delayed rules prohibiting cable, DSL and wireless internet companies from blocking websites and requiring them to disclose how they slow down or throttle their networks.

The so-called NET NEUTRALITY RULES (.pdf), passed along party lines in late December last year in a 3-2 vote, were published in the Federal Register Friday and will go into effect on November 20.

The basic outlines of the rules, which differentiate between fixed broadband (e.g. cable, fiber and DSL) and mobile broadband (the connection to smartphones and mobile hotspot devices):

The Commission adopts three basic protections that are grounded in broadly accepted Internet norms, as well as our own prior decisions.

First, transparency: fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of their broadband services.

Second, no blocking: fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broadband providers may not block lawful websites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services.

Third, no unreasonable discrimination: fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic.

One of the more contentious debates, left unresolved to either sides liking, is whether wireless companies should be forced to play by the same fairness rules as cable and DSL internet providers do. Online activists argue that in absence of such rules, wireless carriers will throttle innovative services - while the carriers maintain that their networks are more congested and that competition will prevent any unfair behavior on their part.

Verizon and MetroPCS filed suit in January to block the rules, but the suits were dismissed as being too early. Now that the rules have been officially published in the publication of the governments business, telecoms are free to challenge the rules - which they almost certainly will do.

The Obama FCC, making good on Obama’s campaign promises, set out to strengthen rules established by the Bush FCC that guaranteed Americans the right to use the devices and online services of their choice online. But those rules were set up as the FCC chose to deregulate cable and DSL internet service providers - and were thrown out in court when the FCC tried to order Comcast to not block peer-to-peer file sharing.

The court found that by choosing to deregulate ISPs, the FCC lost the right to regulate ISPs.

The FCC then faced the choice of re-regulating ISPs by putting them back in the same regulatory bucket as phone service, which gives the FCC clear authority to require ISPs not to block services like Skype and to require them to let users connect to any website they like the same as phone companies must let users call any number they like.

But that avenue turned out to be politically poisonous, with Republicans clamoring nonsensically that amounted to regulation of Internet content.

So instead the FCC says it found new authority to regulate ISPs that it has deregulated, though it’s not clear that the new authorities, which look cobbled together with Legos and Lincoln Logs, will hold up under scrutiny, especially if the telecoms get their way and have the suits heard by the same federal court that demolished the old rules.

In that case, the fights, lobbying and political posturing will start all over again.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 09/23/11 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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