The digest [formerly mistakenly called a "newsletter"] is published sporadically from time to time (with the best of intentions) [right here online, instead of attached to an email] with links to our latest blog posts, links to recent important news items, cartoons and occasional videos. We send out an email to remind you that the digest exists rarely, but in the interests of not flooding you with emails we will refrain from notifying you every time there are updates or a new issue. So, rather than trickle down or trickle up, we tend to trickle out. If you missed an issue, check out the Archives tab for links to older editions. And thanks to all the contributors to this issue; especially to those I know personally!
Upcoming Events are listed on the Mid-Maine Progressive Forum landing page.
Just when you thought it was safe to ignore the many hundreds of articles and videos and political cartoons and documentaries and other material that have captured my attention since last year: sorry, I could not resist sharing what I have been watching and reading! If you are interested in a particular topic not represented here in this issue, feel free to contact me (or join us on Saturday mornings electronically with Zoom). If I have any material in my notes (or in my database), I'll be happy to send it along to you personally (or even to just update the web page with that material).
Whatever your motivation for reading this digest, you probably care about progressive ideas (or perhaps you are just curious about them). Most of us understand that pandemics, climate change, incompetence, corruption and injustice [of all kinds] must be recognized and confronted. Evidence of the effects of these ills and the impact on our own lives abounds. Knowledge is power. Use your critical thinking skills to wade through the information and disinformation, then act in whatever way you decide is right for you.
You will also find in this issue: political news, analysis and commentary about the Trump Administration, climate change, the 2020 presidential campaigners (and much else that you just might find interesting). I have finally accepted that it isn't possible to keep up with the news cycles and carry on a normal life, so these stories and images are only 'the tip of the iceberg' for this issue (and for future issues also). I generally provide some visible indication of the last time the page or section was updated.
. . . (except for links with political and economic emphasis, which are listed below).
You will find terrific cartoons sprinkled throughout the web site; at some point, I will collect the ones I have published over the years on a separate page.
For more opinion and commentary from MMPF voices, check out The Grumpy Progressive. We are currently working on a blog post discussing the new Michael Moore film: The Planet of the Humans [in June]. Please feel free to join the conversation by sending us your thoughts; put in your two cents.
Earlier editions of the publication are available if you are curious to learn how we got to where we are today. We still fantasize about eventually indexing the material and correlating it to the values, positions and issues that we were tracking during the long 2016 election cycle [and the 2020 election cycle, too].
Have you ever wondered whether what you read or hear makes sense? Have you ever been persuaded by a clever argument? Have you ever disagreed with someone without being able to make a good argument? Do you want to be able to decide for yourself whether or not you agree with a candidate or a politician when they say something controversial?
David Pakman made a Critical Thinking Miniseries of videos in 2018 which will help you arrive at your own conclusions, instead of being conned into agreeing with something you are not sure about. This is a critical skill for making sense of current events, the news (yes, Virginia, even "fake news"). On a good day, these skills might even help you decide whether what you are hearing at your local city council meetings is total nonsense!
For extra credit: apply your critical thinking skills to the these discussions. Here are some good examples of different people trying to influence your thinking. Who do you agree with (if anyone)? Feel free to share your views with us!
Recent news has been added about Facebook and Twitter above, but I have repeated much material from our previous Info Digest because of the threat social media poses to our democracy. If you have not had a chance to look at some of this material, I urge you to give it a look. The Russians are not the only ones who are trying to confuse you and rile you up.
You will find a general listing below of where to find more news and analysis. Over time I have gravitated to several sources (many of which reveal a progressive bias, of course), but I have tried to season that diet with other views to make it easier for us to understand and interact with the rest of the world out there. I believe it is healthy and sensible to learn how to interact with others who don't see things the way we do.
Here are some important or interesting resources.