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Our Two Party System is Dead

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Photo by Daniel Lobo | CC BY 2.0

  • The duopoly is dead; and the sooner this fact registers, the better off everyone who stands to gain from (small-d) democracy will be.
  • Related: The Management of Unleashed Insanity

Andrew Levine, CounterPunch

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March 17, 2017 | The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) famously proclaimed the death of God.  Following this far more momentous precedent, it would now be fair to proclaim the death of the debilitating, semi-established duopoly party system that disables progressive politics in the United States.

The analogies are many.

Andrew Levine is the author most recently of The American Ideology(Routledge) and Political Key Words (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What’s Wrong With the Opium of the People. He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

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The Management of Unleashed Insanity, Todd Gitlin, Moyers & Company

http://dy00k1db5oznd.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/GettyImages-72150234-1184x720.jpg President Richard Nixon during a campaign rally at Madison Square Garden in New York, Oct. 31, 1968. (Photo by David Fenton/Getty Images)

  • Trump perfects the role of Propagandist-in-Chief.
  • 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.
  • Related: Most People Today Want to be Propagandized

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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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March Madness and money: Should American universities spend so much serious cash on sports?

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(Credit: Getty/Al Bello) 

  • Most college athletic programs are a financial burden to their schools. As higher ed costs increase, why keep them?
  • Related: From the Archives | The Problem with Subsidizing Huge Stadiums for Billionaire Team Owners

David Masciotra, Salon

Saturday, Mar 18, 2017 | A brilliant philosophy professor at the University of St. Francis — a small, liberal arts Catholic college in the Midwest — digressed during a lecture on ethics I attended as an undergraduate to ask the rhetorical question, “What do we spend our money on here?”

The students, most of us partially responsible for the existence of the “money” in the professor’s inquiry, stared blank-eyed. For any sane young person, college budgets, for good reason, do not rank high on the priorities of concern compared with the location of the next and nearest party. The professor, with a detectable tone of disgust, answered himself: “Sports and buildings.”

David Masciotra is the author of "Mellencamp: American Troubadour" (University of Kentucky Press), and is currently at work on a collection of personal essays for Agate Publishing.

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From the Archives | The Problem with Subsidizing Huge Stadiums for Billionaire Team Owners, Week Ending March 28, 2015, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • The Twin Cities and the siren song of the positive economic impact of professional sports facilities.
  • The Problem with Subsidizing Huge Stadiums for Billionaire Team Owners
  • “Sports fans eat shit.” ― George Carlin, Brain Droppings
  • 8 New Items including:
    • Bill Moyers | Stadium Funding Deals Only Enrich the Plutocrats
    • The Problem with Subsidizing Huge Stadiums for Billionaire Team Owners
    • Minneapolis and the siren song of economic impact
    • Stop the stadium lease signings now!
    • Vikings stadium funding plan should be formally reviewed
    • Vikings Stadium: It’s a question of priorities
    • Special Project | The Business of Sport: Week Ending September 28, 2014
    • Triple Play: Sports, Politics & Greed

 

The Hardening of Society and the Rise of Cultures of Cruelty in Neo-Fascist America

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  • There is more at work here than getting rid of Trump, there is a need to eliminate a system in which democracy is equated with capitalism, a system driven almost exclusively by financial interests, and beholden to two political parties that are hard wired into neoliberal savagery.
  • Related:'Spectacular Betrayal' as Trump Hands Economy 'Back Over to Wall Street'

Henry Giroux, Greanville Post

March 17, 2017 | Dark Times are truly upon us. There will be an acceleration of acts of violence under the Trump administration and the conditions for eliminating this new stage of state violence will mean not only understanding the roots of neo-fascism in the United States, but also eliminating the economic, political, and cultural forces that produced it.

There is more at work here than getting rid of Trump, there is a need to eliminate a system in which democracy is equated with capitalism, a system driven almost exclusively by financial interests, and beholden to two political parties that are hard wired into neoliberal savagery.

What does the culture of cruelty look like under a neo-fascist regime?

Henry Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University. His most recent books are America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth (Monthly Review Press, 2013) and Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education (Haymarket Press, 2014). 

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'Spectacular Betrayal' as Trump Hands Economy 'Back Over to Wall Street' Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams

http://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/cd_large/public/headlines/wall-st-flag.jpeg?itok=_L_cvE3UExecutive orders seen as "a cave-in to the power of Wall Street and the financial lobby." (Photo: Dave Center/flickr/cc)

  • "Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs seems to be taking over financial regulation in the United States, trying to make it easier for them and other big banks like Wells Fargo to steal from their customers and destabilize the economy." —Lisa Donner, Americans for Financial Reform
  • 'The Wall Street bankers against whom Trump ran are making policy now,' says Public Citizen
  • Related: Not So Spineless: Paul Ryan Plans To Use Trump’s Chaos To Destroy Medicare, Medicaid And Social Security

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Section(s): 

Spiritual Practice in the Time of the Mad King

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  • Ultimately, we need to find an electoral expression to decontaminate the land and restore sanity. But for now at least, acting every day makes a mark in favor of sanity and pushes back against the lies that are spreading like a fungus.
  • Related: 101 Ways To Take Care of Yourself When the World Feels Overwhelming

Rodger Kamenetz, Tikkun

http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/199014709_572866b8c1_b.jpg February 28, 2017 | Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, an early 19th century Hasidic master, offered a parable about a king who foretold that the year’s harvest of rye would be contaminated with ergot, a fungus with effects similar to LSD. Whoever ate the rye would become mad. The prime minister said we must put aside enough grain so we won’t have to eat this year’s harvest.

But the king said, “But then we will be the only ones who will be sane. Everyone else will be mad. Therefore they will think that we are the mad ones. Therefore, we too must eat this year’s grain. But we will put a mark on our foreheads so at least we will know we are mad. I will look at your forehead you will look at mine, and when we see this sign, we will know we are both mad.” 

Rodger Kamenetz is the author of Burnt Books (Schocken 2010), a dual biography of Franz Kafka and Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav. His blog is www.thenaturaldream.com

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101 Ways To Take Care of Yourself When the World Feels Overwhelming, Annie Wright, Upworthy

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  • A therapist shares small ways to practice self-care.
  • Related: How Bonhoeffer Dealt with the Despair of World Chaos
  • Related: From a trained therapist | 11 small ways to feel less helpless this week

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"Morally Obscene" Trump Budget Proposal Stands to Make America Cruel Again

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President Donald Trump in Nashville on Wednesday. Analysts said his budget proposal would hurt those voters who helped get him elected. (Photo: AP) 

  • Environment, public education, worker protections, and cultural institutions all stand to lose under Trump's "cruel" budget blueprint.
  • Related: What It Really Means To ‘Defund’ Planned Parenthood

Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams

Thursday, March 16, 2017 | Meals on Wheels. Amtrak. Teacher training, after-school, and summer educational programs. The National Endowment for the Arts. The Appalachian Regional Commission. The National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

All these initiatives and agencies—plus many more—face cuts or wholesale elimination under President Donald Trump's proposed "skinny budget," officially unveiled Thursday. Meanwhile, the blueprint calls for increases in military spending, border and immigration enforcement, and money for charter and private schools. The Washington Post has a comprehensive breakdown, with graphics, here.

The document was variously denounced as "an all-out assault on our planet;" "dirty and dangerous;" "cruel;" and "unacceptable."

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer, Common Dreams

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http://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/scalefit_720_noupscale/58bd80e81500003716abd69b.pngJi Sub Jeong / Huffington Post

Related:

What It Really Means To ‘Defund’ Planned Parenthood, Laura Bassett, Huffington Post 

  • It’s just taking away people’s options.
  • Related: The Real Reason Republicans Keep Pushing Transgender Bathroom Bans

 

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