By Chris Hedges, Nation of Change, 1/12/16
America’s refusal to fund and sustain its intellectual and cultural heritage has come with an enormous cost. We are now paying the bill.
America’s refusal to fund and sustain its intellectual and cultural heritage means it has lost touch with its past, obliterated its understanding of the present, crushed its capacity to transform itself through self-reflection and self-criticism, and descended into a deadening provincialism. Ignorance and illiteracy come with a cost. The obsequious worship of technology, hedonism and power comes with a cost. The primacy of emotion and spectacle over wisdom and rational thought comes with a cost. And we are paying the bill.
The decades-long assault on the arts, the humanities, journalism and civic literacy is largely complete. All the disciplines that once helped us interpret who we were as a people and our place in the world—history, theater, the study of foreign languages, music, journalism, philosophy, literature, religion and the arts—have been corrupted or relegated to the margins. We have surrendered judgment for prejudice. We have created a binary universe of good and evil. And our colossal capacity for violence is unleashed around the globe, as well as on city streets in poor communities, with no more discernment than that of the blinded giant Polyphemus. The marriage of ignorance and force always generates unfathomable evil, an evil that is unseen by perpetrators who mistake their own stupidity and blindness for innocence.
“We are in danger of forgetting, and such an oblivion—quite apart from the contents themselves that could be lost—would mean that, humanly speaking, we would deprive ourselves of one dimension, the dimension of depth in human existence,” Hannah Arendt wrote. “For memory and depth are the same, or rather, depth cannot be reached by man except through remembrance.”…
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email from Just Foreign Policy, 1/11/16
Urge Pres. Obama to show how the TPP agreement would prevent ISDS suits like TransCanada has filed against rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.
In his State of the Union address tomorrow night, President Obama is expected to tout the purported benefits of the Trans Pacific Partnership [TPP] agreement. Supporters of the TPP agreement claimed that TPP critics’ concerns about corporations suing governments under the TPP against environmental, labor rights, and public health policies were overblown, and that reforms in the TPP would address these concerns. Now a Canadian oil company has sued the US for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline under similar provisions of NAFTA. TPP supporters owe us an explanation.
Urge President Obama to show how purported reforms in the TPP would have prevented the Keystone XL NAFTA lawsuit by signing our petition at MoveOn.
One of the most controversial aspects of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” [ISDS] – corporations suing governments in retaliation for laws or regulations that they claim reduce their profits. As Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote, “ISDS would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court.”  In response to criticism of ISDS provisions in the TPP agreement from Senator Warren, Senator Sanders,  and others, the White House promised to put “stronger safeguards” on ISDS in the TPP.  Continue reading
Democracy For America, 1/9/16
Bernie Sanders gave a major speech on reining in Wall Street on January 5. In it, he called for busting up the biggest banks and reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act.
Both of these steps are necessary to avoid another “too-big-to-fail” bailout, along with another crisis that robs millions of Americans of their jobs, homes, and savings. The only way to contain Wall Street’s excesses is with reforms so big, bold, and public they can’t be watered down.
Senator Sanders’s full plan includes:
• Breaking up the big banks and financial institutions
•Reinstating a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act to clearly separate traditional banking from risky investment banking and insurance services
•Ending too-big-to-jail — so that Wall Street executives are prosecuted for causing the near collapse of our economy
•Establishing a tax on Wall Street to discourage reckless gambling and encourage productive investments in the job-creating economy
•Capping credit card interest rates and ATM fees
•Allowing Post Offices to offer banking services
•Reforming credit rating agencies
•Reforming the Federal Reserve
Join Robert Reich now and sign this petition in support of Bernie Sanders’s plan to reform Wall Street.