A Must-Read in Trying Times: Chomsky’s ‘Requiem for the American Dream’

Screen shot from trailer for "Requiem for the American Dream"

Screen shot from trailer for “Requiem for the American Dream”

Hopefully we’ll make it out the other side of Trump’s presidency, but it’s by no means a sure thing. The risks are hard to overstate.

While many books attempt to explain how we got to this political moment (some successfully), Noam Chomsky’s latest, Requiem for the American Dream, provides necessary historical context.

Zooming in on ten ways that government and corporate interests have kept the American people down, Chomsky offers a compelling history that explains today’s economic and political landscape.

At 157 pages, it’s a short, beautifully put together book. Based on a 2015 documentary of the same name, the book was created and edited by the team behind the film (which is widely available, including on Netflix).

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Push for War Highlights Need for Independent Media

Credit: fair.org

Credit: fair.org

If the corporations that own the media profit from war, we’re unlikely to see peace.

That’s what Lewis Hill foresaw. It’s what led him to create the independent, listener-sponsored Pacifica Radio.

Almost 70 years later, the corporate media is still busy selling war, at times to an embarrassing degree. This can be seen in the fawning coverage of the recent U.S. attack on Syria, which came in response to the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

“I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons,” gushed MSNBC anchor Brian Williams, as his station showed “beautiful pictures” of the U.S. Navy launching a missile attack on a Syrian airfield.

Those beautiful missiles killed 16 people, including four kids, according to the Syrian government. But these deaths were of little interest to a corporate media caught up in the excitement of it all.

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How The Media Paved the Way for Trump’s Attack on Syria

credit: commondreams.org

credit: commondreams.org

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be responsible for the recent and gruesome chemical attack in his country. That may be what a thorough investigation concludes.

Until then, asking the tough questions seems wise, even as cruise missiles have already fallen on Syria.

But reporters, even prior to Thursday’s U.S. missile attack on Syria, weren’t entertaining such questions. That was visible in a contentious exchange Wednesday between CNN host Kate Bolduan and Rep. Thomas Massie, who questioned what Assad’s motive for launching the chemical attack would be.

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Backed by $10 million in ‘Dark Money,’ Gorsuch Claims He’s Apolitical

Screen Shot 2017-03-25 at 1.55.12 PMIn hours of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, repeatedly claimed to be above the political fray.

“I can’t get involved in politics,” Gorsuch said again and again.

Yet as he ducked senators’ questions, a multi-million dollar campaign backing Gorsuch’s nomination was underway.

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Democrats and The Resistance

Ellison and Perez (common dreams.org)

Ellison and Perez (common dreams.org)

Donald Trump is president and Republicans control just about everything.

Meanwhile Democratic Party leaders who paved the way for this Republican resurgence seem to view themselves as natural leaders in the fight against Trump, known as the “Resistance.”

But are they up to the challenge?

Recall how badly they screwed up in 2016.

In capturing the Republican nomination, Trump became the most disliked presidential nominee in recent times.

This presented Democrats with an opportunity to not only keep the White House, but also make big gains in the House and Senate.

Instead Democrats rigged their own primaries, allowing Trump to face the second most-disliked nominee in recent times, Hillary Clinton.

Now the folks who helped pull this off want to lead the Resistance.

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Is RFK Jr. ‘Anti-Vaccine’?

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 12.11.23 PM

RFK Jr. at the National Press Club

News that President Trump may tap Robert Kennedy Jr. to head a commission on vaccine safety has not been well-received by the media.

Kennedy is a “conspiracy theorist” wrote the Washington Post; he’s an “Anti-Vaccine Activist” blared the New York Times, which condemned “Kennedy and his fellow travelers”; and on it went.

Kennedy is a leading environmentalist. He’s also the son of the former attorney general and senator, Robert Kennedy; and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy.

Having followed his work for years, I had a difficult time believing he could be on point on so many issues, and completely off-base about vaccines, as media reports suggest. Continue reading

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Like Bulls in a China Shop, Trump and Netanyahu Abandon Two-State Solution

Netanyahu and Trump at a joint news conference Wednesday

Netanyahu and Trump at a joint news conference Wednesday

The bullying and boasting that brought electoral success to Donald Trump may prove disastrous for the Middle East.

Emboldened by Trump’s victory, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is dramatically expanding settlements in occupied territory, in defiance of international law.

Until recently, the U.S. and Israel’s long-stated goal was having Jewish and Palestinian states existing side-by-side. But at a joint news conference at the White House Wednesday, Trump and Netanyahu changed course.

Trump was nonchalant about a two-state versus one-state solution. “I like the one that both parties like,” he said. “If Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”

“He has no idea what’s going on,” Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour said at a protest outside the White House Wednesday evening.

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Growing Resistance Says No to Betsy DeVos

Photo by Julia Kann

Photo by Julia Kann

It’s going to be a long night for Senate Democrats.

Responding to a growing number of Americans upset at Trump’s pick for education secretary, Democrats are holding the Senate floor throughout the night and into the morning, as they try to convince one more Republican to switch their vote. Whatever happens, it’s going to be a shockingly close confirmation vote for Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos.

Already two Republican senators have bucked President Trump and their party to say they’ll vote against DeVos. The defections – the first for a Trump nominee – come as Senate offices are deluged with calls, emails and visits, overwhelmingly in opposition to DeVos.

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Trump Cabinet Picks Draw Protests

Credit: commondream.org

Credit: commondream.org

“Senators, your duty is clear.” Heads and cell phones turned as James Burch, an organizer from San Francisco, interrupted the confirmation hearing for Trump’s pick for secretary of state. “You must reject Rex Tillerson,” Burch said as he was forcefully removed from the Senate hearing. “The people do not want an oil man as secretary of state.”

Burch was one of many who interrupted the confirmation hearings of both Tillerson and Jeff Sessions, Trump’s choice for attorney general. Many of these activists were arraigned in D.C. Superior Court Wednesday.

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Heavy Protests Mark Start Of Trump Presidency

588273631700001300fdfd5a-1With homemade signs, banners and even locks and chains, thousands of protesters descended on Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump. In modern times, no one so disliked has ascended to the nation’s highest office. Tens of thousands more are expected to rally today.

During the campaign, Trump played footsie with white supremacists, called for a ban on Muslims and described Latinos as criminals and rapists. Since Trump’s upset victory in November – in which he received nearly 3 million fewer votes than his opponent, Hillary Clinton – he’s tweeted and attacked, but done little to bring the country together.

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