“Emerging Adulthood” by David Green

ZCommunications | “Emerging Adulthood” by David Green | ZNet Article.

20-Somethings and Bad Social Science in the Neoliberal Era

New York Times Magazine picture, Emerging Adulthood theory

In the title of an 8000-word article in the New York Times Magazine (August 18th), Robin Marantz Henig asks: “What Is It About 20-somethings? Why are so many people in their 20s taking so long to grow up?” The questions and answers are based on research by Clark University psychologist Jeffrey Arnett that has provided the foundation for the recently-popularized “developmental stage” of “emerging adulthood.” Arnett’s fame and fortune began with a “seminal” 2000 article in American Psychologist. “Emerging adulthood” is now for all practical academic purposes certified as a standard stage of human development, with its own body of research and yearly conferences.

My major contentions in addressing this research are three-fold: First, beyond its purely descriptive efforts (which, based on this article, are nevertheless inadequate), this is pretentious social science with no sound theoretical basis in human development, psychology, or sociology. Second, it is bad social science precisely because it avoids what might make it plausible and useful social science—a consideration of the economic neo-liberalization of post-adolescence over the past three to four decades. Third, proposing “emerging adulthood” as another ever-so-profound and “vital” stage of youth’s emotional and psychological development serves to de-politicize what is ultimately a “stage” of life that, if anything, has been shaped by ruthlessly political and volitional elite ideologies and policies. Read more of this post

Commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Ryan Rhoades

Many Americans are observing the forty-seventh anniversary of King’s cosmic “I Have a Dream” speech.  King created positive change by defying the odds and fighting against the power of the status quo – including the FBI, who spied on him because they considered him a threat.

During this anniversary, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin (with support from the NRA) are giving their own speech entitled “Restoring Honor”, and they are doing so at the Lincoln Memorial.  Enough has been said about Beck and Palin’s attempts to revise history so instead of commenting on their ignorance, we should all commemorate Dr. King by actually reading his speeches.

Below you will find a timeline of King’s most memorable speeches with selected excerpts and links so you can read the speeches in their entirety.  Then you will understand what King was really about – which is starkly different than the FOX News pundits who shamelessly disgrace his memory and legacy on a daily basis.  I also apologize for cutting out so much and sacrificing the contextual flow for the sake of brevity.

**[I have excluded his most famous speech, “I Have a Dream”, because there is extensive focus on it all ready.  I feel this focus may have unintentionally led to the lack of focus on his other speeches, which are just as powerful]**

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President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s State of the Union

Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Fireside Chats&q...

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President Roosevelt – Economic Bill of Rights

On January 11, 1944, in the midst of World War II, President Roosevelt spoke forcefully and eloquently about the greater meaning and higher purpose of American security in a post-war America. The principles and ideas conveyed by FDR’s words matter as much now as they did over sixty years ago, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt American Heritage Center is proud to reprint a selection of FDR’s vision for the security and economic liberty of the American people in war and peace.

Excerpt from 11 January 1944 message to the United States Congress on the State of the Union

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness. Read more of this post

Martin Luther King Jr. – Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence

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Delivered 4 April 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City

Martin Luther King Jr., Beyond Vietnam

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen:

I need not pause to say how very delighted I am to be here tonight, and how very delighted I am to see you expressing your concern about the issues that will be discussed tonight by turning out in such large numbers. I also want to say that I consider it a great honor to share this program with Dr. Bennett, Dr. Commager, and Rabbi Heschel, and some of the distinguished leaders and personalities of our nation. And of course it’s always good to come back to Riverside Church. Over the last eight years, I have had the privilege of preaching here almost every year in that period, and it is always a rich and rewarding experience to come to this great church and this great pulpit.

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” And that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on. Read more of this post

Congressman Sanders’ “No to Oligarchy”

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont

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The American people are hurting. As a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, homes, life savings and their ability to get a higher education. Today, some 22 percent of our children live in poverty, and millions more have become dependent on food stamps for their food.

And while the Great Wall Street Recession has devastated the middle class, the truth is that working families have been experiencing a decline for decades. During the Bush years alone, from 2000-2008, median family income dropped by nearly $2,200 and millions lost their health insurance. Today, because of stagnating wages and higher costs for basic necessities, the average two-wage-earner family has less disposable income than a one-wage-earner family did a generation ago. The average American today is underpaid, overworked and stressed out as to what the future will bring for his or her children. For many, the American dream has become a nightmare.

But, not everybody is hurting. While the middle class disappears and poverty increases the wealthiest people in our country are not only doing extremely well, they are using their wealth and political power to protect and expand their very privileged status at the expense of everyone else. This upper-crust of extremely wealthy families are hell-bent on destroying the democratic vision of a strong middle-class which has made the United States the envy of the world. In its place they are determined to create an oligarchy in which a small number of families control the economic and political life of our country.

The 400 richest families in America, who saw their wealth increase by some $400 billion during the Bush years, have now accumulated $1.27 trillion in wealth. Four hundred families! During the last 15 years, while these enormously rich people became much richer their effective tax rates were slashed almost in half. While the highest paid 400 Americans had an average income of $345 million in 2007, as a result of Bush tax policy they now pay an effective tax rate of 16.6 percent, the lowest on record.

Last year, the top 25 hedge fund managers made a combined $25 billion but because of tax policy their lobbyists helped write, they pay a lower effective tax rate than many teachers, nurses, and police officers. As a result of tax havens in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and elsewhere, the wealthy and large corporations are evading some $100 billion a year in U.S. taxes. Warren Buffett, one of the richest people on earth, has often commented that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary.

But it’s not just wealthy individuals who grotesquely manipulate the system for their benefit. It’s the multi-national corporations they own and control. In 2009, Exxon Mobil, the most profitable corporation in history made $19 billion in profits and not only paid no federal income tax — they actually received a $156 million refund from the government. In 2005, one out of every four large corporations in the United States paid no federal income taxes while earning $1.1 trillion in revenue.

But, perhaps the most outrageous tax break given to multi-millionaires and billionaires happened this January when the estate tax, established in 1916, was repealed for one year as a result of President Bush’s 2001 tax legislation. This tax applies only to the wealthiest three-tenths of 1 percent of our population. This is what Teddy Roosevelt, a leading proponent of the estate tax, said in 1910. “The absence of effective state, and, especially, national restraint upon unfair money-getting has tended to create a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power. The prime need is to change the conditions which enable these men to accumulate power which is not for the general welfare that they should hold or exercise…. Therefore, I believe in a … graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.” And that’s what we’ve had for the last 95 years — until 2010.

Today, not content with huge tax breaks on their income; not content with massive corporate tax loopholes; not content with trade laws enabling them to outsource the jobs of millions of American workers to low-wage countries and not content with tax havens around the world, the ruling elite and their lobbyists are working feverishly to either eliminate the estate tax or substantially lower it. If they are successful at wiping out the estate tax, as they came close to doing in 2006 with every Republican but two voting to do, it would increase the national debt by over $1 trillion during a 10-year period. At a time when we already have a $13 trillion debt, enormous unmet needs and the highest level of wealth inequality in the industrialized world, it is simply obscene to provide more tax breaks to multi-millionaires and billionaires.

That is why I have introduced the Responsible Estate Tax Act (S.3533). This legislation would raise $318 billion over the next decade by establishing a graduated inheritance tax on estates over $3.5 million retroactive to this year. This bill ensures that the wealthiest 0.3 percent of Americans pays their fair share of estate taxes, while making sure that 99.7 percent of Americans never have to pay a dime when they lose a loved one. It also makes certain that the overwhelming majority of family farmers and small businesses never have to pay an estate tax.

This legislation must be passed because, with a $13 trillion national debt and huge unmet needs, we cannot afford more tax breaks for millionaire and billionaire families. But even more importantly, it must be passed because the United States must not become an oligarchy in which a handful of wealthy and powerful families control the destiny of our nation. Too many people, from the inception of this country, have struggled and died to maintain our democratic vision. We owe it to them and to our children to maintain it.

Bernie Sanders is the Independent US Senator from Vermont.

Bernie Sanders, “No to Oligarchy”


Beginning of a blog.

I have flirted with the idea of blogging for years now, with many variations and scattered versions, both in print and on the web.  I figure it is about time to start for real.

I am not sure how persistent my posting will be, but I am hopeful that this will be a start.

Aside from the occasional, personal update, my primary goal for this site is to analyze societal issues, mainly by focusing on global issues and U.S. political news.  Eventually I would like to incorporate a primary sources section, a news vault, a commentary section for readers, an “ideas” section focusing on social justice and grassroots movements, and finally a curriculum based on socioeconomic progress.