Columns

Dream Big: Why Voting for Sanders Still Matters, Despite the Electoral Math

May 31, 2016 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

bernie sanders big ideaWhat struck me the most about the recent Sanders rally in National City was how much the crowd embodied the notion of the beloved community.

As opposed to the corporate media caricature of Sanders’ supporters as a group of mostly angry, white “Bernie bros,” this huge gathering of over ten thousand people was diverse in age, gender, sexuality, race, and class.

It was also a kind, gentle crowd that fell silent when Sanders, in a moving gesture, stopped his speech when someone fainted and waited patiently for the EMTs to come to the rescue before he continued and interrupted chants of “Bernie Cares” by saying “no, WE care.”

The truth is that while many there were surely still hoping against hope for a miracle comeback in the primary, the driving force animating the crowd seemed less about the horserace and more about being about part of something larger than themselves—a movement that just might be able to make things right at the end of the day. Thus, as Sanders spoke about love trumping hate and the need to reject cautious incrementalism and “dream big,” you could almost feel the yearning ooze out of the collective body.

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We’ve Got to Get Out and Vote Folks!

May 31, 2016 by Ernie McCray

People lined up to enter building to vote

By Ernie McCray

What’s up with us liberals? We’ve freaked out over a chair supposedly being thrown in protest of shenanigans involving voting in Nevada. And we’re beside ourselves that Hillary got booed and hissed by folks whom we say “aren’t really democrats.”

I don’t like all that but I’ve learned over the years that politics can get rather mean and we democrats are proving that based on how we’re treating each other just discussing matters I’ve just described: talking to each other in caps and exclamations, littered with a few vulgarities.

Shouldn’t we be celebrating a campaign that’s been marvelous if, for no other reason, because of the important questions that are being raised regarding and by two very passionate democratic candidates?

This is what a campaign is supposed to be about isn’t it, hashing out issues, challenging your opponent?

But a man on my Facebook page, full of a rage I can’t comprehend, says to the dynamic politicking that’s going on that he’s ready for Hillary to beat Bernie’s brain out in California, as she expects him to, so he and his supporters can shut the f__k up!

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Restaurant Review – “Coasterra” on Harbor Island

May 25, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Restaurant Review –  “Coasterra” on Harbor Island

Restaurant Review – “Coasterra”
880 Harbor Island
San Diego, CA 92101
619-814-1300

A wonderful friend of mine that has been sick for some time is on the road to recovery and suggested that we go celebrate her wellness by going out to lunch to a restaurant that neither of us had ever been to. She suggested “Coasterra” – the “Modern Mexican” restaurant where the Reuben E. Lee used to be “docked”at the eastern tip of Harbor Island. (Except that this restaurant is firmly planted on the ground; it does not sway with the tide!)

When we pulled into the parking lot the view was breathtaking; and when asked if we wanted to eat inside or outside “ . . . in our heated patio” – we opted for outside, in spite of it drizzling and somewhat overcast. We never felt cold, and when the drizzle subsided the sun came out and treated us to a gorgeous sight.

We were immediately served salsa and chips, and the only comment both Mary and I made was that the salsa was tasty – not spicy at all. (I, personally, would have liked a little more “kick.”)

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“Eleanor’s Story”: A Book and a Stage Production Not to be Missed

May 24, 2016 by Ernie McCray

p_2256_i_6661656By Ernie McCray

I met a woman named Eleanor Ramrath Garner early in April at a nice party at a beautiful Del Mar home with a wonderful view on a warm inviting sunny day.

The gathering had everything I like: delicious food; refreshing drinks; interesting witty people, scholars all, practically, filled with colorful stories to tell and they didn’t mind telling them.

Some of them had written doctoral studies and books and essays for professional publications. Eleanor happened to mention that she was an author. She didn’t say what her book was about but something about her made me want to read it. So I looked for it on Amazon.

And there it was: “Eleanor’s Story, an American Girl in Hitler’s Germany.” I clicked on “See a random page” and a picture appeared of Eleanor’s little brother and sister on Christmas Day in 1945 with the words “This was our best Christmas ever because we had survived the bombings, the Battle of Berlin, and hunger.”

I was sold.

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On Dark Patches and Redemption

May 23, 2016 by Jim Miller
Thumbnail image for On Dark Patches and Redemption

By Jim Miller

Despite all our best efforts, things don’t always go the way we would hope. Sometimes we are stunned by the unexpected bad turn and left groping for answers.

Last week in my column about what motivated me to go on the March for California’s Future, I explained how the stories of my students inspired me:

As a community college professor at City College, I am particularly attuned to the painful realities of economic and racial inequality because I see the costs of poverty on a daily basis …

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Having Fun Watching my Grandson Having Fun

May 18, 2016 by Ernie McCray

Ernie McCray old hippieBy Ernie McCray

The other day, for some reason, a wonderful memory rose in my mind of times when my grandson, Marlon, was dancing on the stage at SCPA (School of Creative and Performing Arts) to the hooting and hollering sounds of girls who were swooning from the very sight of him.

As I remembered those days I couldn’t help but think about how I had never experienced anything like that. Ever. I mean I’ve wondered a few times how somebody in my bloodline came out looking as fine as he does.

Since those days, he’s evolved into ML Wilson, performer, rapper, actor, a hip-hop-beat-maker. Living in San Francisco, pursuing his showbiz dreams.

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The California Way of Poverty

May 16, 2016 by Jim Miller

Miller-marchers-walt-e1303747766621

By Jim Miller

Last week, I pondered the obscene spectacle of holding a mega-concert catering to the wealthy in the Southern California desert town of Indio where a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line.

The truth is that events like this that underline the contrast between the heedless luxury of the affluent with the deprivation of the poor are not the exception to the rule, but rather, a basic fact of everyday life in our era of historic economic inequality. It’s just the way we live now.

And in sunny California, San Diego in particular, the poor are accustomed to watching the party from the outside.

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An Old Scumbag’s Take on Bernie and Hillary Unifying Their Party

May 12, 2016 by Ernie McCray

Sanders and Clinton at the Democratic Presidential debate from St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH, airing Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015

By Ernie McCray

For not supporting Hillary Clinton, people like me, including millions of young people, millennials, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, have been described as naive-unrealistic-shallow-thinking-delusional-idiotic-scumbags – and we’ve been compared to followers of Trump.

I didn’t see it coming, at all, as the insults have come from the kinds of people with whom I’ve been associated politically my entire voting life: 57 years.

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Oligarchy Rocks at the Desert Trip Festival

May 9, 2016 by Jim Miller

raving mic

By Jim Miller

This easy life knows no pity.

Recently Nelson D. Schwartz of the New York Times did an interesting feature on luxury tourism on cruise ships, “In an Era of Privilege, Not Everyone is in the Same Boat,” that described the experience of travelers as “a money based caste system” catering to the rich rather than the unwashed masses.

While there is clearly nothing novel about elite travel, the story noted that “What is new is just how far big American companies are now willing to go to pamper the biggest spenders.”

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Book Review Of Bill Walton’s “Back From The Dead”

April 27, 2016 by Ernie McCray

backfromthedeadBy Ernie McCray

I just finished one of those books that fit the category of a book that’s hard to put down: Back from the Dead by Bill Walton, one of the truly great basketball players and human beings. On the cover one reads “Searching for the sound, shining the light, and throwing it down.” That’s Bill, for sure, as I’ve followed him since he was a kid.

I didn’t know until I read his book that he was a musician, but I’ve known for a long time that he’s someone who’s attracted to the sounds of music, that he has been a player in the Grateful Dead scene for decades. I’ve known that he’s a lifelong learner, a man who’s constantly growing and questioning and shining a light on things that need tending to in our world. And his writing details somewhat poetically how he’s “thrown it down,” all out, throughout his life, in spite of forever having to endure an almost unbelievable array of crippling injuries and intense pain.

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Experience and Explosive Situations

April 19, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

1393622639_560e2dea50Scrolling down my facebook timeline
I found that someone had written words in line
with the idea
that Hillary’s lengthy experience
in foreign policy
makes her a better choice than Bernie
for the presidency.
The words went thusly:
“Consider… North Korea hits South Korea
and Tokyo simultaneously
with ballistic nukes.
I think Hillary could deal with it.
Bernie is unproven.”
And all I could think was: “Whuuuut?”

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Listen Liberal: What’s the Matter with the Democratic Party?

April 18, 2016 by Jim Miller

listen liberal pointBy Jim Miller

Thomas Frank has written the most important political book of 2016, and one that should disturb and hopefully influence progressives for years to come. If you have ever found yourself not just horrified by the lunatic right but also frustrated by the hapless and compromised “left,” Frank is your man.

If you want to feel good about “your side” but are still troubled by the fact that economic inequality remains at historically high levels despite the last eight years of Democratic Presidential rule, Frank has some uncomfortable truths for you to ponder.

And it’s not just about those damn Republicans.

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Change We Can Believe In

April 13, 2016 by Ernie McCray

3040901870_561e28c135_oBy Ernie McCray

Obama first sold young people
on “Change we can Believe In”
and now Bernie
has them thinking along those lines again
in deeper ways
and I love watching their faces
at his rallies when he says to them
“Change comes from the bottom to the top.”
Their faces light up
as he teaches them how
they might best proceed
as they strive to meet
their world’s desperate needs.

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Restaurant Review – Sushi Pho Sure in the Midway District

April 12, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Restaurant Review – Sushi Pho Sure in the Midway District

Sushi Pho Sure
3944 W. Pt. Loma, Suite D & E
San Diego, CA 92110
619-223-7624

Many years ago when my husband was still alive, we ate frequently at the Kobe Udon in the Longs Shopping Center.(Midway Towne Center). Kobe Udon is no more, nor is Longs, but “Sushi Pho Sure” is in the same location that Kobe Udon was those many years ago. Since Hitomi and I were going to shop at the Grocery Outlet we decided to try out the restaurant and see how it compared to “Seaside Pho & Grill”, which we reviewed several weeks ago.

I had hoped that they had continued with the Udon that I always enjoyed at Kobe’s, but they had not. The menu is extensive, in that there are many varieties of sushi and sashimi available. (Maki sushi; specialty sushi; Hand Rolls; Nigiri sushi; Special sushi’s, etc.) Their prices were also reasonable starting at about $3.85 for a 5 piece hand roll. In fact, all of their prices were very reasonable, from their starters at $1.00 – egg roll – to $5 for many of their items. I didn’t see anything on the menu more than $10.

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The New Liberty Station Public Market – Our Widder Curry Takes Her First Look

April 6, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for The New Liberty Station Public Market – Our Widder Curry Takes Her First Look

Liberty Public Market
Liberty Station
2820 Historic Decatur Rd.
San Diego, CA 92106

As a recognized “foodie” I have anxiously awaited the opening of the Liberty Public Market. The one thing I miss most about living in the Bay Area is the “Berkeley Bowl” – a converted bowling alley turned into a multitude of food shops. From all I had heard, this new venture was a cross between the Bowl and the Seattle “Pike Place Market.” Even at my age I have not yet learned not to expect too much.

My friend Irene and I decided to take a look at this new venture on a Friday morning during the first week it was opened. Parking was relatively easy – but we noted it was packed when we left shortly after noon. We also found that most of “stores” did not open until 11:00am. But that suited our purpose, because we were just “lookie-loos” this first time around. Unfortunately, it might just be my “last time around.”

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Restaurant Review – Seaside Pho & Grill in Point Loma

April 4, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Restaurant Review –  Seaside Pho & Grill in Point Loma

Seaside Pho & Grill
1005 Rosecrans St., #101
San Diego, CA 92106
619-487-9844
www.seasidepho.com

I have lived in San Diego a long time. Except for a few months when my husband and I lived in Chula Vista while looking for a permanent place, over 45 of those years have been in the Pt. Loma/Ocean Beach area. I have watched restaurants come and go; some quickly; some stay for a while.

“Seaside Pho & Grill” has located in a spot that has had two other restaurants there over the years. The first restaurant that I was aware of was “La Playa.” It was one of the first reviews I ever did and that was in 2010. Unfortunately it closed a year or so later. The next restaurant to open in that spot was “Gabardine” in 2012, and it closed its doors in 2014. Both restaurants had wonderful food and Brian Malarkey is an experienced restaurateur. Yet, it was not successful.

Now comes “Seaside Pho & Grill.” It is owned by a married couple – Thuy Nguyen and Waco Williams. The majority of recipes on the menu are family recipes from Thuy. (She was not there when my Japanese student Hitomi and I ate there recently, but Waco was and we had a delightful time talking to him after our meal.) Waco told us that the “Garlic Butter Wings” was an original recipe from Thuy’s grandfather!

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Go Padres! “Vivas to Those Who Have Failed!”

April 4, 2016 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

in the standsToday is opening day and with it, if history is our guide, what is most likely another season of futility is born. Having grown up a Padres fan, this is par for the course as the Pads have only gone to the postseason five times and have a meager .463 winning percentage over the life of the franchise.

They are, in short, losers.

So why go? Why will I be sitting in the stands this afternoon as the Padres take on the Dodgers hoping against hope that the outcome will be different?

Sports psychologists inform me that my addiction to losing baseball might have some rough consequences. As Larry Stone reports in “The Psychology of Being a Sports Fan,” researchers have found that When your team loses, it’s like you lose a part of yourself, because your identity is so merged with the identity of the team and the fan community . . . Sports in the U.S. makes such a difference in people’s lives, a loss can be distressing.”

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A New American Majority in San Diego?

March 7, 2016 by Jim Miller

Brown is the New WhiteBy Jim Miller

Last week I had the pleasure of going to see a talk at Alliance San Diego by Steve Phillips, author of Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority.

The central point that Phillips makes is that, at present, we already have a new American majority of 51% of the electorate comprised of progressive people of color and like-minded whites.

The problem we face, Phillips argues, is that we are failing to mobilize that majority because many in the consultant class and the upper reaches of the Democratic Party don’t believe the numbers and/or are stuck in an old pattern of chasing after the elusive “swing voter” typically identified as white who could be persuaded to vote for a Republican or a Democrat.

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Where is the Climate Crisis in Our National Discussion About the Future of the World? – The Stunning Moral Failure of the Presidential Debates

February 29, 2016 by Jim Miller

Climate-Crisis-300x204By Jim Miller

If you are an observant reader you might have noticed that last week, amidst the usual banal political commentary surrounding the Presidential race, the New York Times matter-of-factly reported that, “Seas are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries”.

If you managed not to spit out your coffee, you read the alarming news that:

The worsening of tidal flooding in American coastal communities is largely a consequence of greenhouse gases from human activity, and the problem will grow far worse in coming decades, scientists reported . .

Those emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, are causing the ocean to rise at the fastest rate since at least the founding of ancient Rome, the scientists said.

And if that didn’t send you into a morning funk, you might have …

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Restaurant Review: Kanda Thai Cuisine in the Midway District

February 26, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Restaurant Review:  Kanda Thai Cuisine in the Midway District

Restaurant Review:

Kanda Thai Cuisine
3545 Midway Drive #M

It seems that I am still celebrating my birthday last week, because my friend Mary wanted to treat me to a special birthday. I really wanted to have good Chinese food in a restaurant, but could not find any locally that have good reviews. I had a coupon for the “Kanda Thai” restaurant in the same location that another Thai restaurant was at only six months ago and we decided to try it. (It is interested to note that our waitress told us that the “Kanda” is owned by the same owner that owned the now defunct “Thai Time II.”)

The coupon stated that it was their “Grand Opening” but when we asked the waitress how long they had been there the answer was six months. This is important because of several things that occurred during our meal.

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America Was Great at One Time?

February 15, 2016 by Ernie McCray
Thumbnail image for America Was Great at One Time?

America Was Great at One Time?

by Ernie McCray

Making America great again
sure sounds like something worth doing.
But the word “again,”
implies that America must have been
great somewhere along the line –
and when I run the feasibility of that
through my long-active mind,
having not been deaf or blind
in my time,
a couple of questions come to mind,
on the fly.
Like:
“When was the country ever great?”
And “Where in the hell was I?”
Really.
Oh, there is greatness all over the place
in the USA.
Great things: art, music, science, who’s going to argue with that?
Great human beings: who can beat Lincoln, Cesar, Fannie Lou and folks like that?
Great opportunities: in this country you can reach for the moon and places like that.
But, just speaking for me,
I have had to sit at the back of the bus,

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Pragmatic Realist: Dissing the Era of Big-Program Liberalism a Cover for Attack on Bernie

February 15, 2016 by Jim Miller

(Salvador Dali)

By Jim Miller

Last week, in a New York Times editorial, Mark Schmitt joined the chorus of clear-eyed “realists” chiming in against Bernie Sanders’ bold agenda in “Is the Era of Big-Program Liberalism Over?”

While acknowledging the political appeal and strategic advantages of universal programs, Schmitt argued that, given the presumably inevitable constraints of the present, the future belongs to an incrementalism that is “most interesting and novel for the absence of big, universal programs that require legislative action.”

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The 56th Anniversary of Ernie McCray’s School-Record 46-Point Game

February 10, 2016 by Source

Ernie McCray 46pts
Editor: Ernie McCray – one of our regular and beloved columnists – still holds an Arizona basketball record. Ernie has written about his college basketball days, plus we have posted a few about his accomplishments. One of the posts we published was entitled:

After the game that McCray won, his teammates went to a restaurant to celebrate but he didn’t join them – he knew he wouldn’t be served.

By Javier Morales / Arizona Basketball, U of A/allsportstucson.com/Februay 6, 2016

Ernie McCray was listed as a center in 1960 although he was only 6’5?. On the night, he set the Arizona record with 46 points in a 104-84 win over Cal State Los Angeles 56 years ago today, McCray said in a 2014 interview that he made “four or five shots” from beyond what is the three-point line today. No three-point line or shot clock existed back then, making the feat that much more respectable (Tucson Citizen front page screen shot)

For 56 years Arizona’s scoring record has stood, Ernie McCray’s 46 points at the old Bear Down Gym against Cal State Los Angeles.

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Grooving on a Saturday in a Child-Like State of Mind

February 10, 2016 by Ernie McCray

3829220020_a4fa84f410By Ernie McCray

Oh, I had such a beautiful day the other day. It got underway with me sitting on the edge of my bed, yawning and stretching and making grunty old folk noises in rhythm with the popping of my 77-year-old bones.

With my querida gone to a mountain retreat I found myself reminiscing, remembering how, as an only child, I was often home alone.

And I would just pass the time letting my imagination fly and roam far and wide, past all the “Yee-Ha!” I had to deal with in a day – and I’d dream of a world that didn’t put up with any of that and then, depending on the mood I was in, I would often make up a little ditty about this society that was given life in my imagination.

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Are the Planets in Alignment Causing Me to Be Out of Alignment?

February 3, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Are the Planets in Alignment Causing Me to Be Out of Alignment?

By Judi Curry

I’m not usually a negative person.

I try to find something positive in even the worse situation, but for the past few weeks it seems that nothing is going right in my life.

Maybe it is because February, a month that used to hold romantic overtones is here, and there are none of those happenings going to occur. No one on Valentine’s Day to send me a box of my favorite candy; in fact no one to send me a card. OK – maybe I’ll receive one from my family, but that is not what I am talking about.

My birthday is also in February. That in itself is a traumatic day for the obvious reasons, …

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Making a Plea for Racial Harmony as Racism Rises from the Water

January 26, 2016 by Ernie McCray

3476867753_05c2178929By Ernie McCray

All my life I’ve heard that there’s nothing more American than apple pie. Well, I see that as kind of a lie as, based on my life experiences, there’s nothing more American than racism.

If apple pie was in my face as much as racism has been I’d be a 500-pound black guy as racism is as ever present as oxygen in a black person’s life, from the moment you’re born until the day you die.

It’s been passed along in America as a stumbling block against our human hopes and dreams like a baton in a relay race, in so many forms: slavery; Jim Crow; the constant tampering with our voting rights; white flight; execution of unarmed dark-skinned people on the streets, on a whim; mass incarceration and on and on and on ad nauseam…

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Whither 2016 Ballot Measures?: The Oracle Jerry Brown Weighs In

January 25, 2016 by Jim Miller

Photo by Freedom To Marry

By Jim Miller

As I noted in my New Year’s column, many in California’s labor and progressive circles had high hopes for ballot measures extending Proposition 30’s taxes on the rich to fully fund education and for raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

But it did not take long for Governor Jerry Brown to rain on his presumed allies’ parade.

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American Media in 2016: Those Afflicting the Comfortable Need Not Apply

January 11, 2016 by Jim Miller

NewsmanBy Jim Miller

Just before the New Year I highlighted Project Censored’s pick for the most underreported story of 2015—the fact that 2016 will be when the top 1% will control half of the world’s wealth).

In that same column I focused on two other largely ignored stories that broke subsequent to Project Censored’s annual report that also underline the perils of domestic and international economic inequality.

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From Good to Bad and Back to Good Again

December 29, 2015 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

I sat around last night trying to think of something to write and decided to click onto a page of prompts which gave me a choice of numbers between one and three-hundred-forty-six.

Sometimes just closing my eyes and moving the little arrow around on my Mac Os X and clicking randomly does the trick but I went, this time, with selecting number fifty-six.

Fifty-six is kind of a big number in my life. I had just turned 56 when Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa. A Highway 56 is named after Ted Williams, one of my favorite baseball players. I was in the Tucson High Class of ’56 and my life changed massively that year, in the time it takes to flip a light switch.

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Censored 2015: The Most Underreported Story of the Year

December 28, 2015 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

As I wrote back in mid-October, Project Censored recently released their list of the most underreported stories of 2015. The number one story on their list features the news that 2016 will be the year when half of the world’s wealth will be controlled by the top 1%. More specifically, they document how:

According to the Oxfam report, the proportion of global wealth owned by the 1 percent has increased from 44 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2014 and is projected to reach 50 percent in 2016.

In October 2014, a prior Oxfam report, “Even It Up: Time to End Extreme Poverty,” revealed that the number of billionaires worldwide had more than doubled since the 2009 financial crisis, showing that, although those at the top have recovered quickly, the vast majority of the world’s population are far from reaping the benefits of any recent economic recovery.

Even more staggering, the world’s richest eighty-five people now hold the same amount of wealth as half the world’s poorest population. “Failure to tackle inequality will leave hundreds of millions trapped in poverty unnecessarily,” the report’s authors warned.

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