The New York Times provides an insightful opinion piece deconstructing the voter fraud argument which the Bush administration is using to defend its partisan purge of United States Attorneys.
The role of the Justice Department is to enforce laws equally and uphold the Constitution. When this mandate is hijacked to selectively enforce the law to encumber political rivals and to protect party loyalists, one of the self-correcting mechanism of our democracy becomes crippled and compromised.
Sidney Blumenthal has an insightful piece in Salon which explains why partisan tampering at the Justice Department is dangerous to all Americans.
The White House political director was clearly at the center of the partisan plot to fire U.S. attorneys, despite the administration’s clumsy attempts to pretend otherwise.
Bruce Sterling always has something interesting to say. Read more in the Washington Post via Digg:
They’re all about creating irresistible consumer demand for cool objects that will yield a global atmosphere upgrade. It’s the Net vs. the 20th-century fossil order in a fight that the cybergreens are winning. Why? Because they’re not about spiritual potential, human decency, small is beautiful, peace, justice or anything else unattainable. The cybergreens are about stuff people want, such as health, sex, glamour, hot products, awesome bandwidth, tech innovation and tons of money.
The New York Times offers a Must-Do-List if the United States hopes to firm up the democracy on which this country was founded. A few of the things on the list: restore habeas corpus, stop illegal spying, ban torture, close the C.I.A. prisons, ban extraordinary rendition, close Gitmo. This is a must read.
Here is a quote from a must read column from Paul Krugman:
Here’s what I wrote more than three years ago, in the introduction to my column collection “The Great Unraveling”: “I have a vision — maybe just a hope — of a great revulsion: a moment in which the American people look at what is happening, realize how their good will and patriotism have been abused, and put a stop to this drive to destroy much of what is best in our country.”
read more | digg story
“You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.” -Dr. Phil
I think it is time for all Americans to take stock of the state of our political discourse. Particularly, we should decide what type of information would be most useful in order to turn this country around. Do we need more deceptive sales pitches, spin and outright lies or do we need to start looking at facts again?
I have a modest proposal for your consideration.
First, our collective new year’s resolution for 2007 is this: stop the lying. No more white lies, half truths or any other shady method used to manipulate public opinion in order to further a hidden agenda. This type of behavior will no longer be tolerated and the perpetrator will not be given a free pass to continue such actions.
Second, when the new Congress convenes in January we should petition our representatives to bring back The Congressional Office of Technology which was dismantled eleven years ago after the Republican revolution seized Congress. In case you have forgotten, The Congressional Office of Technology was established in 1972 to "provided Congressional members and committees with objective and authoritative analysis of the complex scientific and technical issues of the late 20th century." The OTA generated fact not fiction.
Why do we need to stop the lying?
The first issue is credibility. If you are seen as a liar, no one will believe you even if you start telling the truth. Habitual liars burn through good will rather quickly. No one wants to spend the time doing the extra work and research to find out if this time the liar is telling the truth. This situation is frustrating, insulting and a waste of time. It is much easier to tune-out and write-off anything a liar says as not true.
One of the biggest problem with lying for political expediency is this; it leads to a mountain of long term problems waiting just out of sight down the road. Here is a short list of such challenges facing our country: the effects of global warming, a middle class on the verge of extinction, college tuition at or above 6,000 dollars per quarter and the grand daddy of them all —the Iraq war.
So, we have a choice. Start demanding the truth or more of the same old horse pucky. I choose facts and truth. If you are unsure where you stand, here is a highlight reel from The Best War Ever to get you thinking.
This is the number for the Capitol Hill switchboard (202) 224-3121.
"This next American era will not be one dominated by these two exhausted ideologies of the past, but will be a battle for the mastery of a new, as yet unarticulated 21st century governing approach suited to the challenges we face today and built around the media and people of our time. The core direction of this battle is not the left-right one fought at the end of the last century, but will be more about forward and backward." -diary post on Daily Kos by Simon Rosenberg
Lost in all of the post election excitement is the fate of Richard Pombo, who until Tuesday, was the untouchable chairman of the House Resources Committee. Pambo, a six term Republican representative from California’s 11th District, was defeated by Jerry McNerney, a wind power consultant.
To put it fairly, Pombo was no friend to the environment. Salon describes his relationship in this way:
The Salon article goes on to wonder out loud if this is a turning point for the environmental movement. A sign its once waning influence is on the rise. Well, after 12 years of outright Republican hostility towards the earth, a stronger environmental voice in our public discourse certainly would be a positive change.
My hope is this change in leadership is a sign that people are ready to return to an environmental policy guided by strong science rather than cronyism and outright corruption. It is time all stake holders get an opportunity to shape public policy, not just they few who would personally benefit.
"Don’t want to be an American idiot. One nation controlled by the media. Information age of hysteria, calling out to Idiot America." -from American Idiot
There are two rock albums which perfectly capture the screwed-up madness which is this decade. One is The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance and the other is Green Day’s American Idiot. I’m sure it is no small coincidence that both of these albums were produced by Rob Cavallo.
However, since today is the mid-term boss battle to end all epic electoral struggles, I thought it was most fitting to talk about American Idiot.
Punk has always been the music of defiance. When the fire of punk is combined with a smart and savvy political perspective, it has a particularly potent effect.
Does this seem unbelievable? In 1896 the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) urged the police to raided the house of Jello Biafra, lead singer of the Dead Kennedy’s. Biafra was charge and later after a mistrial, acquitted of distributing "harmful matter".
Well, Green Day has produced the much needed "harmful matter" for this decade. This is punk-rock opera which makes you think, feel and then want to take action. Nothing is more rock and roll than that.
Here is track fifteen for the playlist: American Idiot by Green Day.
"[NBC] cannot accept these spots as they are disparaging to President Bush" –NBC’s letter to the Dixie Chicks, rejecting paid advertising for Shut Up and Sing
If Rush Limbaugh feels it is his patriotic duty to mock Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson induced tremors and palsy, then the Dixie Chicks have every right to be ashamed of President Bush–maybe, even more so.
However, what I am most ashamed of is that we, the people have allowed mega-media corporations to become the gate-keepers of our First Amendment Rights. We allow these conglomerates to decide who’s speech is truly protected. And make no mistake, this group is not an unbiased third party.
There once was a time when this country was made up of rugged individuals who freely spoke their minds–to hell with the consequence. Individuals communicating with other individuals. Instead, we let the corporate mass media decide who gets a turn on a soap box and who gets turned away.
Shame on us.