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The Common Sense of Socialism

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New Democratic Party leader Tommy Douglas at a political rally in June 1968. The Canadian Press

  • What can the Canadian experience teach us about building a mass working-class party in the US?
  • Related: Neoliberalism Is Killing Us: Economic Stress as a Driver of Global Depression and Suicide

Kurt Hackbarth & Colin Mooers, Jacobin

On November 8, the decrepitude of the Democratic Party was on full display. As election returns poured in, it became clear that Donald Trump — buffoon, xenophobe, historically unpopular presidential aspirant — would somehow best the party’s dynastic candidate, Hillary Clinton. Establishment liberalism had utterly failed to thwart resurgent right-wing populism.

In the months since, Democratic elites have largely doubled down on their discredited politics. They’ve formed an often feckless opposition to Trump, while simultaneously fending off challenges from the party’s left and attempting to placate a restive base. For many people, it’s been enough to get them thinking about a wholesale break with the party.

Kurt Hackbarth is a writer, playwright, and freelance journalist. Colin Mooers is a professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University.

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Neoliberalism Is Killing Us: Economic Stress as a Driver of Global Depression and Suicide, Noelle Sullivan, Truthout 

It's time we addressed the economic drivers behind the global spikes in depression and suicide. 

 

 

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Fake News Isn’t New, It’s Americans’ Inability To Read Critically That’s Alarming

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Thomas Faull via Getty Images 

  • A healthy skepticism is always in order.
  • Related: Norman Solomon on Trump and the Press

Frank Connolly, Huffington Post

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Dave & the Crew



 

03/30/2017 | If you’re like a lot of folks, you’ve probably had quite enough of the ongoing media kerfuffle over “fake news.” What started out as an interesting discussion about politics, journalistic ethics, and the truth, has degenerated into a hyper-partisan food fight.

First, President Trump commandeered the term, using it to disparage news outlets he doesn’t like; then commentators and academics on the left responded by branding conservative websites they don’t like as “fake news,” too. By now, the meaning of fake news is largely a matter of partisan opinion – which means the term really has no meaning at all.

Frank Connolly, Contributor, Huffington Post; Senior Editor, MindEdge Learning

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Full story … 

Related:

Norman Solomon on Trump and the Press, FAIR 

@PresidentSupervillain

  • Donald Trump says the press corps are the “enemy of the people.” The press corps, in turn, say Donald Trump is “presidential.” Where the people find themselves in this dance is unclear. We’ll talk about what media really looking out for the public interest might look like with author and FAIR associate Norman Solomon, national coordinator of RootsAction.org and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.
  • Related: 'Soul-Sucking, Attention-Eating Black Hole': Why we need to look beyond Trump

Full story ... 
 

Our greatest peril? Screening ourselves off from reality

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The YouTube vlogger PewDiePie, who paid two Indian men to hold up a sign reading “DEATH TO ALL JEWS”. Photograph: Adithya Sambamurthy/The Guardian for the Guardian

  • Immersed in life online like the followers of 4chan or PewDiePie, we start to imagine that nothing matters – even racism, misogyny and resurgent fascism.
  • Related: Chris Hedges | A Nation of the Walking Dead

George Monbiot, the Guardian

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Tuesday 28 February 2017 | Everything is possible. Nothing is possible. Nothing hurts any more, until the consequences crash through the screen. Immersed almost permanently in virtual worlds, we cannot check what we are told against tangible reality. Is it any wonder that we live in a post-truth era, when we are bereft of experience?

It is no longer rare to meet adults who have never swum except in a swimming pool, never slept except in a building, never run a mile or climbed a mountain, never been stung by a bee or a wasp, never broken a bone or needed stitches. Without a visceral knowledge of what it is to be hurt and healed, exhausted and resolute, freezing and ecstatic, we lose our reference points. We are separated from the world by a layer of glass. Climate change, distant wars, the erosion of democracy, resurgent fascism – in our temperature-controlled enclosures, all can be reduced to abstractions.

George Monbiot is an English writer, known for his environmental and political activism. He is the author of the bestselling books The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order and Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain.

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https://i2.wp.com/www.truthdig.com/images/eartothegrounduploads/Walking_Dead_590.jpg Mr. Fish / Truthdig

Chris Hedges | A Nation of the Walking DeadChris Hedges,  Truthdig  / Rise Up Times

  • This is more about mood modulation. Affect modulation. Using technologies to dampen anxieties and exit the world. We don’t just see it in Las Vegas. We see it in the subways every morning. The rise of all of these screen-based technologies and the little games that we’ve all become so absorbed in. What gamblers articulate is a desire to really lose a sense of self.
  • Related: We Are All Deplorables

Noam Chomsky: Democracy Is Staged With the Help of Media Working as Propaganda Machines (Video)

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Related: Corporate Media Counting Cadence to Fascism

 

Natasha Hakimi Zapata, Truthdig

 

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Mar 22, 2017 | In an illustrated clip for Al-Jazeera English, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman explains renowned linguist Noam Chomsky’s theory on the five filters of the mass media machine that manufacture Americans’ consent.

 

Natasha Hakimi Zapata: Truthdig’s assistant and poetry editor. 

 

Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator and activist. He is perhaps best known as a critic of all forms of social control and a relentless advocate for community-centered approaches to democracy and freedom. Over the last several decades, Chomsky has championed a wide range of dissident actions, organizations and social movements.

 

Amy Goodman is an American award-winning broadcast journalist, syndicated columnist, investigative reporter and author. Goodman's investigative journalism career includes coverage of the East Timor independence movement and Chevron Corporation's role in Nigeria.

Full story (video) … 

 

Related:

Corporate Media Counting Cadence to Fascism, Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

  • https://blackagendareport.com/sites/default/files/styles/image-400x300/public/Glen_Spying.jpeg?itok=oj8HD4cgThe ruling class/War Party/corporate media campaign for regime change in Washington has moments of pure silliness, with grown men claiming that U.S. presidents don’t have the power to wiretap people. Someone should have informed Dr. Martin Luther King. But, if self-described “progressives” can believe that the CIA is a benign, democratic institution, they can believe anything. “The destabilization of the U.S. bourgeois state is a project, not of the Kremlin, but of multinational and finance capital headquartered in the U.S.”
  • Related: Mainstream Media’s ‘Victimhood’, Robert Parry, Consortium News

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Welcome to Donald Trump's Ignorant America

Arts and humanities get at the truth of things – so naturally Trump's administration plans to defund them.

Jesse Berney, Rolling Stone

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193093_600.jpghttp://media.cagle.com/226/2017/03/19/193093_600.jpg January 20, 2017 | The day before Donald Trump's inauguration as president of the United States – an actual event taking place in the universe we live in – news broke that his administration plans to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. And I wanted to scream.

 

This is Donald Trump's America: one where things like art and books and science and learning and thoughtful consideration of complicated problems are deemed worthless and tossed aside. This can't be surprising after the Trump we saw on the campaign trail, the man who never answered a question with a hint of intelligence or depth. In an interview this week, he couldn't name a single book he's reading. (Evergreene Digest Editor's Note: It has been widely reported his has a copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf on his nightstand.) He's appointed a secretary of education who wants to destroy public schools. He reportedly offered a notorious anti-vaccination activist a position leading a commission investigating vaccines. He called global warming a Chinese hoax.

Jesse Berney, Contributor, Rolling Stone

Full story … 

The Management of Unleashed Insanity

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President Richard Nixon during a campaign rally at Madison Square Garden in New York, Oct. 31, 1968. (Photo by David Fenton/Getty Images)

  • Trump’s gamble is that the ardor of the true believers can be weaponized into an assault on the doubters, knocking them back on their heels, shaking their faith in their own judgments…
  • The present situation, a regime that systematically assaults truth, is unprecedented.
  • Trump perfects the role of Propagandist-in-Chief.
  • Related: Most People Today Want to be Propagandized

Todd Gitlin, Moyers & Company

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Politics-%20Truth%20vs.%20Propaganda.jpg March 16, 2017 | Richard Nixon lied about wars and cover-ups, but otherwise his evasions and spins were in the mainstream of American political discourse. He was not in the regular practice of calling black white. By the end of his second term, Ronald Reagan was so mentally impaired as to make it unclear what he knew and when.

But the present situation, a regime that systematically assaults truth, is unprecedented.

Trump’s gamble is that the ardor of the true believers can be weaponized into an assault on the doubters, knocking them back on their heels, shaking their faith in their own judgments…

Todd Gitlin is a professor of journalism and sociology and chair of the Ph.D. program in communications at Columbia University. He is the author of 16 books, including several on journalism and politics. 

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Most People Today Want to be Propagandized, Daniel Lattier, Intellectual Takeout

  • http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/ito/files/propaganda_0.jpgIntellectually insecure and socially uprooted, many people are now desperate for some authority to cling to, someone who will give simple expression to the inklings of thoughts and instincts to which they can neither give adequate voice nor adequately live out. 
  • "We would rather be ruined than changed. We would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the moment and let our illusions die." --WH Auden, English Poet 
  • Related: Will Americans Submit to Despotism in an Urge to 'Escape from Freedom'? 

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An Oscar for a Propaganda Flick

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Hollywood activists prefer their human rights causes blessed by the U.S. government, which contributed to the dubious Oscar for “The White Helmets” propaganda flick, writes Patrick Hennigsen at 21st Century Wire.

Patrick Hennigsen, Consortium News

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In earnest,

Dave & the Crew


https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/1-White-Helmets-Oscar-al-Qaeda-Terrorist-.jpgMarch 3, 2017 | In your average lifetime, everyone will get to see his or her share of war propaganda films. In America, it’s a kind of sacred tradition, where Hollywood does the job of revisionism, paving over an otherwise uncomfortable history with a new coat of stain. It’s necessary – not just to make us feel better about ourselves, but also to cover-up any inconvenient truths and high crimes of the state.

To be honest, when I first heard about “The White Helmets” film being promoted by Netflix, I wasn’t surprised at all because ever since the Syria conflict began in 2011, the establishment media has gone out of its way to falsely promote it as a “civil war” and have used the NGO known as the White Helmets, which calls itself the “Syria Civil Defense,” as its primary media protagonist in furthering that narrative.

Patrick Hennigsen is the founder and managing editor of the independent news and media analysis website 21st Century Wire.com and host of the weekly SUNDAY WIRE radio show which broadcasts live weekly on the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR).

Full story … 

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New Study Found No Link Between Immigration and Increased Crime in Forty Years of Data

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  • Politicians often claim that there is a relationship between immigration patterns and increased crime. In a study done at the University at Buffalo however, no links were found between the two. According to the findings, immigration instead appears to be linked to reductions in some types of crimes instead.
  • Related: The Positive Effects of Sanctuary Policies on Crime and the Economy

Science News Journal

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/ae9d47833d6fb8dca3a9b8c101a4f9855147d7f8/792_108_2208_1325/master/2208.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=03f0d3fdd181abeefa8fbcdba47b39d0February 15, 2017 | Robert Adelman, an associate professor of sociology at UB and the paper’s lead author, says that the results are very clear and that the research shows stable and strong evidence that, on average, immigration and crime are not linked across U.S. metropolitan areas. The study found that immigration does not increase assaults and that serious crimes such as burglaries, larceny, robberies and murder are in fact lower in places where immigration levels are high.

Adelman feels strongly that facts are critical in the current political environment. The empirical evidence in not only this study, but other related research as well, shows little to no support for the view that more immigrants lead to increased crime.

Science News Journal: Latest Science News - covering cancer, technology, nanotechnology, space, health, environment and much more!

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The Positive Effects of Sanctuary Policies on Crime and the Economy, Tom K. Wong, Center for American Progress

  • The Data Are Clear: Sanctuary Counties See Lower Crime Rates and Stronger Economies
  • Related: Special Project | Trump's Sanctuary Cities Plan is Straight Out of Breitbart, Radical Right Playbook

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