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Series | 2016 General Election Guide, Part 3: Third Parties Are Not Spoilers

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  • Why is a third-party candidate called a "spoiler" when the nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties, that have given us a spoiled political system (corrupted by the highest bidder) are never referred to in such a pejorative way?
  • Lesser-Evil Math Doesn't Compute
  • The left has lost its nerve and its direction

Ralph Nader, Wall Street Journal / Eurasia Review

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Editor%20Comment%20graphic_0.jpg Evergreene Digest Editor's Note: To help our readers vote responsibly we are re-publishing as a stand-alone series those articles we think will help. These articles will appear frequently between now and the November 8 election. Watch for them in the Government & Politics section (and simultaneously in other sections) under the searchable title "2016 General Election Guide".

October 1, 2014 | How unbecoming it is for the self-styled freedom-loving Wall Street Journal (“Ron Paul Nader?” Dec. 21) to use the politically bigoted word “spoiler” to describe a hypothetical Ron Paul-Libertarian party presidential run.

Why is a third-party candidate called a “spoiler” when the nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties, that have given us a spoiled political 
system (corrupted by the highest bidder) are never referred to in such a pejorative way? These two decaying parties do not own the voters in this country, though they act that way through their many state laws obstructing outside competition.

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Vote.jpg Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel). 

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Previously in the 2016 General Election Guide:

  • Part 2: At Some Point, Progressives Need to Break Up With the Democratic Party
  • Part 1: The Left Has Lost It's Nerve and Direction

 

Clinton-Trump debate: A degrading spectacle

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On Sept. 26 Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton engaged in their first face-to-face debate. (Disney & Gage Skidmore / CC 2.0)

  • There was not the slightest intellectual substance or reasoned political content to the so-called “debate.” No topic was addressed with either intelligence or honesty. Both candidates lied without effort or shame, slinging insults and prepared one-liners against each other while posturing as advocates of working people.
  • Related: There’s No Debate

Patrick Martin, World Socialist Web Site

27 September 2016 | The first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was a political and cultural abomination. It demonstrated, in both style and substance, the thoroughgoing decay of American capitalist society over many decades.

It says a great deal about the US political system that, out of 330 million people in America, the choice for president has been narrowed down to these two individuals, both members of the financial aristocracy—they last met face-to-face when the Clintons attended Trump’s third wedding in 2005—and both deeply and deservedly hated by a large majority of the population.

The World Socialist Website <https://www.wsws.org> (WSWS), published by the International Committee of the Fourth International, is the authoritative voice of international socialism.

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Related:

There’s No Debate, Bill Moyers & Michael Winship, Moyers & Company

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Something’s got to give. We can’t go on like this. We can no longer leave the electoral process to the two parties or the media conglomerates with whom they’re in cahoots. The stakes are too high.

 

When schools become dead zones of the imagination

  • Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • A critical pedagogy manifesto
  • Related: Today’s Students and Professors ‘Know Hardly Anything about Anything at All’
  • How Billionaires Are Successfully Fooling Us Into Destroying Public Education—and Why Privatization Is a Terrible Idea

Henry A. Giroux, Philosophers for Change

https://philoforchange.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/ed6.jpg?w=720  If the right-wing billionaires and apostles of corporate power have their way, public schools will become “dead zones of the imagination,” reduced to anti-public spaces that wage an assault on critical thinking, civic literacy and historical memory.[1] Since the 1980s, schools have increasingly become testing hubs that de-skill teachers and disempower students. They have also been refigured as punishment centers where low-income and poor minority youth are harshly disciplined under zero tolerance policies in ways that often result in their being arrested and charged with crimes that, on the surface, are as trivial as the punishment is harsh. [2] Under casino capitalism’s push to privatize education, public schools have been closed in cities such as, Philadelphia, Chicago and New York to make way for charter schools. Teacher unions have been attacked, public employees denigrated and teachers reduced to technicians working under deplorable and mind-numbing conditions. [3]

Corporate school reform is not simply obsessed with measurements that degrade any viable understanding of the connection between schooling and educating critically engaged citizens. The reform movement is also determined to underfund and disinvest resources for public schooling so that public education can be completely divorced from any democratic notion of governance, teaching and learning. In the eyes of billionaire un-reformers and titans of finance such as Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, the Walton family and Michael Bloomberg, public schools should be transformed, when not privatized, into adjuncts of shopping centers and prisons. [4]

Henry A. Giroux holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department. His most recent books include: On Critical Pedagogy, Twilight of the Social, and Youth in Revolt. 

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Prof: Today’s Students and Professors ‘Know Hardly Anything about Anything at All’, Daniel Lattier, Intellectual Takeout

  •  http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/ito/files/blank_stare.jpgEsolen’s above lament is supported not only by similar laments from his fellow professors, but also by statistics that show only a minority of American students are proficient in reading and writing, and by the fact that billions of dollars each year are spent on remedial courses in college.  
  • Do you think that things can be turned around in the near future? Or are we destined to slip further into an educational dark age?
  • Related: School climate: Students are stuck in a dysfunctional system

 

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How Billionaires Are Successfully Fooling Us Into Destroying Public Education—and Why Privatization Is a Terrible Idea, Diane Ravitch, Basic Books / AlterNet

  • The billionaire-backed privatization movement is stealthily advancing an undemocratic agenda, cloaked in deceptive rhetoric, that the public is not aware of and does not understand.
  • Related: When schools become dead zones of the imagination, Henry A. Giroux, Philosophers for Change

 

Clinton And Trump, Call Your Office: America’s Bipartisan Policy Of Perpetual War Has Failed To Deliver Peace

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  • This approach (Perpetual War) is based on the belief that Washington is capable of solving every international problem. If only unnamed bright people implemented theoretically brilliant strategies backed by unidentified resolute citizens, terrorism would be suppressed, ISIS would be defeated, Russia would be compliant, Iraq would be successful, Syria would be peaceful, Libya would be united, and China would be respectful.
  • Related: You Must Be Kidding!

Doug Bandow, Huffington Post

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Calman Lugo via Getty Images 

09/24/2016 | The last three administrations have followed a bipartisan policy of constant war. Unfortunately, the consequences have been ugly: every intervention has laid the groundwork for more conflict.

Yet the architects of this failure claim that all would be well if only Washington had acted more often and more decisively. In their view, the problem is not that America goes to war, but that it doesn’t go to war nearly enough.

Doug Bandow: Contributing writer, policy analyst, Huffington Post

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You Must Be Kidding! Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch


  • War, Peace, and Absurdity
  • Adventures in an American World of Frustration
  • Related: Why the US Can’t Break Its Addiction to War 

Series | 2016 General Election Guide, Part 2: At Some Point, Progressives Need to Break Up With the Democratic Party

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  • If you're a leftie, the Democratic establishment doesn't care about your opinion. They certainly don't want your input. What they want is your vote -- in exchange for exactly nothing in return. They're political parasites, draining the enthusiasm and idealism of progressives, simultaneously neutering and exploiting mainline libs.
  • The Left Has Lost It’s Nerve and Direction

Ted Rall, AlterNet

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Evergreene Digest Editor's Note: To help our readers vote responsibly we are re-publishing as a stand-alone series those articles we think will help. These articles will appear frequently between now and the November 8 election. Watch for them in the Government & Politics section (and simultaneously in other sections) under the searchable title "2016 General Election Guide".

September 24, 2014 | At a certain point, if you have any relationship with dignity, you're supposed to get sick of being used and abused. Speaking of which: liberal Democrats.

Democratic politicians act like right-wingers. Liberals vote for them anyway.

The Democratic Party espouses right-wing policies. Self-described progressives give them cash.

Ted Rall is a syndicated cartoonist and freelance writer based in New York City. 

Full story …


 

Previously in the 2016 General Election Guide:

Part 1: Chris Hedges: The Left Has Lost It's Nerve and Direction

 

The Arrogance of Ignorance

 

  • The year is 2016 and we are at war with everything, including ourselves; have we really "advanced" as a "civilization" or "society"? How can we when as a whole we are neither civil nor social.
  • Related: It’s Time to Stand Up for Truth and Intelligence

Sylvain Lamoureux, OpEdNews

 

https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4008/4423341034_efb3a11edf.jpgestupid ego (image by !unite)   License   DMCA

7/18/2016 | How does a control mechanism based upon the minority population enact controls over the majority - fill them with fears insecurities and an inflated sense of importance while pitting them against each other and offering the only viable solutions. This brings everything down to the personal level, so that any conversation (or attempt thereof) is immediately considered as a threat, no matter how logical it may be. There are always the basic projections such as "you just want to be right" or "you just want everyone to think like you" - always an external enemy instead of actually listening to the words and logic which is attempted to be conveyed. Divide and conquer at its basis, for this conversation is about people of same backgrounds and similar experiences which turn on each other at the drop of a hat over simple words, misunderstandings and fear of having their ignorance called out.

I have always said that a good start to healing the myriad of problems in this world is to understand and enact true communication (ironic for the "communication age"); for this is a skill which has been (in my opinion) deliberately programmed out of us. Instead we are left with a reactionary base which throws around the "how I feel" meme about certain words to the point where if the word itself is not all that important, I will try to invoke "It's the way you said it" justification: to kill the messenger instead of hearing the actual message is actually the "norm" today.

Sylvain Lamoureu: I am human. My definition of intelligence would be the ability to see beyond the norm, learn, experience as much as is possible in one life time and question everything. I like to think that I am a logical guy that is mainly self educated with interests in such things as philosophy, politics, sociology, technology and psychology.

 

Related:

It’s Time to Stand Up for Truth and Intelligence, John W. Traphagan, Huffington Post

  • http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Bullshit%20%28VU%29%20Meter.jpgIt’s a sad reality that the U.S. has arrived at this point, but we are here and it is time for those who support truth, facts, and intelligence — whether they are conservatives or liberals — to work hard to protect American democracy. The November election is nothing less than a vote on the future of that democratic system.
  • Related: What Happens When Facts Don't Matter Anymore
  • Related: How American Politics Went Insane

Are we witnessing the birth of a Revolution?

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[Image Credit: Eugène Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People]

An historian explains the key markings of revolution. It’s a description worth reading. 

Jon MiltimoreIntellectual Takeout

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08/02/2016 | The Modern Era was born with a revolution. So begins Jacques Barzun’s seminal history, From Dawn to Decadence.  

Martin Luther might not have intended to ignite a revolution when he pounded his 95 theses into the door of Wittenberg’s All Saints’ Church on Oct. 31, 1517. (This practice was not uncommon in Luther’s day; it was a device used by clergy to start debates.) But that is what he got. The Protestant Reformation upended the moral, social, religious, and political order of the day. Each of the major “revolutions” in the West that transpired in the wake of Luther’s revolution—England’s (1688), America’s (1776), France’s (1789), and all those until Russia’s in 1917—were mere aftershocks of the quake, Barzun argued. 

Jon Miltimore is the Senior Editor of Intellectual Takeout.

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A Post-Factual Democracy?

 

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  • Bill Adair, creator of Politifact and Knight Professor of Journalism at Duke University, talks about whether (or not) truth is still informing public discourse.
  • Related: What Happens When Facts Don't Matter Anymore

Alexander Heffner, The Open Mind

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Tearing%20up%2C%20Crumpling%20Facts.jpgSeptember 17, 2016 | I’m Alexander Heffner, your host on The Open Mind. What is proven in jeopardy during this 2016 campaign is the truth, or at least whatever objective truth is still in the eye of the beholder. As we reside increasingly in a post-factual and contextual democracy, to help us understand if and how we are desensitized to fact and to faction is PolitiFact creator and contributing editor Bill Adair, now Knight Professor of Journalism at Duke University, where he is Director of the Dewitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy. Adair is also the cofounder of the International Fact-Checking Network, the world’s largest association of fact-checkers. The ubiquitous lies saturating our politics today are such a pervasive plague on our discourse that checking misleading or false statements apparently isn’t enough. Adair has since created Share the Facts to combat the vast majority of false utterances among our public officials. Because it would appear that they and their motives are not always harboring the truth, nothing but the truth, so help them, God, and help us. Uh, Bill, it’s a pleasure to have you here. It’s been clear this cycle that our politics are tactless, lacking tact. Are they also factless?

ADAIR: Well it’s funny, we, we actually hear this every election, so this idea of the post-fact society isn’t a new phrase. Um, uh, my colleague Alexios Mantzarlis at Poynter, at the International Fact-Checking Network, he has um, looked back and found that phrase from 2004, from 2008, 2012, um, as well as back in the 80s academics were using that phrase, so the concept that candidates are um, ignoring the facts is not a new one. I think what’s, what’s new this time is fact-checking. We know more than ever when the politicians are saying something false because there’s been huge growth in fact-checking. And that is a wonderful thing. Um, and I think also we have a candidate in Donald Trump who has an extraordinary record for falsehoods, I mean far greater than anything we’ve seen before at PolitiFact and so I think we have a tendency to sort of focus on that, but remember this phenomenon, um, of politicians ignoring facts is, is really not a new one.

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What Happens When Facts Don't Matter Anymore, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

  • What happens to us if facts don’t matter anymore?
  • Facts. Who needs ‘em, right?
  • Part 1: Make Facts Great Again
  • Part 2: Trump Surrogate Dismisses Fact-Checking As ‘Elitist’ And ‘Out Of Touch’

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