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Transpartisan Review Blog #42

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Ownership As Key To Empowerment

Revisiting the Transpartisan Matrix

by A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner

The Four-Quadrant Transpartisan Matrix distinguishes the values of freedom (self-expression) and order (tradition for the right, justice for the left) that are important for both conservatives and progressives. We believe the “four-quadrant” format more completely represents what most people value than the simple left-right spectrum now used to describe our politics.

Although the “political debate” tends to emphasize one or two of the quadrants—order-left, freedom-left, order-right, and freedom-right—more than others, all quadrants matter and contain part of “the truth.” Much of our political dysfunction (we believe)—the failed policies, paralyzing conflict, many voters opting out, and two-term presidencies rarely accomplishing succession—occurs because neither party represents an effective combination of values (especially freedom and order) of most voters.

TTR explores, both in theory and in practice, real experiences, showing how four-quadrant programs, featuring all quadrants, both bring people together and solve problems.  

Our current political system focuses almost exclusively on governments as the dominant instruments of justice, with citizens having little or no role in school reform or reducing ethnic and racial conflict or foreign policy or any other public policy. Motivated by this weak concept of citizenship, two sides focus on electing “their people” to office to pursue or impose the “correct” (narrow, often single quadrant) policies.

Governments alone cannot effect four-quadrant engagement. Citizens too must be engaged. From our perspective we believe the intensely committed Trump supporters and resisters and the large number of individual citizens dissatisfied with the choices in the last election, including the ninety million non-voters, and the social activists from all sides, demonstrate the existence of a core group of citizens working to broaden our political framework. We offer the four quadrant approach as one way to understand and relate to current political activity.

A new, reformed — we would say expanded — politics will depend on a strong concept of citizenship, promoting citizen engagement that integrates the essence of left and right: for example serving the disadvantaged (order-left) in civic engagement with people “close-by” (order right) in institutions promoting free, voluntary commitment (recognizing that you can’t force people to be human — freedom-left and right).

This vision requires a strong role for civil society and civil society organizations structured to engage people across apparent differences and overlooked similarities in shaping change. Busing people far from home to internally-segregated schools failed to accomplish school integration. At best such objective integration accomplishes little, if anything. Real integration depends on internal, subjective engagement. As an example, school reform fails when bureaucratic mandates command obedience from depressed teachers, who pass their depression on to their students. School reform happens when full stakeholder ownership of schools brings empowered parents, teachers, and kids together to make schools as good as they can be.

Shared ownership of public spaces is a key to the subjective change that is at the heart of the transpartisan vision. It is the key to four-quadrant, transpartisan programs such as Delancey Street drug rehabilitation center (San Francisco), the All-Stars leadership program (New York City), and the UNICEF Girls Community Schools (Upper Egypt, a thriving hope in the epicenter of Islamic terrorism in Egypt).

Empowered ownership of public spaces drives the transpartisan vision. We offer the Transpartisan Matrix as a way to understand empowered ownership within the pandemonium of our current political milieu.

Transpartisan Review Blog #41

Critics left, right, and other, including us from time to time, find it easy to pillory and mock President Trump’s erratic, unpredictable, and apparently highly inconsistent style of leadership. They call him “child,” “clown,” and bumbling amateur. Then the President’s response to the horrendous pictures of gassed civilians leading to the American bombing of Syria reminds us that, as President, he wields enormous power that deserves, nay, requires, more than mockery.

Transpartisan Review Blog #40

transpartisan

Transpartisan Tax Time

by A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner

Now Tax Reform arrives on the Congressional agenda. Congress sees the problem as not enough money to pay for all the projects, programs and material that everyone wants. The budget remains unbalanced. Lawmakers feel pressured by constituents, who they feel want all kinds of services but balk at paying taxes for them.

The last time federal income fell unacceptably short, near the end of the 19th century, Congress embraced the income tax, which the US finally adopted with a 1913 Constitutional amendment. Since tariffs, then the government’s primary financing source, fell short, Congress found a new money supply—the income tax.

Today individuals and groups from a variety of political viewpoints suggest a new source of government money for the 21st century: The Automated Payment Transaction (APT) Tax.

“Capitalizing on financial data processing technology,” according to the APT website, “we can create a tax system for the 21st century that is simple to understand and easy to administer. The concept for this transaction tax was developed by the distinguished University of Wisconsin Professor of Economics Edgar L. Feige.”

The website for the book, “The Economist’s Tale,” which presents the red, blue and green spheres shown below, says, “We tax the $16 trillion in income we earn, the small blue sphere in the diagram.”

Red – Current Taxes     Blue – Current Collective Income     Green – New Money Source

“We don’t tax the whopping $5,000 trillion in payments that occur each year, the large green sphere. Our government’s budget is $4 trillion, the tiny red sphere.”

“The red sphere takes a big bite out of the blue sphere – which is why income tax rates are so high. But the red sphere takes a tiny bite out of the green sphere.”

“If we taxed payments at the miniscule rate of 1/10th of 1% we’d have a trillion dollar surplus.”

Summarizing the impact on an individual, the site says, “Taxes on $100,000 would drop from $31,000 to $100, and the budget would be balanced.”

“The author of this plan estimates that this system could save $500 BILLION ANNUALLY (yes you read that right) for the government and citizens by completely replacing the enforcement and collection of taxes.’” Read Daily Kos article here.

“According to the computations of the proponents, the rate would be 0.35%.”

Read Forbes article here.

We present this concept of a new source of governmental income as an important idea that Congress, other policy makers, individuals in the Tax Reform debate, and citizens at large might find useful in their Tax Reform efforts.

We make a key transpartisan point when we say that our conventional left-right debate often overlooks possibilities that might be useful and fall outside current ideologies.

We believe the APT deserves to be part of the deliberations on Tax Reform currently underway in Congress.

(Image of Ben Franklin keeping vigil over the certainty of taxes from his post on the $100 bill from pexels.com.)

Badditives! The Worst Additives in our Food

In Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them, Linda and Bill Bonvie, who for several years wrote the Citizens for Health “Food Identity Theft” blog, have identified a rogues’ gallery of the “worst of the worst” ingredients out there. We are fortunate to be able to bring you selections from this important book on a weekly basis to provide you with the information you need to be as effective you can be in managing your own health and wellness.

April 25, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Next up in the list no one would want to be a part of – Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them Artificial Colors – Agents of Food Fraud That Are Putting Kids on the Road to Ritalin:

Of all the cheap tricks used by food processors to mass-market their commodities while compromising the health of customers, the use of synthetic dyes is the one that really takes the cake when it comes to being flagrantly fake.

While such fakery in the bakery isn’t that hard to distinguish, what may be less apparent are many of the packaged products, ranging from cereals to salad dressings, which have had their appearance artificially enhanced through the use of coloring agents made from petroleum derivatives.badditives

Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are no longer falling for this pervasive form of food fraud – especially after being made aware of the behavioral effects it can have on their kids, for whom many of these prettied-up products are intended. A number of major companies, as a result, have begun to respond by simply dispensing with these deceptive dyes and replacing them with more natural substances.

However, that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of processed foods dressed up in counterfeit colors that still remain on supermarket shelves, many of which are deliberately designed to appeal to preschoolers. That’s why we can’t afford to let our guard down – and why it’s so important to keep up the pressure on the industry to drop the deceptive and damaging disguises they use to lure innocent children and unwary grown-ups…

…It’s hardly surprising that so many supposedly “harmless” synthetic hues have been found to be otherwise when you consider their origins and backgrounds. In fact, the passage of the original federal food safety law, the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act, was largely designed to curtail the use of hazardous coloring agents to disguise the appearance of various products…

…In spite of… [such] measures, our processed food products have continued to be colored with synthetic compounds that rresearch is increasingly revealing to be hazardous to our health (and especially that of our childrren) – badditives that only recently have begun to be replaced with substances more fit for human consumption.

Picture of Food Orange 7 Molecule is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

April 18, 2017

Washington, D.C. – As promised, we bring you another selection from Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them. Today’s excerpt is from the first chapter, Aluminum – The Metallic Menace to Your Mentality:

Like other substances of questionable safety, this most commonplace of metals came into widespread use in consumer products during the post-World War II period. In various forms, it was officially accorded GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status as a food additive by the FDA back in 1959—meaning that as something in “common use” by then, it required no clinical testing or risk-benefit analysis (which translates to: it must be safe, because people have been using it for a while without any immediately apparent ill effects).

In fact, after President Nixon in 1969 directed the FDA to undertake a systematic safety review of all GRAS substances, a select committee of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) was contracted to do a “re-review” on the status of aluminum. The committee concluded: “There is no evidence in the available literature on . . . acidic sodium aluminum phosphate [and other forms of aluminum] . . . that demonstrates, or suggests reasonable grounds to suspect, a hazard to the public when they are used at levels that are now current or that might reasonably be expected in the future.”²

Interestingly enough, although “noting that care should be taken by patients with kidney disease when consuming food containing high levels of Al (aluminum) salts,” the authors of that report “did not mention either dialysis encephalopathy, which has been attributed to aluminum, or “the controversial role of Al in Alzheimer’s disease. Description of these clinical problems began about the same time,” notes Robert A. Yokel, a University of Kentucky pharmaceutical sciences professor.³…

…Consumers were constantly reassured that there was never enough “proof” of an aluminum–Alzheimer’s association to be concerned about it, especially given that the victims were mostly older people and no direct cause-and-effect association was ever clearly established.
All that changed, however, in 2014, when much stronger evidence of such a link emerged—strong enough to move aluminum from something regarded with mere suspicion into the category of an official “suspect.”

 

2. Yokel, Robert A., Aluminum in Food: The Nature and Contribution of Food Additives, p. 206, http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs-wm/28917.pdf
3. Ibid, p. 205

April 11, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Today is officially Read Your Labels Day #RYLD! (Yes, we are a little nerdy when it comes to the work to which we have dedicated ourselves.) As promised, we bring you another selection from Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them.

Today the Bonvies share a selection from their Introduction – a glimpse into what motivated them to provide such an important resource for managing what we feed to ourselves and our families. And if you like the “taste” you get from these selections, please support more important information like this by purchasing a copy of the book using the link above. Enjoy!

From the Introduction of Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them:

The purpose of Badditives! is to acquaint you with what we have come to regard as the “worst of the worst” in terms of food ingredients, how they came to be an accepted part of our diet, the adverse effects they can have on your health and well-being, and how to steer clear of them. In most cases, of course, the best method of avoiding them is, whenever possible, to buy certified organic products, which not only are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers, but are free of most of the substances discussed in this book as well. However, even these aren’t perfect, as you’ll learn in the chapter on carrageenan, a “natural” ingredient that isn’t nearly as harmless as it’s made out to be.
Many of the concerns you’ll find discussed in these pages have been addressed at length in some excellent books, documentary films, and a good deal of scientific and historical information—some of which is cited here and can also be found on the Internet. (Of course, “Internet rumors” and “conspiracy theories” are two of the favorite terms used by industry propagandists in an attempt to dismiss most of the kind of carefully researched information you’ll find here and elsewhere, as if conspiracies—defined as schemes devised by two or more people—were nonexistent, and the Internet was nothing more than a source of unsubstantiated hearsay.) Some of the books we would recommend for those of you who would like to learn more about these issues have been used as references and are mentioned in the chapters that follow.
Hopefully, by the time you finish reading about the damage done by the motley gang of “badditives” to which these chapters are dedicated, you’ll realize that there’s a lot more to worry about in the products you might assume to be safe than merely the amount of sugar (which is actually used much less than it was in years past), sodium (a certain amount of which is actually necessary to keep us alive), and calories they contain. And once you start examining the lists of ingredients on food packages (if you’re not already doing so), you’ll see just how many of them are out there waiting for you and your family to ingest—often half a dozen or more strong in a single product.
At that point, you’ll realize it’s well worth the effort to bar them permanently from your home, your life, and your body.

April 4, 2017

Washington, D.C. – April 11, 201, marks 5 years since the very first CFH Read Your Labels Day #RYLD, the day that serves as a reminder to do everything you can to learn and understand what goes into the things you eat and drink. To commemorate this milestone, Linda and Bill Bonvie have offered to share portions of their new book Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them.additives

Starting on 4/11/17, once a week the Bonvies will share new content from this excellent new resource in the battle to be informed about what we eat, drink, and feed to our families. Feel free to visit this page weekly to check if the latest addition has been posted, or wait to receive the email from us that it is ready to review. Don’t want to wait? Use this link to order a copy for yourself: Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet and How to Avoid Them.

We’ll get things started with a selection from the foreword, written by CFH Board Chair, James S. Turner:

Journalists Linda and Bill Bonvie have been on the food beat for a number of years—most recently as the writers of twice-weekly articles for Citizens for Health’s blog Food Identity Theft from 2010 to 2015.
Their articles laid out in detail the debasing of the American food supply, for example, by manufacturers using industrial sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), “flavor enhancers” like monosodium glutamate, and other brain-damaging excitotoxins and artery-clogging trans fats, all of which have been directly linked to the unprecedented health problems that now plague our society.
The articles formed the basis for Badditives! The 13 Most Harmful Food Additives in Your Diet—and How to Avoid Them, which zeroes in on the worst of the unnatural substances currently found in processed foods, how they got there, and the ways in which they impact our health (beginning with the first of the alphabetically ordered chapters, which reveals links between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease).
Such ingredients give mechanized foods false color, taste, texture, and stability. Without them most of such processed products would taste bland and appear pale, limp, and inert. Various performance-enhancing chemicals, however, can turn these pasty, unappealing, nutrition-deficient discharges from processing machines into the brightly colored, happy-tasting, feel-good stuff we put into our mouths and call food. They carry real risks, as do other substances covered in the following pages, such as GMOs and fluoride, that adulterate our food for even more devious reasons. Along with chronicling how these badditives came to be accepted by federal regulators, the authors advise you on how to banish them from your diet and thus avoid the pitfalls of the easy, lazy, incurious shopping habits that Big Food encourages.

Stay tuned for more – and don’t forget to commemorate Read Your Labels Day #RYLD by being extra-vigilant about examining what Big Food is putting into what you eat and drink. If you find anything especially egregious, or you want to share examples you’ve seen of what we share from the Bonvies’ book, share it with us and other Citizens for Health on Twitter (@citizens4health) and Facebook.

Transpartisan Review Blog #39

transpartisan aca

Transpartisan Health Within Reach?

by A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner

Through the smoldering ruins of the most recent healthcare financing reform effort we see the faint outlines of a transpartisan approach to health care.

Former President Barack Obama issued a statement on the 7th anniversary of passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one day before current Congressional Republicans pulled their proposed ACA ‘repeal and replace’ bill from the House floor.

The former president laid out the accomplishments he saw from the ACA and recognized the need for change, saying:

I’ve always said we should build on this law, just as Americans of both parties worked to improve Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid over the years. . . . But we should start from the baseline that any changes will make our health care system better, not worse for hardworking Americans. That should always be our priority.

In assessing the failure of his own bill President Trump said:

Look, we got no Democratic votes.  We got none, zero.

The plan Trump campaigned for, and for which his supporters voted, included affordable ‘insurance for everybody’ and a ‘demand‘ that drug companies negotiate directly with Medicare and Medicaid and lower their prices, saying they will no longer be ‘politically protected.’

After his health care financing failure, House Speaker Paul Ryan said we need to learn ‘what we could have done to do it better’. Ohio Governor John Kasich, the last Donald Trump primary opponent, said ‘Trump needs to work with Democrats on health care.’ Senator Bernie Sanders asked the President to consider pending Senate legislation lifting the ban on federal health programs negotiating drug prices.

White House: Trump is serious about working with Democrats’, writes The Hill. ‘Republicans and Democrats need to work together on healthcare,’ says Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins, after opposing the House bill, urged Democrats and Republicans to work together on health. Bipartisan serves as word of the day. We see transpartisan—bipartisan expanded—more likely to work than bipartisan alone.

By transpartisan we mean recognizing the tension in both parties between members seeking order—the leadership, the establishment, the elite—and the agitators for freedom—the freedom caucus, Bernie Sanders, and, in his populist guise, President Trump. To us transpartisan means a sound health plan incorporating interests from all four quadrants—free right and left and order right and left.  See the Transpartisan Matrix.

Large numbers, probably well over fifty percent, of Americans use complementary, alternative, integrative, natural healing—paying billions for nutrition, chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, and over 100 other recognized health modalities—as part or all of their personal health promotion efforts. Virtually none of these health approaches formally appears in the current health care financing system of government and insurance company payments for drugs, surgery, radiation and diagnostics.

We believe the absence of the voice of these consumers from the health financing debate accounts for a significant amount of the dissatisfaction with both the ACA and its offered replacement.  Too many voices not heard.

These numbers track voter turnout for the 2016 presidential election. President Trump is a minority president. The vast majority of eligible voters did not vote for Trump—66 million voted for Clinton and 90 million stayed home, 63 million voted for Trump. This need not be a crippling factor. Thomas Jefferson squeaked into the White House after a tied Electoral College vote and 36 Congressional ballots and went on to have a consequential presidency.

We think a transpartisan process will strengthen any policy deliberation. Non-voters affect daily politics. Office holders write them off at their peril. At a minimum, current office holders need to consider how their actions might provoke previous sideliners to vote and how. We think this form of ‘survival anticipation’ played a key role in the failure of the ACA replacement.

The health financing bill failed to integrate the interests of the four quadrants—liberal and progressive Democrats and order and freedom Republicans—and, for that reason, we suggest, failed to become law. When the four quadrant interests integrate the natural healing community and other underrepresented populations into the health care financing discussion, the nation will take the next steps toward a workable—and we would say transpartisan—national health policy.

Through the haze we see the outlines.

(The above image is the work of the U.S. federal government and in the public domain.)

Transpartisan Review Blog #38

Our friend and colleague Steven P. Cohen, scholar, spiritual leader, and transpartisan activist, passed away at the age of 71 at his home in Teaneck, NJ, on January 25, 2017. For three decades Steve was the “silent broker” of peace talks in the Middle East—”the lone guerilla warrior of peace,” one Israeli politician called him.

Transpartisan Review Blog #36

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Oscar’s Transpartisan Moment

by A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner

And the Academy Award [Beatty hesitates] for Best Picture ‘. . . La La Land . . .’  The marvelous Faye Dunaway delivered, likely, the most memorable words, ‘La La Land’,  of her nearly sixty years of memorable performances.

Her escort for the moment, the hesitating Warren Beatty, stared transfixed like a deer in headlights or a passenger on a bus watching two cars careen in slow motion toward an inevitable crash.

For about a minute and a half La La Land producers Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt, and Fred Berger, delivered uplifting thanks for the recognition of their achievement by the Academy.

Then Horowitz said ‘What? You guys, I’m sorry, no. There’s a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture.’ He said, ‘I’m going to be really proud to hand this to my friends from Moonlight.’  You can read the transcript.

Adele Romanski, a Moonlight producer said, ‘It is so humbling to be standing up here with, hopefully, still the La La crew? No, O.K., they’re gone, but it’s very humbling to be up here.’

Host Jimmy Kimmel said, ‘Why can’t we just give out a whole bunch of them?’

New York Times film Critic A. O. Scott captured the moment’s essence. ‘The envelope mix-up was painful, but it brought to the stage two directors in their 30s with five features between them and reminded the audience that Damien Chazelle (La La Land director) and Barry Jenkins (Moonlight director) are not enemies.

The grace with which the La La Land producers (Jordan Horowitz, in particular) handled the handoff — and the poise with which Mr. Jenkins and his producer, Adele Romanski, received the belated honor for Moonlight — should quell the facile polarization that followed the two movies throughout the awards season.

Quell facile polarization. That states the transpartisan promise. Leading up to the Oscar mix-up-moment, partisans of each picture struggled, argued, fought for and against the movies’ two quite different pictures of America.

After the moment, recrimination and retaliation took up a lot of the time, energy and human resources spent reacting to the event. At its core the Oscar mix-up reminds us that more than controversy exists between even fierce partisans.

Oscar’s transpartisan moment points toward broadening our political discourse to include the aspirations of the 50 to 70% of Americans alienated (somewhat too strongly) from our politics. Each event contains the possibility of more than conflict.

Image courtesy of Rayukk and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

EMFs, Risks, Not Enough to Stop 5G Network

The FCC’s proposed regulations would allow widespread and rapid deployment of a “5G” network under a proposed “streamlining” of the siting process. Not only is the justification of deployment weak, there are many reasons that large scale “streamlined” (minimal government oversight, especially at the state level) and rapid deployment is a very bad idea.

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