There is something deeply weird about humanity. … This phrase does not refer to our skills with language or our use of tools or ability to change our environment, remarkable though these are. It refers to our astonishing degree of altruism: our kindness towards other members of our species. We possess an unparalleled sensitivity to the needs of others, a unique level of concern about their welfare, and a peerless ability to create moral norms that generalise and enforce these tendencies.
— George Monbiot. Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis
Democracy is under siege. Authoritarianism is on the rise. This is true, not only in America, but in the UK and other parts of Europe as well. Bills in the US Congress that are highly unpopular are passed by politicians who are equally so. The elected officials at the local and federal levels work for their donors, not for the people who elected them. How can this be happening? In the developed world? In the 21st century?
Dark Money is the inside story of how 400 of the richest people in America are putting their money to work to bend academia, the media, churches, and the courts to their self-interest. If you want to understand what is happening at the political — and to some degree, cultural — level in America today, you must read this book.
Jane Mayer’s deep research and lucid writing is the perfect companion to Nancy MacLean’s brilliant work, Democracy in Chains. While Democracy in Chains is about the philosophy and ideology that underlies the thinking of those on the far right, Dark Money is about the players, their money, and how they are propagating their narcissistic values and beliefs to change the face of America.
As it subtitle states, Democracy in Chains is a deep history of the radical right’s stealth plan for America. It is the utterly chilling story of the ideological origins of the single most powerful and least understood threat to democracy today: the attempt by the billionaire-backed radical right to undo democratic governance. … [they are on] a stealth bid to reverse-engineer all of America, at both the state and the national levels, back to the political economy and oligarchic governance of midcentury Virginia, minus the segregation.
Read this book if you want to understand what is happening in America today.
When you live in times of authoritarian rule one of the first things that end up in the cross hairs is culture. We believe firmly that artists and writers and dramatists and actors and musicians play a vital role in defending the integrity of who we are as human beings.
— Jeremy Scahill, on the Trump’s Cabinet of Killers and Why Orange is the New Anti-Black episode of The Intercepted.
I have never been more grateful for organizations like the ACLU and the plethora of lawyers we have in this country. Likewise, I am inspired by the power of our marches and protests as we stand up for our values. But, in addition to the direct tangible actions we can take, we also need a 100 million voices writing and singing and laughing and, in general, sounding our barbaric yawps over the roofs of the world.
Even though the framers were pretty bad about race, and they certainly didn’t understand sex equality, the one thing the framers got was class. They understood that the biggest risk was to create an aristocracy. And so they insisted, as Madison said, that ‘the people’ meant ‘not the rich more than the poor.’ We’ve completely betrayed that commitment.
— Lawrence Lessig
Watch Lessig’s entire 12-minute interview with Bill Moyerswhen Lessig was on a march to end corruption…
On Wednesday, in his NY Times editorial, Nicholas Kristof cited an article by the American Journal of Public Health stating that 45,000 uninsured people die annually as a consequence of not having insurance.
We accept that life is unfair, that some people will live in cramped apartments and others in sprawling mansions. But our existing insurance system is not simply inequitable but also lethal: a very recent, peer-reviewed article in the American Journal of Public Health finds that nearly 45,000 uninsured people die annually as a consequence of not having insurance. That’s one needless death every 12 minutes.
Today Paul Krugman has an editorial on the demise of American education.
Doubt is the father of discovery.
Galileo paid a heavy price for his doubt. It is inspiring to know that he held to its efficacy.