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Composite photo based on original pics by Paul Weaver

Democrats! Time to put aside your differences, and focus on the real enemy: Bernie.

If you’re a true-blue member of the Democratic Party, you should be worried. We have spent the last several years trying to torpedo Bernie Sanders’ campaign, and yet here his is, more popular than ever, coming out on top despite our hard work. This is not good. For a while, his fame wasn’t a concern- after all, our press has been doing a great job of diminishing his presence or simply pretending he doesn’t even exist. But even with our propaganda machine in full swing, the guy’s popularity keeps popping up in new places like an air bubble in bad 70’s wallpaper. …


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underlying photo by Robert Scoble

The New York Times published the wrong version of this letter. Here’s the correct one, unabridged.

Open Letter to Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos

Dear Mr. Bezos:

New Yorkers do not want your false promises of 25,000 permanent jobs, 11,000 union construction and maintenance jobs, and $28 billion in new tax revenues that Amazon was prepared to dangle in front of our state. There is a clear majority of rich, short-sighted, and greedy New Yorkers that do support this proposal, because they see dollar signs in their future and can’t wait to cash in on a yuppified version of New York City, jammed with trendy bars and overpriced restaurants affordable to a select few. Then there are those still hoping you’ll return because they simply don’t understand the real consequences of getting into bed with someone like you; they haven’t connected the neoliberal dots, yet, Jeff. They aren’t dumb- you and your ilk have just done a great job of keeping them distracted, worried, and confused. They buy from Amazon because it’s cheap, not understanding that each purchase actually makes it harder for everyone to earn a decent living. …


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Original photo of LIC by Thomas Hawk

The real issues behind the Amazon - New York City deal, and why this is a threat to everyone, including you.

While New Yorkers were busy voting out Republicans at the polls, their fearless incumbent Governor, confident of a third term, quietly released a bombshell he clearly hoped would be drowned out by the election day hype: Amazon is Coming To Town in the form of a second headquarters in Long Island City. …


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original photo by Eden, Janine and Jim

Here’s a helpful breakdown of 3 Ballot Questions you probably didn’t even know you were voting on.

Did you know there’s are 3 Ballot Questions you will be voting on during this year’s election, assuming you live in New York City? If you do, congratulations- you’re one of the few. For all the talk about getting citizens out to vote, local governments still do precious little to inform or motivate the general populace about what’s going on. Here is a list of usually reliable online resources that, as of the typing of these words, still don’t even mention our Ballot Questions: Ballotpedia, Vote Smart, My Time to Vote, Vote 411, and Vote Save America. Ballot Ready mentions them by name, but offers zero information about what they are. …


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photo by Michael Swan

Every 20 Years, New York Voters have the chance to rewrite their constitution any way they wish. Should they?

So there I was, sitting in a Brooklyn church on a Tuesday night in September, listening to a group of strangers yelling at each other about a monumental issue that few of us even know exists. Once every twenty years in November, New York voters must choose whether or not we want to rewrite or amend any or all of the New York State Constitution. 2017 is one of those years, and if enough New Yorkers vote yes, a Constitutional Convention will take place- composed of 204 delegates who will hammer out a proposal full of changes. Once they’re done, the rest of us will then accept or reject those changes in a future November vote, thereby engaging in a rare example of American Democracy at work. …


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George Lucas portrait by Charis Tsevis, detail.

Hidden inside the much-hated Star Wars prequels lies the entire story of the 2016 election- and a lesson we’ve yet to learn.

Yes, I am about to use the Star Wars Prequels to discuss American Politics, and I’ll be doing so with a straight face- but first, a little history. Like most males of my generation, I was under the power of the Force for all of my childhood, having watched Star Wars at the impressionable young age of four. This event should have created an unabashed fanboy ecstatic at the news that Disney would let us all relive our childhoods over and over via an endless stream of sequels and spinoffs, but that is not the case. If The Force Awakens is any indication of the franchise’s future, the future is a lot like eating a McDonald’s Happy Meal: fun while it lasts, and then you’re on the toilet for twelve hours. …


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detail from Billy Joel’s GLASS HOUSES, original photo by Jim Houghton, Turkey Photo by Patrick Fitzgerald, remixed by Memo

Or: How I Learned to Resist the Urge of Slamming My Trump-Supporting Cousin’s Face Into the Mashed Potatoes

Ah, the American Holidays of 2016. Perhaps no holiday season in recent U.S. history has been the cause of more anxiety than this one. Who’s stupid idea was it to stick election day right before it all, anyway? And how is a multi-cultural-loving, equality-for-all liberal supposed to make it through the day without resorting into the very thing s/he supposedly abhors? And yes, I do mean bloody violence.

Fear not, for this here Holiday Survival Guide will help you through the familial tensions that are sure to rise while stuffing your face with cranberry sauce. First, let’s consider your position. You care about this country and all the different people that live inside its boundaries. Maybe you were With Her, or maybe you weren’t so much With Her as you were Against Him- but either way, this wasn’t what was supposed to happen. How did half the country manage to turn its brain off- and its moral conscience- long enough to elect the most disgusting example of everything good people stand against? In the time that has followed this disaster, you’ve seen swastikas painted on walls, heard stories of brown-skinned people being told to go back to their country, as well as stories of cops detaining people for cracking an anti-Trump joke in public. I mean, it’s getting ugly out there, and your internal body temperature is beyond feverish. And now you’re supposed to just pretend that none of this is happening, just so you can get through a dinner with Uncle Charlie or Cousin Jane or whatever-member-of-your-family-that-clearly-must-have-been-adopted-because-otherwise-it-would-imply-that-you-share-the-same-genetic-code and there is no way in scientific hell that this could be the case? …


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original background photo by John Phelan, art & design by Memo Salazar

Helping America answer the question “WTF?”

Dear America:

No doubt you’re suffering from a serious hangover right about now. You’ve been on the bender of your life for the past eighteen months, and now, here you are, trying to figure out just what in the hell happened. As your therapist, I’m here to walk down this path with you. Here, let me hold up this mirror and turn on the light. There we go. What do you see?

No doubt you’re looking for someone to blame. The racists, the xenophobes, the sexist white males that show up at rallies louder than any group of fratboys you’ve ever had to deal with… it sure looks like they came out in droves. But let’s think about this one, America. In the last eight years, we’ve seen gay marriage become a nationally-accepted thing. We’ve chosen a guy with dark skin to lead us… twice. And a lot of us just made it legal to buy and smoke pot. Pot! Is this the portrait of an angry, straight, white guy? Or of a closed-minded, religious right person? Are you becoming more liberal, or more conservative, America? …


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How the Democratic and Republican Parties Saved America From a Bunch of Nosy, Meddling Dames.

If you’re finding this title a little offensive, wait until you read the true story that inspired it. And if you’re wondering why our Presidential Debates are the opposite of everything you’d like them to be, well, this story will provide you with the exact, irrefutable answer… but you’re not going to like it.

It begins in July of 1848, the month women’s suffrage became an official movement in Seneca Falls, NY. Just imagine: slavery was still legal, and it would be another 22 years before men with dark skin could vote- a difficult battle in itself- yet enlightened women had already begun to take up the voting cause. When the 15th Amendment finally did pass, it prohibited governments from denying anyone the vote based on race or color, but not gender- so Susan B. Anthony and her gang petitioned Congress to extend those rights to women, only to be completely ignored by Washington. …


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Photos by: Gage Skidmore / Michael Vadon

If you’re truly frustrated with our system, it’s time to do something about it. Here’s what.

This is part 2 of an article about the current state of America’s political system (and the failing society that results from it.) Part One explains how we got here; now here are the very specific things you can do if you’ve had enough.

Assuming that we’re at least in agreement about the depressing and depressed state of politics in our country, even if we differ on ideologies, our first order of business is this upcoming election. I’m not here to convince you to vote for one person over another- this is not about personal agendas. …

About

Memo Salazar

A filmmaker, writer & artist who has directed Public Enemy music videos, coauthored a TED Talk with Brian Greene, and edited Sesame Street, among other things.

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