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Aaron McGruder | Ignorance and Bliss / /assets.amuniversal.com

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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’

Welcome to Your Delusional Democracy

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  • If you continue to believe that ordinary participation in elections will fix our nation, then you have not faced history and reality.  You remain delusional.
  • Related: Corrupt and Deranged

Joel S. Hirschhorn, Counterpunch

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/6/8938751_806de16417_z.jpg September 12, 2016 | For some years I have used the term “delusional democracy” to describe the condition of the US.  It seemed obvious to me that the vast majority of Americans have deliberately chosen to fool themselves.  They have been brainwashed to believe what no longer is true.  Become convinced that you do not live in a true and terrific democracy, or that your democracy is the best in the world.

I stopped believing this myth many years ago.  All the objective evidence I saw over fifty years of paying intense attention both as a citizen and someone who worked within the political system showed me that American democracy had steadily declined in quality, integrity and effectiveness.  And now in this 2016 presidential race you have powerful and painful evidence that we are saddled with a delusional democracy.  Thank Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for opening your mind and eyes to reveal this revolting truth.

Joel S. Hirschhorn is the author of Delusional Democracy - Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. His current political writings have been greatly influenced by working as a senior staffer for the U.S. Congress and for the National Governors Association. He advocates a Second American Revolution, beginning with an Article V Convention to propose constitutional amendments.

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Corrupt and Deranged, Robert Gore, Straight Line Logic

https://i0.wp.com/images.rapgenius.com/c5f2bdfb3edbfbb6e05c9e018b847196.716x400x1.jpgTruth can awaken minds and rouse people to action, posing an obvious threat to the corrupt and deranged. Should Trump win the election, he will assuredly be presented with the same choice as the child in the story: get with the program or die. Odds are he folds, in which case those of us rooting for meaningful change will be left with the hope that the inevitable collapse occurs before we die.

 

Corrupt and Deranged

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Truth can awaken minds and rouse people to action, posing an obvious threat to the corrupt and deranged. Should Trump win the election, he will assuredly be presented with the same choice as the child in the story: get with the program or die. Odds are he folds, in which case those of us rooting for meaningful change will be left with the hope that the inevitable collapse occurs before we die.

Robert Gore, Straight Line Logic 

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https://i0.wp.com/images.rapgenius.com/c5f2bdfb3edbfbb6e05c9e018b847196.716x400x1.jpg September 7, 2016 | Contemporary governance embodies corruption within deranged systems resting on foundations of theft and fraud. Corruption makes reform impossible; derangement assures eventual collapse.

“Defense” spending is a misnomer. The US could defend itself at a small fraction of what it spends on its military and intelligence. The US government’s foreign intervention and maintenance of a confederated empire are actually a welfare and transfer payment program. Spending has become the point: maximizing the payoff to military and intelligence contractors, their think tanks and lobbying arms, captured politicians, and the vast bureaucracies. Winning wars doesn’t serve the interests of those beneficiaries, lengthy and inconclusive engagements do.

Robert Gore's articles on Straight Line Logic have been featured in The Sangre de Cristo Sentinel, a Colorado newspaper. He is also a featured writer on The Savvy Street, an online magazine.

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Reframing the Minimum-Wage Debate

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Why “no job loss” is the wrong standard for setting the right wage floor.

David Howell, the American Prospect

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Money%20Pie.jpg September 5, 2016 | fter experiencing substantial wage gains during the shared-growth decades of the postwar era, American workers have increasingly confronted labor markets of precarious jobs that pay too little to provide a minimally decent standard of living. This reality has finally broken through politically in the movement for a $15 federal minimum wage. However, some prominent economists contend that a minimum wage high enough to provide a decent standard of living poses too high a risk of job loss.

But this fear is purely speculative; we have no reliable evidence that a $15 wage floor, phased in over four to six years, would cause declining employment opportunities for low-wage workers. Indeed, the wage threshold at which substantial employment effects are likely to occur may be considerably higher. What we do know is that a $15 wage would have big impacts on the living standards of millions of working families. The recent commitments of California and New York state to establish a $15 minimum are estimated to increase the income of more than one-third of the workers in each state. The effects on consumer demand, and consequently on other low-wage employment, will be enormous.

David Howell is a professor of economics and public policy at The New School (New York City)

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Hillary Clinton’s Turn to McCarthyism

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  • Hillary Clinton’s campaign is engaging in over-the-top Russia-bashing and guilt-by-association tying Donald Trump to the Kremlin, a McCarthyism that previously has been used on Democrats, including Bill Clinton.
  • Related: Series | Hillary Clinton, Imperialism and the Lesser of Two Evils – Part One

Robert Parry, Consortiumnews.com

https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/josephmccarthy.jpg Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisconsin, who led the "Red Scare" hearings of the 1950s. 

 

August 9, 2016 | The irony of Hillary Clinton’s campaign impugning the patriotism of Donald Trump and others who object to a new Cold War with Russia is that President George H.W. Bush employed similar smear tactics against Bill Clinton in 1992 by suggesting that the Arkansas governor was a Kremlin mole.

Back then, Bill Clinton countered that smear by accusing the elder President Bush of stooping to tactics reminiscent of Sen. Joe McCarthy, the infamous Red-baiter from the 1950s. But today’s Democrats apparently feel little shame in whipping up an anti-Russian hysteria and then using it to discredit Trump and other Americans who won’t join this latest “group think.”

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from barnesandnoble.com).

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Series | Hillary Clinton, Imperialism and the Lesser of Two Evils – Part One, Nina Illingworth, ninaillingworth.com

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It’s Time to Stand Up for Truth and Intelligence

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  • It’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

John W. Traphagan, Huffington Post

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07/24/2016 | In a time when the American news media focused on reporting facts, rather than entertaining the public, iconic broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite made a comment about American values and education that seems even more powerful today. Averred Cronkite, “”[w]hatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.”

Indeed, as “the most trusted man in America” well understood, nothing is more costly to a democratic society than ignorance. We are seeing this on a daily basis today in the U.S. Much of the violence Americans are seeing is a product of ignorance, as is much of the rhetoric accepted by supporters of the GOP.

John W. Traphagan: Professor of Religious Studies and Human Dimensions of Organizations, University of Texas, Austin

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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?
  • https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/2016/06/08/WEL_Rauch_Chaos_Opener_Web/1920.jpg?1465408949Part 1: Make Facts Great Again
  • Part 2: Trump Surrogate Dismisses Fact-Checking As ‘Elitist’ And ‘Out Of Touch’

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How American Politics Went Insane, Jonathan Rauch, The Atlantic

  • It happened gradually—and until the U.S. figures out how to treat the problem, it will only get worse.
  • Related: From the Archives | The cult of ignorance in the United States: Anti-intellectualism and the "dumbing down" of America

 

How American Politics Went Insane

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  • It happened gradually—and until the U.S. figures out how to treat the problem, it will only get worse.
  • Related: From the Archives | The cult of ignorance in the United States: Anti-intellectualism and the "dumbing down" of America

Jonathan Rauch, The Atlantic 

July / August, 2016 | It’s 2020, four years from now. The campaign is under way to succeed the president, who is retiring after a single wretched term. Voters are angrier than ever—at politicians, at compromisers, at the establishment. Congress and the White House seem incapable of working together on anything, even when their interests align. With lawmaking at a standstill, the president’s use of executive orders and regulatory discretion has reached a level that Congress views as dictatorial—not that Congress can do anything about it, except file lawsuits that the divided Supreme Court, its three vacancies unfilled, has been unable to resolve.

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Paul%20Combs%20%7C%20American%20Electorate-%20A%20Serious%20Thinker%3F%20copy.jpg On Capitol Hill, Speaker Paul Ryan resigned after proving unable to pass a budget, or much else. The House burned through two more speakers and one “acting” speaker, a job invented following four speakerless months. The Senate, meanwhile, is tied in knots by wannabe presidents and aspiring talk-show hosts, who use the chamber as a social-media platform to build their brands by obstructing—well, everything. The Defense Department is among hundreds of agencies that have not been reauthorized, the government has shut down three times, and, yes, it finally happened: The United States briefly defaulted on the national debt, precipitating a market collapse and an economic downturn. No one wanted that outcome, but no one was able to prevent it.

Jonathan Rauch is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and National Journal and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

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From the Archives | The cult of ignorance in the United States: Anti-intellectualism and the "dumbing down" of America, Ray Williams, Psychology Today

  • The current trend of increasing anti-intellectualism now establishing itself in politics and business leadership, and supported by a declining education system should be a cause for concern for leaders and the general population, one that needs to be addressed now.
  • Related: Donald Trump Has Given the United States a Great Gift

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