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Show Details for the week of September 15th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on September 15, 2014


On The Monitor this week:

So much is being said and written about ISIS (ISIL/IS) but very little context of Iraq’s history is given. This week we spend the show looking at that history: A detailed look at Iraq from 1991 to the present with Abbas Kadhim.

Also, mentioned towards the start of the show is a story confirming the use of the Hannibal Directive – this was a topic of a recent interview with Richard Silverstein. Read the story here: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israeli-officer-admits-ordering-lethal-strike-own-soldier-during-gaza-massacre

More about this week’s guest:

Dr. Abbas Kadhim is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Gulf Affairs, specializing in Iraq, Iran and Shi’a Studies. He is also a Fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is was a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University (2005 – 2013). He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006.

His recent publications include: “Reclaiming Iraq: the 1920 Revolution and the Founding of the Modern State,” Austin: The University of Texas Press (2012); The Hawza under Siege: A Study in the Ba‘th Party Archive, Boston: Boston University Institute for Iraqi Studies (2013); Handbook of Governance in the Middle East and North Africa, London: Routledge (2013); “Efforts at Cross-Ethic Cooperation: the 1920 Revolution and Iraqi Sectarian Identities,” International Journal of Contemporary Iraq Studies, vol. 4, issue 3, 2010; “Forging a Third Way: Sistani’s Marja‘iyya between Quietism and Wilāyat al-Faqīh, in Iraq, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World, edited by Ali Paya and John Esposito, Routledge, July 2010; “Beyond the Oil Curse,” Iraq’s Wealthy State and Poor Society,” in Bob Looney (ed.), Handbook of Oil Politics, London: Routledge, 2012; and “Opting for the Lesser Evil: US Foreign Policy Toward Iraq, 1958-2008,” in Bob Looney (ed.) Handbook of US Middle East Relations, London: Routledge, 2009.

His book translations include Shi‘a Sects (Firaq al-Shi‘a): A Translation with an Introduction and Notes, London: Islamic College for Advanced Studies Press (2007); Wahhabism: A Critical Essay, by Hamid Algar (Arabic Translation), Köln, Germany: Dar al-Jamal (2006); and Runaway World: How Globalization is Reshaping our Lives, by Anthony Giddens (Arabic Translation), with Dr. Hassan Nadhem, Beirut: (2003).

He is currently engaged in a long-term project documenting the 1991 Uprising in Iraq, and a research project examining the Ba’ath Party Archives hosted by the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Posted in 2001: Repercussions, Arab Spring, Arab World, Armed Forces, CIA, Cost of War, Dictatorship, Economic Inequality, Elections, Empire, Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan, Sept. 11, Syria, The New Middle East, UN Resolutions, War Reporting | 2 Comments »

Show Details for the week of April 7th, 2014

Posted by themonitor on April 7, 2014


On The Monitor this week:

The first interview was supposed to be with Suzanne Massie but there was in issue with the recording of the interview so that will be played on next week’s show. Instead we opened the phone lines and took listener calls.

Below are details of the second segment:

  • USA Today reports: “The Supreme Court took another step Wednesday toward giving wealthy donors more freedom to influence federal elections. The justices ruled 5-4, in a decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, that limits on the total amount of money donors can give to all candidates, committees and political parties are unconstitutional. The decision leaves in place the base limits on what can be given to each individual campaign.” Citizen United 2.0: The Supreme Court expands the definition of ‘money as speech’ – an interview with Robert Weissman

 

 

Robert Weissman is president of Public Citizen, which notes in a statement: “Today, in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down limits on the aggregate amounts people can donate to candidates, political parties and political committees. Demonstrations that Public Citizen helped organize are scheduled to take place throughout the country in response.” For more information, visit: citizen.org/mccutcheon and moneyout-votersin.org.

Quote: “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission strikes a devastating blow at the very foundation of our democracy. This is truly a decision establishing plutocrat rights. The Supreme Court today holds that the purported right of a few hundred superrich individuals to spend outrageously large sums on campaign contributions outweighs the national interest in political equality and a government free of corruption. In practical terms, the decision means that one individual can write a single check for $5.9 million to be spent by candidates, political parties and political committees. Even after Citizens United, this case is absolutely stunning. It is sure to go down as one of the worst decisions in the history of American jurisprudence. Until today, nobody could contribute more than $123,000 total in each two-year election cycle to political candidates and parties. Citizens United allowed Big Business to spend literally as much as it wants – predominantly in undisclosed contributions filtered through the likes of Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – distorting our elections. But Citizens United money can go only to outside groups. Now McCutcheon removes meaningful limits on the total amount an individual can directly contribute to candidates, political parties and political committees. … There are literally only a few hundred people who can and will take advantage of this horrendous ruling. But those are exactly the people our elected officials will now be answering to. That is not democracy. It is plutocracy. Today’s reckless Supreme Court ruling threatens so many of the things we love about our country. No matter what five Supreme Court justices say, the First Amendment was never intended to provide a giant megaphone for the wealthiest to use to shout down the rest of us. Our only hope of overturning this McCutcheon travesty — along with Citizens United — is if millions of Americans band together in saying ‘Enough!’ to plutocracy. We couldn’t face a starker choice: Accept rule by the few, based on wealth. Or join together to protect and reclaim our democracy – the notion that We, the People decide. Today, people across the nation will be responding with protests to this outrageous decision. We, the People insist that our government and our country remain of, by and for the people – all the people, not just those few who have amassed billions in wealth. A vibrant movement for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and reclaim our democracy has emerged since the 2010 issuance of that fateful decision. The demonstrations today – unprecedented as a same-day response to a Supreme Court decision – are just the latest manifestation of how that movement is now exploding across the country. We refuse to cede control of our country and our government to amoral multinationals and morally comprised plutocrats.”

Posted in Democracy, Elections, Obama, The Supreme Court | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of December 2nd, 2013

Posted by themonitor on December 2, 2013


On this week’s show:

  • House prices are going up. Sounds like a good thing, right? The picture is a little more complicated than it appears. We talk about it with Laura Gottesdiener
  • Honduras has just completed its election cycle. In 2009, the country’s left-of-center President Mel Zelaya was overthrown in a military coup that was heavily supported (and, according to Zelaya, organized) by the United States government. After six months and a lot of political repression, the coup government was re-established with an election that almost the entire hemisphere — except, you guessed it, the United States — rejected as illegitimate. Four years later Honduran voters went to the polls again but the result is in dispute. We discuss the election with Mark Wiesbrot

More about this week’s guests:

Laura Gottesdiener is a journalist, social justice activist, and author of A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home published by Zuccotti Park Press. She is an associate editor for Waging Nonviolence, and she has written for Rolling StoneMs. magazine, The Arizona RepublicThe New Haven Advocate, The Huffington Post, AlterNet, and other publications. She lived and worked in the People’s Kitchen during the occupation of Zuccotti Park. Gottesdiener just wrote the piece “The Empire Strikes Back, How Wall Street Has Turned Housing Into a Dangerous Get-Rich-Quick Scheme — Again,” which states: “You can hardly turn on the television or open a newspaper without hearing about the nation’s impressive, much celebrated housing recovery. Home prices are rising! New construction has started! The crisis is over! Yet beneath the fanfare, a whole new get-rich-quick scheme is brewing…Wall Street’s foreclosure crisis, which began in late 2007 and forced more than 10 million people from their homes, has created a paradoxical problem. Millions of evicted Americans need a safe place to live, even as millions of vacant, bank-owned houses are blighting neighborhoods and spurring a rise in crime. Lucky for us, Wall Street has devised a solution: It’s going to rent these foreclosed houses back to us. In the process, it’s devised a new form of securitization that could cause this whole plan to blow up — again.”

Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. He has written numerous research papers on economic policy, especially on Latin America and international economic policy. He is also co-author, with Dean Baker, of Social Security: The Phony Crisis (University of Chicago Press, 2000).

He writes a weekly column for The Guardian Unlimited (U.K.), and a regular column on economic and policy issues that is distributed to over 550 newspapers by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. His opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times,Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and almost every major U.S. newspaper, as well as for Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de Sao Paulo. He appears regularly on national and local television and radio programs. He is also president of Just Foreign Policy.  He recently wrote the piece “South American Governments Should Support Hondurans’ Rights To Sovereignty and Free Elections

Posted in Economic Inequality, Economy, Elections, Honduras, Sub-Prime Loans, The Economy, The Fed, The Market, Wall Street | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of April 1st, 2013

Posted by themonitor on April 1, 2013


This week’s show:

During the past week, more than 30,000 Americans have signed a petition urging a Nobel Peace Prize for U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, the whistleblower who was arrested nearly three years ago on charges that he provided an enormous quantity of classified documents to WikiLeaks. The petition, addressed to the Norwegian Nobel Committee and posted online, already includes several thousand comments from signers who explain why they want a Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to Manning. Joining us to talk about this is Jeff Cohen.

As the pressure continues towards possible armed conflict with Iran, we talk with Flynt Leverett about his new book, written with Hillary Mann Leverett, called Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

More about this week’s guests:

Jeff Cohen

Jeff Cohen is Co-founder of the online group RootsAction.org, which launched the petition for a Nobel Peace Prize for Manning on March 25.

Quote: “If we begin from the original intentions for the Nobel Peace Prize, then an obvious top candidate is Bradley Manning, a young soldier and whistleblower who risked life in prison to inform Americans and the world about U.S. execution of, and preparation for, seemingly endless war. It’s not mere rhetoric to suggest that Private Manning has been — in the words of Alfred Nobel’s will — ‘the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies . . .’”

Jeff Cohen is founding director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, where he is an associate professor of journalism. He is a former political pundit on national TV and the author of “Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media.”

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Flynt Leverett

Flynt Leverett is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. and a professor at the Pennsylvania State University School of International Affairs. From March 2002 to March 2003, he served as the senior director for Middle East affairs on the National Security Council. Prior to serving on the NSC, he was a counterterrorism expert on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, and before that he served as a CIA senior analyst for eight years. Since leaving government service, Leverett served as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy before becoming the director of the Geopolitics of Energy Initiative in the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. He has published opinion pieces in many high-profile venues, including The New York TimesPOLITICO, and CNN, and contributes frequently to Foreign Policy.  He has been interviewed about Iran and its geopolitics on leading public affairs programs around the world, includingCharlie RoseThe NewsHour with Jim LehrerEmpire and Riz Khan (Al Jazeera English), Viewpoint(Abu Dhabi Television), Spotlight (Russia Today) and Washington Journal (C-Span), as well as in leading publications such as Der Spiegel and Le Monde. Along with Hillary Mann Leverett, he was featured in the PBS Frontline documentary, “Showdown With Iran”, and profiled in Esquiremagazine.

You can read a detailed review of the book here

Posted in Arab Spring, Armed Forces, Bradley Manning, CIA, Elections, Empire, Iran, Iraq | 1 Comment »

Show Details for the week of February 18th, 2013

Posted by themonitor on February 18, 2013


This week’s show takes a look at the latest from Egypt and the history of assassinations by US administrations.

  • Egypt at another Cross Roads, an interview with Adil Shamoo
  • American Assassination for Dummies, an interview with Mark Ames

More about this week’s guests:

Adil E. Shamoo

Adil E. Shamoo is an associate fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, a senior analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, and the author of Equal Worth – When Humanity Will Have Peace. He is a biochemist with an interest in biomedical ethics and foreign policy. He is currently a professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Maryland. His website is www.forwarorpeace.com

Article:

Egypt at Another Crossroads

Quote:

Egypt is rapidly approaching its most acute political and economic crisis since the 2011 revolution that swept dictator Hosni Mubarak from power.

Poverty is at an all-time high of 25 percent, with youth unemployment at a record 40 percent. Foreign currency reserves are on a rapid decline. President Mohamed Morsi is losing the most important commodity he possesses — the people’s confidence and trust. Conditions seem ripe for either a new uprising from below or a new military coup from above.

Instead of cementing his new regime’s democratic credentials, Morsi has undermined the legitimacy of his rule in word and deed.

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Mark Ames

Mark Ames is a writer known for his work as a Moscow-based expatriate American journalist and editor. He is Senior editor at NSFW CORP, a new publication based in Las Vegas, and founding editor of the defunct satirical Moscow newspaper The eXile and author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion: From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine.

Article:

American Assassination for Dummies


Quote:

It’s hard to have a serious conversation about America’s drone assassination policy when no one seems to have a basic grasp of recent history. This cultural amnesia epidemic is starting to get me down— which is partly my fault for paying more than two minutes’ attention to Twitter at a single go.

The problem starts with Reagan, as problems so often do. Most people on the left take for granted that Reagan’s executive order 12333 “banned assassinations” — which is not just a false interpretation, but really awful mangling of one of the dark turning points in modern American history.

That same ignorance of the history of assassination policy runs right through today, with the repetition of another myth: That President Obama’s extrajudicial drone-assassinations of American citizens is “unprecedented” and “radical” and that “not even George Bush targeted American citizens.”

The truth is a lot worse and a lot more depressing.

Posted in 9/11, Arab Spring, Assassination, Bush, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, Dictatorship, DOJ, Drones, Egypt, Elections, FISA, Obama | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of February 11th, 2013

Posted by themonitor on February 11, 2013


This week’s show follows up on the Don Siegelman case and examines the financial troubles the US Postal Service is facing. Our guests are Dana Siegleman, Parker Griffith and Jeff Musto

More about this week’s guests:

Dana Siegleman and Parker Griffith

Dana Siegelman is the daughter of imprisoned former AL Governor Don Siegelman who was convicted of an implied quid pro quo, that is an inferred bribe, or a bribe without explicit proof of agreement or self-enrichment scheme.  He was never accused of benefiting, at all. As Republican Attorney General of Arizona and co-Chair of the John McCain Presidential Campaign Grant Woods explained, “They indicted Siegelman because they couldn’t beat him fair and square.” His daughter Dana is now working on a campaign to get clemency for Don Siegleman.

Quote: “Nine years ago, the Bush Administration went after my father when he was Alabama’s governor. He was the first governor to endorse Al Gore for president and speak out against Bush. GOP operatives in Alabama and Washington D.C. struck up a plan to bring my dad down in the media, essentially crippling his chances for reelection and setting the stage for a prosecution that would strip him of his lifelong earnings, his law license, his ability to run for public office, and most importantly, his freedom.”

Parker Griffith is the former U.S. Representative for Alabama’s 5th congressional district, serving from 2009 until 2011. He is a member of the Republican Party, having switched from the Democratic Party on December 22, 2009 but lost the Republican primary and his term ended in January 2011.

Quote: “Karl Rove’s hands are all over this. This is absolutely, one of the most unjust things I’ve ever encountered. The Karl Rove southern strategy is a racist strategy, it pits people against one another, it splits us apart and he was very successful in vetting judges.”

Related Websites: http://www.donsiegelman.org

http://free-don.org/

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Jeff Musto

Jeff Musto is researcher and spokesperson for the Center for Study of Responsive Law, founded by Ralph Nader in 1968. In this role he works on a variety of projects, including the preservation of the U.S. Postal Service by preventing further Post Office closings, service cuts, and job cuts; the benefits of a financial speculation tax and other revenue generating proposals; the expansion of the posting of government contracts online; and the impacts of the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among others. Prior to his work with the Center, he worked with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Nader recently wrote in response to the Post Office’s announcement that it would be closing on Saturdays: “Postmaster General Donahoe would have us believe that this is one of many tough decisions that must be made to save the USPS, but nothing could be further from the truth. These are the decisions that are made by a leader without a clue and without a sense of what it takes to right the ship. He has ignored calls to implement ways of expanding postal services, many of which have been urged by the Postal Regulatory Commission. The USPS’s financial crisis has primarily been caused by a congressional mandate, coming from the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, that the USPS prefund the next 75 years of retiree health benefits in just a decade, by 2016. This is something that is not required of any other federal government agency or private corporation. Not to mention that there is no actuarial justification for such an accelerated schedule to prefund this future obligation. PAEA effectively forces the USPS to prefund retiree health benefits for some of its future employees who haven’t even been born yet!   “As a result, the USPS pays at least $5.5 billion each year into a fund for 75 years of future retiree health benefits in addition to paying $2.6 billion for the employer’s share of insurance premiums for the Postal Service’s current retirees. On top of this, according to reports from the USPS’s Inspector General, the USPS has overpaid $80 billion dollars to the Civil Service Retirement System and the Federal Employees Retirement System which the federal government refuses to return.”If Congress were to reverse PAEA and return the billions owed to the USPS, the U.S. Postal Service would not be facing a financial crisis.” Jeff has been on the show before talking about this issue.

Posted in Democracy, DOJ, Elections, GOP Corruption, Post Office | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of January 28th, 2013

Posted by themonitor on January 28, 2013


This week is one of two opportunities you have to support The Monitor during this Winter Pledge Drive at KPFT. Please call 713 526 5738 during the show to pledge your support.

Our guest this week is Greg Palast.

Greg Palast is the author of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits (out on September 18), Vultures’ Picnic and the New York Times bestsellers, Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.

freezefromreel.jpg

Palast turned his skills to journalism after two decades as a top investigator of corporate fraud. Palast directed the U.S. government’s largest racketeering case in history–winning a $4.3 billion jury award. He also conducted the investigation of fraud charges in the Exxon Valdez grounding.

Following the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Palast set off on a five-continent undercover investigation of BP and the oil industry for British television’s top current affairs program, Dispatches.

Palast is best known in his native USA as the journalist who, for the Observer (UK), broke the story of how Jeb Bush purged thousands of Black Florida citizens from voter rolls before the 2000 election, thereby handing the White House to his brother George. His reports on the theft of the 2000 and 2004 US elections, the spike of the FBI investigations of the bin Ladens before September 11, the secret State Department documents planning the seizure of Iraq’s oil fields have won him a record six Project Censored awards for reporting the news American media doesn’t want you to hear. “The top investigative journalist in the United States is persona non grata in his own country’s media.” [Asia Times.] He returned to America to report for Harper’s Magazine.

During this Pledge Drive we have copies of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits available to you for a pledge of $100. Call 713 526 5738 or pledge securely online at www.kpft.org

Posted in Democracy, Dictatorship, DOJ, Economic Inequality, Elections, Greg Palast, KPFT, Obama, Race, Radio Shows, Vulture Funds | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of January 21st, 2013

Posted by themonitor on January 21, 2013


  • Meet the new economy, same as the old economy? An interview with Richard Wolff
  • Republicans and Democrats Unite for Former Governor Don Siegelman’s Clemency- An interview with Dana Siegleman

More about this week’s guests:

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Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City. He also teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan. He recently wrote and article titled “How the rich soaked the rest of us – The astonishing story of the last few decades is a massive redistribution of wealth, as the rich have shifted the tax burden.”

Wolff is author of several books. I strongly suggest you read them all but perhaps start with “Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It.” He is professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and currently a visiting professor in the Graduate Program for International Affairs at the New School University in New York City. http://www.capitalismhitsthefan.com

Website:

Professor Richard D. Wolff | Economics Professor

Twitter:

http://twitter.com/#!/profwolff

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Dana Siegleman

Dana Siegelman is the daughter of imprisoned former AL Governor Don Siegelman who was convicted of an implied quid pro quo, that is an inferred bribe, or a bribe without explicit proof of agreement or self-enrichment scheme.  He was never accused of benefiting, at all. As Republican Attorney General of Arizona and co-Chair of the John McCain Presidential Campaign Grant Woods explained, “They indicted Siegelman because they couldn’t beat him fair and square.” His daughter Dana is now working on a campaign to get clemency for Don Siegleman. 

Quote: “Nine years ago, the Bush Administration went after my father when he was Alabama’s governor. He was the first governor to endorse Al Gore for president and speak out against Bush. GOP operatives in Alabama and Washington D.C. struck up a plan to bring my dad down in the media, essentially crippling his chances for reelection and setting the stage for a prosecution that would strip him of his lifelong earnings, his law license, his ability to run for public office, and most importantly, his freedom.”

Website: http://www.donsiegelman.org

http://free-don.org/

Posted in Bankruptcy, Banks, Debt, Democrat Corruption, Economic Inequality, Economy, Elections, GOP Corruption, Obama, Radio Shows | 2 Comments »

Show Details for the week of November 12th, 2012

Posted by themonitor on November 12, 2012


The election is over (mostly) and the postmortem begins. Did Obama win a mandate? How did the GOP keep the House? We talk about these topics on this week’s show.

  • Post election analysis – an interview with John Nichols
  • The GOP keeps control of the House – an interview with Rob Richie

More about our guests:

John Nichols

John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. He is a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times and the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. His articles have appeared in the New York TimesChicago Tribune and dozens of other newspapers.

Nichols is a frequent guest on radio and television programs as a commentator on politics and media issues. He was featured in Robert Greenwald’s documentary, “Outfoxed,” and in the documentaries Joan Sekler’s “Unprecedented,” Matt Kohn’s “Call It Democracy” and Robert Pappas’s “Orwell Rolls in his Grave.” The keynote speaker at the 2004 Congress of the International Federation of Journalists in Athens, Nichols has been a featured presenter at conventions, conferences and public forums on media issues sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Consumers International, the Future of Music Coalition, the AFL-CIO, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Newspaper Guild [CWA] and dozens of other organizations.

Nichols is the author of The Genius of Impeachment (The New Press); a critically acclaimed analysis of the Florida recount fight of 2000, Jews for Buchanan (The New Press); and a best-selling biography of Vice President Dick Cheney, Dick: The Man Who is President (The New Press), which has recently been published in French and Arabic. He edited Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire (Nation Books), of which historian Howard Zinn said: “At exactly the time when we need it most, John Nichols gives us a special gift–a collection of writings, speeches, poems, and songs from throughout American history–that reminds us that our revulsion to war and empire has a long and noble tradition in this country.”

Recent articles:

Obama’s 3 Million Vote, Electoral College Landslide, Majority of States Mandate

Ron Johnson’s Pompous Assumptions: Voters are Ignorant, Colleagues Need Tutoring

ThinkProgress is reporting: “Although a small number of ballots remain to be counted, as of [November 7], votes for a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives outweigh votes for Republican candidates [in contested races, including some Democrat-on-Democrats races in California]. Based on ThinkProgress’ review of all ballots counted so far, 53,952,240 votes were cast for a Democratic candidate for the House and only 53,402,643 were cast for a Republican — meaning that Democratic votes exceed Republican votes by more than half a million. …”

Rob Richie

Rob Richie is the executive director of FairVote.

Quote: “Representative democracy demands a level playing field, but U.S. House elections do not have one. Today there is a significant structural advantage for the Republican Party grounded in elections relying on single-member district, winner-take-all voting rules.

“In this year’s elections, for example, Democrats are likely to win more popular votes than Republicans in contested U.S. House elections. But Republicans will win a comfortable House majority, and FairVote estimates that Democrats would have needed to win 55% of the national vote to earn a House majority.

“Incumbency and campaign spending present challenges to Democrats, but the core problem is structural. When ordering districts by their partisan leanings, the median district is 52% Republican. Obama’s share of the vote was likely less than his national vote share in 240 districts this year and greater in only 195. That translates into Republicans having an advantage over time in 45 more districts. Although this bias has existed for decades, rising polarization and less ticket-splitting has resulted in the defeat of most of the more conservative Democrats who were able to win in Republican-leaning districts.

“The bottom line is that House elections are not as responsive as they should be. The great majority of incumbents are invulnerable to defeat, as evidenced by the fact that FairVote last July projected 333 winners and saw them all win this week. Now, with the bias of the current system, House leaders can be less responsive to shifts in popular support.

“FairVote proposes a statutory change, explained in its interactive map at http://www.FairVoting.Us. It would replace single-member districts with multi-seat districts and elect representatives with American forms of proportional representation. Doing so would remove the overall bias in the system and make every House Member more accountable to their constituents.”

Posted in Democrat Corruption, Economy, Elections, Gerrymandering, GOP Corruption | Leave a Comment »

Show Details for the week of November 5th, 2012

Posted by themonitor on November 5, 2012


  • Overwhelming Majority of Americans want corporate money out of politics – an interview with Doug Clopp
  • The Massive Surge of Republican Money – an interview with Paul Jorgensen

 

Paul Jorgensen

Paul Jorgensen is assistant professor of political science at University of Texas, Pan American and Non-Resident Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center at Harvard. He co-authored, along with Thomas Ferguson (professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, senior fellow of the Roosevelt Institute, and contributing editor at AlterNet) a new piece: “Massive Surge of Republican Money in Last Ditch Effort to Sink Obama,” which states: “For 2012, the scariest thing about 2000 is the evidence that a flood of highly concentrated Republican money in the very last week of that campaign gave G.W. Bush a decisive edge in the battleground states — and that contrary to reports in the national media, there are signs that history may be about to repeat itself.

“The little known 2000 story is meticulously laid out in a study by Richard Johnston, Michael G. Hagen, and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, ‘The 2000 Presidential Election and the Foundations of Party Politics.’ Trailing in the final weeks of the campaign, Al Gore began aggressively attacking Bush on Social Security. Helped along by news trends in the (free) mass media that the three scholars carefully track, and matching or even sometimes exceeding the Bush campaign’s ad buys, Gore rallied. He started climbing in the polls.

“But in the final week of the campaign, Bush’s Golden Horde of campaign contributors unrolled their mighty bankroll, sinking most of the money into battleground states. As the three scholars observe, the result was a natural experiment, in which part of the country was saturated with political money while the rest was only lightly sprinkled.
The outcome was ruinous for Gore. …

“Big Money’s most significant impact on politics is certainly not to deliver elections to the highest bidders. Instead it is to cement parties, candidates, and campaigns into the narrow range of issues that are acceptable to big donors. The basis of the ‘Golden Rule’ in politics derives from the simple fact that running for major office in the U.S. is fabulously expensive. In the absence of large scale social movements, only political positions that can be financed can be presented to voters. On issues on which all major investors agree (think of the now famous 1 percent), no party competition at all takes place, even if everyone knows that heavy majorities of voters want something else. …

“The true influence that large donors wield in American elections is chronically underestimated. … Especially where Democrats are concerned, the myth of small donors is a powerful instrument of miseducation.”

Other recent articles by Paul Jorgensen:

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Doug Clopp joined Common Cause in September 2010 as the Deputy Director for Programs.  He is the former Director of Governmental Affairs and Coalition Coordinator of Consumers for Affordable Health Care Foundation. Prior to his work on health policy, Doug was the Democracy Project Coordinator for the Maine Citizen Leadership Fund focusing on protecting and enhancing Maine’s landmark Clean Elections program, improving Maine’s campaign finance laws, and promoting governmental ethics.
Top money and politics researchers discover that the FEC is quietly deleting information on fat-cat funders.

“84 percent of Americans agree that corporate political spending drowns out the voices of average Americans, and 83 percent believe that corporations and corporate CEOs have too much political power and influence.

* “81 percent of Americans agree that companies should only spend money on political campaigns if they disclose their spending immediately.

* “Requiring corporations to get shareholder approval before spending money on politics is supported by 73 percent of both Republicans and Democrats and 71 percent of Independents.”

The poll — conducted by Bannon Communications — also found very strong support for solutions:

* “77 percent of Americans support a requirement that companies publicly disclose their contributions to groups — like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — that funnel money into politics.

* “74 percent of Americans support a plan allowing candidates to run for Congress without raising large contributions by collecting small contributions and receiving limited public funds.”

See full press release

Posted in Democrat Corruption, Dictatorship, Elections, GOP Corruption, News And Analysis | Leave a Comment »

 
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