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Towards a Non-Partisan, Issue-Centered, Outcome-Oriented Political Discourse System for America

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[The body of this piece was uploaded on election eve before the outcome began to take shape. Trump's name was added next day. It could have been Clinton's - makes no difference!]

Finally it’s over. The presidential election of 2016 is history. Big sigh of relief. But not for long, because voter disgust with both candidates is so widespread that the aftermath of the election may be as tumultuous as the run-up to it.

That said, America on November 9 will have at least a brief moment to pause and reflect on what’s gone so horrendously wrong with our rigged and money-driven system of political discourse and then ask how (and if) what’s broken can be fixed.

It's amazing that no one is asking this question. No one. Obsessed with partisan concerns, the shrewdest political heads in America have lost sight of both the cause and the remedy for our political ills. 

So it's time to pull our heads out of the sand, ask this critical question, answer it correctly, and then find w…
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(Revised October 10, 2016) How many of Chicago's 2.7 million residents have ever heard of Strengthening Chicago's Youth (SCY)? Perhaps 100,000 at most. That's a big number, but its small when you realize that it's also telling us that only one out every 27 Chicagoans has heard of SCY. If you're among that huge number, you have heard of Lurie Children's Hospital, SCY's parent organization. So why is SCY important? In recent years its small but energetic staff has convened hundreds of government, community and non-profit organizations in an ongoing series of quarterly meetings that have done more to advance citywide understanding and solutions to Chicago's violence problem than any other actual or virtual platform I can think of.
Today, for instance, SCY will host a three-hour meeting on the following topic:






Looking at this topic, I wondered when Chicago will get around to talking about Citywide lessons to be learned about Sharing Data for Violence Pre…
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Greetings Conference participants and thanks for visiting. Click here for my Future of Chicago piece. This six minute read distills 30 years of Civic Media work. If it strikes a chord, let's talk.


Here are two Civic Media projects that are relevant today:
Created in 2015 for the Illinois Violence Prevention Task Force: this "Full Story" proposal enables Chicago's media to supply not some but all Chicagoans,with the information, resources and support they need in order to effectively address youth, gun and gang violence in their neighborhoods. It is endorsed by 8th District House Representative La Shawn K. Ford and by then-Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health Larmar Hasbrouck.   This 3,000 word piece, "The Chicago Tribune’s “New Plan of Chicago”:What Would Daniel Burnham Say?" details the workings of a fully functional Civic Media. It describes this media as an Information Age Infrastructure that embodies and empowers that same civic spirit …

The Laquan McDonald shooting video: Why does it veer AWAY from the shooters?

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Since November 24 Chicago been quaking in its boots in response to the release of the shocking police video of the shooting of Laquan McDonald taken by a dashboard camera the night of October 20, 2014 and made public only a year later after the City was compelled to do so by court order.
The video is hard to watch. It’s damningly incriminating. But I’ve seen no mention made of one of its more damning aspects: the stunning fact that the squad car whose dashcam is intended to record the interactions of police and citizens defeats this purpose — intentionally or otherwise — by veering away from the shooters. This veering away occurs within the first seven of the approximately 20 seconds that it took Officer James Van Dyke to shoot Laquan McDonald 16 times.
Make no mistake, the video does clearly depict Van Dyke making his first shot. It also captures some of Van Dyke’s shots as they hit McDonald’s prostrate body. That said, for all but one of the shooting’s 20 seconds — the very first —…

What's wrong with American capitalism? Jimmy Carter says it's our money-driven, oligarchical electoral system.

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This morning I stumbled (via Reddit) on Jimmy Carter's blunt July 28 comments about America's money-driven and arguably oligarchical electoral system (his word!). And here he is, talking on Thom Hartman's radio program:


Carter's comments have been overlooked (suppressed) in mainstream media, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. Remember, this is President Jimmy Carter. Here's the latest on media coverage of them.

Moments before seeing Carter's comments, I read today's NYT op ed by David Brooks calling for "a great debate about the nature of capitalism". I then wrote the following comment to it: 
OK, so I won't hear from David Brooks, even though the political media I propose would by design be independent of the "strong government" he sees as a curb on economic growth.   

As difficult as would be the creation of the political media outlined above, the dangers of not creating it are far, far greater.  Think abou…

The Lincoln Scenario: How Rauner and Madigan Finally Ended their War for Illinois and United Illinois' "House Divided"

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August 30 The updated, extended version of this piece is here at our Medium site. Author's note: So is necessity really the mother of invention? If it is, here's a look at how close Illinois is today to a workable alternative to the politics of self-destruction that's fueling the fratricidal "War For Illinois". So far, three experts and two State Reps have commended this piece. Like it? Please help advance it. See how, below. Here's a Printable Copy. By mid-summer of 2015, a grinding yearlong power struggle between governor Rauner and House speaker Madigan had gridlocked into trench warfare. Mounting losses in precious time, energy, resources, services and money were bankrupting Illinois and destroying public faith and trust in government itself.

It became clear that for whoever won this contest, victory would be pyrrhic. The Land of Lincoln, in Lincoln's famous biblical phrase, would be "a house divided against itself": a state too polarized and…

On the Charleston S.C. Massacre and the Deeper Roots of Ignorance in America

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My good friend Penny Lundquist just posted a link to a Psychology Today article by secular humanist David Niose entitled "Is Anti-intellectualism Killing America". It holds anti-intellectualism and a "culture of ignorance" partly responsible for the racially-motivated murders of nine Black churchgoers in Charleston, SC by 21-year old Dylann Roof. And it holds this culture responsible for the death of reason itself in America as well.

Interesting. The idea of a culture of ignorance got me thinking in two directions: about the factors that contributed to Dylann Roof's homicidal mindset and about those that underlie America's broken system of political discourse.

Thinking about all this, I decided that before discussing anything I needed first to come to terms with the idea that something - anything - may be killing America. This notion is discomfiting: it locks one into the narrow dualistic box that America is either being killed or it is not. Heck, that&#…