Understanding history | Tom Dispatch | Lewis Lapham “The Rule of Money”

I sense that this is one of the most important sources of information I have come upon. Therefore, I’m putting it out there, a reprint of a reprint. Realizing that there is much to learn and re member from history, and my previous blog mentioning Franklin D. Roosevelt as an example of an American leader when those with honesty and integrity still existed. This reading should be mandatory!

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175595/95/

“Good intentions, like mother’s milk, are a perishable commodity. As wealth accumulates, men decay, and sooner or later an aristocracy that once might have aspired to an ideal of wisdom and virtue goes rancid in the sun, becomes an oligarchy distinguished by a character that Aristotle likened to that of “the prosperous fool” — its members so besotted by their faith in money that “they therefore imagine there is nothing that it cannot buy.
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What Paine had meant by the community of common interest found voice and form in Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, in the fighting of World War II by a citizen army willing and able to perform what Machiavelli would have recognized as acts of public conscience.
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During the middle years of the twentieth century, America at times showed itself deserving of what Albert Camus named as a place “where the single word liberty makes hearts beat faster,” the emotion present and accounted for in the passage of the Social Security Act, in the mounting of the anti-Vietnam War and civil rights movements, in the promise of LBJ’s Great Society. But that was long ago and in another country, and instead of making hearts beat faster, the word liberty in America’s currently reactionary scheme of things slows the pulse and chills the blood.

Ronald Reagan’s new Morning in America brought with it in the early 1980s the second coming of a gilded age more swinish than the first, and as the country continues to divide ever more obviously into a nation of the rich and a nation of the poor, the fictions of unity and democratic intent lose their capacity to command belief. If by the time Bill Clinton had settled comfortably into the White House it was no longer possible to pretend that everybody was as equal as everybody else, it was clear that all things bright and beautiful were to be associated with the word private, terminal squalor and toxic waste with the word public.

The shaping of the will of Congress and the choosing of the American president has become a privilege reserved to the country’s equestrian classes, a.k.a. the 20% of the population that holds 93% of the wealth, the happy few who run the corporations and the banks, own and operate the news and entertainment media, compose the laws and govern the universities, control the philanthropic foundations, the policy institutes, the casinos, and the sports arenas. Their anxious and spendthrift company bears the mark of oligarchy ridden with the disease diagnosed by the ancient Greeks as pleonexia, the appetite for more of everything — more McMansions, more defense contracts, more beachfront, more tax subsidy, more prosperous fools.
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A Government That Sets Itself Above the Law

The hostile intent has been conscientiously sustained over the last 30 years, no matter which party is in control of Congress or the White House, and no matter what the issue immediately at hand — the environment or the debt, defense spending or campaign-finance reform. The concentrations of wealth and power express their fear and suspicion of the American people with a concerted effort to restrict their liberties, letting fall into disrepair nearly all of the infrastructure — roads, water systems, schools, power plants, bridges, hospitals — that provides the country with the foundation of its common enterprise.”

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mitakuye owasin | we are all related | the West has much to learn from Native American tradition

wow! Here’s a short article about how the Native American ‘Shapokee Mdewakanton Sioux community’ tribe in Minnesota, have shared the wealth from the riches they’ve gained through their casinos (a kind of taxation – except that the people are sitting around smoking and drinking and gambling ‘-). They’ve contributed to all of these fantastic progressive environmental and health programs and given money to other unrelated tribes and educational institutions. As the writer says, this tribe is keeping with the tradition of the Dakota Indian tribe which says ‘mitakuye owasin’, “we are all related”. This is a concept unfortunately terribly alien to our carnivorous and narcissistic, competitive and consumer-driven capitalist societies; in which we learn how to ‘use’ the other person, animal, resources until they are depleted, instead of the Native American way of taking only what one needs and respecting the source; sharing the rest (with other people, animals, the land, earth). Not to be wanton in glamorizing the natives, but as quoted “the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community have granted and loaned more than half a billion dollars to other tribes for economic development, and donated $14.5 million to the University of Minnesota for scholarships and a new football stadium. Far from its days of destitution, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is setting an example any business would be wise to follow.” Just read about the various clever environmental programs they’ve developed and improvements in infrastructure. If other communities would follow suit, we would be creating jobs, educating the people and communities in instituting new programs, raising the level of health of people and the environments in which they live, to just create a higher quality of life. We, ‘Occidental European Western Culture’ have a lot to learn from the traditions of the Native Americans.

Read more: http://www.utne.com/arts-culture/shakopee-mdewakanton-sioux-community-zm0z12jazwar.aspx#ixzz21CAv2q27

Arundhati Roy

For those of you not familiar with Arundhati Roy, here’s a brief essay of hers, captured on video at the Lannon Foundation. In Come September, she speaks poetically to power on the US’ War on Terror, globalization, the misuses of nationalism, and the growing chasm between the rich and poor

Arundhati Roy, Come September, speaks poetically to power on the US' War on Terror, globalization, the misuses of nationalism, and the growing chasm between the rich and poor.

Roy speaks poetically to power on the US’ War on Terror, globalization, the misuses of nationalism, and the growing chasm between the rich and poor.

It’s well worth listening to and reading the text.

She’s written a very celebrated novel, “The God of Small Things“.

Arundhati Roy's book ""The God of Small Things"

Arundhati Roy’s book “The God of Small Things”