TruthOut.org

Are We Becoming a Theocracy? 4 Fundamentalist Ideologies That Threaten America

Americans seem confident in the mythical notion that the United States is a free nation dedicated to reproducing the principles of equality, justice and democracy. What has been ignored in this delusional view is the growing rise of an expanded national security state since 2001 and an attack on individual rights that suggests that the United States has more in common with authoritarian regimes like China and Iran "than anyone may like to admit." I want to address this seemingly untenable notion that the United States has become a breeding ground for authoritarianism by focusing on four fundamentalisms: market fundamentalism, religious fundamentalism, educational fundamentalism and military fundamentalism. This is far from a exhaustive list, but it does raise serious questions about how the claim to democracy in the United States has been severely damaged, if not made impossible.

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Michael Pollan on Why the Food Movement Must Focus on Raising Food Workers' Wages

This article originally appeared on Truth-out.org. Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission.

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I Comitted At Least 2 Marijuana Crimes 20 Years Ago: Enjoyed Myself and Helped a Sick Man Feel Better

The following article originally appeared on Truthout.org
Homegrown's
All right with me
Homegrown
Is the way it should be
Homegrown
Is a good thing
Plant that bell
And let it ring...
- Neil Young

It was late September in 1993, and my friends and I were at a campground to enjoy a weekend away from the world. It was unusually cold as I shrugged my way out of the tent, and after answering an insistent call of nature just inside a line of trees to the east of our campsite, I set about the work of getting the fire going again. One by one, my friends emerged from their own tents in various stages of disrepair - the previous night had been a doozy, and more than a few of my crew looked and felt as if they had been devoured and shat out by wolves - to warm themselves by the flames.

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The Extreme Suffering of Solitary Confinement Has Propelled 30,000 Prisoners to Go on Hunger Strike

Note: A prisoner hunger strike began on Monday, July 8, with the Los Angeles Times reporting that “ 30,000 inmates refused meals at the start of what could be the largest prison protest in state history,” with prisoners in “two-thirds of the state's 33 prisons” taking part.

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The Similarities Between the Charter School Movement and the War on Drugs

Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission.

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How the Invasion and Occupation of Afghanistan Fueled a Heroin Resurgence

A new United Nations reporton the state of opium cultivation in Afghanistan reveals a worsening situation, after more than a decade of US and NATO occupation. It confirms the failure of counternarcotics missions in the country.

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Noam Chomsky: Obama's Attack on Civil Liberties Has Gone Way Beyond Imagination

Mike Stivers: Anyone following issues of civil liberties under Obama knows that his administration's policies have been disastrous. The signing of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which effectively legalizes indefinite detention of US citizens, the prosecution of more whistleblowers than any previous president, the refusal to close Guantanamo, and the adoption of ruthless positions in trials such as Hedges vs. Obama and Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project don't even encapsulate the full extent of the flagrant violations of civil, political and constitutional rights. One basic question that a lot of people seem to be asking is, why? What's the rationale?

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The War Against Teachers

A little learning is a dangerous thing. -- Alexander Pope

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Will Students Vote in November? A Few Good Perspectives from the National Student Power Convergence

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Why Boycotting Hyatt Is More Than Just a Union Issue: An Interview With Activist Cleve Jones

Copyright, Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission.

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The Death of Critical Thinking in Texas Public Schools

The Republican Party of Texas has issued their 2012 political platform and has come out and blatantly opposed critical thinking in public schools throughout the state. If you wonder what took them so long to actually state that publicly, it is really a matter of timing. With irrationality now the norm and an election hovering over the 2012 horizon, the timing of the Republican GOP announcement against "critical thinking" instruction couldn't be better.  It helps gin up their anti-intellectual base.

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How Can We Stop the Mexican Drug Insanity When Banks and Much of the Establishment Profit Big Time from Illegal Drugs?

This is the eighth article in the Truthout on the Mexican Border series looking at US immigration and Mexican border policies through a social justice lens. Mark Karlin, editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout, visited the border region recently to file these reports. You can find links to the previous coverage at the end of this article. 

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Conservatives Are Hitting Rock Bottom

 In mythology, the phoenix is a beautiful bird that bursts into flames at the end of its life as it dies. From the ashes of the old, a new phoenix emerges. This cycle of birth, fiery death and rebirth, makes the phoenix a symbol of hope and renewal.

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For-Profit Education Fraud Tied to Political Elite

On Friday, April 13, 2012, Courthouse News reported a class-action lawsuit by students filed in federal court against the Art Institute of California and its owner, Educational Management Corporation (EDMC). As reported in Truthout, Sen. Olympia Snowe's (R-Maine) husband, former governor of Maine John McKernan, is chairman of the board of EDMC and a former CEO of the company.  The company also faces an $11 billion false claims lawsuit by the federal government and 11 states.

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18 Ways Higher Ed Can Support Occupy and Other Social Justice Movements

Last month, I attended an event at my alma mater in Vermont which was billed as "Occupy Goddard." Hosted by the college's president, Barbara Vacarr, who wrote an op-ed in December titled, "The Occupy Movement Is Right," it was the first academic conference devoted to the peaceful populist resistance to oppression and economic inequities that is sweeping the nation (and beyond).

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Why Teaching People to Think for Themselves Is Repugnant to Religious Zealots and Rick Santorum

Right-wing fundamentalists such as Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum hate public schools, which he suggests are government schools wedded to doing the work of Satan, dressed up in the garb of the Enlightenment. Santorum, true to his love affair with the very secular ideology of privatization, prefers home schooling, which is code for people taking responsibility for whatever social issues or problems they may face, whether it be finding the best education for their children or securing decent health care.

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A Conservative Explains Why Right-Wingers Have No Compassion

 Although Mitt Romney used the word "conservative" 19 times in a short speech at the February 10, 2012, Conservative Political Action Conference, the audience he used this word to appeal to was not conservative by any traditional definition. It was right wing. Despite the common American practice of using "conservative" and "right wing" interchangeably, right wing is not a synonym for conservative and not even a true variant of conservatism - although the right wing will opportunistically borrow conservative themes as required.

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Fifty Activist Groups Call for Congressional Hearings on Citizens United

Fifty organizations presented letters to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on Tuesday requesting hearings this year on the need to amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened the floodgates for unlimited independent campaign spending and gave rise to the infamous Super PAC.

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Americans are Less Nationalistic than Jingoist Politicians Think

 Are American politicians out of sync with the public when it comes to foreign policy?  There is considerable reason to believe so.

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Have the Super Wealthy Already Seceded from the United States?

It was in 1993 during Congressional deliberation over the North American Free Trade Agreement. I was having lunch with a staffer for one of the rare Republican members of Congress who opposed the policy of so-called free trade. I distinctly remember something my colleague said: "The rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris and Tokyo than with their own fellow American citizens."

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Are Crackpot Liars Being Used to Tie Iran to 9/11?

Behind a mysterious December 22 Associated Press story about "finding of fact" by a District judge in Manhattan Friday that Iran assisted al Qaeda in the planning of the 9/11 attacks is a tapestry of recycled fabrications and distortions of fact from a bizarre cast of characters.

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10 Reasons Bank of America Is the Most Hated Bank in America

There is no shortage of hatred for the biggest banks. Indeed, the Occupy Wall Street movement is leading a national revolution against these byzantine, powerful Goliaths for the economic devastation they have caused. This makes it difficult to choose the worst of the bunch. That said, a strong case can be made that Bank of America deserves the title of the nation's most despised bank.

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Out-of-State Corporate Money Floods Ohio Battle Over Anti-Collective Bargaining Bill

About 60 people gathered at the AFL-CIO office in downtown Columbus, Ohio, to rally and volunteer their time on a sunny Friday evening in early October. They came from a variety of backgrounds: white and black, urban and rural, young and old. Armed with a phone bank and canvassing clipboards, they participated in a campaign to rally Ohio voters to repeal legislation known as Senate Bill 5. If passed, the law would limit collective bargaining rights on issues like staffing levels for Ohio's 360,000 public workers and require some public workers to pay more in pension and health care costs. The volunteers, dressed in T-shirts and jeans, are labor's foot soldiers in a political battle attracting national attention and political spending. It is a bitter clash of class, ideology and political tactics, pitting the public sector against the private sector, and Ohio's labor movement against a web of Republican front groups that refuse to disclose their campaign finances.

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