Festival of Arts and Ideas (5/14 to 6/27)

Mystic Connecticut




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Economy

In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule -- at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it. Gilens and Page

Politics

Elections

The immediate effect of the money-and-media election complex is to encourage election campaigns, like those in 2012, that do not even begin to address the societal pathologies afflicting the people of the United States. The trillion dollars spent annually on militarism and war is off-limits to public review and debate. Likewise, the corporate control of the economy and the corporate domination of government itself get barely a nod. Stagnation, gaping economic inequality, growing poverty, and collapsing infrastructure and social services—major issues all—are accorded nothing more than the market-tested drivel candidates say to get votes. The existential threats posed by climate change and nuclear weaponry are virtually off-limits as campaign-season issues; whole debates that are supposed to go to the heart of domestic and global concerns pass by without mention of them. The drug war, which has created a prison-industrial complex so vast that the United States has a greater percentage of its population imprisoned than any other nation in history, is not to be mentioned—except when obviously engaged and concerned citizens force the issue onto the ballot via the initiative process." Dollarocracy: John Nichols and Robert W McChesney
"If you wonder why the United States is the only country in the industrialized world not to have a national health care program, if you're asking why we pay the highest price in the world for prescription drugs, or why we spend more money on the military than the rest of the world combined, you are talking about campaign finance. You are talking about the unbelievable power that big-money interests have over every legislative decision." Senator Bernie Sanders (Vt)

Healthcare

Labor

Media

"a more democratic distribution of communicative power within the public sphere and a structure that provides safeguards against abuse of media power provide two of three primary arguments for ownership dispersal. It also shows that dispersal is likely to result in more owners who will reasonably pursue socially valuable journalistic or creative objectives rather than a socially dysfunctional focus on the 'bottom line'." C. Edwin Baker: Media Concentration and Democracy, why Ownership Matters

Environment

War

In a world where America has no remaining industrial state enemies capable of doing it military harm, Washington is now locked in a state of perpetual war. That ultimately bankrupted Rome. Why should this time be any different?" David Stockman

International