You may use this directory with several goals in mind:
For research to write articles about noncorporate or progressive candidates.
To organize a nationwide plan of financial contributions to noncorporate candidates.
To organize social media campaigns that spotlight noncorporate candidates.
To inform your friends and family about noncorporate candidates and progressive policies in their states
Or you may pay for access, simply to support this work.
Why the Paywall?
I put the “2022 Noncorporate Candidate Directory” behind a paywall for protection. Some political eager beavers like to check my candidate list in order to update their own lists. That is OK. But someone uses an app that can harvest the information. While the harvesting process is underway, it causes Progressive Graffiti to repeatedly crash and go offline. That is not OK. That is really invasive.
Not everyone will be able or willing to pay for the 2022 directory. But don’t worry. I’ll be publishing open-access articles that utilize the candidate data. So keep an eye on Friends in DC for timely posts about the noncorporate progressive candidates running in the 2022 election. To help alert you, I’ve installed a Friends in DC rss feed on the front page of Progressive Graffiti.
I was in the hospital during the 2022 election results. (Ovarian cyst. Benign. Recovering nicely, but pain getting in or out of bed.) Last night, finally, I slept longer than two hours; 4-5 hours, in fact!
Even better, after the nice rest, I woke to the voice of Chris Hedges from the Chromebook at my bedside. Why was that good? Chris Hedges is not exactly “Mr Hopeful.”
Certainly not. But Hedges IS the perfect antidote to the Democratic Party’s groundless euphoria over not losing worse in the 2022 Midterm Election. Chris Hedges is reality, and reality is healthy!
You see, our nation’s problems are long and deep, like a slow-growing cellular mass that could be cancerous and life-threatening. The Democrat’s 2022 semi-win did not remove, cure, or fix any of that. Problems can only be solved within the realm of reality.
I am personally healing from actual surgery, regaining health and strength–and I get a great booster shot of Chris Hedges’ reality. You grasp the serendipitous connection of Hedges to healing? Yes? No? You must listen to the video above.
Here’s wishing every Blue Voter a big swallow of bitter-tasting, but life-affirming, medicinal reality. If you haven’t yet met him, I offer you the brilliant Chris Hedges–author, teacher, war correspondent, ordained minister, and brave, hopeless man who continues to fight the Good Fight without beliving the “Good” can win. (WHY does he do that? Is he right to be hopeless?)
People are inundated with a copious amount of news and information. How do we know which of it is reliable? And how should we connect the dots?
You can develop a sense for ‘real news’ by listening with a critical ear:
Escape the information loop.
Seek under-reported stories and expert views.
An accurate ‘big picture’ will take form. You’ll then connect the dots with a high degree of veracity.
There are certain questions we should consider, when hearing news or receiving information. Ask yourself:
Is this source reliable?
Is the information up-to-date?
Is the information accurate?
Is it the whole story?
Is it factual news, an editorial opinion, or satire?
Why are they telling me this?
What are the opposing views? (For a quick take on opposing views, swing through Improve the News.)
Escape the Information Loop
Whichever news and information sources you rely upon, try adding a new source or two.
Escape Corporate Bias
If the news you usually hear is owned and sponsored by huge corporations, tune into Democracy Now to escape corporate bias. It’s a noncorporate, viewer-funded, award-winning news outlet that reports domestic & international news, Monday through Friday. Without Big Business on the editorial board, Democracy Now is free to provide in-depth coverage of the day’s news from a societal perspective and to highlight relevant people-powered activism.
Escape the All-American News Diet
Break away from the all-American news diet to broaden your perspective. Read English-language BBC and CBC news reports, taking note of their U.S. news coverage. Our cousin sovereign states, the United Kingdom and Canada, offer a mild dose of U.S. news objectivity. Those fluent in more languages can, of course, further expand their geographical news consumption.
Vet your international news sources, and aim for something that is mainstream. In this case, we’re less concerned with corporate bias. We want to avoid stumbling into news and commentary that, as foreign news consumers, we may not recognize as underground or extremist. You can hunt for reputable international news sources by checking the Top 200 Newspapers in the World.
Escape Social Media Feed Loops
When you follow news feeds on social media outlets, like Twitter and Facebook, you must realize you’re being ‘fed’ news stories that are designed to captivate your attention–and the news feed selection is entirely based on your previous social media activity! This creates a tightening inward spiral, instead of an outward unfolding. While it may feel comfortable to digest news that confirms everything you already know and think, you must break out of the social media loop in order to discover more varied news reports, unknown topics of interest, and other valid perspectives. Be an independent explorer of news and information. For example, go directly to the website of any trustworthy news outlet for your general daily news update. Be the hunter, not the captive prey.
Seek Under-Reported News
Many extremely important, well-documented news stories are under-reported. Keep tabs on Project Censored “for the news that didn’t make the news.” You are guaranteed to be amazed at, and concerned about, the news that cable TV neglects.
You can also follow websites that are dedicated to a particular field (art, science, finance, technology) or topic (cultural events, climate change, cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence). You’ll learn valuable news and information long before it appears in the mainstream media (MSM), if ever.
Follow the experts. People who specialize in a particular field–like professors, scientists, issue advocates, and investigative reporters–dedicate their careers to decades of research and practice in a specific discipline. They are accustomed to debating the finer points of their subject with equally dedicated peers, and are skilled at identifying weak arguments and contradictions. They write books. Experts clear away the misunderstandings that laypeople may mistakenly hold.
No Time for News?
What if you don’t have time to be a critical news consumer? Then listen to the professionals who do it for you–while you’re driving to work, or doing household chores.
Check out my “Independent Progressive News and Commentary Directory” for left-wing programming. For the moderate liberal view, NPR and PBS cover a broad field of news and noteworthy topics. The so-called ‘public’ stations are partly member-supported, but also accept major contributions from big corporations and wealthy philanthropists… so keep that in mind.
Most other news outlets possess a heavy corporate bias. It doesn’t matter whether they’re conservative or liberal. Big Money rules the mainstream media. If that sounds depressing, remember how Gil Scott-Heron put it: “the revolution will not be televised.” (You have to appreciate how well he put truth and wit to music!)
Stay Ahead of the Game
A rewarding aspect of following independent news is staying ahead of the game. While other people mope around, saying “nothing will ever change,” you know of a horde of individuals and organizations who are fighting the Good Fight for real people (not the corporations). That is uplifting, alone. But advance notice also gives you the chance to understand what is likely to come next. Perhaps you will also advocate, or even become an activist, for the viewpoints you support–in time to make a difference.
People follow the news in search of both progress and preservation. But we must not let our emotions lead. Take care to activate your analytical left-brain, in order to see the big picture and accurately connect the dots. President John F. Kennedy once said that he had “complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.” Consuming the news with a critical mind is something we owe ourselves, one another, and future generations.
(Yeah, that’s a BBC article. I want to point out that nations around the world report on American Mass Shootings. They are mystified by the phenomenon, and pity us.)
The other recent big American mass shooting happened in Buffalo, NY on Saturday, May 14. Ten black grocery shoppers were shot dead by a white supremacist. In both mass shootings, the shooters were only 18 years old.
It’s hard to follow American mass shootings (four or more people shot or killed, not including the shooter). There are so many that regularly occur. Your emotions may shut down.
Go to the Gun Violence Archive to keep up with the plain, simple facts. For example, as of May 25, 2022, there have been 213 American mass shootings since January 1st.
Late last night, as I walked outside, I felt terror start to rise up. I shoved it right back down. But here’s the thing: I’m not suppressing terror at being shot and killed. I’m terrified for our country.
The temptation to rely on material wealth for security, comfort and status is very great. It absolutely appeals to the flesh! So, if you know anyone engaged in far-right Christian politics, please remind them of Matthew 19:16-30–before they block any more government safety net programs.
Jesus gave up the good life “Up There” to be a poor, dark-skinned socialist “Down Here.”
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
16 And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what [essentially] good thing shall I do to obtain eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” 17 Jesus answered, “Why are you asking Me about what is [essentially] good? There is only One who is [essentially] good; but if you wish to enter into eternal life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to Jesus, “Which commandments?” And Jesus answered, “You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not give false testimony; 19 Honor your father and mother; and love your neighbor as yourself” [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others]. 20 The young man said to Him, “I have kept all these things [from my youth]; what do I still lack?” 21 Jesus answered him, “If you wish to be perfect [that is, have the spiritual maturity that accompanies godly character with no moral or ethical deficiencies], go and sell what you have and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].” 22 But when the young man heard this, he left grieving and distressed, for he owned much property and had many possessions [which he treasured more than his relationship with God].
23 Jesus said to His disciples, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, it is difficult for a rich man [who clings to possessions and status as security] to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man [who places his faith in wealth and status] to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were completely [a]astonished and bewildered, saying, “Then who can be saved [from the wrath of God]?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
The Disciples’ Reward
27 Then Peter answered Him, saying, “Look, we have given up everything and followed You [becoming Your disciples and accepting You as Teacher and Lord]; what then will there be for us?” 28 Jesus said to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, in the renewal [that is, the Messianic restoration and regeneration of all things] when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you [who have followed Me, becoming My disciples] will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first [in this world] will be last [in the world to come]; and the last, first. Read full chapter
Matthew 19:25 These declarations of Jesus directly contradicted the teaching of the Pharisees that God bestows wealth on those He loves and chooses. If the rich were not automatically granted entrance to God’s kingdom, how could the common man ever be welcomed?
What got to me, what brought on my Sunday sermon, is that I saw Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) boasting on Twitter that he spoke at the University of Notre Dame.
I don’t know if anyone at Notre Dame actually read Scott’s 11-Point Plan to Rescue America, before they invited him to their symposium to talk about protecting families and democracy. I tried to alert Notre Dame (albeit, after the fact).
Since Notre Dame is a Catholic university, scriptures began flooding my mind; scriptures that jive with a people-loving, socialist-like Jesus of the New Testament. Notice the footnote to Matthew 19:25, above. Still, today, many people make a mistake in believing that “God bestows wealth on those He loves and chooses.”
Modern socialism aims to improve on previous socialist attempts, such as that of the former Soviet Union, by emphasizing democracy.
Around the time of Sander’s first presidential campaign, I realized I didn’t know anything about socialism. It was a subject I needed to study.
Conducting Google searches for “socialism” made me feel subversive, at first. Search results implied that socialism and communism are practically the same thing. Yikes! my inner child cried (that child who hunkered under her desk during many an air raid drill during elementary school). Maybe socialism is a dangerous slippery slope, after all, leading straight to communism.
And yet, the level-headed, morally courageous Bernie Sanders proclaimed himself to be a “Democratic Socialist.” I continued to research.
Soon I came upon Professor Richard D. Wolff, host of Economic Update, and began to learn a thing or two about modern socialism. Wolff is a Marxist economist and historian. He advocates for worker-owned-and-managed enterprises. In fact, he founded Democracy at Work. Wolff maintains that a democratic nation should be characterized by the democratic workplace.
Still, I continued to wonder about the difference between socialism and communism.
Is There a Difference Between Socialism and Communism?
If we look at the common dictionary definitions for “socialism” and “communism,” we see that both systems mention community ownership and control. A workplace is a community. (Thank you, Dr. Wolff.)
Socialism – a theory or system of social organization that advocates the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, capital, land, etc., by the community as a whole, usually through a centralized government.
Communism – a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.
The two definitions are hardly distinguishable from one another. Later in my research, I learned that communism is a type of socialism, which may explain why the terms are often used interchangeably. But more significantly, the two definitions allow that both socialist and communist systems could also be controlled by the state or government (instead of a community).
State-controlled socialism frightens people. It is authoritarian and, therefore, presents a threat to human rights. That is particularly the case if the state/government controls all or most of the political, social, and economic systems within a country.
On the other hand, people seldom give community-controlled socialism a thought. But if they do think about it, they might appreciate how beautifully it dovetails with democracy. Hey–that must be how someone came up with the idea for democratic socialism.
So, back to the difference between socialism and communism. From what I can tell, there is no essential difference between the two ideologies. It’s all socialism.
And socialism provides an alternative to capitalism.
Where Does Capitalism Fit In?
Western economic systems have changed over time. There has been slavery, then the feudal system, and capitalism reigns today. The new kid on the block is socialism. Get ready, because modern socialism will be the first economic system to empower workers.
All I want to add here, is that capitalism and democratic socialism do not cancel one another out. Mingled together, private enterprise and worker cooperatives spur a healthy competitive business environment.
INSIDE SECRET: Wealthy corporations and billionaires hate democracy, socialism, unions, AND competition.
(Yeah. Keep connecting those dots.)
Proper Tension Creates Balance
Meanwhile, most social-economic systems are a combination of various approaches. The proper tension across diverse force fields can create balance. In the case of democratic socialism and regulated capitalism, a balanced distribution of wealth and power curbs excessive inequality.
You may want to investigate the work that scholars of socialism offer. Follow the blue links provided in this post. Visit Prof. Wolff. Watch the video below. If you’re really inspired, read Karl Marx.
As you expand your research into socialism, you’ll notice material about socialist countries that are failing. But I leave you with a finale thought, that you may apply where applicable…. Nothing works as intended, if it is corrupted.
A blogging friend of mine said he misses the intelligence, wit, and eloquence of a John F. Kennedy speech. His statement reminded me of a video clip I saw a few years ago, where Kennedy spoke about the free press. I’d been greatly impressed by something he said. Something like… an informed public makes the right decisions.
However, I could never find that video clip again. Until now. Almost. Here’s what I have:
John F. Kennedy Speech to the Press and Media – AUDIO
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, April 27, 1961
The President and the Press: Address Before the American Newspaper Publishers Association, April 27, 1961 – TRANSCRIPT
No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding; and from that understanding comes support or opposition. And both are necessary. I am not asking your newspapers to support the Administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people. For I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.
— President John F. Kennedy
Can a corporate-owned and corporate-sponsored free press/media serve American people in the unbiased manner that John F. Kennedy envisioned? Can our current news media provide objectivity, particularly on controversial topics, without the support of government regulations like the former FCC Fairness Doctrine (1949-1987)?
The United States needs more democracy and proportional representation. But a slew of democratic reforms are needed first, before we can get there. The most important reforms are:
Ranked Choice Voting
Abolish the Electoral College
Meanwhile, progressives struggle between trying to support third parties, like the Green Party, or taking over the existing neoliberal Democratic Party. Which pathway will be most effective at building democracy, or even possible?
Historian and talk radio host Thom Hartmann makes an argument for “seizing the Democratic Party.” Whether you agree with his analysis or not, his piece provides invaluable background. The article covers:
Pertinent American History
The barriers to third parties
Strategy to infiltrate the Democratic Party
Take a read. It’s succinct, only a 5-8 minute read. Tell us what you think.