Sunday, June 26, 2005

some interesting reading.....

Lots of interesting reading I've done these last few days so I'll just outline some of the great things that I've read.

  • Fantastic article by Berkeley sociologist Arlie Hochschild which follows in the vein of Thomas Franks' What's the Matter with Kansas? which, coincidentally, I'm also currently reading. This article is also accessible over at Alternet and will be featured in the July issue of American Prospect. In the article, Hochschild notes how "Even many of those with a fragile grip on the American dream go along with taking bread from the poor and giving it to the rich." This is, she says, because many people "identify up", that is, identify with folks in a higher socio-economic bracket than themselves. They don't consider themselves financially unstable and, seeing folks winning the lottery or somehow advancing up the economic ladder, believe that is their fate too. Obviously, those who take big jumps up the economic ladder are rare, but that's not something people like to talk about. Anyway, it's in this way that class divisions are exacerbated and racial divisions exacerbated also. Hochschild cites mind-boggling information about how rich folks pay smaller and smaller percentages of taxes and yet again and again, lower-middle class folks identify with them and not with those people who they see as on the down and outs. Consequently they vote repeatedly for economic policies which further demarcate the lower-middle from the upper-middle class and further cut into the middle-class. This is truly a must read.

  • Another disturbing but crucial read is Global Issues reporting on current world military spending levels. As you might imagine, the US spends much much more than any other country, both in raw dollars (since it's the wealthiest of large-population countries) but also as a percentage of the country's budget. I won't say anymore because the numbers speak for themselves.

  • Thoughtful and well-written summary of a book coming out by another conservative very critical of Bush and the neo-cons. A West Point grad, Vietnam veteran, and former Bush Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Andrew Bacevich has written a book entitled The New American Militarism in which he details how the US has gone military mad over the last 30 years or so. He also reflects on the difference between the military build-up of the present and the intentions of by the "founding fathers". Well-reviewed book, at least according to Amazon.

  • More excellent work from Dahr Jamail, an independent journalist in Iraq in identifying US efforts to control opinion in the Middle East. This is just news you won't hear on MSNBC.

  • A bit off-topic but very interesting article on what Republicans might have learned via the Plumbers and general skullduggery that characterized the Watergate affair. Just what they learned via phone taps and how that information might have been used has not been widely considered. However, veteran reporter Robert Parry outlines how such information might have been used.

  • You think we're leaving Iraq? Maybe in some time the majority of troops will, but the US will have a presence there for quite some time, according to Riverbend in her must-read blog.

  • Not-the-9-o'clock news.

  • And finally, some levity. Unless you're a Dodger fan. Like me. Grrrrrr.

Go crazy kids!!


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