What To Do First

GETTING UP TO SPEED

 

A silver lining in our current political situation is that all of us have all been awakened, shaken and riled up. Individuals are keenly alert and searching for information, meaning and an idea of what to do next, what to support, who to support and how to take action.

A second silver lining is that the press, bloggers, and others has stepped up the quality, analysis, and speed of delivery of the news. They are delivering at a furious pace and beginning to label misinformation and misinformation and lies as lies. The focus has shifted, necessarily, from presenting both sides to presenting accurate, factual reports. These factual reports may seem more “one-sided”. For a long time, conservative media has been intent on gathering influence and market share at any cost. Now some well respected conservative media outlets are acknowledging that they have been ignoring facts and offering opinion as facts. These efforts are in direct response to withstand the onslaught of misinformation, lies, omissions and conspiracy theories that have been perpetuated recently.

 

MEDIA TO RELY ON

  1. Subscribe to newsletters. There is a tremendous amount of high quality information, delivered in easily accessible formats. These newsletters give differing perspective. Each link usually provides many other links.
    1. For those interested in education, both EducationWeek and ASCD have excellent newsletters that address both news and contemporary education topics. Both provide additional links. There is a fair amount of lingo and education-speak.
  2. Follow columnists with teaching orientations. There are tens of great journalists and columnists to follow.
    1. Paul Krugman – Nobel Prize Winner in Economics. One can learn a lot about economics by reading these columns. Don’t try to read all at once, start by reading weekly and then going back as topics come up.
    2. Thomas Friedman – Well known writer and Middle East expert. He provides a big pictures perspective. Other books by Thomas Freidman
  3. Listen to podcasts
  4. Plan to know more facts and to begin discussing topics with family, friends and others that have different opinions.
  5. Look at “facts” on at Facts for the Bubble on Pinterest. This information is not vetted but this is a great place to start for facts to confirm.
  6. Use Google to find images of issues. There are thousand of great graphs and charts that summarize the most salient points.
  7. Begin a study group or make reaching out and talking about politics a part of an ongoing clubs or meetings.

Below are favorite commentators, series and podcasts that get us up to speed without making it a chore, starting with the top three domestic issues – the economy, healthcare and education. As noted resources below are primarily from the mainstream media – The New York Times, Washington Post and The Guardian. Almost all of the links to reputable organizations were first highlighted in these, or similar, media outlets. Buying subscriptions to reputable newspapers and magazines enables them to continue, and improve, investigating and reporting.

New York Times

  • Read the business section of the NYT – excellent “teaching” articles on economics and business.
  • Read The Upshot from the NYT does a good job of summarizing current topics based on facts and data
  • Read targeted series

NPR

 

 

LIBERAL PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT CONSERVATIVES HAVE BEEN UP TO

Democrats have held the White House for eight years and clearly have been asleep at the wheel during those years. Going into the 2016 election the Republicans held ??? seats in the House out of 435, 52 seats in the Senate out of 100, 31 governors out of 50 states and control of 68 out of 98 partisan state legislative chambers.

 

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United, and related, decisions unleashed an avalanche of cash onto the political scene. For years the goal has been to keep money out of politics based on the assumption that money drowns out, or manipulates, the voice of the people and leads to corruption and unethical behavior. . Campaign finance has always been focused on limiting campaign contributions, identifying where the contributions come from and creating a level playing field. Now political power is concentrated in the hands of a few.

 

LIBERAL BOOKS

The following books provide a perspective on what conservatives, wall street and big money have been up to for all these years. Following are links to conservative think tanks that provide a history and let you know what they think they have been up to .

2015 Red Notice: A true story of high finance, murder and one man’s fight for justice Browder Bill inside story of Putin, contemporary Russia
2016 Dark Money: The Hidden History of Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right Mayer Jane Well researched book about how conservative money has influenced, re-routed our democracy
Dark Side Mayer Jane Anything else by Jane Mayer such as the Dark Side
2004 What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America Frank Thomas Required readiing to understand the people who voted for Trump and who vote against their own interestsExcellent material and funny to read.
2008 The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Ruined the Government, Enriched Themselves and Beggared the Nation Frank Thomas Follow up to the Kansas bool. Required readiing to understand how a group of young white conservatives hijacked the Republican party over the past 40 years. Excellent material and funny to read.
2009 The Big Sort: Why Clustering of Like Minded Americans is Tearing Us Apart Bishop Bill This is an excellent book that describes how we have “sorted” ourselves by location, how we have created “red” and “blue” communities instead of living side by side in the same community. Oregon is featured a lot.
2010 Liar’s Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage of Wall Street Lewis Michael Amazing, funny and explains how Wall Street works.
2011 The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine Lewis Michael Made into the movie — The Big Short. Both explain how Wall Street et al caused the collapes and the Recession
2004 The Plot Against America Roth Philip A novel by an excellent writer (major award winner) imagining what it would be like if Lindberg, a Nazi sympathizer, won the presidency instead of Roosevel in 1940. Probably engrossing but might be terrifying too.

 

THE CONSERVATIVE VIEWPOINT

The conservative perspective is well represented in the following publications and websites. This section will be improved and new entries added. It is wise to read the “other side” to understand the viewpoint which will enable the discussions needed to find common ground.

NEWSPAPERS

Read the Daily Signal

WEBSITES

The Heritage Foundation

American Enterprise Institute

Americans for Prosperity

Club for Growth

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Common Ground
We don’t need to search any further for common ground in our country. We have it.
We all want the same things – a safe, prosperous, free, democratic nation with opportunity for all. At the same time, we will all be harmed if our democracy, our free press, our Constitution and our core American values are threatened. We will all certainly be harmed if reckless behavior triggers any number of potential armed conflicts.

None of us know how this will all play out so let's make a deal. Let’s get up to speed on the issues, establish some facts, take action and watch what happens together . . .