Politics, Economics, and Religion

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Politics, Economics, and Religion

Religion has so many connections to political and economic beliefs, there needs to be a place to identify linkages, problems, goals, options, action plans and evaluation criteria.  

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What is the purpose of life?

An eternal question, what is the purpose of life?, occupied philosophers’ thoughts throughout history. Stone pictographs reveal even primitive peoples reflected on this query. Each one has the capacity to define his or her personal thinking about politics, economics and religion.

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Michael Hudson: How Private Debt Makes the Rich Richer

Started by Joan Denoo. Last reply by Joseph P on Friday. 4 Replies

Michael Hudson: How Private Debt Makes the Rich RicherMichael Hudson talks about the causes of inequality in the 21st century. He  summarizes the important theses from his new book "The Sector - Why Global Finance Is Destroying Us". for a symposium…Continue

Tags: capitalism, global, poverty, inequality, debt

Meet the Renegades Steve Keen

Started by Joan Denoo Dec 1. 0 Replies

Meet the Renegades Steve KeenSteve Keen’s, one of the very few economists, globally, perfectly predicted the 2007-08 financial crisis. Recently he predicted the Chinese economic downturn and the deflation…Continue

Tags: banks, lending, speculation, investment, crisis

Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, No "New Normal"

Started by Joan Denoo. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Nov 21. 2 Replies

Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, No "New Normal" *We have a * President-elect with enough electoral college votes to be POTUS with an …Continue

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Comment by Idaho Spud on November 23, 2016 at 1:01pm

Trump University lawsuits settled

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced that Donald J. Trump has agreed to pay $25 million to settle three lawsuits which charged that he had misrepresented the nature and value of real estate courses offered by Trump University. The settlement includes payment of $21 million to settle two California class-action suits and $4 million to New York State to be used to (a) reimburse former students who were not parties to the class-action suits and (b) if funds remain, to pay up to $1 million for costs and/or penalties for Trump University's failure to obtain a license from the New York's Education Department. Trump admitted no liability, but Schneiderman’s press release minced no words: 

In 2013, my office sued Donald Trump for swindling thousands of innocent Americans out of ​millions of dollars through a scheme known as Trump University. Donald Trump fought us every step of the way, filing baseless charges and fruitless appeals and refusing to settle for even modest amounts of compensation for the victims of his phony university. Today, that all changes. Today's $25 million settlement agreement is a stunning reversal by Donald Trump and a major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university. 

Credential Watch has additional details and links to the documents ....

Comment by Daniel Wachenheim on November 21, 2016 at 10:07pm

The 2016 Presidential election felt to me more like psychological warfare by two factions, each of whom wanted power over the US for their own purposes.  From the definition for psychological warfare, "any action which is practiced mainly by psychological methods with the aim of evoking a planned psychological reaction in other people."[2] Various techniques are used, and are aimed at influencing a target audience's value system, belief system, emotions, motives, reasoning, or behavior." One side made better use of social media, the big lie(s),gas-lighting, and I think, psy-war tactics by Russians, the FBI, and Julian Assange / Wikileaks.  The other side tried to use divisive identity politics while claiming to be inclusive, but demonized the majority electorate in the majority of states as "a basket of deplorables".  What we need now for the Democrats is to get rid of old dynasties and not create new ones - that includes Chelsea Clinton - as well as multi-generation Kennedys, and let people run on their records, not just who can politic the best.  I would say the same about the Republicans, but they won and will not be inclined dismantle dynasties until they sink under the weight of their own excess and fuel another rebellion.

Comment by tom sarbeck on November 21, 2016 at 7:41pm
The election was about culture, Bert?

For some, yes; for others, no. EVERY argument has two sides, and to claim otherwise is to invite violence.

I will spare you my opinion on pretending opinions are humble.
Comment by Donald L. Engel on November 21, 2016 at 12:01pm

I wish these two articles would have been printed well before the election. 

Comment by Daniel Wachenheim on November 21, 2016 at 12:00pm

Don and all, Im of 2 minds with the essay on rural America. I grew up there, in an area that referred to itself as Forgotonia. It was the redist if the red states. I was immersed in reactionary John Bircher, antisemitic, anticommunist, antiblack, antifeminist, antigay - viciously with violence, scapegoating, and rumors of murder - Baptist Church subculture.  During my teenage years, and beyond, the few factories reduced or closed, the factory and farm economy worsened, and the young who escaped were a brain drain and a cultural drain. 

On retrospect, this wasnt an all-white town.  But there was kind of an iron curtain, with respect to race.  There was only one high school, and looking in the yearbook, there were black students, but not other races like Asian or Hispanic.

The whole life was kind of depressing.  I left not because of the rural white culture, because it's like being a fish and not seeing the water  I needed an education, and needed to make a living and have a purpose.  I wound up enlisting in the Army.

I was sent to boot camp in Louisiana.  Suddenly, in that time and place and that military unit, I was often the sole white pebble on a beach covered with brown and black pebbles.  The men supervising me, and around me, were almost all black with a few hispanic.  How did that effect me?  I was so clueless about other races, I just felt like "this is interesting", everyone was just normal, nice, obnoxious, good, bad, talented, dull, honest, dishonest, friendly, standoffish - and all in it together.

Probably as a result of military life in formative years, most of my adult relationships have been open across artificial racial lines.  That openness  enriched my life in innumerable ways.  No regrets.

Later, I went to Purdue University in Indiana.  I experienced bigotry there that opened my eyes to how "nice" white people think and behave.  When I graduated and left there, moving 2000 miles to a place I had never seen, this time it was a rejection of the bigoted, thick-minded culture that I experienced daily.  Interesting, my most durable friendships have been with people I met there - good, solid, thinking, caring, not bigoted in the least.

Which is a long way around to saying, I know whereof the writer writes.

But there is another side.  Trump also won counties and state that previously went to Obama.  Trump did better than expected among women, hispanics, and there was a smattering of black voters who voted for Trump or did not vote at all.  Why?  To me it's a question of leadership.  You dont denigrate people then expect their vote.  At best, you inspire, give people the opportunity  to be better.  You listen to their very real losses, fears, rejections.  You show them that you are worthy of their trust.  You lead.

Which to me was the democratic failure.  There is such a denigration of the rural and working class people, especially but not exclusively white men, that who in their right mind would expect a vote from them? 

It's true there is a frightening reactionary culture.  We are a divide nation, culturally and politically.  We need leadership to bring out the best in people, even if those people, or their culture, has oppressed and excluded others.  Not all can be reached.  Obama did it.  Clinton did not,

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on November 21, 2016 at 9:59am

Tom - They've put themselves beyond reach. Here's another fairly accurate take, imho:

Trump’s Win Was About Culture. Understand This.

Comment by tom sarbeck on November 21, 2016 at 4:47am

Joan, when I first read Donald's post I had no time to read the article.

After reading your summary, I want to ask the writer if he intends to put rural America beyond the reach of communication.

Comment by Joan Denoo on November 21, 2016 at 2:01am

Donald, I found this statement so clear, descriptive, and compelling I could feel for the writer. He uncomplicates so many things in his comment. Here are a few gems I gleaned from his writing. It is well worth one's time to read the entire comment.

"The real problem is rural America doesn’t understand the causes of their own situations and fears and they have shown no interest in finding out.  They don’t want to know why they feel the way they do or why they are struggling because the don’t want to admit it is in large part because of choices they’ve made and horrible things they’ve allowed themselves to believe."

"The problem is they don’t understand themselves, the reasons for their anger/frustrations, and don’t seem to care to know why.

"In deep red, white America, the white Christian God is king, figuratively and literally.  Religious fundamentalism is what has shaped most of their belief systems.  Systems built on a fundamentalist framework are not conducive for introspection, questioning, learning, change.

"Religious fundamentalism is what has shaped most of their belief systems."

"The problem is rural America doesn’t understand itself and will NEVER listen to anyone outside their bubble.

"rural white Americans, whenever presented with any information that contradicts their entrenched beliefs, no matter how sound, how unquestionable, how obvious, they WILL NOT even entertain the possibility it might be true.

"Education is the enemy of fundamentalism because fundamentalism, by its very nature, is not built on facts.

"Learning is only valued up to the certain point.  Once it reaches the level where what you learn contradicts doctrine and fundamentalist arguments, it becomes dangerous.

"rural, Christian, white Americans are racists. I’m not talking about white hood wearing, cross burning, lynching racists (though some are.)  I’m talking about people who deep down in their heart of hearts truly believe they are superior because they are white.

"not only are we fighting against an anti-education belief system, we are arguing against God.

"Another major problem with closed-off, fundamentalist belief systems is they are very susceptible to propaganda.

"rural, Christian, white Americans will not listen to educated arguments, supported by facts that go against their fundamentalist belief systems from “outsiders,” any change must come from within.

"Rural, Christian, white Americans have let in anti-intellectual, anti-science, bigoted, racists into their system.

"even though they are the Chosen Ones, they are the ones being screwed by all the people and groups they believe they are superior to.  

"Gays being allowed to marry are a threat.  

Blacks protesting the killing of their unarmed friends and family are a threat.  

Hispanics doing the cheap labor on their farms are somehow viewed a threat.  

The black President is a threat.  

Two billion Muslims are a threat.  

The Chinese are a threat.  

Women wanting to be autonomous are a threat.

The college educated are a threat.

Godless scientists are a threat.

Everyone who isn’t just like them has been sold to them as a threat and they’ve bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Comment by Donald L. Engel on November 20, 2016 at 4:53pm
Comment by Bertold Brautigan on November 20, 2016 at 12:26pm

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke and a coven of conservative cardinals are pressing Pope Francis to clarify the church's stance on divorce and LGBTs.
That's not particularly surprising or alarming, but the article quoted a speech made by Steve Bannon to the Vatican in 2014. This is alarming.

Burke, no friend of the pontiff, is as ultra-conservative as they get, once declaring that Catholics John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi should be denied Holy Communion for their pro-choice beliefs. And as president of the advisory board of the Human Dignity Institute, he was also in charge when none other than President-elect Donald Trump confidant and chief strategist Steve Bannon gave a speech at the Vatican in 2014, during which he warned the church to stick to its conservative ideals or face apocalyptic repercussions. “We’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict, of which if the people in this room, the people in the church, do not bind together and really form what I feel is an aspect of the church militant, to really be able to not just stand with our beliefs, but to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years,” Bannon said in his address.

 
 
 

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