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The Struggle to Stay Middle Class

The most significant political legacy of the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession could turn out to be the ongoing shift in the way Americans understand their class position.

The bursting of the housing bubble—which entailed a collapse in home values and a flood of foreclosures—and spiking unemployment led millions of Americans to realize that their “middle-class” lives were just a paycheck or two from evaporating. The acute crisis has stabilized, though many of the jobs lost then have not returned, replaced instead with lower-wage, lower-stability positions.

https://newrepublic.com/article/148130/struggle-stay-middle-class

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Posted by on June 6, 2018 in North America

 

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MBS feted in the US despite war atrocities in Yemen

The US tour of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a triumph of multi-million-dollar post-truth public relations

The current US tour of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, is a triumph of multi-million-dollar post-truth public relations.
The fact that MBS also happens to be destroying Yemen is just a minor glitch. Smooth PR is always able to secure the maxim that not all dictators, Arab or otherwise, are equal; after all “our” bastards can get away with everything.

Until they can’t — as in Saddam Hussein or Hosni Mubarak.

MBS’s PR orb sucks up everything, from a softball 60 Minutes interview to schmoozing with a galaxy of high-profile figures such as Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence, Henry Kissinger, Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch, close pal Jared Kushner, James Mattis, Barack Obama, John Kerry, David Petraeus, Condoleezza Rice, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Tim Cook, and the CEOs of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Amazon, Uber and the Walt Disney Company.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/MBS-feted-in-the-US-despit-by-Pepe-Escobar-Al-Qaeda_Aramco_Crown-Prince-Mohammed-Bin-Salman_Houthis-180330-506.html

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2018 in Middle East

 

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Trump’s Trade Confusion

The trade skirmish between the United States and China on steel, aluminum, and other goods is a product of US President Donald Trump’s scorn for multilateral trade arrangements and the World Trade Organization, an institution that was created to adjudicate trade disputes.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/trump-unnecessary-trade-war-by-joseph-e–stiglitz-2018-04

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2018 in North America

 

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No Brexit for a Eurozone Britain?

“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” Prior to the 2016 Brexit referendum, I borrowed this line from the Eagles’ 1976 hit “Hotel California” as an argument against Britain exiting the European Union. I told audiences up and down Britain that if they voted to leave the EU, they would end up more entangled with the EU Commission than ever before.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/no-brexit-if-britain-had-adopted-euro-by-yanis-varoufakis-2018-04

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2018 in Europe, European Union

 

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Aldous Huxley on Technodictators – YouTube

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

L’identità nazionale è un’invenzione

La nazionalità è un concetto molto potente, è uno dei criteri principali che usiamo per definire noi stessi, ma non è sempre stato così”, dice il giornalista Max Fisher del New York Times. “Se ci pensate sentirsi vicini a milioni di estranei sulla base di confini geografici è un’idea molto bizzarra”.

L’identità nazionale è uno dei miti più diffusi costruiti dal mondo moderno, ma è anche un potente fattore culturale che ha contribuito ad alimentare il razzismo e a costruire le dittatura del novecento. Un video del New York Times spiega com’è nato e come si è sviluppato nel tempo il concetto di nazionalità.

https://www.internazionale.it/video/2018/03/07/identita-nazionale-invenzione-nazionalismo

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Saudi Crown Prince Boasted That Jared Kushner Was “In His Pocket”

Until he was stripped of his top-secret security clearance in February, presidential adviser Jared Kushner was known around the White House as one of the most voracious readers of the President’s Daily Brief, a highly classified rundown of the latest intelligence intended only for the president and his closest advisers.

Kushner, who had been tasked with bringing about a deal between Israel and Palestine, was particularly engaged by information about the Middle East, according to a former White House official and a former U.S. intelligence professional.

https://theintercept.com/2018/03/21/jared-kushner-saudi-crown-prince-mohammed-bin-salman/

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2018 in Middle East, North America

 

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6 Minutes and 20 Seconds That Could Change the World

She recited the names of all 17 Parkland victims, and then she stood mute, tears streaming down her cheeks, her eyes sometimes closed. The crowd, rooting for the poised young woman with the shaved head and wearing a braided choker, grew confused. A few minutes earlier, a nervous Parkland classmate had actually vomited on stage during her speech, and then recovered with world-class aplomb. “I just threw up on international television and it feels great!” the brave Samantha Fuentes told the crowd. Was Gonzalez having a case of nerves? Next to me, Parkland resident and substitute teacher Debbi Schapiro watched her anxiously, then shook her head and murmured, “This is too much responsibility for these kids.” In the crowd beneath Gonzalez, a few students tried to start the chant “Never again,” but it faded quickly. Spontaneously, they fell silent and simply held high their signs of protest. Behind us, people lifted their cell phones to record the unlikely silence.

https://www.thenation.com/article/6-minutes-and-20-seconds-that-could-change-the-world/

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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The Myth of a Neo-Imperial China

The geopolitical focus of the still young 21st century spans the Indian Ocean from the Persian Gulf all the way to the South China Sea alongside the spectrum from Southwest Asia to Central Asia and China. That happens to configure the prime playing ground, overland and maritime, of the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The epicenter of global power shifting East is rattling US Think Tankland to the core – with a proliferation of parochial analyses ranging from Chinese “imperial overstretch” to Xi Jinping’s Chinese Dream provoking “nightmares“.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/16/the-myth-of-a-neo-imperial-china/

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2018 in Asia

 

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Do meditators annoy you? Try meditating

Nothing seems guaranteed to spark an explosion of schadenfreude, in the world of psychology, like a new piece of research suggesting meditation might be hogwash. The latest, a review of 54 existing studies, found that mindfulness did little to boost compassion or empathy – and that other activities, such as watching a nature documentary, might help as much. (“Mindfulness No Better Than Watching TV,” ran the gleeful headline on a post by neurologist Steven Novella.)

https://amp.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/23/chill-out-meditators-annoying-oliver-burkeman

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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