Let me start off with a teachable moment before we dive into the Daily Ghion Water. By teachable moment, I do not mean a professor to student exchange where I take to the dais to lecture readers. I’m referring to a collective assessment that I’m engaging within myself as much as I am conveying to the reader. Yesterday, I published an article titled “Shithole President and Shit Show Politics”. As I noted in the article, the title was actually supposed to be “The Bullet is the Ballot: We Have Been Subdued by Theatrics and Pretenses”. I ended up changing it to fit into the current narrative of Donald Trump’s latest repugnant statement. As I spoke against the fire, I added logs atop it.
This is the catch 22 of our politics and our culture of sensationalism, as a journalist, I can’t ignore the conversations society is engaging . Yet doing so gives further credence and perpetuates the politics of divisiveness. I try to thread the needle by discussing current events in a nuanced way that does not stoke animus. But ponder this, as many people who are clicking on the article from yesterday, how many of them would be doing so if the title did not contain the words “shithole” and “shit show”. Therein lies the problem, our predilection of being drawn to sensationalism is the very demand that our bankrupt mainstream media is feeding with their yellow journalism.
With that in mind, let me pivot and share news and notes from independent journalists and non-corporate voices who are doing their best to provide a much needed alternative to the empty calories of corporate media. On to the Daily Ghion Water.
Of Dreams Deferred
We kill the most beautiful among us—anyone, it seems, who reveals the nastier, brutish elements of American society and has the audacity to imagine, demand even, a better path: peace, unity and tolerance. Abraham Lincoln, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King and so many others.
This year, marks the 50th anniversary of King’s tragic assassination, and though countless publications will brim with commemorations and retrospectives of this misunderstood icon, most will miss the mark. Long ago co-opted and sanitized by mainstream political figures, the King of memory bears little resemblance to the radical, complex man himself. [from Truthdig]
A Price Paid for Freedom
In modern times, when Haiti does intrude on U.S. consciousness, it’s usually because of some natural disaster or a violent political upheaval, and the U.S. response is often paternalistic, if not tinged with a racist disdain for the country’s predominantly black population and its seemingly endless failure to escape cycles of crushing poverty.
However, more than two centuries ago, Haiti represented one of the most important neighbors of the new American Republic and played a central role in enabling the United States to expand westward. If not for Haiti, the course of U.S. history could have been very different, with the United States possibly never expanding much beyond the Appalachian Mountains. [from Consortium News]
In narrating Trump’s presidency as totally different from what came before, though, they often end up exaggerating the extent to which Trump’s actions are actually unprecedented (or “unpresidented”). That’s a concerning tendency because it lead to the forgetting of history, but also because it ends up exonerating prior presidents for inexcusable acts. Exhibit A here is the rehabilitation of George W. Bush, who is responsible for an inconceivable amount of death and carnage, but who is increasingly seen as dignified and statesmanlike when compared to Donald Trump. Bush himself encourages that view by occasionally issuing denunciations of Trump’s less defensible outbursts. The more Trump is depicted as an aberrant departure from a sound and principled norm, the better Bush seems. [from Current Affairs]
Economics and Injustice
What do career women ‘leaning in’ at work, wage inequality, and the minimum wage all have in common? It turns out that they are all crucial for understanding how many children women have, or indeed if they have any at all. Consider a woman ‘leaning in,’ or devoting all of her energy to her career.1 Historically, these women have had fewer children than others, often abstaining entirely from motherhood as they simply didn’t have the time for both families and careers. Widely accepted economic explanations emphasize that raising a large family requires a lot of time, and time is very expensive for high earners. [from Naked Capitalism]
The Ballot is the Bullet
On the same day, Disobedient Media reported that attorneys for the plaintiffs in the DNC Fraud lawsuit had announced the appeal of the suit’s earlier dismissal would go ahead. The Becks stated via social media that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal had ordered the suit to proceed, and provided documentation of the ruling. At the time of writing, legacy press outlets have failed to report this important development in the DNC Fraud lawsuit case. This is particularly disturbing given the major importance of the suit, but falls into the larger pattern described in Disobedient Media’s discussion of establishment Democratic party corruption. [from Disobedient Media]
The Invisible Hands of Cancerous Capitalism
It’s no secret that many progressives believe that in the United States, liberal mainstream politics are on the decline. Sociologist and author Charles Derber thinks he knows why. The American left, he says, fails to understand a crucial aspect of capitalism: how it intersects with race, class and gender. Derber posits this argument during a new interview with Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges. “The intersectionality—and I don’t like that word because it’s kind of a buzzword, but it is used widely in academic circles—is the recognition that you can’t understand any of these hierarchies of power and repression without understanding the interrelationship among these different structures and hierarchies,” Derber says. “We have no conversation about capitalism in this country.” [from Truthdig]
From the YouTubes
This Day in History
1927 – A woman takes a seat on the NY Stock Exchange breaking the all-male tradition. Two years later, the economy implodes and tens of millions of women (and men) become homeless and impoverished. Further proof that the accomplishments of the “upper crust” does not translate to advancements for the rest of us. #IdentityPoliticsSucks
Quote of the Day
“Without dignity there is no liberty, without justice there is no dignity, and without independence there are no free men.” ~ Patrice Lumumba
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Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.