Articles and excerpts – post election – Nov 2014

(scroll down for excerpts)

American Politicians Are a Bigger Threat to Democracy Than ISIS By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, TIME, November 5, 2014 …Instead, of spouting grimly sophisticated cynicism of pundits, I still believe that the inherent goodness of the process can defeat the greed of the politically ambitious and ethically vacuous…

Democratic Candidates Lost, But Progressive Issues Won By David Morris, Common Dreams, November 06, 2014  My own opinion is that ballot initiatives more accurately take the ideological pulse of the people because debates over issues must focus on issues, not personality, temperament or looks…I am buoyed by the empirical evidence: Americans even in deeply red regions are liberal on many key issues.

How Did Minnesota Stay Blue in the Midterms? By Embracing, Not Running From, Progressive Values BY Jacob Wheeler In these Times.com, November 7, 2014

Why Right-Wing Christians Believe GOP Lies By Frank Schaeffer, AlterNet, November 5, 2014

How religion played in the midterm elections By Mark Silk,  marksilk.religionnews.com, Nov 5, 2014

Hard-Nosed Advice From Veteran Lobbyist: ‘Win Ugly or Lose Pretty’ By ERIC LIPTON, OCT. 30, 2014

Triumph of the Wrong by Paul Krugman, New York Times, NOV. 6, 2014 …politics determines who has the power, not who has the truth… the biggest secret of the Republican triumph surely lies in the discovery that obstructionism bordering on sabotage is a winning political strategy…

America’s Broken Politics By NICHOLAS KRISTOF, New York Times, NOV. 5, 2014

The Corporate Coup d’Etat is Nearly Complete By Harvey Wasserman, Common Dreams, November 05, 2014

Democrats Duped by the Caucus Room Conspiracy By The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program November 6, 2014

Excerpts

American Politicians Are a Bigger Threat to Democracy Than ISIS By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, TIME, November 5, 2014 – The lying campaign ads, shady voter ID laws and sanctioned dishonesty should be illegal—and those complicit should be arrested…The election season highlights not our dedicated patriots vying to improve the country, but the greedy villains who are subtly but devastatingly destroying the democratic process like a creeping and relentless rust…This is the democratic ideal we so love: an informed population weighs the positions of those running for political office, then selects, through majority, the person they think will best represent them in government. It’s so beautiful in its simplicity and sincerity that it’s no wonder those hungry for freedom worldwide would want to embrace it. But here in America that ideal is facing the same fate as an extra in The Walking Dead who says, “I’m going to go on night …The two most egregious examples of this betrayal are in misleading political ads and in partisan lawmaking that is meant to obstruct fair voting practices…The recent push by the GOP in many states to force a form of voter ID as well as reduce voting hours has rightfully been described by many as a modern version of the poll tax, which was declared unconstitutional in 1966. .. Poll analyst Nate Silver determined that ID laws could reduce voter turnout by 2.4 percent, a margin that might sway close races toward Republicans. U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan, said that such ID laws exist only to “discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.”… This deliberate act to sabotage the democratic election process is worse than anything ISIS could do and yet we not only permit it, we vote people who support it into positions of power…Ironically, much of the battle over the Second Amendment right to bear arms is the fear that someone will take over the country, remove our freedoms, and we will not be able to fight back. But that’s what’s happening now…We need to do two things to stabilize the listing ship of democracy… laws deliberately restricting voters from voting. We have to join together on principle and vote out such sinister people, even if these voting restrictions benefit your party. Because this isn’t about giving your party more power, it’s about having a party that supports the democratic ideals of the Constitution…Win because you’re right, not because you’re the better liar… we should be enacting more such laws and enforcing them more diligently. These laws should include punishments that range from assessing huge fines capable of crippling a campaign to prison. Do those punishments really seem too steep for someone destroying the democratic process? Some may say my outrage shows political naiveté or hyperbole. But I don’t think it’s possible for a black man who has lived in America for 67 years to be politically naïve. Instead, of spouting grimly sophisticated cynicism of pundits, I still believe that the inherent goodness of the process can defeat the greed of the politically ambitious and ethically vacuous…

Democratic Candidates Lost, But Progressive Issues Won By David Morris, Common Dreams, November 06, 2014 http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/11/06/please-note-democratic-candidates-lost-progressive-issues-won…scores of initiatives did involve hot button issues.  And on these American voters proved astonishingly liberal….Voters approved every initiative to legalize or significantly reduce the penalties for marijuana possession, Voters approved every initiative to raise the minimum wage, voters rejected measures that would have given the fertilized egg personhood under their criminal codes, approved background checks… What did Tuesday tell us?  When given the choice between a Republican and a Democrat candidate the majority of voters chose the Republican.  When given a choice between a Republican and a Democrat position on an issue they chose the Democrat.  I’ll leave it up to others to debate the reasons behind this apparent contradiction.  My own opinion is that ballot initiatives more accurately take the ideological pulse of the people because debates over issues must focus on issues, not personality, temperament or looks…I am buoyed by the empirical evidence: Americans even in deeply red regions are liberal on many key issues. And I am saddened that these same voters have voted to enhance the power of a party at odds with the values these voters have expressed.  The challenge, and in an age where billions of dollars in negative sound-bites define a candidate it is a daunting one, is how to make the next election on issues, not personalities.

Why Right-Wing Christians Believe GOP Lies By Frank Schaeffer, AlterNet, November 5, 2014    Since the economy has rebounded and healthcare reform has worked, all that remained for the GOP was to lie. And since the base of the GOP is white aging southern evangelicals, the GOP was in luck. These are easy folks to lie to. That’s because they already accept an alternative version of reality. Also, of course, since the lies are about a black man, that doesn’t hurt. Yes, race is still an issue.

How religion played in the midterm elections By Mark Silk,  Nov 5, 2014  Simply put, the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. According to yesterday’s exit polls, the religious layout of the electorate looks almost identical to the last midterm election in 2010, and not much different from the 2012 presidential election…The one group that appears to have shifted significantly compared to the last midterm were members of “other religions” — Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, etc. In 2010, three out of four voted Democratic, while this time around it was two out of three. And given that their proportion of the vote increased from 8 percent to 11 percent, that was not a trivial number of votes…the Nones, despite evidence of their rise, continue to punch below their demographic weight, remaining at 12 percent. (The latest numbers show them at 20 percent of the adult American population.)

Hard-Nosed Advice From Veteran Lobbyist: ‘Win Ugly or Lose Pretty’ By ERIC LIPTON, OCT. 30, 2014 – Richard Berman, a political consultant, said oil and gas industry officials … must be willing to exploit emotions like fear, greed and anger and turn them against the environmental groups. And major corporations secretly financing such a campaign should not worry about offending the general public because “you can either win ugly or lose pretty,” he said.

Triumph of the Wrong by Paul Krugman, New York Times, NOV. 6, 2014 …politics determines who has the power, not who has the truth. Still, it’s not often that a party that is so wrong about so much does as well as Republicans did on Tuesday…Republican policy proposals deserve more critical scrutiny, not less, now that the party has more ability to impose its agenda. So now is a good time to remember just how wrong the new rulers of Congress have been about, well, everything…the story of conservative economics these past six years and more has been one of intellectual debacle — made worse by the striking inability of many on the right to admit error under any circumstances… if Republicans have been so completely wrong about everything, why did voters give them such a big victory? Part of the answer is that leading Republicans managed to mask their true positions… the biggest secret of the Republican triumph surely lies in the discovery that obstructionism bordering on sabotage is a winning political strategy…This was, it turned out, bad for America but good for Republicans. Most voters don’t know much about policy details, nor do they understand the legislative process. So all they saw was that the man in the White House wasn’t delivering prosperity — and they punished his party. 

America’s Broken Politics By NICHOLAS KRISTOF, New York Times, NOV. 5, 2014 – We painlessly inherited democracy, but by allowing political dysfunction to set in, we’ve botched it… “Politics is the noblest of professions,” President Eisenhower said in 1954, and politics in the past often seemed a bright path toward improving our country…

The Corporate Coup d’Etat is Nearly Complete By Harvey Wasserman, Common Dreams, November 05, 2014 – Nothing is clear now except that it won’t be easy …Our electoral apparatus is thoroughly compromised by oceans of dirty money, Jim Crow registration traps, rigged electronic voting machines, gerrymandering, corrupt secretaries of state. The internet may be next.  Above all, if there is one thing that could save us a shred of democracy, it’s preserving net neutrality…  If we now lose the ability to freely communicate, we are in the deepest hole of all…Thus the GOP has been enthroned by a half-century of Democrats who’ve helped drag us into endless war, ignored our electoral rights and sold their souls—and the nation’s—to a zombie army of corporate operatives…The money power has ruled this nation before.  This time it means a whole new level of all-out war against social justice, our basic rights, our ability to live in harmony with our Mother Earth.

Democrats Duped by the Caucus Room Conspiracy By The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program November 6, 2014  … on the night of January 20, 2009…a group of powerful Republicans …drew up a plan to sabotage President Obama at every point possible and deny him any sort of legacy…The Caucus Room conspiracy had three major objectives. The first was to use obstruction – knowing the corporate media would call it “gridlock” as if the Democrats were responsible, too – to prevent President Obama from having any legislative success. The second was to sabotage any legislative victories that the president did manage to win – like Obamacare – and convince US citizens that they were actually failures. And the third was to blame all the economic damage caused by Republicans on BOTH parties and then come out in a critical election like 2014 and say that Republicans are the party that will make things right in Washington as if the state of the economy was the Democrats’ fault. Based on Tuesday night’s shellacking, it looks like the Caucus Room conspiracy was a success…Democrats played right into Republicans’ hands, so the Caucus Room conspiracy was wildly successful. Democrats didn’t point out the Republican obstruction. Democrats didn’t point out the real cause of all the so-called “gridlock.” And Democrats didn’t point out what Republican voter suppression and obstruction efforts were really all about. Republicans near universally ran on the President Obama’s inability to overcome the Caucus Room conspiracy, and it worked like a charm. Meanwhile, Democrats failed to show Us citizens how they were different from Republicans…there’s still time for the party to turn things around, and to learn some valuable lessons from 2014. The Caucus Room conspiracy may have worked this time, but let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again.