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Greek Pudding

by James H. Kunstler

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How America Became an Oligarchy

by Ellen Brown, from ellenbrown.com

April 6, 2015

The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. . . . You have owners.   — George Carlin, The American Dream

According to a new study from Princeton University, American democracy no longer exists. Using data from over 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page concluded that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of – or even against – the will of the majority of voters. America’s political system has transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where power is wielded by wealthy elites.

“Making the world safe for democracy” was President Woodrow Wilson’s rationale for World War I, and it has been used to justify American military intervention ever since. Can we justify sending troops into other countries to spread a political system we cannot maintain at home?

The Magna Carta, considered the first Bill of Rights in the Western world, established the rights of nobles as against the king. But the doctrine that “all men are created equal” – that all people have “certain inalienable rights,” including “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” – is an American original. And those rights, supposedly insured by the Bill of Rights, have the right to vote at their core. We have the right to vote but the voters’ collective will no longer prevails.

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The Law of Diminishing Returns (video) - featuring Richard Heinberg

"Is modern society hitting our defining moment, the point of diminishing returns?

In this brand new short video released today, Richard Heinberg explores how — in our economy, the environment, and energy production — we may well be. When previous societies have hit similar limits, they often doubled-down by attempting ever more complex interventions to keep things going, before finally collapsing. Will this be our fate too? And is there an alternative?

This video is the first in a four-part series by Richard Heinberg and Post Carbon Institute. The themes covered in these videos are much more thoroughly explored in Heinberg’s latest book, Afterburn: Society Beyond Fossil Fuels."

 

Part II - The Great Burning

In this short video, Richard Heinberg explores why The Great Burning — the combustion of oil, coal, and natural gas — must come to an end during the next few decades. If the twentieth century was all about increasing our burn rate year after blazing year, the dominant trend of twenty-first century will be a gradual flame-out.

This video is the second in a four-part series by Richard Heinberg and Post Carbon Institute. The themes covered in these videos are much more thoroughly explored in Heinberg’s latest book, Afterburn: Society Beyond Fossil Fuels.

Thank you to our partners New Society Publishers. Buy the book (use coupon code PCI2015 for a 20% discount through June 14, 2015): http://newsociety.com/Books/A/Afterburn

Read the book's introduction: http://www.postcarbon.org/announcing-...

 

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