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Dave Meslin- The antidote to apathy

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Local politics — schools, zoning, council elections — hit us where we live. So why don't more of us actually get involved? Is it apathy? Dave Meslin says no. He identifies 7 barriers that keep us from taking part in our communities, even when we truly care.

Dave Meslin, TED 

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

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http://cdn.e2ma.net/userdata/29568/images/e1351556437.jpg October, 2010 | How often do we hear that people just don't care? How many times have you been told that real, substantial change isn't possible because most people are too selfish, too stupid or too lazy to try to make a difference in their community? I propose to you today that apathy as we think we know it doesn't actually exist; but rather, that people do care, but that we live in a world that actively discourages engagement by constantly putting obstacles and barriers in our way.

I'll give you some examples of what I mean. Let's start with city hall. You ever see one of these before? This is a newspaper ad. It's a notice of a zoning application change for a new office building so the neighborhood knows what's happening. As you can see, it's impossible to read. You need to get halfway down to even find out which address they're talking about, and then further down, in tiny 10-point font, to find out how to actually get involved. Imagine if the private sector advertised in the same way -- if Nike wanted to sell a pair of shoes --

Artist and organizer, Dave Meslin, is a "professional rabble-rouser." Based in Toronto, he works to make local issues engaging and even fun to get involved in.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

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Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.: The Three Evils of Society: Racism, Militarism and Capitalism

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“What they truly advocate is Socialism for the rich and Capitalism for the poor.” — Martin Luther King, Jr., Address Delivered at the National Conference on New Politics, August 31, 1967

 

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January 16, 2017 | Mr. Chairman, friends and brothers in this first gathering of the National Conference on New Politics. Ladiesand gentlemen. . .can you hear me in the back? (No.) I don’t know if the Klan is in here tonight or not with all the troubles we’re having with these microphones. Seldom if ever … has … we’re still working with it.

As I was about to say, seldom if ever has such a diverse and truly ecumenical gathering convened under the egis of politics in our nation, and I want to commend the leadership of the National Conference on NewPolitics for all of the great work that they have done in making this significant convention possible. Indeed byour very nature we affirm that something new is taking place on the American political horizon. We have comehere from the dusty plantations of the Deep South and the depressing ghettos of the North. We have come fromthe great universities and the flourishing suburbs. We have come from Appalachian poverty and from consciousstricken wealth. But we have come. And we have come here because we share a common concern for the moralhealth of our nation. We have come because our eyes have seen through the superficial glory and glitter of our society and observed the coming of judgment. Like the prophet of old, we have read the handwriting on thewall. We have seen our nation weighed in the balance of history and found wanting. We have come because wesee this as a dark hour in the affairs of men

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The President America Deserves

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  • Like George Carlin said: “They call it the American dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.” Our vacuous and vicarious cult of five-minute fame, popup clickbait ads, and rehab has finally reached its hideous, waking apogee in the election of a vacationing reality star.
  • Related: Chris Hedges | We Are All Deplorables
  • Related: Chris Hedges | The Mafia State

Abel Cohen, Counterpunch

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   http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Classical%20Statue%20Head%20in%20Hand_0.jpgJanuary 9, 2017 | We finally got the president we deserve. A piece of trash truly representative of our trash culture. Land of the free at all costs and everyone else’s expense. And home of the fattest, meanest, most gleefully ignorant and ill-informed first world people on the planet.

 

Shooting each other all the time. Filling our days with nonstop sports and celebrities. And flooding global airwaves with poisonous, nauseating filth: the action hero, pornstar, and first person shooter.

Like George Carlin said: “They call it the American dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.” Our vacuous and vicarious cult of five-minute fame, popup clickbait ads, and rehab has finally reached its hideous, waking apogee in the election of a vacationing reality star.

Abel Cohen lives in the former Soviet space, observing and reporting on democracy and nationalism. He speaks Russian and feels guilty about not knowing Ukrainian.

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We Are All Deplorables, Chris Hedges, Truthdig

http://www.truthdig.com/images/eartothegrounduploads/This_Party_Enables_Fascists_590.jpg Mr. Fish

  • Liberals have no moral authority to preach to a dispossessed white working class about racism, multiculturalism, identity politics or diversity. The abject failure by liberals to fight for economic justice triggered the protofascist backlash embodied by Donald Trump’s election victory.
  • Related: Dan Rather Just Released Heartbreaking Statement Against Trump 

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The Mafia State, Chris HedgesTruthdig / OpEdNews

http://www.opednews.com/populum/uploadnic/--jpg_28678_20161205-371.jpg  (image by Mr Fish)  

What comes next, history has shown, will not be pleasant. A cruel and morally bankrupt elite, backed by the organs of state security and law enforcement, will, as the Eupatridae did in sixth-century-B.C. Athens, bankrupt the citizenry through state-sponsored theft, war, austerity and debt peonage. They are barbarians. We will remove them from power or enter a new dark age.

Related: The CIA’s Cult of Death

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The Scandal and Shame of the 2016 Election

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  • Part 1: The Massive Election-Rigging Scandal the Media Ignored
  • Republicans denied 7 million their right to vote, and no one seems to care.
  • Part 2: There’s No Way ‘Back’ To Civility After This Election
  • We never had it to begin with.

Compiled by David Culve, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: The Massive Election-Rigging Scandal the Media Ignored

Republicans denied 7 million their right to vote, and no one seems to care.

Thom Hartmann, Richard Greene, AlterNet

January 6, 2017 | The election of 2016 may well have been stolen—or to use Donald Trump's oft-repeated phrase—"rigged," and nobody in the media seems willing to discuss it.

The rigging was a pretty simple process, in fact: in 27 Republican-controlled states (including critical swing states) hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of people showed up to vote, but were mysteriously blocked from voting for allegedly being registered with the intent to vote in multiple states.

Thom Hartmann is an author and nationally syndicated daily talk show host. His newest book is "The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America — and What We Can Do to Stop It."

Richard Greene is the author of "Words that Shook the World: 100 Years of Unforgettable Speeches and Events."

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Part 2: There’s No Way ‘Back’ To Civility After This Election

We never had it to begin with.

Mirah Curzer, Huffington Post

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01/04/2017 | I’ve seen a lot of hand-wringing about the incivility of the 2016 presidential election. And yes, it was the ugliest election in living memory. Donald Trump has bragged about assaulting women, called for his opponent’s assassination, and slandered immigrants of all origins as terrorists and rapists.

Trump ran on an “anti-PC” platform, a platform that not only excuses but encourages open expressions of sexism and racism.

Mirah Curzer: Lawyer. Feminist. Photographer. Slurper of noodles and drinker of scotch.

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The Mafia State

  • What comes next, history has shown, will not be pleasant. A cruel and morally bankrupt elite, backed by the organs of state security and law enforcement, will, as the Eupatridae did in sixth-century-B.C. Athens, bankrupt the citizenry through state-sponsored theft, war, austerity and debt peonage. They are barbarians. We will remove them from power or enter a new dark age.
  • Related: The CIA’s Cult of Death

Chris HedgesTruthdig / OpEdNews

http://www.opednews.com/populum/uploadnic/--jpg_28678_20161205-371.jpg (image by Mr Fish)  

12/5/2016| Systems of governance that are seized by a tiny cabal become mafia states. The early years -- Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton in the United States -- are marked by promises that the pillage will benefit everyone. The later years -- George W. Bush and Barack Obama -- are marked by declarations that things are getting better even though they are getting worse. The final years -- Donald Trump -- see the lunatic trolls, hedge fund parasites, con artists, conspiracy theorists and criminals drop all pretense and carry out an orgy of looting and corruption.

The rich never have enough. The more they get, the more they want. It is a disease. CEOs demand and receive pay that is 200 times what their workers earn. And even when corporate executives commit massive fraud, such as the billing of hundreds of thousands of Wells Fargo customers for accounts they never opened, they elude punishment and personally profit. Disgraced CEO John Stumpf left Wells Fargo with a pay package that averages nearly $15 million a year. Richard Fuld received nearly half a billion dollars from 1993 to 2007, a time in which he was bankrupting Lehman Brothers.

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society. 

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The CIA’s Cult of Death, Kim Petersen, Dissident Voice

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  • Review of Douglas Valentine’s The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World
  • Related: 2016: How Truth Was Destroyed So You’d Buy The Government’s Propaganda

 

Special Project | The War on Women: Is Donald Trump’s Cabinet Anti-Woman?

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Consider their positions on these issues.

Susan Chira, New York (NY) Times / National Partnership for Women

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Stop%20the%20War%20on%20Women%20graphic.jpgDec. 7, 2016 | Donald J. Trump’s campaign was dogged by accusations of misogyny. Now his cabinet is shaping up to be one of the most hostile in recent memory to issues affecting women, advocacy groups for women say. Tax credits for child care and the prospect of paid maternity leave are exceptions to a host of positions that could result in new restrictions on abortion and less access to contraception, limits on health care that disproportionately affect women and minorities and curbs on funding for domestic violence, as well as slowing the momentum toward raising the minimum wage or making progress on equal pay.

Consider their positions on these issues.

Susan Chira is a senior correspondent and editor on gender issues for the New York Times.

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Barack Obama’s Neoliberal Legacy: How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul

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  • Part 1: Part 1: Barack Obama’s Neoliberal Legacy- Rightward Drift and Donald Trump
  • ‘Inauthentic Hope’
  • Part 2: How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul
  • In the 1970s, a new wave of post-Watergate liberals stopped fighting monopoly power. The result is an increasingly dangerous political system.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest <http://evergreenedigest.org>

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Part 1: Barack Obama’s Neoliberal Legacy- Rightward Drift and Donald Trump

‘Inauthentic Hope’

Paul Street, Truthdig

http://thebrokenelbow.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/obama.jpg?w=500&h=330Jan 3, 2017 | In a parting shot near the end of his depressing, center-right presidency, Barack Obama wants the world to know that he would have defeated Donald Trump if the U.S. Constitution didn’t prevent him from running for a third term. It was a stab at Hillary Clinton as well as the president-elect.

I suspect Obama is right. Like Bill Clinton, Obama is a much better fake-progressive, populism-manipulating campaigner than Hillary. Also like Bill, he has more outward charm, wit, charisma, and common touch than Mrs. Clinton. Plus, he’s a male in a still-sexist nation, and he would have had some very sharp election strategists on his side.

Truthdig Contributor Paul Street is the author of numerous books, including “Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis” (2007), “The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power” (2010), and “They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy” (2014), and a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Z Magazine/ZNet, Black Agenda Report and teleSUR English. 

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Part 2: How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul

In the 1970s, a new wave of post-Watergate liberals stopped fighting monopoly power. The result is an increasingly dangerous political system.

Matt Stoller, the Atlantic

https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/2016/10/19/Atlantic_Hippies_Final2_revised/1920.jpg?1476902655Oct 24, 2016 | It was January 1975, and the Watergate Babies had arrived in Washington looking for blood. The Watergate Babies—as the recently elected Democratic congressmen were known—were young, idealistic liberals who had been swept into office on a promise to clean up government, end the war in Vietnam, and rid the nation’s capital of the kind of corruption and dirty politics the Nixon White House had wrought. Richard Nixon himself had resigned just a few months earlier in August. But the Watergate Babies didn’t just campaign against Nixon; they took on the Democratic establishment, too. Newly elected Representative George Miller of California, then just 29 years old, announced, “We came here to take the Bastille.”

 

One of their first targets was an old man from Texarkana: a former cotton tenant farmer named Wright Patman who had served in Congress since 1929. He was also the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Banking and Currency and had been for more than a decade. Antiwar liberal reformers realized that the key to power in Congress was through the committee system; being the chairman of a powerful committee meant having control over the flow of legislation. The problem was: Chairmen were selected based on their length of service. So liberal reformers already in office, buttressed by the Watergate Babies’ votes, demanded that the committee chairmen be picked by a full Democratic-caucus vote instead.

Matt Stoller is a budget analyst on the Senate Budget Committee.

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