A Living Income addresses the primary cause of conflict: inequality

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We have been in this care centre for almost four years, living in broken tents and with no one helping us.
Pikas Kapi, Bulolo care centre, Bulolo town, Morobe province Papua New Guinea

Inequality is on the rise worldwide, creating extreme disparities in wealth, education and other areas of human development. Inequality has caused increased marginalization of mostly rural geographic areas and this in turn has caused the rising up of “formerly repressed sectors of society seeking greater independence, power and control.” These countries “were among the most economically vulnerable and least able to cope with crisis.”

Wealth disparity when combined with all the armed conflicts and an abundance of weapons puts civilians at risk unlike in any time in world history. 2014 was a record-breaking year for displaced people. Over 38 million were forcibly displaced within their own country by violence, up from 33.3 million for 2013. 2015 will be even higher and there’s no end in sight. [1]

The corporate media is not compelled to investigate the displaced or to make the connection between inequality and conflict. The media is not compelled to demand solutions. So why do we expect it to?

A living income will allow many more of us to not only read, but read between the lines and challenge the policies of war, the impunity of weapons manufacturers and the prevalence of conflict and poverty – for starters.

A living income would help us understand and challenge the ways and means of conflict so that we can build economic and social parity and give to each other that which we all deserve and desire.

* According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre



The ‘Clock Boy’ and Competing Narratives

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This is not America. That is not us. This is not like us.
Mohammed Al Hassen, father of Ahmed Mohamed

What are we indignant about today? It seems being indignant is the preferred response to a world of abuse, violence and destruction. Perhaps the dissonance between living in “the land of the free” and the reality of the U.S. war economy is so great that being in the state of outrage is the only power we believe we have left.

As a country it seems we’ve backed ourselves so far into disassociation from common sense that when a thirteen year old boy is handcuffed, suspended and treated like a terrorist, we don’t immediately ask: How come his teachers didn’t know this student better?

News outlets are the equivalent of the film Roshamon  each touting conflicting agendas. Are we aware of the motives behind the various narratives? Do we question whether or not we are being nudged within using what we think we already believe to then accept and believe something else? How well do we read symbols and question the telling?

We neglect to be  to be indignant about the completely undemocratic activities occurring right in front of us, like the secret trade agreement negotiations – treaties that when they are no longer secret, will dramatically alter our lives and our world. Why haven’t these startling proposals received the media attention they deserve?

Why don’t we use our ‘indignant’ energy to ground ourselves in common sense for the common good?


Nudging News Producers and Consumers Toward More Thoughtful, Less Polarized Discourse

The New Media and Social Change

Conflict Resolution: within and without


Cicero argued that a good orator needed also to be a good man, a person enlightened on a variety of civic topics.

At Truthdig.org, Chris Hedges says we must overthrow the existing political and power structures : “there will be no genuine democratic, social, economic or political reform until we destroy our permanent war machine.” According to Hedges, we live in a ‘managed democracy’ – a political form in which governments are legitimated by elections that they have learned to control

Before we run for the pitchforks, let’s think about this: can’t we slow down and come up with a way to get the money out of politics? Am I just naïve and there’s no point in a making the effort? I saw a bumper sticker that said, “you can’t buy my vote” – OK, but your vote can’t buy anything except more of the same– so there’s that – the “that” being that there is a job to be done: educating ourselves and each other. It’s not easy, but what are the alternatives?

Hedge’s mentor, Sheldon Wollin, says we vastly underestimate the essential role propaganda plays– that it is the mechanism of control – and that in spite of alternative media, propaganda keeps the corporate interests in their hegemonic vise grip.

Martin Luther King was a master at cutting through the prevailing propaganda to reflect the ludicrous nature of poverty in the richest country in the world and the embedded racism in the ‘home of the free.’

King’s biggest threat to the establishment (IMHO) was his ability to communicate the potential within each of us for self-empowerment and direct action…to use “ grace, humor and intelligence to “confront the other party with a list of injustices and a plan for addressing and resolving these injustices… Do not seek to humiliate the opponent but to call forth the good in the opponent.”

Each person lives in a kind of solitary confinement – even  so-called bad guys will like children or dogs so how can penetrate the isolation and humanity and use propaganda to our advantage –  to break out the latent action heroes within each of us?

Cynicism is easy, you just turn away…but wouldn’t it be cool to stand, see and live our potential…and
A) get the money out of politics and
B) End poverty and provide a Living Income Guaranteed for all?



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