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Opinion Editorial

Fifty years ago this month – on Jan. 8, 1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson announced an "unconditional war on poverty in America." Considering the money spent on poverty-related programs in the ensuing half century – $16 trillion, according to the Cato Institute – and the percentage of Americans still listed as poor, it’s time to concede defeat, change strategy or redefine poverty.

Conceding defeat against poverty is unacceptable, of course. But redefining poverty means building a better safety net, not opening a bigger umbrella, as President Obama is expected to propose in his State of the Union Address this month. He's expected to dramatize income inequality – the gap between the “rich” and “poor” – and seek an increase in the minimum wage and an extension of longterm unemployment benefits.

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It’s time for a philosophy of ‘militant nonviolent resistance’

We now live in a two-tiered system of governance. There are two sets of laws: one set for the government and its corporate allies, and another set for you and me. The laws which apply to the majority of the population allow the government to do things like sending SWAT teams crashing through your door in the middle of the night, rectally probing you during a roadside stop, or listening in on your phone calls and reading all of your email messages, confiscating your property, or indefinitely detaining you in a military holding cell.

Then there are the laws constructed for the elite, which allow bankers who crash the economy to walk free. They’re the laws which allow police officers to avoid prosecution when they shoot unarmed citizens, strip search non-violent criminals, taser pregnant women on the side of the road, or pepper spray peaceful protestors. These are the laws of the new age we are entering, an age of neo-feudalism, in which corporate-state rulers dominate the rest of us. In other words, we have moved into an age where we are the slaves and they are the rulers.

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Whether it be Miley Cyrus' “twerking” or Duck Dynasty's Patriarch Phil Robertson giving tips on sex, it makes one wonder about what passes for news nowadays. Meanwhile, back at the radioactive ranch, Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant continues to emit dangerous radiation and is only another earthquake away from taking it to the next level.

I like to check Google to get a rough idea of trends and interests. Currently, Google search results are 15 million for Fukushima and 364 million for Duck Dynasty. It's a nobrainier what is more important in our collective psyche. Plus, how many T-shirts are you going to sell with an image of spent nuclear fuel rods?

However, in all fairness to Duck Dynasty fans, it is hard to get riled up about something you really don't understand, such as the end of the world as we know it. The following excerpt is from a Reuters news story.

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Author reveals the secret to achieving realistic goals.

Everybody loves a new year. It’s a bright, shiny, fresh, clean slate. A vista unblemished by mistakes or regrets. A brand-new chance to make Those Changes and accomplish Those Things we’ve been meaning to do forever. Yet, undermining all this glorious potential is the hidden truth we’re aware of even as we proclaim that this time we’ll really lose 20 pounds or get out of debt or finally launch that long-dreamed-of business: New Year’s resolutions are nothing more than fairy tales we grown-ups tell ourselves.

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