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Michael Goldstein
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Michael Goldstein, a political writer who focuses on how to move beyond the teeter-totter of the two-party system, is the author of Return of the Light: A Political Fable in Which the People of America Retake Their Country. He coordinates, which will soon provide a forum for dialog about how to make the "fable" a reality. He lives in Northern California, where he also works as a mediator and as an attorney doing death-penalty and other court-appointed appeals. Write Michael at or

Entries by Michael Goldstein

On Attending the Funeral of Richard Perkins

(1) Comments | Posted November 27, 2015 | 10:50 PM

I didn't know him, unfortunately. According to tearful family members, he was funny, wise, loving, caring. They were proud that he'd earned a license to drive 18-wheelers. He was 39, father of two, stepfather of four others. He helped those in need of assistance in the neighborhood, doing things like...

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Abolish the Box on College Applications

(0) Comments | Posted July 28, 2015 | 1:42 PM

Late last spring, Princeton University Students for Prison Education and Reform presented the school's president with a petition containing over 1000 signatures, calling for the school to cease using the Common Application's questions about prior criminal and disciplinary histories.

The Princeton Alumni Weekly reports, "Students have called on...

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"F*ck the Police" = Let the System Off the Hook

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 1:46 PM


Part of the police accountability movement sees police as the enemy, often under the slogan "Fuck the Police." But the police we can taunt on the street are not the real problem. Their management, beholden to that...

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SOTU: Obama Now Sounds Like a Candidate for High School Class President

(0) Comments | Posted January 26, 2015 | 1:01 AM


I don't need to add to the abundant commentary published in the Huffington Post, as well as elsewhere, on the substance of Barack Obama's State of the Union address, especially what he avoided truly addressing on income inequality, the...

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Ferguson Decision: A Foregone Conclusion Three Months Ago

(5) Comments | Posted November 26, 2014 | 3:53 PM

The decision not to prosecute Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown was clear to every criminal lawyer over three months ago, when Saint Louis County's chief prosecutor turned the matter over to a grand jury.

His department had the power to file charges and bring the case to trial, but...

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Election Results: Better Cover for Dems, More Distractions for Progressives?

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2014 | 2:59 PM

Last week's elections concern me some because the policies coming out of Washington will probably swing even more to the right, and some because of what they confirm about the parts of the voting public's level of understanding. The biggest problem, however, is that the two-party system fools more of...

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The Elephant in the Activist Livingroom

(1) Comments | Posted October 20, 2014 | 3:10 AM

Saturday I attended the Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, California, a forum about "inspiring a shift to live on Earth in ways that honor the web of life, each other and future generations." I heard lots of great things — truths about where we are, examples of positive developments of...

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The Climate March: Beyond Asking Those Beholden to the Wrong People to Do the Right Thing, Part II

(2) Comments | Posted October 13, 2014 | 12:10 PM


Part II of II

In Part I
I asserted "two truths": that the People's Climate March was an amazing and valuable achievement, and that it was a powerful exercise in a nearly powerless strategy.

Part I recapped the...

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The Climate March: Beyond Asking Those Beholden to the Wrong People to Do the Right Thing

(8) Comments | Posted October 4, 2014 | 3:30 PM

Part I of II

Two truths:

The People's Climate March was an amazing and valuable achievement.

The People's Climate March was a powerful exercise in a nearly powerless strategy.

Who, among those with an inkling of the climate disaster already upon millions of beings on the planet, could not be...

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Ah, Yes. Another Sanitized Air War

(0) Comments | Posted September 12, 2014 | 6:30 PM

I wrote a draft of this post four months ago, before the 70th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. Then it fell through the cracks. Given our commander in chief's recent announcement of "a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our...

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Gun Control: Getting Taken In by a Wedge Issue

(12) Comments | Posted June 16, 2014 | 11:23 AM

No matter what side we are on, we can get pretty excited about gun control. The debate rages again in the wake of Elliott Rodger's killings in Santa Barbara last month, followed by shootings in Las Vegas and Oregon. A New York Times op-ed arguing

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The Supreme Court, Affirmative Action, and 'The 99 Percent'

(1) Comments | Posted May 2, 2014 | 3:56 PM

The April 22 Supreme Court decision upholding Michigan's affirmative-action ban starkly demonstrates the limits of what political leadership by the representatives of "The 1 Percent" can achieve in the realms of racial justice and the healing of the racial divide.

Preliminarily, affirmative action today is already strictly limited....

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After Detroit: A Suggestion for The After Party

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2014 | 5:53 PM

Last month, in a Huffington Post piece, U.S. Uncut cofounder Carl Gibson made a welcome call for the formation of a new political party, populist and explicitly anti-capitalist. Thirty-one days later, Occupy Wall Street and U.S. Uncut announced that founding members of those groups...

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Just Between Us White Folks

(57) Comments | Posted July 23, 2013 | 2:40 PM

Okay, not really just between us white folks. But I'm in the camp that says we whites need to be holding our own conversations, our own investigations of our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes about race.

White Guilt Doesn't Help

Yet I don't even know what language to use. A lot...

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All Is Not Lost: 12 Theses on the Way Forward

(0) Comments | Posted July 10, 2013 | 4:28 PM

In his Alternet piece The 4 Plagues: Getting a Handle on the Coming Apocalypse, Don Hazen shows that the momentum in every area of public policy is in a harmful direction, and he does so with thoroughness, eloquence, and clarity. He concludes, "The number of people and books...

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God to Michael: Who Do You Think You Are?

(0) Comments | Posted April 2, 2013 | 1:35 PM

I've been reading the Book of Exodus. A few verses a day. In the bathroom. (Sorry.)

Most of my writing is about politics. On a good day, I believe that I have something to offer that can be of real value. Like many writers, however, and many other people with...

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Gay Marriage: The Risks of Winning in Court (Part 2)

(12) Comments | Posted February 27, 2013 | 11:50 PM

I recently wrote that a risk of taking Proposition 8, California's voter-enacted gay marriage ban, to the Supreme Court is not only that a loss would be a legal and political setback, as others have noted, but that a victory would feed a backlash. I cited...

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Gay Marriage: The Risks of Winning in Court (Part 1)

(258) Comments | Posted February 15, 2013 | 5:03 PM

Next month the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of California's gay marriage ban. When the court accepted the case, the San Francisco Chronicle's headline was "Jitters as Prop. 8 goes to high court." Author Joe Garofoli explained:

There has long been tension in the...
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MLK, the Inauguration and What We Need Now: A Tale of Three Paradigms

(2) Comments | Posted January 22, 2013 | 4:57 PM

I logged on wanting to comment on a posting on the Martin Luther King observance and instead found Howard Fineman's lead piece on today's Inauguration. That seemed worth throwing in my two cents on, but I found myself incapable of doing it.

The Inauguration and Paradigm I: Good...

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Reflections on Getting Shot

(1) Comments | Posted December 5, 2012 | 9:55 AM

Three years ago, my then-girlfriend Susan and I were taking a walk in her neighborhood, the prosperous Elmwood District in Berkeley, Calif. Like now, it was the time of year where it was already dark before dinner time, though it was still a surprise. We could see the cheery glow...

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