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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/default/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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Related:

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

What Happens When Facts Don't Matter Anymore

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  • 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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Part 1: Make Facts Great Again

What happens to us if facts don’t matter anymore?

Daniel Gaynor, Huffington Post

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07/12/2016 | More than picking who to vote for, that’s the most important question of election season. Because, as the battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump intensifies, the election is no longer about who to vote for—but who to believe.

For something so simple, facts are the same thing they’ve always been: the objective, honest bits of information that help us make decisions. Facts underpin our choices every day. If you’re wondering whether to splurge on that milkshake with 450 calories, you’re using a fact to inform your purchase.

Daniel Gaynor, Writer

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Part 2: Trump Surrogate Dismisses Fact-Checking As ‘Elitist’ And ‘Out Of Touch’

Facts. Who needs ‘em, right?

Ryan Grenoble, Huffington Post

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Trump-H.%20Clinton%20Montage.jpg06/27/2016 | We’re not making this up. But even if we were, apparently CNN commentator Jeffrey Lord wouldn’t have a problem with it.

In a baffling segment Saturday, the Donald Trump supporter told CNN’s Brian Stelter he doesn’t think fact-checkers — as in, people who verify whether politicians are using actual facts or just making stuff up — have a place in today’s political campaigns.

Ryan Grenoble, Reporter, Huffington Post

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"A Uniquely American Tragedy": The Staggering Myths About Gun Control

  • The gun lobby’s disproportionate political power will never be overcome until these fallacies are destroyed.
  • A tortured mythology
  • http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Take%20Action%20Today%20button.jpgRelated: Urgent -- and Sustained -- Action on Gun Violence

 

Dennis A. Henigan, Salon / Reader Supported News

http://dingo.care2.com/pictures/causes/2964/2963532.large.jpg 03 July 16 | The issue of guns in America causes people in other parts of the developed world to look at our country and shake their heads. They just don’t get it. They don’t understand why so many Americans have such passion for their guns. They don’t understand why gun control is such a contentious issue. Most of all, they don’t understand how America can tolerate its chronic carnage of deaths and injuries from gunfire, particularly among our children and particularly after the horror of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012 in which 20 first graders and six adults lost their lives. American children ages five to fourteen are eighteen times more likely to die of a gun homicide and eleven times more likely to die of a gun suicide than children in twenty-two other high-income countries.

Across all those high-income nations, the United States accounts for more than 90 percent of the gun deaths of children under fifteen years of age. President George W. Bush, of all people, once noted that an American teenager is more likely to die from a gunshot than from all natural causes of death combined. God bless America.  Particularly her children.

Dennis A. Henigan is the Vice President for Law and Policy at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Founder of its Legal Action Project. For twenty years, he has been a leading advocate for stronger gun laws.

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Urgent -- and Sustained -- Action on Gun Violence, Amelia Kegan, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) 

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What will move Congress to act? Not more statistics. You.

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John Oliver eviscerates a major gun control opponent, Daily Show 

April 23, 2013 | In one of the best Daily Show bits in a while, John Oliver eviscerates a major gun control opponent with logic, precedent, facts, and reality.

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Logic and Illogic in Education

  • Logic: one of the great contributions to civilization, left to die on the vine.
  • It needs to be resurrected, in full flower.
  • Related: School climate: Students are stuck in a dysfunctional system

Jon Rappoport, Activist Post

http://www.activistpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/trivium-header-1024x622.jpg An updated version of the “Trivium,” the name given to the first three of the Seven Liberal Arts

June 7, 2016 | In two of my collections, The Matrix Revealed and Power Outside The Matrix, I include training in the art of logic and critical analysis.

The basic fact is: students in schools are rarely taught how to follow a line of reasoning from beginning to end. Nor do they practice analyzing half-formed, specious reasoning.

Who teaches young students, these days, how to distinguish between a polemic and a formal argument?

The author of three … collections, Jon Rappoport maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world.

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School climate: Students are stuck in a dysfunctional system, Earl Holdridge, Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune 

The way our schools are organized is at odds with learning and dispiriting for students. Naturally, some rebel. 

 

Brandon Weber | George Carlin "Euphemisms / www.facebook.com

Such a classic from George Carlin — especially as we watch candidates spew them ... "Euphemisms."

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

  • 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

Ray Williams, Psychology Today

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https://www.sott.net/image/s15/304985/medium/t6PCzNK.jpgSat, 07 Jun 2014 | There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It's the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility

Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason, says in an article in the Washington Post, "Dumbness, to paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has been steadily defined downward for several decades, by a combination of heretofore irresistible forces. These include the triumph of video culture over print culture; a disjunction between Americans' rising level of formal education and their shaky grasp of basic geography, science and history; and the fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism." 

Ray Williams is President of Ray Williams Associates, a firm based in Vancouver, providing executive coaching and professional speaking services. 

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Related:

Donald Trump Has Given the United States a Great Gift, Bill C. Davis, Common Dreams

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  • What he has drawn to the surface are various toxins isolated in a boil ready to burst.
  • Related: What Trump protesters can learn from the civil rights movement

 

Guide to Understanding Your Cable Bill

  • Why are loyal long-time cable customers the ones paying more?
  • Have you checked out your monthly bill lately?

Kate Cox, Consumerist.org

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Mike Steigerwald.

If you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

http://www.consumerreports.org/content/dam/cro/news_articles/Electronics/CR-Electronics-Inline-Understanding-Your-Cable-Bill-05-16.jpg May 19, 2016 | Over the last few months, our colleagues at Consumerist have reviewed cable and internet service bills for seven of the nation’s largest providers in an attempt to make sense of all those fees and charges. Here's what they learned from these bills covering cable, satellite, and fiber customers from Connecticut to California.

1. Everyone Is Nickel-and-diming Their Customers, Some More Than Others

The fees! The fees are everywhere!

As a rule of thumb, the collection of taxes, fees, and surcharges above the stated subscription price ranged from about 15% to 30% of any given customer’s total bill (including bills we looked at but didn’t publish).

Kate Cox, Reporting for Consumerist.org. Consumerist is an independent source of consumer news and information published by Consumer Media LLC, a not-for-profit subsidiary of Consumer Reports. Our mission is to help consumers understand, engage with, and discuss the systems and forces that influence the marketplace, so that we, as consumers, can all make better, more informed decisions.

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