Lil Wayne’s Lyrical Fascism

Lil Wayne Fascism

The Article: Lil Wayne’s Lyrical Fascism by Henry A. Giroux in TruthOut.

The Text: “People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned. . . . People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become, and they pay for it, very simply by the lives they lead.” – James Baldwin

We have come a long way from the struggles that launched the civil rights movement over 50 years ago. During that historical period, brave men and women marched, integrated white-only lunch counters, defied orders to sit in the back of the bus, challenged police brutality and put their bodies in the face of danger for civil and economic rights. Many of them were beaten, attacked by police dogs and jailed. They fought for a higher cause, and in some cases gave their lives in the face of insufferable injustices. They embodied the ethical grammar of hope, one that demanded courage, struggle and the creation of social movements.

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We Are Living in the United States of Inequality

Income Inequality US

The Article: We Are Living in the United States of Inequality by Bill Moyers in AlterNet.

The Text: Inequality matters. You will hear people say it doesn’t, but they are usually so high up the ladder they can’t even see those at the bottom. The distance between the first and the least in America is vast and growing.

The Washington Post recently took a look at two counties in Florida and found that people who live in the more affluent St. Johns County live longer than those who live next door in less rich Putnam County. The Post concluded: “The widening gap in life expectancy between these two adjacent Florida counties reflects perhaps the starkest outcome of the nation’s growing economic inequality: Even as the nation’s life expectancy has marched steadily upward…a growing body of research shows that those gains are going mostly to those at the upper end of the income ladder.”

That’s true across America. In California’s Silicon Valley, Apple, Facebook and Google, among others, have reinvented the Gold Rush. But down the road in San Jose it’s not so pretty a picture. Do the math: in an area where one fourth of the population earn an average of about $19,000 dollars a year, rent alone can average more than $20,000 dollars a year, and that difference adds up to homelessness. We talked to Associated Press reporter Martha Mendoza, who brought this story to our attention.

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How The US Tax System Damages The 99 Percent

99 Percent Taxes

The Article: A Tax System Stacked Against The 99 Percent by Joseph E. Stiglitz in The New York Times.

The Text: LEONA HELMSLEY, the hotel chain executive who was convicted of federal tax evasion in 1989, was notorious for, among other things, reportedly having said that “only the little people pay taxes.”

As a statement of principle, the quotation may well have earned Mrs. Helmsley, who died in 2007, the title Queen of Mean. But as a prediction about the fairness of American tax policy, Mrs. Helmsley’s remark might actually have been prescient.

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How The GOP Represents Another Country

Michele Bachmann

The Article: How Right-Wingers in Congress Came to Represent a Whole Different Country by Joshua Holland in AlterNet.

The Text: With an assist from some long-term demographic trends, House Republicans have redistricted, propagandized and policed themselves into another country.

As a result, they have become unmoored from the political incentives that typically drive law-makers’ decision-making process. Public opinion no longer sways them, and that is creating a potentially insurmountable problem for the party establishment’s efforts to broaden the GOP’s appeal beyond angry old white people.

House Republicans may care about the GOP’s national fortunes in the abstract, but too many are impervious to what the public at large wants because of the nature of the districts they represent. At the same time, a steady stream of spin from the conservative media provides insulation from the realities of American politics, and deep-pocketed outside groups punish Republicans for any deviation from right-wing orthodoxy.

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Why Chemotherapy That Costs $70,000 In The U.S. Costs $2,500 in India

Chemo India

The Article: Why Chemotherapy That Costs $70,000 in the U.S. Costs $2,500 in India by Thomas Bollyky in The Atlantic.

The Text: Why does Gleevec, a leukemia drug that costs $70,000 per year in the United States, cost just $2,500 in India?

It’s seemingly simple. Gleevec is under patent in the U.S., but not in India. Accordingly, Novartis, its Swiss-based manufacturer, may prevent competitors from making and selling lower-cost versions of the drug in the U.S., but not in India.

Last week, India’s highest court rejected an application to patent Gleevec. While the legal issue in the case is important — the patentability of modifications to existing drugs under Indian law — the impact of the decision will likely be broader than just that issue, escalating a long-simmering fight over patented cancer medications in emerging markets.

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