Monday, December 12, 2016


Localize-Organize-Reflect-Expose        Keeping The Spark Alive 

Here in the USA, we are faced with a question. How do we respond to the ongoing attacks on our humanity? After we go through the stages of grief for what appears to be a great election season setback (not day, season), what next?

There are dozens of progressive organizations doing good things, circulating petitions, reporting violations to our freedoms, marching and, most dependably, asking for donations. These top down efforts are not without merit. But my inbox is clogged and my spirits are not lifted by this relentless flow of progressive babble. So I turn my attention to Folk-LORE.


A response, for me, must be first and foremost a local response, for the crisis which is looming will encompass not just societal values but will also impact the very fabric of our economic system. So it is imperative to re-establish neighborly ties and reach out to forge new relationships communicating to all that we are inclusive, that we embrace all races and all religions and all parties. We will be good neighbors to the ‘other’ in the tough times to come. We will share from our garden and our hearts.

We can leverage our position from our local perch by making commercial choices. Tough choices that may go against our short term interests (cheap goods), but support our long term interests for affirming our humanity. We can also choose to speak out and proclaim our bias for humane production.


Next we can organize. We can band together locally, forming a single Cohort of likeminded critical thinkers who want to take a stand with us, their neighbors. By doing so we leverage our hope, reinforce our impact and lift our spirits. Our goal here is not to commiserate but rather to activate and give outlet to our higher purpose. Our Cohort provides a framework for networking with a broader community. From this base we can network by reaching out to similar Cohorts, across the street, across the county and across the country. To be clear our Cohort can stand alone as a bastion of hope, but it affords an opportunity to link into a larger network.

Such a Network of Cohorts does not need centralized top down structure. It does not ask for a budget. The energy driving the effort is organic and self funding. If a website would facilitate networking, then the talent to build it will volunteer. Cohorts can be neighborhoods, extended family, church (or mosque or synagogue), interest driven, work based, etc. They can even be virtual, spanning many miles pulling together likeminded folks miles apart.

How big is a Cohort you might ask? Yes.


A Cohort, that is by definition made up of critical thinkers, cannot help but think. Think about ways to effect change, show love to our neighbors, fix problems, share resources, and register voters. Such reflections opens up fields for research and that in turn makes possible story telling. No fake news here. Just good old fashion investigative reporting.

A fundamental component of critical thinking is multiple points of view. We need the challenge of stimulation to broaden our thinking, refine our conclusions and temper our excesses. If a Cohort provides such support, then a network of Cohorts affords unlimited strength for the journey.

Research topics? Who deserves our commercial patronage? What currency should we use to replace our instruments of debt? How do we show support for those who are being oppressed? How can we grow food in winter? (or in summer for that matter) How is the next contemplated war being justified? What can we do to forestall child trafficking? The list is endless. Hence the need for many Cohorts networking and sharing.


More than ever the situation calls for vigilance. Vigilance accompanied by diligence and followed by making a lot of noise to lay bare fake news, to challenge bigotry in all its myriad forms, to expose unjust provisions buried deep in must pass legislation, to counter propaganda designed to confuse issues, and to provide a trustworthy voice as a beacon to all seekers.

The process of exposure should also provide a venue for celebration. We can rejoice that our humanity is not only being preserved but also extolled.


Folklore: the unwritten literature of a people as expressed in folk tales, proverbs, riddles, songs, dance, etc.  Folk-LORE is essentially We The People banding together in Cohorts to tell our stories across a network that is rooted in critical thinking. It is LORE, Local Organizations Reflecting on and then Exposing real news.

The beauty is that you can form a Cohort and if the idea never takes off, you (and the world) will still benefit.

Who is ready to build a website?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Democracy: Breakdown or Affirmation?

Until January 20th I will state freely that Donald Trump is a Jackass of the first order.  After January 20th I will refer to him as President Trump.  The question to be addressed here is how did we manage to elect a Jackass to be our President?  Did our democracy finally break down releasing a flood of ignorance on the land?  Or did the people rise up behind the only option they had to tell the establishment to go to hell?

The blame for our predicament is shared between the leadership of both major parties.  The Republicans set the stage with obstructionism fueled by nonsense, destruction of the middle class (started by Reagan), racism very thinly veiled behind dog whistles, birtherites who knew better but chose a treasonous path over democracy (led by the Jackass), feigned scientific ignorance (surly they know better), and a long list of bad policy on energy, healthcare, etc.  The Democrats helped set the stage by moving right in the 90’s (feeding the prisons boom), signing away banking regulation, and by appointing W’s treasury team to deal with the 2008 crisis that the Republicans had spawned.  Instead of bailing out Americans, they bailed out AIG and banks.  Yes, W’s administration should be held responsible for the crash of 2008 but Obama stood by and let the Fed fuel an unprecedented rise in debt and a corresponding escalation in wealth inequality serving Wall Street and screwing Main Street.

MiLords, (the Oligarchy, the Military Industrial Complex, the Plutocracy) have successfully gutted the middle class for 40 years.  Income inequality has reached obscene levels and trickle down economics is a joke. And the middle class is in revolt.  They are not just ready for change, they are demanding it. 

20 candidates emerged in 2015 to run for the office of President.  Two of them ran against the establishment.  The Republican establishment did their best to fight for anyone but Trump and failed.  The Democratic establishment mobilized the media (Washington Post you should be ashamed), instituted illegal fund raising schemes, announced the count of super delegates before the campaign had begun and used dirty tricks in the primaries to barely avoid the Berne.

And we wonder why Trump won?

To the extent that We The People opted for change, democracy was affirmed by Trump’s ascendance.  But many people were dismayed that they didn’t have a choice for positive change.  One side presented same old same old and other presented a clown who, while he can be credited with understanding (and exploiting) the deep frustration nevertheless represents a moral dilemma.  Democracy was not served by rigged primaries that took away choice.

So the blame for the breakdown in democracy does not lie with Trump.  As nasty as he is, he tapped into genuine concerns.  The blame lies squarely with the manipulation by the DNC to foist a flawed candidate upon the people, taking away their choice.  Not just the choice for Democrats but for those Republicans who in the end held their nose and voted for Trump.  They voted for change.  It’s About Change, Stupid.

The question before us is whether the Democratic Party can be salvaged?  The first indication will come with the election of a new Chair for the DNC.  A position of substance for sure but also a position that is symbolic of the travesty of justice that occurred under Debbie Wasserman Shultz.  Will Bernie’s candidate prevail or will we be subjected to same old same old Howard Dean who ended up at the lobbyist trough? 

The Republican establishment is also at a critical juncture.  Will they succumb to the temptation to ride Trump's message or will they take a stab at preserving their conservative roots?

In conclusion I would say that democracy breaks down in a two party winner takes all system if even one party rigs the outcome on their side.  But for all that, the people have spoken loudly and clearly.  “We will not stand still while the middle class is gutted.”

We will next turn our attention to an interesting question of this whole mess.  How did African Americans salvage Hillary’s primary run and why did they not come to her rescue in the general election?  A story that will take us to South Africa, Arkansas and points south on Super Tuesday.