“The media is calling Bernie’s political revolution dead — and completely missing the point” | Salon


“Most Americans who follow politics probably understand — at least on a subconscious level — why Hillary Clinton took $3.15 million in speaking fees from Wall Street banks in 2013, and why she thought nothing of it at the time. Clinton was just doing what all the other high-profile current and former politicians in Washington do. And since Clinton does not perceive the cultural norms of Washington, D.C., as inherently corrupt, she couldn’t possibly foresee the blowback her speeches might cause. The fact that these norms allow politicians to charge six-figure speaking fees to kiss the you-know-whats of Wall Street bankers and then immediately turn around and attack those bankers from the stump is the ugly business of politics, too complicated and depressing for the idealistic and naive minds of regular folk.

“Far too many Democratic politician implicitly accept a political culture that allows this type of cynicism to blossom, unwilling or unable to consider the longer-term consequences that their behavior might have on the trust American voters place on the system more broadly.”

Read the rest at Salon. “The media is calling Bernie’s political revolution ‘dead’ — and completely missing the point


“The Democrats’ generational divide” | Al Jazeera America


“There’s a new divide in the Democratic Party. It’s a divide as much about age as ideology. While older voters clearly support the presidential ambitions of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the younger generation is firmly in favor of her rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Anyone who wants to fully grasp the changes roiling the party today must pay close attention.”

Read the rest at Al Jazeera America. “The Democrats’ generational divide


“What Bernie’s liberal critics miss” | Salon


“In the coming months, elites in the Democratic Party will surely find all manner of justification for their vague distrust of Bernie Sanders. But understanding the real origin of this mistrust isn’t hard: just imagine how awkward it must be to discuss Sanders’ full-throated indictment of the shamelessly rich if you exist within a certain sphere of the Democratic establishment. Speaking too plainly about the bald, gluttonous concentration of wealth among America’s richest citizens is self-evidently gauche when one’s trying to enjoy the Crispy Black Bass and Braised Veal Cheek “Surf & Turf” at Le Bernardin — particularly if the meal is being footed by a wealthy friend or benefactor.”

Read the rest at Salon. “What Bernie’s liberal critics miss: Attacking him as ‘unrealistic’ is making a huge error


“How to build a revolution” | Salon


“Flashback: It’s debate night in New Hampshire, and Bernie Sanders is waiting impatiently for his turn. Beside him on the split-screen, his opponent, Hillary Clinton, looks perfectly presidential: Her body is still, her expressions are composed, her voice is firm but restrained. Sanders is notably less well-trained, less presidential. Bobbing and weaving, biting his tongue, visibly anxious, Sanders is hardly able to contain himself while Clinton speaks. When she finally finishes — and it hasn’t been that long — the man uncorks. Possessed with a telegenic sense of deep injustice, Sanders embarks on a long recitation of all the screws being turned on the casual viewers back at home. He returns repeatedly to the subjects of our gross income and wealth inequality, the unchecked malfeasance on Wall St., and the corruption of our politics by massive influence-purchasing bribes masquerading as donations. But all of this is just the lead-up to what Sanders really wants to talk about, the central premise of his whole campaign, the sine qua non of his entire political theory: America can only see its way past these monumental problems if it embarks upon a political revolution of unprecedented scale. Only when millions and millions of people come together to upend the political status quo, Bernie suggests, will real progress be possible.

“It’s a stirring message that speaks directly to the disillusionment of so many young people, who understandably feel that politics and politicians are captured by the super rich, their representatives’ values and ideals compromised by the pressure of the “permanent campaign,” and by the enormous costs of running one. But Sanders’ message also begs a fairly obvious follow-up: What does this “political revolution” look like? Is it even possible? And while many of those asking these questions are Sanders’ fiercest critics, who likely find his brand of politics to be naive and idealistic, it’s a question that his most ardent supporters must also consider. Because if Sanders manages to capture the presidency, he will face a Congress comprised of two hostile parties who both find the very implication that underlies his campaign to be noxious and personally insulting. How he navigates those murky waters, and whether he can leverage his political success into a much broader leftward tilt, will surely determine whether or not this nation can adequately accomplish his main ambition.”

“Merchants of Doubt” Goes on the Offensive…” | VICE

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“Five years ago, historians Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway wrote a book that told an incredible tale of deception and disinformation at the heart of the American media. Focusing on three now-deceased scientists (Bill Nierenberg, Fred Seitz, and Fred Singer), their book, Merchants of Doubt, drew a straight line from paid quasi-experts defending cigarettes as healthy, acid rain as harmless, and pesticides as perfectly safe to current initiatives to discredit humanity’s role in the planet’s changing climate. But on each issue, these faux-experts’ tactics remained the same: sow doubt so that the profitable, potentially destructive status quo remained intact.”

Read the rest at VICE. “‘Merchants of Doubt’ Goes on the Offensive Against Climate Change Deniers


“Student Loan Breakthrough?” | Salon.com


“If you’re really concerned about helping the people who suffer most in our current student loan environment, you’d direct your focus toward the poorest of the poor. These are people who are often coerced into taking huge loans to attend programs for which they’re ill-prepared and unable to complete, left with neither degree nor a debt-free start to adulthood.”

Read the rest at Salon. “Student loan breakthrough? Why a new victory has lessons for stopping the madness


“If they can imprison Barrett Brown, they can do it to anyone” | Salon.com

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“Maybe you don’t care about the imprisonment of Barrett Brown. Maybe you’ll never piss off a federal prosecutor, or get deeply involved with a decentralized hacker collective. Maybe you’ll never share a link to a document dump that contains stolen credit card information, so the five year imprisonment of a journalist last Thursday isn’t relevant to your day-to-day life. But there’s something deeper at stake in Brown’s wrongful arrest and conviction, and it should worry any American who cares about the freedom of press, the freedom of expression, and the freedom from unlawful prosecution or harassment at the hands of an increasingly paranoid and secretive state.”

Read the rest at Salon. “If they can imprison Barrett Brown, they can do it to anyone

“#Inflategate, Motivated Reasoning, & the Moral Relativism of Fandom” | Medium


“Sports is about so much more than championships, or records, or an excuse to get irresponsibly drunk on a Sunday afternoon. The meaninglessness of sports is its greatest asset — a space where morality has no place, where the “more deserving” team doesn’t always win, where the lovable underdog can get crushed 45–7. This is a game where the only thing that matters is what happens on that field, within the confines of an absurd number of rules and structures each (ostensibly) created to ensure that both teams have an equal shot at victory. All that should matter in determining the outcome of a game is the play of the players on the field, and the decisions of the coaches on the sidelines. When that social contract is broken, sports lose their very raison d’etre. They become the WWE.”

Read the rest at Medium. “#Inflategate, Motivated Reasoning, & the Moral Relativism of Fandom


“Yes, All White People Are Racists” | AlterNet


“We are very good at shaming the likes of Donald Sterling or Clive Bundy when they say overtly racist things, but we’re not very good at confronting the deeper structural racism that we, ourselves, inhabit. We have changed the language, but have we fixed our culture? Or did we just hide our society’s most odious assumptions under the rug of political correctness? And will it be easier, or more difficult, to conquer racism’s legacy in a country that’s so unwilling to even admit its own ugly biases?”

Read the rest at AlterNet. “Yes, All White People Are Racists — Now Let’s Do Something About It